(warning this chapter contains frightening scenes and scenes of violence)
Adam had been pacing the house for the past five minutes, once in a while pausing to sneak a peek out the window in case of unnatural intruders. The only things he kept close were his revolver secure in the waistline of his jeans and the cell phone that Sam had given to him earlier that day for emergencies. He had to give his brothers credit for covering all bases while assuming their little venture out to Clifton Ridge, especially since they’d reluctantly put Adam in charge of keeping everyone safe back at the house.
What seemed weird was not hearing from Michael ever since his undead encounter at that gas station. As far as the teenager knew the Archangel was out of commission…at least until the next threat emerged. Adam even wondered if he should go upstairs and check on Sarah and Kay, but instead thought his position down at the front entrance might suit everyone better. He was however bored as hell and thought jumping in the shower at least for a minute wouldn’t bother anyone…or oppose any consequences.
Adam couldn’t remember the last time having a shower felt so good on his skin. He was in hell and the last 48 hours since his resurrection he hadn’t had time to gather himself, it was just like being pushed out into a lion’s cage against his will. At least now Adam could take a little moment to clean up and put on some fresh clothes. But as he wiped away the wet steam from the mirror with his palm, the reflection staring back at him with its intense observant eyes paralyzed him in place.
“My…aren’t we being careless.” Adam knew the mockery in his reflection’s voice could only mean Michael’s return from absence. “You do know a lot could happen when you are not watching and especially when you are not keeping an eye on our empath.”
“Hey Mike, nice to see you too.” Adam brimmed with sarcasm, shuffling his wet chestnut brown hair with a towel. “I was wondering when we were gonna have our next one-on-one session, been looking forward to it all day actually.”
Michael glared sourly. “Might I remind you that we are in the midst of a war, kid? There’s no room for foul-ups…or your useless sarcasm and I don’t intend to caudle you while we are stuck like this.”
“Whatever! Can’t you find something better to do than annoy the hell out of me? I mean seriously dude this whole duo-identities-thing is really freaking me out!”
The Archangel scoffed loudly, which made Adam flinch. “If I had a meat suit to myself, I could think of plenty of things I’d rather be doing than chaperoning an incompetent mortal hormone. But it’s not in the cards as of now so we’re going to have to work together on this situation where it concerns the girl.”
Adam shook his head stubbornly, tossing the wet towel at the mirror. The last thing he wanted was to be taking orders from an ancient voice inside his mind, especially when he had a shady history with Adam’s brothers.
“Uh ah, no way man!” Adam scold. “So far you haven’t given me jack reasons to trust you, or answers for that matter. Now I wanna know what the hell you want with Kay and I wanna to know what’s going on right now!”
Michael’s face was vacant but persistent as he curled his lips. Something about the way the Archangel held his steely gaze made the teenager question as to whether or not he actually wanted the truth.
“One thing’s for sure, you’ve definitely develop the same impatience as your brothers. However… as there are more pressing matters to attend I’m terminating this conversation as we speak.”
Adam’s eyes were fiery, nearly gathering up the nudge to ram his fist cold hard into the glass of the mirror. He’d like that, seeing his irritable angelic co-pilot shatter into nothing.
“The hell you are!” Adam snapped slamming his fist on the counter. “Start talkin’ jack-hole!”
Michael simply rolled his shiny blue eyes at the teenager. “You don’t really think you actually intimidate me do you Adam?”
“Well why don’t we find out?”
“I’m a decorated soldier of Heaven, what are you? Nothing but my inferior puppet, so I don’t have to answer to you! Just remember kid, without my essence your feeble corpse would be rotting in the ground and your soul…well let’s just say that what you got was a taste compared to what would’ve happened while we were trapped in the cage.”
Adam gritted his teeth between taking deep breaths. He knew pissing off a higher being wasn’t exactly smart though at this point he was desperate for answers. The teenager wanted to know more about his resurrection, if his mother’s soul was safe, if he’d ever return to heaven or even if his time on earth was limited. Above all else he’d been curious about Michael’s agenda and his intentions on Kay Forster.
