There was silence in the Bunker.
Not the ticking of cooling pipes, or the hum of lights, or the drip of a leaky faucet. Nothing at all that spoke of life.
The Bunker was waiting. Rooms flickered idly in and out of existence in the deep recesses of the endless hallways. The ancient creature settled itself slowly into a subtle new pattern; there was little else to do while its human tenants were away.
The slide and snick of a key in the lock was unexpected. Much less expected were the people who silently stepped inside. The Bunker gave what a human would have called a sigh, resignedly putting the hallways back into the pattern the intruders expected.
It recognized two of them; they’d been here before. That the Mary-creature was with the Ketch-thing was mildly unsettling for reasons that the Bunker could not quite identify. It traced their path idly as they wound their way down into the basements.
Ancient Greek echoed off of the hard walls as one of the humans started building a spell. The Bunker… shivered. The human was demanding for reality to bend to its will; reality was trying to comply, and it was making the Bunker itch. The Bunker brought its full attention to the spell.
Ensnare. Seal every outlet. Poison the air. Shut away the light. Entomb.
Reality continued to press in. The Bunker ignored it. The spell was crafted so that these humans could leave, but no one else. It was not happy with this command. The Ketch-thing did possess a key, and that should mean he was one of the strange wizard-hoarder humans it had known for decades now; but this spell was designed to kill the Bunker’s tenants. And the Bunker had not agreed to that. This was not acceptable.
The humans started moving through the halls; the spell weaver stopped occasionally as they went, adding layers and more demands. The itch of reality grew into a sharp pain. By the time the humans reached the main floor and the Library, the Bunker had decided it was angry. These humans had tried to kill the angel and the Sam once before, and enough was enough.
The Bunker moved, rearranging itself, uncoiling its hallways and abandoning the illusion of normalcy. The lights flickered once, twice.
The hallways were quiet as Ketch stalked his way to the library. None of the British Men of Letters Bunkers smelled the way this one did; he had grown to loathe every second he had to spend in this place. The lights flickered and he sped up, taking the stairs into the war room and the library two at a time.
"Everything ready?" he asked. His men were spread across the library, Mary off to the side; Keith had the Bunker map and spell diagram laid out on the table.
"Spells are set, everything is ready outside for the mechanics. Just need the hunters," Keith answered.
Ketch nodded and glanced over at Mary. She was still calm, leaning against the bookshelves, running her thumb over the butt of her pistol. That was the point of this whole damn elaborate setup; Mary needed one final test before she was set loose in the field for good. Just like every Man of Letters had at Kendricks.
He brushed aside the memories and rubbed his hands together. "You know your positions. Hop to, gentlemen." Mary was the first to move, peeling off towards the kitchen with two of his men. They had orders to shoot her if she hesitated; though Ketch rather hoped it wouldn't come to that. Morgan stayed in the library, Evans and Pierce moved to cover the top hallways, and Keith and the remaining nerds headed for the exit. They'd watch for the Winchester's arrival from a safe distance.
Ketch pulled out his pistol and checked the clip. This couldn't be over soon enough. The creak of the door opening filled the war room.
"What did you do?"
"It wasn't me."
"How are we supposed to—“
"I don't know. Did you forget— "
"Gentlemen," Ketch snapped from the Library. The men on the landing kept talking frantically over one another. “Gentlemen!” Four anxious faces looked down towards him. “What seems to be the problem?”
“The door.” The man nearest the railing gestured behind him, at a loss for words. “We can’t…. there isn’t…”
He stifled the urge to shoot the man. His displeasure must have been written all over his face, because all four of them paled and backed away from the doorway so he could see.
There was solid concrete instead of a stairwell. Keith reached over and smacked it, a solid thunk that left no illusions. They were sealed in.
"It's not the spell," Keith said hotly. The other three specialists argued with him for a second before Ketch slammed his hand on the table.
He pointed at Keith. "Talk."
"Our spellwork was designed to basically weld the door shut, not to somehow summon a metric ton of concrete. If something had gone wrong on our end, we wouldn't be able to even open the door." He gestured at the library around them. "More than that, we still have electricity and working air pumps. Nothing we set in motion would do this."
Ketch took a deep breath and let it out in a hiss. "Alright. So it's not the spell."
"It might be a defense mechanism," one of the specialists offered. "Something the American Men of Letters left in place."
"Because spells to summon walls are the natural choice for a defense mechanism," Keith snapped.
