Min Duke hummed softly as she walked, her dark eyes riveted to the ground. She stopped and lifted her gaze a moment, trying to see where her brother, cousins, and uncle had disappeared to. Fall had arrived and with Halloween less than two weeks away, the Duke family had come to the Caleb farm to raid their pumpkin patch and to pick out a few of them for the upcoming festivities. Though the sun had come up some time ago, the cool ground had a light foggy covering that gave it a genuinely spooky feel. The leafy, vine-covered patch had been literally carved out of a corn field, the remnants of the crop now a dying green as the stalks reached up towards the sun.
“Now where did everyone go?” She asked herself as she stepped gingerly among the thick vines, weeds, and bright orange pumpkins that covered the ground at her feet. Stopping again, Min turned around gazing out across the open field.
“Bo? Luke? Uncle Jesse? Daisy?” She called out, hoping to get an answer or at least see someone.
The wind began to blow harder and the sudden rustling of the corn stalks made her whip around, her dark eyes watching them wave back and forth. The sky began to darken and Min gazed up, watching as thick heavy clouds suddenly appeared and blocked out the sun. A low, but uneasy rumbling began to echo and the temperature took a nose dive; the sudden blast of cool air gave her a chill that made her rub her arms, her long-sleeve maroon plaid shirt suddenly offering no protection against the fall weather.
“Who’s there?” She asked, swallowing hard. A cold finger of dread pressed into her heart, and something tugged at her as she took a few shaky steps towards the edge of the patch where the cornfield began. The blast seemed to grow in intensity as Min reached the start of the corn. The leaves fluttered and wrapped around her denim-covered legs as she reached out and parted the corn stalks. She leaned forward and peered through the opening, trying to determine what it was she truly saw.
Narrowing her eyes, she took one step forward and there it was…a long black Fairlane sitting amongst the corn.
“What in the world? Who parks in the middle of the corn?” She said to herself as she gazed at the car; it had a grey primer smudge along one side of one of the tailfins, and part of the rear end had been smashed.
Still staring at the car, she directed her gaze up the long chassis until she reached the driver side. A shadow there drew her attention further and she creased her brow as she moved even closer, the corn stalks straightening and swallowing the young woman up. Moving along the car, Min reached the passenger side door and leaned to one side as she peered into the dingy window.
She saw a man behind the wheel, his hands gripping it as if on a leisurely Sunday drive. He wore a pair of dirty dark blue overalls and a white shirt, a black Fedora topped his head. As Min opened her mouth to speak to him, the man slowly turned to look at her, his eyes cold and black. A frigid smile came to his face, making his appearance all the more sinister as their eyes locked.
“Duke…” A low whisper trailed on the wind and Min’s heart began to pound. She found herself unable to look away, memorizing the features of the man who stared at her.
“Duke…” The word was louder and more distinct this time, and Min shuddered as she heard it. A sense of sudden panic hit her and her knees began to shake. The urgent need to turn and run encompassed her, and she finally tore her gaze away. She took a few steps backwards, every instinct within her compelling her to get way. Min fought the waving cornstalks, batting them away from her face as she made her way out of the corn, and then screamed loudly as she bumped into something solid.
Terrified to even move, Min’s heart froze in her chest. She felt the color drain from her face. Taking in a deep breath, she willed her limbs to move and slowly turned around. Now face to face with blue denim, she slowly looked up into the grinning face of her brother.
“Oh Bo, its you…” She whispered; relief washed through her as she closed her eyes briefly.
“Hey Min check out my pumpkin–” Bo said as he held up a chunky, bright orange pumpkin. “What do you think?”
Min’s heart beat began to beat again as she shifted her attention to the pumpkin her brother held.
“I…um… yeah it’s nice Bo–” She mumbled and wiped her hand over her face.
Bo saw the sudden milky hue of his sister’s skin; the smile slid from his features and he creased his brow.
“I’m not sure, I saw this black car in the field and there was this creepy guy in it. I guess I got a little spooked–” Min hooked her thumb over her shoulder and Bo looked around her.
“What black car?”
“The black car! Bo, its right–” She turned around to show him and once more brushed aside some of the stalks. Seeing nothing but the field, Min slowly shook her head in disbelief.
