Rita sighed as she sorted the mail between the usual piles of bills. Life had been slow for the past months, as it tended to be in the winter. Faith was slowly recovering from the shock of having a murderer in their midst, from the loss of someone special, and she'd even managed to find a new waitress. It wasn't the first storm they had weathered together, merely the worst, and like all things, the rebuilding of cracked foundations would take time.
She had tracked events in the world as well as she could, always keeping an eye out for the Winchesters. There were stories of unusual events and mysterious deaths that seemed to stop after a black car had rolled through town, but she had never heard the name again, had never been able to find out if there were two riders in that car, or only one. Most times she hoped for two, but sometimes the look on Sam's face as he left would remind her that there was probably only one.
Coming across an envelope with no return address and a hastily scrawled address, she stopped. The post mark was from Nebraska. Curious, she opened it. Inside was a newspaper article and a small white note folded in half. She read the article first.
SMALL TOWN OF FAITH SHOWS ITS TRUE COLORS.
Byline: Sam Ulrich.
This reporter has seen a lot of things while on the road. Some so terrible it's hard to imagine, but sometimes, just sometimes, I get to see some things so wonderful it's hard to describe.
A few months ago, a small town in South Dakota had its own sense of community tested when a serial killer took up residence in their private Eden. Seven lives were lost horribly before the killer was caught, over a course of five years. Stumped, the police had no leads, no suspects, and were almost forced to abandon the case.
The real story in this town, however, is the community that rallied together to protect each other, whether from egotistical city developers, or from serial killers intent on destroying their precious connections.
I got to know a lot of the people there when my brother and I landed investigating the death of Marie Miller. Rita Delaware, the owner of the simply named Bed and Pub, is a spunky spit fire of a woman whose kindness can never be truly repaid. We were strangers passing through, as many do in the ranch lands, but were accepted as family from the moment we arrived to the moment we left.
I was saddened to read of the death of one boy I had gotten to know quite well. Randy Holders died of CHD at the age of 14, shortly after we left. I happen to know that it was this remarkable boy who put together the serial killer's pattern, giving the tip to the police which allowed them the arrest. He was a boy who rarely dreamed, but when he did, he dreamed big. To the town of Faith, Randy lived and died a hero, and will be greatly missed by all the town's citizens, both permanent and temporary.
I learned several valuable lessons while investigating this article. In times of crisis, people have a choice to either turn on each other, or come together as a community. I was privileged enough to watch the latter happen here, as each citizen supported the other. As an outsider, I was able to see what they took for granted, able to see the strength that held them together instead of tearing them apart.
We're not all lucky enough to live in small towns like this, but we're all lucky enough to learn from them. In supporting each other, any great evil can be overcome. It is my hope that this town will grow with each other, and that it stands as a shining example of the best the human race has to offer.
To Randy, my young friend, I hope you rest in peace. I will miss you.
To Rita, who stands as the town's protector, there are no words for you, for what you did. Thank you.
Rita wiped a tear from her cheek, scolding herself for being a sentimental old fool. She moved on to the folded white paper, her hands shaking with relief as the first words left no doubt who had written it.
"Hey Old Woman.
I thought you might appreciate a copy of Sam's article. Huh, not much of a writer, is he? But his heart is in the right place. Always is. We were very sorry to read about Randy's death, I hope Anne is okay. He was a great kid. Give my thanks again to Joe for the job, and sorry things got so messed up.
I don't know much about what happened the last few days in Faith, it's all sort of a blur for me, and Sam doesn't talk about it much. But I get the feeling you helped ground him when he was feeling lost, and for that, you have not only my undying gratitude, but also the right to call on me as needed, for anything, anytime. No questions asked, I'll be there. Sam too.
Sam aside, I owe you a thanks from me, as well. I won't go into detail, you know it anyway. Thank you, for all that and more. It's towns like yours that remind me what we do is worth doing (and I know you've already guessed Sam's not a reporter... I mean, did you read that article? I actually had to bribe a newspaper to print it!). I needed that reminder, more than you'll ever know.
I miss your pies, now that I have my appetite back.
Rita chuckled. She hadn't gotten to know Dean very well, but she loved how healthy he sounded, even in writing. Tomorrow she would add the article and note to the scrapbook she had started months back. Dean was right, it wasn't the greatest writing, but it was full of heart, something she could clearly associate with Sam. Then it would be time to close it up for good, the final missing piece completing its purpose. The boys were okay. Whatever else they did in life, she didn't really need to know more than that.
And maybe, just maybe, tomorrow she would change her Will and leave Dean her pie recipe.
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