The Paradox of
Sully shifted in the driver’s side of the police cruiser. As a New Hampshire state trooper in the upper part of the state, Sully had to patrol the long stretched of highway. Although it seemed to be a sleepy area there was enough to keep the small barracks busy. Last week there had been lost hikers, then there was the drug bust and the week before there had been two car accidents.
A month earlier the local police found retired State Trooper Boone Dushane dead. A heart attack had struck him dead, only a few months after retirement. The loss had hit the barracks hard. Sully had been close with Dushane. Twenty years earlier he had taken Sully, a new recruit, under his wing. Boone turned into a good friend. Over the weekend he would visit Tracy and the kids, check on how they were doing after such a loss.
The end of Route 302 was ahead, then the trooper would turn around and head back because thankfully it was the end of his shift. He squinted, making out a form ahead. Why a hitchhiker would come out to rural New Hampshire he had no idea. It wasn’t the first hitchhiker he had to escort to the nearest bus stop, and it would be the last.
He recognized the form as a woman even though her face was covered by a shawl and her body by a long sweater. Cold weather had come to the Northeast early. Only her eyes peered out at him. He used the intercom on the cruiser and called out, “Ma’am, please stop, and slowly turn towards me.”
Sully waited, but the woman did not turn. He got out of the car. Carefully, he walked over to the woman. Sully knew he had to be prepared for anything. Twenty years as a state trooper had taught him that. The woman could be mentally unhinged, or just not able to understand English.
“Ma’am, I just want to help,” he said in a low tone, as not to agitate her.
When she turned, the movement seemed to call up a wind. His mouth gaped open, and he didn’t hear the other perpetrator approach him from behind. He felt something pummel his back, causing him to crumble to the ground. He undid the latch on his firearm as he felt another crack against his vertebrae. Pain exploded. He held out his hand for balance as he undid the safety in order to fire at his unseen attacker. The woman looked at him, but did nothing. He opened his mouth to call out for help, beg her to intercede, but felt the approaching sensation of darkness and death. “Oh, God."
Dean and Sam had been in Vermont when the local paper reported an incident, which had happened earlier in the week at Twin Mountains, New Hampshire. It struck the brothers as odd, because of the gruesomeness of the scene. They were a few hours drive away, and Sam suggested they investigate.
“Welcome to New Hampshire,” Dean said, reading the sign that marked the entrance to the state.
Sam woke up. He had been dozing rather than sleeping, so his brother’s first comment in an hour broke him from his reverie. His eyes flicked to the sign. “Hey, what time is it?”
Dean didn’t glance at his watch. “A little after two.”
The younger Winchester brother frowned. Last time he had looked at his watch it was two o’clock. He pushed his shirt sleeve up. “Dude, it’s three thirty.”
Dean gave a side long glance to his brother. “Yeah, that would be a little after two.”
Sam noticed his brother was again closing off any conversation. He pressed forward, feeling safe in discussing something innocuous as a wrist watch. “Your watch die on two or something?” the younger hunter asked, jokingly.
“Yeah, guess so,” was the curt reply.
Lately, Dean bristled when questioned. It all stemmed from their father’s death. Sam was finding it difficult to deal with the demon’s revelations, John’s death and his relationship with his brother. There was no status-quo, just a shifting playing field with an ever changing set of rules.
“I’ll spring for the extra battery.” Sam fished his wallet out of his back pocket, pulling out a five dollar bill. Dean placed his right hand over the wallet. “What?”
“It won’t help,” the older hunter stated. He removed his hand, and instead increased the volume to the Impala’s stereo.
“What wont?” Sam asked, but when Dean didn’t answer him right away he thought he hadn’t heard or he was being purposefully ignored.
Dean waited five minutes. “The battery.”
Sam was perplexed, and reviewed the conversation.
The older hunter noticed his brother’s reaction. He had to explain. He needed to share something with his brother in order to appease Sam. “Some people who have near death experiences don’t wear watches ‘cause they stop working. I’ve changed the battery on this one four times. Hell, I don’t know why I even wear it.”
Sam stared intently at the wrist watch. He swallowed, reliving Dean’s near death experience in his mind. He recalled his brother’s body arching up as charge was sent to his body to revive him.
“I stumped the geek boy.” Dean grinned, but the teasing behavior didn’t shine in his eyes. “Guess I’ll just have to work on my internal clock.”
“You can use your cell phone," Sam suggested, although his brother had probably been doing exactly that this whole time. Time worked against them in their line of work. They always needed a little more.
