Author: Mink & Jink
Summary: On-going series about Sam's emerging abilities and what takes notice...
Sam had once discovered a Navajo healing chant that when translated literally meant:
House made of dawn.
House made of evening light.
House made of the dark cloud.
It was just the beginning of the prayer, curiously called the Night Chant, but the first three incantations of it went back and forth in his mind like a clock's pendulum. He had privately thought it was the most perfect description of the world he had ever heard. He also liked it because it wasn't a perfect circle of thought. It had a beginning, a middle and a finish.
The black Impala sped down the two lane country highway with the molten orange light of the setting sun flickering through the trees. The day made to fade in the short hours of a southern winter. That meant that sun would also rise late, ensuring that when they woke they would leave in the night that they arrived in. Wherever that would be.
Sam found that he looked forward to the decline of each day. The monotonous inevitably of nightfall was like watching some guy in some movie crossing off days on a calendar. He had found that anticipation of moving closer to a goal and the satisfaction of steadily counting down to it, very appealing. The evening provided the illusion that there might actually be some kind of end in sight.
End of what, he wasn't sure.
It was relentless, Sam thought, the constants of the universe at large and his very own never wavered. It was no exaggeration to say that after a while one long stretch of highway and each back road started to look like every other backwoods piece of concrete their tires met. And even after that, after weeks and then now months of it, Sam found himself lost on automatic pilot. Every morning when he woke up he had to take several moments to remember which state he had fallen to sleep in. Every time they stopped for gas or at some greasy diner he had to think hard about where he actually was and where he was even headed.
Today was no different other than that Dean had weakly handed over the keys without even a half hearted threat about abusing the brake pads. About a week of sleep deprivation could do that to a guy. In fact Sam had been driving ever since they stopped for a tank of gas that morning. For some reason he hadn't stopped to switch at the hour Dean had instructed to wake him. He just kept going and going. Some part of his brain was in control of the steering wheel and his foot on the accelerator but he let the rest of his mind go elsewhere.
Had this life been any different with Dad? Maybe it was just knowing now what a life could be like when you got into the same bed every night. When you had a telephone number that someone could look up in a phone directory. Sam thought about the night Jess and he had moved in their apartment. He remembered laying awake in the dark of a strange new place listening to Jess sleep so easily and imagining where Dean and his father might be and what they were doing. Were they on the interstate in a stolen car trying to find a cemetery covered over by a strip mall? Maybe they were back down in Mexico on another spook hunt. Collecting holy water from unlocked churches? Drawing pagan symbols of protection on motel doors? Stealing silverware to melt down into monster ammo?
It had all been bizarrely possible.
Sam had tried for hours to pinpoint the exact moment when his father's life's work had ceased to make any sense to him. He remembered Jess accepting his lie when she asked if he had even closed his eyes that night.
Sam looked sideways at his sleeping brother.
Just over two years ago he had looked into Dean's eyes and asked him if he was really happy following dad around like some kind of circus act. He had asked him if he ever just wanted something, normal.
Dean had stubbornly never answered that question.
And now, here slumped over on the vinyl bench seat of the car was Dean. Still at it after all this time, he was fighting the good fight just like dad wanted. It made him grip the steering wheel a little harder as he noticed not for the first time that even in deep sleep, his older brother's face still appeared tired. There was something leaner and little bit fiercer in his cheek bones that Sam always saw mirrored in the old photos of their mother. Sam's chest heaved in a sigh. He had noticed his clothes hanging a little looser on himself lately too. Sometimes they went two days before one of them realized they hadn't eaten or slept.
Was this what they were supposed to do and be forever? Exhausted. Stretched to the point of snapping. Invisible guardians for the unfortunate that crossed paths with forces as invisible as they were.
The road ahead of him seemed to vanish and the purr of the 348 tri power engine blurred into silence. The flash of the forest in the descending twilight faded on either side of them.
Sam felt half dreaming and detached.
There was some movement ahead. A shadow shifting out of the trees.
His body reacted before his mind read what he was seeing.
The six point buck deer that appeared from the thicket of dense pine trees paused still in the center of the empty stretch of road. His swerve and brake had begun before he even had time to register what had happened.
