Chapter 2

Sam and Dean greeted the corpse on the table with twin pairs of raised eyebrows.

Dean summed it up nicely with, "Wow." He winced.

"Yeah." Sam cleared his throat but couldn't find another thing to say for a long moment.

In less than thirty seconds, this had jumped to the number one spot on their list of memorable morgue visits. The attendant fidgeted, his eyes going anywhere but the body he'd just pulled out. He stepped back. "Uh, I got some stuff to do… over there."

"We'll only be a minute," Sam said to the morgue attendant's rapidly retreating back.

The Winchesters looked down at what had formerly been Jeff Tyler. Cause of death was pretty obvious. Jeff looked like he'd been run over by a lawn mower, his chest slashed to ribbons. But that wasn't what had disturbed them ever since the body had been pulled from its drawer. They'd seen plenty of hacked up corpses. It was what Jeff was missing below the waist that had them both feeling a little nauseous.

"Someone gave him the Lorena Bobbitt treatment," Dean muttered, leaning towards Sam to be sure he was heard.

"Yeah. I noticed that."

Both men shifted in sympathy for poor ole Jeff.

"I'm betting he wasn't a eunuch," Dean said after another moment's thought.

"They're castrated," Sam snapped, looking a little green, "not… that."

Dean took a large step back. "I think I've seen enough to last me a lifetime."


"Ex-girlfriend looking for revenge?" Dean suggested as they headed back to the Impala.

Sam shook his head. Jeff Tyler had not been a small man. He had over two hundred pounds of bulk on his 5'10" frame, much of it muscle. "I checked the lab reports. Blood came back negative for drugs, poison. Not even any alcohol. From the cuts on his hands and arms, I'd say he put up a decent fight, too. Whoever hacked him up had to've been strong. Real strong."

"So what then?"

"Despite Jeff's," Sam paused, "losses I'm still not seeing anything here that looks like our kinda weird."

He hated to admit it, but Dean was starting to agree. "Dammit." He slumped. "We're already in suits. Might as well go talk to this Anne chick before we pack in the circus."

Sam hung back a step, eyeing Dean's hunched shoulders as he rounded to the driver's side door. It didn't take a genius to see how tense his brother was. Not that Dean would have taken kindly to him pointing that out. Not right now. Probably not ever. So Sam just nodded and hopped into the passenger seat without another word. The only thing that would help right now was keeping busy.

Anne Montgomery lived in an unassuming tan house with green shutters and a trellis weighed down by clusters of bright pink morning glories beside the front door. An oversized wind chime hung in the tree around the side of the house. When the wind blew, the metal rang like church bells.

Sam was the first up to the front step. He knocked on the door, eyes running over the lawn ornaments clustered at the base of the trellis. He eyeballed the psychotically happy faced gnomes beside their miniature arched bridge and half expected them to look back at him. It wouldn't have been all that surprising in their line of work, but the gnomes stayed fixed in place with nary a blink or a twitch of resin muscles. When he glanced to the side, he caught Dean checking them out, too.

The door opened before they could comment.

Two women appeared in the doorway. The woman in the front looked to be in her early twenties. Pretty in a plain kind of way. Her chocolate brown hair escaped from her braid in long tendrils and her eyes had shadows beneath them. Sam would have been willing to bet money that she was Anne Montgomery. Barely a step behind her, stood another, slightly taller, woman with stick straight blond hair and wary look in her eye. She put a hand on Anne's shoulder and gave it a quick squeeze as if she were expecting more bad news.

"Can I help you?" asked the brown haired woman. She kept a firm hold on the door as her eyes shifted between the men standing on her sunflower shaped welcome mat.

"Anne Montgomery? I'm Agent Helm. This is Agent Hudson," Dean said with a nod of his head to Sam. They both flashed their FBI badges. "We'd like to ask you a couple of questions about Jeffrey Tyler."

