“Sam!” Dean waved his brother over from the back of the house. “Check this out,” he said as he peered into the small basement.
Sam did as he was told. Through the lacy curtain he could see the old man they’d met in town earlier that week. Mr. Gregson, he’d said. Daniel Gregson, as Sam had found in the phone book later. Mr. Gregson was standing with his back to the window, looking down at...wait, was that an in-ground pool? In a…basement? Sam couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. The old man was gesturing as if he was speaking to someone in the water.
All of a sudden, Gregson moved to the side and they could both see what looked like a girl chained to the wall and partially submerged in the water. Her head was down and she had too much hair to see her face, but he was definitely talking to her.
“What the…” Sam trailed off.
“Some kind of creep,” Dean muttered. “That would explain the ghost.”
A week earlier, Dean had stumbled across reports in a newspaper claiming a hiker had seen a woman jump into a local river, but no body had been found. The hiker also claimed to have heard voices screaming for help, although the only house nearby was Mr. Gregson’s, who had been seen in town at the time of the incident. The boys had come out of sheer boredom while Cas and Jack were out on their own mission. So far they hadn’t found much, but things about Daniel Gregson just didn’t seem to add up. Although he seemed friendly enough, none of the questions the boys had asked got a very straight answer.
“I knew he was buying too much fish for one person!” Dean proclaimed. Sam rolled his eyes.
“Is there a cellar door back here we can go through?” Sam asked.
“No,” Dean said as he turned around. “We’ll have to go through the front door.”
As the two walked back to where Sam had come from, Sam got his lock picks out of his pocket. “Let’s try the knob first,” Dean said. Slowly, quietly, he twisted, and it kept going. Dean turned around to grin at Sam as he put the lock picks away.
As they crept down the stairs into the basement, they could hear what the man was saying. “I don’t know how you told that hiker about Eunice, but you’re going to pay for it. I don’t need all these people sniffing around on my property. Especially those two guys with the Impala.” Chains clinked together and then someone shuffled around.
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! and the sound of a woman crying out in pain.
Dean turned to Sam and Sam nodded. Dean kicked in the flimsy wooden door and they held their rifles on the man in front of them.
“Don’t move,” Sam shouted as Gregson turned around. When he saw the guns he put his hands up, although he was still holding on to…
“Is that...a whip?” Sam asked? Gregson just stared at the boys as if sizing them up.
Suddenly, he leapt at Dean and knocked the rifle out of his hands. Both of the men tumbled to the floor and immediately began throwing punches back and forth. Sam tackled Gregson hard enough to knock him off of his brother, but now Gregson was fighting him. As he threw Gregson off he heard a shot ring out and his heart stopped. He mentally checked for any pain quickly, then looked to Dean. Dean was holding the rifle, he saw with relief, and as he looked over he saw Gregson on the floor motionless. He looked back to Dean, but Dean was no longer looking at him. Dean’s green eyes were wie and focused on something in the corner of the room. On the wall was a large hook. Dean realized that the clinking sound they heard as they started down the stairs must have been Gregson hanging the chain between the girl’s shackles on that hook. He also realized that the CRACKing they heard was Gregson whipping her, because her back had several long lash lines on it. Most of them were bleeding. This obviously hadn’t been the first time either. Underneath the new wounds were scars in various stages of healing.
Her bloody top half was quite the scene by itself, but that wasn’t what Dean couldn’t tear his eyes away from.
“Is that…” Sam started.
“...a mermaid? A freaking mermaid?” Dean shook his head to try to reorient himself, but it didn’t work. Her bottom half was still a long, grayish-green fish tail. “Sam, is this even possible? What is this?”
“I-I-I mean, we did find fairies one time, Dean,” Sam was staring too. They watched as what must have been gills fluttered on the sides of her ribcage and she took a shaky, very shallow breath.
“Dean,” Sam said,” she’s still alive!” That was all it took to break them both out of the spell. “I’ll check him for keys.” Sam rolled the corpse that used to be Gregson over to search his pockets. Meanwhile, Dean shrugged out of his leather jacket and wrapped it around the girl before he lifted her enough to slip the chain off of the hook. As he gently laid her on the ground so her tail ( tail? ) would hang in the water Sam came over with keys. Sam unlocked the cuffs and set them to the side.
“Well,” Dean said. “What do we do now?”
“We obviously can’t leave her here,” Sam stated as Dean shook his head. “We do have a pool in the bunker. We could take her back there, patch her up. I want to do some research.”
“Cas might know something too,” Dean said. Sam nodded. “Do you think she’ll make it all the way back to the bunker?”
Sam shrugged. “The only thing we can do is try.”
Dean zipped his jacket up around her too thin frame and picked her up as Sam went to get their rifles and spent shells. They walked out to the Impala and Sam stowed the firearms back in their places in the trunk. Then he opened the back door and slid into the seat.
“I’ll keep an eye on her back here,” he said.
Dean looked down as he noticed blood dripping onto his shoe. He gently passed her to Sam and helped Sam turn her onto her stomach.
“There,” he said. “Maybe she’ll get less blood on the seats this way.” He jumped into the driver’s seat and the car roared to life.
As he backed down the driveway, he could have sworn that he saw the ghost of an old woman wave at them, and then dissipate into the wind.