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17 May 2012 @ 06:30 am
Dust Devils: Fox And The Goose (Chapter 8)  

March 15, 1935—Boise City, Oklahoma




Dust Devils

Chapter 8

Fox And The Goose

**O**

March 15, 1935—Boise City, Oklahoma

Anemic sunlight filtered through the window, light and shadow mottling Dean's face with the mirrored projection of the splotchy, fingerprinted glass. He watched the dust whip past the eaves, listened to the wind mourn in ceaseless, frigid wails. The shrill keening made him shiver more than the actual cold radiating from the window. He shrunk into his union suit, doing up the last few buttons with chilly fingers, grateful to Emma for giving him the long underwear.

The days spent with the Livingstons had now spilled into weeks. Despite the calendar, though, spring had yet to touch this anorexic moonscape. It was hollow and vacant and cold—all the more reason to appreciate the union suit protecting his shrinking body from the harsh elements.

The cold wasn't the only thing that badgered him, however. Like the grains of dust that wormed their way through the tiniest chinks in the pasted window-seams to harrow the women he had grown attached to, Sam had infiltrated Dean's subconscious. No matter how comforting the contact, be it a dream by night or a vision set off by some innocuous, mundane task by day, it frustrated Dean that he could not put the boy into the proper context of his life.

He remembered nothing solid. Other than his visions, his past presented itself as a series of gut-feelings and impressions, the most persistent of which was the pointed sense of urgency and impending danger. His senses told him a ferocious storm was brewing, and without his memories those around him were at risk. And like a Russian thistle ripped from its anchor in the earth sent to tumble through the desolate dunes, Dean felt upended and rootlessly tossed wherever the wind decided.

All attempts to remember his past ended in that black vortex. He could not circumvent those turbulent winds and sibilant whispers unless thrown there with no say in the matter, and, then, only as a spectator, allowed to watch confusing snippets, presumably from his past, play out like a movie. He'd questioned everyone about the day he'd arrived, but beyond finding him at the epicenter of what appeared to be an impossible dust devil inside the barn, there was nothing else to relay. The Livingstons seemed to take it in stride as they had every other blow life had dealt them. At this point, they worked with what they had, and they moved on. They didn't question, they adapted and made do. They certainly did not appear to be hiding anything. Except Slaid.

Dean could smell the deception on him, stronger than skunk-oil and turpentine. Emma, however, had made it clear to Slaid, Florabel, and Dean alike that she would not tolerate domestic contention. Things is bad enough without folks scrappin' aginst each other! Y'all mind me, now! He had to agree with Florabel; when Emma used that tone, you felt damned compelled to do as she said.

So, Dean did not challenge Slaid. He watched him, though—watched him go out daily to ‘check traps' and, more often than not, come home with nothing, which was odd, since Jeb had no trouble filling the house with jackrabbits. Hell, the pests had become such a plague the county was planning large drives to round them up and do away with them. Florabel begged Emma to allow them to participate as soon as Dean's shoulder permitted it. Yet, despite the inundation of rabbits, Slaid rarely brought any home from his hunting trips.

Slaid kept his distance since Emma laid down her law. He'd eat his meals, sullen and silent, eyeing Dean and Florabel as they joked and laughed together, and then he'd leave. Dean tried to follow him once, but Emma stopped him from going out in the dust and wind.

She'd been a task-mistress when it came to his shoulder, but the fact it had healed as well as it had was due in no small part to her vigilance. Dean tried as hard as he could to submit himself to her care without fussing. Every day the pins and needles in his arm and fingers lessened, and he was able to grip things again—not the way he could with his right, but he'd every reason to believe he'd have full use of the limb in a few weeks. Nevertheless, at Emma's insistence, he'd been relegated to the indoors, with the exception of quick visits to the outhouse. In order to keep his sanity, he'd helped Florabel weather-strip every window in the house, both upstairs and down, the two of them often winding up with more paste on them than on the windows. After one such paste'apalooza, as Dean called it, Emma insisted they wash their own clothes. That had somewhat put the kibosh on throwing paste-balls at each other.

Florabel and Dean had become inseparable. In the evenings they'd hold marble-competitions that even Jeb and Emma would gather around to watch. Dean threw the games, of course, but he always made sure he challenged her.

