Where the Lonely Ones Roam
The house was cold. Cold and dark and damp, with rotting wood everywhere and rats scurrying about the ground and piles of broken wood and debris everywhere. She hated it there, with every fiber of her being, but leaving was not an option. So instead, the small nine-year-old tucked herself into a corner between a dilapidated fireplace and a wall that smelt of mold and sat down with her knees pulled to her chest. She placed her forehead upon them, small hands still clutching the strange knife that had been shoved into her hands; and with her eyes shut, her mind wandered about as she tried to think of happy things. Her favorite food, her favorite season, her stuffed bear back home… if she did that, she could almost ignore the screeches and shouts of a fight that echoed through the farther parts of the house.
Footsteps came nearer and nearer after a few minutes, rapid and pounding. Jenna squeezed her eyes shut harder, hands shaking. She didn't want to go back out there, she didn't want to be found and forced to fight those scary things, please don't see me, please, go away, go away…
A rough hand grabbed her shoulder, and Jenna's hand shot up with a gasp, her eyes flying open to see a stern woman glaring down at her with tousled hair and dirt streaked across her face. "Get up," the woman snapped, without sympathy for the girl's wide, scared eyes as her hand moved to her thin elbow and pulled the girl to her feet.
"B-But I don't want to…" Jenna whispered, giving a half-hearted attempt to pull away.
And that earned her a sharp slap across the face. Tears burned against the back of eyes as the woman shook her sternly. "I do not feed you, shelter you, give you a damn home, for you to be a coward," she hissed, batting the child's ear some before grabbing the small wrist that desperately clutched the knife. "You will go in there," she stated harshly. "And you will fight. You will hunt, just like you were taught."
She would not cry, she could not cry, she just couldn't… "But Momma," the girl whispered brokenly. "I don't want to."
The woman pulled back her hand again, and the girl ducked to avoid the expected slap; however, instead of dealing another blow, the woman simply grabbed her other shoulder, and shoved her into the other room roughly. "You don't call me Momma," she said icily. "Until you kill that demon!"
The girl stumbled into the room, nearly falling from the force of the shove, directly in front of the grinning, dark-eyed demon standing in front of her.
"No! NO! I don't wanna! I don't wanna!"
The demon slowly stalked forward; Jenna spun around to flee when the woman from before slammed the creaking, old wooden door shut on her.
"NO! NO! NO! Lemme out! Let me out! MOMMA!"
The demon lunged.
Jenna Winters sat up abruptly in bed as the nightmarish memory shattered into a million pieces upon her waking; an uncomfortable awakening, with her sweat-soaked skin and flushed face and heaving breast. It took her five minutes to calm down, but calm down she did – and when the last recollections of her first hunt drained away from the front of her mind, the young woman brought her knees to her chest and laid her forehead upon them, a familiar position from her childhood. Her eyes slipped closed, and she took several deep breaths. It's over, she mentally whispered to herself; even in her mind, her voice sounded small and insignificant. It's in the past. You survived. You're here now, without 'Momma' and with your son to love, precious…
Jenna lifted her head to find the thirteen-year-old standing in the doorway, blinking groggily at his mother with his lips pressed together in a tight frown. "What's wrong?" the boy continued, to which the woman shook her head slowly, running a hand through dark, tangled hair. "Nothing, baby," she whispered. "Just… anxious about tonight."
"You don't have to go," Jaxon replied immediately, perhaps waiting for an opportunity like this to plead his case. "There are other hunters. They can take care of this, can't they?"
Yes. Maybe they could. But she'd already committed herself to this case – and one thing of the things she absolutely loathed were those that went back on their word. "It'll be over soon; tonight will be a quick hunt," she promised him, glancing at the clock. Nearly midnight. She should be up anyways, she had to be out of the house by one. She slid long, bare legs out of the bed, and wrapped herself in a bathrobe to cover her short briefs and tank top before walking over and ruffling Jaxon's head.
The boy protested with a tired whimper as he batted her hand away. "Mooom…"
She smiled, pressing his wild mane of unruly hair. "Head back to bed, Jaxon. Sophia will be over in a few minutes to stay the night."
The boy nodded, but instead of heading back to his own room across the hall, he casually headed over to his mother's bed and climbed beneath the comforter. It wasn't strange, for the young teen to spend the night in the small place of comfort when she was out till past dawn. Jenna watched as his eyes slipped closed as she grabbed herself her clothes, and slipped out the door to get changed in the bathroom.
