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[personal profile] last01standing
Title: The Shadow Men [1/?]
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Kripke owns SPN, not me
Summary:The campus of Stanford lies in ruins. The veil between hell and earth is getting thinner by the day and Sam Winchester may be the only thing standing between the world and total destruction. [AU, apocafic]


The shadows were alive, twisting together, sulking into corners and devouring all light that dared come near. There was a man in the shadows—no—a man made of shadows. A dark, hollow man with the light all scorched out of his eyes.

A clock nearby chimed midnight and a flutter of crows took to the sky. The shadow man’s face jerked upright toward the inky black lines of sky. There was an electricity to the air, an almost palpable feeling of magic and the shadows began to coalesce, solidify until there was man where the shadows had been. A man made of shadows with golden yellow eyes.

Not twenty miles away, Stanford was still burning.


The emergency room was past full. The patch-ridden blue seats were all filled. The sick, the dying, the healthy--there were hardly means to distinguish between the groups. Everyone was smudged with dirt and coughing up black from smoke-filled lungs. Every time the door to the back opened, dozens of heads swiveled toward the sound.

The nurse looked every bit as bad as the patients, hair disheveled and falling out of a loose pony tail in tangled clumps. The people at the registration desk had a backlog of at least twenty people.

Sam Winchester stood quietly just under the television, hunching over just a little to make sure his head didn’t jar the monitor. His hands were shoved in the pockets of his oversized jeans. Like everyone else in the room, he was smudged with ash, his clothes absolutely filthy, but he was still standing—one of the few who’d escaped the Stanford fire intact. He’d reached a sort of stasis in the past four hours, a mental compromise. If he didn’t move, he didn’t think and if he didn’t think, he didn’t have to remember.

Overhead the anchor was talking about Stanford and the rash of fatal fires and the death toll rising, rising, rising. Sam dropped his eyes and started counting the tiles on the floors. He hated emergency rooms. Hated hospitals. He couldn’t help but think of Uncle Bobby back in his sophomore year bleeding out from a hunting accident and the doctors in their prestige white lab coats saying there’s nothing we can do.

A kid bumped into his knees, looking up at him with innocent brown eyes. He was four years old if Sam had to guess, four years old and smudged with ash from a sight no one should ever have to witness at any age—much less four.

“Mister, are you a giant?”

Sam forced a laugh past his lips. His throat felt dry. He tried to smile. “No, I’m not a giant.”

It didn’t do anything to reassure the kid. His eyes widened noticeably and scampered back to his mother, a pretty red head with a nasty looking burn across the left side of her face. Sam felt the smile drop from his face, melted away by the heat of the still burning flames. Above him, the grave-voiced newscaster intoned, “There are still hundreds of students left unaccounted for.”

The emergency room door swung open. A sobbing woman stumbled out, groping for the empty box of tissues on the registration desk. Her face was red. There was snot coming out of her nose. When it was clear the call for them wasn’t forthcoming, people began to look away, sparing the woman a little bit of dignity.

Sam couldn’t tear his eyes away. There was real passion in this sorrow, something genuine and heartbreaking and beautiful in the way she collapsed.

“Jessica Moore?” Someone at the door called. “Was there anyone here with Jessica Moore?”

“Me!” Sam called, louder then he intended as he tore his eyes from the sobbing woman. “Me! I’m with Jessica Moore!”

He straightened up too quickly, bashing his head on the base of the TV stand before lunging forward and almost tripping over a girl with a broken wrist sitting at the base of her mother’s chair. “Sorry,” he mumbled, “sorry, sorry.”

But no one was looking at him anymore. Their name hadn’t been called, but Jessica’s had. Jessica who had been brought to the emergency room by ambulance almost five hours a girl. Jessica who had been on fire when Sam had last seen her. Jessica who had been burning with all the fury of the sun.

It was a doctor asking for him and not a nurse and the incongruity jarred him to the bone. The doctor’s lab coat had a blood stain on the left collar, dried but still fresh. His stethoscope was slung across his neck. He was pale-faced with huge dark circles under his eyes like he hadn’t eaten since he woke up this morning. “You’re with Jessica Moore.”

“Yeah,” Sam said. “I’m Sam. Sam Winchester. Jessica’s fiancé.”

The doctor looked down at his chart and then back to Sam. “Come with me, Mr. Winchester.”