The little girl had shown him how to hunt for centipedes that she used for chickenfeed. When he'd had a particularly gruesome episode the first time he pried up the floorboards in search of centipedes, Florabel was right there to bring him back to reality. He'd had a horrifying vision of working with Sam to pry open an ancient coffin, revealing an old, desiccated corpse. When Florabel had asked what he'd seen, he said only that Sam had been helping him with something. But the vision had shaken him. After that, he started having nightmares involving Sam and him digging graves and fighting macabre creatures in the dark. The dreams frightened him, but, far more than that, they added to that sense of urgency needling him. Sam was the one constant in those dark dreams, but Dean's inability to latch onto any tangible memory of the boy frustrated him. Each and every dream resulted in a failure to make contact.

He buttoned his over-shirt and clasped the hooks on his overalls, giving the cold, swirling dust one more glance through the window. Florabel barreled in through the door, exploding with excitement.

"Mama says you can come and meet Molly today, Pally. We gotta git a move on! All them centipedes is trying to crawl out'a the pail!" She somersaulted onto the bed and jumped up and down on her knees.

Dean hung the wet sheet over the window, blocking out the dust and, for the time being, his growing concern. "Well, we better shake a leg, then, huh?" He held the door open for her as she pirouetted through it.

After making sure to shut the screen door quietly behind him, Dean almost bumped into Florabel who had stopped on the porch. She stood, holding her finger high in the air.

"C'mon, Pally. You gotta do this, too." She nudged his thigh with her elbow. He quirked an eyebrow and held up his finger. "No no, silly. You have to suck it first, so's you can feel the wind."

"I already feel the wind. It's everywhere," he said, turning to avoid getting a face-full of dust.

"Pally, it's important. You have to do this every morning. Watch me, now." She wiped off her finger and plunged it into her mouth, taking it out once it was slick and stringy with spit. "See? Now you."

Dean licked his finger and held it up. "What exactly are we trying to do?"

The little girl shrugged. "You just have to do it. It's what papas are supposed to do." She gave him sidelong glance.

Dean's finger drooped and he slipped into his pocket. "I'm not a papa," he said, forcing a casual smile.

"No." She shrugged. "Not yet you ain't." She picked up the pail and tossed her braid behind her. "C'mon. Molly really wants to meet you."

Cold wind corkscrewed about them, kicking grit into their mouths and eyes as they made their way along the path. Reaching the chicken-coop, the barn blocked most of the wind, but Dean shivered nonetheless. "Man, it's freakin' cold out here. Doesn't it ever get warm?"

"It does, Pally. It gits so hot in the summer you cain't think straight. Just you wait ‘n see." She clapped her hands as they approached the coop. "There! There she is! That's Molly. Do you see her, Pally?" She pointed and squealed as the red-feathered chicken broke away from her brood and waddled toward the child. "Ain't she purty?"

Dean opened the gate as Florabel ran to greet her friend. "She sure is."

"Molly is the best. Me ‘n her have been friends since she was a chick. We's bosom buddies. Just like me an' Lizzy Crawford. You ain't met her yet, Pally, but she's real nice. She's so purty y'cain't help but like her, but she ain't the kind to be mean if'n you ain't as purty as her. She was my best friend until…" She grinned and set down her pail, looking at Dean as though he shone. "…Until you come. You's my best friend, now." She picked up the docile chicken. "Come see her, Pally. She won't peck atcha."

"She's real pretty." Dean squatted until he was eye-level with the girl and the bird. "She's the brightest, prettiest chicken in the whole yard."

"She is." Florabel brushed her cheek across the bird's red feathers. She set the chicken down. "She loves to eat centipedes, too." Plucking a squiggling centipede from her pail, she flicked it in the bird's direction. Molly made a gobbling dash for it, rousing the interest and appetites of the rest of the brood. A wild cacophony of clucking filled the small yard as the other chickens scurried after their bright red sister.

"Here, Pally." Florabel handed him the pail. "You just tip it and let the critters fall. The chickens won't let none of them git away." Dean did as instructed and they watched the chickens sprint after their breakfast. "Now, while they's distracted we gotta git the eggs." Ducking into the coop and rooting around a moment, she held up an egg in triumph. "See?" She handed it to Dean.

After setting it in the pail, Dean turned, hearing footsteps approaching from somewhere behind them.