“Just tell me what I wanna know.” Adam pressed impulsively. “You can say whatever crap you want but the fact of the matter is we’re still ‘two peas in a pot’. You can’t do crap without me and you know it! So I suggest you start talking before Sam and Dean decide to get bored with you, hell I’m far from arguing with their methods.” The teenager eased himself then added as he supported his weight on the counter. “You want my trust? Tell me about the girl!”
The room fell silent but none more disturbing than the unconscionable glare from Michael’s wild irises shimmering through Adam’s reflected image. Whatever he was preparing to say or not say was beyond the teenager at this point but there was a secret which seemed to connect them both to the empath girl…a secret that could probably endanger them all.
Sam and Dean flew across the nightly highway in their impala, but as soon as a sign displaying “Clifton Ridge 1 km” came into view Dean hit the gas. His mind had been dodging things during the whole drive of uncomfortable silence. It wasn’t that he wanted to ignore Sam, things just felt cluttered especially after that moment of awkwardness between him and Kay. Not only that but he didn’t even say good-bye to her before leaving out the door. The kiss obviously didn’t happen, so why feel a need for explanations?
“Dean, are you okay?” Sam asked leaning back in his seat, counting the many times his brother avoided his glances. “You’ve been quiet all this time, what’s going on with you?”
“Nothing!” Dean jolted, snapping out of his trance. “Can’t a guy just have some quiet time to strategize a decent plan for this hunt?”
Sam scrutinized his older brother with a suspicious grin. “Yah, except you’re not usually the strong-silent-type. You wanna explain while I assume the worst?”
Dean Winchester clenched his jaw tightly, looking back at his brother’s doe-eyed expression though his attention remained on the car’s current position on the road. He didn’t want to talk about anything; he didn’t want to talk about her. Dean’s mind had been swimming all morning and before, ever since the whole apocalypse started up. There were certain things the young hunter was always able to withstand, nothing got in his way; not Hell or the supernatural and definitely not women. Yet…somewhere in the middle of his life he’d hit a fork in the road of change… More people started to matter and now this girl Kay Forster was starting to really matter to him.
“There’s nothing going on with me I’m fine!” Dean scowled, gripping the stirring wheel harder. “Seriously can we burry this topic now?”
“I would but you’re about to run us into a ditch!” Sam gasped as he jumped for the stirring wheel in an intensely distracted Dean’s hands, and pulled it back. The elder Winchester immediately flinched, assuming controlled of the impala, prying away his brother’s palms. “Jeez, what the hell was that?”
Dean scoffed sourly. “Nothing, just your pie-hole distracting me, now can you shut up and let me concentrate here?”
Sam wasn’t buying it. Dean knew he couldn’t pull the wool over his brother’s eyes. Pinching the bridge of his nose he allowed a confession to spill out.
“Fine, I almost kissed her okay!” he lashed irritably at a baffled Sam. “There, you happy?”
“You almost kissed who?” The last thing Dean wanted was to admit a name, as if he didn’t have enough complications to deal with in his life. Sam on the other hand was nearly peeked with full fascination, and he barely had to beat the confession out of his brother before realizing the truth in Dean’s sterling green-eyed glare. “Are you…talking about Kay?”
Dean remained silent but Sam found himself smiling in surprise.
“Wow, I never expected you to tell me that.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “Tell you what?”
Sam was too amused to be bothered by his brother’s irritable responses. “That you almost kissed someone. Normally kissing a woman doesn’t exactly come across a challenge for you…considering your record for…”
“Alright shut your trap Sam, ‘cause we’re not talking about this anymore!” Dean’s voice was becoming furiously louder the more lost himself his younger but taller brother’s annoyance. “We’ve got people to save and dead bastards to kill, so the last think you should be worrying about is watching your ass when we finally get there.”
