It was cold but not freezing as the October winds rippled across the Hudson River and the cadets were used to it. The grounds of the Point were largely quiet even though there were over a thousand cadets on the grounds. The air whistled between the buildings making nothing out of the ordinary.
Cadet Private Stephen Johnson continued his assigned guard duties around the old familiar 47th Division Barracks. It had been his assigned barracks since his arrival at the point and he already felt at home. Being at the Point was the only thing he truly wanted after scrambling to be the best in his application and securing his nomination. He recalled with pride the day he received his acceptance letter. Just thinking about it kept him warm as he continued.
On one of his passes, he came across his fellow cadet and friend Hank Gilmore who was also serving guard duty. Though it was more likely the cadet was working off demerits given that Hank was one who liked to run escapades. He gave a slight salute to his friend and continued on his way through his appointed rounds. He had just come around the northern end of the barracks when he thought he heard something.
Johnson turned around quickly to find that no one was around. Even though it was cold, the cadet felt the wind get even colder. He took a breath and the breath of air clouded over. He looked around some more and finding nothing continued on. As he whirled around he spotted what looked like a cadet walking to one of the barracks entrances. He said, "Halt, there soldier."
The strange cadet kept walking into the barracks. Johnson followed the cadet into the barracks where he lost sight of the cadet. He looked around until he heard a thump upstairs. He ran up the stairs to the second floor and did a cursory sweep. He was halfway down the hall when he felt the temperature drop suddenly causing him to shiver. Hearing something, he whirled around and looked around. He then heard something in one of the rooms. He recognized it belonging to Cadets Kinnon and Hillstead. He slowly opened the door and walked in, trying not to disturb his fellow cadets.
They were sleeping in their bunks while Johnson looked around until he stepped in something that made a sickly squishy sound. Johnson paused and looked down. He pulled out his flashlight and flipped it on. The sight on the ground left him speechless as he tried to gasp for something to say as he flipped over the sheets to view his fellow cadets dead. Suddenly he whirled around and saw the strange cadet.
The cadet was dressed in an old uniform and it was in tatters. The cadet looked blankly ahead at Johnson. Johnson looked downward and saw a large gaping wound in the stomach cavity of the mysterious cadet. He had never seen anything like it before and he backed away and brought his guard rifle up. He then managed to say, "You're coming with me."
The strange cadet didn't move or say anything except it stared at Johnson. It then said, "Why?"
Johnson frowned in confusion. Before he could say anything the cadet in front of him moved forward. The last thing that came out of Johnson's mouth was a loud scream that woke up the entire barracks.
West Point Academy, 2006
Cadet David Barcalow trudged up the stairs exhausted from a rather impromptu drill from some of the upperclassmen. While officially all cadets followed the code that had been instilled in them since day one, that didn't exclude the need for 'special drills,' and to Barcalow, that came in the form of being drilled in everything until every muscle was sore beyond belief. He bore it willingly since all he ever wanted was to be a soldier.
Today's drill was fundamental principles of marching until Barcalow was sufficiently drilled and that wasn't until dinner hour. He nearly missed it but found that he wasn't all that hungry so he decided to head to his barracks and call an early night even though he should be studying. Knowing this he mentally groaned as he pushed open the door to the room that he shared with his roommate. His roommate Derringer was already at his desk bent over his books. Barcalow thought that he might as well get a few hours in. It's not like Derringer was tired or anything like that. In most cases it was Derringer that created the special drills for him. Barcalow could have requested a change of barracks but he was no snitch and he bore it.
After properly putting away his gear, Barcalow pulled out his books and placed them on the desk. He asked, "Burning the midnight oil Derringer?"
Normally Derringer would respond telling him to fuck off or something else. When he didn't respond, Barcalow thought that he was being in a charitable mood for once. After placing his books on the desk, he realized that he forgot something and got up to get it. Along the way he bumped into Derringer and hastily apologized. When his roommate didn't move, Barcalow gave a slight push on the cadet's shoulder and the body slumped over to the ground. Looking down, Barcalow saw blood staining the floor and looked at his roommate in horror.
