Banner for Lest We Forget by Stacy L



SERIES:  “Fettered Roses”

TABLE FIC PROMPT:  # 94. Fugue State

WARNINGS:  Mentions of Captivity, Physical Assault, Torture and Violence

COMPLETED:  October 28, 2008


AUTHOR’S NOTES:  This story serves as a response to a table fic prompt from the LiveJournal challenge community Paranormal25.



A persistent ringing brought him to full alertness, sitting up quickly he snatched the phone out of its cradle a confused look crossing his face as he heard and recognized the voice on the other end, “I found him.”


Sam shook his head trying to clear it of the lethargy and exhaustion produced by many a sleepless night. He glanced haphazardly around the room automatically seeking the comforting sight of his brother asleep in the next bed, but the bed was empty. As he stared at the empty bed an uncomfortable pain settled in his chest and his stomach began to churn and knot. Swallowing hard he managed a harsh, “Bobby?” feeling the sudden discomfort ease as Bobby simply repeated, “I found him.”


He had found him. Sam squeezed his eyes tightly shut as relief slammed into him momentarily stealing his breath before he managed, “Tell me everything.”


                                                          * *

Several hours later he found himself sitting outside a presently empty house. No one was home yet this was the address Bobby had given him on the phone. Glancing at it again he double checked the mailbox before casting another glance at the still darkened windows of the house before him.


Where was he? Where was Dean?


He had been searching for weeks finding nothing but dead leads and false hopes. Now? Now he had a real lead and still he was no closer to finding his brother than he was three weeks ago. Where was he, and why had he disappeared so suddenly?


They had been working a case when Dean first went missing. He had searched for his brother then certain that the thing they were hunting had snatched him, but when he had found and killed it he had searched the creature’s lair but found nothing to even indicate that Dean had been there. Dean had just…disappeared. With no leads and no way of tracking Dean he was stuck having to face a possible future without Dean in it…again. He wasn’t sure he could do that, so he made finding Dean his sole mission in life. He wouldn’t rest until he found Dean again.


Unsure of where to start he began with old connections speaking to people they had helped, people they had worked with or had seen recently but to no avail. Dean was no where. It was as if he had just…vanished. There had been no more leads after that not until Bobby had called to tell him he’d found him and that’s why he now sat out in front of an apparently empty house staring hard at each window and silently urging the lights to switch on.


Glancing again at the house Sam sighed before propping his head back against the car seat and briefly closing his eyes. It wasn’t long before the doubts began to creep in again, and he found himself asking that inevitable question: what if this was another dead end?


Cursing he silenced those disturbing thoughts again rubbing his eyes as exhaustion threatened to drag him under. As the moments quietly slipped by Sam drifted into a semi-conscious state his mind playing with various different scenarios as he again wondered why Dean had disappeared, and how he had apparently ended up so far away from the location of their last hunt. Shaking his head he drifted deeper into sleep unaware of doing so until a sudden noise startled him awake.


Jumping up Sam gazed around trying to make sense of where he was and what had happened. The room was dark and he sat in a chair…a chair? Was he at the hotel still or…? As he shifted gazing out the window everything came back to him when he noticed the lights in the house were now on. He had fallen asleep in the Impala waiting for…




His own voice startled him having grown unused to hearing it in the days since Dean’s disappearance. Shaking his head he opened the door and quickly stepped out wincing and stretching as he felt the normal aches and pains twanging throughout his body from spending way too many hours sitting in a cramped space. Drawing in a deep calming breath he decided to approach the house and knock on the door unsure of what to expect.


Walking up the sidewalk to the porch he looked around noting it was a nice quiet neighborhood. As he passed by the huge bay window in front of the house he found himself looking in at the small living room, but saw no sign of Dean or anyone else anywhere inside. He hesitated as fear suddenly filtered in and doubts grew more intense. What if Dean wasn’t even here? What if this was another of those dead leads that would produce nothing but false hopes and overwhelming disappointments?


Closing his eyes he shook his head opening them again to see he was now at the door. He raised his hand to knock but hesitated. What if this was another dead end? Could he handle it? No he didn’t think he could, but could he handle walking away from a possible lead too?




Without further hesitation he knocked on the door feeling his heart leap into his throat as it opened. As he gazed into the eyes of a young woman who was definitely not Dean the hard knot settled in the pit of his stomach once again. It took him a moment to register that she was asking him a question as disappointment and despair both began to filter in, “Can I help you?”