“Can you just tell me what happened?” Sam pressed, ignoring his brother’s wishes. In between masking his interest with loading his hand gun, he’d been glancing out the window staring at the dark figures shambling through the fields at a slow pace. “I mean I get your attachment to this girl, sweet, innocent, attractive…why wouldn’t you be interested? Except that we don’t know a whole lot about Kay, what Pestilence is up to and why this girl’s blood managed to mutate the croatoan virus. I just think…getting too involved with someone like her…it’s not really a smart move Dean, especially not now with what’s going on.”
Dean signed heavily, shaking his head. “It wasn’t like that okay!” he snapped gripping the wheel tighter. “We were just talking, sharing a sandwich together and-
“Wait, you were sharing a sandwich?” Sam couldn’t contain his enthusiasm. “Dean, you don’t even like when I eat the fries off your plate.”
The elder Winchester fired an instant warning. “Are you gonna let me finish or ‘em I gonna have to stop this car and kick your Sasquatch-ass?”
Sam threw his hands up submissively. “Sorry.”
Dean huffed vibrantly continuing his rant. “Anyway, next thing I know, this intense feeling surges through me like a friggin bolt of electricity.” He paused debating on whether to admit anymore of the buried truth, his head didn’t manage to catch up with his mouth. “Dude this wasn’t some tiny shock it was a white-hot-Zeus’s lighting-strike-into-my-chest feeling. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but…lately I can’t stop thinking about Kay…and worse I don’t know if I’m really over Lisa…. I’m just so screwed.”
“You’re not screwed Dean, just confused.” Sam assured his brother. “Obviously you have feelings for both Kay and Lisa…but I don’t think you’re ready to face the reality of either of them. Lisa, for one, kicked you out and ended the relationship because you found out the truth about Ben’s paternity. And Kay is this mysterious, attractive young mechanic with the ability to read people’s feelings but also might’ve just ended the world. I can’t tell you what to decide...I will however be here for you always because you’re still my brother.”
Dean shrugged off Sam’s sentiment, changing the topic and he made a turn towards a first set of lights beyond the town. “Speaking of tough decisions, I noticed Sarah giving you the eye back at house.” A proud smile curled his lips. “Is there something you wanna tell me Sammy?”
“Yah, let’s not go there.” Sam scoffed as the impala drove into a deserted lot of a darkened convenient store. The whole town was ghostly with its shattered-building windows, blood spatters, vehicle collisions on multiple ends of the streets, and news papers displaying the headline “DEATH WALKS THE STREETS” sweeping in the breeze as the Winchesters climbed out of the black, stylish ’67 Chevy.
“Dude I just got an Omega Man flashback.” Dean said hastily as he carefully secured his side of the perimeter with both extended hands cased tightly around his revolver.
“I know…it’s too quiet here.” Sam agreed sweeping around the car and looking up the street for signs of life. “What do you think, should we sweep around the store? The survivors might be trapped inside.”
Dean was cynical. “Your buddy on the radio did mention that this was the place…right?”
Sam shrugged consulting the directions he’d written on a piece of crumpled paper, hoping the darkness kept his brother from noticing his doubts and sudden suspicions. “As far as I know, we’re directly where we’re supposed to be…Andy’s Convenient store.”
Suddenly a pop can thudded out in the distance to where the yellow garbage stood. The hairs on the back of Dean’s neck began to stand up, outside in the dark with thousands of unpredictable; dead-cannibals roaming about wasn’t exactly the smartest place to be. The brothers knew time was running out and soon their fresh scent of blood would become known to their homicidal assailants.
“I don’t like this Sam, it’s too quiet and there doesn’t seem to be anyone alive in that store.” Dean whispered hoarsely as his taller but younger brother peeked through the window. “And from the looks of this place, I say it all just went 28 Days Later so you can bet those maggot-infested sons-of-bitches aren’t too far from us.”
Sam shivered in the breeze, crowning his palm above his brows against the glass of the window, desperately trying to make out a dark figure he thought he spotted. Dean was close by, sulking in the shadows gun raised higher and aiming at any sound he picked up.
