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Angel of the No-Tell Motel

April 19th, 2012 (08:43 pm)
hot

current mood: hot
current song: The General Specific-- Band of Horses

THEN:
"You sure he ain't gonna pull another Houdini?" Bobby scowled through the narrow window in the panic room door.

Dean looked in at his brother. Sam was lying shackled again on a cot, but this time there was another cot lashed tightly against it. June lay beside him, equally restrained to the other bed-frame. She and Sam were already tangled up together. "I'm sure."

Bobby closed the window, but did not bar the door. "I hope you're right," he muttered as they climbed the basement stairs. "This damn near killed him the last time."

Dean glanced back over his shoulder and put more certainty into his voice than he had in his gut. "Yeah, but this time he's in there by his own choice, and he's not alone."


NOW:
Anna, IL


Dean groaned behind June as she turned the key in the lock. "Hurry up. Gotta crap."

The door swung open. She stayed planted in the doorway. He picked her up to bodily set her aside.

"Wait! I smell something!" she blurted, and squirmed free like she always did.

"It's a cheap motel room—" Sam started.

"So we don't want to know what you smell," Dean finished and made it over the threshold.

"Angel!" she snapped. That stopped him, despite the red alert from his guts.

"Still here?"

She shook her head. "Just left."

He headed for the bathroom.

"Was it Cas?" Sam leaned against the door frame and let her satisfy herself with her circle-growl-sniff routine.

"No," she answered, tugged both bedspreads off and tossed them into a corner. "But the angel had to be here very recently. Their scent is fugitive; it vanishes less than five minutes after they leave."

Sam dropped his duffel on the dresser. "Which begs the question of why an angel was in an empty motel room."

"Exactly. Puts my hackles up."

"Mine too. Best guess? Because it knew we'd be here," Sam answered. They began to search the room.

"Found anything yet?" Dean asked when he emerged from the bathroom. Sam shook his head and Dean joined the search.

Sam moved the TV on the bureau aside and ran his fingers over the wood beneath.  "Here! A set of numbers-- a coordinate."

"Where?" Dean squinted at the dresser top near Sam's finger tips.
   
"What the?! It was just here! Scratched into the finish, all the way down to the bare wood!"

"Here!" June called out.  She was squatting in front of the night stand between the beds, peering at the tarnished brass lamp.  "Coordinates, looks like they were etched on."

She touched them. "I'll be danged! I swear, they were right there!"

Dean frowned. "There's some over here, in the doorfr—holy shit!"

"They vanish when we touch them," Sam blurted.

"No, they don't vanish," Dean said, staring down at his hand. "Check your palms!"

"Ohhh.  This can't be good."  June scratched at the glittering golden numerical tattoo that now decorated her palm from pinkie to thumb.
   
Sam held up his own ornamental set of coordinates. "Write it on your hands, children, so you don't forget?"

"Looks that way," Dean agreed.

"Great. So whatever's doing this thinks we're in kindergarten?" Sam scoffed.

Dean shrugged. "Compared to how most angels see us? Being considered pre-schoolers is an upgrade."

"In the interest of questioning all orders and covering one's ass," June drawled, scrubbing her palm against her skirt. "Should we take the risk of ignoring this, or the risk of following this lead blind?"

The brothers looked at one another.

"The angels that are pissed with us would have smoked us in our tracks as soon as we opened that door." Dean said. "Subtlety's not exactly their modus operandi."

"No harm in checking out where this would lead us," Sam agreed with a nod.

It took only a few moments to pin down the location emblazoned on their skins.  "Wyoming. Why does it have to be Wyoming?" Sam groaned, drooping in his chair with melodramatic abandon.

"Why are we even surprised that's where it is?" Dean scowled at the map. "But, there's nothing there in that section. It's the back end of the back end."

"True, but it's also nowhere near the Hell's-gate, or Graybull, or Cheyenne either," Sam pointed out, straightening.

"So if it's not a mop-up mission of some kind, then what is it?"

"Something important enough for an angel to Easter-egg the hell out of a stinky motel room, that's what," June put in from where she sat cross-legged on the bed.

"The fact it did that, instead of just giving us the whole 'Fear not' spiel as soon as we walked in the door, plus the fact that these coordinates are for somewhere in Wyoming, is giving me a major case of the creeps," Sam nodded.

"So we ignore this," Dean nodded, flashing his palm again. "Till it goes away. Or not. At least it's not across our foreheads."

All three of them jumped and yelped simultaneously.

"Damn, that smarts!" Dean burst out, wincing at the blistering sting.

"Like grabbing onto a hot coal," Sam agreed, shaking his hand.

June simply licked her palm to cool it.

"Gross, fleabag," Dean told her.

She grabbed his hand and got in one sloppy swipe before he could grab it back. He wiped her spit off on her hair.

Sam ignored them both, glowering down at his own palm. "So if we even think about blowing this off, we get our hands spanked."

"Hey! Feathers!" Dean announced to the stale atmosphere of the room at large. "I've been behind the wheel all damn day. My ass is numb and I'm starving. It's at least seventeen, eighteen hours back west to where ever it is you want us to go. We're grabbing some food and some sleep. You don't like it, go stick your gilded orders in some other Hunter's hand!"

