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 was amazing how something that otherwise seemed so small would suddenly grow into one big giant headache. They had approximately twenty minutes until their nighttime bell choir struck up their symphony. Twenty minutes to scope every nook and cranny of this land in the hopes of finding even the littlest clue that would help them with this job. Because so far, they had nothing. They had a dead gardener, three dead kids from thirty years ago, and a whole graveyard of ringing bells. Mix those all together and what do you got? One helluva big stinking mystery.
Sam could always tell when a hunt was going bad when a part of him wished there was another victim to point them in the right direction. Not that he’d ever wish that kind of a death on anyone. Being torn limb from limb and spread out in some cornfield somewhere wasn’t his version of a good time, but they needed something. Anything. Because Sam had ideas, but ideas were just ideas if they didn’t have any fact behind them. Still, it couldn’t hurt to throw them out in the open.
“So I’ve been thinking…”
From somewhere on the other side of the graveyard, Sam heard his brother groan exaggeratedly. He heard a muffled comment that sounded like something along the lines of, “This could get ugly,” but he couldn’t be sure. He glared in the direction he thought Dean was anyway.
“Funny,” he called out loudly, bringing his eyes back to the ground, searching the grass and the tombstones and anything else that looked remotely interesting. Joshua snickered from somewhere behind him. He turned and saw the older hunter’s flashlight beam. Aside from the light glow their flashlights gave off, it was hard to see anything. There were clouds in the sky. Heavy clouds that looked like they should be raining, but weren’t. Moonlight was scarce tonight, barely lighting anything. The flashlights were all they had.
“I was thinking,” Sam began again. “What if Tommy James and his friends came here to the graveyard looking for that treasure?”
Dean replied back after a moment of consideration with, “From road tripping to grave digging, huh?” He sounded skeptical.
Joshua cut in. “We’ve no way of proving that, Sam.”
Sam nodded, aware that they couldn’t see him. “I know, but let’s just assume this is where they came.”
They were all quiet for a second, going over the new assumed information in their heads. “It would bring us right back to this graveyard.” Joshua said at last.
“So, the kids come here, dig a hole, let loose some nasty ass creature,” Dean rolled with the thought. Sam kept nodding, listening to them all brainstorm. “But they were the only ones killed by it…for thirty years? What kept it from killing anyone else?”
“And why start again with Mr. Mills?” Sam threw out there.
Sam bent down to examine a conclave in the grass near the edge of the graveyard. It looked like a footprint. A heavy foot, probably a boot. Mr. Mills maybe? This was ridiculous. He couldn’t even be sure if it meant anything to what they were looking for.
“What was he doing here?” Joshua said. “Mowing the grass? From what I heard, he came out to mow the grass every Sunday afternoon.”
Sam sighed in frustration and would have voiced his deteriorating mood had Dean not called out then. “Did he plant trees every Sunday?”
“What?” Joshua and Sam asked at the same time, both heading towards the direction of Dean’s flashlight. When they both reached him, they looked at what he had found. A sapling, with its roots still wrapped tightly in potting material, sat in a hole with a six inch radius too big. The earth was freshly disturbed, the small pile of soil from where the hole had been dug out still sat next to it.
Dean picked up a handful of the dirt, rubbing it between his fingers. It stuck and clung, still wet and moist. “Whoever planted this didn’t have a chance to finish it,” Dean said, turning to look at them.
Sam stood up straight, looking at Joshua. He paused as Dean stood and wiped his hand on Sam’s sleeve. Sam gave him a look, to which he knew his brother couldn’t see in the dark, but gave him satisfaction anyway, before asking, “When was the last time someone was buried here?”
Joshua shook his head. “This graveyard isn’t used anymore. It’s been at least a hundred years.”
“So no one does any digging here,” Sam observed. “Except for Tommy and his friends and Mr. Mills.”
“So what?” Dean chirped, obviously frustrated with the situation. “People dig in the graveyard and get turned into chop suey?”
“Well I’ll tell you what,” Joshua said, turning around and heading in the direction of their cars. “Let’s dig and find out.”
