I wanted to challenge myself.
Well, I had nothing better to do ... so - do I run a marathon? do I learn a foreign language? do I travel the world on the back of a donkey?
I know - I'll write a really dark and angsty torture-fic. Exactly what any well adjusted, mentally stable individual would do.
So herewith ...
Someone - or something - is scaring people to death in New York; Bobby's on the case, but opinion is divided on whether or not he needs the Winchesters' help. But those boys; they just won't take no for an answer …
I have based this fic very loosely around one of London's most famous ghost stories; that of the fatally hideous spirit of number fifty, Berkeley Square. I have used the most basic details of the story, and embellished, warped and fiddled with them for my own nefarious purposes!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything supernatural, although my passport photo is a bit creepy …
Genre: H/C Angst (little bits of humour)
Word Count: 28,500
Genre: H/C Angst (little bits of humour)
Word Count: 28,500
A wave of dizziness gripped him, making his head swim and his stomach lurch. Pinpricks of light flickered and danced before his eyes; bursting and crackling busily against the darkness which engulfed him like a macabre July 4th celebration. He swallowed back the resultant nausea, trying to breathe as deeply as his fierce restraints would allow.
He didn't know if it was the hunger, the thirst, the cold or the pain; or a combination of all of them that was making him lightheaded. Then again, it could have been blood loss; he was pretty sure he must have lost a good couple of pints after what they had been doing to him.
He wasn't sure how long it was since there had been any sign of the people who held him, but although they hadn't fed him, they had, at least, been bringing him water. Until now.
Did that mean they had given up on him?
Shivering violently, he heard the chains that held his arms hoisted painfully above his head rattle with the motion; he'd lost all feeling in his hands some time ago, but looking on the plus side, that at least meant he couldn't feel the biting of the metal cuffs any more.
The black despair of his hopeless position crushed him, wringing the air out of his tormented lungs with an icy-cold grip. He wasn't an idiot; he knew the situation was bleak. So far as he was aware, no-one knew where he was, and if these bastards had stopped bringing him water he guessed he only had another day at most.
At least he would die knowing that he hadn't given his captors what they wanted. He might end up dying alone, hung here in a pitch black hole like a friggin' cow carcass, standing barefoot in a puddle of his own piss, but at least he would die in the knowledge that he had frustrated those bastards who took him. He managed to muster a weak smile at the thought …
Five days earlier …
Fat Eddie's Diner was, as the name suggested, short on sophistication and long on coronary-inducing grease.
Sam wasn't sure if the gruesome sights and sounds of Dean snarfing down his Half-Pound Monumental Monster Cheese 'n' Bacon Burger with cheesy fries, double jalapeno, and extra onions (hold the pickle), were better or worse that the insanely loud growling of Dean's empty belly and the associated incessant moaning that he'd inflicted on Sam during their six hour stint in the Impala after breakfast.
Having chosen the chicken salad on the basis that it was the least artery-furring option on the menu; Sam was somewhat dismayed to find it turned up with a pile of fries and enough mayonnaise to float a battleship.
The fries hadn't proved to be a problem in the end, as Dean had helped himself to most of them.
The Winchester brothers were between hunts; taking a few days out to rest up from their last job; a lively affair dealing with the spirit of an old Civil War soldier who had been busy fighting the battle of Gettysburg every July since 1863, annually taking a couple of poor unsuspecting passers-by down in the process.
Now, thanks to the Winchesters, the battle was well and truly over for the poor misguided dude; but he'd gone down ingraciously, and the brothers had a few battle scars of their own to show for their efforts.
So they decided to spend a few days licking their wounds, researching their next job, and keeping a weather eye on a totally weird job Bobby had got hold of.
Eight people in upstate New York apparently scared to death.
Yes, that's right; scared to death.
Found in their ransacked homes, faces frozen into a pebble-eyed mask of terror; lips curled back into a gruesome rictus of indescribable horror, outstretched hands extending into eternity as they died fending off something so horrible, so unspeakable, no-one survived to tell the tale.
Each victim's hair had turned white in those last awful moments; and most bizarre of all each of the victims' homes had been gutted of all their money and valuables.