“Bo I saw it. Someone was there in a black car, and I heard our name whispered.”
Bo nodded as he put a hand on Min’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
“Maybe whoever it was left.”
“In three seconds?” Min sighed as she once again gazed at her brother.
“And why didn’t I hear the engine start up?”
“Oh I wouldn’t worry about it Min, probably some old farmer pulled in for a nap or something.”
“But I thought I heard the name Duke.”
“You know how the wind is, it can sound like a lot of things blowing in the open like this,” Bo said as he walked with his sister, and then patted her on the back.
“You need to pick a pumpkin; Uncle Jesse, Daisy and Luke are waiting.”
“Okay Bo.” Walking back amongst the pumpkins, Min crouched down and brushed back some of the leaves on one.
“What do you think of this one?”
“Hmmm well let me see–” Bo squatted beside her and hefted the pumpkin in his hands.
“Pretty good size, I think we should take it.” Min nodded and Bo touched his right hand to his knife pouch and took it out. With a flick of his wrist he opened it, and sawed through the vine at the top.
“There we go, one jack-o-lantern–” Bo stood up and handed the basketball-sized pumpkin to his sister. He gave her a smile, hoping she’d return it.
“Looks about the size of Boss Hogg’s head.”
Min looked at her brother and saw right through him; he wanted her to put the black car behind her and relax. Not being able to resist the bad joke, Min laughed a little and finally smiled at her brother.
“I don’t know about that, might not be big enough.”
Bo laughed at that and slung his arm around Min’s shoulders.
“Come on, everyone’s waiting in the General.”
Heading out of the patch, Min leaned a little into her brother, feeling better as they walked together to the big orange stock car. Bo unlocked the trunk and took Min’s pumpkin from her and carefully placed it amongst the four others.
“Halloween’s going to be great this year,” He said with a wink as he slammed the trunk closed.
Min shook her head at her brother then turned and headed for the passenger side of the General.
“Where you kids been?” Jesse asked as he poked his head out of the side window.
“Aw, Min just got lost is all, Uncle Jesse. I found her in the cornfield.”
“I did not get lost!” Min said as she swung one leg up and then the other and carefully slid into the car.
“The cornfield? What in the world were you doing in there? If you want corn, we got a whole cellar full of it back at the farm.” Luke scoffed and shook his head; he turned the key and the General’s big engine roared to life.
“I don’t want any corn Luke,” Min said as she swatted her hand against his arm. Luke laughed and rolled the sleeve on his white shirt up a little higher.
“She said there was someone in the corn.” Bo got into the car then looked into the back seat. Daisy shook her head at her cousin.
“Bo it’s not nice to tease your sister.” She pulled a folded up paper from the front pocket of her pink plaid shirt and looked at it.
“Okay Uncle Jesse, we need to get grocery money from the bank. What time is it?”
Jesse pulled his watch fob from the pocket of his light blue denim overalls and looked at the time.
“It’s almost 8 o’clock; by the time we get into town it should be open.” His gaze shifted from his watch to Bo and raised an eyebrow. The grin from Bo’s face suddenly faded as he saw his uncle’s stern gaze.
“Daisy’s right, don’t be giving your sister a fuss, you hear?”
“Yes sir–” Bo nodded then turned to face forward. He heard someone chortle beside him and turned to look at Luke.
“Not one word cousin,” He said as he narrowed his eyes slightly.
“Hey I’m not saying a word!” Luke replied as he shifted his gaze to Min and winked at her.
Min eased down a little, being with her family helped shake the terrible feeling of dread and she began to feel a little more relaxed. The General left the Caleb farm and headed into town; as the distance between the Dukes began to grow, Min raised her gaze and watched the cornfield shrink in the rearview mirror.
******* ******* *******
Min hummed softly to herself as she stood at the old white stove. After the pumpkin patch, there were chores to be done throughout the rest of the day; but now that the sun began to creep below the horizon, supper had to be made. The male members of the Duke family were outside working and it being her turn to cook; she flipped the pork chops over in the skillet and picked up a wooden spoon to stir the bubbling pot of potatoes.
The incident in the corn still weighed on her mind; she could still see the face of the man in the black car and his cold smile sent a shiver down her spine despite the warmth of the burners in front of her. So focused on what had happened; she didn’t hear the sound of the front door opening or the soft thud of footsteps.
