Chapter 3

Dean tossed the small duffle bag over the fence, then climbed after it. His brother hesitated as he grabbed the fence. Sam checked to make sure the rock salt shotgun was secure on his back. He should have taken Dean up on his offer to stow the weapon with the other in the bag. But male pride interceded after the older Winchester made a comment about Sam looking a little soft due to a desk job.

Dean watched from the other side of the chain link fence as his brother studied the least awkward way to get over. "Seriously, Sammy, you may want to start hitting the gym."

"Shut up. It's because I’m tall, taller than you," Sam stated, before he attacked the fence and made it over to stand next to his brother.

Dean picked up the bag. "Gotta love California - one-stop shopping for all your herbal needs."

They had started the day at the local supermarket to pick up supplies for the pouches. They purchased in bulk, and were given a once-over by the produce manager. Two men buying herbs led to only one thought - gay restaurateurs. It didn’t help that, mostly to irritate Sam, Dean played mischievously into the man's line of thinking.

At two a.m. the building was wrapped in darkness and spotlights from the ground illuminated up the structure. Sam knew the sellers did not have security guards on the premises, although it was something he wanted to add to the initial contract. "Floor by floor. I'll take the north and east walls."

"And that leaves me south and west." Dean tossed Sam a walkie-talkie, which the younger Winchester fumbled with before it settled in his hand. "Just in case. You have your EMF detector?"

Sam held it up, already having retrieved it from the bag. "Yes. You’re still pretty proud of this little Frankenstein thing, aren’t you?”

“You wanna compare it to yours? Oh, I forgot, you’ve never built one.”

Sam rolled his eyes. “Next you'll be telling me to advertise them to my friends."

Dean led the way to the front door. "You have friends?"

"Shut up," Sam replied, adjusting the shotgun holstered at his back.

" 'cause I would give you a cut. . ." Dean bent down to study the padlock on the front door. He pulled out a small leather case and unzipped it to reveal his lock-picking tools.

"Fifty-fifty?" Sam glanced around; making sure no one was around.

With a clink the lock released, and Dean removed the chains. "No, ten-ninety," he snorted. "Okay, let's get started."

"Meet you at the elevator in five." Sam took the hammer and the small bag of herb-filled pouches that Dean offered. The plan was to make unobtrusive holes in the drywall, then toss the herb bags deep in the wall, and hope no one noticed anything before the final wall finishing was completed.

They went through eight floors without any issues. On the elevator Dean was whistling some tune which Sam couldn’t recognize. The younger Winchester was going to question his brother when the car lurched and stopped. Quickly, they both pulled out their EMF detectors.

The devices lit up.

"And I thought this was going to be easy." Dean pressed the ‘open’ button on the metal panel, hoping the mechanical equipment would not be overtaken until they got to their floor. The doors opened with a groan, not completely making the ninth floor, but coming close enough so the boys could step out. Dean had his shotgun at the ready, as did Sam.

A quick glance and Sam seemed to believe they were safe for the time being. "So I'll meet you at the stairs?"

"Yeah, stay alert." Dean nodded. He jogged towards the south end of the floor, picking up the pace, knowing the clock was now running against them. "I’d say Arty knows we're planning on evicting him."

On the next floor they burst through the stairwell door but ducked as a two-by-four came at them like a spear. They flattened themselves against the floor, and then each moved in a running crouch until they made it to their respective areas and planted the necessary pouches.

"Next time I go to a store, I am parking up front," Dean breathed, as they climbed the next flight of stairs.

"Are you getting winded?" Sam patted his brother's stomach. "Maybe you should start hitting the gym."

When they stepped through the door to the eleventh floor, everything was in motion, terrorizing them.

"This is like Die Hard!" Dean yelled. He tackled Sam as a piece of trim came at them.

Sam grunted at the impact of his brother across his torso. He had a feeling the activity would increase as they placed more of the protection bags. "We have to stick to the plan!"

"Right, you want to tell the Casper that? Because we got four more floors."

Sam did not reply.

"Yeah, yeah, let's get going." Dean rolled away, got to his feet and ran to the west wall.

The next floor seemed calm. Although the boys liked to think the ghost had given up, it was not the case. As soon as Dean placed his second pouch in the south corner, he was attacked by a drill. Controlled by an invisible hand, the drill jabbed forward with the bit spinning at a rapid pace.

Dean tossed himself out of the way, and the tool suddenly clattered the ground. He relaxed for a moment. Hearing the noise and Dean’s shouts, Sam ran toward his brother.

A secondary sound cut through the surrounding din. The older Winchester sensed the danger before he knew what it was. It was as if a thick sheet of ice strained under an enormous weight. Glancing at the window that made up much of the south wall he saw cracks racing across the wide panel.

Dean propelled himself to his feet. "Sam!"

He tackled his brother at the knees, just as the glass exploded thunderously around them. Dean felt the glass rain down on him, then there was silence. He rolled to the side, hearing a crackling sound as the glass attached itself to his clothing.

