Dead Men Tell Great Tales
Supernatural, all audiences, future-fic.
Characters: Dean, Sam, OMC
The characters and situations portrayed here are not mine, they belong to the WB. This is a fan authored work and no profit is being made. Please do not link to this story without appropriate warnings. Please do not archive this story without my permission.
artwork by digitalwave
Nader wasn't sure what he expected. Maybe rough cabin set back off the road, hidden from view. Broken down cars in an overgrown yard, a couple of growling dogs.
And true enough, the house was set back a bit, easy to miss the gravel drive if you weren't looking for it. And there were three cars in the yard. One was a classic impala, sleek and shiny but looking like she'd seen a lot of road. There was a tarp half thrown over her, like someone was working on her. Next to it was a truck, newer model, dark green, extra hydropack set up high on the truck bed, she had a rack-array for town driving but the tracers were still covered. Probably wasn't used much in town at all. Mud caked up in the wheel wells said not.
The third one wasn't much different than his own two-year old Selenta. Smaller hydro-pack and fixed with the upgraded solar panels along the sides. Sedan though. Not a coupe. That would have cost somebody a pretty penny and so far, Nader hadn't found hunting paid very well.
The house itself was nothing unusual. Bungalow style, set on a brick foundation and around the side of it, he could see a path leading to the basement or storm cellar. Had a high-pitched roof, probably an attic. Not all that big, maybe two, three bedrooms. Looked like anybody else's house except maybe there wasn't as much landscaping. In fact, the brush and trees were cleared back pretty far from the house, almost a perfect circle. A low fence rode the perimeter of the cut-back, although it looked too low to keep animals out -- might have been ornamental if there was a hint of shrub or vine along it but it was clear too.
He'd been idling at the start of the circular drive that passed by the front porch for a couple of minutes before he realized he was being watched from the screened part of it. He parked and got out, kept his hands clear and pulled his jacket off. He kept his knife but it was pretty visible. He had the Beretta in his boot under his jeans, but he left it. Jo had told him to go careful -- still felt wrong going into this with nothing.
Feller stepped out when Nader did, came to the top of the steps. He looked a bit older than Nader had expected. Dark hair was more grey than light brown, lines at his eyes and mouth, but even with that the closer Nader got, he decided the grey hair made the difference. This guys wasn't more than ten or fifteen years older than him.
The man reached back on the porch and pulled a shotgun from behind the porch post. He didn't do anything but pick it up, check to make sure it was loaded -- eyes flickering downward for only a second. He kept the muzzle down, but he had his fingers on the trigger.
Nader stopped. "I'm Mac Nader. Jo Ryan said I might find Dean Winchester here."
"You might. Why are you trying to find him?"
"I've got a thing…this thing…it's killing folks out in Amery, in Wisconsin."
"Three so far, this year…but I've checked…every seventeen years, half dozen folks end up dead. I thought it was a Wendigo, but…it ain't fast and it ain't stealthy. It's just big and mean. Uh, I think it's a troll."
"What makes you think that?"
Nader felt ten kinds of stupid but the feller -- Winchester he supposed -- wasn't laughing and he didn't sound like he was mocking him. "Take's folks near a bridge. I've tracked it. Tracks end right at the stone piling for the bridge. I thought about just blowing the bridge but…"
The faintest smile appeared on the man's lips. "Naw. That'll just make it mad. Stone troll, huh?"
"I think. I've only ever heard of 'em. Never seen one before this. Still not sure I seen what I thought I did, but I got nothing but missing people and bloody chunks of….well, whatever's left of them."
The feller eased his finger off the trigger, and sucked on his teeth for a second before nodding. "Okay. Leave the knife in your car," he said and turned around to head back up the steps. Then he stopped, went still and turned around. "Leave the gun in your boot in your car too. I got beer and whiskey and chili. And milk You hungry?"
He didn't wait for Nader to answer, just headed inside but left the screen door open.
Nader wasn't sure how he knew, but he supposed it wasn't that much of a stretch. Hunters were armed. Always.
The inside of the house was neat. A whole lot neater than Nader's own small house in Prairie du Chien. The furniture was spare and plain and low, one end of the living room taken up by a long narrow desk that held a computer and a short-wave, two-way satellite stereo. Couple of other pieces of equipment that looked older but didn't look familiar.
"Come on back," Winchester called him from beyond the living room.
Through a double sided arch, the kitchen was small, looked out over the back yard. There was a table and chairs, stove and sink, a fridge and a deep freeze. The chili smelled spicy.