"I don't understand this," Sam murmured, as he glanced through the various cuttings he had collected on the case; "the hell kind of spirit or creature or whatever the damn thing is robs people?"
"I gotta freakin' bad feelin' about this hunt," Dean replied, "I think we should get ourselves over there, give him a hand," he mumbled wetly through a mouthful of burger.
Sam wrinkled his nose in disgust. "They didn't all drop dead with fright after watchin' you eat?" he snorted, trying to fish a chunk of tomato out of the sea of watery mayonnaise it was swimming in.
Dean took another bite of burger, extending his middle finger as he lifted the burger to his mouth.
"Seriously, dude;" Dean continued regardless, "whatever this damn thing is, it's one friggin' nasty sonofabitch." he shrugged, "I'd just sleep easier if we were there givin' Bobby a bit of backup."
Sam gave up and pushed his half-eaten meal away; "well, we called him and spoke to him yesterday; and he told us he's fine and not to worry about him. What more can we do?"
"Yeah, 'cos Bobby is such a good judge of what's best for him…" muttered Dean, "I say we just get our asses up there, then he's stuck with us."
Sam hesitated, "I dunno Dean, you know what it's like when we're all geared up for a hunt. If someone else turned up to help, we'd just tell them to beat it; they'd be more of a hindrance than a help."
Dean snorted and licked his fingers; "that's other people; not us. We're professionals".
Sam shook his head with a smile. He drained his coffee, and almost choked when he saw Dean looking at the menu again.
"Dude?" he spluttered.
Dean looked up, "What? " He shrugged, "I fancy a sundae."
Sam almost laughed out loud. "Never mind worrying about Bobby, perhaps we should think about getting your stomach exorcised; you got worms or something?"
Dean glared, leaning towards his brother; "well, funny you should say that - I have got this pain in the ass." He stared markedly at Sam.
The moment was interrupted when Sam's phone rang. He rummaged in his pocket and flipped the phone open, still shaking his head at the sight of Dean intently perusing the dessert menu.
"Hey Bobby…" Sam smiled brightly at the familiar voice on the phone.
"Hey, Bobby," Sam smiled broadly at the familiar voice on the end of the phone, "where are you?"
"Hey Sam, I'm still workin' on that job; I'm – um - in London."
Sam gaped, stammering; "London? London, England?"
"No; London, Khazakstan;" came the exasperated response; "Where else, ya idjit?"
Sam recovered his senses, aware that Dean was suddenly sufficiently absorbed by this side of the conversation to have put down the menu; "what's goin' on Bobby?" he asked, concerned; "what the hell are you doin' in London?"
"Look, can't talk long Sam, runnin' out of change, but I need …"
His words were cut off by Sam's sudden interruption, "You're talkin' on a payphone? Why?"
"Well, if you'd shut ya trap, an' stop interruptin' me, I'll tell ya."
Sam nodded with a wry smile, and looked across at Dean whose demeanour had instantly changed from curious to concerned at the words 'payphone'.
"Why's he on a friggin' payphone?" mouthed Dean, craning his neck across the table to try to fully hear Bobby's side of the conversation.
"I've sorta got myself involved in something." Bobby started, cagily.
Speaking tentatively, Sam asked the question; "what Bobby?"
Dean snatched the phone out of Sam's hand; "Bobby, you in trouble?" He snapped.
"Can' go into that now," Bobby spoke rapidly, hurriedly, "no time; but while I'm lookin' at ways to finish this thing, it's just best I lie low; y'know, sorta keep out of sight. I'm switchin' my cell off so I can't be traced through it." He paused for a moment, then continued; his voice a tone lower and sterner. "You don't know where I am, and you won't get involved with anything to do with this case. You understand?"
"No Bobby, we wanna help …" Dean almost whined, looking up to Sam's worry-knitted brows as he spoke.
"Promise me!" Bobby barked.
"No buts, boy;" Bobby spoke sharply, "if you wanna help me, keep your noses out of this case so I'm not havin' to worry about you two as well as myself."
"Look," Bobby's tone was softer, "I'll explain everything when I get back, but I need you to trust me on this, and keep out of the way. The less you know the better."
