Dean didn’t know.
He couldn’t know, really, the concern that flooded through his English teacher anytime he stepped into the classroom. Amy Temple couldn’t explain it – the irrational fear that he was the type of student who would one day let loose. There was no sense behind her fear; sure, the boy was a little rambunctious and disruptive. Naturally the other teachers all complained of his antics and the way he refused to do any of his class work – that was all normal behavior of a student who didn’t apply any effort into academics. But it was the cryptic little remarks that he made afterwards that sent a chill up the forty-three year olds’ spine – the way he muttered to himself that none of it would matter in the end, that there was no point for him to even try, that they were all blissfully naïve of the horrors out there.
Dean didn’t know that when she graded his papers she could still see the faint indentations of whatever enigmatic symbols he had been doodling on the page before. A shiver swept through her anytime she was made to grade his tests, still able to recognize that there were words written in the margins that he had erased roughly, as though afraid that someone might see. Dean didn’t realized that she had checked his desk one day after his class had finished, and had discovered the crude pentagram which he had carved into the wood with what appeared to have been a knife. So whenever Dean returned whatever book they had last been reading, Amy forced herself to check every page, afraid of what crude depictions he might have filled the pages with. There was never anything. The books were always pristine, except for those faded etchings that one would only see if they were looking – the only other sign that the book had ever been in his hands was his name amongst the list scrawled on the inside of the book cover.
So, when honor roll students started turning up stabbed to death, it was Dean that Amy was afraid of. And Dean didn’t know that it was her who had advised the police department to look into the mysterious upper classmen who seemed to react to the murders with a detached interest, rather then the horror and suspicions that the other students were willing to share. The graying teacher had requested that the police keep her name out of reports, so terrible was her fear of the boy in the worn out leather jacket who sat towards the back of her classroom. Thus, none was the wiser to her betrayal of her student.
For it was a betrayal, despite what she tried to convince herself in the comforts of her own home. She was supposed to care for her students – educate them and protect them. Not throw them to the cops and wash her hands of them. If Dean had been committing the murders, then was she not – his teacher who he saw daily – responsible for not speaking up sooner? For not stopping him? No matter how many times she attempted to soothe her guilt, it was overpowered by the truth, which was quickly overshadowed by her fear. Fear that he would find her house. Fear that she would be the next in the string of victims to be found in an empty classroom. But Dean didn’t know.
For two days he did not come to class. Amy devoured whatever rumor she heard of the boy, desperate to discover what had been found out about the peculiar boy in her ten o’clock class. She overheard Peter Markus telling his friends that Dean had refused to speak about the murders, choosing instead to go in to great detail about his conquests of the girls on campus – most of which were daughters of men on the force. Another student, Cheryl Matthews, the daughter of the Chief of Police, admitted John Winchester had appeared and threatened her father with bodily harm for bringing Dean in. At the same time, Emily McCaslin, shared how she heard Dean had run from the cops on the ride to the station, so that he could pick his younger brother, Sam, up from middle school. Amy spoke to Chris Rollins, the guidance counselor, who confided in warning the cops to look for signs of abuse in either of the Winchester boys. Dean didn’t know that anyone was speaking about him at all.
It was finally announced that the eighteen year old was released when another honor roll student’s body was found in the empty science classroom, having been stabbed in the chest with a broken beaker only to have her body land on a Bunsen burner long enough to make her features indistinguishable. Her parents had been forced to identify her by the jewelry found on her body, rather then by her face.
He appeared back in her classroom on Thursday morning, no books in hand as per usual, and had lowered himself into his seat as though nothing had happened. Amy had feasted upon his features like a starving wolf finally granted a bit of meat. He terrified her – that hadn’t changed – but she knew that something in him must have. How could it not; him having been accused of the murder of three students? Yet he kept his features impassive and winked at the girls in class as per usual. Yet when he thought no one was looking – like when she told the students to reread a Ophelia’s soliloquy in Hamlet – his eyebrows seemed to furrow together as though in deep thought, despite not having the play in his hands. Perhaps that was what scared Amy the most – that this boy was so schooled in masking his emotions that no one else was able to see the wheels turning in his mind.
Dean didn’t know that she avoided looking at him after that. For two weeks she managed to teach class without looking at his corner of the classroom. Things were starting to calm down – there had been no more deaths, and the police were sure they had caught their man, a janitor who had several priors in assault. Amy would have been perfectly happy to carry on life that way had she not forgotten her car keys up in her classroom one Friday evening.
Everything changed after that.
She had been unlocking her classroom door when she heard the crash from the art room across the hall. If curiosity had not gotten the better of her, perhaps Amy would never have known what had happened in that room. But her curiosity had won the better of her, and so she had crossed the short distance with hastened steps until her fingers were pushing open the door. What she had expected to find, Amy wasn’t sure – perhaps a vase blown over due to an open window, or an AP student working on their final sculpture in their own free time. What she had not been ready for was the sight, which was before her.
There Dean stood, with what appeared to be a frightened sophomore in the room, as he gripped onto an old, sawed off, double barrel shotgun as though it were an extension of his right hand. A gash was evident on his forehead as blood dripped down the side of his face, his already ragged Salvation Army jeans torn some more. Amy’s heart stopped the moment she saw him – every fear she had ever had of him suddenly reinforced and proven true. As she opened her mouth to scream, she didn’t have a chance as the eighteen-year-old snarled, “I swear to God, if you freakin’ scream, I’ll shoot you.”
