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Treading in the Darkness

Chapter Text

Stevens Point Wisconsin
December 14th 1992
11.27 PM

John Winchester sighed in exhaustion as his vision shifted to his sons sleeping peacefully in the rear seat of the Impala. It had been another successful hunt but as always, it was never good to hang around a town too long after desecrating multiple graves. Rosetta Bean had been a particularly hard ghost to track down, having been buried under her maiden name Stoddard. Papers at the time attributed her husband George's death up to a sawmill accident but John new different. He knew the woman had poisoned the man. The incident chalked up as dizzy spell due to the days heat, which caused George to fall into one of the saws. ‘All that for the mans insurance policy’ John huffed to himself.

George must not have liked that as far as John could figure, considering seven months later on her way from the church with her new husband- Henry Potter- the pair had died on the bridge in a horrific accident. Her twisted life leaving Rosetta to take her anger out on passing vehicles over the years. She had caused a hell of a lot of injuries and a few deaths on the small stretch of road. Occasionally sighted with a male ghost, John had been unsure if it was Henry or George so they had salted and burned all 3 for good measure. He was sore as hell himself and could only imagine how his eldest felt. Dean hadn't come along on too many hunts with him so far but this one was routine enough he let him tag along. And truthfully he needed the help with all the grave digging they got done in the past two days. The kid would be sleeping until they arrived at Bobby's no doubt. Leaving another small town in his rearview mirror as the Impala's steady rumble comforted his sleeping sons.

The smooth black 1967 Chevy suddenly lurched, sliding dangerous close to kissing the guardrail. A sudden snow squall surged over the highway 66 bridge. White knuckled John drew the Impala to a stop “Fuck” he exhaled.

“Dad…” Dean trailed off woken by the sudden jolt, as he watched the flickering ghostly woman standing on the bridge. Rosetta was almost imperceivable against the squall if not for the deep red blotches adoring her gown.

“Stay in the car boys” John ordered and quickly grabbed his Smith & Wesson 4505 luckily still loaded with consecrated iron from earlier- good he thought opening the door and off loading a shot into the ghostly figure. Rosetta flickered away and John made a mad dash for the trunk of the Impala.

“Dean” Sam whispered as the ghost flickered back into reality as Rosetta began a staggered approach to the Impala.

“Shhhh Sammy” Dean replied as he kept watch on the ghost out the front windshield, using his peripheral vision and the rearview mirror he glanced at his father until the deck lid obscured his line of sight. He focused his full attention to the approaching apparition, hoping his father was fast enough.


“Fucking Bitch” John muttered quickly as he popped the deck lid, pulling up the trunks false bottom not bothering to prop open the compartment in his haste. He grabbed for the two sawed off shotguns, a box of salt rounds and a container of rock salt. Letting the false bottom drop quickly as he shut the trunk. His feet slid as he made it back to the driver side door. “Dean” He called tossing the rock salt and Ithaca 37 to the boy. Grabbing a handful of rounds out of the box and threw the rest to his oldest as well, shutting the Impalas door. John's hand just left the door frame before he was thrown. Wincing as he struck the cold black road 20 feet away from the car -ice and gravel scraped his leather jacket and jeans as pain flooded his body.

John had lost his grip on the Remington 870 when his elbow struck the ground. The shotgun had skittered away from him, and now lay out of reach. Somehow he had managed to hold onto most of the salt rounds, but they would be useless without the gun. “Fuck” he grunted, his feet trying to find purchase-right before he was sent tumbling by Rosetta once more.


Sam's eyes were wide and wet as he watched his father's body sail from the Impala “Dean” he cried as he found his voice through the terror that now etched his features. While he had been aware on an intellectual level for many months of what his father did. Sam had very rarely seen the man in action and none of those times had been on a hunt. The monsters John faced were no more tangible then Saturday morning cartoons. Sure he'd read some of the research, seen his father's crude drawings, witnessed the man come back injured more times then he could count. However the aftermath and the imagined battles in his young mind paled to the scene before him. Reality was ineffable and dangerous, giving a sudden twist to his insides. It was fear Sam realised, knowing now that he had never really fathomed his father's work before this moment. In the shock of these realizations he registered only too late the rock salt Dean had thrust into his hands.


Cold swept into the Impala as he opened the door nimbly maneuvering from the back seat with the Ithaca 37. It had been loaded in milliseconds after John handed him the ammo, a few extra rounds jammed into his pocket a moment later. Dean shut the door quickly despite his brothers incoherent protests, he needed to help Dad. The ghost bitch Rosetta now held the eldest Winchester by his throat against the bridge glaring at the man. Dean advanced towards the pair knowing he had to be closer. There wasn't going to be time for a clean shot he thought as he double wrapped the strap around his arm having seen his father lose the shotgun. As Dean came within range a brief hope fluttered across his mind that John would not be too angry with him for the friendly fire that would soon pelt his father's flesh. Either way it was unavoidable, he needed to act now. Dean fired and the ghost disappeared leaving John to drop to the pavement. “Dad” he called out rushing to his father's aid.


John's vision swam with dark spots as the ghost pressed against him. He was out of air and his lungs strained, ‘Shit’ he thought knowing he was going to pass out. A hand clawed for his Smith & Wesson 4505 as he started to fade. The shot and the impact felt as one as salt peppered his body. John winced as several of the chunks embedded into his flesh and he sank to the ground. He drew a deep breath to clear his vision and looked up. A moment of pride flashed through him as he caught sight of his oldest yelling to him and closing the distance.

Dean was almost to his father before Rosetta appeared in a flash behind him. Before John could utter a syllable of warning her anger struck. The boy flew with a surprised grunt into and over the guardrail, tumbling into the icy black water below. A crunching ice splash the only sound as Rosette gave him a wicked grin and flickered away. John raised himself to the rail searching over the dark waters for Dean to surface. It was a moment that would later haunt John Winchester's dreams for years to come.