Looking up, Sam could see Dean becoming agitated, and wasn't surprised when he yelled into the phone; "no Bobby, you can't expect us to sit here with our heads up our asses doing nothing while you're in trouble." Sam cringed as people from the surrounding three tables swung round to look at the source of the altercation.
"That's exactly what I expect you to do;" Bobby replied sharply. "Look, I'll ring in every day so long as I can find a payphone so you know I'm okay, an' I'll let you know as soon as I get back."
"But Bobby …" the brothers pleaded in unison.
"I'm almost outta change, gotta go now boys. I'll ring in tomorrow."
"Bobby, BOBBY …"
But the call had ended.
Snapping the phone shut, Dean slammed it down onto the table and looked across at Sam, wide eyed with angry concern. "What's the friggin' dumb old goat gone and got himself involved in now?" he snorted.
"An' why the hell's he in London?" Sam added with a shrug.
They stared at the tabletop in silence for a few moments, until Sam spoke up. "Are you havin' that dessert, or are we movin' on?"
Dean sighed, pushing the dessert menu away, "Nah, c'mon, lets go - sorta lost my appetite."
Sam smiled weakly, dropping twenty bucks on the table and the brothers walked out towards the waiting Impala.
The Impala sailed smoothly along the highway; an animated debate regarding their next move raging within her sleek black frame.
"… I tol' ya, there's only one reason why a hunter would use a payphone, Sam; because he doesn't want to be found. I'm telling you; Bobby's in big trouble."
Sam nodded. "I hear you, bro'. But what can we do? He's all the way over there in London an' we've no way of contacting him. You said it yourself; he doesn't want to be found; an' when a hunter as good as Bobby don't wanna be found, there's no power on Earth can track him down."
"I tell you what we're gonna do." Dean tightened his grip on the steering wheel, his inner steel glimmering through unblinking green eyes. Sam knew that set of his brother's features. He knew that whatever was about to come out of his brother's mouth was non-negotiable.
"We're gonna do nothing, that will distract us from Bobby. We ain't gonna take another job, we're gonna settle ourselves somewhere around where all the deaths happened and research the hell out of this job to find out everything we can about it that might give us some clue of the trouble Bobby's in, an' we're gonna keep ourselves on standby for the minute he needs our help."
Sam smiled; "with you there, dude'!"
Dean floored the accelerator, and the Impala responded smoothly and without question.
The drive to the New York state border should have taken twelve hours; the Winchesters made it in ten, including a stop for fuel and another for coffee and donuts.
Once they were across the state line, they soon found a likely looking flea pit in some small anonymous burg tucked away a convenient few miles off the highway, and hastily checked in.
Although it was well past midnight, sleep was a long way off for both Winchesters; neither brother was going to get a lot of rest tonight. Dean disappeared into the bathroom, wordlessly claiming first shower privilege, and wasn't in the slightest bit surprised when he emerged, damp haired and fiddling with the elastic on a new pair of boxers, half an hour later to find Sam hunched over the laptop staring intently at the screen.
"Fin' anything?" he asked absently, tugging a fresh T shirt over his head.
"Dunno, maybe …" Sam responded, not taking his eyes from the screen.
Dean climbed into a pair of worn sweatpants and, pulling up a chair, sat down next to his brother. He leaned over to try to catch a look at the screen.
Sam scraped a hand through his hair and took a deep breath, "our eight customers - the scared to death dudes;" he began, "twelve people died in London in exactly the same manner over the last three years."
"What the hell …?" Dean's face fell into a puzzled frown. He looked up at Sam, "EXACTLY the same?"
"So far as I can see," he pointed to a couple of headlines he had bookmarked; "all found alone in their house, all dead, look of utter terror on their face, hair turned white. Oh, and they had all been robbed."
Dean sighed, knuckling tired eyes; "any connection at all?" He stifled a blossoming yawn.
Sam shook his head, "nothing obvious; only that all the vics were wealthy."
"The last recorded London victim died four months before the first New York victim." Sam turned to Dean; "and get this; this is where it gets weird …"
Dean's eyebrows scrambled up into his hairline; "what? An' it's not already?"