A hand reached out to touch her shoulder and the young woman gasped and whipped around, expecting to see that horrible face. Seeing the puzzled face of her uncle instead, she sighed audibly and smiled.
“Uncle Jesse…” She gazed down at a dishtowel hanging from the oven rail and wiped her hands. Her hands reached behind her to untie the white apron she had covering her clothes and lifted it over her head.
“Supper is almost done.”
Jesse nodded and then watched his niece a moment. “You okay?”
“Oh yeah, I’m fine.” Her heels clacked as she hung up the apron by the door; she went to the sink and began taking dishes and silverware out of the drain board. Jesse kept his blue eyes on her, noticing how tense she seemed. Min set the pile of plates on the table, her hands visibly shaking as she began to set it.
“What happened out in the corn?” Jesse asked as he walked to the table; he placed both hands on the back of a chair then gazed at his niece.
“Nothing Uncle Jesse, just my imagination.” Min carefully laid out each plate, then grabbed a napkin, folded it in half lengthwise and placed a fork and knife on top of it.
“Little girl…” The stern words gently spoken; Min instantly stopped her task and her dark eyes lifted to stare at her uncle.
“Now tell me what happened. Bo said you got lost?”
“No sir.” Min brought her hand up and wiped it over her face.
“This black car was in the corn. There was this man inside of it and it was like he knew who I was. I’m not sure if he spoke our name or not, but I heard it.”
“Black car?” Jesse asked; his grip on the chair suddenly tightened till his knuckles turned white.
“Yes sir, a black Ford with a busted rear end that had grey primer on it. I don’t know who it was, but I got scared and got out of there. I ran into Bo, but when he looked the car was gone.”
Taking in a deep breath, Min exhaled it slowly and straightened her spine, the confession having made her feel better. Half-expecting his reassurance, she once again met Jesse’s eyes and the look on his features made another icy finger push into her heart. The older man’s face had lost all its color and his chest moved up and down visibly in heavier breathing.
“Uncle Jesse? What is it?”
“Just that… that sounds like…”
“Luke you’re crazy!” Bo’s voice rang out as the back kitchen door banged open. Luke followed him, scoffing, and closed the door.
“Yeah well it’s your word against mine! We’ll see who she believes.”
Jesse closed his mouth and went to the stove. He grabbed a dishcloth, then turned off the burners and moved the pot and skillet off of them.
Min waited for him to finish what he was saying and then gazed at her cousin and brother.
Bo went to the fridge and tugged the door open; he leaned over and grabbed a pitcher of lemonade.
“She’ll take my word for it Luke, you’ll see.”
Luke opened the cabinet doors and took out five glasses. He set them on the table then pushed up his sleeves as he took the pitcher from his cousin. Min watched both of the boys, then went back over to the stove to help her uncle make the mashed potatoes.
“Who did it sound like, Uncle Jesse?”
“I got it Min.” He carried the pot to the counter and got the milk and butter out of the fridge.
“You kids go get washed up for supper.” Jesse said gruffly to them; the tone of his voice stopped the boys’ shenanigans as well, and they both turned to gaze at Min.
“Everything all right Cousin?” Luke asked her; but before she could reply Jesse turned to gaze at them all.
“Go on! Get ready for supper before it gets cold.”
“Yes sir.” Luke nodded and cleared his throat. He patted Bo on the stomach then turned his head to the side. Bo’s gaze bounced from Luke to his uncle; he too looked confused as he followed his cousin out of the kitchen his hands tucked into his back pocket.
“Yes Uncle Jesse.” Min whispered as she also left the kitchen, she rounded the corner and saw both Bo and Luke waiting for her. Luke put his finger to his lips and gently took her by the arm. He led her into the room the boys shared and closed the door. The three kids kept their voices low, not wanting their uncle to hear what they were talking about.
“What was that all about?”
Bo stood by his sister and nodded at what his cousin asked.
“Luke, I don’t know.” Shaking her head, Min gave a heavy sigh as she looked at her eldest cousin first, then her brother.
“Did he say anything?” Bo asked, and then turned to look at the closed door, wondering what was bothering his uncle.