Dean put his left wrist on the steering wheel and removed the watch, handing it to his brother. "All yours."
Sam didn't want any more responsibility. He was concerned he had missed noticing the issue over the last three months. But, he was having his own pressing problems weighing on him. Somehow the hunts were providing a welcome distraction to both brothers that they were doing what their father expected them to do was a bonus. The younger brother cleared his throat. "A police officer dead. . .”
“In an out of the way outpost . . .” Dean added to the description, reminding Sam they had over an hour in the car to the remote area.
"Yeah, no leads either." Sam went along with the review of what brought them from Vermont to New Hampshire.
"Falling rocks, not an everyday occurrence, and then the comment in the paper that a retired state trooper from the same barracks died too. Think they knew each other?" Dean asked, wondering if his brother had researched a connection.
"Twin Mountains is too small a town to get any information out of. I looked in here.” Sam pulled out their father’s journal. “Nothing that can help us.” Sam purposefully avoided using the term, Dad.
"Guess we're going to find out." Dean rolled his shoulders, his hands still on the wheel. "Damn, I gotta take a piss."
The highway was thickly tree lined. As they drove further into the state the cars were lessening although anyone passing by would know why the car was on the side of the road. "Then stop the car and mark your territory."
"What? Are you nuts? It's freezing out there.” Dean frowned at his brother. It was early winter in the Northeast. “I'm not exposing one of my best parts to the elements."
"You could get a brain freeze." Sam laughed, and he wanted to laugh forever. Feel that nothing was wrong in the world. That he was just on a simple road trip with his brother. "You shouldn’t have had so much coffee."
Dean raised his eyebrows in a taunt. "I didn't hear you say no to the free refill."
"I can hold my coffee better,” the younger brother replied. His stomach sloshed its response.
Dean tightened his lips together and nodded. "Right, like your kidneys aren't about to explode…just thinking of water. . ."
Sam rubbed the back of his neck. "Okay, shut up, and find a rest stop."
"That's what I thought,” Dean stated with a smug smile.
Dean found a rest stop after twenty more minutes. An hour later they pulled into Twin Mountains. It was tempting to start investigating at the police station, but the sun had set while driving, and it was dark in the small town. Finding some food, and then a place to stay became more important. Although Twin Mountains had three highways intersecting it, it was still a small town. The main road was Route 3, taking a left they found Munroe's Place.
They sat in a table by the window, keeping watch over the Impala and the cars driving by. The menus were tucked behind the mustard and ketchup. A quick glance and they were ready to order, a burger for Dean and a chicken sandwich for Sam.
The waitress was an older woman with dyed blonde hair. The heavy green eye shadow she was wearing creased in her wrinkles. After taking their order, she returned with two mugs of coffee and a handful of creamers.
“Excuse me,” Sam stated, then quickly read her name tag, “Macy?”
“Food will be out in a minute,” she replied. She looked at Sam, taking in his size. “I can bring you some bread.”
“No, thanks. . .” Sam tried again. He was hungry, but there was also the pressing matter of finding a room.
“Bread would be great, Macy.” Dean interrupted. Sam glared at his brother. Macy gave them both a smile, and was about to leave.
“Wait,” Sam said to stop the waitress from leaving. “Actually, we were wondering if you could recommend a place to stay?”
Macy looked at Dean for confirmation. “So, no bread?”
“I still want the bread.” The older Winchester brother nodded, and took a sip of his coffee.
“Forget about the bread!” Sam exclaimed in frustration.
Dean glanced at his brother. “He has something against carbs.”
“Sorry,” the younger Winchester apologized. He received a satisfied nod from his brother. He continued with his request to Macy. “I was wondering if you could suggest a place to stay? We’re new in town. . .”
She was unfazed by the apology or the brother banter. “This is our busy time of the year.” She pondered for a moment. “You want a cabin?”
Sam felt he was making some headway on a solution. He didn’t care where they stayed as long as there was heat and a bed involved. “No, a motel or a room is just fine.”
“Because it’s ski season and you won’t find a cabin this time of the year.” Macy admonished him, not actually listening to Sam.
“Okay, cabin is out, anything else?” The younger hunter repeated. He looked at his brother for assistance, but Dean was enjoying Sam’s discomfiture.
“You can try Seven Dwarfs Motel, oh, but they are only open May through October." The waitress shifted to one foot in thought. "The Shakespeare Inn, no, Emily said they were filled past the February school break." She shook her head, then stared intently at Sam. The dark haired hunter felt as though he was being judged. He must have past the test.
"There's Mr. Reynolds. He runs Johnson’s. It's a boarding house, right on Route 3."
