26 January 2011 @ 11:03 am
Took a while with my job becoming an issue but I've made it past the "Chapter 12 Curse"!

 

 

Chapter 13
 

 

Dean watched the road ahead as he tapped his fingers against the steering wheel, an annoyed sounding huff escaping him. “This is stupid.”

Sam glanced toward his brother momentarily before his eyes shifted back to the hawk flying a few feet above the road in front of them. “It's a lead, Dean.”

We're following a bird, Sam,” Dean countered, pointing toward the windshield. “A bird.”

Sam sighed heavily as he shook his head. They had been having the same discussion since they got in the car. “We're following a goddess in the form of a bird.”

It’s still following a bird. Goddess or not,” the older man grumbled. “If we get passed by a guy on a tractor, I'm blaming her.”

Sam's eyes zeroed in on the speedometer, the needle hovering at 40. It wasn't dean's usual speed but it was necessary. At the usual speed, they would easily overtake the now feathered goddess ahead of them.

That is her usual mode of getting around, Dean. And after this morning's battle, I doubt you'd really trust her enough to listen to any directions she'd give,” Sam explained. He watched the small form in front of the car, the sunlight catching her plumage. “And I doubt you'd let her drive.”

The look on Dean's face was one of pure outrage at his brother's words. “That's not even funny, Sam.”

Sam saw the falcon dip briefly before speeding up and making a sharp right down a dirt road. “Then don't complain about the bird thing.”

Gravel crunched beneath the tires as Dean turned to follow, his brow knitting. “Half expecting to hear her go “tweet” now or something.”

Let it go, Dean.” Sam warned evenly. “For your sake, let it go.”

The car jostled along the pitted road as the trees that had stood at a distance began to close in around them. Houses began to grow few and far between the more they followed, the noises of the gravel beneath the Impala's tires becoming a steady white noise against the engine's purr. The shadows of leaves from the growing canopy overhead darkened the road and the small body ahead of them as the pair in the car focused on the momentary flashes of gold in the sparse sunlight.

This would explain why nobody saw them.” Sam watched the trees beside the road grow denser as they drove on, the sun all but vanishing above them. “The trees would have shielded them from sight.”

Dean slowed the car as Urd made a quick left and disappeared behind an overgrown patch of weeds. “Now where is she going?”

The car came to a halt beside the weeds, the pair getting out to look around.

Any idea where we are?” Dean questioned, his eyes scanning their surroundings.

Sam ducked back into the car to grab the computer printed map. He studied it for a moment before he looked toward his brother. “Old Sheridan Road.”

Also known as Rural Route 2.” Urd's voice echoed against the trees as she reappeared, her human form wading through the chest high weeds. “I wasn't going that fast, Dean. You could have kept up.”

Dean glared at the woman, Sam quickly cutting off any comment he was about to make. “How do you know it’s called Rural Route 2?"

The young woman looked at the pair as she kicked at the weeds, sending up a metallic ringing sound. “Lucky guess?”

Confusion crossed their faces at the sound, both men walking toward her as she ducked beneath the tangle of grasses. There was the sound of grass ripping from the ground as she strained to pull at something hidden beneath the weeds. No sooner had they set foot in the tall grass than a slender arm appeared holding a beat up piece of metal.

What is that?” Dean took the scrap and looked it over, glancing toward her spot in the grass. “A mailbox door?”

Sam moved to look over Urd's shoulder as she pulled the broken stalks away from the half-buried box, raising an eyebrow. “Rural Route 2. E. Mar, the rest of the name is missing.”

All the times I've been out here, I've never noticed this before now.” Urd sat back on her heels in the tall grass, her fingers brushing away the dirt from the rusted metal. “Of course I was always higher up.”

Dean examined their surroundings closer, tossing the door aside as Sam walked further into the weeds.

The trees stood thick around them like a living wall, making the deserted patch of road seem wholly isolated, unnaturally so. Dense branches and full leaves blotted out the sun above to give the summer air an uncommon chill. There was an uneasy stillness around them that would make any other person in their place take off. There were no singing birds or crickets chirping, no sounds of rustling leaves overhead even when Dean could feel a breeze against his face; as if the world around them were muted.

He turned his attention to the young woman in the grass. “How many times have you been out here?”

Urd glanced up from the rusted box, her brow creasing slightly. “Over a dozen. Mostly trying to figure out how we got here.” A small push off one knee and she was on her feet, dusting herself off. “Why?”

Dean glanced toward the branches overhead. “In all your trips, you ever remember hearing birds?”

Birds?” Her eyes followed Dean's, her head cocking to one side. “Now that you mention it, no.”

He studied the treetops for even the slightest hint of movement. “There should be birds. Even for the country it’s too quiet.”

Urd's eyes searched the surrounding trees, combing her fingers through her hair. “Kinda creepy for the country.” She crossed her arms over her chest, leveling her gaze on the young man. “Shouldn't we be hearing at least a cow or something? Anything besides us moving around?”

Dean was about to answer her when he saw Sam wading back through the weeds toward them.

His long legs pushed through the weeds fairly easily as the pair turned to look at him. “This driveway goes back pretty far. I couldn't see an end to it.”