Anne's hand instantly went to the little gold cross on a chain around her neck. "I already spoke to the police," she said in a voice just above a whisper. She gave the cross a tug with two fingers.

"Can't this wait?" asked the woman behind her. "She's been through enough already."

"We're very sorry for your loss," Sam said smoothly, cutting in before Dean could say another word. Anne already looked like she was about to start bawling right then and there. "Please. We'll only take a moment of your time."

She nodded, stepping back into the dim interior of the house. She led them into the living room, waving a hand of invitation at the beige couch. "I'll just make some coffee." She wandered down the hallway leading towards the back of the house. She moved as if she were in a dream.

Sam and Dean shook their heads in unison. Definitely not a killer unless she was one hell of an actress.

"Don't upset her," hissed the blond woman before she followed Anne.

Left alone, the brother's eyes wandered around the room. The gauzy curtains on the large front window had been left closed, washing the room in perpetual dusk gloom. Otherwise it was the kind of cozy room they'd been in a hundred times before. A magazine or two discarded on the coffee table. Family pictures with smiling faces on the walls. A few potted plants in the corner of the room. But there was something especially subdued about it. No bright colors. And this time the magazines on the coffee table were covered by another larger book. Someone had left a large gilt edged bible spread open to the book of Tobit. Sam scooted forward on the couch to read it until Anne and the blond returned with hands full of mugs and a pot of freshly brewed coffee.

They set everything out on the coffee table. Anne poured with hands that shook ever so slightly. "I'm sorry. I didn't know if you wanted milk or sugar."

"Black is fine," Dean said quickly.

She settled into the loveseat opposite them with her hands folded and the blond sat beside her. Sam gave a gentle smile. "We understand how hard this must be for you. You were the one who found Mr. Tyler?"

The blond bristled but Anne cut her off. "It's okay, Liz. If it can help find Jeff's killer." She nodded, swallowing convulsively. Her hands wrapped tight around her mug of coffee, engagement ring clinking against the ceramic when she squeezed. "Yes. We were supposed to have dinner together." She kept nodding like a bobblehead doll in an earthquake. "Jeff always cooked on Fridays. He has the day off from work."

"Where did Mr. Tyler work?" Dean asked.

"The car plant. Why?" Her eyes had grown large and moist while she was talking. "You don't think that anyone he knew…?"

"Routine questions," Dean assured her. Then he pressed his lips together. Sam was about two seconds away from elbowing him in the side again.

"Can't this wait?" Liz asked, shooting the woman beside her a concerned look.

"I'm sorry, Miss…?" Sam trailed off, the question clear in his tone.

"Liz. Benson," the blond supplied. "A friend."

Sam nodded. "Miss Benson, Miss Montgomery, any information you can provide will bring us one step closer to finding the person responsible for Mr. Tyler's death. Anything at all." He'd switched to that firm yet soothing tone he used on traumatized civilians and Dean when he was planning something reckless. And just like always, the women melted like butter. Times like these, Dean was especially conscious of how good a lawyer his brother would have been.

Liz resettled herself and didn't say another word in protest. Anne Montgomery nodded a moment later, taking a steadying breath.

"Can you think of anyone who would have wanted to harm Mr. Tyler? An ex-girlfriend?"

Anne shook her head and put a hand out to the bible she'd left open on the coffee table in front of her. "I've been asking God for clarity since Jeff… since I found him. I don't understand how someone could do such a thing. He was a good man. The sweetest I've ever known. He didn't have an enemy in the world. Sometimes," she paused and her face fell. "Sometimes I think it really is my fault."

Liz pulled her friend into a one armed hug. "It's not your fault, Anne. It's a coincidence. Or bad luck." She fumbled awkwardly and fell silent.

"I don't understand," Sam said but they weren't even listening to him.