Licking his lips and hanging his head he answered, “No, no, I’m…I’m sorry. I thought…”


“Are you all right?”


Drawing in a haggard breath he forced himself to look at her as he answered, “Yeah, yeah I will be. I just… I’m sorry to have bothered you and…”


Another voice came from behind the door, a male voice that asked, “Sara, who is it?”


Gasping Sam swore he knew that voice and as the door opened wider and the owner of that voice stepped up draping an arm protectively across the woman’s shoulders he found himself asking, “Dean?”


His utterance was met with a look of concern, worry and question as the man said, “I’m sorry?”


“Dean you’re…”


Without thought Sam stepped forward embracing him. When he stepped back again two sets of questioning gazes met his before the man before him asked, “Who the hell are you?”


“Dean, I’ve been looking everywhere for you. I was so worried I…what, what did you just say?”


Sam was afraid now. The man before him was his brother Dean but…


“Who are you?”


He didn’t seem to know him, not a hint of recognition flared in the troubled eyes now settled on his face. Fear and worry began to creep in as Sam answered the inquiry, “I’m your brother Dean. It’s me Sam. Don’t you…? You don’t recognize me?”


Dean stared at him hard his arm back around the woman not a single glint of recognition flaring in his eyes as he answered, “No. I’m sorry. I don’t have a brother. Now if you’ll excuse us…”


“Dean, come on. You have to know me. You have to… How can you…?”


“Look man I have no idea who you are. I’m sorry. Now if you’ll excuse us we were just getting ready for supper and…”




“My name’s not Dean it’s John so if you don’t mind…”


“John? John’s our dad’s name, Dean, what…? You…”


“It was nice meeting you Mister uh…”


“Sam, it’s Sam.”




The man before him offered a polite nod just like his brother’s before turning to close the door. Sam stopped him as he said, “Wait, wait I…I have a picture of…of us together. Look at it. Please look at it…and then I’ll go. Please?”


“Mister, uh, Sam I don’t…”


“Here,” without hesitation Sam shoved the picture into Dean’s hand and watched as he and the woman gazed at it. The reaction he received wasn’t exactly what he was hoping for as Dean pinned him with an angry embittered look and snapped, “Just who the hell are you? What are you trying to pull here?”


“Nothing, nothing, Dean, just hear me out. You’re my…”


The man snapped back, “John, my name is John and I think you should leave.”


“Wait Dean…”


“I said get off my property! Now…”


Sam responded to the angry tone by raising his hands in a surrendering gesture and softening his voice as he said, “Okay, okay I’ll leave. I’m leaving, but I’ll be back, Dean, I’ll be back. I promise.”


Thrusting the picture at him the man sneered, “Is that a threat?”


“No, no. No threat, no. Look I’m very sorry to have disturbed you and I’ll…I’ll go. Thank, thank you for…,” lowering his gaze he turned and left hearing the door abruptly slam shut behind him.


Once the door was shut and the stranger dealt with he turned to see his friend’s worried gaze. Without thought he snapped, “What?”


“John, what if…?”


“No. No.”


“But John you said you couldn’t…”


“No I… NO!”


“It’s a lead, John, that picture that was you…”


Frustrated now he began to pace the length of the living room before saying, “If that’s me, was me, then why can’t I…I’d remember if I had a brother, Sara, wouldn’t I? I mean…”


“I don’t know, John. You said you don’t remember anything about who you were. Perhaps…maybe this Sam, he might be able to help you.”


“And what if he can’t, what if…Say he is who he says he is and I… Sara, what if I don’t want to remember? I mean I forgot so whatever happened…it must be bad, right? I mean why else would I…?”


As he stopped his pacing she approached him reaching up to cup his face gently as she answered, “I don’t know, John.”


“Dean, he called me Dean and I…”


“Dean then…”


“I don’t…it sounds…none of this makes any kind of sense to me, Sara, none of it.”


“So go talk to him.”


“No, no I…no…”


“Then I will.”


“No, he could be dangerous. I don’t want you risking it.”


“Then how else are we going to figure this out? We need answers and this Sam may be the only one who has them.”


Closing his eyes he nodded before saying, “In the morning, we’ll deal with this in the morning. Right now I’m tired.”


“But you haven’t eaten.”


“I’m fine. I’m just… I’m going to bed.”


“Okay. Okay.”