"Well if it isn't Dean and the little Doodlebug." Jeb greeted them as he ambled over. Slaid followed a few paces behind.

"Mornin' Old Jeb!" Florabel said as a large wall of dust slammed into them.

"Wind sure is kickin' up a fuss," Jeb said. "So, Emeline finally sprung yuh, did she?"

Dean gripped the old man's hand with a good-natured smile and gave a nod to Slaid, albeit a stiff one. He'd play nice. He'd try, anyway. "Yeah," he said. "The shoulder feels pretty good. Being able to get out and move makes it feel even better. The wind is a bitch, though."

"Welcome to No Man's Land, son." Jeb laughed. "Say, if'n you feel fit enough, might want to git you an' Slaid here to come take a look at the barn. I got the door hung so's to keep the dust away from Penny, but they's still a lot of work needin' doin' to make it right on the inside agin." He turned to Slaid. "You reckon me, you and Dean can start workin' on that?"

Slaid pivoted toward Dean and hurked a sinus full of snot, swishing it around his mouth a moment before spitting. The snot-wad hit the dust and balled into a large, gritty glob at Dean's feet. "Devil Fighter broke it. I reckon Devil Fighter can fix it without Slaid."

"Jehoshaphat, Slaid you ought never to pass up a chance to shut yer yap. You know that, boy?" Jeb looked the man up and down and snorted.

"I'll help collect the eggs." Slaid nodded toward Florabel. "Isn't that right, little one? You ‘n me will stay here and play with the chicks, ya?"

Florabel instinctively moved behind Dean. Dean held the pail away from Slaid as he reached for it, but remained cool. "Naw, man, it's okay," he said, bending down with his stronger arm and picking Florabel up. The child clung to him like a frightened spider monkey, each limb braiding around his body in a terror-fueled hug, shaking as she clutched him. "Florabel's coming with us." Coaxing her head from where she'd burrowed into his neck, he spoke to her. "Then you ‘n me can get the eggs afterwards, that sound good, ‘Bel? Besides, you still need to teach me the right way of collecting them, huh?" Refusing to speak or budge her eyes from the ground, Florabel plunged back toward the shelter of his neck and nodded. Dean bounced her on his hip and turned to the old farmer. "Okay, Jeb, lead the way."

Dean carried Florabel from the chicken-coop and locked the gate behind him, his senses on high alert. That she didn't like Slaid was a given, but this reaction went beyond dislike. Drawing slow circles on her back to assure her, he whispered in her ear. "You're okay, sweetheart. Pally's got you. I ain't gonna let anything bad happen to you."

***

Another bitter gust ripped through the barnyard as Slaid watched Dean and Florabel round the corner and disappear. Rage and hatred blew through him, fiercer than any shrieking wind.

His daily offerings had gained him no power over the wind-demon. With no control over the Hala, he had no control over the women. They had, in fact, pulled further away from him, focusing their friendship and affection on the stranger who'd rode the Hala into their world. Each passing day saw the bond between them deepen. Something had gone wrong, a misspoken word, perhaps, or a mistake during the summoning ritual. Whatever it was, the Devil Fighter should not have come. He didn't belong there.

And he was dangerous. Slaid could feel it. He'd kept his distance out of fear, watching and waiting, trying to figure out his next move without arousing suspicion or concern. Despite the Ördög Fighter's noticeable weight loss since arriving, Slaid knew he was no match for Dean in a physical confrontation. Something would have to be done soon. The women's love for the newcomer had all but rendered Slaid invisible. He decided to use that to his advantage.

He watched the chickens fight the wind, striving to remain upright as each gust assaulted their plump bodies. Slaid considered the jackrabbit offerings he'd made. The warmth of their blood had taken the edge off his personal need, but none of them had pleased the Hala. He pondered what offering might appease the demon and bend the women's affection toward him. Perhaps only an offering of great value to the little one and her mother would persuade the wind-demon. Slaid smiled at the thought.

Another surge of dust sent Molly scrabbling as she tumbled across the small yard. Slaid twined his fingers in the chicken wire, smiling as he watched the pretty bird struggle.