Suddenly the room became cold. Barcalow saw his breath come out in a cloud of smoke and rubbed his shoulders as he backed towards the door. He had to inform the Cadet Captain. He turned and then came face to face with another cadet? It looked at him with dead eyes and hole in the stomach cavity. It advanced towards Barcalow and is said one word, "Why?" Barcalow then saw the cadet swoop at him and he closed his eyes.
The Cadet Captain opened the door to tell the two occupying the room that it was lights out. When he opened the door, he came in on one dead cadet and the other covered in the dead man's blood with a frightened expression on his face. The captain looked at the frightened cadet and demanded what happened. All that came out of the cadet's mouth was, "He wants it to stop. He wants to know why."
The cadet captain called for the guard to escort the blood covered cadet to holding while he placed a call to his superiors. He nearly gagged at the sight of all the blood on the floor. Looking at the body, he noticed that the stomach cavity had a hole punched into it. He frowned trying to keep what was in his stomach in and walked towards the window, careful not to step in the blood. He peered out the window and saw a cadet looking up at him. The uniform was in tatters and immediately the cadet captain thought of the regulations that had been violated. He looked away for a moment when he heard something and when he looked back, he saw the cadet was gone.
The captain frowned and turned away. It was then he saw it on the walls. Written in blood was the one word: why? The captain felt fear like he never felt before as he read that word. Something was definitely going on. He yelped when the cadet in the tattered uniform appeared in front of him and then phased out. The captain blinked several times and stayed there until the authorities came to investigate the scene.
Colonel Ted Henderson walked towards the interview room assigned to the prisoner. As head of the security forces of West Point, he was called to question the cadet that had been found covered in the blood of his dead roommate. He studied the file of the cadet as he walked through. What he found surprised him and he wondered if something was out of place.
Cadet Barcalow was sitting at the table. For security purposes, his hands were handcuffed and were clasped together on top of the table. His mind was a myriad of thoughts racing together. He knew he didn't kill his roommate but he was certain that they wouldn't believe him if he told him that he saw… what did he see? He placed his head in his hands thinking that he career as a soldier would be over.
The door opened and Col. Henderson walked in. In his usual manner, he placed the file of Cadet Barcalow on the table as well as the preliminary of the crime scene. He used this tactic when he was interrogating prisoners and when he ran what he called POW 101. He eyed the cadet with an impassive look and observed his reactions.
The cadet was frightened and he had every right to be. He was being held on suspicion of murder. The superintendent wanted to keep CID out this but did give Col. Henderson the option of calling them in if he thought they needed it. The colonel continued to stare and finally broke the silence, "You do know why you are here Cadet Barcalow?"
Barcalow looked up at the colonel and replied, "Yes sir."
Col. Henderson nodded as he flipped open the file. He then read, "Cadet David Barcalow, born June 1983, received appointment from the state of Maryland to West Point, top of his class and excellent record. So why kill your roommate?"
"I didn't kill him sir. He was dead when I walked in."
"Then explain how you were covered in his blood," the colonel replied looking at the cadet with a stoic face.
"As I told the MPs, I was coming in from a practice drill. I entered my room and Cadet Derringer was at his desk. I cleaned up and brought out the books. I remember bumping him when I got up and he slumped over dead. I had never seen a dead body before sir. I was scared."
"And what happened then?"
"You're probably going to think that I am crazy," Barcalow replied and lowered his head, "but the room got really cold. I could see my breath. I then turned around and there was a cadet standing in front of me. He was wearing a tattered uniform and when I looked down I saw…"Col. Henderson looked up from his notes as he listened. He became very interested. "What did you see cadet?"
"I—I saw a gaping hole in his stomach. He then said something and that's all I remember before waking up covered in Derringer's blood." Barcalow looked at the colonel. He was sure that his story wasn't believed by him. "I didn't kill him sir!"
Col. Henderson just stared at the cadet not giving away anything. If the cadet was right, then that meant that something bad was going to happen at the Point. Unfortunately he couldn't do anything about it since it could be deemed suspicious. But if he could call in specialists and claim they were CID… It was the best option. He closed the file and said, "Cadet you're in a lot of trouble at this point. However if we find evidence to the contrary, then there is a good chance that you will be released." He then got up.
"Sir, please. I didn't do it."
