22 March 2010 @ 12:34 pm

It keeps going and going...

Chapter 6

 

 
It was nearly 1 when Dean found Sam sitting at one of the library tables going through a couple of piles of books, pulling up a chair as he tugged at the tie around his neck. “Well, that was fun.”

Sam glanced up from the book he was searching, noticing the slightly annoyed look on Dean’s face. “Didn’t go well?”

“Oh, it was super.” The sarcasm in Dean’s voice was evident as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Between the autopsy and the place smelling like burnt flesh, it was just awesome. I don’t think I ever want to eat fried chicken again. Ever!”

Sam shook his head as he returned to the books in front of him. “What did you find out?”

“Well, the woman’s name is Catherine Weber. Lifelong resident, age 31, assistant manager at the local supermarket.” Dean pulled a small notebook from his pocket, flipping through the pages. “Cause of death was 'accidental electrocution.' They figure she took about 120,000 volts from that power line in a freak surge.”

Sam looked up from the books, his brow knitting. “A freak surge?”

“Yeah, that’s what they’re saying,” Dean nodded. He sat back with a shrug, pulling at the tie around his neck once more. “Freak power surge turned a low-voltage wire into a high-voltage one and fried her.”

“A low-voltage line is, what, less than 1000 volts?” Sam muttered, looking at his brother. “That’s some power surge if it can boost a standard line to 120 times its normal capacity.”

Dean looked at the books on the table, grabbing one and leafing through it. “Yeah, well, we both know it’s not a damn surge.”

Sam huffed slightly as he nodded, closing the book he was reading.

“Did you dig anything up?”

“Couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary in the county archives or the town paper before 3 months ago. History-wise the place is clean.” Sam paused as Dean tossed the book he was looking at on the table, his expression even as he rubbed at his neck. “I couldn’t find even a remote hint these things were here before now.”

Dean examined the small stacks of books on the table before he moved his focus on his brother. He motioned at the piles as an eyebrow rose, his lips pursing slightly before he spoke. “What’s with the New Age library, Sammy?”

He didn’t answer right away as he reached for the notebook in his bag, flipping through the pages of photos. “I saw one of them, Dean.”

The reply made Dean instantly sit up and take more of an interest in the here and now, the experience at the coroner’s office slipping from his mind. “They were here?”

“No. Not all three.” Sam pulled out a color clipping that showed the three as young women, his finger tapping over the blonde. “Just her.”

Dean examined the photo for a moment before he slid it back across the table. “What was she doing?”

“Looking through all these,” Sam replied, motioning toward the books.

Confusion clouded Dean’s face as he looked at the piles, his green eyes moving from title to title.

“She was sitting on the floor looking through every one of these books like she was searching for something.” He picked up one book that looked to be 600 pages, showing Dean its thickness. “She went through this one in under a minute.”

“The hell?” Dean shot Sam an odd look, cocking his head slightly. “What was she looking for?”

Sam simply answered with a shrug as he put the book down.

Dean closed his eyes as he brought a hand to his temple, sighing heavily. “So we’re still where we were before, but with more books.”

“When you put it that way, it sounds rather depressing, Dean,” Sam commented.

Dean huffed as he looked at the books in front of him. “It does, doesn’t it? Did you get hold of Bobby?”

Sam began to gather the books up as Dean grabbed the nearest one he could, taking a close look at it. “Yeah. Filled him in on all this and he said he’d see what he could find out.”

“He’s bound to have an answer in that massive library of his.” Dean carefully read over a page, nodding slowly to himself. “Whatever this chick is, she has interesting reading habits.”

Sam carried the books to a nearby cart and set them down, turning back to his brother. “I’ve been looking through those since she vanished.”

Dean continued to read as Sam cleared the table of books, propping his feet up on a nearby chair.

***

Peace was a fleeting concept.

The mind would relax only so much before the weight of the world would push its way back to the forefront. Each time even a glimpse of calm would appear the gravity of their current situation would reappear. No matter what was done, peace was always fleeting. It had become an uncomfortable fact of life lately.

Within the canopy of green, the pair of pale blue eyes lay contemplating this sad fact. Staring upward toward the sun-dappled ash leaves and the slight glimpses of blue above, it wasn’t difficult to see just how sad it all was. To be so close to freedom, yet bound into service against your purpose in the world: slavery of the worst kind.

The blonde sighed as her eyes closed, resting her hands on her stomach. The tree branch she lay on moved with the breeze that rustled the leaves around her and pulled a tiny smile from her lips. It was a familiar motion in an unfamiliar place.

Her eyes opened to watch the leaves dance above her, reaching a delicate hand toward the trembling greens.

This wasn’t their tree but it was close enough. It was tall and strong with boughs that could hold and shield them from prying eyes. It was far younger than their own, but it still felt comfortable in an uncomfortable world. It was a poignant reminder of what they had been taken from.