**O**

February 9, 2007—Boise City, Oklahoma

Dean's head throbbed and his stomach quivered. Pity he was too tired, too cold, too sore to remember the fun part of his bender. He reached up to rub his temple, stopping short when pain erupted in his shoulder. The shockwave moved down his arm and into his fingertips, forcing a guttural growl from him. Shivering, he opened his eyes, thoughts too puerile, too slow to understand where he was at first. Definitely not a hangover.

"Th'fuck, Sam?" he said, straddling that liminal cusp between sleep and waking. He heard no answer except the soft plunk of slushy raindrops on the roof of the Impala. Okay, the Impala. One mystery solved! Prying his forehead off the cold window, he sluggishly pushed himself into an upright position.

"Fuck!" He cupped his shoulder and moaned. "Sammy?"

Letting gravity do most of the work, he lolled his head toward the driver's seat. No Sam—nothing but the reflection of the rain hitting the windshield. Sleep tempted and seduced him as he vacantly watched phantom raindrops trickle down the vinyl seat, but he had to stay awake, right? He had to stay awake because Sam had said…uhmm…had promised…uhhhh. Sam had stopped somewhere to do—to check—crap. He couldn't remember a damn thing.

"Sammy…" When no answer came, concern and worry for his brother superseded his stupor and pain, and remaining conscious became a high priority. He shook his head, clearing it, sifting through his spotty memory of recent events.

They'd been talking to…fuck names are overrated…the contractor dude. They'd gotten a lot of information about the construction site, but Gerry…that was his name!...didn't know shit about the obvious haunting going on there. Other than supplying the name and address of the past owner, the dude had been useless. After that, Dean'd spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening arguing with Sam.

Back at the motel, Sam had pitched a hissy fit over Dean's infected bullet wound. After enduring half a dozen bitchfaces and several threats to hogtie him, drug him, or otherwise incapacitate him against his will, Dean'd caved, agreeing to head to the Roadhouse to get some rest and stronger meds. That had placated Sam enough to agree to investigate the construction site on their way out of town. Fuck. He must have fallen asleep on the way there. Jesus Christ.

He blinked his eyes several times, trying to get them to stay open. Squinting to focus, Dean noticed a receipt taped to the dash with a blue banana sticker. God, Sam and his bananas. What a girl. Dean snatched the note with his working hand and brought it close enough to read the pussy's flowery handwriting.

You're running a fever. STAY!!!! BRB. –S

"Like hell, Sammy." He wadded the receipt and tossed it into the backseat. Grabbing a water bottle, he gulped half of it and made ready to go find his brother.

It took a few failed attempts to open the door before he realized it was locked. Pulling up the knob, he irritably pushed the door open so fast he nearly spilled onto the wet gravel. He flung his right hand out and grasped the door, saving his fall and prying himself up. Blinking dumbly, he stood wobbling for balance before setting out in search of Sam. He cradled his arm and did the zombie-shuffle toward the building, getting halfway before remembering he hadn't brought the salt-gun. Patting himself, he verified his Colt was tucked into his waistband and loaded with iron bullets. After an exhausting walk, he entered the building, slipping through the tarp-covered doorway.

He saw no movement; although, it was too dark to be sure of anything. Patting his pockets for a flashlight, he realized he'd left that behind as well. Fucking fever was making him stupid. Didn't matter. He couldn't hold both the light and the gun, anyway.

"Sammy…"

The name fell flat, and the entire world suddenly tilted to the right. Swaying with the roll, Dean staggered into an unfinished wall. His left side exploded in pain, burning like jet fuel into his neck and scalp and down into his arm and fingers.

"Sammy?"

His stomach roiled, and he vomited the half-bottle of water all over his boots. Maybe the ghost-thing could wait a night or two, after all. He wanted to find Sam so he could admit defeat and let his brother help him back to the car. He didn't feel well, and Ellen's place sounded damn good at this point.

"Sammy!"

He worked his way deeper into the structure, gripping the wall for balance. Worry ate at him. "Sam!" He shouted his brother's name one more time before remembering it was the 21st Century and cell phones were a nifty perk of the new millennium.

"Fuck me." He fumbled, unable to get his cell phone from his pocket while holding his gun. He was too tired to think, and he really, really wanted to talk to Sam, so he let the gun drop with a thud. Pulling out his cell phone, he cleared his throat to hide any trace of fever and pain. Sam answered on the first ring.

