Title: Thirteenth Child 'Neath the Thirteenth Moon
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Sam, Dean, OCs
Word Count: ~2300
State: New Jersey
Author's Notes: I was raised in Jersey for most of my childhood, and spent lots of time in the Pine Barrens, so I speak from experience ; )
Summary: Sam and Dean track what appear to be werewolf killings through Southern New Jersey. (This is a case-fic set in season 1 sometime between 1x16 and 1x18)
Billy walked into the diner and spotted his friends sitting in their usual booth. Well-- most of his friends, anyway.
"Hey Billy." said Maggie.
"Hey." Billy said, sitting down next to Mark, across from Maggie. "You guys hear anything from Brad yet?"
Mark stared into his coffee and answered, "No."
Billy grabbed one of the sugar packets from the little black box on the table and started fiddling with it.
"Do you think..." Maggie started, and swallowed, "--do you think he's dead?"
Mark shushed her when their waitress came by with the coffee pot.
"You kids gonna order anything to eat, or are you just gonna drink coffee all night?" the waitress asked wearily. Her nameplate read 'Olga,' and her eyebrows had seen better days. The lines she had drawn in their place were an odd shade of blackish-blue.
"Could I get a steak, actually? With uh-- what's the vegetable of the day?" Billy asked.
"Peas and carrots." Olga said, "How do you want that cooked?"
"Rare." Billy handed her his menu and added, "and a Coke, please."
Olga glared at Maggie and Mark for a few seconds waiting for them to order, gave up, and then headed to the kitchen.
Maggie picked up one of the little coffee creamer containers and started rolling it between her thumb and pointer finger. "Should we call the cops?" she asked quietly.
"Are you crazy?!" Mark hissed under his breath. "We can't call the cops!"
Maggie cringed at Mark's words.
Billy said, "He's right. You know we can't, what if they find--"
"I don't care!" Maggie said, her voice shaky "What if Brad's dead?! What if that thing got him- like it got Matt? and Tom? Are we just gonna sit here and do nothing?"
Mark dropped his head into his hands and groaned, "Maggie, we can't do anything! What do you want us to do?!"
"We can't go home. That's where it gets you. If we can't get help, then...we have to go hide somewhere." Maggie said resolutely.
"Where the hell are we gonna -- " Billy started.
Maggie gave him a look.
"No. No way. We can't go there again Maggie. You think we'll be safer out there?" Billy snapped.
"Yes!" Maggie nearly shouted, and then lowered her voice, not wanting to draw any more attention. "We don't have any other choice. Besides..." She glared over at Mark, "you know what people are saying lately. Nobody goes there. They're all scared. It's the safest place for us to go."
Mark shook his head and sighed, "How's that gonna keep us safe though. Remember what we're hiding from."
"Whatever." Billy said, "We eat, we head out. Maggie's right. We don't have any other choice."
"So-- what do we got so far?" Dean asked, nudging Sam with his shoulder.
Sam flipped his laptop shut, "Three victims, all within 5 miles of each other. They match the same pattern we saw in Trenton. Looks like whatever it is, it moved south."
Dean sighed, "Still in Jersey-- really? I hate Jersey."
"What's wrong with Jersey?" Sam asked, shifting in the passenger seat as he slid the laptop back into his bag.
"Man, if you gotta ask..." Dean scoffed, "Anyway...I'm starving, and we gotta find a place to crash soon. Keep your eyes open." He drove further down the road on the dark highway, past miles of south New Jersey woods.
Maggie ran through the dark forest as quickly as she could without tripping over a root. It was dusk, and the weak light was fading fast. The woods smelled rich from the rain earlier that day and normally she'd take the time to relish that, but not now -- not with this monster after her.
In the back of her mind she felt the familiar prickle of guilt -- this was her doing. Billy and Mark had told her over and over again it wasn't her fault, but she knew better.
She'd lost control the first time. She hadn't had anyone looking out for her, like she looked out for Mark and Billy. She'd been careless and now they were all in danger.