"A number of people died in a house in London," he pointed to a webpage he had found, "Number Fifty, Berkeley Square." Sam tapped the screen for emphasis; "one dude didn't believe the haunting stories and slept overnight in the house for a challenge; died of fright."
Dean rolled his eyes, "friggin' moron."
Sam smiled, continuing with his story; "after the house was abandoned for fear of the spirit, two sailors squatting in the house were so terrified, one died on the spot, the other jumped out of a top floor window and impaled himself on the railings below; both dead."
He watched as Dean squinted scanning the screen intently; "there's only one known surviving witness of this thing," Sam continued, "A young maidservant; found cowering in a corner, scared witless – literally; she never regained her senses enough to be able to describe what she saw and spent the rest of her life in an asylum."
Sam leaned back and looked up at Dean.
"Sammy," Dean spoke without looking away from the screen, "it says here the last recorded sighting of the ghost in Number Fifty was in 1907."
"Yup," Sam nodded, "so assuming this is the same thing, we've got ourselves a thoroughly nasty sonofabitch spirit that disappeared for over one hundred years and then reappeared out of the blue with a new career in burglary and a passport."
Dean groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose; "I need a beer". Sam smiled and nodded in agreement.
Standing up, Dean arched into a long stretch and opened the door to the room, leaving it on the catch behind him as he jogged barefoot over to the Impala, and opened her trunk.
He reached for the cool box which occupied a specially cleared space amongst all their weapons, and pulled it toward him with a grunt. They had only restocked on the cold stuff yesterday so it was very full, which was great; and very heavy, which wasn't.
He'd only just pulled the lid off when he heard the crunch of a footstep behind him. He spun round, but the swing of a blunt instrument to the side of he head sent him crumpling into oblivion before he ever had a chance to see the face of his assailant.
Sam was so absorbed in his research that it was a good ten minutes before he realised that there was still a notable absence of any big brother bearing beers. Looking up, he scratched his head; "Where the hell has he got to?" he thought absently. It wasn't like Dean to get sidetracked, talking to any passing stranger - unless that stranger had long blonde hair and wore a 34D cup - and the beers were only in the trunk, it wasn't like he had to wander off to get them
Pushing away his laptop Sam got up with a yawn, and padded barefoot across the room. He yanked the door open and leaning out, squinted through the darkness across the dimly lit parking lot at the Impala. There she stood, parked exactly where they had left her; sleek, black, glimmering like wet silk under the flickering amber glow of a streetlight.
Sam knuckled his tired eyes, and slipped his feet into his trainers, treading the backs down. He flip-flopped clumsily over to the Impala, his heart sinking further into his stomach with every step as he saw that she was unattended; keys discarded on the ground beside her, trunk wide open for the world to see.
At that moment Sam knew, with a immediate sense of dread, that something was horribly wrong.
Consciousness drifted back to Dean slowly, painfully, like a rising tide. He was horribly, nauseously disorientated; hell, he couldn't even work out which way up he was; and his head spun, throbbing like a bitch. He tried to blink, but couldn't, feeling something pressing down, holding his eyelids closed, and it was only with the gradually increasing awareness that he realised he was blindfolded.
Instantly, his breath hitched in his chest and the creeping disorientation exploded into full hunters instinct, slamming into him like a freight train.
The blindfold was a bad sign. Whoever had blindfolded him wanted him confused, rudderless; helpless. They wanted him torturing himself to the verge of insanity with horrific thoughts of what could be about to happen to him; of what they could be plotting or preparing out there, beyond the blindfold.
He bit his lip as he realised with deep shame, he was giving them exactly what they wanted.
A cold draught skittered across his back; and he shuddered, guessing that he had been stripped of his T shirt. He could still feel the pinch of elastic around his hips so he figured they'd left him in his sweats; that at least was something he could take a small crumb of comfort in.
His arms were hoisted with tormentor's force above his head, the bite of the metal cuffs sharp and relentless as they cut into the flesh of his hands. He had been pulled up so tightly that his heels were lifted slightly off the stone floor.
He winced, shuffling from foot to foot trying to wriggle into a position where his shoulders and biceps weren't aching intolerably and to lessen the chafing of the cuffs. After several exhausting minutes, he gave gave up with a groan.
