Characters: Sam and Dean (Gen, Crack Humor)
Summary (Season One): Mystery turns to misadventure at a cottage in the deep, dark woods…
Author's Notes: This was intended as a writing challenge for "Myth," but the comm's limit is 1000 words and things quickly got out of control here. Crack'll do that to you.
"Are you sure we're going the right way?" Dean asked for the third time. He peered through the windshield, where much of the view was blocked by the trees encroaching from both sides. It was dark, even now at just past noon.
"These are the coordinates Dad gave us," Sam insisted stubbornly. "Or so you assumed, based on his last text message. Why he won't actually talk to us is a completely different question." Or meet them in person, which Sam was still pretty mad about. "Turn left up here…"
They followed the dirt road for half a mile, with Dean swerving around the potholes as best he could (new axles didn't come cheap). Then the road shifted toward the East and narrowed even more, with the trees and brambles finally getting so close that Dean stopped the car.
"That's it—I'm not risking the finish on whatever the hell Dad's sending us into. We can walk from here."
"Out in the open, unprotected? That doesn't seem smart."
"It's daytime, Sammy. Most of the things we hunt run loose at night."
"Might as well be night," Sam muttered, "if darkness is all that matters."
After about five minutes, they came to a clearing. A little yellow house with white trim and a porch stood there, smoke wafting skyward out of the chimney.
"Something smells good," Dean said, as they made their way up to the door. He knocked, his "Department Of Fish And Wildlife" card ready to proclaim his identity as Agent Ward to Sam's Agent Butler.
"What do you want to do?" Sam asked. "I mean, we came all this way and whatever's behind Dad sending us here probably won't fix itself." Not to mention the aggravation of navigating all the way back to this spot again, if they did leave now.
Dean turned the knob and pushed lightly on the door, waiting. The door opened.
"Stay behind me," Dean said, drawing his gun and slipping inside the house. He hoped to God he wasn't about to give some old lady a heart attack, and the link between Fish and Wildlife agents and pulling guns on civilians was worse than shaky, so he hoped that didn't come up either. But Dad's text message had mentioned people disappearing, and "Be careful" was pretty straightforward. Dad thought this place was dangerous, and Dean wasn't about to second-guess his father's judgment.
The fact that the house appeared to be empty at the moment only made things more confusing.
Sam covered the upstairs part of the house while Dean checked the living room, dining room, and kitchen. The kitchen was where he made an unexpected discovery.
Two places were set at the table, each with a still sizzling hamburger nestled inside a bun. There were napkins and condiments and what looked like ice-cold lemonade, along with a sign:
Visitors, Please Help Yourselves.
Dean needed no encouragement. He sat down and added mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup to his hamburger, then tossed on pickles, tomato slices, and lettuce. The smell was so fantastic, it made him dizzy. Finally he was able to take a bite, and nearly slid under the table with how wonderful it was. The burger was heavenly.
He was halfway through it when Sam showed up in the doorway. "Jesus, Dean—what the hell are you doing? This is someone's house."
Dean shrugged his shoulders and pointed to the sign. "Free hamburgers."
Sam looked like he was going to explode. "There's no such thing as free hamburgers, Dean, are you out of your mind? Put that down!" he hissed.
Dean looked at the hamburger—juicy and dripping—and then looked at Sam. Both of them were real, but one of them was charbroiled deliciousness and the other was an unending buzzkill.
He took another bite.
The funny thing was, the burger was so good it practically danced into his mouth from the plate. Dean would never have thought of the burger as being heavy, which was why he was so surprised when his chair suddenly fell right through the floor.
"Dean!" Sam kept yelling, but it did no good. The floor was still shut up tight, with no sign of Dean having been there a moment ago other than the fact that Sam's memory said it was true.
That and the ketchup-spattered plate on the table where Dean had been sitting.
This was exactly the kind of thing their father had sent them to investigate, Sam was sure of it. God forbid he could have been less cryptic about the whole damn thing, so that at least they would have had some idea of what they were up against.
"Dean!" he shouted again, searching through the kitchen, the dining room, the living room. Where the hell could Dean have gone?
