Characters: Dean, Sam
Word Count: ~850
Warnings: experimental style, gore, potentially insensitive handling of true events
Summary: There's a woman in Los Angeles who spent three months driving with a corpse in her front seat. Dean's convinced they have to go. Sam doesn't see the resemblance. 2x21/2x22 "All Hell Breaks Loose" AU.
Notes: Written for the hoodie_time Tags Challenge, for the tag psychosis. After much wrestling with the prompt 'common cold' I have given up and gone for short and sweet instead. Or short and scary.
"Gruesome," Sam says. He's got his toothbrush cocked at the side of his mouth and froth on his lips. Flicks red cinnamon paste onto the front page as he speaks.
He probably doesn't even realize how much it makes him look like someone's drilled a stake through his cheek.
"Always," you manage.
"You okay?" Sam takes off his hoodie, drags the thick dark fabric over his arms, above his neck. He doesn't have a head at all; just this oil spill where his neck should be and--
"Coffee is shit." it's like he doesn't have lines doesn't have a body doesn't have "Tastes like an oil spill."
"Headlines starting to get to you, kiddo. Motel brand's your favorite." Sam claps you on the back and it feels like a knife through you spinal cord 'cause Sammy don't you remember Sammy don't you remember
Of course not. You made sure. You made sure because that kind of thing really fucks a person up, you're happy to not ever have to tell the world. There's a reason "It's a Miracle"'s on late night. People don't need to know that shit. of course you don't sam thank god of course you don't thank the devil's advocate (with lips like silk that leave a memory like poison). like an oil spill
"Harbor seals aren't our problem," you say. The words play anchor like the goddamn seals are the only real thing left in your world. And you don't care that much about seals. "LA Times--whaddaya think?"
Los Angeles. Woman. Dead. Three months in the front seat. Neighbor drove around like that. Rotting corpse right in the front seat and she drove around like that. Changed her clothes and everything. Like clockwork. Like death didn't even matter.
Sam's changing his shirt. There's something weird going on with his back, he says. Some kind of abscess. It chafes. Can't see it in the mirror, though.
like death didn't even matter
"Wear the dog shirt."
(If she looked in the rearview, could she see the body? Could she see it seeping? How'd she stomach the smell? For three months, how did she do it?)
"When'd you get all Banana Republic? Suddenly you know what shirts I own?"
After a while, everything smells like death. Things that never even touched it; they smell like that. Memories like poison. like oil and maybe she didn't smell it at all. Denial. Repression. Kiss with the Devil. These things are miracle workers.
"So the woman in LA," you say. You're pretty sure the coffee burning in your stomach is more alive than Sam will ever be. But he's right there, he's right there he's right there. "Sound like our kind of gig?"
Sam shrugs. (Death convulsion.) "Sounds like LA. You gotta up the weirdness threshold when you're looking over there; you know what. Where'd you even get this?" His hand brushes the newsprint photograph. Dots like rainbows in oil. Her hand, all dessicated and gone. His too. How does he not see the resemblance?
There's a bigass newsstand in town with a hundred different papers. You went there. Because Sam was dead and you figured, hell, if the world was ending maybe the media would know. It was stupid. You were out of your head. (But you're better now.) Back then, all the papers screamed D E A T H in big block letters. None of them screamed Sam (that's because you screamed Sam. You screamed Sam and you felt his heart stop. Go heavy in your arms. Drool limply onto your shoulder) none of them screamed Sam but somehow that didn't help you any.
Sam opens his mouth and out comes D E A T H in big block letters.
You ask him to repeat that.
"Found something better," he says. Heaven, you hope.
"It's our kind of thing, for sure. And closer than LA."
Does he need to remind you you're in Cold Oak, South Dakota? Fuck no, he doesn't, but he does anyway and it all flashes through you harsher than a blinding fucking image of a motherfucking liberty bell. (Liberty.)
You take the wheel. Sam rides shotgun. He's got the paper in his lap, front page screaming up at him (three months she drove, with that dead body in her car. Dressed and spritzed and fearsome), and it's all so obvious.
Sam, you want to (absolutely do not want to) explain to him. You died. But the first rule about dealing with demons is you don't talk about dealing with demons and you thought that'd be a big fucking boon. Icing on the cake. You don't want to talk. Make a rule: you don't get to talk. No one knows. Not Sam, not Bobby. No one.
That's how you wanted it.
Sam scratches absently at his nose (sunburn) and all you can see is his skin peeling in sheets in pounds in handfuls.
You hit the gas. Drive fast enough and no one will be able to see. No one will be able to tell.