Sam had already called Dean's phone three times, but had just been diverted to voicemail; another sure sign that all was for from well. In desperation, and against his better judgement, he tried Bobby's phone; this time the whiny electronic voice informed him that 'this cellphone is switched off'. In panic-stricken frustration, he let out a furious roar and hurled the phone across the room.
A frantic dash into a dimly lit reception to ask if anyone had seen anything; two men walking away together perhaps; a scuffle maybe; had gleaned nothing more than a fleeting glance up from a well-progressed game of Tetris and a sullen shake of the head.
Sam paced around the middle of the room, scraping trembling fingers through his hair, his mind racing, in turmoil. Bobby was away, out of contact and up to heaven knows what. There was no way he could go to the police; the brothers left a blossoming criminal record in just about every town they visited, any kind of official investigation into their lives would blow the Winchesters' world apart. No, there was no-one to help Sam, he would have to deal with this by himself.
A million and one possibilities from the mundane to the unimaginable flashed through his distraught mind and he sunk miserably to the bed.
As he sat slumped on the edge of the mattress, head in hands, he felt utterly, utterly alone.
Dean shivered against the damp chill of his prison, shoulders burning fiercely against the strain of the unnatural position they were forced into.
Desperate to have a purpose, something besides the pain to focus on, he had spent the last ten minutes rubbing his head against his bicep, trying to dislodge the blindfold, but to no avail. Whoever had tied the damn thing had meant business and, his heart sank the thought, knew exactly what they were doing. This was a blindfold that Dean Winchester would have tied.
The pull of his bodyweight caused an uncomfortable strain on his stretched and elongated rib cage, making breathing more and more difficult as time went on. He could feel himself beginning to pant; breathing in rapid, shallow breaths borne out of his pain and driven by his fear.
Gulping the deepest breath he was able, he pulled down on his arms, gritting his teeth against the bite of the cuffs, but there was no movement; not the slightest amount of flexibility to give him any hope. He tried once again, this time shuffling round, twisting and squirming, jerking at the cuffs, probing and examining them for any weaknesses. Sweat beaded on his face as he bit his lip, stifling a cry against the pain, but the thing that hurt the most was the rattling, clanking noise that the movement caused. He now knew these cuffs were attached to the ceiling with chains; not any kind of rope or strapping that could be worn away or snapped by the right application of pressure. The knowledge crushed him.
He hated himself for it, but he could feel himself starting to panic; wheezing breaths coming faster and faster, shorter and shorter. He pulled down again, straining and tugging at the cuffs until the burning pain in his hands became unendurable.
He froze as he heard the sound of a key turning in a lock, and a creak as a door opened.
Barely able to breathe, he listened intently as the door clicked closed and slow footsteps echoed across the stone floor toward him.
"Who's there?" he gasped shakily, trying hard to keep the icy fear out of his voice; "who's there?" louder this time, more breathless; "take this damned blindfold off me, you freakin' spineless sonofabitch …"
The footsteps stilled.
Dean was sure he could hear breathing somewhere close to him to his left … or maybe to his right; the blindfold had utterly disconnected him, left him unsettled and adrift. His heart pounded as the unfamiliar fear of being unable to defend himself, or even to see any potential threat, consumed and unravelled him.
Finally after what seemed like an age the silence was broken by an unfamiliar voice.
"Hello Dean; we need to talk …"
"Hello Dean, we need to talk…"
Dean canted his head towards the voice, wincing as the movement twisted his tortured shoulders; "who's there?" he hissed blindly through clenched teeth, "take this friggin' blindfold off me, you bastard; I'm not talkin' to anyone when they won' let me see their face." His voice rose from a growl to a fear-fuelled roar.
The voice gave a small chuckle and replied; "I don't see that you've got much of a choice in the matter, pal."
Dean heard footsteps move slowly around behind him and his breath hitched, muscles tightening in chilling dread.
"I do hope we can keep this civilised, Dean," his captor continued, "see, I've heard all the stories about you not being brighter half of the Winchester duo; that you prefer to let your fists do the talking and all that. That's why I've had to take these most unfortunate precautions."
