last01standing: ([BtVS] Hush)
[personal profile] last01standing
Title: The Shadow Men [3/?]
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]
Previous Parts:1 | 2



THE SHADOW MEN
CHAPTER 3


Mason’s truck wasn’t build for three people. Sam claimed shotgun the second he saw the car which left Chris sprawled sideways in the barely there back seat. Not forty miles away from Singer’s Salvage, Sam was starting to regret his rash decision. Chris had been glaring daggers at him since they left. She’d fought fiercely against the decision, but she’d refused to let him go alone and Sam had refused to let Mason leave without him.

For his part, Mason was in sour tempers, bitter about dragging along of a few kids along for the ride. Sam had jumped headfirst into this strange new existence with nothing to his name. Almost everything he’d owned had been in that apartment at Stanford. Jess was dead. All he had were the clothes on his back and a slow burning drive for revenge.

Not even a day through the road trip, Sam was curled up on the floor of a run down motel room, sleeping uneasily under dim lights and peeling wallpaper when Chris gently poked his shoulders. He startled awake, flailing his arms and catching her roughly in the cheek. “Jesus, Sammy. Bad dreams?”

Sam blinked the sleep out of his eyes, hazy pictures of fire and smoke. “What’s wrong, Chris?”

“Why are we doing this, Sam?” On the second of the double beds, Mason let out a loud snore. Chris lowered her voice. “Come on, you’re not like this. The Sam Winchester I know doesn’t go running off into the darkness without a plan. What happened?”

Sam bit his lip hard enough to draw blood. Chris seemed smaller in the darkness, almost frail, but Sam didn’t have a thing he could do to sugarcoat a thing. There was nothing he could say to make this easier. “Jessica’s dead.”

“Shit, Sammy,” Chris said. She put a hand on his shoulder. It was the first time anyone had touched him since the Stanford fires. “I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing you can say to make this all right.”

From the bed, Mason was still snoring. There was a trunk full of weapons at the foot of Mason’s bed. There were solid lines of salt at all the doors and windows. To ward off demons, Mason had said, don’t got a clue why it works, but it does.

Neither of them slept that night.

The next day, they drove to the sight of one of the mysterious fires and found only ashes. They hung around asking questions for a few days, but it was soon clear that whatever had caused the fire was long gone. So they went to Omaha where a poltergeist was terrorizing a school building. According to Mason, it was a cut and dry case. The poltergeist used to be a girl, just nineteen years old when her boyfriend strangled her on prom night. Mason did a little investigative work and the found themselves standing by the grave of a Candice Leroy just before midnight with a shovel, some lighter fluid and a box of road salt.

Sam and Mason dug the grave, side by side but not saying anything. Chris held the flashlight and kept watch. It was Sam who hit the coffin first, arms screaming in protest at the unfamiliar motions. Mason gave him a quick smile and set to work with clearing the dirt from the top. They were just about to pry the lid off of the coffin when Chris let loose an ear splitting scream. Mason tossed the lighter fluid and a box of matches to Sam before pulling himself out of the open grave and pulling a shotgun from the depths of his jacket. “What’s happening?” Sam asked.

Chris’s screams ceased abruptly, somehow the silence was worse. “Finish the job!” Mason ordered, before running toward the direction of the noise.

Sam looked around helplessly before tugging the life of the coffin up. Inside, the girl, Candice Leroy, had nearly rotted away. All that was left were bones, a few strands of white blonde and a filthy black dress. The stench hit him all at once and if he had eaten anything in the past twenty-four hours, he would have lost it right then and there. He hauled himself out of the grave, tossing his shovel down before he made the exit. Somewhere behind him, he heard the sharp crack of a shotgun blast and he looked just in time to see a blonde figure explode into mist. Chris was bleeding. “God damn it, kid. Do the damn job!”

Spurred into action, Sam undid the can of accelerant, flinching at the smell of gasoline on the night air. He dumped it into the grave with one hand and with the other, doused the remains in salt. He struggled with the match for a second and light one on the third try and dropped it into the grave. There was a sudden roar of fire and Sam stared at it, momentarily transfixed thinking of Stanford and Jessica. Then he remembered the spirit and turned on his heels just in time to see the blonde figure flicker and her frame crumbled into a thin column of flames. Mason lowered the shot gun. “Job done, let’s get out of here before someone takes notice.”

Sam watched him, breathing heavily, the smoke from the air burning the lining of his throat. Chris stumbled over to the car, fell to all fours and hurled into the dying grass. The dates on the gravestone read 1971-1990. Nineteen years old. The same age as Chris was right now. It was only three years younger then Sam himself. Sam crouched down next to her and rubbed a circle in her back, trying not to notice the tears streaming down her face. Mason packed up quickly, ushered them into the cars and a day’s drive later they were in a town in Indiana where there had been a series of cattle mutilations which Mason said were demonic omens but really turned out to be a werewolf’s hunting grounds. Chris had shrieked when the creature turning back into a man and that night, sitting outside their motel room she’d whispered, “I don’t know how long I can do this.”

