Rating: R for language and violence
Spoilers: It takes place after "Nightmare" and before "Shadows" so anything up to there is fair game.
Summary: Sam and Dean have to figure out what's causing all the bodies buried in an small town cemetery to suddenly come alive again.
It turned out it wasn’t actually that hard to track down someone who remembered the three teenagers that went missing some thirty odd years ago. Much to Sam’s surprise. But he guessed he shouldn’t have expected anything different. He’d forgotten that in small towns, people usually stay there for generations. And luckily, one of the kids had been the son of some farm owner who, at one time, had owned half the land in Bethlehem. So it wasn’t too hard to track down that kid’s brother.
The brother’s name was Rick James, which amused Dean to no end and annoyed the hell out of Sam as he was forced to listen to his brother make Rick James jokes almost nonstop for a thirty minute period of waiting for Mr. James to get out of a conference meeting. Sam swore to God if he heard one more, “I’m Rick James, bitch,” come out of Dean’s mouth, he was going to murder him. In cold blood. Seriously.
Lucky for the both of them, the object of Dean’s amusement finally showed himself and not a moment too soon. Sam had been clenching his fists, ready to wrap them around his brother’s throat. A little strangulation never hurt anyone.
Sam stood up quickly as Rick came over to them, wary look on his face. He held out his hands, “Richard James?” Sam asked as the man took his hand and shook it.
“That’s right,” Rick said and shook Dean’s hand as well. “Rick, please.”
Sam, upon seeing Dean’s grin widen a fraction, decided that he would do the talking in this side of the conversation. Dean had lost all talking privileges. “Rick, we’re from the Herald. My name’s Nick, this is my partner Francis.” He took great delight out of the scowl that replaced Dean’s stupid grin. “We’re doing an article on historical unsolved mysteries in the area and we were wondering if we could talk to you about your brother, Tomas.”
Rick’s face fell a little, but then he nodded and Sam felt relieved. He knew how hard it was to bring up topics like this. Thank God the guy seemed to be in a good mood. “Sure,” Rick said and held out his hand towards the chairs Sam and Dean had just vacated. “Why don’t we take a seat.” They all sat down and Sam leaned forward, ready to get down to business. “What would you like to know?”
“We read that your brother was on a road trip when he first went missing,” Sam started as gently as he could.
Rick nodded. “That’s right,” he confirmed. “Him and his friends, Ben and Kirby. They’d been planning that stupid road trip for months.” Rick let out a small laugh. “It was all Tommy talked about. Supposed to be their big liberation from childhood before they went off to college.”
“Do you know if they had planned on passing through Oak Springs or if they just somehow wound up there. Maybe got lost or something?” Sam asked, trying to keep his voice gentle, coaxing.
“Oh no, they meant to go to Oak Springs. That’s actually where they were road tripping to,” Rick laughed and shook his head.
Dean snorted. “Two hours away from home? That’s not really a road trip…”
Rick nodded. “I know,” he smiled. “Tommy just always called it a road trip. I mean he’d never left Bethlehem before. It was the furthest he’d ever been from home.” Rick’s eyes went distant. “It’s unfair, really.” He looked at both of them, eyes watering. “First time he ever left home…and he never came back.”
They gave him a moment to gather himself. Sam glanced at Dean, who met his eyes, exchanging a look that spoke a million words. Dean looked away first, but not before Sam could gather what his brother was saying with his eyes. Thank you. Thank you for coming back. Sam felt guilt surge through him again. There’d been a time, during those years at Stanford, when Sam didn’t think he’d ever come back. When he’d been ready to give up his family, give up his childhood and forget they ever happened, ever existed. Looking back, Sam didn’t know how he could have ever been ready to do that. Sitting here by Dean, just being with his brother, how could he have ever been ready to give that up?
Sam cleared his throat. He hated it when he got all nostalgic when he was supposed to be working. “Rick, if you don’t mind me asking, why Oak Springs? Why go there? Out of all the places they could have gone.”
“Oh it was that dumb story,” Rick said, leaning back and smiling again. “Tommy was obsessed.”
“What story?” Dean asked, taking his arm from the back of Sam’s chair and leaning forward, unknowingly mimicking his brother’s position.
Rick looked between the two. “The treasure story. You never heard it? Oak Springs is a pretty big local legend.”
“Oh,” Sam said and fumbled to make something up. “We just transferred here a few months ago. We’re not all that familiar with local lore yet.”
Nodding in understanding, Rick said, “Well it used to be huge when we were kids. There was supposed to be buried treasure in Oak Springs. Story goes that back when the colonies first started, a caravan of colonists passed through Oak Springs, one of them a rich lord of some sort. This lord had gotten word of thieves robbing people, stealing everything they had. So he buried his riches. Gold, gems, everything that was worth anything, he buried somewhere in Oak Springs. They say the thieves attacked him and his caravan. And when they couldn’t find anything valuable, they murdered them all. His treasure’s still buried there to this day.”
“Kinda sounds hokey,” Dean said.
Rick snorted. “It probably is. But you gotta understand, it was the thing to do back then. Go looking for treasure, all Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn. Kids around here went all the time looking for it. Hell I even went once with my buddies before I enlisted. It’s tradition, you know, one last hoorah before real life sets in.”
“So they were treasure hunting?” Sam asked, interested.