Maggie ran up a steep hill and slipped once on the wet leaves, scuffing her chin against the ground. She got back up and sprinted to the cabin. She could hear the heavy footsteps behind her slowing. It wouldn't follow her into the cabin. She'd be safe there.
"Well this is...awesome." Sam said dropping his duffel on the bed closest to the bathroom.
"Hey, it's the 'Red Carpet Inn'- of course it's awesome," said Dean "and-- they know what really matters." Dean grinned dropping a quarter into the magic fingers box on his nightstand. He stretched out languorously and closed his eyes.
Sam glared at the floor, "I guess the carpet's red. Sort of. I'm gonna go get some food."
"Mmhm." Dean mumbled.
"What do you want?"
"Okay then. Tofu and sprouts it is. Back soon." Sam said closing the door behind him as he left.
"Maggie!" Mark hissed at her, trying to yell and whisper at the same time.
Maggie turned towards the sound of his voice and huddled down next to him, against the wall.
"You made it. Did you shake him?" Mark asked, clutching at Maggie's arm in panic and checking her for injuries.
"I -- I don't know. I think so."
Mark let out a hiss when he saw Maggie's torn pants, "Shit -- you're hurt. Your leg -- was it him?"
"No, I just -- I slipped a few times, one of the times I fell on something sharp -- probably a rock." she pressed her thumb against the wound, "Ow -- dammit!"
"Well, you're not dead, so either you shook him, or he changed his mind about wanting to kill us." Billy said. He was sitting a few feet away from them, lying on the worn mattress they found in the cabin.
Maggie refused to go near the mattress, convinced that all kinds of things were living inside of it. "He wants to kill us. Maybe he just doesn't want to try to take all three of us on when we know he's coming? Do we have any gauze or anything?"
"Yeah right. What the hell kinda chance do the three of us have against something like that?!" Mark snapped. He grabbed his backpack from the corner, pulled out an extra shirt and started to rip off a piece of it.
Maggie let out a sharp hiss when Mark wrapped the strip of flannel he'd torn off around Maggie's calf, tightly.
Billy scoffed, "It can't be true -- everything they say about them. I mean half of it doesn't even make sense. All that stuff about the --"
"Quiet!" Maggie said, "Did you hear that?"
"There's been another attack." Dean said when Sam got back.
"Yeah? Where?" Sam asked, dropping the bag of chinese food on the table.
"Ten miles over. We can check it out right after we eat." Dean opened one of the bags and stuck his face forward, inhaling. He grabbed one of the containers and opened it. "Sam, you didn't actually--"
Sam stifled a laugh and grabbed the container from Dean, "Relax dude. I got you pork fried rice."
Dean grabbed the other bag indignantly and said, "...and?"
"Thank you." Dean said through a mouthful of fried rice.
Sam broke his chopsticks apart, "So we're thinking werewolves, right?"
Dean shook his head, "Lunar cycle fits, but the livestock killings are weird. I mean, it's not totally unheard of, but usually werewolves go after people, not people, chickens, goats and cows. Whatever is doing this is snacking on a whole bunch of things. Not just the hearts either from the sound of it."
Maggie huddled against Mark and watched the door open slowly with wide eyes.
From the dark came a low, animal growl.
"Seriously? Seriously?! Come on Sam, you can't honestly think that's what we're after." Dean scoffed.
"Well whatever this is, it attacks people and animals, and all of the killings have been within a ten mile radius of this patch of the pine barrens. Why don't you tell me what you think it is?" Sam snapped.
"Not a lame ass piece of folklore from Jersey."
"Well whatever it is, I think it's hiding in these woods, so lets at least check it out, okay?"
Dean sighed, and reached for the stereo. His phone rang before he touched the knob. Dean pulled out his cellphone and stared at it, "No way. No friggin' way." He held the phone out to Sam.
"Are those...coordinates?" Sam asked, "Wait, those are--" Sam looked back down at the map in his lap, "That's three miles from here. Dad sent us here?"
"Looks like." Dean said, and stepped on the gas.