Sam slipped in through the emergency room. There was a patient lying on a hospital bed just inside, breathing through an oxygen mask. Sam could hear the constant whir of sirens echoing from outside.

The doctor was moving briskly, threading his way through the battery of nurses and doctors that flitted from room to room. It seemed to Sam that there were victims everywhere. Every room was occupied and most had patients in wheelchairs perched just outside.

They finally came to a rest outside room nineteen. The shades were drawn and the door was closed but Sam fought to see through them despite himself. “Is this Jess’s room? Is she all right? Can I see her?”

“Mr. Winchester,” the doctor said, adopting a grave tone that dropped a pit in Sam’s stomach, “There were some complications between the burns and the smoke inhalation. Not to mention the lacerations to the stomach. We did all we could, but Ms. Moore passed about ten minutes ago.”

The sound cut out. All Sam could hear was his own heartbeat throbbing in his throat. This couldn’t be happening. He’d gotten there in time. He knew he’d gotten there in time. He’d pulled her out. He’d kept her breathing until the ambulance got here and he’d waited and waited and waited. The longer she was back there, the more confident he’d felt. The more sure he’d been that she would make it, that she would pull through.

“Mr. Winchester?”

There was suddenly a hand on his shoulder, the haggard doctor’s awkward attempts to console him. But Sam didn’t need comfort. He couldn’t feel anything right now even if he wanted too. He forced his lips open, forced his tongue to fold itself around the words. “Can I see here?”

The doctor pursed his lips and glanced down the hall, at the myriad of people suffering outside rooms, towards the waiting room where dozens more tried to keep themselves together. “You have five minutes. I apologize for the callousness, Mr. Winchester, but we’re short of rooms and there are people out there who could really use it.”

“I understand,” Sam said thickly. “Do you think I could see her alone.”

“Of course,” the doctor said. “I’ll be back to check on you.”

Sam stared at the door for a long moment and then, he reached for the handle, twisted it and pushed it open. He felt like he was a million miles away, watching his own actions through a telescope instead of living them. He watched as he carefully shut the door, he watched as he pulled back the sheet to get a look at Jessica’s face and then he was crashing screaming back down to earth as it hit him all at once. There smell was rancid something from a battlefield, a mixture of burning hair and scorched flesh. The skin on the left side of Jess’s face was red and melted and the slash across her stomach was stitched up almost roughly with more than a hundred tiny black lines like the bride of Frankenstein. She was almost unrecognizable, her face melted, her hair black and burned, the only thing that could confirm her identity was the small diamond ring on her left hand that Sam himself had placed there only a week before.

He felt gutted, empty like the world had split on its seams and spilled his soul out along with it. “Damn it, Jess,” he whispered, grasping her still cooling hand in his own. “We were going to get married.”

He could still see here if he closed her eyes. He could see her where he found her, pinned to the ceiling by some invisible force only that couldn’t be happening because that couldn’t have been real. People didn’t—just—

Pain sliced through him, starting at the temples and shooting down around his spine. He collapsed, knees meeting unyielding tiles with a sickening crash. His torso sifted sideways, upending a heart monitor along with it. Before his eyes played images of fire, of pain, people screaming. He though he saw the registration desk, this room, a janitor in the back of the hospital with yellow eyes burning like the sun.

“Mr. Winchester!”

There was a light in his eyes. “Mr. Winchester, can you hear me?”

Sam gasped, the room snapping back into focus. A doctor was bending over him, shining a light into his eyes. Jessica’s corpse was somewhere above him. He could see the hand with the ring dangling limply over the side.

“Mr. Winchester! Can you hear me?”

And then more distantly: “Jesus Christ, we can’t fucking spare another bed.”

“I’m fine,” Sam said, pushing the doctor away. “I’m all right. Get away.”

“Mr. Winchester, can you tell me what happened?”

“There’s going to be a fire,” Sam said, pushing himself to his feet and wobbling toward the door.

“Mr. Winchester, I strongly advise against any sudden movements. You’ve just passed out, you’re going to need—“

“There’s going to be a fire, here,” Sam insisted, shoving the doctor out of the way. “Soon. Maybe it’s even started right now.”

“The fires are in Stanford, Mr. Winchester. You’re perfectly safe here, I assure you,” the doctor said, arms raised in a placating manner. “Now I really must insist you settle down so you can be looked at.”