It was in that moment that Amy knew he meant it. And for once, Dean did know what she was thinking. He comprehended her fear and he was using it against her, as he jerked his gun towards the sophomore boy and instructed in a deadpan voice, “Get your ass over there with Tommy, or I’ll make you.” Her breathing labored, she gripped onto the sleeves of her pale blue cardigan as she hurried over to join the cowering student. “And keep your head down!” the senior barked, swinging his gun away from them as the door she had just walked through slammed shut unexpectedly.
Curling her arm around the boys’ shoulder, Amy reached up to stroke his hair as she whispered in trembling words, “It’s going to be okay. I’ll get us out of here. He won’t hurt you. Don’t be frightened.” But the boy shook his head violently, as though she didn’t understand, but he was too afraid to bother with an explanation.
And maybe she didn’t want to know, for when Julian Gardner appeared before Dean, there were no thoughts left in her brain, which she could form. Julian Gardner had been the principal at Stoney Gate High School over two decades ago, back when Amy had just started teaching at the young age of twenty-six, years before Dean had even been born. His body had been found in an empty history classroom the Tuesday morning after a long weekend. The police had discovered that an honor roll student who he had suspended for cheating had stabbed him Friday afternoon. It was later discovered that the boy had been under the influence drugs at the time – not uncommon in the 70s.
But Julian couldn’t be there. He was dead.
“I do not have time for you freakin’ bullshit, teach,” the teenager remarked, raising his gun up to Julian. Pulling the trigger, Amy covered Tommy’s ears as a blast echoed through the classroom, and the apparent hallucination blew away, as though only made of smoke. Then he spun around quickly, taking a moment to reload his gun and wipe at the blood as it dripped over his eye, and barking orders at the sophomore, “Kid – hand me the box I gave you!” And as though Amy weren’t even there, the fifteen year old leapt from her arms to toss the small wooden box to the older boy.
As though sensing her confusion, Dean spoke softly, as though attempting to keep his tone modulated and calm. “Ghost—“ he explained. “Julian Gardner. Used to be a principal here but managed to piss off the wrong smart ass. Caught some kid who was getting straight A’s by cheating and called him out – ended up getting stabbed for his efforts. Now he’s haunting the school and stabbing whatever honor roll student he things deserves it.” The boy scoffed, as though this were somehow amusing – let alone believable – to him. “None of this would have happened if his damn sister hadn’t moved back into town. She still has these—“ the teen held up the box, opening it partly. “His baby teeth. They keep him tethered to this world. So all we have to do…”
Dean didn’t bother to finish explaining, too distracted by the “ghost” of Julian as he appeared again. The boy shot his gun again without hesitation, before dumping the box of teeth onto the floor. Pulling out a can of salt and upturning it over the baby teeth, while quickly following it with a water bottle filled with what smelled like gasoline. He only had to unscrew the cap before Amy was already pulling Tommy back, attempting to protect him from what she thought was some sort of homemade bomb, screaming, “What are you doing?”
“Saving our asses,” Dean responded coolly.
Julian reappeared in front of Amy and the boy, and the two screamed as the ghost of the man reached forward, his fingers curling around the box cutter, which he must have picked up from a table. Pouring a small amount of the fluid onto the floor, Dean watched them as he quickly brought out a match and struck it, before dropping it on the pile. And then, as though her former boss were never there, he was gone.
Heavy breathing filled the room as the silence stretched on until she heard the sound of water hitting the floor and putting an end to the flames. Still frozen where she was sitting, Amy couldn’t comprehend what was happening as she clung onto the young student. And the old English teacher would have stayed that way were it not for Dean Winchester pulling the two of them to their feet. He spoke, naturally, but it was as though a bell were ringing so loudly in her ears that Amy could not hear a single word that escaped from his lips. All she knew was that Tommy was crying and hugging the older boy, his lips moving a mile a minute before Dean seemed to gesture for him to leave and the boy took off running.
“—emple?” she heard. “Ms. Temple? Can you hear me?”
Shaking herself, her long, graying locks falling from the clip it had been in earlier, she stared at her student with wide, terrified blue eyes. “What?”
“You need to go, Ms. Temple. I gotta clean up,” he smirked. “This place is a bit of a mess if you didn’t notice.” Resting the shotgun on his shoulder, he gazed down at the petite woman who had taught him of Shakespeare’s sonnets and Faulkner’s stream of consciousness. And suddenly Amy understood – she knew why he had made all those cryptic little remarks, why he never seemed to care of his grades, or why he seemed to have an limitless knowledge of Latin.
Staring at him, she asked, “This is what you’re going to do, isn’t it?”
Furrowing his brow, he boy asked, “You mean after high school?” When she nodded, there was a moment’s silence, as though he were contemplating her intentions behind the words, before finally he shrugged. “Somebody has to.” Then turning away from her and placing the gun on the table, he reached for the broom that the art teacher saved for the messy days when she taught the freshman. “Now go on. You ought to get home, I’ll see you on Monday.”
And though she wanted to ask more questions – like, why he was the one who had to give up his future to protect teachers like her who judged him for no other reason then because he was different. Yet she didn’t, and so instead Amy hurried out of the room, promising herself to ask him more on Monday.
Yet Monday came and went, and Dean did not show. Nobody had heard of the events that had happened in the art room Friday evening, and when Amy had gone in there to take a look around, the only sign that something had happened was a slightly charred mark on the floor, which had been partially covered with a rug. A week had passed before the school received a request for Dean’s transcripts for his new school in Montana, and for days his abrupt departure was the center of everyone’s gossip. But they didn’t know the facts; and when Amy spotted Tommy in the halls they both shared in knowing they were not alone in their truth.
Dean didn't know that she had been terrified for the two months he sat in her class, but Amy Temple could only hope that he knew he had proved her wrong.