Characters: Sam, Dean (Gen)
Spoilers: Tiny “Asylum” spoiler
Summary: Sam and Dean versus an unknown grave-robber. (Includes bickering, bad food, and the obligatory Latin).
x-x-x-x-x Chapter 2: The Evidence x-x-x-x-x
Light is streaming in through the threadbare curtains all too early, and it’s Dean who wakes up first for a change. If he could just reach his shirt, he’d put it over his face and go back to sleep, but he’s tangled up with Sam and it’s just too far out of reach over on that chair. He’d pull the pillow over his head, but his knife is under there.
And now he’s really awake, so he might as well just give up. He eases out from under Sam, sliding over to the side of the bed and nearly stumbling over his shoes before he remembers why he left them there. He slips them on and stands up quietly, feeling a little weird wearing shoes when he just has his boxers on. Grabbing a shirt from the chair, he drapes it over Sam’s eyes to cut off the light. Then he sits near the window, reviewing the newspaper clippings on the body-snatching scare in the local cemetery.
By the time Sam wakes up, Dean has showered and shaved, and is ready to eat. He watches Sam stagger to the bathroom, in the same odd shoes and underwear combo he’d worn earlier himself, but a little water on the face always picks Sam up and soon he’s dressed and they’re out the door.
The diner’s breakfasts are cheaper than dinner, and it’s hard to go wrong with pancakes and eggs. The coffee is astoundingly bad, though, and Dean keeps adding sugar to it until Sam’s frown makes him stop.
“The newspaper says there’ve been five grave-robbing incidents in the last month,” Dean offers.
“What about before that?” Sam stops eating for a minute as Dean puts a third application of syrup on his stack of pancakes.
“Nothing I could find, at least not on the Net,” Dean says. “We can check back-copies of the paper later.”
“Library?” Sam asks hopefully.
Dean shakes his head. “If they have one, it’s in somebody’s house.” Sam’s disappointed, but really, Dean wonders what he expected. One motel, one restaurant, two churches and a tiny grocery store in this sad-ass town. It’s a miracle they caught wind of this case in the first place.
He watches Sam eat, or not eat as the case may be, and tries to tease him into finishing the eggs, or adding some more calories onto the pancakes. He knows Sam’s been stressed and unhappy, but his face has gotten angular in the last few weeks and Dean can see the outline of ribs on Sam’s back when he’s half-dressed. Coaxing without pushing is an art form, one he’s used on Sam all his life. The results have always been varied.
They pack up the remains of Sam’s breakfast for later, and drive over to Chapel Hill Cemetery a mile or so out of town. Stanton is waiting at the gatehouse, a skinny, red-nosed guy dressed in a worksuit. There’s a nervous vagueness to him, and Sam worries that this whole adventure is a big waste of time. But when Stanton guides them to the closest of the disturbed graves, Sam can see that there’s something more “off” here than a stray dog or an overactive imagination.
Whoever or whatever dug up the grave was expedient. Only the dirt in between the ground’s surface and the top of the coffin has been removed. Someone tunneled down far enough to hit the wood, broke it open (with an ax, it looks like), and removed the body through the opening.
What does it want? Sam wonders. And what does it do with the bodies afterwards?
“Something big,” Stanton says, “Like a grown-up man. Had clothes, but couldn’t see what type or color. Pants. Maybe a jacket. Pulled the Sorensen’s baby outta this one, then ran off before I could get a good look.”
“Did it seem like anyone you knew?” asks Sam, but the caretaker just gives him a funny look.
“It’s a small town, son. Don’t have anyone here who’d do a thing like that.”
“No, of course not, I’m sorry,” Sam says hastily. This is the hard part about their investigations. They can never bring up the ultra-weird component unless the other person mentions it first. Stanton hasn’t bitten yet.
Dean takes over the questioning. “Was there any particular order to the graves being dug up, Mr. Stanton?” he asks. “Certain parts of the cemetery, how long the victims had been buried, anything like that? Same church?”
Stanton thinks that one over for awhile. “Well, the Sorensen’s weren’t churchgoers at all. And Frank Dibble over on that ridge wasn’t much for socializing. And of course, the fellow that was in that spot over there was a vagrant, so we never knew much about him.”
“Can you give us the dates when you first realized that something had happened to the graves?” Sam asks. There must be a pattern here, if only he can figure it out.
Stanton writes the information down for them, and they leave him to begin repairing the latest damage as they return back to town.
By noon, Sam is sitting on the hood of the car and researching through his computer archives when Dean returns from the grocery store. The look on Dean’s face is so shocked and pained that Sam slides off the car instantly. Dean actually manages not to say anything, and instead packs some ice and dairy perishables into the cooler, lugging it into the motel room.
“What’d you find out?” he calls back, but Sam is right behind him.
“Just covering old ground,” Sam says, “We’re way out of Internet range here.”
“Mrs. Caldwell at the grocery store had a thing or two to say.” Dean’s moving Sam’s leftover breakfast into the cooler, waving it at him first to try to stir up some interest.
Sam just shakes his head. “Did she know any of the victims?” he asks.
“She knew Dan Bingham’s family,” Dean says. “He was victim number three. Says they’ve lived here awhile, generally seemed to get along with everyone.”
“But the other people were from out of town, or antisocial?” Sam asks.
“Not antisocial, Stanton didn’t say that. Just that Dibble didn’t get out much, and the Sorensen’s didn’t go to church. And the other guy wasn’t local anyway.”
Sam looks thoughtful. “Did Mr. Bingham go to church?” he asks.
“Off and on, she says. United Methodist.”
“Wish that meant something to me, but I’m not seeing it yet.”
“What’d Dad’s journal say?” Dean opens a Coke, swigging it gratefully and coughing as the bubbles rebound right up through his nose.
“I haven’t had time to go through it yet. You know Dad’s journal. Would it have killed him to break it down into themes, like sections on grave-robbing or on vampires? It’s the biggest junkpile of random notes I’ve ever seen.” Sam sits down on the bed carefully. “Plus, my head is killing me.”
Dean shrugs. “I’ll do it. Why don’t you take a nap or something?”
Sam stretches out, head between the pillows both for the darkness and the odd, cavelike comfort it provides. Dean sits on the bed next to him, leafing through the journal’s pages and hoping something catches his eye.
An hour or more later he stiffens, then smacks Sam’s leg and watches the pillows explode off the bed.
“I found something!” he says.
“You’d better hope so,” Sam mutters under his breath. He glares over at Dean and at the page tilted his way.
“This talks about the Krazhnekhoi—“
“Shut it, dickhead. It’s something from the Old World that digs up the bodies of the unbaptized dead and consumes their souls.” Dean shows Sam the picture.
“That’s gross. Its skin looks half-rotten. Where does it come from, anyway?”
Dean thwaps the book. “The Old World, I just said.”
“No, I mean how would it get here? How does it start?”
Dean sighs. “Dad doesn’t say. But this sounds like a good possibility.”
“So now what, are we going to be lurking in the cemetery for awhile, waiting for this thing to show up again?” Sam is tired already at the idea of a night-time stakeout.
“Be my guest, but I’m going to check into the church records of the victims and talk to their families.”
This is such a brilliantly better plan that Sam has to punch Dean in the arm for it.