Sam lit into him before Dean could say a single word. "Goddamn it, Dean. I just got back at the Impala. Come back. The place is empty. At least there's no activity tonight. I looked around for an hour, man. It's quiet." Dean heard Sam's angry feet stomping on gravel.

"Oh." He leaned against some sheetrock, trying to remember what he was doing. "Okay, Sammy," he said with vague, childlike obedience. He turned around and lurched into another wall, ricocheting off it. "Ow! There're fuckin' walls everywhere, Sammy."

"Hang on, Dean." More stomping crunches, coming faster now. "I'm coming to you. Don't move, damn it."

"I won', Sammy. Imma stay righ' here. M'in a big building-thing." He described his surroundings as he roved aimlessly through the structure. "An' here's ‘nother damn wall."

"Yeah, I got that, Dean." Sam stomped some more. "Just—just stay where you are."

"Yeah, ‘kay. I'll stay righ' here. Won' move," he promised as he wandered about. "S'really col', Sammy."

Sam sighed. "That's because you have a fever. We're going to the Roadhouse and we're gonna get you fixed up."

"Yeah, I know, dude, m'not delirious. I mean, it's cold." His breath smoked out in a puffy cloud. "Don' think I'm ‘lone. Did y'see where I pu' m'gun?" he asked, his voice slurred but untroubled.

He shuffled around searching for his discarded weapon. Rounding an unfinished hallway into to the large room he'd first entered, he spied the Colt on the floor.

"'Kay, n'mind here it is. Foun' it Sammy. S'cool." Pivoting away from the wall like a toddler, he tottered forward, nearly falling into the arms of a skeletally thin ghost. Dean stared at it, his brain failing to process the danger.

He waved his hand and phone through the apparition and jerked back in pain. "Awww Crap!" He dropped the frosted cell phone in surprise and hissed at the rimy residue on his hand. "That fuckin' hur's, dude."

He heard Sam stomp into the building. "Dean!"

"In here, Sammy," Dean yelled, wheeling on the ghost, focusing his languid, dopy eyes on the thing. The spectral image trembled and shuddered a few times before stabilizing. It sized Dean up. "What're you lookin' at?" Dean asked, returning the judgy once-over.

The ghost growled deep in its throat and raised its hands, electricity pulsing and zipping up and down its fingers. It passed arcs of light back and forth between its hands, like a man pulling taffy. The apparition's eyes gleamed as Sam loped into the room, aiming the salt-gun.

It turned its palms toward Dean. "I've waited a long time, Ördög Fighter."

"Dean, down!" Sam strode forward, eyes intent and lethal, finger twitching on the trigger.

Before Dean could respond, the spirit fired the first shot, blasting him with energy that sent him flying into Sam. Both brothers careered into the wall-studding several feet away.

Laughing, the ghost flickered and jolted toward them as a ferocious wind started to howl.

**O**

March 15, 1935—Boise City, Oklahoma

Black dirt swirled around the trio as they entered the barn and shut the door to block the worst of the wind. The smell of cow dung lingered in the dusty air; though, Dean also detected the faint odor of decay. Perhaps a small animal had taken shelter somewhere in the barn and never found its way out. He didn't give it another thought, however.

The little girl shuddering in his arms took his full attention. Setting Florabel on the ground, he crouched and placed his hands on her shoulders. She never took her eyes off the ground.

"Hey, Florabel, you okay, sweetheart?" She nodded, studying her shoes. Dean tilted her chin, forcing her to meet his eyes. "You don't look okay, what's goin' on, kiddo?" Florabel's eyes darted from Jeb to Dean. She shrugged. "Come on, you can tell us."

"She always gits like that when Slaid comes too close," Jeb said. "She don't like him much a'tall. He's mean enough to steal a coin off a dead man's eye, I'll grant y'that." He laughed and pet Florabel's head. "But, she thinks he done turned into a monster once. Ain't that right, dolly?"

"He did, Old Jeb. Exceptin' you and mama don't believe me. He changed into growlin', fearsome monster. He just don't growl so bad when you ‘n Mama is there." She leaned into Dean for safety. "It was awful, Pally." She snuffled, laying her head on his shoulder as he drew her in.

Jeb chuckled. "Did he change into a monster before or after you spotted them dragon eggs next to Molly?"