"Please, please don't --" Maggie said, tears streaming down her face. "You don't understand. We're not -- "
She lost the rest of her words when she heard the gunshot.
"Dude, it reeks here, what the hell?" Dean snapped, holding the back of his hand against his nose.
Sam wrinkled his nose in agreement, "Yeah, well it's bogland. Cranberry bogs actually. They don't smell too wonderful."
"Cranberries-- what a poor excuse for a berry, seriously. You ever eaten one? They taste like ass. Sour ass."
"Dude..." Sam stifled a laugh, "...your not supposed to eat them raw. Plus you love cranberry sauce."
"No, I love turkey with cranberry sauce on the side, that's totally different. Cranberries should stay where they belong -- in condiments."
Sam held up his hand, gesturing for Dean to be quiet.
They listened for a few moments, until Dean heard it too. There were voices nearby, and they sounded panicked.
Sam pointed to the right where Dean could see a cabin, not to far off.
They walked closer until they could see the door to the cabin. Sam gestured, telling Dean he was going to go around to the side, and Dean walked on, slowly, heading for the door.
Dean's head jerked up at the sound of the Impala's door opening. Sam sat down next to him and stared out of the windshield for a few seconds before turning to Dean and asking, "Why am I here?"
Dean turned toward Sam and shook his head slowly, "I don't even remember coming back here. Weren't we...we were hunting something right? Didn't we --"
"We found it! Or...at least I think we did. Didn't we?" Sam leaned his head against his hand and started massaging his left temple. "I could've sworn we..."
"Do you think something mind-whammied us? Made us forget, or -- or I don't know hypnotized us or something?!" Dean asked, with just a hint of panic in his voice.
Sam tilted his head to the side, "Anything's possible I guess but...I don't know, I mean I feel fine, just...confused."
"Wait!" Dean held up his hand, pointing at nothing, "I definitely saw something. Nasty-looking! It had like -- a horse-goat face, you know? Kinda like yours."
Sam gave Dean a withering look, huffed and said, "No way. Whatever it was, it had wings -- huge bat-wings, didn't you see them?" Sam paused for a few seconds and then added, "Which actually, if you put all of that together, kind of sounds like the Jersey Devil. A lot of the stories say it has a horse's head, goat's legs and bat-wings..."
Dean stared at Sam, "That's stupid." He sighed and tapped his thumbs against the steering wheel. "Should we go back and look again?"
Sam shrugged, "I honestly don't know. If that's what did this to us, don't you think it'll just do it again, if we go back?"
They both jumped in their seats, just a little, when Dean's phone rang.
Dean flipped open the phone, and answered, "Dad?"
Sam raised his eyebrow and watched Dean's reactions.
Dean listened for no more than a minute and then answered, "Yeah, okay." He stuck the key in the ignition and turned the engine on.
"That's it?" Sam asked, "We're leaving?!"
"Dad says Travis took care of it."
"What was it? The Jersey Devil?"
"Dean shook his head, "No...pack of werewolves actually, like we thought. Travis took the whole pack down."
Sam frowned, "He didn't see --"
"No. Doesn't matter. Dad needs us to head out. Sounds important."
"Dean this doesn't feel right!" Sam said.
"I hear you, but we gotta go. Now." Dean looked at Sam, "Sorry, Sam."
They pulled out onto the highway and drove off.
Maggie, Mark and Billy stayed in the cabin for hours after the hunter left. He'd come in, drawn his gun and fired at an empty corner of the cabin, then left. It made no sense, but they were too relieved to be alive to question why.
When they finally agreed it was safe, they ran deeper into the woods, heading north. Maggie fought back tears as they ran. They didn't know where to go, but they all knew they could never go back home. At least, she thought, they had each other. She looked up at the sky, searching. The other two didn't remember, but she could've sworn she'd seen something else. Whatever it was she didn't fear it. It was the only thing she wasn't afraid of.
Above the three half-wolves, something large spread its wings wide and watched them run. It flew over the trees, and disappeared into the night sky.