“Johnson’s?” Macy nodded in affirmation. “Okay, thanks.” Sam relaxed back in the chair, gripped his coffee, and sniffed the pungent aroma.
“I’ll be back with your order.” The waitress left, walking to the kitchen area of the restaurant.
“Dude, you need to chill,” Dean commented. “I wanted that bread.”
“I want to sleep in a bed, especially when it is cold outside.” Sam frowned at his brother, whose moods had been uneven as of late. He had noticed the same thing in himself, but one of them had to be logical and it was his turn.
They ate their meal with a friendly banter. A hefty tip to Macy expressed their regret for being annoying patrons.
She rewarded them with vague directions of finding Johnson's at the lights.
But the directions had been accurate. "Yeah, there is only one set of lights.” Dean said with awe.
“Oh, and there’s the house,” Sam added.
The white, rambling colonial home with its vinyl siding would have looked misplaced in a booming metropolis, but not in Twin Mountain. Dean pulled into the drive, and found the marked parking spaces in the rear of the house. They removed their duffle bags from the trunk. A spotlight, clicked on as they walked by and illuminated the front porch. Sam pressed the doorbell.
The curtain on the glass of the door was parted. The white haired man studied the brothers, opening the door, leaving the screen door between them for protection.
“Can I help you boys?”
“My brother and I are on a road trip, the waitress at Munroe’s said you might have room for us for a few days?” Sam explained with what he hoped sounded like sincerity.
“Come on in. I’m Christopher Reynolds.” The older man unlocked the screen door. Dean entered first.
“Do you own this place?”
“Yep.” Christopher nodded, and gestured for the brothers to follow him into a back room. “Thought it would be a good place to retire-live free then die.”
“Like the state motto,” Dean chuckled at the play on words.
They were ushered into a cluttered office. The boarding house owner pushed some newspapers off one of the chairs. Dean sat down and looked around the room.
“My brother’s interested in being a lawyer.” The older Winchester smiled at Sam, motioning to the large diplomas framed on the wall.
“Not anymore.” Sam studied the diplomas, feeling a slight pang when he saw the juris doctor degree emblazed with the Yale crest. However, his father’s death and the incidents in the last year had changed him. He had made his decision to be a hunter.
“Good choice, just too many lawyers out there. I was a professor at GW and taught too many of those yahoos.” Reynolds opened his desk draw and fished out a pen and a receipt form. “I need your name and credit card. You can have a room with a bathroom for a week at a time for seventy five dollars and that includes use of the kitchen.”
“We’ll take it.” Dean took out his wallet and handed a MasterCard to the proprietor.
“The town put in Wicked Wifi. We get a great signal here, in case you have a laptop.” Christopher spoke as he wrote the information from the credit card.
“Quite a stack of papers.” Sam thumbed through one of the piles of yellowed papers.
“Writing my memoirs,” Christopher commented. “I grew up around here. I use the newspapers as reference points.” He handed Dean back the credit card.
“Can I borrow some of the recent papers?” Sam asked, noticing the state trooper’s death was on the front page. He figured there would be information about the death, which could help them.
“Sure, just keep them neat.” Reynolds reached for a one of the keys hanging above his desk. “You know being a lawyer is an honorable profession. Where did you do your undergrad?”
“Standford,” Sam replied, omitting the fact he hadn’t completed his education.
Christopher nodded. “I was a history major at Vanderbilt, and I didn’t want to be a teacher –so I figured I would continue my education and try to help people.”
“Weren’t you a history major?” Dean added, taking the keys.
Sam glared at his brother, trying to will him to silence.
“Maybe Sam can drop by and you can talk some more?”
“Sure, anytime.” The proprietor ushered them from the office and pointed to the staircase leading to their room. "I have some books if you're interested.”
“Thanks.” Sam shifted the newspapers, as he hitched his duffle bag higher onto his shoulder. He remained quiet until he entered the room. “Why did you do that?” he asked his brother, who had deposited his bag on the bed closest to the windows.
“What? You should keep your options open.” Dean shrugged his shoulders.
Sam didn’t want to push his brother into an argument. The younger Winchester knew there weren’t any options available. He needed answers.
He sat on the twin bed, and began to read the newspaper, circling with his finger a name. “I know who we should talk to tomorrow,” he said to Dean.
"I have to wear a suit, don’t I?" Dean commented, lying on the other bed, his head cushioned by his crossed arms.
Sam smiled, knowing his
brother hated the confines of a tie, shirt and jacket. "Probably."