Florabel spun around, facing the old man. "Them dragon eggs was just pretend. I know they ain't for real. But Slaid is. I seen him. He just don't change unless we's alone." Her eyes smoked with defiance.

Dean didn't know what to think. Her fear appeared to be genuine. She was telling the truth—her truth—but he also remembered his conversation with Emma. Right or wrong, overactive imagination or not, Slaid terrified her. And Dean would protect her with everything he had. The farmhand would have to go through him to get to her.

"Okay, Jellybean," Jeb said, still petting her. "We ain't a-gonna make you fight no monsters today. And remember, I got me a gun right in my bunk. If'n any monster comes, well, either me or Dean will shoot it for ya. Ain't nothin' to worry about. Now, why don't we take a look at the barn and see what needs fixin'? Your mama will be obliged if we could git it back the way it was. She's got enough to fret about."

"Come on, Florabel." Dean rubbed her back and patted it. "Ain't nothing gonna happen to you while Jeb and I are watchin' out for you. I won't let any monster get to you, hear me?" he said. "Now why don't you and Jeb show me what happened here."

The little girl nodded and brightened, grabbing his hand. "I'll show you where I found you, Pally. It was just me that day. I thought you was a no account rail-rider!" She guided him past Penny's stall and into the open area of the barn.

Even in the pale light, Dean saw the extensive damage. Split beams and hay bales lay strewn about in a large debris field. A side-room had lost an entire wall and the loft had all but fallen.

He blew out a troubled breath. "Jesus."

"I picked up most of the gear and hay that got spilled, but the whole of the loft is in danger of collapse. A couple of them columns ain't nothin' but flinders now, and they's another support-column fixin' to fall, see?" Jeb pointed as they picked their way through the detritus. "I also stacked all the new wood we found in this corner. Might be able to make some use of it. Dunno how in the hell it all come here."

"Oh man," Dean said. "This is gonna take a lot of work to fix."

"That's a fact." Jeb glanced around, nodding. "But I reckon ain't no man ever drowned in his own sweat. We'll git it done." He inspected the worst of the columns and scratched his head. "It don't make no sense, though. Storm damage is s'posed to come from outside-in, not inside-out. I surely do wish you could remember what happened that night. It'd make a tale I'd be mighty interested in hearin'."

"Me too." Dean laid a hand on the splintered wood, and it suddenly felt like the ground gave way beneath him. With no warning other than the vaguest sensation of falling, his surroundings melted and morphed into something else.

When his vision cleared he was no longer in the barn. He stood in some kind of unfinished building, dark, wet and cold. Very cold. Looking up, he saw himself and Slaid standing face to face. He gasped as he watched himself wave his hand right through the farmhand's body as though he wasn't there.

That fuckin' hur's, dude, he heard himself say and watched his counterpart rub some frost off his hand.

The scene shifted and he now viewed things from a first-person's perspective, but he still had no true memory of the events. Just the same, the searing throbs radiating from his shoulder sure as hell felt real. He heard himself moan in excruciating pain.

At first, he also heard Florabel's earnest voice calling to him from far away, but her cries soon faded as the confrontation with Slaid progressed.

The eerie, pale light emanating from Slaid flickered and shifted, giving him an otherworldly, two-dimensional quality—surreal, yet radiating and all too palpable sense of malice and danger. The sound of Sam's lumbering feet on boards came from somewhere behind him.

In here, Sammy. His counterpart called as he continued his staring contest with Slaid.

Dean tried to turn and face Sam, to reach for him, but he had no control of the action. He was nothing more than an observer, a passenger in his own body. The image of monster-Slaid winked in and out of existence a few times.

What're you lookin' at? The other Dean raised a lone eyebrow at Slaid.

A wicked smile tickled the corners of Slaid's lips as the farmhand raised his hands and yo-yo'ed strands of electricity back and forth between them.

It's been a long time, Ördög Fighter. Slaid released a monstrous growl.

Dean, down! Sam's voice commanded him. Despite his wish to obey, Dean's shaking body responded a second too late.

With a flick of Slaid's electric hand, Dean sailed backwards, crashing into something hard with a sickening crack of agony. Crumpling in on himself like hot cellophane, Dean gripped his shoulder.

"You's okay, Pally!"

Dean heard a familiar voice in the distance. Exhausted from pain and fear, he sought out the voice, clinging to it, wanting nothing more than to get away from this vision.