Nodding he left the room. Once in bed he closed his eyes and fell quickly asleep.


                                                          * *

Sam wasn’t sure what to do. He hung his head certain that he had found Dean but not understanding why he didn’t, couldn’t recognize him. Sighing heavily he turned back towards the house for one final look pausing when he saw the young woman at the door watching him. He held her gaze for several moments before turning to get into the Impala halting when he heard her saying, “Wait. Please.”


She closed the door before walking towards him. Shaking his head he approached her saying, “Look I’m really sorry about earlier and I…”


“Can I see the picture?”




“The picture, can I see it?”


“Uh sure, sure…”


Digging it out of his pocket he handed it to her. She studied it and studied the man she knew as John. After several moments she spoke again, “He doesn’t remember, you know.”




“He doesn’t remember.”




“He doesn’t remember you, himself, who he is, who he was. He doesn’t remember.”


“How do you…?”


“I found him when I was driving home from work one night.”


“You found him?”


“Along the side of the road, yes… I had thought… I thought he was dead, but… I wasn’t going to help him, but then he woke up. Pain, he was in so much pain and I…I couldn’t turn my back on him. He’s stayed with me ever since. We…we grew close but he still holds back, pulls from me.”




“He’s afraid.”


“He’s afraid?”




“Afraid of what?”


“Of what he was… He doesn’t remember so he’s afraid, he’s afraid he might hurt me or try to. He doesn’t know if he was a good person or a bad one. He doesn’t want to commit to me until he’s sure.”


“But he’s living with you, has been living with you for…?”


“Yes. He had no where else to go. He helps out a lot around the house and I like him…a lot.”


“You…you do?”


“Yes and I want to help him. How can I help him, Sam?”


“How can…? You ah…you believe me, don’t you?”






Ignoring the question she chose to ask another, “Can we help him?”


“Yes, yes I think we can.”


“Okay then how?”


“Where is he right now?”


“Asleep. He went to bed early, bad headache.”


Surprised Sam asked, “He told you that?”


“No. I can tell.”


“You can tell?”


“John’s um, I mean Dean’s a very secretive guy. He doesn’t say much, especially if he’s in pain. I learned the indicators. He has a headache, a nasty one.”


“Sounds like Dean to me…”


She offered a soft smile before asking, “So now what?”


“Well how about we start with you telling me the condition he was in when you found him.”


The sudden change in her demeanor and complexion had Sam suddenly terrified prompting him to ask, “Miss, are you…?”


“Sara, it’s Sara and I’m fine I just… He… It was bad.”


“Bad? How bad?”


“Blood, blood was everywhere he… I was surprised he was still alive, much longer and he probably would have…”


Been dead… He knew that’s what she wanted to say but didn’t. Swallowing hard passed the lump now forming in his throat he reassured, “It’s all right, really. Take your time.”


“He awoke when I touched him. He awoke hissing in pain his side it was… I couldn’t see the injuries through the blood and clothes. He… I thought he had been murdered and left for dead, but he was alive. He was alert enough after I touched him to help me get him into my car, though barely conscious and suffering from obvious pain. He… We struggled to get him into the house he…”


“What…what injuries did he have?”


She paled again before answering, “Tortured, he looked as if he had been tortured. When I started cleaning him up it was to discover cuts, lots of them in various locations and various stages of healing, under them there was bruising and lots of it but the worst, the worst of it was the ligature marks…”


Sam swallowed hard as he managed, “He was tied up…?”


“Yes, wrists and ankles…the wrists were worse though.”


Squeezing his eyes tightly shut and swallowing harder he opened them again to ask, “Did you find any strange markings on him, any injuries or…?”


“The tattoo…”


“A tattoo, he has a tattoo?”


“Yes on his left shoulder, weird symbol like a…”


Sam tensed before drawing his shirt down to reveal his tattoo asking, “Like this one?”


She looked at it and reached towards it gently touching it before answering, “Yes exactly like that.”


Sam felt relieved and closed his eyes as he released a silent thank you to the air opening them when she said, “You really are brothers, aren’t you?”


“Yes, yes we are. We got these at the same time.”


“What do they…what do they mean?”


“Protection, they’re for protection.”


“Against what?”


Shaking his head he released his shirt and gently gripped her upper arms as he continued, “Sara is it?”




“Sara, it’s very important that you tell me everything you remember, everything.”


“Sure. Okay.”