“He asked about what happened at the pumpkin patch.”
“And what did he say?” Luke crossed his arms over chest.
“I don’t know Luke, he seemed a little shaken up when I mentioned the car, but then when you both came in, he stopped talking.”
“He knows who that is?” Gazing at his cousin, Bo shook his head.
Luke ran his hands back through his hair and sighed. “Maybe he does, I don’t know, but if he won’t talk about it we can’t make him.”
“Uncle Jesse! Bo! Luke! Min!” The front door closed and Daisy’s shout rang through the house.
“Daisy’s home,” Min said as a feeling of dread hovered around her and she rubbed her arms to ward off a surprise chill.
“Yeah…” Luke nodded. “And we can’t ask Uncle Jesse about this right now.”
“But Luke what if it’s nothing, what if it’s just a coincidence?” Bo asked as he too stared at the closed bedroom door, hearing the noise from the kitchen as a chair was pulled back and the sound of his cousin talking.
“And what if it’s not?” Luke sighed and stepped between his two cousins.
“Let’s just play it by ear,” He said as he opened the door and stepped out of the room.
******* ******* *******
Lunchtime at the Boar’s Nest always brought out all types of Hazzard locals; everyone from farmers to truck drivers to field hands would jam pack the little bar for their serving of BBQ and a cold brew to wash it down. As the crowd began to gather, a few coins were deposited in the jukebox, and an old country song began to play. Filling the small round tables and booths, the noise began to grow and the sudden increase in patronage sent the lone pair of waitresses fluttering from table to table.
Daisy carried a tray full of beer mugs over to table full of local farmers. Smiling gently at them, she leaned over and began to pass the beers out.
“Here you go…a full round of Boar’s Nest specials.”
Passing out the last mug, she straightened and tipped her tray up, covering her red spaghetti strap shirt.
“Is there anything else I can get for you fellas?”
“Nah, sugar, you done plenty.” A man in blue grease-smudged coveralls handed her a ten dollar bill.
“Here you go, keep the change.”
Taking the money, Daisy tucked into the pocket of her red cut off shorts and smiled.
“Thank you, you all let me know if there’s anything else I can get you.”
Turning, she sauntered off, weaving in and out of the busy tables. She set her wooden tray down on the bar and walked behind it to join her cousin Min.
“Nice tippers?” Min asked as Daisy went over to the register and rang the order up.
“Pretty nice.” Daisy glanced at her cousin; she saw the expression on her face and sighed.
“You’re still upset about that car, aren’t you?”
Min gave a shrug, but the mere mention of it made goose bumps rise up on her bare arms and she crossed her arms over her white halter top and rubbed them away.
“I know I wasn’t seeing things Daisy, there was just something about that man that frightened me.”
Slamming the cash register drawer shut, Daisy pocketed her tip and put an arm around her cousin’s shoulders.
“Honey if I’d seen that believe me, I’d be frightened too. I know the boys teased you at first, but now with how Uncle Jesse has been ever since…” Daisy gazed at her cousin seriously.
“Honey, they ain’t laughing anymore.”
“I know and that’s got me even more spooked.” Min raised her hand and patted her cousin’s.
Daisy nodded as she stared into her cousin’s face. Though the Dukes had always had certain inklings in their family, a certain perception where one another was concerned, Min’s perception far surpassed theirs. Ever since she had come to the farm, her gift of knowing more than she should always amazed Daisy.
“You been feeling things, haven’t you?” She touched her brunette head to Min’s and drew her cousin closer.
“This horrible dread and its everywhere; it’s like there’s a monster around every corner coming to get us.” Min whispered as she leaned into her cousin.
They stayed that way for a moment until the sound of the door opening, and the bright sunshine pouring in made the two women part.
“So, where the hell are we?” Dean Winchester asked as he stepped inside, followed by his younger brother Sam. The bright sunlight filled the dank bar, causing several patrons to protest as they turned away from the glare. The door then slammed shut, and the two brothers stood side by side.
Sam Winchester had his hands tucked into the pockets of his tan jacket as he had a look around the country tavern.
“Hazzard? Talk about a town with a name where something’s bound to happen.” Dean looked skeptically at Sam.
“And why did we choose to come this way again?”
