Rating: PG - Gen
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Something is haunting an abandoned stretch of beach...
"Ohhh, look what you've done to this rock 'n' roll clownnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn..."
"Turn left up here."
"OHHhhhh OHHH LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONEEEEEEEEEE..."
"Your other left you tard."
"I dun want yourrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..."
"You missed it! It was right there--"
"I dunt NEED YOURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR..."
"All I've got is a photographhhhhhhh..."*
Sam clicked off the tape player hard enough that he thought the aged plastic switch would snap off in his hand.
"Hey!" Dean protested. "That was the best part."
"Would you concentrate please?"
"You said get down to the water, so that's what I'm doin'." His brother shrugged from the driver's seat with a rueful glance down at the silenced cassette player. "This way is better, trust me."
Dean's use of short cuts and non-documented methods of arriving to a destination were common enough but he didn't want to get lost this close to dusk. As they said, timing was sometimes everything. Sam gazed out his window as they bumped along the narrow route his brother had found, the tall reeds and bushes on either side of them lazily thrashed by a wind he couldn't hear over the engine.
It turned out, as it usually did, that his brother had been correct. In fact, by taking the small unpaved road undoubtedly made for some kind of park service entrance, Dean had gotten them almost directly onto the beach itself. His brother was also gracious enough to point out how it had saved them almost two miles of walking.
As soon as Sam opened the car door and the gale rushed in, he knew that it was going to be a rough night.
Sam had always noticed that swift drop in temperature when one approached the sea. The pick up of the breeze to a wind. The wind to a roar with the weather that the water always seemed to exaggerate and somehow embolden.
Sliding down the side of one steep dune, they walked out over the crunch of small stones mixed in a mosaic of broken sea shells and the smooth opaque shapes of sea glass. This part of the world didn't offer much in terms of crashing surf, the waves longer and low, steel blue and undulating down the shore one after another in a steady hiss across the sand. The sea gusts buffeting them, they took a look around.
The view past the breakers made Sam's breath catch in his throat.
Just north there was a rise of the bright green hills that turned into some craggy cliffs, towering at least one hundred feet over the turmoil of the water that met them below. And just past that, outcrops of massive rock jutted out intermittently out into the water like giant stalagmites. As each mighty wave broke against the solitary behemoths, a mist would rain and hang in the air, swirling and perpetual like a low laying cloud.
"Wow." Sam said to himself.
"It kinda looks like the end of the Goonies." Dean said from beside him.
His brother would say something like when they were probably looking at one of the most stunning things either one of them had ever seen in a while. With a short sigh, Sam wanted to be annoyed that his brother compared the convoluted 1980s cult film to something so indeliberately magnificent. It was less the casual delegation of the vista to some movie that made him clench his jaw as it was the constant state of his older brother's absence of respect for just about anything. It made him want to automatically say something uselessly cruel or give a look that would make his brother go silent. But inwardly he had begrudgingly agreed with the sentiment. There was something a little more than other worldly about the place. And desolate.
It did seem that at any moment the ghost of a pirate ship was going to drift into view from behind the far off atolls and bob and sway in waves that shattered themselves up against the glistening cliffs.
Unfortunately the reason for their visit was much less romantic.
"She shows up just after sun down huh?" Dean affirmed while taking another look up and down the beach.
The sky had been white all day and now was softening to gray and soon to be black. No panoramic sunsets filled this bleak northeastern horizon, just the churn of the clouds and the steady bite of the wind. The hollow stretch of the coastline dimmed along with the sky above it, the pale sand seeming to start to glow the darker it got.
And the darker it got, the more likely they would see what they had come looking for.
The precipice above had been the last place a woman had stood very long ago. And now, almost a century later, it seemed she liked to wander the empty beach just as twilight fell. It also seemed that anyone unlucky enough to see her either had a fifty-fifty chance of returning home to hysterically tell others about it or they up and vanished.
Just like the proverbial sea mist in the proverbial wind.
Sam considered just how easy it would be to disappear here in this lonely place. As soon as the light was gone you could just fade away with it until there wasn't a trace of you left. Not even the sigh of your breath or the soft sound of your voice. It seemed like the living didn't really belong here at all. Seemed like the deceased woman that choose the place thought the same.
"Hey, lookit what I found."
He turned to see his brother crouched down in the scattered flotsam and jetsam that the tide had washed ashore. Crushed fragments of the pearlescent. The strange butterfly wings of empty mussels. The tangled dried green ropes of sea weed. Spindles and broken corkscrews. The delicate spirals and pale pink concaves that had been swept up and deposited here in one long blanket of elegant and fragile debris.
With a small pleased smile on his face, Dean stood and held something up in his hand.
"It's one of those dollar dudes."
The small white disk of the sand dollar that lay in his palm appeared almost luminescent in the dim light.
"I found a conch shell once." His brother added proudly, as if he had just revealed he'd once placed in a stockcar race. "A huge one. Down in Florida."
He offered the sand dollar to Sam.
Sam took the long dead creature and ran his finger tips over its pocked bone like surface. Named for its coin like shape, he rolled it in his hand, the curious feel of it brittle and resilient at the same time.
"You know what they call some kind of oysters?" Dean asked as he brushed damp sand off his hands. "Down south?"
Knowing the answer would come whether he asked or not, he simply waited for it while holding the sand dollar up against the sky like some kind of moon the clouds couldn't obscure. Sam pocketed it.
The tone to his brother's voice didn't hold the joke he had expected but instead a small sense of amused wonder. Sam watched the smile that came with it on Dean's face. It was simple pleasure in a fantastical name assigned to something that sat hidden in the sand, holding treasure like it was instead on a grand wardrobe locked and filled with gems.
Seeing it there so unexpectedly made Sam grin a little back.
The sudden buzz and whine of the EMF tucked somewhere in Dean's jacket made them both turn back to the business at hand.
"Come on," Dean shifted into work mode, slipping out the noisy device and examining it. "Let's find the dastardly spook before she eats us. Or whatever."
Sam cast his gaze down the recede and advance of the cold water that rippled across the flat wet sand. Right behind them there was a trail of just fading footsteps leading away and down the beach that did not belong to either of them. It seemed they weren't as alone as he had thought.
"By the way?" Dean said offhandedly as he took note of the tracks and thoughtfully pumped his shotgun once then twice.
"I'm gettin' that dollar dude back." His brother warned.