"Who are you, you sonofabitch…?" Dean growled. His desperation, his blindness and his pain all merging into terrified rage as he tugged wildly on his cuffs, furiously rattling the chains above his head.
"Hey, easy Tiger!" Dean could hear the smirk in the voice; "who I am isn't important; what is important, though, is what you're going to tell me."
Twisting to his left, he followed the sound of the voice as it wandered back and forth beside him. In an effort to distract himself, he listened intently to the voice rather than the words; trying to place the accent, he was sure it was English, but more than that he had no idea.
"You see," his captor continued, "I had something of considerable value, and it was taken from me."
"So what?" Dean grunted, not caring whether the owner of the mocking voice heard him or not. He expected a witty retort; what he didn't expect was the vicious punch that slammed into the floating ribs on his right side, clubbing the air out of his lungs with brutal force.
He choked out a shrieking wheeze; unable to curl up to protect himself, he convulsed, gasping open mouthed as he fought for breath. He could feel hot tears dampening the inside of the blindfold as he gulped breathlessly, overwhelmed by intense pain.
There were two of them. The bastards; there were two of them hiding away out there.
"Now, where were we before all this unpleasantness began?" the infuriatingly calm voice continued; "ah yes, something of value was taken from me, and I want it back."
"so …?" Dean wheezed, "wha's g-gotta do with me? I never took your friggin' crap."
"No, I know you didn't," the voice agreed, "because I know who did … your mate, Bobby Singer."
Overnight, Sam had conducted a full torchlight search of the parking lot, when he was satisfied there was nothing of any interest to be found there, he began a frantic search of … he had no idea where. He took the Impala and just drove; street after street, hour after hour, scanning, searching, hoping. Periodically calling Dean's phone; he had been relishing the security of hearing Dean's voice on his voicemail message, but even that small comfort had been taken from him. The phone had been switched off.
Eventually, the drag of exhaustion pulled Sam down to the point the could no longer drive. He pulled the Impala over into an unlit backstreet and decided that he had no option but to close his eyes for five minutes. Later on, after sun-up, he would do into town and canvass the population … surely someone must have seen - or heard - something.
He was horrified to find it was four hours later when he was jolted awake by the ring tone of his cell phone. Praying against hope that Dean's number would register on the display; it was actually an unknown number which flashed across the screen.
Sam's hands shook so hard he almost dropped the phone as he answered it; before Bobby had even had time to draw breath, Sam yelled at him; "Bobby, Dean's gone."
Dean breathed long trembling breaths through his nose, trying to calm his burning lungs after the trauma of the punch, and tried to rationalise what his captor was telling him. He'd owned something; Bobby had taken it.
"He must've had good reason…" Dean mumbled defiantly.
"Well, that aside," sighed the voice, "I know him and you pair are practically joined at the bloody hip, so I'm guessing you know what he's doing right now…"
Dean grunted noncommittally.
"And so, you can tell me where the sly old sod is."
Dean dug deep, reaching for the last shreds of defiant spirit he could muster; "kiss my ass!"
He was half expecting it this time; but it still shocked him into a choking, gasping squeal when it came. This time the punch hit him square in the solar plexus, knocking him backwards so that he swung helplessly from the chains, bare feet sliding across the floor. Helpless to protect the soft and vulnerable area, he trembled violently, retching and gulping breathlessly through the pain.
"Bastard sonofabitch;" he wheezed through gritted teeth.
"Lets try that again son, only without the arse kissing this time;" the voice showed not the slightest hint of emotion at the distress of it's captor, "where's Singer?"
When he was able, Dean choked out a barely coherent response between shuddering, wheezing breaths; "d-don' know."
"Would you tell me if you did know?"
"Go s-screw yourself."
Dean felt fingers threading through his hair, and yelped as they grasped hard and violently yanking his head back. Suddenly, the voice was close up, whispering in his ear.
"I don't think you realise quite how much trouble you're in right now, son." The hand tightened it's grip, jerking his head further back, painfully twisting his neck; "You could make this so much easier for yourself; just tell me where the thieving old git is."
"tol' you, don' friggin' know," Dean snorted shakily, wincing as the fingers released their aggressive grip on his hair.