"I thought you would meet me at the stairs." Sam said, as he sat up, shaking some glass out of his hair. He stood up and offered a hand to his brother.

"Yeah, I took the long route."

"You're bleeding." The glass had cut Dean's exposed forearms, leaving myriad little slices oozing blood. Sam looked at his brother's back and the once green t-shirt was rapidly showing streaks and spots of blood.

Dean shrugged off his brother’s attention. They had a job to finish and the injuries were not life threatening.

"Come on, three floors left," Dean said.

A deep rumble shook the walls of the building. The brothers stared at each other and shouted simultaneously.


They ran to the stairwell, slamming the door behind them. Unseen items hit the steel door with a reverberating clang.

"We gotta throw Arty off our trail." Dean looked up the stairwell. "We should split up. I'll take the top floor, you take fourteen and we meet on thirteen."

"Think it'll work?"

"It'll buy us some time." Dean started up the stairs. "Use the walkie-talkies."

Sam followed, leaving his brother to go up another flight. By himself, alone on the floor, the deserted building was eerie. He was glad when he heard the squawk of his radio. He had placed his last pouch and was heading to the stairwell.

"I don’t think this place is such a good investment," offered Dean.

"They're going to have to come down on the price," Sam agreed, thinking about all the damage on the subsequent floors.

"You can tell them it passed our inspection," Dean stated, and Sam heard his brother’s voice echo up the stairwell, but still using the radio to talk to him.

"You sure the Winchester stamp of approval has any value?" Sam nodded a greeting to his brother, and clipped the radio on his belt.

Dean glanced at the radio, disappointed he could no longer use it. He dropped the walkie-talkie in his bag. "Too bad, really…I mean, promising a poltergeist-free home. I made sure my house didn’t have any bad mojo."

"So do we have a plan?" Sam asked, his hand on the door knob of the last floor. The brothers knew the spirit of Arthur Zerropolis would be there with them, and would put up a battle.

"We do this really, really fast."

"Right." The younger Winchester gave a nod to his brother before he opened the door and rushed through. In moments, he was pulled off his feet and slammed into the blue coated drywall, pinned against it. A blast from Dean’s shotgun reverberated throughout the large space, and the hold on Sam released, dropping him to the floor. He waved to his brother to show both his thanks and that he was fine.

"I'll cover you!" Dean yelled out.

Sam scrambled to his feet. He worked quickly, speeding up when he heard the shotgun again.

He ran to his next destination, swatting at nails and screws propelled in his direction. He felt their stinging bite, but had to finish in order to get back to help Dean.

"Done!" Sam yelled, before heading back to where he last saw his brother.

Dean was being forced backwards as pieces of pipe lanced toward him. He saw Sam and tossed the duffle with the remaining herbal bags at him. "Take it!" The momentary lapse in concentration cost him as a piece of pipe spun toward his upper arm. One threaded end scraped against the bare flesh, removing a large chunk of skin. "Sonofabitch!"

Sam wavered. He saw his brother make a move grab the wound, but instead Dean dropped to one knee to make his stand. "Go! I'll buy you some time!"

Sam retrieved the bag and knew he was already near one corner. He dove, hoping he’d complete his task before the poltergeist built up energy to react. Once finished, he stayed low, weaving his way to his last destination.

He slammed the final pouch into the small hole he’d created in the drywall. Gunfire sounded again, but it wasn’t the deep blast of the shotgun. This time he heard the nine millimeter. He thought his brother had only brought the sawed-off.

"Damnit! Anytime now, Sammy. . ."

The younger Winchester raced toward his brother to find him laying on his back, silver pistol pointed upward in defense. Standing over him, clearly outlined instead of just mist and fog, was Arthur Zerropolis.

The man had shocking white hair and bushy eyebrows. He stared at them with black, pupil-less eyes, then faded to nothing.

Dean released a sigh and let his head drop back to the carpeted floor before closing his eyes. He felt Sam bending down, hovering over him.

"I'm fine," Dean muttered, but pulled his arm away as his brother probed the gouge.

Sam whistled. "I think you should see a doctor."

With a groan, Dean sat up. "I see a doctor, then Daniel finds out, then Tonya finds out and that is just way too many people." The older Winchester spared a glance at the wound. It was angry and still bleeding. "You can take care of it."

Sam was taken aback and shook his head. "I'm a little out of practice."

"Just like riding a bike." Dean flicked on the safety of the nine millimeter and slipped the weapon into his waistband. He let his brother help him to his feet and smiled before adding, "Come on, I trust you."

Sam scooped up Dean’s shotgun and settled it in the duffel bag along with his own. He tried again to dissuade his brother from relying on out-of-practice suturing skills. "Probably going to leave a scar. . ."

"Awesome," Dean said with a grin, raising his eyebrows up and down. "Think it's safe to take the elevator down?"

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