The car spun 180 degrees before it came to a screeching halt, engine idling in the brittle yellow tall grass off the shoulder. It was quiet for a moment as he looked around them wide eyed, his heart racing with adrenaline from the near miss.
The deer regarded him with blank black eyes before turning and vanishing between the trees as quickly as it had appeared.
"What the hell!?!"
Of course Dean, who had been sleeping the sleep of a coma patient beside him in the passenger seat, hadn't seen a thing. He also hadn't been wearing his seat belt so he was now firmly pressed up against the windshield with the mostly cold coffee they had bought that morning, now mostly on himself.
"WHAT the HELL??!?" Dean repeated with added emphasis.
Sam's heart was beginning to slow down. How exactly long had he been driving anyway? It was like he had been asleep too. The hours and hours from the rest stop were hazy and indistinct. Had he been really at it all day?
"Deer." Was all Sam could say.
Still groggy from being startled awake, Dean growled at the crushed paper cup dripping down his leather jacket and angrily swung the car door open.
"I just got the suspension fixed!"
Sam turned the ignition off and with a deep breath followed his brother out onto the gray cracked pavement. He hadn't seen another car since they left the limits of the one horse towns they had left at dawn at the state border. The soft sigh of wind and a paint chipped speed limit sign was the only thing out there with them. It was as if they really were invisible and existing on some flip side where the world was shrouded right back at them.
"You have to stay alert Sam." Dean yawned as he opened the trunk and examined his damp leather jacket regretfully. "If you want to drive my car-"
"I said I'm fucking sorry." Sam said and then immediately regretted it when Dean looked up at him sharply. He had said it harder than he meant to. "Look, I guess I'm just tired."
Dean studied him as he replaced the soiled leather with a dry denim jacket.
Sam's head was starting to hurt. "We've been just going all week you know?" He rubbed at his temples. "Maybe if we could just spend the night somewhere-"
"Speaking of somewhere..." Dean had slipped his GPS out of his pocket and was unfolding a lamented map on the car hood. "This doesn't look like route 45."
Sam blinked and looked around them again. He had stayed on the road Dean had pointed out that morning before they headed out. Stay on route 12 to route 70 and then that turn west onto route 45 would get them to Texas by tomorrow night.
"Christ, can't you read a damn road sign?"
"Maybe-maybe I just missed a turn?" Sam felt a slow turn of dread in his stomach.
"Missed a turn?" Dean tapped the map. "Sam, we're almost in goddamn Georgia."
"Yeah, unless Texas was relocated without my knowledge we are now an entire day behind schedule."
"But-" Sam felt a wash of dizziness flow over him, it was so sickening he had to swallow slowly three times before he was sure he wasn't going to throw up. "I-I..don't feel so good."
Dean's exasperation shifted to concern. "What's wrong?"
"I don't know." Sam said truthfully. "I thought...I was... I don't remember..."
"Ok, Ok. Just hang out for a sec and ah, think of clouds."
Dean guided him by the elbow and sat him on the fender. Sam sat down numbly, staring down into the dusty half dead weeds and grass between his sneakers.
He looked up at his older brother dubiously. "Clouds?"
"I don't know, just relax!" Dean conceded with a deep sigh and then a begrudging half a smile. "Okay, so we're a day behind. No big deal. We'll crash at the next roach motel we find and then just head back the way we-"
"No." Sam said.
Dean blinked at him. "No?"
Dean cocked his head at him. "Am I missing something here?"
"There's somewhere else we have to be." Sam heard himself say it and wondered how he knew. He knew it like he knew he could flex his right hand. He knew it like he knew all the lyrics to that Blue Oyster Cult album Dean had been playing for the past three months and who knew how many miles.
His brother crossed his arms and shifted in his boots.
Ever since he told his brother how he dreamt things, and then how he had sent them both right back to Lawrence with it... Dean had gotten careful when they were forced to discuss it. Sam saw how Dean tried not to look at him sometimes. Sam wished he could tell Dean that he felt the exact same way he did. He didn't understand it or like it either. The problem was that the nature of thing didn't exactly come with instructions. Didn't dad always say, Not all gifts are good ones...