Rick nodded again. “Oh yeah, and Tommy had it all figured out. He’d mouth off to anyone and everyone that he knew exactly where it was buried. That he was coming home a rich man. Promised to buy me a Cadillac.” Rick laughed again, leaning his head. “Told him I always wanted a Chevy.”
“Good man,” Dean admired.
Sam ignored the car talk and focused on the details. No wonder he did all the talking. Dean got distracted easily. No wonder Dean got along with Joshua so well. They both got distracted by cars and pretty faces.
“Rick, did your brother ever tell you where he thought it was buried?”
“No,” Rick answered. “Never told anyone. Not even Ben or Kirby. Said it had to be a secret so no one else got there before them.”
Sam sighed. Well that wouldn’t help them. But now they knew what the kids back then had been doing in Oak Springs. Maybe it meant something. If that legend with the colonists was true, maybe they had a classic ghost story on their hands? Though that wouldn’t explain the entire graveyard or moving bodies they had on their hands.
Standing up, Sam held out his hand. “Well, Rick, thanks for talking with us.”
Rick and Dean stood up at the same time and they all shook hands. “Not a problem,” Rick replied. Sam and Dean turned to leave, but Rick stopped them again. “Hey.” They turned back around. “They told me…” he paused when his voice broke. He cleared it and went on. “They told me it was an animal attack. A cougar probably. I know it’s not true. I know something…someone killed my brother.” Sam didn’t miss that slip up. Something indeed. “I don’t know what you guys plan on doing, I don’t know if this is your last stop or if you’re going to look into it more. But if you find out something, I’d like to know.”
Sam swallowed hard. “Sure,” he said quietly. Rick nodded back, understanding passing between them. Rick was a believer. He may not have ever seen or encountered anything supernatural, but from just that one look, Sam could tell he thought something supernatural had happened to his brother.
They turned around and walked out of the small office they’d just met Rick in. “You think this treasure hunt stuff has something to do with why Tommy and his friends and that Mills guy died?” Sam asked Dean as his brother was opened the car door, ready to get on the way.
Dean looked at him across the top of the car. Sam watched his brother shrug, thinking. “Maybe. Treasure hunts, you usually dig around. Maybe they stirred something up? Let something loose.”
“Like what?” Sam asked. “A spirit?”
Dean clucked his tongue. “I have no clue.” They were quiet for a moment, both lost in their own thoughts. Finally, Dean motioned for Sam to get in the car. “Let’s see what Joshua’s got.”
Joshua was still at the Town Hall when Sam and Dean got back into Oak Springs. It was getting late by the time they arrived, nearing dusk. Sam knew that they’d be spending the night in the graveyard again. He’d hoped they would know more by tonight, but so far, they only had more questions.
Walking into Town Hall, Sam spotted the older hunter in the back, sitting at a table, about thirty books stacked on the table, nearly hiding him from view. Sam couldn’t help the smile that crossed his face. At least there were other hunters who weren’t research-phobic like his brother.
They walked to Joshua and sat down opposite him, waiting while he held up a finger, signaling them to give him a minute while he finished this page. They waited patiently before Joshua finally sighed and looked up at them, the bags beneath his eyes more pronounced. If anything, Joshua looked more tired and frustrated than he had that morning.
“You boys find out anything fun and useful?” Joshua asked, setting the book on the table and leaning his elbows on it, stretching his stiff muscles.
“Well, we found out those kids in ’78 were here treasure hunting,” Dean said, the amusement detectable in his voice.
“Treasure hunting?” Joshua asked, an eyebrow quirking. They quickly filled him in on the legend of the colonist and the buried treasure. When they were done, Joshua shook his head. “Wish we knew where they were looking,” he whispered.
“Yeah,” Dean said, leafing absently through a book that lay open near him. Sam had to keep from chuckling at the disgusted look on Dean’s face.
“What about you?” Sam asked. “Find anything?”
Joshua nodded. “Not much. Half the bodies in that graveyard just have names, nothing else. Some of them are too old even for dates. But they track back hundreds of years. Don’t understand why it’s not some national monument or something. Historical bullshit.”
“What about that crypt in the middle?” Sam asked.
Joshua nodded and pointed a finger at Sam. “Observant. That crypt is home to the bodies of one J.G. Smith and his immediate family. A wife, two sons, and a brother. They’re all in it. And there’s one empty spot in it, reserved for someone, but I can’t for the life of me figure out who it’s for. I don’t even know any of their names except for J.G.”
“Think that empty spot means something?” Sam asked.
Joshua shrugged. “Probably not.”
“So, basically you’re saying that we know absolutely nothing,” Dean said, sounding exasperated.
“Now did I say that?” Joshua asked, feigning offense. Dean just smirked. “One more thing I found out.” Joshua turned his head to eye the secretary at the desk. Sensing she was being watched, she looked up and smiled, blushing slightly. “That pretty lady at the desk told me where Mr. Mills, our gardener friend, was before he died.”
“Where?” Sam and Dean asked at the same time.
Joshua’s face spread into a slow grin. “They found Mills’ weed whacker and hedge trimmer, two things he never leaves behind. Told them exactly where he was before he died.” Joshua paused for dramatic effect, driving Sam crazy in the process. “Mills was mowing the lawn in the graveyard.”
Go to Chapter Five