“Okay. Do you remember seeing any other strange marks or injuries on my brother, anything out of the ordinary? Anything at all…?”


She swallowed hard nodding before continuing, “I don’t know if this qualifies as strange, but he had scratches on him.”


“Scratches? What kind of scratches? What did they look like?”


“They looked like regular scratches from claws but…”


She fell silent swallowing hard unable to look at Sam any longer. Picking up on her sudden change in disposition Sam softly encouraged, “But?”


She glanced briefly up at him then lowered her gaze again to the ground shaking her head as she answered, “You wouldn’t believe me.”


“Believe you? What… Sara, what did the marks look like?”




“Please tell me.”


“He… Like they were done by some kind of a…an animal… There weren’t just claw marks either some of the marks were…they looked like, like bite marks too but…,” licking her lips nervously she continued, “That wasn’t all, he also had some injuries on him that looked like…”


“Like what, Sara, injuries that looked like what?”


“Well they looked like… It looked as if something had been trying to, to tear him apart.”


“Something, what like uh, uh an animal or…?’


She began shaking her head saying, “No, no like…I don’t know some of the injuries looked as if they were…gnawed before they were torn open. I don’t, I don’t…it sounds crazy but he…he looked as if he had been scratched, clawed and bitten repeatedly,” shaking her head she continued, “I know it sounds crazy but…”


“Not so crazy, Sara, not so crazy…”


“What? What…what could do that to someone? I mean he looked like he had been mauled, like a victim of an animal attack but also…at the same time tortured and beaten. Who or what is capable of doing that?”


Lowering his gaze he chose another route of questioning instead of making an attempt to answer hers, “Where did you say you found him?”


Aware that he ignored her question she settled for answering his not wanting to push, “Along the road…he, I don’t know how he got there and he couldn’t tell me. He has no memory of anything before waking and seeing me, but I believe he was running…from something.”


“Why do you say that?”


“Because he always seems afraid that something is stalking him or watching him waiting to strike. He…he’s scared but covers it well. He’s always nervous but that’s understandable considering the state I found him in when I helped him. He said…he told me once that he was certain he was marked…for death.”


“How long has he been here with you?”


“I’d say about a month and a half now. He…”


“A month and a half…?”


“Yes. Why? Is something wrong?”


“He’s been missing for over two months, Sara, which means…”


“Whoever did this to him…he was probably running from them. Those ligature marks were very fresh when I found him. He had practically shredded his wrists probably in his attempt to escape. I don’t think he was supposed to get away, but he did.”




“So what now?”


“Now…? Now we get my brother back.”


“How, if he can’t remember then…how are you going to do that?”


As a sudden scream pierced the cold night air both of them turned in the direction of the house Sam already moving to enter the house Sara hot on his heels. He didn’t think as he entered tossing over his shoulder, “Where’s the bedroom?”


“Down the hall to the right, but Sam wait…!”


“That’s Dean…”


She saw Sam entering the bedroom and yelled, “Wait Sam he doesn’t know you!”


But Sam was already at the bedside speaking softly to an obviously troubled confused Dean trying to soothe and calm him. She approached and lowered beside Sam on the bed watching as he spoke softly and quietly to her friend.


                                                          * *

He jolted awake gasping for breath his eyes wide as the remaining remnants of his dream continued to taunt him. Sitting up he swallowed hard running a hand down across his face before closing his eyes and shaking his head. The images continued to swamp him but were quickly dissipating now.


Opening his eyes again he glanced around the darkened interior of the room before lowering his gaze to the bed, crossing his arms over his chest as chills began to rack his body. After several more minutes he was able to calm down and think more clearly. He stared hard into the darkness as he attempted to replay the events of the dream. Had it been real? Had it been a possible memory or another of those crazy dreams he’s had ever since Sara found him? He didn’t know, but the dream left him feeling very unsettled. It had been him in the dream secured with his hands drawn above his head. It had been him in the dream being tortured but why? What…why would anyone…?


Shaking his head he lowered it again closing his eyes as he recalled that another presence had been nearby as he was being hurt, a presence that always brought comfort to him. Had his suffering been witnessed by another and if so why hadn’t they done anything to help? And why now was he suddenly thinking of his dream as being a possible memory?