Dean rubbed at the back of his neck and pretended to study the lonely stretch of asphalt. "That 6th Sense crap again huh?"
"Yeah." Sam said as he tossed Dean his keys. "Something like that."
"Okay, have it your way." Dean shrugged. "Where'd this ghost of Christmas Past tell you to go?"
The sun was down leaving what lingered under the horizon to light up the bottoms of a low plain of clouds. Sam watched the red glow dim as the planet slowly shifted away into the dark. As the darkness grew so did his knowledge. His thoughts sliding up and through him like the long shadows cast by the trees in the swift twilight. Something like the feel of hands lightly grasped his own making the queasy twist in Sam's belly double as he felt his skin go cold.
"Savannah." Sam murmured in a small voice.
"Savannah." His brother confirmed with reluctant curt nod. "Great? I've been thinking about a mint julep all day."
Sam realized he had began to tremble. His brother hadn't felt or noticed anything.
Dean got into the car and the engine roared to life. "You comin'?" He called out the window.
Sam opened the passenger side with a shaky hand. He now knew something else about what had now drawn him this far. It was different. This wasn't like the dreams at all. This had a voice. Soft and coy, it flowed and drifted in and out of his mind like the inhale and exhale of smoke. It had lead him this far and called him down this abandoned road towards a city he'd never seen.
And it or whoever summoned him wasn't calling out to Sam.
It had whispered another name.
All people had it in degrees. The red flag. The conscience. The inner voice prompting to act without thought. Since the hunt's beginning, he had learned never to ignore lingering doubt or make light of coincidence. This intuition now disturbed him in its evolution. Unconsciously he rubbed his still cold hands together with the memory of that brief phantom touch.
Sam's sleep deprived thoughts were competing with each other. He did not always explain his trepidation to Dean. Usually there was no need. His brother could usually read his suffering like no other person in the world.
He had decided to wait. See what happened. Look for signs.
Sam watched Dean dip his forehead to light a cigarette, his face briefly illuminated by the dashboard and his Betty Page Zippo.
"You said you wouldn't."
"Relax pal." Dean said through a puff of smoke, one hand on the steering wheel. "I'm thinking."
"Those things'll kill you." Sam shook his head.
"Not if the bird flu gets me first." Dean grinned.
Sam said nothing, staring quietly at the rows of farm fields passing by in the darkness.
"Fine." Dean sighed as he rolled down the window, letting the cigarette fly from his fingers. "So where in Savannah are we headed?"
Sam's brow furrowed. "Not sure."
Sam hated this. These were questions that deserved some simple answers and he had nothing. And the tone of Dean's voice suggested he knew exactly how his brother felt about him asking.
"Soooo, when do we stop?"
"Just like always. When something happens." Sam grumbled.
"Cuz, just so you know, we will eventually hit the Atlantic Ocean."
Sam realized he was clenching his fists. "Voices in your head don't operate on specifics. When they do, it's called delusion." He became nervous. He hadn't meant to mention any voices but his brother was already too busy firing right back at him to notice.
"You never stopped to think that could be what this is?"
Sam swung his glare on Dean.
"You think I'm crazy?"
"I'm not sayin that. I mean, don't you think sometimes you could just be wrong?"
Sam swallowed hard.
Maybe it was in his brother's silence or the speed in which Dean chose to drop the issue that said he had, in his own way, read Sam's mind.
In his short but dizzying career as whatever he was now, he had unfortunately, been nothing but right.
Dean smiled his smile at their server as she put down two plates of food on their table. Straw wrapper sculpture forgotten, he dug into his aptly named Po'Boy sandwich. There really was nothing better than a good cheap diner at the end of a long day. Well, there were a few even better things but Dean was a great believer in readily attainable short term goals.
A tour of the city had unearthed little. The graveyards were appropriately solemn but nothing to arouse suspicion. The wide empty stretches of abandoned cotton fields, of rusted barns and hay silos were more disturbing, remnants of the city's cultural heritage. The irony of violence behind the utopia of old Dixie. But neither of them detected any presence, supernatural or otherwise that shouldn't have already been there. Not even a soul worth chatting up.