"Ain't nothing gonna gitcha here."

He felt a small, warm hand on his cheek and he leaned into it, anchoring himself as the voice led him back home.

"Me an' Jeb, we's right here with you. Don't you fret, now. Open your eyes, Pally."

Battling his eyelids, he opened them, focusing on Florabel. This world may not be where he belonged, but it was more familiar and comforting than the one offered in his visions. He flailed and grappled, trying to find something solid and assuring to hold onto. The little girl in front of him twisted her fingers into his shirt, offering purchase. He touched her sunny braid. The phantom pain in his shoulder dissipated as his breathing returned to normal.

He looked from Florabel to Jeb, relieved to be back. "Wh'happened?"

"You had a bad spell, Pally. Didja see Sam agin?" She stroked his sweaty forehead.

He hissed, remembering the vision. Slaid. He'd seen him—or something that looked like him. It looked like a… "Yes…well, no," he said. "I think Sam was there somewhere, but I couldn't get to him. I saw something else, though."

"What? What didja see?" Florabel asked.

Dean's mouth worked soundlessly as he glanced around in a panic, raising himself on shaky elbows.

"It's okay, son, you's safe. It weren't real. You was here with us the whole time." Jeb helped the younger man sit up.

"What was it, Pally?"

"A monster." Dean rubbed his head in confusion. "I—I think I saw a monster."

**O**

March 16, 1935—Boise City, Oklahoma

With the house now dormant and long asleep, Slaid slipped down the ladder leading into the root cellar and readied the altar.

The Livingstons had made a big fuss over Dean that day, taking special care of their guest who'd, once again, fainted like a woman. They'd forced Slaid to do for himself while the woman and little one pampered the Devil Fighter. He quivered with rage at the thought of either one of them touching the man. And of course, Florabel had flounced around the entire day, taking charge where a child shouldn't, telling him to Git yer own supper, now. Mama and me's got work to do! Pally ain't feelin' good today. The little one should be taking orders from him, doing what he told her to do—not the other way around. More than that, he wanted her to want to do his bidding.

He'd been patient and obedient. He'd put up with their orders, suffered their wiles and endured them flaunting their bodies around him, driving him mad with the need to possess and discipline them—to punish and tame them to his liking. He needed the Hala's power. He'd done everything expected of him to earn the wind-demon's grace. Now it was the Hala's turn. If this didn't work, he'd have to find another tactic to force the women to obey him. At least he'd try this offering, hoping it would please the Hala better than the jackrabbits had.

Slaid removed his clothing and stroked his cock a few times, lustful grunts and obscenities spewing from his mouth. Rock-hard with anticipation, Slaid lit the candles and set the herbs smoldering in their bowls. All was ready. Bending down, he collected his clucking offering and placed it on the altar. He caressed the bird and cooed to it.

"What a beautiful thing." He stroked his dick and then the bird. "Such a pretty blood-red." He held it close to his chest, tucking it under his wing and fondling its head. "Florabel loves you so."

He gripped its neck and twisted it with a furious snap. Its final plaintive squawk sent blood coursing to his groin and he came, untouched, as the lantern flared to the ceiling. A wind ripped through the small, enclosed cellar, causing Slaid to drop the dead chicken back onto the altar. A surge of energy whipped through him, and he stood dumbfounded, staring at his hands as tendrils of electric light riffled across his skin. A heady power pulsed within him.

The Hala had accepted his offering.


Back to Master Post

Continue to Chapter 9

 
 
 
Jo: Bobby Dean hugapieceofcake on May 17th, 2012 01:01 pm (UTC)
Aww..poor Molly..I knew that was gonna happen when they went to the barn and left him there :-(

Dean, Emma and Florabel are really getting attatched to each other..that can't end well!

I was hoping that that surge of energy was somehow Sam & Bobby.
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on May 17th, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes...poor little chicken. Her only crime was being loved by Florabel. /sob

It's not even JUST that he'll have to eventually leave...how do you ever explain to these people where he's from and why he can't ever come back? I expect some ugly tears.

I'm quite certain that the hunters in 2007 will be on-the-job quite soon. Wonder if Dean will even recognize any contact they try to make as such? Amnesia's a bitch!