"And, would you tell me if you did?"
"no," Dean spat bitterly.
There was a heavy sigh, "You're angry." It hesitated before continuing, "I can understand that; I can see we're just going to have to leave you awhile to cool off and think things over." Dean cringed as an unseen hand patted his face, "we'll talk again in the morning."
He heard the echoing footsteps moving away from him, and the awful realisation dawned that he was about be left hanging like this all night. He couldn't hide an involuntary shiver of dread.
He flinched, drawing in a sudden laboured breath, as the footprints suddenly stopped.
"Is it cold in here?" the voice spoke up, calm, mocking. Dean made an unconvincing show of ignoring it. "We need to do something about that for you."
Dean shivered again, fighting to control his breathing, anxious to project an aura of calm defiance, when in fact he was bristling with blind, ice-cold terror; he didn't for one moment think that this sadistic bastard was talking about turning the heating up for him.
His body jolted into a screaming, heart-stopping shock as a bucket load of freezing water hit him square in the face.
There was a long silence before Bobby spoke; "Sam, whad'ya mean 'Dean's gone'?"
Sam could feel his voice starting to tremble; he bit his knuckle to try to calm himself; "he's gone Bobby, disappeared. He just went out to the Impala to get beers an' he's left all his clothes, his money, even his shoes. He's just vanished." He took a long breath, "Bobby, I think someone's taken him."
There was a longer silence before Bobby spoke again, "I'm comin' back Sam. I'll call you from the airport here when I've got a flight."
Sam massaged his brow with his fingertips, "But, Bobby, your job …"
"He was cut off by Bobby's curt response; "screw the job; findin' Dean's our job now."
A tiny glimmer of hope welled in Sam's chest, he almost mustered a smile.
Dean felt himself drifting in and out of consciousness; slowly, painfully he felt himself spinning nauseously back and forth into a reality where cold and pain and darkness were all that he knew.
His head throbbed miserably as he shivered in the darkness, the chattering of his teeth and the incessant rattle of the chains above his head tormenting him to madness. The pain from his bruised and battered ribs, the stretched and torn intercostals were making it harder and harder to breathe; his breath coming in shorter and shorter wheezing, laboured gasps.
In an increasingly rare moment of clarity, he figured he must be getting sick; he was chillingly, tortuously cold, but he was sweating. Swallowing back another wave of nausea, he gulped hard trying not to cough for fear of the pain it caused, grimacing as the raw dryness of his throat burned.
He had no idea how long he had been hanging here, still blindfolded, but he guessed around three days. Three times, maybe at the same time every day, after the first visit, his captors had come to him and forced a glass of water down his throat. They still wanted him alive; Dean tried, unsuccessfully to convince himself that that was a good thing.
The first time he had angrily spat a respectable mouthful of the water back out, hitting one of his captors, he hoped, in the face. However, the violently painful repercussions of that show of defiance had resulted in such a terrifying beating that any future drinks offered had been taken meekly and without fight.
The bitter ammonia stink of his own urine added to his miserable nausea, making him gag. His sodden sweats clung to his legs, soaked; chafing where prolonged contamination had irritated and burned the skin on his legs and feet. He knew all too well how these guys worked. Humiliation was as much part of the game as the pain and intimidation.
But he wouldn't give in. They could beat and threaten and humiliate him all they wanted. He'd been cold before, he'd been held captive before, he'd been on the receiving end of more beatings than he cared to remember. There was nothing these morons could do to him that he hadn't experienced before, and no power on earth would make him put Bobby in danger.
He flinched as he was distracted by a voice he didn't even know was there. A sure sign he was slowing down; his hunters senses would normally have been on alert, he would have heard the voice half a mile away.
The same familiar, patronising voice spoke; "C'mon Dean, open up."
He felt a hand grip his jaw, which felt unsurprisingly sore and tender. The hand roughly lifted his head which had been drooping heavily onto his chest enabling him to drink. Reluctantly, he allowed them to lift a plastic bottle to his parched lips and he worked hard not to show his blessed relief and gratitude as he messily gulped down the cool, refreshing water.