"Welcome." Something stepped out of the shadows behind the stairs.
Sam backed away, his gun ready, and as thing moved closer Sam couldn't help noticing the head-to-toe blue fur and a pair of small, white horns.
By then, he was certain the gun wouldn't do him much good, but he fired it until he was out of rock-salt bullets. That's when the monster reached for him.
Its grip was stronger than steel, clawed-tipped paws tightening around Sam's throat and on the skin over his heart.
Sam couldn't even gather up enough breath to waste it on yelling.
"There," the creature grunted, pointing at something Sam had missed with the duster.
Sam went back over it again, grumbling to himself about winding up doing maid duty for something that was about two steps away from being a carnivorous, OCD cousin of the Cookie Monster. And to top it off, he couldn't run away because he still didn't know what had happened to Dean!
Their father would disown him if he ever found out. Oh wait—already happened. God, Sam's life was just unified suck.
The monster shoved a drinking glass under Sam's nose. "Spots," it said accusingly.
"Okay, okay." Sam took the glass (all four of the glasses, it turned out) to the kitchen to wash them over again.
What, the monster thought people would be so put off by water spots that they might pass up the hamburgers waiting for them after they'd entered some stranger's unlocked, empty house?
Why worry? Those details obviously hadn't slowed Dean down in the slightest, Sam thought traitorously.
"Supper!" the monster bellowed.
Sam blinked. The monster hadn't eaten anything since he'd been there (at least he hoped not), which meant Sam had no idea what he was supposed to do next.
The monster had better not be planning to eat him.
Sam grabbed a large knife and tried to convince himself it could protect him if he needed it. He went back out to the dining room. "Yes?"
The creature waved Sam over toward the staircase. Sam had already discovered the door beneath it, as well as the fact that the door was always locked. His pick set was back at the car, though, and he'd had no success using things he'd found around the house. Also, the furry blue whatever-it-was had ears like a freaking bat.
"Oven," the monster said, opening the door by simply placing its paw on what Sam had previously assumed was a decoration. Behind the door was another set of stairs, which led down into the shadows and out of sight.
The monster pointed firmly toward the lower stairs. "Oven," it repeated with a growl.
"All right," Sam shrugged. He hoped the oven wasn't for him, and he held the knife tighter as he stepped through the doorway.
He felt his way downstairs, his fingers brushing against cobwebs in the dark. This was exactly the kind of thing he hated, every nerve in his body reporting in to remind him that he might be walking into a trap. If danger waited below he couldn't see it, and an attack from above would be hard to defend. He wished he had his flashlight.
When he got around the corner he was able to see a little better, thanks to the light coming in from a small basement window. There was a gigantic metal box-shaped structure with a door—possibly the oven—and something like a bathtub filled with goo.
The goo moaned.
Sam felt the back of his neck prickle in response. "Dean?" he asked tentatively.
The moaning got louder.
Sam edged closer, circling the mass for a better look. That was definitely Dean's boot sticking up at one of the ends. Sam poked it, and relief flooded through him when the tip wiggled in response. "Dean," he breathed, patting it in reassurance.
A sharper-sounding complaint issued from the goo, and Sam remembered that time was limited. He put his hands in at the end opposite Dean's boot, and starting scooping out the gunk and dumping it on the floor. When he reached Dean's face, he worked his hands down around it and lifted Dean's head up, wiping the stuff away from Dean's eyes, nose and mouth.
Dean gasped, pulling air into his lungs at last and taking a moment to recover while Sam held him up one-handed and kept on scooping. Then, with a colossal effort, Dean pulled one arm up out of the tub, and then the other. He curled his hands around the sides for leverage, and drew himself to a sitting position while Sam pushed him up from behind. Finally, with Sam gripping his hands and pulling him from the front, Dean was able to lurch his way out of the tub.
"'Bout time you got here," he said, still catching his breath.
"You're just lucky I'm not as greedy as you are," Sam huffed. "Otherwise, I'd have been in there with you, adding another layer to that mess, and who'd be left to rescue us then?"
"You're sure that's all that saved you?" Dean asked, suddenly suspicious.