But just as Sam was about to throw away his suspicion, a howling body threw itself up against the window, palms scrapping in tracks of fresh blood. The young hunter immediately jerked away just as the corpse hurled itself bluntly through the thin sheet of glass to attack again, but not before Dean fired a clean shot through the rear of its tattered cranium.
“Move it!” shouted Dean as he and Sam each snipped out another zombie lunging out of the darkness. “They’re coming, let’s go!”
“What the hell’s going on?” Sam demanded fiercely and he ran towards the impala. “This whole area is infested!”
“So much for being inconspicuous.” Dean joked switching on the ignition of the impala, headlights beaming into the torn faces of hundreds of aggressively fast corpses darting towards the front and rear of the car.
“Just get us the hell out of here Dean!” Sam yelped in the passenger seat, gun blazing before him in case the zombie horde shattered any of the windows. But as the elder Winchester began backing the impala out of dodge, his cell blared in his pocket delaying the brothers’ escape. “What are you doing, we’re in the middle of an attack here!”
“It’s Adam’s phone, something might be wrong!” Dean gritted his teeth balancing his attention between moving the car and holding the open cell with his shoulder and ear. “Adam? What the hell man, we’re a little busy trying not to die right now! Call back later!”
“Dean…it’s not Adam I have his phone.” replied the stale voice, sending a disturbed chill down Dean Winchester’s spine. “I thought I could warn you in time…but I feared too late.”
Dean recognized that sarcastic, mono-toned voice instantly. “Cas?” As much as he wanted to believe he was talking to a reliable friend, there was something threatening in his words that made Dean shudder with anxiety. “What the hell are you doing? Where’s Adam?”
“I’m sorry Dean…but I’m afraid you can’t prevent this.”
“Hell does that mean Cas? Where’s Adam?”
CLICK! As the line went dead, Dean tossed the cell over his shoulder and hit the gas furiously starting back down the road they came, tires reeling up on crushed body parts.
Sam shot a worried expression at his brother, speeding up the car over 75 miles per hour. “Dean what is it? Why did Cas have Adam’s phone, did he know where we were?”
“I don’t know, but hell if I let any son-of-a-bitch hurt our little bro.” Dean growled. “I swear by the end of this night, something’s gonna die.”
Kay Forster switched off the shower head, ringing out the water from her dark hair before reaching for a towel. She thought cleaning up before bed would get her mind off worrying over Dean and Sam’s whereabouts. Even the soft texture of the blue housecoat wrapped around her frail body helped to distract her from strange entities she’d been feeling during the brief shower. It was probably all in her mind, Kay never felt safer than she did in the house with Sarah and Adam guarding downstairs.
Quickly she brushed her teeth, rinsing out her mouth but was startled when a noise occurred outside the bathroom door. Kay froze, wiping away the water droplets with her the back of her injured wrist, heart pounding strong. Maybe Sarah was just checking on her again as she had five minutes ago. Kay wasn’t convinced she was alone, though she felt no string of painful emotional tides colliding into her small frame.
“Hello?” she called from behind the door. “Is someone out there?”
No answer except from another startling ruckus. Kay swallowed hard peeking through the crack of the door. She couldn’t see anyone in her bedroom, the only thing that grabbed her attention was the small bedside lamp blinking every couple seconds. In her bare feet, the empath girl shuffled out of the bathroom in a trembling fashion nearly on edge from holding her breath.
“Sarah…is that you?” she asked voice breaking. “Adam?”
There was something eerie about the room, no one and nothing was lurking but Kay couldn’t help the collision of shivers rushing up her spine. Slowly she scoured the area, treading forward towards the large window with the blinds pulled back so that only sheer blackness was reflecting.
But as her fingers trailed up the ice cold sheet of glass, a devious set of eyes mirrored into her timid brown irises. Below were lips which curled into a vicious smile. Then the room erupted with Kay’s terrified scream combined with a shattering of glass.