But all in all, Savannah turned out to be much less of a dump than Dean expected it to be. It was after all named like a stripper and situated along the crowded east coast that he had never really taken a particular liking to. But the old oak lined streets had their charm. The soft accents and mild winter air felt kind of good. And the food, not bad at all.
If you managed to put any of it in your mouth.
Dean sat in the diner booth and watched Sam move his food around on his plate without actually eating any of it.
He wasn't sure what they were supposed to watch or wait for but he had hoped it would have moved a lot faster than this. They'd been shadowing the city for days and not even one peep from Sam about what it was they were doing. This gig wasn't much their style but Sam never forced an issue unless he had a pretty damn good reason so he had given in. But it wore down on him in the back of his brain how Dad had sent them their coordinates in Texas and they still weren't there.
But that was what this life was like sometimes, a roll of the dice.
However, Dean wasn't so comfy with this roll. Assumptions and gut feelings were one thing, but this revelation shit was going to get old pretty quick. He was used to working on details of a detail. Mere slivers of unverified fact. Got some hieroglyphics on a napkin? No problem. But this out of thin air stuff was pushing it even for him.
"Your food is getting cold." Dean felt like he was reciting something out of a Brady's sitcom but he forced himself to say it anyway. "Don't you think you had better eat something?"
Sam put down the fork he was playing with. "I'm not hungry."
"Then why'd you order it?"
"You told me to."
Dean shoved what was left of his sandwich into his mouth to stop himself from arguing with him. These days it sometimes felt like standing right next to someone who drowning and there was nothing he could do about it. What was worse was that he knew Sam had now decided it was perfectly fine to not share everything that was happening. Or even worse, any information that was going through that head of his. Every day that went by since Sam confessed that he had predicted Jess's death, Dean felt one more step away from him. He knew it wasn't just a feeling that Sam wasn't telling him everything this time around either. He knew that for a fact just by looking at Sam's face.
"Your funeral." Dean tried to sound indifferent but he felt a small measure of relief when Sam finally took a bread roll out of the basket on the table between them.
Bread and water were at least better nothing. Sam began ripping it into little pieces before he ate it, just like he did when he was a kid. Briefly it brought back that night when Dean had been in the Shapeshifter's den. It truly was strange how some things changed and some things just never would. And when it came to change, how far and much could it possibly go? Who knew how strong these experiences were. Who knew if it'd get worse or better or if maybe when they woke up tomorrow it would have just evaporated back to where ever the hell it came from.
But until then, here they were. Based on Sam's revelation. Tricky things, revelations. You couldn't examine it or study it. You couldn't research it or ask around in the right places at the right times. Nope. It was all up to the revelator.
The image of his brother as some whacked out "Talk to the Dead" TV personality made him laugh a little bit into his cherry coke.
"What's so funny?"
"Nothing." Dean slid the plate of food that Sam had been rearranging over to his side of the table.
"It's been 3 days Dean."
Dean nodded slowly as he cut into lukewarm chicken fried steak. It occurred to him not for the first time that maybe there was just nothing here for Sam to get. If this business had taught Dean anything it was that you couldn't always expect it to be formulaic. The world that shadowed the commute to work, walk your dog, hate taxes place where most lived and mowed lawns in, wasn't always cut and dry. This spirit stuff was by nature as fallible as any human beings. For all he knew maybe Sammy was on the fritz.
"Maybe I made a mistake." Sam slumped back into his seat and looked out the window at the nighttime traffic flowing past. "Maybe I got it all wrong."
So there it was right out in the open and right when Dean had been thinking it too. He wondered how often Sam tuned into him unknowingly like some kind of living ham radio.
"I think you were right all along." Sam said softly. "We should just go and get to Texas like we should have in the first place."
Dean chewed his food and sucked noisily on what was left of his soda. "Can't."
"That poker game down on Gwinnet?" Dean fidgeted with his napkin. "Didn't go so great."
"Can't fill a gas tank to Texas without it!"
"Dean, that was almost everything we had." Sam's voice was amazingly calm.
"Yup." Dean half laughed. "But I assure you those guys were cheating! Totally rigged."