"Beer or whiskey?" Winchester asked again without looking around.
"Uh, beer, but you don't have to…"
"I was getting ready to eat and eating in front of someone is rude, so…have a beer, a bowl of chili and We'll see if we can't find a way to solve your problem. You're not leaving here 'til morning anyway."
Winchester turned around with two bowls in his hands and set both down. He'd left the gun by the stove and didn't so much as glance at it when he pulled a couple of long necks out of the fridge and set them down as well.
"I can make it back by morning -- depending on how long this takes."
Winchester stared at a him and then grinned -- took years off his face. "Then you should have gotten here earlier in the day, son," he said, with a glint in his green eyes. "Jo didn't tell you that?"
"No," Nader said. "She just said if no one else had ever heard of this thing or knew how to kill it, you might."
Dean nodded. "Figures. She's mean, you know that, right? How long have you been hunting?" He handed Nader a spoon and then sat down, gestured Nader to a seat.
Nader took the spoon and then sat when Winchester started eating. He obviously wasn't going to get anything useful until the man had eaten. He took a bite of the chili but it didn't taste nearly as spicy as it smelled. "About six years."
He got a nod for that and no further questions about how or why. He felt like maybe he should volunteer it, still wondered how anyone got into it save that nearly every hunter he'd ever run into had some horrible story, or it ran in the family. He'd heard a few tales -- his own was no better or worse.
He tried to get Jo to tell him a bit. The Winchester name was a little bit of a legend -- although not all of the legend came with reverence or hero worship. Some of it, Nader wasn't sure he believed.
"She does have a mean streak in her, from time to time," he said instead. "So, why can't I leave?"
"You saw the circle around the house?"
The fence. "I saw…your fence."
"Nothing goes in or out of the fence after dark," Winchester said and glanced over his shoulder where dusk was settling.
"I should hit the road--"
"Mac? It's Mac, right?"
Winchester met his gaze steadily, even smiled a little. "Nothing breaks the circle after dark. Now, if you leave right this second, you might make it out in time and you can try again tomorrow…but…I wouldn't advise it. Plus, you can't catch a stone troll at night. You need daylight. Preferably a lot of sunshine. So, tell me what you have seen…"
Nader wasn't much one for doing what he was told but the way Winchester looked at him, like he was just daring him, made him think twice. Dean Winchester had a rep.
There wasn't much Nader could tell him except about the tracks, about the rock pile he'd seen when he'd first gone to the site of the third death only to find it was gone when he returned later than evening. About the bits of flesh and hair and muscle but no bones. No skulls…nothing but the remnants of chewed on flesh.
Winchester listened. He kept eating and got up once to get another beer. When he was done with his food, he got up. "Wait here," he said and left the room. He took the rifle with him.
He wasn't gone long and when he returned he had a couple of printouts and some glossy photographs. "This what you saw?"
Nader looked at the photo; at the irregular cairn of stones. The were about eight photos, all of the same spot, except the cairn kept changing slightly, the rocks of it getting closer and higher until it looked like they'd been stacked on top of one another. "Different shapes than what I saw, but yeah. Stone Troll?"
Winchester nodded. "Good call. Going to have to trap it in it's lair -- which is probably part of the bridge."
"And how do I kill it?"
Winchester shook his head. "You can't kill a stone troll. Not really. Best you can do is lock it into place, leach out it's animation. Ever done any masonry?"
Before Nader could answer (no) he heard a thump on the roof and looked up. Winchester didn't even flinch. "What was that?"
"Nothing you need to worry about. So, here's what you do…" Winchester said and started talking. Nader had to scrabble for a pen, to take notes. Ingredients for a kind of mortar to slather over the damn troll to lock it in place in daylight. Herbs and incantation to rob it of what allowed it to move, so that even if later the bridge fell to dust, it couldn't just pick up and move on.
"But it won't kill it."
"It's made of rock, Mac. Rocks don't die. Even when they turn to dust. You don't bind it like I said, then when it does finally turn to dust, it'll just reanimate when it gets attached to a bigger bit of something and then you'll have a whole boggle of trolls to deal with."
The screeching sound from outside brought Nader to his feet, clutching for a weapon he didn't have. "What the hell was that?"
Winchester glanced up. "Ghoul, lesser demon. Something trying to get through the circle. Don't worry about it."
"You got ghouls and demons outside and you aren't worried about it?"
Winchester smiled and shook his head. "They try every night. That's why no one goes in or out after dark."