The colonel ignored the cadet as he left the interrogation room. He gave the order for the prisoner to be moved to the brig. As much as he knew what was going on, he had to follow protocol on this. He felt bad for the boy and was determined to right this if it were possible. He paused by a window and looked out. What he saw had him frown.
Peering out he saw what he was certain it was a cadet. Looking close he saw the uniform in tatters. Suddenly the cadet flickered before looking at him. Then it disappeared. Col Henderson frowned at what he saw. He knew now that this required more than what he could do. He nodded before turning back towards the exit. Walking down the hall, he fished out his cell phone and dialed a number. Once he got a voice on the end, he proceeded to lay out the case in the prearranged code they had worked out. The response had him nodding in approval. He said, "I can make sure she can get in. Just make sure that protocols are followed. Thanks."
Hamburg, New York
The diner was fairly quiet with the exception of the early birds grumbling through their breakfasts and morning coffee. Some were already starting the day's gossip. It was hardly noticed by the two boys in the corner. One was studying a laptop and occasionally taking a sip of coffee. The other was digging in to a large pile of bacon, eggs, sausage and pancakes. A small plate of pancakes was nearby and appeared only half eaten. The one eating finished his plate and was looking at the short stack with a speculative eye. He asked, "You gonna finish that Sammy?"
Sam Winchester didn't bother to look up from his laptop. He replied, "Knock yourself out Dean."
Dean dug into the remaining short stack, stuffing a large piece into his mouth. He looked over at his little brother staring at the laptop screen. Still chewing he asked, "Still searching or did you find a job?"
Sam didn't bother to reply. He was studying the main page of a school that he had done a search for. He clicked on the contact list to find the person he was looking for, ignoring the information that was provided about the school. When the list of faculty came up, he scrolled up and down until a familiar name came up but not the one he was looking for. He took another sip of his coffee and opened another window to do some cross checking. He also had some other articles pulled up looking for demonic omens or any sign of a possible job.
Dean looked at his brother with a concerned look. Seeing that he was going to be ignored, Dean reached over and slapped the lid of the laptop shut.
"Dude, do you have to be such a jerk?" Sam gave his best bitch face towards his brother.
"Come on Sam. You've been doing nothing but working off of that thing every spare moment. What is so important that you have to be surfing the Internet for anything but porn?"
Sam gave a disgusted look as he watched his brother speak while chewing his food. It quickly changed to one of annoyance and he tried to open the laptop only to have Dean push the lid back down. "It's just research and I'm not finding much of anything at the moment."
"Really?" Then as quick as a flash, Dean had the laptop in his hands and had it open. He clicked on the windows that had been minimized to take a look pointedly ignoring the looks of annoyance on Sam's face. When he found the page on the school he gave an 'are you kidding' look at Sam. Out loud he said, "You're unbelievable. You're still thinking about her?"
Sam gave a shrug. He had been thinking of her quite a bit. He didn't tell Dean that occasionally he had the dream of her fighting and dying alone but it wasn't always against vampires. Sometimes it was other things. It was bad enough with the visions. He didn't need to worry his brother about this. He came up with what could be considered the most lame excuse ever, "It's been nearly two months since… then."
Dean knew his baby brother like he did the back of his hand. He could tell when Sam was lying to him or keeping something from him. He handed back the laptop stifling the urge to throw it at his brother. Seeing his brother's expression, he relented and replied, "Look Sammy, she's probably on a case and doesn't need our help. Or she's probably doing some R&R."
Sam took back the laptop and put it in his bag. Dean was probably right and she didn't need help but he did make the offer that he was there to talk if she wanted. In fact his brother said the same thing the girl at the school said when he called her the other night when Dean was making a snack run…
"Sam, this is a surprise. How did you know to reach me at this number?"
"I checked the website of the school." Sam was scrolling down the page of the Roslyn Academy. He had looked up Akira's name and had come up with a dozen hits but only one referred to her current job.
"Figures," then a slight laugh before the voice asked, "So what can I do for you?"
"Have you heard from…" Sam wasn't sure how to finish his inquiry without sounding like a fool.
The voice became sympathetic but only slightly, "She took off after dropping me off. Have you tried her number?"