His brother sighed shortly. "I know."
"What do you mean you know?"
Sam looked at him evenly and said nothing.
"Oh. Yeah. That." Dean frown. "Well why didn't you say anything before you left my ass there?"
"Would you have listened?"
"Nope." Dean smirked. "I was up almost 200 bucks!"
"And totally wasted." Sam added.
"That julep is a hell of drink I'll give you that." Dean sighed with a smile.
"So what, we're stuck here?"
"Says the guy that wanted to get here so badly." Dean grumbled as he dropped a few bills of their dwindling funds on the table. "Don't worry, motel is paid up on that last credit card and I'm the man with a plan."
Dean ignored the look Sam gave him when he added 40% to their bill and winked at their waitress who had been watching them behind the sit down counter. They sure did grow them nice and friendly down here in the great state of Georgia. The smile died on his face. It would have been nice if he could have done more than leave this heavy handed tip and some wink she'd forget by next week. If he had been anyone else with an address and a cable bill maybe he would have even tried.
"What kind of plan?" Sam interrupted, knowingly or not.
Dean shook it off. "Well, while you were busy not sleeping last night I thought I'd take another look through the journal on anything about Savannah."
"And?" Sam sat forward, a look of hope in his eyes for the first time in days.
"Not a damn thing in there. But!" Dean held up his hand when Sam crumpled back into his seat. "Some guy at the ice machine told me that this place is considered one of the most haunted cities. Like ever."
Sam was rubbing his forehead with his face hidden in his hands. "So?"
"Well, I wanna go on one of those ghost tours."
Sam looked up and blinked at him.
Dean grinned and held up the two tour tickets which, besides a questionable hand rolled cigarette, was all he came away with in his poker game. "Pretend we're on vacation."
Sam dragged himself out of the booth to follow him out the door.
So The Revelator was low on revelations, that was just fine with Dean. He had a much better idea anyway. He took a deep breath of night air, balmy with a barely cold December humidity that he couldn't decide was refreshing or horrible or some mixture of both-
He paused on the front walk causing Sam to walk right into him.
"What is it?" Sam asked looking in the direction Dean was.
A shadow had slipped back into the dark of an opposite alley across the street just as Dean had taken notice of it. It was too large for a stray and too furtive for a human being, not to mention the low buzz of his EMF humming in his hand in his jacket pocket.
Dean shrugged. "Nothing." Which he wasn't quite certain it was but he didn't want to get Sam into a lather just yet. He unlocked the car door. "Come on, the tour starts in a half an hour."
As they pulled into traffic Dean covertly checked in his rear view mirror and saw the figure had returned. Not moving from its place, it observed them drive away. With one brief glance to the road and back to his rear view, it had vanished once again.
"Ice machine guy was right." Dean mumbled to himself as he sped through a yellow light. "Spooky town."
Sam had no idea what the hell they were doing here. The coy explanation of grits was expected for the northerners determined to have a southern experience. The blatant story telling that masked historical tragedy could be ignored. But that tour guide's sugary rehearsed voice blaring on the distorted overhead speaker was slowly making Sam consider taking off out of the trolley window at the next stop light.
Strangely enough, Dean seemed to be paying rapt attention to it all.
He sighed. It was time to get off again and look at another haunted bar which just happened to have 2 for 1 beers for anyone on the tour.
Standing on the sidewalk with their tour tram idling at the curb, he stretched and let the people flow past him. They were drawn to listen to the unnaturally animated tour guide lady recite the strange and terrifying tales. Short order cooks that felt icy hands in the deep freeze. Drunk patrons mysteriously shoved in the coat closet. Rumors of a suicide long past. Standard fare.
Sam decided he liked the downtown of the city. The old sprawl of it was curiously chaotic in its order. It made perfect sense to make a living off the ghost tales in this place. Even though it had been the first planned city, it was so unlike the flat grid work of perfectly contrived Kansas and all those rectangular states of the Midwest. Here, the old roads slowly meandered and turned under gnarled old trees hanging with Spanish moss. Here the architecture didn't resemble every 1980's era Dennys and gas station. You were given some respite from the decor of the latter half of the faux wood paneled century. Here hundreds of years of history had left layer after layer on its cobbled streets and avenues. He studied the low bloated yellow moon that sat in the night sky above and took in the green smell of the river. Not all the ghost stories here were just stories.
