"Who's there?" Sam asked again, more for the comfort of speaking than from any real expectation of an answer. He hoped that if the thing kept talking he might be able to pin down a location. Its voice was barely more than a rasp but Sam quickly came to the conclusion that he knew who was behind it. Or inside of it. Honestly he wasn't quite sure how to phrase it even to himself. Either way, it looked like they'd found their demonic suspect.
The invisible attacker laughed, high and gleeful, the sound of a child unwrapping a present he'd been expecting all year. "So many questions for a hunter. By now, they're usually spouting out half baked exorcisms."
Sam froze. "What?"
"Another question. You think you're the first hunter I've come up against over the years? Please." Sam could practically hear the thing roll its eyes at him. "Did you expect me to run away because you found me? You're tall but none of that extra room went for brains."
Sam tipped his head to the side, trying to place exactly where the sound was coming from. He inched forward a step. "What are you?"
The cloudy haze of the demon resolved by degrees until it was almost human shaped. Then it spread its arms, pointed tip of the knife sticking out of one hand. "Were you expecting a letter of introduction? 'Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name.' That kind of thing?"
"Rumpelstiltskin?" Sam asked before he could stop himself.
The demon sighed. "I was going for a Rolling Stones reference. Your leather jacketed friend would have understood."
Sam ran the last thirty seconds through his head, a frown creasing his brow. Maybe he was still dreaming because this was the strangest demon attack he'd ever experienced. Then he was forcibly yanked from his reverie by another slice of the blade. It passed through the air where his head had been a moment earlier.
Sam circled back around in the cramped space, aiming for the stash of weapons Dean kept beneath his bed. "What are you then? You're not like any demon I've ever seen."
"So you've figured out that much already. Impressive. I'm still going to gut you like a fish, but I am impressed."
"I know a lot of other things, too."
The demon scoffed. "You're not nearly as smart as you think you are. You really think you know what I can do? Fucking fruit flies, the lot of you. I was here before you were born and I'll still be here when you're dust." The demon swung the knife again to punctuate the words.
Sam dropped to the floor, ducking the blade, and snagging the bag beneath Dean's bed. He'd backed himself into a corner but at least he was armed. Beside him the demon grunted, "Hold still," under its breath.
The jug of holy water sat on the floor beneath the bed, nestled next to the bag of weapons. Sam had almost forgotten it until his hand brushed the cool plastic side. He yanked it out with his other hand, thumbing off the cap as he swung it in a great arc. Water washed the air in front of him, hitting the solid shadow with a splash.
The demon hissed and finally resolved into a more familiar shape. Saul Montgomery palmed water out of his eyes with a growl. His hair was plastered against his forehead and large damp spots peppered his shirt. There was the faint hiss of sizzling flesh. "That actually stings a little," he said. Saul smiled as his eyes met Sam's. Then, for just a moment, his eyes flashed as white as his teeth.
It was enough to startle Sam, disrupting his rise from the floor. He tightened his grip on his gun, leveling it on the demon just as the door to the room swung open.
Dean stood silhouetted against the dimly lit parking lot, blinking owlishly into the dark room. "Sam?"
Saul half turned towards the newcomer, apparently unconcerned with the gun still pointed in his direction. "Now it's a party."
"What the—" Dean had his gun out, safety off, as soon as he registered the voice of someone who wasn't his brother. A second after that, Sam collided with him, flung across the room like a rag doll. He'd taken out half the wicker room divider on the way. Sam and Dean hit the wall with a thud, wicker raining down around them like confetti.
"I can't believe I didn't see it before." Saul crouched beside them, just out of striking distance. "How unusual. Making deals with demons. This one with the marked soul." He tipped his head towards Dean. "I know you."
"Great," Dean said as he found his legs. His gun had disappeared when Sam had knocked him down like a bowling pin so he pulled out the knife he had stashed instead. "I guess that makes us best friends." Beside him, Sam readied his gun again. They both felt better with a weapon in their hands.
Saul just laughed like they were girlfriends meeting for coffee instead of enemies trying to kill each other. "We've never met, Dean. Yes, I do know your name. Don't be so surprised," he added dismissively. "But I think we'll be good friends. Soon. Lilith always did have a knack for picking interesting toys."
The brothers tensed.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Sam asked.
Saul turned in his direction, eyes going sharp. He looked him up and down before his lips spread into a sly smile. "What an interesting pair you two make," he said again. "Shame we couldn't meet under better circumstances."
"Enough talk," Dean said, finally losing patience. Talking didn't get rid of demons. He spotted his gun under the corner of one of the beds. Now he just had to get to it. In the meantime, he still had a freshly sharpened knife at his disposal. It wouldn't kill a demon but he would make do.
He lunged forward, leading with his knife, half expecting Saul to dodge. He didn't. Saul stood perfectly still, watching Dean with a smirk before his hand shot out. He grabbed Dean by the wrist and swung him around like a merry-go-round, sending him back the way he'd come. This time Dean rocketed into Sam. They hit the wall and then the floor a second time. When their heads had stopped spinning, Saul had disappeared leaving nothing but bruises and a room full of broken furniture to show he'd been there at all.
"Found our demon," Dean said with a groan, retrieving his gun from where it had fallen.
Sam was already busy poking around the room to be sure they were really alone. He eyed the mess that had been the bedside lamp. There was another large dent in the wall where they'd bounced off like a tennis ball. "We should find somewhere else to sleep," Sam said with a glance in Dean's direction.
"You're probably right."
Their bags were packed in record time, clothes and weapons tossed together with as little care as they could safely manage. Sam's errant gunshots had already drawn the attention of the local police so the brothers decided it would be in their best interest to sneak out the back. Or, in their case, the bathroom window. Luckily they'd gotten a first floor room this time. Neither one had any desire to add sprains or broken bones onto the bumps and bruises they'd already collected for the night.
Dean slid through the window with moderate ease but Sam wasn't quite so lucky. He was busy trying to fold himself into a pretzel when they heard the first knock on the door of their motel room.
"Hurry up," Dean hissed as if that would make his brother more compact.
"I'm trying," Sam grunted back trying to speak without breathing. With a shove of his legs, he slid through the narrow window, tipping forward and almost meeting the ground face first when his feet snagged the ledge.
Beside him, Dean snorted. "Dude, you suck."
They both shut up when they heard their motel room door burst open, banging back against the wall. The local PD had officially arrived.
It was going to be a bitch getting the Impala out of the parking lot without anyone spotting them.
Author's Note: This chapter really shouldn't have taken so long to write and edit. Really shouldn't. It was all so simple. But apparently I still suck at writing fight sequences. And then along came Script Frenzy. On the upside I have 100 pages of a faux TV show script to turn into a novel in the coming weeks. Fun, fun stuff. But I feel bad for neglecting the Winchesters in their hour of need. I'll have to write them something extra pretty when I have more time. When I finish this story. Still another two chapters or so on the way.
Please leave reviews. They make me smile. They also encourage me to work on writing fight sequences that don't suck. This is a valuable skill, or so I've heard.
On a final note, Levon Helm died the other day. This makes me sad. It's also strange considering I used his name as one of Dean's fake IDs back in Chapter 2. RIP.