A long tense moment. Nothing happened. "Silence gives assent?" Sam ventured.

"Works for me," Dean nodded.

-oOo-

Their wake-up call the next morning was a burning, tingling itch across their engraved palms, impossible to sleep through. The nagging sensations didn't let up until they were on the highway and heading west.

Sam scanned the internet as they traveled. "I know we've been through the mill out there, but otherwise, Wyoming seems about as scary as a pony ride. The usual residuals and minor poltergeists, unexplainable sounds, a feeling of being watched…."

"Bad pizza, bad plumbing, bad kids, bad wiring," Dean diagnosed in reverse order.

"Probably," Sam nodded. "Regardless, not our thing. Certainly not anything to interest an angel."

He suddenly chuckled. "Hey, June! Fort Bridger's supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a dog decorated for heroism for saving a young boy's life."

Dean pointed at June's reflection in the rear-view. "No, we are not going all the way out there so you can sniff its butt."

She stuck her tongue out at him.  "Killjoy."

"Maybe we can head that way afterwards," Sam teased her with a grin.

"Not that interested in salting and burning a dog carcass," Dean shrugged.

June gasped in mock horror. "Dean! You will not gank the ghost puppy! He's a hero, remember?"

Sam clicked a few more times. "Nothin', nothin'. Bull. Nothin'. Yahtzee."

"What?"

"Demon sign, maybe. There's not a sizable population out there, but even so, within a twenty mile radius of our spot there're reports of a number of unusual natural phenomena. Deer and other wild mammals from field mice on up are going nuts, with no apparent organic cause. Freak cloud bursts without an associated weather front. Blue sky lightning strikes starting fires that burn out in perfect circles, all on their own. And the mountain evergreens are under attack from a beetle infestation, the worst die-off within a mile radius of guess where."

"Yeah, but that last one, the bugs, isn't that happening all over right now?"

"Not like this. It's like some kind of plague. The beetle population seemed to explode exponentially overnight in that one contained area. Oh, and last but certainly not least— at least fifteen people who've gone near our mystery spot within the last six months have been stricken with a creeping paralysis of the skeletal muscles that starts with a painful pinpoint spot on a limb and progresses up and across the body. Patient Zero's already on life support, his chest muscles and diaphragm too paralyzed to breathe on his own."

"That could be some new kind of tick paralysis, or some type of industrial toxin," June offered.

A few clicks more, and Sam shook his head. "CDC's ruled that out. They're baffled, no parasites, pathogens or toxins found in any of the victims."

"Now the sixty-four-k question is—what interest could demons have in an area that's probably got no more than a dozen souls per square mile?" Dean asked.

"Huh. Hang on a sec." Sam scanned a couple more web pages.

"Maybe it's not demons," Sam continued. "All the tribes have legends about creatures they call Little People or some variant on that. Nirumbee is one of the names for them near our area. Even Lewis and Clarke apparently saw them. Clarke described them as 'little devils' with big heads, about eighteen inches tall, and very territorial. It's said they shoot invisible arrows tipped with poison at their enemies which—get this-- paralyzes before it kills. In 1932, two prospectors in the Casper Mountains—near our spot, surprise surprise-- blasted the back of a vein they were working. The explosion opened up a cave and the two found a mummy inside that matched the natives' and Clarke's descriptions perfectly. Some theorized it was a fetus or deformed infant, but x-rays showed it had an adult skeleton and a full set of sharp teeth. The mummy changed hands a few times, then it was stolen in the early 1950's and has never turned up again."

Dean grinned. "Sounds more and more like our kind of deal." He sobered then. "If these Nirumbee have been around since before the white man came stumbling in, then they're gonna to be some bad-ass little bastards. But why are they raising a stink now? That mummy's been out of that cave and out of pocket for almost a century."

"Best guess—the Little Man Mine. The guys who found the mummy and staked the claim abandoned it when the vein petered out. It's been reopened, and they're extracting a modest amount of gold using modern methods. The paralysis striking the miners is about to shut the operation back down. CDC's even considering an area-wide quarantine."

"Makes sense. Maybe the miners woke up freeze-dried Yoda's vengeful spirit or something. Trail's so cold on the mummy we can forget toasting it extra-crispy. So, we have to figure out how to kill the rest of the damn things outright. Think iron would work? It'll be easy enough to fill some shells with iron filings, knock those suckers right back to Wonderland."

"Dean, if these are some sort of protective elemental, we can't kill any of them. It could cause a cataclysm for the area. It might be better to find out how to appease them instead of going in shotguns blasting."

"Well, if appeasing them takes human sacrifice, I'm not volunteering. Let 'em nibble on Ol' Yeller back there." He winked at June in the mirror.

"Jerk." She thumped the back of his seat with her fist. "Besides, I'm not human, ape-breath, so that leaves Sam to play the lamb."

"That better not have left a mark, Wishbone."



******Click here to go to Chapter 2.