Listening to the footsteps moving around him, he cringed as he felt fingertips brushing the length of his torso, "you do look a mess Dean;" the voice mocked, "I really wish you could have made this easier for yourself."
His head slowly followed the sound of the footsteps, each and every movement becoming more painful and more laborious; he flinched as another fingertip brushed his back.
"I mean, you're putting yourself through hell to protect this cantankerous old sod, and where is he?" The voice gave a mirthless laugh, "He's nowhere to be seen; he doesn't give a damn about you!"
"Sc-screw you;" Dean whispered.
He fought to control his pained breathing, abused muscles tensing into a flickering knot as he waited blindly for his captor's next touch.
But it never came; instead, a lengthy, uncomfortable silence followed. Dean's blind unease increasing to overwhelming levels until eventually, he cracked. "Say s-something you bastard…" he growled.
"I'm sorry Dean," came the response, "so rude of me."
Dean responded with nothing but a breathless grunt.
The voice spoke up calmly; "you know Dean, I was reading a book last night; a book about a great man I admire a lot."
Dean made a point of ignoring the voice, trying to focus on calming his shuddering breathing so that he didn't look so pained, so weak; so frightened.
He shifted weakly from foot to foot, beyond trying to find a comfortable position, right now he would just settle for not shaking unconrollably, and not being unbearably cold, in intolerable pain and frightened out of his wits.
"The great man I was reading about was Admiral Lord Nelson;" announced the voice, "and do you know why I admire this great Englishman?"
He continued regardless of his captive pointedly ignoring him. "He was a great tactician, a man of great courage and integrity…"
Dean snorted bitterly.
"But do you know the quality I admire most in the man?"
Gathering all his remaining strength, Dean responded, wheezing through clenched teeth; "'cos he only h-had one eye an' one arm?" His breath shuddered through the pain as he continued, "'cos that's all you-you'll end up with when Sam's done with you."
The voice snorted with laughter; "very good Dean; you're funny!" The laughter abruptly ceased, "but no, the quality I admire most in the man was his sense of mercy."
Dean's head twitched, "like you'd know about m-mercy," he croaked.
"He was also a farsighted humanist." The voice continued, "In an age when life at sea was one never-ending round of inhuman and brutal discipline; where a man could get flogged to death for the most trivial transgressions; Nelson could see that the way to earn a man's loyalty was to treat him with respect, with empathy. He was a compassionate, merciful man."
Dean cowered away, sensing the closer presence of the two men.
"Have you ever seen the damage a flogging does to a man?" Suddenly, this was the second voice. Dean had only heard that voice a couple of times in his incarceration. This voice belonged to the sadistic bastard; the violent one with serious anger management issues. Clearly the other one, the one who liked the sound of his own voice didn't like to get his hands dirty.
"So he's le-let you off your leash …"
Dean cringed as he anticipated the retribution for his insult; but none came.
The second voice continued, warming to it's theme; "it's visceral, Dean, utterly brutal. It claws the skin off a man's back, flaying, tearing, ripping." He spoke with longing, with relish, the way one might describe a painfully beautiful work of art; "It leaves a man bleeding like raw meat … lays bare his ribs as it scourges away the layers of muscle beneath the skin..."
Dean heard the voice pause briefly as the man licked his lips; and suddenly his heart plunged into his guts as the awful reality dawned.
He knew what was coming, and the thought consumed him; his legs turned to water, buckling beneath him, as terrified anticipation gripped him. He wasn't strong enough; this was beyond him, he would break.
"Anyway, is that the time?" The first voice spoke up, "this has been all very nice, but it's time to get back to business."
Dean shook his head; "no, no, no …" he pleaded desperately, voicelessly.
"Now, I really don't have time for all this nonsense, and I'm really hoping that you are going to tell me where Singer is."
Dean shook his head, biting his lip to maintain his silence as he fought back desperate tears, knowing only too well what was coming.
The lash tore across the small of his back with a hollow crack; he let out a strangled squeal as the sudden shock of agony jolted his entire body, burning like a bolt of lightning.
He slumped, panting, weakly shaking his head as the voice said, "give him five, then we'll see if he feels like talking …"
tbc in next post