As the last bit of the dream dissipated he became aware that he was no longer alone, someone was with him; someone whose voice felt like a soothing balm to his tormented soul. He relaxed instantly opening his eyes to stare in surprise at the person before him. He opened his mouth prepared to demand what the hell the stranger was doing in his house when Sara spoke assuring him the man was only here to help. He focused on her for several moments nodding before turning to gaze at the man, squeezing his eyes shut as bits of the dream returned flashing for mere seconds, a shadow. Who was…? Then he saw the face of the shadow and immediately drew back opening his eyes again focusing intently on the man as he demanded, “Who the hell are you?”




Dean? Who the hell was…?


“I’m here to help you.”


“Help me?”


“Yes Dean, help. I’ve been looking for you for weeks and…”




“Yes weeks.”


“I’ve been missing for weeks? I’ve been here.”


“No you disappeared and…”




“Yes, two months ago Dean…”


“Two months ago? No, no I’ve been here with, with Sara for… I’ve been with Sara.”


“Yes you have but you went missing two months ago.”


“No, no just… Who the hell are you?”


“I told you I’m Sam and I’m…”


“My brother… I don’t have…”


Sara interrupted, “Yes you do, Dean, you do.”


He gazed at Sara now feeling even more unfocused and confused than before as he questioned, “Sara?”


“Sam is your brother, Dean. I’m sure of it now.”


“No. No I’d remember him if… I’d remember him!”


“I don’t know why you don’t or can’t. Maybe…I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure this is your brother and that you are Dean.”


Sam interrupted next attempting to change the subject when he noticed Dean was becoming agitated, “You were dreaming. Can you tell me about the dream?”


“What? No, no it’s fine just a stupid nightmare is all.”


“Do you remember any of it?”


“What? No, no forget it already.”


Sam knew instantly that he was lying so he tried a slightly different approach, “The nightmare it could have been a clue, Dean, a memory.”


“Of who I was? If that was a memory then no thanks I don’t want to know.”


“Dean…,” came Sam’s stern reply. The response he got from Dean was a slight glance of irritation before he lowered his head again and continued, “No thanks.”


“It could be a clue.”


“A clue…to what Sammy, to what?”


“To what happened to you. Come on, Dean, don’t you want to remember?”


Silence filled the room permeating the air becoming so strong it was almost stifling as it stretched on for several moments before being broken again by, “Nah, nah I’m good. I’m good.”


“DEAN!” Sam was irritated now and his tone was enough to draw Dean’s head up. He glared at Sam stubbornly refusing to do or say anything else. It was a stand off. Sam shook his head sighing heavily as he said, “Okay fine. I’m done here. I’m done. I’m sorry to have bothered you.”


The moment the man drew away Dean felt panic threatening to enter in. He didn’t want the man to leave, even opened his mouth to call him back disturbed by the conflicting emotions stirring within him at the sudden withdrawal of a stranger. What the hell was happening to him? Shaking his head he managed, “All right, all right! I’m hanging from a ceiling; my arms are secured above my head. I have open wounds, they sting, burn… I sense a presence, a comforting one watching me, watching what’s happening, but I can never see his face…until now anyways.”


Sam stopped and turned taking several steps back towards his brother who was now looking down at the bed he sat upon. He was silent for several moments until Sam approached the bed again then he looked up before admitting, “He’s you. But why won’t you help me? If you’re my brother than why won’t you help me? You stand there and watch, but you never help. Why?”


Sam lowered to the bed before answering, “Dean you disappeared two months ago. I’ve spent every waking moment searching for you, trying to find you. Hell I’ve even called Bobby a few times. I had no idea where you were, Dean, no idea. I thought I’d…lost you and I don’t think I can… I couldn’t handle it.”


“Handle what?”


“Living…without you… Dean I want you to come back to me. I need you to.”


“But I don’t remember you!”


“Then what do you remember?”


“The dream, it’s always the dream. It stays the same, never changes only gets longer. Each time I have it I…more happens, more… It’s a nightmare. It’s not real. How can it be? It’s a damned dream!”


“Or you’re trying to remember and can’t.”


“Right… It’s strange. Strange things happen, things I can’t explain.”


“What things? Tell me Dean, what things?”


“I…I never see his face either, but I… I think it’s because he doesn’t have a face to see. That doesn’t make any sense to me at all, he feels almost…unnatural, you know, like something that shouldn’t exist, like something that doesn’t exist.”


“What does he feel like, Dean?”






