Title: Some People Paint part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 *Completed*
Rating: R - Gen - hurt!Dean - hurt!Sam
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: (early S4) Dean POV. A hunt goes wrong and the Winchesters become the next victims of a demented doll collector.
The sound of ripping fabric roused Dean from a deep sleep.
There was a scratchy record playing an old song. One of those tunes with a high pitched woman’s voice, nasally seductive with a brass band that was real big during the world wars. He opened his eyes and saw a cracked plaster ceiling and a chandelier, the dusty crystal rocking slightly with the cold breeze flowing through the window.
Even with the view, it took him a few moments to realize he wasn’t laying in bed at a motel or the practiced slump behind the steering wheel. There was a dull echo of pain throbbing through his back and shoulders that he knew came from spending too long laying in the same position on a hard surface. Flexing his hands he found them unrestrained. His heart began to pound faster at the feel of the splintered grooves of a wooden table. With a moan of frustration his legs did nothing but twitch as he attempted to sit up.
He tried to turn his head towards Sam, but everything other than directly overhead was out of his field of vision. From the strained edge in Sam’s voice he knew that his brother was in pain. The old house they’d found was the nest of the beast they’d spent days looking for. Dean closed his eyes again and struggled to recall the last thing he could remember.
An overgrown garden in the beam of their flashlights. Crumbling cement steps. And then nothing.
“Sam,” Dean breathed. “You… You okay?”
“It didn’t work, Dean,” Sam panted. “The bullets didn’t work.”
His brother was somewhere on the other side of the room, unable to catch his breath and weakly moving on the creaky planks of the floor. Dean might not have been restrained but from the sound of it Sam had been. And from the look of things, the plan to walk in and take care of business before dinner time hadn’t exactly panned out they way they had planned. The silver bullet idea obviously had been a bust. So much for all the tedious research and weeks of tracking…
“Stay with me, man,” Sam said. “Say something.”
Opening his eyes again, he felt his mouth moving but the words came out half formed and incoherent. The shriek of ripping cloth forced him from sinking back into his daze, the sudden feel of cool air on his exposed skin making him clench his jaw as the rest of his clothing was meticulously removed. He shivered when the graze of the knife whispered up the inside of his thigh and then jerked with a stifled moan when the gentle touch turned brutal as the seam at the crotch proved more difficult to cut free. The buttons of his flannel were carefully worked open one by one, then his T-shirt was lifted, sliced with one motion up the center of his chest and then sliced free from under his arms.
Cold fingers lingered on the tattoo over Dean’s heart, tracing its shape thoughtfully before withdrawing.
“I can’t move,” Sam’s voice shook. “…hard to breathe…”
Dean focused his eyes on the wavering light of the dim bulbs sways overhead. The beast standing above him looked vaguely human. A smooth featureless face had deep punctures where its eyes should be. It had a raw slash for a mouth and no nose, its flesh a stark alabaster white that Dean dully recognized was paint. All the bodies they’d had found in the past month had been painted the same startling color, their faces and bodies adorned and decorated with the masterful skill of a maniac artist.
“It took my gun,” Sam was struggling again. “T-The incantations didn’t work.”
“S’okay,” Dean said. “It’s okay.”
He groaned at the shock of something scorching hot pour over his belly, the steam from a copper kettle wafting over him like smoke. A washcloth moved over his skin, over his stomach and down between his legs with the slick feel of soap. He stifled a gasp when he was abruptly blinded, a heavy washcloth draped over his face and firmly patted down. He tried to resist as each hand was taken and cleaned, his ring removed and bracelets snipped off with the brisk click of scissors.
Dean blinked in confusion when the washcloth was peeled away. Staring up into the pinpricks of its eyes, he watched it tilt its head to examine his necklace before yanking it off.
“How long?” Dean asked Sam. “How long was I out?”
“Not sure,” Sam answered. “Day maybe.”