Mason was visible through the cracked blinds in the window, cleaning his guns. Sam felt something in his gut clench. “It’s going to be all right, Chris,” Sam said.

“How can it be?” Chris asked. “I’m a mechanic who’s started hunting monsters. Your girlfriend’s dead, the whole damn country’s up in smoke and I’m fairly sure Mason’s a borderline sociopath.”

“Chris,” Sam said.

“I can’t stay,” Chris said. “I can’t do this. I’m going to go back to Singer’s Salvage and keep running the place. It’s still your place and you’re welcome anytime, but—“ She glared into the window as Mason examined the barrel of the gun. “—he’s not, Sammy. I don’t trust him.”

Sam slid down next to her, slinging his arm over her shoulders and pulling her towards him. Chris leaned into him, quiet tears racing down dirty cheeks. She sniffled. “I’m not cut out for this. I thought I was one of the strong ones but I guess I was wrong.”

“Chris, I don’t think that’s a sign of weakness.”

She didn’t say anything else. They went back into the motel room without even looking each other. Mason took one of the double beds. Chris took the other. Sam stole the comforters off of both the beds and set up shop on the floor. He dreamed of a fire and Jess and when he woke up Mason was still asleep but Chris was gone.

Sam panicked for a moment but then checked his phone to see Chris’s text message that said left 4 home. He breathed a sigh of relief and pulled himself up off the ground and into the bed Chris had left vacant. He felt a quiet tinge of pain in his forehead and reached up to massage his temples. Then he felt the pain again clutching at his head as the motel room flickered in front of him and all of a sudden there was fire sparking up out of an old house with a tree oddly situated in front yard. There was the flicker of numbers on the door, a sign reading Lawrence Kansas. The smoke started clearing and that left a man staggering out of the smoke, his face shrouded in shadows and Sam gasped as the motel edged its way back into his sights. He was lying on his back, staring up at the grungy white ceiling of the hotel room. Near the corner, the paint was peeling. Sam rolled off the bed, stumbling slightly as his feet hit carpet and staggered over to Mason’s bed shaking him as roughly as he dared. Mason sat up almost immediately, his hand reaching out to grasp Sam’s throat. Sam choked, trying to get the words out, but it took a little for Mason to realize where he was and what was happening. “Jesus, kid. Don’t fucking do that!”

“We need to go to Lawrence Kansas,” Sam said, his vocal cords protesting at the strain. “There’s going to be a fire.”

Mason was out of bed, pulling on his boots and his jacket before in less then a second. “How do you know about this?”

“Demonic omens,” Sam lied. “There’s a coffee shop across the street with internet and—“

“Wasting time now then,” Mason said, slinging his duffle bag over his shoulder. “Let’s go. Wake up the girl.”

“Chris is gone,” Sam said.

Mason didn’t blink, didn’t ask why, just shrugged and pushed his way out the door saying, “Come on, Sammy boy.”

Sam followed him out the door, not even bothering to correct the nickname.

________________________________________________________________________


Riding shotgun as an old Johnny Cash song blared from the speakers, Sam looked out the window trying to think of a way to maneuver the both to the correct house without mentioning the word vision. If Mason found out about these visions, he was screwed. Mason was a force to be reckoned with, a scourge of all things paranormal. He hadn’t even blinked when the werewolf he’d shot had turned back into a person and Sam was willing to be he wouldn’t blink before pumping a round into a vision having freak.

But as it turned out, Sam didn’t need an excuse, all they had to do was follow the smoke. Sam felt his stomach clench as the rounded the corner onto the street with the burning house Sam had seen in his dream. There was a pit forming in his stomach, despite everything, he’d been able to save some of the people at the hospital, but this was different, this was worse. There’d been no way he could get here in time. Mason pulled the truck to the side of the road and pulled a fake id from the box in the glove compartment before striding out and over to the fire truck. Sam looked in the other direction. Mason had an easiness about deception, something he could never quite be comfortable with. When he was a kid, Bobby had used him on a few cons but he’d never been comfortable with the arrangements. Not like Mason who strode over to the fire men with confidence oozing out of every pore.

A few minutes later he was back next to Sam. “Nothing new,” he said. “They can’t put it out with what they have. They just need to let it burn and hope to hell nothing nearby catches.”

“What’s doing this?” Sam asked. “There’s got to be a reason.”

“Damned if I care,” Mason growled. “I just want to find something to kill.”

Something to kill, something to shoot, something to burn, dismember or destroy. Sam worried about it sometimes. He’d always been one to see both sides of the issue. It was why he’d gone pre-law in Stanford because there was no absolute good and no absolute evil. With a sigh, Sam turned his head toward the smoldering remains of the house only to see a man stumbling out of the shadows on unsteady legs. His face was shrouded in shadows, but it could have easily been ash from the flames. “Hey,” Sam said. “Do you see that?”