Sam and Dean exchanged a look, obviously surprised at the older hunter’s haste. Sam took the initiative. “You just want to dig without knowing what’s going to pop out?”
“Yup,” Joshua called back as he opened his trunk, exposing an arsenal that would rival their father’s. He grabbed two shovels and threw one at each of them. Sam caught his while Dean fumbled a bit, before managing to catch it and giving a sheepish look.
“It’s dark,” Dean whispered with a shrug. Sam just shook his head, turning around to follow Joshua. Dean grumbled something and twirled the shovel in his hand as if to prove he wasn’t inept before following.
“We’ve only got about six or seven minutes until the bells start ringing,” Sam pointed out.
Joshua turned around and shone his flashlight in Sam’s face. Sam had to hold up a hand at the sudden light on his eyes. “Point being?” Joshua asked. God, he sounded just like John. Why was every hunter moody and snappish? He hoped he never turned into that. Though a part of him knew that he was already well on his way to being there. Everyone in this business was.
“I’m just saying,” Sam shrugged. “Those corpses are coming alive, if we dig deep enough, we’ll have to face one of them.”
“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Joshua grinned and then turned around, setting his flashlight on a gravestone before slicing his shovel into the ground and bringing up a pile of dirt.
Sam turned around to look at Dean, to see what his brother thought of all of this, but Dean just shrugged in the dark before walking around Sam and digging his shovel in a couple feet away from where Joshua was. Sam sighed. He didn’t think this was a good idea.
“Maybe one of us should keep a look out,” he said.
Dean looked up at him, a strange twinkle shining along with the light from the flashlight in his eye. “You don’t want to get your skirt dirty, it’s all right sweetheart, we’ve got you covered,” he said in an annoyingly sweet voice. Sam jutted his jaw but didn’t move to help. He knew that Dean was trying to guilt him into helping them dig. But someone really did need to be on lookout.
After six minutes of digging, they were about three feet down and nothing had happened. Sam was leaning against a gravestone and nearly jumped a mile when the first bell rang somewhere on the other side of the graveyard. He turned around, shining his flashlight in the direction of the noise. There were a few seconds of silence before another bell rang, this time almost right next to them. Sam turned back around and looked at Joshua. The older hunter and Dean had stopped digging and were looking around. Dean looked spooked, which gave Sam an odd comfort to know he wasn’t the only one who found this creepy as shit.
“Dean,” Joshua said, his voice quiet but straight.
“Yeah?” Dean asked, still looking around.
The older hunter paused for a second before clearing his throat and whispering, “You got your knife?”
Sam frowned and looked down at the two of them. He watched Dean turn to Joshua, frowning similarly to Sam.
“Yeah, why?” Dean asked, his voice lowering to mimic Joshua’s.
“Hand it to me,” Joshua whispered and slowly held out his hand.
“What’s going on?” Sam asked, trying to keep the worry out of his voice. Something was going on.
Dean took the knife out of a sheath hooked to his belt and placed it in Joshua’s hand but didn’t let go of it, looking at the other hunter strangely. “Joshua?”
Joshua’s face had gone pale. His face was calm, but he was clearly distressed about something. Sam didn’t blame Dean for not letting go of the knife. He didn’t want to just hand it over if Joshua was possessed or something. “When I signal,” Joshua whispered to them, looking Dean in the eye, “You two get the hell out of here. Grab your guns, get ready to shoot.”
“What are you talking about?” Sam asked.
Joshua turned his head slowly, pulling the knife out of Dean’s head as he did and looked up at Sam. “Something’s go a hold of my leg.”
Sam’s eyes widened and he moved the flashlight to shine on Joshua’s legs. He gasped a bit, hearing Dean do the same, as sure enough a hand had a firm grip around Joshua’s ankle. It was old and rotted and gray in color with fingernails grown out and sharpened. The fingers were long and bony and it almost had a gooey sheen to it.
“Joshua…” Dean said, ready to act.
“No,” Joshua said forcefully but quiet. “Just do as I say. This thing is strong. Be ready.”