Well, that and his awesome cleaning skills, but Sam wasn't about to tell Dean that. "We've got to get out of here," was all he said, "before it comes down to see what's taking me so long."
"The monster. Thing. Whatever."
It was as if the creature could hear him. "Supper!" it roared down the stairs, making Sam jump. Sam looked around quickly, but the window was too small for either of them to get through, and his knife was the only thing available for a weapon. The basement held the tub, the oven, and him and Dean.
Time to improvise…
Sam turned the oven on—the thing was the size of a meat locker—and Dean went over to stand in the shadows behind the stairs. Then they waited.
Monster feet thudded impatiently overhead, as if the thing was pacing. The footsteps moved in the direction of the stairs. "Eat!" the monster yelled.
Sam motioned for Dean to stay put, then walked over and leaned around the corner and called up the stairs, "I can't tell if it's hot enough yet."
"Yes," the monster said decisively.
"Maybe..." Sam infused the single word with as much doubt as he could. "But I think you'd better come and check."
The creature's growls filled the air as it stomped down into the basement, and Sam backed away hastily. "Ready," the monster insisted.
Sam tried not to overdo the politeness, but he was desperate to bend the creature's will. "Please check, and then I'll know next time." He gestured at the oven door.
"Rrrrr," the monster muttered. It pulled the door open and stuck an arm in.
Sam and Dean immediately rushed toward the monster and shoved, using their shoulders and digging their feet into the floor to force the creature into the oven.
"Aaaarrrrrrrrrhh!" it howled, as the basement filled with the smell of burned hair. Sam stabbed the monster's feet and it doubled up out of reflex, conveniently allowing him to slam the door shut and seal the monster's fate.
"Gross," Dean commented.
Sam raised an eyebrow. "Better it than you. Not to mention that we finished the job."
Dean considered. "Yeah, all right," he nodded.
After checking the state of all-things-oven (gross was right), they decided the monster was down for the count. Sam trailed Dean upstairs, surprised when he suddenly veered off toward the bathroom.
"No showering! We don’t have time!" Sam called after him.
Dean slammed the door on Sam's protests and flipped up the toilet lid. Oh God, it was pure relief, now that his body had apparently woken up again. He flushed out of habit, and caught sight of himself in the mirror. Wow—that just might be a record amount of slime, not that he was looking to best his previous experiences. He looked at the shower longingly, but settled for dunking his head in the sink to wash off what he could and swiping a towel for the rest.
The second towel was to protect the Impala's seats.
"You about done in there?" Sam banged on the door.
Dean pulled it open and stepped aside when Sam nearly fell on him. "What's your hurry?" he grumbled. "Is there a garage sale on the other side of the forest you just can't miss?"
"No, I just don't like hanging around places where I've almost been food. Or some other kind of dead."
"Fine." Dean started toward the door, but slowed as he passed the kitchen. His stomach growled.
"No!" Sam pushed him onward. "Remember what happened last time?"
"Okay, okay. God, you're pushy. Hey, is that a feather-duster over there, or some kind of offspring?"
"It's nothing," Sam said hastily. "Come on—it's still a ways to the car."
They locked up as best they could, and started walking back down the path into the forest.
"So how long was I stuck in there?" Dean asked.
"A couple of days," Sam admitted.
"Jesus, what were you doing all that time?"
Cleaning. Sam turned away to hide his blush. "Scheming a lot, and waiting for the monster to go to sleep, which apparently it didn't need to do. Not very often, anyway."
"What do you suppose it was?"
"I have no idea—a mutant demon? A cross between a werewolf and a Wendigo? Seriously, I don't know. It was more like something out of a bad fairytale."
Dean spotted the Impala up ahead and quickened his step. "That's ridiculous."
"Yeah?" Sam took a last look around the forest before getting into the car. "That's what you said about the pond Dad sent us to three months ago, and look how that turned out."
Frog lips, Dean thought, and shuddered.
He got the two of them out of that forest in record time, driving half the distance in reverse just to get as far away from that awful memory as possible.
Funny what the proper motivation could do…
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