The cold hands were as strong as they were careful, rolling Dean over and dragging him up onto his shaking knees. Unable to lift himself off his elbows, he had to rest his forehead on his folded arms as the thing kept him securely upright by sliding an arm under his hips. Dean couldn’t hold back his cry when the boiling water hit the small of his back, streaming down the cant of his spine and into his hair. There was a hard bristled brush this time, harshly scrubbing his sides and the backs of his thighs.
“What’s happening?” Sam demanded. “Talk to me!”
Dean had a few seconds to wonder why Sam was unable to see before another painful deluge of water struck. This time on the back of his neck, running down his arms and soaking the dry wood of the table black. He choked as some of it got into his mouth, searing down the sides of his face and stinging his eyes.
“Bastard’s washing me,” Dean gasped. “L-Like a goddamn horse…”
The creature paused in its work to make a strange guttural sound, its lipless mouth emitting a low hiss like an attempt to soothe and calm a nervous animal. Dean squeezed his eyes shut when the brush moved roughly over his calves and the backs of his feet. He braced himself when it moved up his thighs and scrubbed in long even strokes. He growled in anger when the sharp bristles began to scrub between his legs, struggling through sluggish senses to will his body to move and fight. But whatever had put him to sleep had also weakened him. He could barely keep his eyes open, the exhausting effort to stay alert making his heart race faster as he realized that being completely aware might not be such a fantastic idea given the circumstances. In the dim lamp light he decided to concentrate on what else he could see in the cluttered room instead of the hands on his body. Besides the window wedged open and crooked on its sagging frame, there were candles wavering on their wicks and melting in pools of red wax. But everywhere else, stuffed on the shelves and sitting on what could be seen of the floor, there was something else that worried Dean a lot more than hot water.
Everywhere he looked there were dolls.
Old, new, and in all shapes and sizes they sat in row after row with large doleful eyes. But these weren’t the charming porcelain antiques that a little girl would keep arranged in a bed of stuffed animals. All of them had been changed. Their little mouths and blank glass stares had been altered and remade to the liking of the demented collector. Dean winced as the water came again, steaming rising off his skin as the brush continued to scour him raw.
“I-I don’t feel too good,” Sam stammered. “I’m not sure if I can… I don’t know if I can stay awake…”
The fog lulling him back into unconsciousness began to descend as his brother’s words began to fade.
But all Dean could think of was the first victim they’d found. The young woman had been unclothed and painted completely black. Flat and shiny and smelling like cheap spray paint. The only decorations had been on her face and chest, broad alien eyes over her breasts and large red marks flowing from wide open eyes that had looked like tears.
“I think… I think…” Sam’s voice was barely a whisper. “I think we’re in trouble.”
Dean was about to try and say something mindlessly reassuring, but the hands roaming his body suddenly stopped. He grunted as he was rolled over onto his back, the respite of the brush lasting only a few moments before a coarse towel began to thoroughly dry him. His thoughts wandered to the next dead body they had found in the woods off the highway. That one had been a lot more complicated. A man had been transfigured into something closer to the pink rose bud of lips and rosy cheeks of a toy. Some of the others they discovered had been oddly copied in death to mimic life. Their original features exaggerated and replicated over their own.
“Hang in there, Sammy,” Dean said. “…hang in there, ok?”
Pink spittle oozed from the beast’s mouth as the gash of its lips contorted into a smile.
The people they had found had all died of asphyxiation but it wasn’t because of the coroners reports of traces of chloroform. Dean knew that the chemical had only been a means to subdue this beast’s finds. What this all came down to was the body’s need to breathe. If you covered a human being completely in coats of paint the body suffered a slow suffocation. Every pore smothered so the air couldn’t make contact with the body’s largest organ.
The smell of soap filled his senses as it was lathered over the stubble on his face. A finger tip gently tipped up his chin so the edge of razor blade could run in a smooth line down his cheek and along his jaw. He closed his eyes again as the beast continued with its preparations.
Even with Sam’s gift for the obvious Dean didn’t think the word ‘trouble’ even came close to covering it.