Sam shrugged. “Because sometimes back roads are better than main highways and besides, it doesn’t hurt for you to get a little culture.”
“Yeah and how much culture do you think we’re going to find in a place called Hazzard?” Dean’s gaze swept the room, and then stopped when he saw the two brunette women behind the bar. An appreciative smile came to his face as he shifted his stance and glanced at his brother.
“On second thought . . . how’s that for culture?”
Sam followed his brother’s line of sight and his eyebrows went up as he spotted the pair of waitresses. His gaze lingered, but his brother’s elbow in his ribs quickly snapped him out of his stupor and he gave his brother a dirty look.
“I say we find a table Sammy.” Dean spotted a corner booth and slid into it; he folded his hands on top of the table. Sam sat down across from him, and then glanced over his shoulder at the license plates and signs that covered the walls.
Daisy watched as the pair settled into a booth and slid the wooden tray with pad and pencil over to Min.
“I handled the last table, so now it’s your turn.”
Min nodded and picked up the tray. She gave her cousin her best friendly smile, and headed over to the corner booth.
“Afternoon gentlemen, my name is Min, what can I get for you?” She asked, as her gaze bounced from Dean to Sam.
Dean grinned as an idea or two came to mind, but he cleared his throat.
“Cold beer, please.”
“Okay, one beer…” She then turned to Sam. “And for you?”
Sam’s gaze shifted a moment to his brother; he glared at him before meeting Min’s questioning eyes.
“I’ll have a beer too, please.”
“Two beers…coming right up.” Min moved to the next booth and brought back two bowls of popcorn, setting one down in front of each brother before she went to get their drinks.
“God I love the South.” Dean muttered as he watched her walk off. His eyes traveled from her white halter top all the way down to her short black denim shorts, long legs, and high heels.
Sam turned in the booth, his back now against the wall. This gave him a better view of not only the bar itself, but of the patrons gathered there. He watched Min behind the bar, his eyes transfixed on her.
“You think a lot of things happen in a town like this?”
Dean blinked a moment and creased his brow at Sam. “What do you mean? You mean like supernatural stuff?”
“Yeah, I mean we’ve been to so many places, do you think there can be a town where nothing supernatural ever happens?”
Gazing down at the table, Dean found a scratch in the wooden surface and began to pick at it.
“I suppose it’s possible.” He then put his hand in the popcorn bowl, and popped a few kernels into his mouth.
“Just ever since this whole psychic thing started, sometimes we go places and I feel things.”
Crunching on a mouthful of popcorn, Dean nodded then waited till he swallowed before talking. “You picking anything up about this place?”
“Maybe…” Sam whispered his line of sight still locked on the waitresses, on Min in particular. He watched as she moved about, idly chatting with her coworker.
Dean saw where Sam focused his attention.
“Like that Min girl? What you might be feeling from her could be…something else.”
Sam whipped around to look at Dean, his mouth tightening a moment.
“I’m serious, Dean.”
“So am I.” Dean spun the popcorn bowl on the table.
“I mean ever since we lost Dad and then that thing with Madison, you’ve been mopey and every time I suggest we maybe go back to New York so maybe you can see Sarah, you shoot me down.”
“I know.” Sighing Sam nodded; he folded his hands and began to pick at his nails not meeting his brother’s gaze.
“We don’t have anything lined up for now. Nothing in the news worth checking out, so I think we could use a vacation until something rears its ugly head, don’t you?”
“Yeah…” Sam whispered then thought about what Dean said.
“Maybe we can hang around a few days.”
“That’s my boy!” Dean reached out and slapped Sam on his arm. Grinning and exhaling a heavy sigh, Dean slumped back in his seat and nodded.
“Now we can relax.”
“Relax…right…” Once again turning in his seat, Sam gazed across the busy tables to watch behind the bar. He didn’t know what it was that kept him going back to the waitress that had taken his order, but something about her had gotten his attention and kept it.
“Okay I need a pair of beers Daisy; do we have any clean mugs?” Min smoothed her hair out of her face and walked back behind the bar. She crouched down and looked at the shelf that the glass mugs were kept.
“Hey, they’re kinda cute.” Daisy had her elbows against the bar as she watched the pair of brothers. She watched Dean, a smile lighting up her face.