"You got a town not far from here--"
"They aren't interested. And if they were, Sam would take care of them."
"Sam? Who's Sam--" Nader started and then remembered who that was. "Sam? Your brother, Sam? I thought he was dead."
Dean Winchester shrugged. "Well, you know…there's dead. And then there's dead."
"What, he's a ghost?"
Winchester laughed. "Oh, God. He wishes. Hey, Sam?" he called out.
On the roof there was another thump.
"Yeah, well, he's stuck here. You might as well," Winchester said like he was answering a question.
What Nader had heard was one of those things he wasn't sure he believed. That the Winchesters, John and his two sons, their mother, had run across a powerful demon. That it had killed Mary Winchester when Sam was a baby. That John and his sons had hunted and tracked the damn thing until they'd found it. That John Winchester had died making an unholy bargain. That his boys had finally trapped and killed the demon, but that Sam had been killed in the process.
Jo said Dean had hunted alone for a few years, been one of those hunters that walked a fine line -- that you didn't cross and you didn't get in their way. And then he'd stopped, after gaining quite reputation. Retired, so to speak, but he knew shit, had killed things no one else ever had. You came across something you didn't know how to handle, you left a note with Jo at the Roadhouse and she'd contact Dean. He'd either take care of it, or tell you how to you take care of it.
She'd given Nader directions and now Nader wondered why.
He didn't get to ask though because the back door was shoved open.
Dean was already pouring him two fingers of whiskey when Sam came in.
Sam Winchester was a tall man, but that wasn't what made Nader take that drink and swallow it in one gulp. No, it had more to do with the set of raven-black, enormous wings he had neatly folded along his long frame.
Once that shock wore off, he found himself relaxing a little. Sam had kind eyes, and if he was self conscious about the wings, it didn't show. He looked kind of familiar. "Hi Mac," he said.
"Uh, hi. Sam?"
Sam smiled and nodded. "Yeah. So, stone troll in Amery?"
"Yeah. Your brother….he told me how to take care of it."
"And he will. Take care of it," Sam said and came a little closer. Dean sat back against his desk, sipping his own whiskey.
"Well, I can do it…you know. Now that I know…" he could not tear his eyes away from Sam's. They were still kind but they were also really dark, black, no white showing. The wings rustled and spread.
"Dean will take care of it, Mac. You and I, though…we need to take care of something else."
Sam nodded. "Yeah. You went back to the site after dark…didn't you? To check on the tracks."
"Uhm, yeah…there were still cops in the woods --"
"Stone trolls only walk at night, Mac. And they really are opportunists…"
The wings spread wider until Nader couldn't see anything but them and Sam's face. He had a really kind face, nothing for Mac to be scared of at all. And when he smiled Mac found himself smiling back. "Dean will take care of the troll. Thanks for letting us know…but you…you're done with it now, Mac. You know that don't you?"
Mac found himself nodding. He did know that. He hadn't been careful.
"You did good, Mac. But the hunt's over for you, okay?" Sam said, like Mac had a choice.
But really he didn't.
"It was nice to meet you , Mac," Dean said from somewhere beyond the darkness.
"Yeah, you too…" Mac said and stared at where Sam held out his hand.
Mac took his hand and the black of Sam's wings turned bright, bright, pure white and Mac could only stare and smile…
"Jo has a twisted sense of humor…" Dean said and poured more whiskey for himself and Sam.
Sam took it, settling on the desk next to Dean. The wings were gone…so to speak.
"He needed to know it would be handled. That was all," Sam said and held up his glass in a toast. Dean clinked his own against it.
"To another good hunter, gone to rest," he said and drank. Sam did as well. "Man, I hate stone trolls…" he added.
Sam chuckled. "You only hate that you can't blow them up. That was nice of you…to tell him that."
Dean shrugged, grinned. "He wanted to know bad enough to make it this far. I figured he deserved it. Although I wish Jo had called first."
"She still likes to rattle your cage," Sam said with a grin.
"Naw. She does it cause they deserve more…Like her mom." Dean reached over and squeezed his shoulder. "That was a good catch, Sam. So, I'm guessing you want to come with?"
Sam shrugged. "Yeah. You'll have to drive though."
Dean looked shocked - not. "What no angel express for your big brother?" he asked and gave Sam a shove. "There's chili left."
Dean headed back to the kitchen and Sam watched him, faint smile on his lips. "Not yet, Dean…" he said softly. "Not yet."
Then he followed. Chili would be good after a day of rescuing lost souls.