There's a farmhouse back there. Middle of nowhere.” Urd nodded toward the direction Sam had walked, glancing between the two. “Not far from where we woke up.”

Can you show us?” Sam asked.

She gave a small nod, her eyes falling on Dean. “Think you can keep up this time?”

He shot her an angry glare, fishing his keys from his pocket as he headed for the car. “It's a driveway.”

Then it shouldn't be an issue,” she commented evenly.

Dean stopped in his tracks halfway back to the Impala, clenching a fist as he bit back the urge to reply. He took a deep breath as Sam walked past to the passenger door, mumbling under his breath. His jaw clenched as he looked across the roof toward Sam.

 

Let it go, Dean.” Sam shook his head as he opened the door, glancing back toward the young woman. “It’s not worth it.”

Dean practically growled as he slid behind the wheel, starting the car and throwing it into reverse. “Then it shouldn't be an issue.” He maneuvered the car to the mouth of the drive, inching past the young woman kicking at the grass. “If my car gets scratched, she's paying to get it fixed.”

Sam said nothing to the comment as he rubbed the bridge of his nose.

Urd watched the car pass, catching her reflection in the black paint. As soon as they passed she gave one last glance toward the treetops. Her face twisted slightly, her blue eyes scanning the leaves. She shrugged off the unease and turned on her heel.

The pair watched from the car as the young woman turned and, with a small jump, changed before their eyes into the golden bird once more. They both watched the tiny body dart over the rear windshield and finally reappear above the hood. A rev of the engine and they were behind her once more.

The trees beyond the mouth of the driveway were sporadic at best, one or two looming large amid a never ending sea of weeds and wild flowers. The sun made the surroundings look golden as the Impala bumped along the faint scars of dirt that made up the long forgotten drive. The change, though welcoming compared to the tree line before, only made the uneasy feeling gnawing at each of them stronger.

Sam studied the landscape, taking in the overgrown scenery. “Wonder who else knows about this place.”

Well, judging from the road back there, whoever does hasn't been here for a while.” Dean kept an eye on the little body, watching her swoop down over a pile of rocks near the road. “Doubtful anyone has been out here except her.”

Urd made a sharp right and flew out over the grasses, doubling back to the car before shedding her avian appearance. Her hand came up to push the blonde locks from her eyes as the sun warmed her skin, watching the Impala come to a halt. She looked over her shoulder toward the field as the squeak of the doors cut through the still air.

Urd?” Sam's voice and the heavy close of the doors managed to pull the woman's attention back. “Something wrong?”

She thumbed over her shoulder as Dean made his way around the car hood. “We woke up over there. You're gonna have to walk unless you wanna get your car stuck.”

Dean took a moment to look back the way they had come. “You weren't kidding about middle of nowhere.”

The trees that had shielded the fields from sight were little more than a black line against blue sky.

Middle of the night, we couldn't see those. All we saw were stars and what little we could make out in the dark.” Urd shoved her hands in her jean pockets, looking back toward the field. “Verdandi had a lighter and some of the grasses caught fire so we made a make-shift torch. It was enough for us to at least see where we were going.”

The pair watched as she headed into the tall grass, following behind her.

So there wasn't any moonlight out here to help?” Sam questioned as they walked.

None. It was a dark moon,” she replied.

The brothers exchanged a glance as they continued to follow through the weeds.

Anything else you can remember?” Dean offered.

Urd was silent for a moment, her hands slipping from her pockets as she paused. “The collars were on when we woke up. I remember laying in the dirt and feeling it even over the feeling of being hit by a damn truck.”

Wait.” Dean stopped in his tracks as he stared at her. “What collars?”

She could feel their eyes on her as she turned; the expectant looks making her a little self-conscious.

The collars were a weakness, their weakness, and a rather sore spot for each of them. Self-preservation screamed loud in her head for her to say nothing about them but rational thought was just as loud. It was becoming more of a trust issue the more the two sides argued in her mind.

Sam caught the hesitation in her eyes as she stood before them. “Urd.”

She looked toward Sam quietly, pursing her lips.

You asked for our help.” He motioned between himself and Dean, keeping his tone kind. “We can't help you if we don't know everything.”

I don't...” She worried her bottom lip with her teeth, shaking her head. “It's not something we want known.”

It was Dean who spoke up, much to Urd's surprise. “And no one will. But you have to trust us.”

Urd's hands moved to her throat, slender fingers wrapping around the cold metal at her neck. Her eyes closed as a gentle tug brought the iron ring into view of the pair. A resigned sigh escaped her as her eyes opened and a sad expression washed over her face.

Sam made a cautious step forward, examining the ring at her throat. “You said you woke up with this?”

All of us did,” she answered solemnly.

He looked closer at the collar, slipping a finger beneath the metal. He felt the weight of it and the unnatural chill the metal held even for being against her skin. He carefully rotated the metal hoop before he let it go to rest against her collarbone.

It's iron. And we can't get them off,” she said softly.

Dean approached for a look of his own. “Looks like a solid ring.”