Sam froze for the briefest of seconds, considering all of the options all of the alternatives. This was insanity, but there’s been nothing but insanity these past few hours.

And what if he was right.

He jerked into motion, darting through the partially opened door and into the inner workings of the emergency room. He crashed through a nurse, rounded a corner, yanking hard on the fire alarm affixed to the wall as he turned. The alarm system screeched, lights flashed and the building went up in a panic. Sam glanced over his shoulder to see that Jess’s doctor was pursuing him and Sam didn’t have much hope at disappearing with his hulking six foot four frame. He ducked through another corner and onto an ambulance ramp before hitting the pavement and the wash of unseasonably warm October air. He didn’t stop until he’d reached the outskirts of the parking lot, turning back around and gulping air. There was no one following him, but he could see a flood of people pouring out of the ER and other entrances of the hospital and in the distance on the horizon, he could see the smoke from the still burning campus of Stanford.

His chest heaved and he doubled over, pulling at the knees of his jeans, sucking wind like he’d just finished a marathon. Everything about the hospital was fine.

Of course it was fine. There was no reason why it wouldn’t be. No reason to think that the bizarre vision had come from anything other then stress and shock. But then Sam saw a flicker in one of the windows, a yellow flame waving from a patient’s room on the second floor. And a second later, there were a half dozen yellow flames and the next even more. Sam stared, wide-eyed at the spectacle. There had to be at least two dozen points of origin and that wasn’t real. That wasn’t possible. The whole hospital couldn’t be burning, just like Stanford couldn’t be burning and Jess couldn’t be dead and he couldn’t have seen it before it had actually happened.

He could hear the screams starting to rise, the discordant sounds of a symphony orchestra tuning through the otherwise silent night and he was suddenly seized by terror. He needed to get out of here, to get away. He started trying car doors one after the other until the door for a dark blue four-door Toyota slid open. He didn’t even bare a though to the vehicle’s owner. Odds were they wouldn’t be needing it.

Sam fought down an almost hysterical snort of laugher as he groped at the wires under the steering wheel, touching two together until he heard the engine roll over. He’d grown up on Uncle Bobby’s junkyard where hotwiring a car was sometimes the only way to get it rolling and he’d never thought he’d be using that knowledge for this.

The gas gage read three quarters full and Sam roared out of the parking lot, skidding around the corner and running three stop signs along the way.


I've started my first WIP in almost two years. God save us all.
2 | 

(no subject)

19/8/08 03:19 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I usually don't read WIP,I'm always afraid they won't be finished...I do hope you complete this one. I was totally engrossed..

(no subject)

19/8/08 12:23 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
You know, I always say the same think. Which is why I try to bot freaking write WIPS. I fully intend to finished this though. I've never not finished something I've posted. It's a point of honor. =)

Glad you're enjoying it.

(no subject)

19/8/08 15:33 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Glad to hear you feel that way. I know sometimes muses disappear,maybe writers should try chaing them to a wall:).
Looking forward to the next part.

(no subject)

19/8/08 20:24 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I ride the initial rush as long as I can. Post may slow down, but as I have an ending in sight, they shouldn't actually dissappear all together.

if all else fails, I will chain my muses to the wall. That's a good idea. =)

(no subject)

19/8/08 03:41 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
The pigeon lady is intrigued. Very intrigued.

(no subject)

19/8/08 12:25 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
=). I've got big plans for this one...

(no subject)

19/8/08 10:33 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Oh, this is intriguing. I love how you toss us right into the middle of the chaos, with minimal explanation about Bobby and none about Dean or John. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

(no subject)

19/8/08 12:33 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Exposition is for wimps! Half the fun of the AU is picking out the places where it is AU and where it's just more of the same. I hope you stick around to find out.

(no subject)

19/8/08 18:56 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Oooooooooh, i love this start. Very cool! Very creepy. Poor Jess!
*hugs Sam*

Can't wait to see what's next.

(no subject)

19/8/08 20:23 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Thank you! This actually started with my attempts at descriptive, atmospheric writing, which I'm trying to work on and suddenly there was plot. I'm glad that seemed to get through.

Can't wait to get the next part up! My muses are firing on all points. =)

(no subject)

22/8/08 01:55 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Interesting. Can't wait to see where you go with this.

(no subject)

22/8/08 21:24 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
=) Oh there are big apocalyptic plans for this one.


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July 2015

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