“How else do you explain the sudden dead zone?” the other man retorted. “This place had fantastic cell coverage earlier.”
Ketch looked over at Mary. She shrugged. "The boys never mentioned anything to me about traps or defensive spells. Just the warding they had to fix after Amara came through."
"All of which we catalogued and accounted for last time," Keith said. "And we disabled them before we started."
"Alright." Ketch stood for a moment, sorting through his options. "You four are staying here. Check everything. Everything you can think of. Morgan, you're with me. Mary, Pierce, Evans, get down to the garage, see if you can get us out there."
The trio nodded and moved off. The nerds started quietly discussing spells and tests, which Ketch ignored. Morgan came over and stood silently, waiting for orders.
"You didn't happen to bring explosives with you?" The other man shook his head. "Damn.”
“There may be some in one of the storage rooms,” Morgan rumbled.
“You have the manifest?”
Morgan shook his head. "Wasn't a reason to bring it. There's only two main rooms, though, it shouldn't take long to check." He pulled a tablet out of his back pocket and brought up a map. "Here and here."
The lights flickered and went out. Morgan's face was lit eerily by the screen, the only source of light. As Ketch was reaching for his own phone there was a cascading crash and a handful of shouts. The lights flickered back on.
Two of the technicians had fallen over on top of one another. Keith was standing next to an empty space, where Ketch could have sworn there had been a table. And one of the short bookshelves had toppled over, spilling volumes across the floor of the library. The fourth man's arm protruded limply from under the shelf.
Morgan and Keith moved instantly to help the man under the shelf. Ketch stood frozen for a moment, scanning the room again. Things had been changed, and it wasn't just the table; the displayed weapons were gone, that chair had definitely not been that shade of green, and there was something else missing…
"Shit," Morgan huffed.
"Report," Ketch said automatically. The whiskey bottles were gone, that was it.
"We're fucked." Keith's voice was a squeak. Morgan glared up at him.
"Whatever is going on, sir, we need to figure it out fast. The floor just ate Simmons."
That caught Ketch's attention. He moved over to where Morgan was crouched. Simmons’ arm sank into the woodwork just above the elbow; small tendrils of wood crept up from the floor, digging into the flesh and drawing tiny beads of scarlet. He nudged the man’s arm with his shoe, to no effect.
His phone started vibrating insistently in his pocket. He pulled it out, unlocking the screen with a flick of his finger.
“Hello?” Static hissed in his ear for a second before a thin voice emerged.
“Who is this?”
“… you shouldn’t have come here…”
The pipes ticked softly in the walls as Mary led the way down the maze of halls. It was a comforting sound, one she'd gotten used to in the weeks she'd stayed here with Dean and Sam. The fact that she was still so calm about this, about betraying her sons, felt like something she should be concerned about. She took the next turn on autopilot, trying to figure out why being calm should worry her.
"Hold up," Pierce said. "Are you sure we turn right here?" He glanced skeptically down the hallway.
"Uh, yeah," Mary said. "I lived here. We go right."
"I thought we'd already made the first right."
Mary frowned. "No..." She cast about for a landmark. "There, see, door 23. This is Sam's room." She put her hand on the doorknob and pushed into the room. It was a broom closet, full of dusty cleaning supplies that didn't seem to have been touched in the last century.
"... right. Evans, you take point."
"This is wrong."
"No shit, Sherlock," Evans muttered.
"No, this is wrong." Mary ducked back down the hallway, looking at the room numbers. "None of this is right."
"English, Mary." Pierce had his hand resting on the butt of his gun
"These numbers are all wrong. This place is twisty the further out you get from the center, but the numbers always tell you which way to go. Odds on one side, evens on the other, lower numbers leading closer to the library."
She pointed. "Twenty-three, forty-four, sixteen, nine. None of these should be on the same hallway."
"In other words, you've gotten us lost."
Mary glared at him. The room numbers always followed the pattern. Hell, the single digit rooms were all in the basement. This was just wrong.
"It shouldn't matter," Evans said. "We go back the way we came."
"I don't think--"
"We go back." Pierce's voice was cold. Mary was beginning to get the impression he didn't like her much; the feeling was mutual. She shrugged and gestured for him to lead the way.
Two corners later and nothing was yet recognizable. Mary was keeping an eye on the doors, but the pattern just wasn't there. Pierce held up a hand for them to stop. A door stood ajar on the left of the hallway. Number twenty-three. Mary closed her eyes for a second and swallowed.
"This isn't right," Pierce muttered.