A half hour later and Jenna stared at her reflection in the mirror. Hair pulled up in a long ponytail. Black t-shirt, leather jacket, decently-fitted pants and a wide belt that she customized to hold her most necessary and portable of hunting gear. All set. A knock on the door had her going through the hotel's small living room to greet her younger sister. Adopted, of course, but sister nonetheless.
Sophia Walters gave Jenna a smile as she stepped inside with an overnight bag. "All set?" the twenty-three-year-old asked, to which Jenna responded with, "As ready as I can be." The two embraced quickly, before Jenna grabbed her backpack and headed out the door. No lengthy exchange of words this time – this was a drill they were both all too familiar with.
The taxi took her to the outskirts of Augusta, Maine, and the man didn't ask any questions when she slapped an extra five in his palm. He sputtered away in his cab after leaving her on the side of a long, empty road; and then Jenna simply stood there for nearly fifteen minutes before she felt a hand clamp over her shoulder.
Within seconds, the woman had spun around with a low growl, taking the stranger's wrist in her hands and wrenching it back and upwards as she prepared to tear this person apart should he attempt to touch her any more than he already had…
"Ow, ow, ow, ow, OW!"
The voice hit her instantly, and Jenna released the man with a slight gasp and a widening of her blue eyes. "Oh, shit. Winchester."
The man rubbed his wrist and shot her a look. "Yes, it's me. Hello to you too, Winters."
"Shit," she repeated, pursing her lips together as she looked him over. "Don't scare me like that. Are you okay?"
"Just peachy," replied Dean Winchester with a grimace as he finally stopped cradling his hand and faced the woman properly, offering a nod of his head in a more common greeting. "Nice reflexes there least."
"Just be happy they were weren't my best," she pointed out with an eye roll as she placed both hands on the straps of the backpack she wore. "You ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be." Dean turned and pointed at the small house all alone at the top of a small hill in the distance, surrounded by trees and without a single light on despite its well-cared-for appearance. "That's the target. Impala is parked not far from here." As always, a slight undertone of pride slipped into his words as he spoke of his beloved car.
Jenna nodded, sucking in a deep breath as she gazed at the house. "Alright then," she muttered quietly. "Let's do this."
Sobs. They wracked the nine-year-old's body violently and relentlessly as she knelt in the middle of the mold-reeking, damp, frigid house. She was sobbing, and this meant something, because Jenna Winters hated crying. She hated weeping, and sobbing, and she hated those silent tears that rolled down your face, and the ache in the back of your throat as you swallowed your cries. She hated it all, and so the fact that she'd simply broken down with the almost-completely-disintegrated body of a demon in front of her was surprising… but not unexpected.
"Stop that whimpering," snapped 'Momma' as she cleaned up all traces of the hunters' presence, stuffing their weapons and supplies into her bag before turning to the girl with hands on her hips. "I said stop." Her voice dropped to a near growl.
Jenna merely shook her head, small frame trembling. She had cuts along her arm that stung, tear tracks slicing through the grime in her face, and the panicked-memories of her twenty minute desperate battle with the demon bringing nothing but chills and fear to numb her mind. The tears kept coming, followed by choked sounds, and eventually Momma stormed over and hauled her roughly to her feet, dragging her out of the house while the girl whimpered.
"Pathetic," the woman sneered as she flung the child into the back of the car, climbed behind the steering wheel, and started driving.
She continued quietly sniffling, brain focused on the past horrors and horrors ripped from her imagination, as they drove down a dark highway with pitch black night all around. Tremors ran up and down her body and she bit down on her pale tulip lips to keep from completely breaking down again. She didn't like this. She'd rather go back to the orphanage than do this again. She didn't want it, she didn't want any of it… please, I just want a home… a regular home… please…
When an extremely quiet, but still extremely clear string of soft musical notes filled her ears, she thought maybe for once Momma had turned on the radio. And not on some hard, blaring rock station; but something soft and soothing and something that almost immediately brought the hiccupping sobs to tiny, rapid, but calming breaths. Her eyes shut, squeezing out two last tears, and then she kept up shut as she listened to music. Considering thanking Momma, but then deciding against it.
The song continued, a single instrument like that of a strange flute, drawing out long notes in a haunting, terrifyingly beautiful melody. The sound of a pan flute's piping continued until the girl silently fell asleep, tears dried and, for the first time in a while, a nightmare-less sleep welcoming her into its slumbering embrace.
Jenna didn't get to see the cracked radio up on the dashboard, the dial broken off and wires sticking out; the perfect image of a radio and speakers that hadn't worked in the past ten years…