“Like a, a…,” sudden pain seemed to fill him as he tried to envision the face of the one in his nightmares. As the figure turned in his memories he squeezed his eyes tightly shut and lowered his head gripping it with his hands as the dream images began to flash through his mind again. He tensed when he felt a hand on his shoulder and heard a familiar voice. He tried focusing on the voice only managing, “You can’t look into his eyes…”


“What? Dean, what’s going on? Dean!”


He held his head as the dream images, the nightmare visions merged and coalesced becoming one solid memory. He recalled the claws upon his body ripping and tearing into muscle, the teeth gnawing at bruised flesh, the pain as the memory continued to play showing him what had occurred only months ago. As the memory continued to play he found himself collapsing still clutching his head as he yelled, “SAM!” and heard the echoing reply of, “DEAN!” come back to him. He tried to focus on the voice hearing the fear and worry lining and edging it as Sam continued, “Dean, stay with me here, stay with me! Dean! Dean, look at me. DEAN!”


Breathing heavily he managed to lift his head still remembering the pain and terror of that time and managing, “Sammy, Sammy it was a…”


“A what, Dean, a what, what was it? DEAN!”


“I angered it, Sammy, made it so mad. It dragged me away spent days torturing me, days refusing to finish feeding, patient, it was so damned patient!”


“What was Dean? What was? Dean, tell me what was so patient? Dean? DEAN?”




“Nelap…they’re dead, extinct!”


“No Sammy no, he’s out there still. I can feel him. Wasn’t supposed to survive, I wasn’t supposed to survive, no survivors, Sam, no survivors…”


Sam was holding his brother tightly as he continued to mumble.


Sara watched the exchange in fear and concern wanting to help but not sure how managing, “No survivors? What does he mean by…?”


“Nelapsi spread disease like a plague; it’s a plague killer so even if someone survives an attack they still die. Dean wasn’t supposed to survive but he did. Somehow Dean survived and he wasn’t supposed to.”


“So what does that mean? Is he going to die?”


“No, no he isn’t.”


“But you just said…”


“He should have died immediately. You said he’s been living with you for at least a month?”




“Then it didn’t kill him.”


“But it could still…couldn’t it?”


“I don’t know.”


Dean’s mumbling became clearer, louder as he announced, “It’s coming for me Sammy it’s coming. We have to finish it!”


“Dean! Dean, relax. Stay with me here…”


“We have to find it. We have to kill it.”


“How? How? We don’t even know where it is Dean. How are we going to kill it if we don’t know where it is?”


Dean settled in his arms focusing on relaxing, calming his breathing and swallowing hard before lifting his gaze to say, “I do.”


Sam caught off guard by that comment stuttered over his response, “You, you, you do…how, Dean, how could you know? No one knows that, no one.”


“I do, Sammy, I just do. I know where it is, and I’m going to kill it.”


“You’re going to… Wait, wait, wait, you just came back to me and I’m…I’m not going to lose you again, Dean. I’m not going to lose you!”


“Sam, if I don’t kill it I’ll be hunted. I’ll be hunted for the rest of my life, Sam. I have to kill it. I have to finish this.”


“WE have to finish this, Dean. WE have to. You’re not going after that thing alone. I’m coming with you.”


“No, no it’s too dangerous.”


“I’m not staying behind Dean. I’m not. We’re in this together. You’re stuck with me, whether you like it or not.”




Relief finally settled in as Sam drew comfort from the familiar address. He had Dean back, finally. He had finally found his brother and keeping up with their familiar bickering Sam chided back, “Jerk...” aware that the tension previously present in the room was now quickly dissipating.


After talking a while they settled on heading out immediately determined to find the Nelapsi before it found them and ridding themselves once and for all of the haunting memories it had created within each of them. After eating a quick meal they said their goodbyes to Sara and Dean thanked her for her hospitality and help. With a promise to come back again soon the two brothers departed on a mission to finish what had been started so many months ago in the small town of Stillwater.