As he watched a lone cloud drift over the jaundiced moon, his train of thought suddenly stuttered like a needle off a record. His stomach churned and a familiar sickness crept through his veins. Everything around him began to shift like a picture being twisted out of focus. Muted and indistinct, every set of unlit windows now felt like set of staring eyes. Every murmur of the human voices carried a warning like a shadow cast by flesh. He found his voice.
"D-Dean? Dean, I think something is-"
When he turned, Dean wasn't standing beside him. He looked around scanning the large group that had filed off the tram but his brother wasn't standing with them either. Over the months they had been hunting Sam had gotten used to having Dean no less than an annoying meter from his side but now Dean was no where to be seen. A flicker of pure panic shot through him as he realized he was alone. A violent static charge rushed down around him and settled buzzing uncomfortably behind his eyes. Startled with the first sensation he'd had since that night on the road, he stumbled backwards until he felt his back hit the brick wall behind him. He felt as if he could grab whatever it was that had latched onto him and pry it off but his hands met his own clothes, his own face.
It was becoming hard to see. "D-Dean?"
A murmur had begun to build in his head. It was sliding through his brain like a knife through silk. Several tour members had already started nudging one another and looking in his direction. Trying to breathe in a steady pace, Sam stumbled into the darkness outside the pooled street lights and made for the nearest alleyway. Was he too late? Had something already happened to his brother and Sam hadn't even warned him. He couldn't take it if he failed another person like he failed Jess, he couldn't- He had to keep it together long enough to just get out of sight.
As soon as he cleared the corner it hit.
Time lurched and stopped. The feel of his body making contact with the ground was as if he were watching the fall in slow motion, unable to catch himself.
He shut his eyes.
Once, a very long time ago, when they had been boys living from car to car, motel to rented room and job after job after job.... Once their father had left them to their own devices for almost a week in the dead of winter in a lonely little town in northern Wisconsin. Quickly bored with having been told to stay in the trailer their father had appropriated they had spent long hours exploring the snowy woods that surrounded it and to their collective happiness, a frozen lake.
Sam had been about ten at the time and ignored his then teenaged brother's warnings of going out to far.
He remembered the deep groan of the ice under him. He remembered the loud crack as the fine lines zigged and zagged in the gray surface under his feet. There was a moment before he fell through when the water had begun to seep through the fissures, like blood from a wound.
The feel of the submersion into the just above freezing lake water had been so shocking that the breath had left his lungs, and his heart had hovered for several beats. The water had become like one thousand hot needles piercing his flesh. He had been blind. Unsure of which way was up and which was down. Scared. In pain.
Now, Sam felt he was sinking slowly under the ice even though he could feel the firm gritty ground of the alley under his cheek. Suspended and mute, he felt his phantom limbs thrash for the surface where he could breathe. But he was stilled. The voice that had reached him began to take shape and form, searching him out from the dim depths below. Cold winter light glimmered down through the hole in the ice he had created.
The sound of its whisper coiled around him its strangely warm touch brushed across his pain parted lips in a semblance of an open mouthed kiss. It filled his sight like ink suffusing the water, coating his body like a second skin, making his gasp when the its warmth flowed over down each arm to his frozen fingertips, caressing his chest and down his legs.
It was speaking slowly and distinctly, each word pronounced in the voice that now incased him.
Come closer. Bring him...closer...
There was a shadow far above him, blocking the bleak winter Wisconsin sun. Sam weakly raised his hand towards it.
Bring him closer...
A firm hand had locked onto his heavy soaked down filled coat and the circle of light above grew brighter and brighter. The black being that swirled and moved over him began to tear and shred, flaking off as he ascended, until he breeched the surface gasping, his skin numb to the dull wind, his brother's voice, Jesus Sammy! Jesus, I got you, I got you, don't worry I got you-
Sam's eyes flickered open to the urgent spoken sound of his name. The cold was abruptly gone. His limbs tingled strangely with the feel of the icy lake. His skin prickled with the sensation of the powerful grip on his arm that was still there.