“Yeah, I noticed.” Raising her gaze she reached a hand up and tapped Daisy on her side.
“Hmm?” Turning she glanced at her cousin and nodded.
“Oh! Right, sorry.” Daisy bent over and saw the empty shelf.
“I’ll get some from the kitchen.”
Taking Min’s tray, she disappeared through the swinging doors and came out overloaded with glass mugs. She crouched down and began to stack them under the bar, then picked up two and handed them to Min.
“Here you go.”
“Thanks Cousin.” Min stepped up to the beer dispenser; she set one mug tipped to the side and with a tug on the lever, the amber liquid began to fill the glass.
Daisy replaced her tray then once again turned her attention to the handsome pair. She noticed their t-shirts and jeans, Dean’s leather jacket in particular.
“I don’t think they’re from around here.”
“How do you…?” Daisy glanced at Min and a sheepish grin came to her face.
“Sometimes I forget how perceptive you are, cousin.”
“I wish I could sometimes.” Loading the now full mugs on the tray, Min again put on her best customer serving smile.
“I best deliver my beers.”
Returning Min’s smile, Daisy shook her head and moved to the far side of the bar where the CB sat and picked up the mic.
“And I best see to our cousins.”
“They should be on their way.” Min said as she walked back around the bar.
“Bo Peep to her two Lost Sheep, you boys got your ears on?” Daisy said into the mic, then released the button, waiting for a response.
“Bo Peep to her two Lost Sheep, you boys got your ears on?”
The General Lee’s CB radio crackled with the voice of Daisy Duke. Parked on the side of the dilapidated barn, the voice carried around the corner into its open doors.
“I think I hear Daisy–” Bo pulled a pair of bale hooks out of the back pocket of his jeans. Spreading his arms, he stuck them into either end of the heavy square bale. A few feet from him, his cousin Luke stood by a pile of stacked bales and pulled a pair of wire cutters from his pocket. He transferred one bale to the ground at his feet and crouched down.
“We’ll call her back in a minute, we promised Uncle Jesse we’d get this done–” Grasping the wire that surrounded a bale, Luke cut it. He set down the cutters and tugged at the long thin wire, then began to wrap it around his hand.
Hefting the bale, Bo tipped back a little as he carried it over to his cousin and thumped it down on top of the pile. A small puff of dust and bits of hay kicked up as Bo arranged the stack, then turned his face from the cloud. The hooks clanged as he placed them both in his left hand then fanned the air with his right.
“Speaking of Uncle Jesse, you said something about him being awake last night?”
“Had to be around midnight,” Luke tucked the wire cutters into the front pocket of his grey shirt and walked around the stacked bales. He went over to a horse stall and opened the wooden gate.
“What was he doing up that late?” Bo went over to a wall where the farm implements hung and grabbed a pitchfork. He handed the bale hooks to Luke before he stuck the tines in the now wireless bale and began to toss the loose hay into the open stall.
Luke didn’t answer right away; he brushed past his cousin and speared the top bale and dropped it to the barn floor; it teetered to one side, and then fell flat.
The thunk noise got Bo’s attention; he glanced over his shoulder at the bale, and then raised his gaze to his cousin.
The way Bo spoke his name made the brunette man shut his eyes. He straightened up then ran his hand up and over his hair, mussing it. The tone suggested concern and Luke sighed feeling Bo’s heavy gaze.
“He was rocking, Bo.”
Bo whipped around to stare at his cousin, his task of bailing hay suddenly forgotten.
“Rocking?” Bo’s head tipped up and his shoulders rose up and down in a deep breath before he calmly sighed it out. The gentle concern both boys had now turning into genuine worry; all of the Dukes knew that when Jesse sat in his rocking chair, things weren’t right with the older man.
“Luke you know that he only rocks when…”
“Something’s bugging him.” Luke finished then nodded.
“And something is.”
“Did you try and talk to him?”
Crossing his arms over his chest, Luke wiped his hand back and forth across his mouth.
“And he told me it was nothing and to go back to bed.”
“But you didn’t, right?” Bo waited for his cousin to talk and when he didn’t right away, Bo jabbed the pitchfork down into the barn floor and reached out to touch Luke on the arm. He turned his cousin to face him fully.