Thanks so very, VERY much for your comment! I so appreciate it!
jpgr: SPN boys dead signs anijpgr on May 17th, 2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks to the History CHannel this morning, I now know where you're heading with this. Dean has less than a month!

With the time-frame established, it makes things all the more tense.
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on May 17th, 2012 10:34 pm (UTC)
Mwahahahahaha... /wiggles little evil finger-bridge of doom!

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

I'm so looking forward to the next few chappies. I expect a veritable blizzard of activity. (oh...I slay me! I slayyyyyyyyyy me!)

;)

Thanks for your comments and for making me smile.
jpgr: SPN Rock Paper Scissors anijpgr on May 17th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
It was weird when they said Boise City OK. I was like "Hey, that sounds familiar"
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on May 17th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
Yes, it was that event that made me say "I am SO writing this story!" :)
tifachingtifaching on May 21st, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
Okay, I am not going to look this up so I can be surprised. It's cool that you're basing this on something real.
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on May 21st, 2012 10:57 pm (UTC)
Haha! Avert yer eyes!!!! Yes, there is a real-life event that is featured prominently in Dean's adventures. Of course I supernaturalize it all...but that's part of the fun!

No peekin' now!!!! Stay away from Google! ;)
deangirl1deangirl1 on May 17th, 2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, poor Florabel is going to be so upset over Molly- I knew he was going to go there, but still... and so, so not good!
Hopefully, Dean will be able to sort out his memories enough to defend himself and Emma and Florabel from Slaid.
I'm wondering if when Dean makes it back to the present if he will have the same disorientation again - only this time he'll be looking for Emma and Florabel?

Eagerly awaiting the next chapter as always!
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on May 17th, 2012 10:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks so very much for the comment! Yes, Dean absolutely needs to get his memories back. He's quite perceptive and intuitive, but there really is no substitute for his years of training when it comes to bringing monsters to justice.

You know, no matter what happens from the return trip, I'm sure Dean will be quite affected. I do not envy him his position!

Thanks heaps and gobbie-gobs for the comment! I appreciate it more than I can say!
twisted_slinky: slinky!deantwisted_slinky on May 18th, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so happy I decided to read your story. Thanks for sharing it with us--I can't wait for your next update. Poor Molly. And, Slaid is extremely disturbing--so well done! You must have really done your research for this story, and it shows. Nice job!
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on May 19th, 2012 02:20 am (UTC)
Aw, I'm so happy you decided to read my story, too! :) I appreciate your kind words and encouragement!

Slaid is, indeed, quite vile. I think we've only seen just a glimpse of how truly evil he is! Isn't THAT a scary thought?
twisted_slinky: slinky!deantwisted_slinky on May 19th, 2012 02:31 am (UTC)
You're right--that is a scary thought!
beckydaspazbeckydaspaz on May 18th, 2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
You know, sometimes I like being late to the party so I can read all the other peoples praises for this story, because it deserves every kind word.

Wonderful chapter, loved all of the character and story development. And I, of course, loved all the Dean/Florabel moments.

I'm making Team Florabel t-shirts as we speak, what size are you?

:D

Really great chapter, really terrifying ending (poor molly!) cain't wait for Monday to roll around so I can devour the next chapter!

keep on keeping on!

-Puddin'
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on May 19th, 2012 02:23 am (UTC)
Puddin'! Thanks ever so much for your outrageous kindness! Ha...Team Florabel. I'll take one in "small"...you know...so that it can cover only one boob...but, hey, you might actually think I'm a size "sm". Ha! ;) ;) ;)

You're awesome and you know it! Thanks heaps!
fangirl29fangirl29 on June 12th, 2012 06:21 am (UTC)
Another brilliant chapter! Your talent for well crafted figurative language makes this story & its characters come alive! Every emotion is so palpable, especially against such a significant & realistic back drop! I'm so saddened by Molly's death because it brought back memories of growing up in the country with our farm animals & my pet hen, Henrietta :( Silly, I know, but a child's attachment to animals is so very meaningful. Back to reading!
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on June 12th, 2012 12:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you SO much! I really appreciate your encouragement!

Ugh, yeah, poor Molly. Children have such STRONG attachments, so that makes it even that more heinous. Aw, bless your heart! I figured kids would have most of the barnyard animals completely named! Hope your Henrietta met a much better fate!