November 28th excerpt:

Blinking harshly, Dean forced his eyes to adjust faster, until he could see the inside of the vent as good as he saw the room outside. He had to admit, out of all the perks of his size, being able to see in a near darkness was one of the better ones. The vent came into sharp clarity, and he set off, quickly jogging down the few feet to the bend in the vent.

Once Dean was close enough to make out more of the silhouette, he let out a low whistle, impressed by his findings.

You got it! And earned everyone a sneak peek of a very fun ride from start to finish, Shadows on the Wall.


It started slow, a thickening of the darkness that edged the room. The shadows in the corner of the room darkened so much that even Sam’s eyes, adjusted to the stark darkness found in the walls, might not cut through them. The barrier between the light and the dark became a study in contrasts.

And then the shadow moved.

With a creeping, gradual pace, the shadow started to ooze over the ground. If they looked straight-on at it, all they’d see was a slight darkening against the eclectically colored rug. Out of the corner of Sam’s eye, he could see it for what it was; a single form, congealing from darkness itself. It slithered on its stomach like a snake, its path clear.

When it reached the table Dean was sitting on, the darkness vanished into the shadows underneath. The parts that had fallen behind soon followed, making even that darkness solidify.

Dean, contentedly reading their father’s journal and trusting the people sharing the room with him, didn’t spot his danger.

The shadows rippled, and began to coil up Jacob’s recently-vacated chair. Tendrils curled and pulled itself up. This time, it wasn’t formless like before. This time, a distinct shape started to take form. A torso could be seen with a head dipping down towards Dean’s spot.

Two arms rippled into existence, walling Dean in.

And that was what alerted him at last.

Dean leapt out of his seat as he saw the two black arms suddenly snap into solid existence. He stared up defiantly at the shadow, his knife in hand. “Sam!” he called out, trying to see where his little brother was, afraid this creature had already taken the others.

Finally realizing that he stood alone against the monster.

May 24th excerpt:

More light broke in at the bottom as the mug tilted slowly upwards. Jacob paused, then crouched low to peek cautiously out from under the mug. He blinked a few times to readjust to the light, and made sure no one else was around. He sighed in quiet relief when he only saw Dean peering in at him.

A large green eye blinked back at Jacob, then vanished as the human sat back up from his hunched over position. The slit of light around Jacob’s knees widened, then the cup lifted up into the air as Dean let him out.

April 26th excerpt:

“Dean! Wait!” Sam shouted. He pointed down next to the leg of the dresser. “That should work.”

That happened to be a peeling piece of the old wallpaper that covered the walls of the room. Under the curling corner at the bottom, instead of drywall, there was a blackness that almost seemed darker than night.

Flashback

“DEAN!” The shout rolls across the junkyard.

Bobby glances out the window from where he’s sitting reading the newspaper. Ever since John arrived on his doorstep a week ago, battered and bruised, he’s been riding Dean mercilessly. The boy has taken to hiding in the junkyard, fiddling with the cars for a distraction, an escape from his father’s rage and obsession.

John of course has taken that badly. He’s started to track Dean down, finding the boy and forcing him to train. Guns, self-defense… even basic tracking skills. Not that John has half the skill of Bobby at THAT. But John naturally considers his way the best way. Ever since Bobby originally helped him learn hunting skills he’s become hardheaded, rarely taking any advice without a grain of salt.

And for Dean, it’s either John’s way or the highway. His father accepts no less.

Bobby can’t take much more of this. The boy hasn’t spoken a word since losing his brother. Each time John tracks him down, Dean simply does the training he’s told to do. In those moments he has a single minded determination, focused completely on the task at hand. John’s heavy handed tasking leaves no time for the boy to recover, no time to mourn.

Bobby watches as John confronts Dean in front of the house. One of the junkyard dogs lies nearby, watching calmly. John yells at Dean for slacking off. He berates Dean for letting his focus slide, for losing sight of their goal. He scolds the boy, asking if he WANTS to die like his brother. Dean simply stands there, taking it. He stares at the ground under his feet, letting the shouts roll off his back as he scuffs a shoe against the rough, gravelly ground.

But Bobby can see the way Dean clenches his fist behind his back. Where his father can’t see it. He is holding in all the pain and rage and self-blame, bottling it up until no emotion can escape. Not fear, not happiness, not sorrow. Each day he becomes better at this, using his unique mental focus to keep control. Bobby wishes it doesn’t have to be this way. If Dean keeps it all in, it will eventually consume him, a black hole of emotions that will leave nothing behind.

Yet John can see none of this. Too buried under his own guilt from losing his youngest, piled on top of the loss of Mary all those years ago, he can’t see anything but the mission. His holy cause. The beginning and ending of his day. His own personal Alpha and Omega. He will drag Dean down into the pit with him if given half the chance. And Dean will let him. He knows no other way.

After the shouting is over, John storms off. Dean settles down on the steps, mechanically taking apart his gun and reassembling it, over and over and over. Each piece is meticulously removed, cleaned and fitted. He knows that gun better at 14 than Bobby did at 28. No child should have to live that way.

The roar of the Impala starts up. John is off to the bar, his most self-destructive habit. He might come back later, he might not. Either way, Dean will sit there until his hands are covered in blisters, sore and bleeding, memorizing the gun down to its smallest parts. He probably knows it well enough to build one with his eyes closed. He won’t stop until he falls asleep there on the steps or is TOLD to stop by his father. Which will not happen.

And, Bobby knows why Dean is like this. He blames himself for his brother’s loss. Sammy’s memory haunts Dean’s every footstep, his shadow behind every door Dean opens. The little brother that used to idolize him, follow him everywhere like a lost puppy. Gone forever. Dean will never stop blaming himself for what happened.

Bobby can’t stand by and watch anymore. He goes outside. Dean barely glances up from the gun, eyes flicking to the older hunter for a mere second before resuming his work. Bobby bends down, putting a hand on the gun. Dean meets his eyes, confusion showing through. He knows as well as Bobby how John will react if he finds out Dean is slacking off again. Bobby just stares back, letting his own silence speak for itself when he meets the boy’s eyes. He doesn’t get a response from Dean and doesn’t expect one.

But the boy has suffered enough.

Bobby takes Dean back in the kitchen. He cooks them both a meal of hot dogs and baked beans. He takes Dean out back and tosses a ball back and forth with him. They spend that night eating popcorn, drinking Pepsi and watching old westerns. They start with a Clint Eastwood one. With the monkey.

John will never find out that Dean didn’t train that day. Not from Bobby. And Dean won’t speak for another few months, the time it takes for him to process through his brother’s loss. John drinks himself into oblivion each night for another month before he returns to hunting. Obsession blinds him to the changes in his eldest son.

That day, Dean doesn’t smile. It’s too soon for that. But the darkness that’s been hovering over him is pushed back.

For a time.


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