“You didn’t just leave it be, did you?” His voice lowered, the worry now showing in Bo’s dark blue eyes as they met Luke’s. Seeing the look in his cousin’s gaze Luke’s jaw clenched and he reluctantly nodded.
“I had to Bo; you know how he is when he gets like that. The more you try and push him to talk the more he won’t. I did the only thing I could do.”
“You went back to bed–” This time Bo finished his cousin’s sentence; his hand moved from Luke’s arm and he walked a few steps away, his back to his cousin.
“What are we going to do Luke?”
Luke stared at the tan shirt covering his cousin’s back and shook his head.
“We can’t do much till we know what’s eating at him.” He moved closer to his cousin, his boots crunching on the hay.
“This all started after we went to the pumpkin patch, didn’t it?”
Bo gave Luke a sidelong glance and nodded.
“After Min told him what she saw.”
“What did Min see?”
“Beats me cousin, all she really said was some guy in a black car.”
“Black car…did she say what kind?”
“No and I didn’t see the car when I looked.”
Nodding again, Luke uncrossed his arms, and then put an arm around Bo’s shoulders.
“Cousin, I think we owe it to ourselves to have talk with Min, find out everything she saw out in that field then maybe take a little trip back out to there.”
The confidence his cousin displayed made Bo feel better. He exhaled then nodded, a small smile coming to his face.
“I think that’s a good idea, Cousin–” He motioned with his chin to the open barn door.
“Daisy was on the CB, her and Min are the Boar’s Nest.”
“Then we should go–” Luke replied as he patted Bo on the back. He knew Bo counted on him to be strong but at the same time he couldn’t help but be worried. Something ate away at his uncle, and he hadn’t the first damn clue as to what. He knew for sure that Min had seen something, and that was the only clue he and Bo had so far.
The General Lee sped down Mill Pond Lane, spitting back dirt and debris. With Bo behind the wheel, the big orange car whipped back and forth, and then straightened out as the road did.
“You best give Daisy a holler on the CB, let her know we heard her–” Bo said to his passenger. Luke reached out and unhooked the mic from its stand and pressed in the button as he held it close to his mouth.
“Lost Sheep to Bo Peep, come in Bo Peep…”
He released the button and waited, expecting to hear Daisy return the call. Luke gazed at the mic in his hand waiting for an answer.
When the silence began to linger, Bo’s eyes left the road to glance at Luke briefly.
“Daisy should have answered by now.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Luke leaned forward and checked the dials on the CB. He turned it off and on then checked to see what channel it was on.
“Channels right, it’s on.”
“Try it again; maybe we were out of range.”
“Lost Sheep to Bo Peep, come in Bo Peep–” Repeating into the mic, Luke once again let it go then brought his hand down.
Again when no answer came, Bo shook his head then jerked the wheel hard pulling the Charger over to the side of the road. The engine rumbled noisily as the two cousins both sat and waited.
“Maybe we’ve got another loose wire.” Luke bent over and stuck his arm up under the dash; he jerked down a black cord and began to pull wires from the encasement and follow them to the back of the CB.
“Luke ,you sure you should be fooling with that?” Bo asked as he watched his cousin take off part of the CB housing and practically crawl into the floorboards.
“One of these days, I need to teach you about electronics Bo–” Mumbling, Luke’s hand out came down to his belt and he took out his knife and snapped it opened with a flick of his wrist.
Bo sighed and tipped his gaze heavenward, then brought his head down and pinched the bridge of his nose. He shut his eyes and shook his head.
“Luke, we ain’t got time for this.”
“Yeah and we ain’t got time for a busted CB either.”
A cloud suddenly moved across the sun, the light gone in an instant, getting Luke’s attention. He stopped what he was doing and gazed at his cousin, his brow creasing at the abrupt darkness.
The loud crack of thunder shattered the silence at the same time Luke spoke. Bo jumped, his shoulder rising as his eyes flew open and he looked out his window.
“Now what the heck is that?” Bo tipped his head out and gazed up at the dark sky. He then straightened up and gripped the edge of the roof, then slid partially out and sat on the window frame. Raising his head, he saw the thick dark clouds that swallowed up the light. The wind began to kick up and blew the blond hair away from his face.