Anne lifted the oversized bible into her lap and started turning pages absently. Her forehead creased. "I hear people talking about me behind my back. Maybe they're right. Maybe God is punishing me." A little gasping sob escaped her lips. "But I don't know what I've done wrong. Why does He take everyone from me?" She looked at them with round eyes and a tear slid down to her chin and fell onto the bible.

Sam and Dean exchanged a quick look. Dean's held barely contained panic while Sam's was just confused. He couldn't connect the dots no matter how hard he tried. He leaned forward on the couch and patted a hand over Anne's clenched fists. "I'm sure that's not the case."

Anne shook her head slowly. "Everyone around me dies. First Nolan. Then Tom. Now Jeff." She gave the cross at her neck another tug. "I don't know what to do anymore. I go to church. I pray every single day. Why is this happening? What am I supposed to do?"

They gave her a minute to collect herself and Dean couldn't resist a little smirk in Sam's direction. Maybe it was their kind of thing after all. Sam rolled his eyes. "You mentioned a Tom. You were engaged to Tom Jones, right?" He shot Dean a warning look when his brother's lips twitched at the name again.

Anne nodded, oblivious. "That's right."

"Who's Nolan?" That was one name they hadn't come across yet.

"He was my boyfriend. In high school." She sighed and shrank like a balloon losing air. "We were going to elope after graduation."

"You what?" Liz cried from beside her, eyes wide. "You never told me that."

"I had my bag packed. Waited all night but he never showed. The next day, I found out he'd had an accident. That'd he passed away." She shook her head and the halo of hair escaping from her braid caught the light. "I didn't tell anyone what we'd planned." With that, she bowed her head and melted into a noisy shower of tears.

"Did he… you know… was he missing anything? When he died," Dean asked, with a vague gesture, finally earning himself that elbow from Sam. "What? It could be important," he muttered in Sam's direction.

The back door slammed and footsteps headed their way, picking up speed after a moment. By the time the new arrival made it to the living room, he was practically running. His expression looked possible of calling down lightning to fry them on the spot. "What the hell are you doing here?" he barked, pulling Anne out of the chair and into a tight hug. The bible slid from her lap, landing in a heap on the floor as she sobbed into his chest. Liz went to his side and leaned in to whisper something but he stopped her with a tiny shake of his head.

"FBI. Investigating the murder of Jeffrey Tyler," Dean said, rising from the couch to stare the guy in the eye. "You are?"

The man hesitated a moment and his arms tightened around Anne's shaking form. His hair was a shade lighter and his eyes were pale blue instead of brown but the resemblance was obvious. "I'm her brother," the man answered. If possible, his frown increased. "You need to leave. Now."

"Well, that went well," Dean said as they left Anne Montgomery's house.

"Yeah, not so much. But you may be right. There's something strange going on here. Three dead would-be husbands?" Sam's forehead creased in thought. "This is starting to sound familiar. Maybe we should call Bobby."

"You think?" Dean fished his keys from his pocket. "'Cause I got nothing." He rubbed at the back of his neck. "Research?"


"Awesome," Dean said with a complete lack of enthusiasm as he dropped into the driver's seat.

Author's Note: The names that Sam and Dean use this time around belong to members of The Band, namely Garth Hudson and Levon Helm. Okay, not really one of the more commonly known bands but I just found a video of Jensen Ackles singing "The Weight" (a song by The Band) at one of the conventions so it seemed appropriate. See? It all makes perfect sense now. Besides, I like the song and it's sort of appropriate to the mood during season 3. I trust everyone got the joke with Tom Jones and, of course, the reference to Lorena Bobbitt. If you didn't, might I recommend some Wikipedia viewing?

This story isn't going to run too many chapters. Maybe 5 or 6, I'm guessing. On the plus side, these chapters are longer than the ones in You Can't Get There From Here. Please forgive me for any procedural inaccuracies. Everything I know about investigation, I learned from Sam and Dean… and to a lesser extent: Mulder and Scully.

More hot diner action coming up in the next chapter! Look forward to it.