"I did but I got her voicemail. She hasn't returned my call."
There was a slight pause and Sam could swear that the voice was laughing at him. It then asked, "Did you have a dream?"
"I understand. Sam, just give it time. She could have found another case. Most of the work she does is not sanctioned by the order. Sometimes she will be gone for weeks. Then again she might be on that mission."
The voice then replied, not answering his question, "Give her time. She'll probably give a call. Be patient." The line then hung up.
Sam studied his coffee, aware that his brother was waiting for his answer. He was sure that she might need help even though it was a dream but it could be nothing. However he knew she did open up with him more readily than she did with Dean so he was hoping that she might call. He might as well follow her friend's advice and wait for her to respond. He replied, "You're probably right Dean."
"Well," Sam paused and looked upward for a moment trying to figure out what to say. He then replied, "I just can't help but think that maybe she needs us on a case."
Dean looked at Sam with an intense look of scrutiny. He glanced around to make sure no one was showing any interest in them. He then whispered, "Another one of your visions?"
"Dean you know my visions usually involve the other psychics and the yellow eyed demon." Sam looked down at his cup of coffee. He knew that he had probably just sunk his excuse for even bothering with his search. He waited to hear one of Dean's lectures.
Dean finished chewing the last piece of pancake as he watched Sam toy with his coffee. He smiled like the cat that caught the canary. "You sly dog. That's my boy though considering what she is…"
"Mind out of the gutter Dean," Sam replied annoyed at the whole thing. Yet it was a relief that he wasn't being made to say what was truly on his mind. "I just wanted to see if she's doing okay. That's all."
"So you say Sammy," Dean was grinning while he fished out the money for the two meals that he just finished. He followed Sam who was already walking out the door with annoyed look on his face. As much as he was upset with Sam for keeping secrets, he couldn't help but have fun at the fact that Sam was actually showing interest in a girl. And she was one of the first since his girlfriend Jessica died nearly a year ago.
As he was making his way out, he bumped into a guy who was coming into the diner. He gave an apology and continued to head out of the diner. He was unaware that the man was watching him through liquid black eyes. Dean met Sam at the Impala where Sam was leaning against the car with an annoyed expression on his face. Dean said, "Come on Sam."
Sam said nothing but got inside the Impala. He really wasn't in the mood to be teased about his sex life. He looked at the kachina sitting on the dash. It was another reminder of that job. Looking at it he gave a slight grin at the memory of the kachina latching itself onto Dean's collar. It wasn't moving now having been given the command to revert back to its original state but looking at it now, Sam swore it looked like it was giving a reassuring gesture. He was contemplating on using the activation word just to set loose a prank on Dean as the familiar creak of the door of the Impala sounded.
Dean had an annoyed look when he got inside the car. He said, "Sam I was just messing with you but come on she did have her eye on you."
"She just told me more about herself to me than you. I just wanted to see if she was okay." Sam then looked forward. "You're probably right and if she does need us she'll call. Besides I might have found a job a possible haunting at city hall. Some mysterious deaths have occurred but the details are inconclusive."
Dean recognized the change of pace as a means of tabling the issue for now. In other words, he could pick it up later. He replied, "Alright so we hit city hall take a few readings and see if we have something."
Sam was going to say something when he felt the vibration of his cell phone. He pulled it out of his jacket pocket and flipped it open. He frowned when he realized he had just received an email and the address was unknown.
Dean had started up the engine when the call came. He glanced over at his brother looking at his phone. He couldn't resist, "Your girlfriend calling?"
Sam was frowning as he stared at the address, debating on whether or not to open it. He replied, "No. I got an email but from who?"
"Well might as well open it."
Sam was in the same mind as he clicked to open the email. The message popped open and he read it out loud, "A Revolution of the poor with enemy troops numbering 544. A fort the "Mad" general won was a British garrison. Meet at this small, happy hive, this town founded in 1865."
Dean frowned and asked, "A mysterious email in a riddle? Do we have a crazy person stalking us?"
Sam was frowning at the email. He then scrolled to the bottom. The sender left the last line, "Sent by a person who jumped into a previous fray and the name begins with the letter 'A'." Could it be?