It was his brother.
"Can you hear me?" Dean was holding him, supporting his head and patting his face."Are you okay?"
His mouth was dry. "Y-Yes."
"Can you stand?"
Sam felt himself nod as he was carefully helped up onto his unsteady feet.
Dean was looking at him intensely, his worry plain on his face if not in his language. "What happened?"
Sam wondered how to explain any of it. Instead he said the only thing he knew with any certainty.
"Something is here." He mumbled. "And its pretty happy that we are too."
They emerged from the alley and took a cautious look around to see if anyone had noticed Sam's episode. That was one good thing about a party town, Sam thought as he brushed himself off. A guy laying by a dumpster wasn't much to take note of.
"Don't look like someone ran over your dog, this is good news!" Dean reasoned.
"Good news?" Sam rubbed at his elbow that he must have cracked on the pavement when he fell. "How do you figure that?"
"Well," Dean shrugged, "Now we know yer not outta your mind?"
"But what does whatever this thing is really want? Maybe we should just get out of town-"
"No way." Dean did a cursory EMF scan of the alley behind them before pocketing it again. "We were invited and I wanna know the hell why."
Dean's doubts had vanished. He was in full on hunt mode now. Sam regretted that it had been himself that had brought them here and then now provided the reinforcement Dean simply needed to fully commit to a job. None of this felt like any other job they had ever done. He felt as if they were now put on the defensive. Who was really on the hunt here? Them or whatever it was that had so cleverly drawn them to its home?
Sam watched the tourists that were headed back for the trolley.
"Hold up." Dean pulled his brother back by the back of his jacket when he wearily made to follow them. “This is our stop."
Sam watched with relief as the trolley left without them. "Couldn't we have just walked here?"
"And miss the haunted port-a-john story?" Dean admonished. "Besides, I didn't know what I was looking for until I saw it."
Dean gestured to the small curiosity shop that the tour had mentioned in passing as a fine place for your spell casting needs. "While you were taking a nap, I found this."
"Looks like a tourist dive for T-shirts."
Dean slipped their father's journal out of his jacket and flipped open to a page with small round symbol carefully sketched in the corner. Sam took all of a moment to remember its meaning. It was a code for the invisible to find other invisibles. Like them. They weren't the only ones that knew what went bump in the night. They were all over if you knew where to look. Dime store psychics, tea readers, used book stores, new age shops, they all had potential to house a sympathetic to the cause.
"Yeah, it's got your snow globes and postcards." Dean snapped the journal shut and replaced it back into his jacket. "But that right there?" He pointed to the same symbol from the journal set almost lost in the corner of the shop window. Surrounded by dream catchers and a hanging array of crystals, it was easily missed. "That means it also has a whole lot more."
Sam made and unmade a nervous fist. "They might know something."
"Exactly." Pleased with himself, Dean folded his arms and smiled.
"Too bad they're closed." Sam tried. He didn't want to know anything more about this. He wanted nothing more now than for Dean's prior impatience and disbelief.
"Plenty of time to hit it in the morning." Dean nodded to the bustling pub style establishment that sat next door. He held up their tour tickets. "2 for 1 drafts Sammy?"
Bring him closer. It had said. Sam touched his face where its feel remained. Bring Dean closer to what? He felt dizzy and ill. He suddenly wanted very much to sit in a crowded smoky bar and listen to 100 human voices that weren't in his mind.
He wouldn't tell Dean that he thought this all had something to do with him. It would make him even more determined. Sam decided it would be better to just get in the car and leave this city behind. Tomorrow, after Dean talked to that shop owner he would hack an ATM and somehow he'd get Dean to just leave. He would fake another feeling. Tell him dad called. It didn't matter. He would never bother Dean with this ghost speak prophecy bullshit again.
Sam reluctantly followed his brother, casting a nervous glance behind him when he thought he saw something shadowy slide away in the corner of his peripheral vision. The street behind them was empty. He frown.
Something had tricked him to do exactly what it had wanted.
He had brought Dean right up to its front door.
to be continued
Part 3 is here.