"No shit." Mary ignored his glare. She was too busy trying not to remember how many times she'd gotten turned around in this place over the past year. Pierce stared at the open door for a second, and then turned and stalked back down the hallway. Mary didn't move, and Evans stood next to her, perplexed. The muted tap of Pierce's footsteps died out, and then reappeared from the opposite direction.
"Fuck." Pierce turned around and stalked away again. His footsteps faded and then returned. "... fuck." Mary reached out and closed the door while Pierce walked away.
"Yeah, Mary?" he murmured.
"He hasn't come back."
"We should probably look."
Mary and Evans both stood staring at the door for another moment before heading after Pierce. The hallway only turned to the left now, and they dutifully followed. Three turns later, they found him crouching soundlessly in the middle of a junction, weapon drawn.
He whirled, pointing his gun directly at Mary. She raised her hands slowly, trying to appear non-threatening. "There's something here. I can hear it... in the walls..."
"There's nothing there, buddy," Evans said gently, motioning for Pierce to lower his gun.
"No! I can hear it, and I can't find my way out, and she knows, she has to!" Pierce lunged forward at her. Evans blocked him, batting his gun out of his hand and knocking him to the ground.
"Stay. No, stay down," he held Pierce down with his foot. "We'll work this out, but you need to calm the fuck down."
"I... okay. Yeah." Pierce nodded his head jerkily. Evans waited a second and then reached down to help Pierce to his feet.
"What did you hear?" Mary asked quietly.
"There was this... clawing... scraping noise inside the walls. It was following me." He glanced quickly at Mary. "Always just behind me, for hours now."
"It's only been five minutes," Mary said carefully. She shifted so her hand was resting in easy reach of her gun. She never would have thought one of the Brits could come unhinged so easily. Pierce's response was to peel the watch off of his wrist and fling it towards her. She caught the watch reflexively, cursing herself a second later for not drawing instead, but he didn't move towards her. She checked the display, then glanced at her own watch before looking up at Pierce. "There's no way this is right."
"I left you guys almost five hours ago."
"That isn't possible," she insisted. "It's been five minutes, we were just a little bit behind you."
Pierce snarled and shoved forward, but Evans blocked him again. "She's right, mate, we only just left you."
"I'm not bloody well making up wandering these corridors on my own.” The lights flickered once, and Pierce glanced nervously up at them, shifting himself away from the walls. “It comes after they flicker, it’s coming back…”
Faint ticks and scratches started coming from the walls. Pierce whimpered and there was a bang from behind. Evans and Mary both drew and whirled from one sound source to the next as the cacophony of drumming and scratching and scraping came closer and closer down one side of the hallway. Pierce backed behind the two hunters, putting them between him and the danger.
There was a tremendous crash, like the walls were caving in. Mary took a reflexive step backward and ran into a wall that definitely had not been there before. She kept her gun pointed towards the scraping noise, shifting her aim from one wall to the other. She couldn’t tell where it was.
The lights stopped flickering. The sounds faded away. Mary kept her gun pointed down the hall.
“Mary?” Evans said slowly. His gun still hovered in her periphery.
“There’s something dripping on your shoulder.” Mary glanced down. A growing spot of dark was on her sleeve. She reached up to touch it and her fingers came away red. She felt ill. “Where’s Pierce?”
She glanced up. “I think… that’s him,” she whispered. Shreds of red hung from the ceiling, along with a black shoe that was caught half in half out of the cement. A large chunk of flesh pulled itself free and fell between Mary and Evans with a wet splat.
“We need to get out of here.” Evans sounded like he wanted to vomit. Silence fell in the hallway; no trace of the clawing noise, no ticking of the pipes, not even the hum of the lights.
Mary’s phone started ringing. She pulled it slowly out of her pocket, still trying to process everything that had just happened. “I thought the geeks said there wasn’t any signal down here.”
“They did,” Evans answered quietly. “Mary, we need to move.”
“I know.” She grimaced and accepted the call, turning it on speaker phone. “Who is this?” Silence answered her. “Hello? This is Mary Winchester, who is this?”
A thin voice hissed out of the speakers. “Mary, Mary, quite contrary… how did the murders go?”
“Who am I speaking to?”
“You shouldn’t have come back.”
She shifted away from the wall, suddenly aware of how close the air was. “I had a job to do.”
“You came to kill. You shouldn’t have done that.”
“What are you?” There was silence for a long moment before the voice spoke again.
“I am waiting.”