                                                       * * * *

They drove through the night heading towards the locale of their last hunt, the hunt that had ended with Dean turning up missing…


Sam still had no idea of what Dean had really gone through in those weeks he had been missing. Sara had said he was with her for a month and a half, a month and a half, which meant that Dean had been a prisoner of that monster for several weeks. Dean had said that he had angered it, that it had tortured him because of it. Sara had said that Dean was covered in injuries, wounds that looked as if Dean had been through an animal attack. She had said he had bites and scratches all over his body… Sam shuddered squeezing his eyes shut as the images his mind dredged up of what those marks must have looked like horrified him. Dean had been tortured, his flesh torn and shredded upon his body. Dean had…


He swallowed hard forcing the thoughts and images out of his mind nearly succeeding when he caught Dean’s concerned glance. Sam was aware that he had been casting such glances his way ever since they had pulled out of Sara’s driveway. He knew that Dean was worried, but again it was for someone other than himself. Shaking his head he returned the gaze tensing when Dean abruptly turned away. He watched his older brother cautiously noticing almost immediately the hand that rose to rub his forehead. As Dean returned his full focus onto the road ahead Sam found himself asking, “Dean what’s the matter?”


“Nothing, Sammy, nothing…”


Nothing…? As the hand continued to rub over his forehead and his gaze lowered ever so briefly Sam knew something was definitely wrong, “Dean, come on. It’s me you’re talking to here. What’s going on with you?”


“Nothing, Sam, it’s nothing, really. I’m fine. I’m fine.”


“No you’re not, Dean. What’s going on?”


Dean opened his mouth to respond when Sam interrupted, “And don’t tell me it’s nothing.”


Dean shut his mouth then continuing to stare out the windshield at the darkened road that lay ahead of them. Silence ensued, stretching between them before Dean softly admitted, “I’ve been having these dreams…”


“Dreams? What kind of dreams, like…?”


“Like dreams, Sammy.”


“Uh uh.”






“They’re not…dreams, Sam.”


“They’re not?”




“Then what are they, Dean?”


“I don’t…they’re memories, Sam, they’re memories. I think.”


“You think?”




“What kind of memories, Dean?”


Shaking his head he lowered his hand to the steering will placing it atop the other as he continued, “Of…”




“Of the time I was, you know…”


“Missing? Of the time you were missing, right Dean?”


Shifting he glanced briefly in the rear view mirror before replying, “Yeah I think so.”


“And in these visions…what happens, Dean?”


“What happens?”


“Yeah, what happens?”


Sighing softly Dean found himself answering a question he really didn’t want to comment on, “What happens is I get hurt, Sam, I get hurt…a lot.”


“You mean you get tortured?”


“Something like that, yeah.”


“Dean, we need to talk about this. You can’t keep it bottled up inside. We need to talk about this.”


“And we will, Sammy, we will just not…”


“Dean, come on, man tell me what’s going on with you.”


Dean said nothing only focused intently on the darkened highway the stretched out before them. Sam waited hoping that Dean would lower his shields at least enough to tell him something but like Dean always did he remained stubbornly silent refusing to reveal anything, refusing to allow him to see how much it was affecting him, but Sam knew him well enough to know a mask when he saw one firmly in place.


                                                       * * * *

They drove all night feeling only slightly relieved when they entered the town of Stillwater. What greeted them however was anything but relieving to see. The town was empty, not a single person remained. It was as if the whole town had been wiped out, and Sam began to wonder if they were too late. If this was the resting place of the Nelapsi and no one was alive then the Nelapsi may have already moved onward to another town. Dean had been so certain that this was where it rested perhaps Dean’s bizarre instinct had been wrong after all.


Gazing at his brother he tried to read his expression, tried to gain some insight into just how Dean was feeling. He had slowed down considerably and was gazing intently out the driver’s side window guilt now evident on his face. Instantly Sam attempted reassurance as he spoke, “Everyone must be hiding. They’re all probably scared or…”


Gritting his teeth Dean managed, “There’s no one here, Sam, no one. We’re too late.”


“We don’t know that, Dean. We don’t know that.”


“The streets are empty, the houses… Sam there’s no one here. We’re too late, and it’s gone.”


“No, Dean, no it isn’t. You said so yourself you felt it, that you knew it was here. Do you still feel its presence?”


Dean swallowed hard before nodding as he slowly steered the Impala into an empty parking spot in front of an equally empty store. Sam was already speaking again in a vain attempt of reassurance, “Then it’s still here and if it’s still here that means there are others here, other people.”


“Then where the hell are they, Sam? Where the hell are they?”


“Most likely hiding, they’re most likely hiding Dean.”


Shutting off the Impala he turned to fully gaze upon his brother as he said, “Yeah perhaps you’re right, Sam, perhaps you’re right.”


“I am right, Dean, and we’re here. Now that we’re here we need to end this thing.”