It is.” Sam's voice was low, his eyes on the heavy hoop. “I couldn’t' see any weld or seam.”

Urd shook her head and began to walk away, not liking the fact she was under the scrutiny. “We've tried to get them off but nothing works. Even changing shape doesn't work; the just stay in place.”

The two men exchanged a curious look before following her further into the field.

They both knew something wasn't right at the mention of a collar. Putting one on any supernatural being was never a wise move. The few times they had come across anyone foolish enough to try it, the outcome was never good. It was safe to say if this was anything like the others, it wouldn't end pretty.

The mention of a collar being involved had gotten the gears in Sam's head turning. He was already going through the myriad of possible causes and research avenues he could look into. There had to be something to be found somewhere; some piece of information that could lead to an answer.

While Sam's mind had gone to researching, Dean's was taking a more tactical approach. Instead of going through some mental list of books, he was going through what could break a metal collar like the one at her neck. Bolt cutters came to mind, so did a hack saw along with a couple other options. Common sense quickly knocked some of those out of the running as he looked her way; somehow he didn't think taking an acetylene torch to her throat would win much in the way of favor.

Urd pushed her way through the tall grass, letting out a frustrated sigh. “Do you have any idea how annoying all this is?”

They started following her once more but said nothing as the young woman spoke, letting her vent.

It’s not supposed to be like this. We don't show up in towns like this just to end up on a damn leash.” She turned, leveling an angry gaze on the men. “We aren't meant to be anyone's private hit squad.”

And we understand that, Urd. We really do,” Sam started, taking a step forward. He kept his voice kind as he spoke, not really wanting to upset her any more than she already was. “And that’s why we're helping you. Dean and I, we both know you and your sisters don't belong here.”

I'm so tired of all this. We all are.” Her voice hitched and her shoulders sank as she cast her eyes to the ground. “I wanna go home.”

And you will,” Sam reassured.

The anger that had been in her eyes had given way to exhaustion that ran far deeper than even she would openly admit. For months she had shouldered so much. Hearing the sincerity in the young men's voices, the promise to help in their actions, lifted a load from her she hadn't truly felt until now.

We just have to get you three out of those collars,” Dean added.

Urd motioned over her shoulder toward the field, her voice soft. “We woke up over there. The grass started to grow back but you can still tell.”

Dean's face twisted in confusion, looking toward Sam. “Grow back?”

See for yourself.” The young woman swept her arm out and stepped aside. “You want to know everything; you might as well see where it started for us.”

Sam began walking forward, stopping briefly as he came up beside her. “You aren't going to come?”

I have been back to this place more times than I care and I came up with nothing.” Urd shook her head, pushing her hair from her face. “If you two want to take a look, be my guest. I've seen it all before.

He could hear Dean join him, wading through the weeds as Urd stayed behind.

Well this should be interesting. Wandering around an empty field looking for the spot where three goddesses woke up,” Dean muttered, looking over the expanse of golden stalks. “So anything coming to mind about all this so far?”

Sam shook his head, brow creasing slightly. “Nothing good.”

Collaring a god. I feel sorry for the poor bastard who did it.” Dean glanced over his shoulder, an odd look on his face. “Wonder what she meant by the grass was growing back.”

When he turned forward, his expression changed to mild shock, stopping in his tracks. “Son of a bitch.”

Though Dean wasn't the most eloquent with words, even at the best of times, Sam was inclined to agree with the statement.

Hidden by the tall grass and nearly dead center in the plot of land was a crater, the up-turned soil scorched around its rim. It had to be at least twelve feet across by the looks of it and probably close to three feet deep with sloped walls that held three sets of footprints just visible in the dirt. Just as Urd had said, grass had started growing around the crater's lip; bright green shoots standing amid patches of burnt stalks and chunks of rock. It was clearly an impact crater no matter how they looked at it.

Well this is a new one.” Dean kicked at the crater lip, watching as a rock bounced along the sloping side to rest at the bottom. “Even for us.”

A heavy sigh escaped Sam, his eyes scanning the impressive scar. “This isn't a good sign.”

Whatever gave you that idea? Couldn't be the singed and gaping hole in the ground or anything,” Dean murmured.

Urd said she was in her kitchen and then she woke up here.” Sam surveyed the damage as he went over the facts in his head. “The collars, this...the Fates weren't summoned here. They were dragged here.”

That would explain suddenly waking up in this I guess.” Dean shook his head, cringing at the image of the woman behind them creating the hole before them. “Even for a goddess, making this had to sting.”

Sam turned where he stood and looked back at the young woman. “She told me the other night that they were in the atomic bomb blasts in Japan. Said they felt like a bad sunburn but waking up here made her feel like her bones were broken.”

I'm sure if I made a crater this big, I'd hurt bad too.” Dean turned his attention away from the hole and let his eyes wander around the field. “This kind of blows all the New Age summoning stuff out of the water.”

Urd pulled at the weeds around her, Sam watching as she sat down. “Whoever did this knew what they were doing.”

Dean's voice was even as he too looked toward the blonde. “Too bad they aren't smart enough to know they shouldn't have.”


Chapter 14

 

 

 
 
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