Sam shivered, wrapping his jacket around himself more snugly against the sudden chill, his breath visibly condensing as it left his mouth. He wasn’t deterred however: pressing forward with a dreadful sort of excitement, he reached the huge slits in the vent before him.
Here Sam halted, the caution that Walt had drilled into him making him pause in his mad and reckless dash to take a moment to assess the safety of the room. There were too many dangers in this world for a boy, small enough to ride a hummingbird, to be careless. He listened for the cacophonous clamor of giants over the sounds of his own strained breaths, and peered out at the colossal room from his low vantage point in the vent. He was taking a risk coming during the day, he knew, but it was disorienting enough being so small in a room seemingly made for giants. Although his night-vision had improved considerably since coming to live in the walls, seeing the room built for humans at night turned it into an even more confusing and alien landscape. At least in the light of day he could try wrap his brain around what his eyes were seeing, try and see it as if he was human again too.
The room was furnished with plain and tacky furniture – the owners of the Trails West Motel clearly not concerned with providing more than the absolute bare necessities, but giving some thought and effort towards a cohesive cowboy theme. After raking his eyes across the room, and listening for the telltale earthquakes that signaled a human in motion, Sam deemed the room to be clear, and dropped down from the vent to the carpeted floor beneath.
Sam shivered again as he stood on the thick carpet fibers. He had come prepared for the frigid temperature, ensconced in many layers of hand-woven fabric that had been made for him by Mallory. She knew, before Sam had even woke up to this nightmarish turn his life had taken, that he would need far more than the thin human clothes he had on his back to get him through the winter.
That had been months ago, however. Now the room was lit by the warm summer sun, still hanging high in the sky. Yet despite this, his breath puffed out before him in visible vapor clouds. It was cold. Supernaturally so.
He made a nervous sound – feeling caught between horror and hope. Walt and Mallory had said that this room had never felt unusually cold, before. That the remote had never used to clatter to the floor of its own volition. That there had never been a disembodied voice, whispering along the walls, before Sam had come. That it had been a normal room, before.
Despite now being less than three inches tall, Sam was still a hunter. Dean had taught him how to defend himself against the supernatural creatures that their father had made it his life’s mission to eradicate. His brother had taught him the truth of the world, about what was hidden in the darkness. And so Sam had known, with a terrible certainty, what it meant when Walt had described the odd occurrences that had been escalating in recent months. Odd occurrences that had had happened here, in this room.
He was pretty sure he knew what was causing the cold spots and kinetic activity. But he was here, risking himself in broad daylight, because he had to know who it was. Whose restless spirit was haunting room 42?
Shivering again, he touched one hand to the salt packet that he had placed in the fine leather satchel Walt had made for him (a tool he was quickly coming to see as indispensable to his survival), and the other grasped around the hilt of the silver knife that Dean had made for him. With no small amount of trepidation Sam started to jog along the wall, pace slowed by his feet being constantly ensnared by carpet fibers as thick as tree roots.
After jogging for some time, Sam started to notice a thick brown material that coated the base of the rug fibers. Like someone had attempted to clean the mess, but felt satisfied enough to leave it after scrubbing at the surface damage. Kneeling down, he pressed his fingers to the tackiness of the tar-like substance, and felt a shiver creep up his spine.
It looked, and even still faintly smelled, like dried blood.
As he rose to a stand, he let his gaze graze the forest of fibers around his feet, and saw, with an increasing anxiety boiling in his stomach acid, that the blood had pooled in an area so large he couldn’t see its end on the horizon.
Taking in oxygen in short, sporadic bursts, he tried to translate the bloodstain to a human scale in his mind. What did blood pooling up to the size of a lake mean? Could a human lose this amount of blood and survive? He couldn’t fathom it, imagining entire oceans could be pumping in circulatory systems larger than most city aquifers. He was just too small to conceptualize just how many liters of blood loss he was looking at.
With a sort of clinical detachment, Sam recalled reading in his father’s journal that the most effective method for dealing with a haunting was to salt and burn the body of the unfortunate ghost. Cleanse the earth of their mortal coil and the spirit would follow. But not every spirit was attached to their body – sometimes the tether was an object, a place.
Even if an object or place anchored a soul, his father had noted that the anchor must hold some trace of their DNA. DNA like the hemoglobin soaked carpet fibers he was standing on.
A veritable sea of blood.
Gritting his teeth with a grim determination, he pressed forward, his heart pumping furiously in his chest as he runs. He feels the cold surrounding him, pressing in, and he can’t decide if he’s running to something, or running away. There is such a whirlwind of emotions tearing through his body that he can scarcely find himself in it.
Overhead, the light from the dilapidated bedside lamp flickers. Sporadically spitting out light like a seizure. Sam’s breath catches and he comes to a stumbling halt, staring up with wide eyes – his heart pounding as chills of excitement wrack his tiny frame.
Just there, in the flickering light, he’s pretty sure he sees flashes of Dean. Of the light falling on the planes of his face, fracturing in the strands of his hair, his eyelashes. He comes into existence with the light, and when it’s gone so is he.
Sam’s sobbing cry of “Dean!” is too quiet, too far away for the spirit to hear.