She sighed as a branch feet below her creaked a low protest, her time alone done.

“Where were you?”

“Out,” the blonde muttered. Her head turned so she could look at her white-haired visitor sitting beneath her. “Where were you?”

The white-haired young woman gave a small shrug as she ran her fingers along the bough she sat on. “Here.”

“Glad we got that out in the open.” The blonde closed her eyes as her head turned back, waving her sister off. “I feel so much better now.”

The white-haired woman looked up with a sigh as her sister lay above, pushing a strand of hair from her eyes. “Verdandi had been in town watching the humans.”

Blue eyes opened to gaze up at the softly rustling leaves, the kind voice hiding the edge she felt inside. “We all know this isn’t right, sister.”

“We know.” The new voice caused both women to look higher into the tree as the black-haired woman appeared, her back to the tree trunk. “But it's our lot.”

“So sayeth the one who is taking too much enjoyment from all this.” The blonde sat up, wrapping a leg around her perch. “The more this goes on, the worse your ‘ideas’ are getting.”

The black-haired woman gave a small shrug as she leaned against the trunk. “What can I say? I like my job.”

“But do you like the circumstances?” the blonde questioned, thumbing at the iron ring around her neck. “Truthfully, Verdandi.”

The black-haired woman, Verdandi, sighed as she touched the ring that hung around her own neck, her eyes becoming cold. “Need you really ask?”

The white-haired young woman brought a hand up to the ring that sat securely around her own, her eyes turning sad.

“None of us like these circumstances.” The blonde rose up to stand on the branch she occupied, pointing to the metal ring at her throat. “And all of us know it is wrong. This is not our lot in this world.”

“Then what would you suggest, Urd?” Verdandi stepped from her branch, landing next to her blonde sister and looking her in the eyes. “Until these little necklaces are gone, we can’t do anything.”

“I’m working on that,” her sister replied.

“What about the hunters?”

The pair looked down at their sister, briefly exchanging an even look.

“We all know they’re here. It would be foolish to think that no one would come with what we’ve done.” The white-haired young woman sat examining a shoot on the branch she sat on. “Hunters always come.”

“Skuld?” Verdandi questioned gently.

“These two aren’t like others.” The white-haired sister, Skuld, looked at the pair above her with a serene look on her face. “What about them?”

Urd pushed a few stray locks of blonde hair from her face, slowly shaking her head. “They saw Verdandi’s latest 'idea,' and somehow, I doubt there is anything beyond shooting us dead on their minds right now.”

“I use what is available, as I always have,” Verdandi muttered.

The look that passed from Urd to her sister was nothing short of sibling annoyance, the corner of her mouth twitching slightly. “You…hush.”

Verdandi did little more then roll her eyes as she crossed her arms over her chest.

“As I was saying, those two aren’t exactly fans of ours, Skuld. For now, we’re on our own,” Urd commented.

Skuld watched her siblings as she pushed her white hair behind her ear, her voice calm. “For now.”

***

Dean sat on the motel sofa looking through the pages of Sam’s research, his feet propped up on the small table.

After they had got back from town and Dean had grabbed a shower trying to get the smell of burnt flesh off his skin, they had started to settle into the normal hunt routine that seemed to come with each job, Dean checking and cleaning their weapons while Sam sifted through the information they found. As unconventional as it appeared from the outside, this was their norm. On a job like this, that small hint of normal was a comforting luxury.

But as much as Dean liked that small amount of “normal” in their lives, he knew it wouldn’t be all that helpful to Sam’s already over-worked mind. So Dean changed the normal routine, took up the research-sifting himself, and sent Sam out on a snack run. He hadn’t let Sam argue with him, hadn’t let him pull the whole “pouting puppy dog” routine on him, just handed him a crudely scrawled provisions list and a couple of twenties, and pushed him out the door. Any attempt at arguing was met with a raised hand and the tried and true “I’m older, what I say goes,” along with an added order not to return without everything on the list.

Dean made sure Sam was in the car and out of the parking lot before he settled down with a beer and the stack of notes and files they had gathered.

His way of going through the files was more or less reading and jotting the occasional note of his own down. He wasn’t the type to make a notebook like Sam or some long detailed journal entry the way his father used to. His way was simple, and it had worked well enough for him.

He flipped through the pages of articles and clippings as he considered the job, his mind casually running through the options of what they were dealing with. Sam’s list of maybes was good; he had covered quite a few bases. Just looking at it Dean could discount a few of them.

Trickster could be crossed off the list; none of these deaths were poetic in the least. Banshee could go as well because there were no reports of anyone hearing any unearthly wailing before any of the deaths. The more Dean thought about it, though, the more difficult it was to cross off other creatures on the list.

Dean took a drink and looked at the newspaper clippings of the three as he thought back to the library and the books Sam said the one woman had gone through.

