When I have nightmares, they weren’t normal nightmares of monsters in your closet or under your bed. My nightmares are of the day I lost them. My mind keeps taking me back to that one lane dirt road where I saw them for the last time. It surprises me how vivid the memory is, even after all this time.
You need to understand…I lived next door to the Winchesters until I was two and a half years old – until my life fell apart. I don’t remember my mother very well, but my first memory – my only memory of her – is nothing exceptional. She’s lying in bed with me and my older sister when I couldn’t sleep one night. She’s telling me a story about angels, and, as I fall asleep, I can feel her stroking my hair. I don’t even know if that dream is real; sometimes I think my mind has conceived it for comfort.
When I was two and a half, my mother and sister were slaughtered in our living room…I was woken by their screams. As Dean told me (I can’t remember it), I ran past the dark figure to my neighbor’s house, not knowing what else to do. John had fallen asleep on the couch when I ran in, sobbing gibberish about my mother. Looking over at our house, he could see flames climbing up the siding, reaching toward the sky. As he ran to call the police, Mary Winchester’s blood-curdling scream filled the house. As John raced up the stairs, I stood transfixed, watching the shadows of another fire dancing along the walls of the second floor. Dean was suddenly running towards me, a small bundle held tightly in his arms. Yelling something about helping me, he dragged me outside where we piled in the back of his father’s impala before John drove off into the night. Ever since then, I’ve been traveling with the boys and their father…until a few months after my sixteenth birthday.
“Emily,” John called sharply just as I reached for the door handle of the impala.
“Sir?” I asked hesitantly, a knot of anxiety slowly growing in my stomach, afraid he had finally found out. He had.
As he advanced toward me, I could see a storm of emotions raging in his eyes. “You need to stay.”
I nodded once, heart dropping through my converse. “Yes, sir.”
“I need to protect them. I’m sorry.” That was the last thing he ever said to me…the last time he ever looked me in the eye. As he turned away and walked around the front of the impala, my eyes dropped to the ground. When the engine started, my head snapped up to meet Dean’s confused gaze; he was in the front seat starting out at me through the window. I gave him my best attempt at a smile before looking in the backseat for Sammy. I held up a hand, pretending to knock fists with him; it was our handshake. My eyes locked again with Dean’s as the car lurched forward. As they drove away, I saw realization dawn on the boys’ faces, but it was too late. I could only watch as Sammy’s tear-stained face called out for me out as he banged on the back windshield. They disappeared around a corner, and I was left alone; slowly sinking to my knees, I let the tears fall freely.
Every night I remember, and every morning I wake up in a panic and cold sweat. Perhaps the scariest moment of my life was when I found Dean’s necklace in a trash can in an old motel. I sometimes have nightmares about that, too.
After a frustrating hassle with the desk-man for the brothers’ room number, I violently kicked down the oak door; a sense of terror struck me like a train as I absorbed the view of the two ruined hotel beds. Whoever had been lying there the night before was certainly dead now judging by the amount of blood. “Jesus Christ,” I choked out, holding on to the door-frame for support. That’s when I found it. In the trashcan by the door was Dean’s necklace from Sam. Suspiciously, there was no blood on it; this left me with two conclusions: it was taken off Dean before he was killed, or he was not dead. Picking it up out of the can, I rubbed it once with my thumb before sinking to the floor, leaning on the doorframe. The world was not kind to optimists…I knew they had to be dead. “Dean,” I sobbed. “Sammy…DEAN!”
I thought about suicide that day. After their father left me on the side of the road, I stayed with Bobby, helping him man the phones, until I heard about John’s death. Since he was gone, I could finally explain everything; I immediately began tracking down the boys. When I found the necklace, I panicked, thinking I had lost them. That was one of the darkest days of my life...that night, I was lying in the bed of my stolen truck in the middle of a field, in the middle of nowhere. The knife Dean had given me for my 16th birthday in my right hand, I thought about all the people in my life. Bobby would kill me himself if he knew what I was considering. John, however, would tie me to a chair somewhere and, upon making sure I wasn’t a shapeshifer or demon, would leave me there until I saw sense. Sammy would just give me those huge puppy dog eyes and beg me until he had no breath left. He would probably be crying, too. Then I thought about Dean…I knew he wouldn’t say a word. He would lay down next to me on the hood of the car for as long as it would take for me to fall asleep or change my mind. Knowing his negotiating methods, he might say something absurd like he would kill himself after me if I went through with it. He would know that I would never want anything to happen to him, and then I would give him the knife. He would pull me into a tight, warm hug and never let me go. As the thought faded, I realized that my cheeks were wet. If Dean knew what I was doing…
As my rational mind slowly took over, I realized there was a chance they might still be alive, no matter how slim it might be. With that small ray of hope, I immediately decided to find them, search the entire world if I had to. And that brings me to today.