Joshua positioned the knife so the blade was pointing down, better to stab with. He gave Sam and Dean one last look before nodding and after a deep breath, he let out a yell, “Now!”
Things seemed to disappear into a blur after that. Joshua had spun and slammed the knife down quicker than Sam thought the guy had in him, but just as the knife sliced into the rotted hand, Dean let out a yell. Sam, who was half turned around, thinking his brother was now being attacked, turned back toward him but realized his mistake too late. Dean wasn’t yelling because he was being attacked, Dean was yelling because Sam was being attacked. And Sam found this out when something sharp ripped down his arm, from shoulder to elbow.
Sam cried out, falling forward, towards Dean, who wrapped an arm around him, bringing out a pistol that had been hidden beneath his jacket and pointing it at Sam’s attacker. He shot twice, but then paused, still holding tightly to Sam. With his shoulder hurting, Sam turned, wanting to see what had scratched him, but nothing was there. Damn, this thing was fast.
“Sammy?” Dean asked, hands already inspecting the wound on his shoulder.
Sam didn’t get a chance to finish as Joshua, who’d been watching everything happen, knife ready, suddenly cried out and seemed to shrink two feet in size. “No!” Sam cried out as he saw that the shrinking effect had been caused by Joshua’s leg being pulled down through the ground. He’d been pulled down to just above his knee. At the scream Joshua gave a second later as he was suddenly shaken like a rag-doll, both brothers were spurred into action.
Grabbing hold of one of Joshua’s arms, Sam held him tight, making sure that he didn’t get pulled down further, while Dean grabbed one of the shovels. Sam thought his brother was nuts. They didn’t have time to dig this thing out, Joshua was getting his fucking leg torn off. But Dean raised the shovel high above his head before plunging it into the ground. There must have been a lot of adrenaline behind the plunge, because the shovel went into the ground easily and an sickening, ungodly scream rang out.
The shovel was thrown back out, the handle knocking Dean in the face, making him cry out and fall backwards, his hands instantly coming to cup his eye. Sam felt Joshua jerk and gave a yank on the man’s arm, almost crying out in relief when he was able to pull him free. They fell to the ground. Sam, cradling one arm to his chest and keeping the other hand tightly wrapped in Joshua’s coat, looked towards the hole Joshua had just been pulled from. He thought he saw something moving down there, something grayish, something rotted, something gooey and messy and ugly as hell. But Dean was suddenly there, firing his gun into the hole. More horrible screaming before whatever had been down there suddenly took off.
The three of them sat there for a moment, catching their breath, trying to figure out what had just happened. Finally Joshua moaned and they seemed to gather themselves. “Joshua? Hey,” Sam said, sitting the other man up and trying to get a look at his leg.
“He okay?” Dean asked, sounding irritated and worried at the same time. He was pushing himself up, one hand still held over his eye.
Sam sucked in a breath when he got a look at Joshua’s leg. It was bloody as hell and the pant leg was shredded, along with the flesh underneath. In the light from the flashlight, Sam could see gray and white matter coming from the wounds. The cuts had went straight to the bone. Shit. “God, he needs a hospital,” Sam said.
“No,” Joshua breathed, obviously in pain. “No hospitals.” Just like Dad.
Dean leaned over, grabbing hold of Joshua’s foot. “Can you feel that?” he asked, voice serious. Joshua looked down at it for a moment, his eyes surveying what was going on before he looked away. The answer was obvious. Dean growled before getting to his feet, leaning down to grab Joshua’s other arm. Together, they helped him stand up. “Yeah, you’re going to a hospital.” Dean looked over at Sam’s arm then. “Both of you.”
“I’m fine,” Sam grit his teeth as he tried to keep Joshua standing when the man suddenly teetered on his feet.
“Whatever, dude,” Dean grumbled, and set the quick pace for the car. He just wanted to get the fuck out of this graveyard. Once he was sure everyone was okay and not going to lose any limbs, then he’d come back and kill that nasty sonofabitch.
Go to Chapter Six