Dean glanced all around him noting again the quiet empty streets, the stores with no people in them, the houses with no families in them, no kids were playing, no people were talking, no one was there, no one. They were alone…


He tried to silence his doubts forcing them to the back of his mind as he opened the door and got out of the car. Sam followed in suit getting out of the car before approaching Dean and together they both walked into the center of the road glancing every which direction seeking some sign, some indication that someone was still ALIVE.


Looking around the area they both felt extremely uneasy. Not a sound could be heard, not even a bird, it was as if the whole town was…dead, as if they were right in the middle of a, “Sam this place is like a ghost town, man. There’s not a single person here. It wiped them all out.”


Sam tensed before patting Dean on the upper arm as he replied, “Not everyone, Dean, look.”


He turned to see a middle aged woman gazing at Sam and him fearful and so very sad. As soon as Dean’s gaze settled on her she released a sigh of relief and quickly approached him gripping his hand as she said, “You’ve come. Thank the Lord, you’ve come.”   


Dean pinned her with a confused look tensing as several more people exited their homes all gazing at him with such hope. He wasn’t sure what to do or how to react so he settled for, “How many are still alive?”


“Only these, he wiped them all out, only these remain.”


Sam spoke then, “So few?”




“Dean we have to kill this thing.”


“I know.”


“It’s destroyed so many. Dean, we have to kill it. We have to destroy it.”


Anger tinged his words now as he responded, “I know, Sam, and we will. We will.”


Sam gazed at the woman who still looked hopefully at his brother. He tried not to let it disturb him to see such strange behavior directed towards Dean and softened his voice as he further inquired, “Do you know where it rests?”


She glanced at him answering, “No,” then returned her gaze to Dean as she continued, “But he does.”


Dean swallowed hard shaking his hand free of the woman’s hold as he gazed at Sam a hint of fear and confusion flushing his face and eyes as he confessed, “She’s right, Sam. I know exactly where it is. I don’t know how I know but I…do.”


Sam tensed further gaping at Dean wanting him to answer how and settling instead for, “Then let’s do this, now while it’s resting.”


Dean held his gaze and nodded before setting off in the direction of the Nelapsi’s grave.


Once to the burial site he pointed to the unmarked grave indicating to Sam where they had to dig. Sam glanced at him as he questioned, “You’re sure?”


Lowering to one knee beside the grave Dean reached down to pick up a small seed and placed it in his palm looking at it intently. He recognized it as millet and focused on the ground again quickly noticing that scattered across the grave itself was even more millet. He turned to gaze up at Sam holding the seed before him as he stated, “Do you know any other grave that has millet spread across it, Sam?”


Shaking his head in response he stated, “To keep the Nelapsi busy should it rise...”


“Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. Looks like it didn’t work,” flicking the seed casually to the ground Dean rose to his feet as he said, “Daylight’s burning, let’s get digging,” and so they spent the duration of the afternoon digging up a grave in hopes that they could rid the town once and for all of the creature preying upon it.


As the shovel hit a hard surface Dean glanced at his brother before driving it into the surface repeatedly. As the coffin lid broke apart both Sam and Dean turned their heads momentarily away as an overwhelming stench filled the air. After several moments they were able to return their focus to the task at hand. As Sam asked a question Dean focused on him, “So how do we destroy it?”


“We torch the son of bitch.”


Sam grinned as he raised a wooden stake into the air stating, “But first…”


Dean nodded before questioning, “Are we sure it’s blackthorn?”


“Only the best…”


Dean nodded watching as his brother squeezed lighter fluid onto the corpse of the monster before handing him the blackthorn stake. Dean accepted it gazing at Sam who tossed the empty bottle out of the grave before drawing out the knife he would need to use to cut off the creature’s head. Dean waited for the confirming nod before saying, “We only have one shot at this, Sam, and we need to move quickly. Once I drive the stake in…”


“I know, Dean, I know and believe me I won’t miss. I’m ready.”


“Then let’s end this thing.”


With that Dean raised the stake above his head before ramming it into the Nelapsi’s skull. The instant it was driven in he moved out of the way to allow Sam time to lop off its head. The moment the deed was done the Winchester’s quickly climbed out of the grave and Dean struck a match before tossing it in. The Nelapsi caught on fire immediately and as Dean watched it burn he felt the fear and terror that had gripped and haunted him for so long finally dissipate. He was now ready to move on.



                                                                               ** The End ** 



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