Mason put his hand on his jacket pocket, feeling the barrel of his sawed off shotgun. “I think that’s one of the shadow men.”

The firemen were loitering by the engine, dejected and jaded in face of a fire they couldn’t stop. Mason moved toward the house, toward the man. Sam followed closely behind him, glancing over his shoulder to make sure they weren’t being watched.

The shadow man tripped, almost falling to his knees, but he put out a hand to stop himself and struggled to his feet. Every step he took from the flames he seemed to get more solid, the shadows fading from his face. He looked human. He looked like a person.

Mason drew his gun, taking aim at the figure. “Wait!” Sam said. “Don’t.”

The figure tripped again, this time collapsing fully. Sam could make out light brown hair, skin slicked with blood, a sort of pendant dropping from his neck. Mason gave him a look. “This ain’t the time to be pissing around, kid.”

In front of them, the shadow men coughed and it looked darker then normal, but Sam swore that was blood. “I think he’s hurt.”

“Jesus Christ,” Mason growled, slipped the safety off the gun and pulled the trigger. Sam caught his hand just before the gun went off, jerking it up just enough so that it missed the fatal areas of the figure. Instead it clipped him in the shoulder. The body seized up, clutching the shoulder in apparent pain but he didn’t make a sound.

“What the fuck was that?” Mason growled rounding on Sam. “It’s probably the thing that started the fire. Who knows how many people it’s killed?”

“You can’t know that,” Sam said. “You can’t just go shooting things without asking questions. We don’t even know if it’s done anything wrong.”

Something in Mason’s face shut down. He shoot first and asked questions later. He carried out his hunts quickly and efficiently with the minimum amount of emotion. Sam got the feeling he’d shut down far before this, turned off every facet of his life except the hunt. “I’m done with you,” he said tonelessly. He shoved the shotgun into Sam’s head along with iron knife. “This is the last bit of help you’re going to get from me. If you get killed, that’s on your head.” He turned away, stalking back toward the couch. “And find your own fucking way out of Kansas.”

Sam watched Mason leave in a mute short of shock. He was alone again. Chris had deserted him. Mason had left him to fend for himself. There was nothing he could do except watch the taillights of Mason’s truck disappearing. Finally a small moan from the man shocked him back into the present. He turned around, bent over and grabbed the man by his good shoulder. And hauled him to his feet.

The shadow man felt surprisingly solid to his fingers, the blood on his side oppressively real. “Come on,” he muttered. “Let’s go.”

The gaze that greeted him was foggy with pain instead of filled with malice. Sam looped his arm under the shoulder, letting most of the man’s weight fall on him. The man moaned lightly, but didn’t make another sound. Sam got the feeling that most people with this level of injury would have been screaming in pain or---

Suddenly there was an influx of weight onto his shoulders. He looked to his side. The man’s head had lolled to his chest, his feet dragged in the grass. Sam swore softly, doing his best to keep the swaying body from crashing to the floor. He needed to get to a hospital only he couldn’t go to a hospital. Not with this man and not with the flames that seem to follow him where ever he goes.

He had no idea what to do next.

________________________________________________________________________


Well tomorrow's the first day of classes but I'm on such a roll right now it might not even matter. 'til next time!
4 | 

(no subject)

25/8/08 02:37 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mrsevilpigeon.livejournal.com
Screw your education, just write another chapter!

Kidding of course, but I really am loving this.

(no subject)

25/8/08 02:41 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
hee!

Don't worry, another chapter is what I'm doing RIGHT NOW. I'm about 1K in. The chapters have all been around 2.5k. I'm still riding the initial OMG IDEA buzz and things are going fantasticly. I'm really psyched for writing this one . =)

(no subject)

25/8/08 02:44 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] redrikki.livejournal.com
Is the shadow man Dean? And yeah, Chris was right. Mason is not just borderline psychotic, he's actually psychotic.

(no subject)

25/8/08 02:50 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
I can't give that away! Except by telling y'all Dean was in this chapter, I kind of did, huh? Whatever, there's a story there. A big part of the story actually and it's going to be freaking epic.

Hey, it's not just Mason who's off his rocker. It's always kind of occurred to me that most hunters were crazy.

(no subject)

25/8/08 03:49 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] tabaqui.livejournal.com
Ooh, poor Chris. She's better off out of it. Someone has to take care of Bobby's stuff, anyway. :)

And i really am thinking Sam's much, much better off without Mason.
*bounce*

Wheee!

(no subject)

25/8/08 03:52 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
*Twirls you*

I love writing for Chris. She talks so big but is such a coward. Mason on the other hand is just a loose cannon. He's likely to go the way of Gordon if I leave him to his own devices....

Glad you're liking this. I'll try to get more off pronto.

(no subject)

25/8/08 05:53 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] morganslady.livejournal.com
Thanky you for another wonderful chapter. Mason is one scary dude.

(no subject)

25/8/08 19:25 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
You're quite welcome. It makes me happy that Mason actually comes off as scary. =)