There hadn’t been anything special about them that he could see. They had simply been a bunch of mass-produced New Age spell books that anyone could buy. True, at one point the spells and incantations would have been legitimate, but over time they had been watered down; translation errors, misspellings, and creative license on the part of others had turned words of power into little more than some cutesy chant with as much kick as a cap gun. The books wouldn’t have been much use at all.

That still didn’t answer the question of what she had been looking for in the first place. By what Sam had said, she had torn through each one front to back looking for something. The speed she went through each indicated the fluffy, watered down rituals weren’t her intended target. Studying them couldn’t even give a hint to what she was looking for.

Dean shrugged as he tossed the notebook on the table, turning to the folder nearby.

Trying to figure out those creatures was a lost cause at this point. Not knowing what they were or even what they were after didn’t help matters any. You can’t get an idea of what’s going through a thing’s mind without first knowing what you’re dealing with. And Dean wasn’t about to give himself the mother of all headaches trying.

Instead he’d rather focus on the victims. He had rough outlines of each person, a copy of the station call log going back four months, and copies of police reports on every single incident, so it wasn’t hard to piece together a timeline of chaos. In the three months those creatures had been there, they had blown a quiet police blotter out of the water.

Dean looked from his timeline to the call log a very friendly secretary from the police department had given him, stopping as he looked at the codes.

Before the three arrived, the bulk of the calls were just the usual small town fare. There were a lot of drunk and disorderly calls on a guy named Fred, a couple of disturbing the peace calls, and the occasional public nuisance call from some little old lady who thought the neighborhood kids were playing tag a little too loudly. It wasn’t exactly a hotbed of criminal activity. But tucked between what had to be the 200th drunk call on Fred and a complaint about someone stepping on the old lady’s lawn, there was one that seemed out of place in the small town: a missing persons on a 39-year-old man.

He reached for the timeline he had drawn up, comparing the date of the call to the chaos in the town.

The call came two days before the trio was spotted in town; two days before the first “accident” happened. The timing of it raised Dean’s suspicions as he looked over the reports he had. It could have been a coincidence but in their line of work coincidence rarely ever happened.

Dean looked over what information he had on the call as he got up from the couch and made a beeline for Sam’s laptop.

The missing man was a volunteer with the fire department and not known to be the type to just go off on a whim without saying a word. He had last been seen at the diner in town with a couple of buddies but left alone around 10:30. His wife made the report two hours later when he didn’t show up at home.

Dean grabbed the laptop and returned to his spot, tossing the call log down as he set himself up at the table. His interest had been piqued and his hunter’s instinct was nagging at him. The timing of it just wasn’t right.

He had turned the laptop on and settled in for a search when he heard the rumble of his baby’s engine outside. A quick glance at his watch got a cocky grin from his lips as he got online, the heavy sound of the car doors closing coming through the motel room’s window. Next time he sent Sam out on a snack run he’d have to make a longer list or at least come up with stranger fake snack names for him to search for.

Sam shot Dean an unamused look as he came in, three bags in his arms. “You secretly enjoy sending me on wild goose chases, don’t you?”

Dean chuckled as he pulled up a couple of websites, glancing at his brother briefly. “Oh come on, Sammy. It got you out for a while.”

“Chocolate Monkey Chuckles?” Sam huffed.

“Not my best, but it was short notice,” Dean muttered.

Sam headed toward the small kitchen, setting the bags on the counter. “You’re a jerk. Ya know that?”

Dean focused on the computer screen, tapping at the keys. “I’m full of awesome, Sammy. There’s a difference.”

Sam turned toward his brother, tossing the car keys on the table as he neared. “What are you doing?”

“I think I may have found something,” Dean said, grabbing his work. He handed Sam the papers as he turned back to the web pages. “Take a look at those.”

Sam flipped through the pages as Dean brought up more websites.

“Two days before the terrible trio showed up, this guy, Marcus Ballard, goes out for a couple of hours with his buddies but doesn’t show up back home. Wife calls the cops and reports him missing.” Dean motions toward the call log on the table, tapping his fingers against it. “Before that it was just a bunch of calls by a very crabby old lady and a record amount of calls on the town drunk.”

Sam looked up from the papers, a curious look on his face. “Maybe he just took off.”

“Friends say he wasn’t the type of guy.” Dean’s eyes scanned the computer screen. “Everyone who knew him said he was a devoted husband and father who just wouldn’t cut and run.”

“You think it could be tied to those three?” Sam questioned.

Dean looked up, shrugging slightly. “Maybe. It’s worth taking a look at least.” He pushed himself up from the couch, moving toward the bags in the kitchen. “But at least let me get that damned suit cleaned first. I don’t think going to talk to the wife smelling like bad fried food would add much credibility to questioning her.”

 

Chapter 7

 
 
Current Mood: tired
Current Music: Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon
 
 
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