“Luke, do you believe this?”
Luke quickly put the CB back together; he didn’t like the way the sky went from blue to black in the same snap of a finger, nor the apprehension he felt settle around his heart.
“Bo! We need to go!” He called out as he sat up.
About to reach out and snag Bo by the legs and tug him in, the sound of an approaching vehicle stopped him.
Bo heard it too and his blond head turned in the direction the noise came from. The road appeared empty, and curious as to where that noise came from, Bo climbed out of the General Lee and began to walk down the length of the parked vehicle. He moved past it and headed down the road.
His boots scuffed at the ground as he walked. He waited for any sign of the upcoming car and headed down the road. The further away he got from the General Lee and his cousin, the more distinct the sound became.
“Bo! Get your carcass back here!” Luke shouted as he too climbed out of the General.
“We need to go!” He called out to his cousin as he began to give chase.
Luke’s shout rang out, but Bo didn’t pay it much mind. The more he walked the more determined he found himself becoming.
The car…Need to find the car… The only thought that went through his mind as he lifted each leg up and set it down almost mindlessly, the compulsion to keep going above all else.
“Bo?” Luke said as he noticed that Bo not only hadn’t stopped walking, but the distance between them grew considerably.
“Something wrong with your hearing, Bo Duke?”
With only the methodical purring of a supped up engine beckoning him like a siren song, Bo disappeared round a bend in the road.
“Doggone it, I’m going to kick your lanky butt when I get a hold of you!” Luke groused as he went after Bo, his boots thudding on the hard ground silently cursing his cousin’s longer legs and wider stride.
Oblivious to everything, Bo kept walking on. The sky still dark overhead, the growling of the engine still floating around him like a fog. Up ahead the road took another sharp curve, and Bo followed it around, the expression on his face blank as he stared out into the inky darkness.
A bright blinding light snapped on, smacking Bo right in his face with its intensity. Like a deer caught in the high beams, too stunned to move, he stood there bathed in the encompassing radiance.
“What the heck?” The light stopped Luke too; he raised his arm out to it and turned his gaze away. He squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed his other hand over them, trying to regain his vision. Shaking his head out, he finally opened his eyes wide then once more faced the light. Finally adjusting to it, he saw the source of it and he lowered his hand.
“I don’t believe it…” Luke whispered at the pair of twin lights that shone right on his cousin.
The source of the lights belonged to a long black Ford Fairlane. Luke saw the gleam of the dark paint that covered the long chassis. The car seemed to simply appear out of the night, the color of it helping to disguise it, just like…
“A runner–” Luke whispered as he watched the car slowly roll towards his frozen statue of a cousin.
“Get out of there Bo!” He said to himself then realized his voice didn’t carry in the night air. Swallowing hard, he forced his throat to work and tried again.
“Bo! Bo, get out of there!”
Still riveted to the spot, Bo didn’t react to his cousin. Totally covered in the beams of the headlights, his face a ghostly pale, he stood unwavering.
“Duke….” The name seemed to float in the air like a specter and Luke visibly shook as he heard it, a sudden knot hit his stomach like a brick and he folded over a little.
The hypnotic hum of the big engine blocked out everything else, and it grew louder as the long car approached. Now less than the length of a football field away, the Fairlane’s engine revved, and the tires spun in place as it took off like a shot heading right for the stunned blond Duke.
“Bo!” Luke heard himself cry out as he straightened up and took off running. Though closer to Bo then the car was, it had the advantage of speed and he pumped his legs, giving it all he had.
Two immovable forces were both converging on the blond man, one heavy steel framed fast moving car and one 200 pound running Duke. Panting hard, Luke pushed his legs harder, faster, not about to let his cousin get killed. As the car came barreling down on Bo, the brunette man leapt at his cousin, the bodies slammed into each other, then the ground; the momentum rolled the pair straight into a ditch just as the Fairlane ran over the spot where Bo had stood…
******* ******* *******
“Those boys should have called us back by now–” Daisy watched the CB, sighing as she glanced worriedly at her cousin. She leaned with her elbows on the table then straightened up.
“Yeah you’re right, they should have. Maybe they’re out of range or out of the General–”
Min folded her arms over her chest. She took had her gaze locked on the silent CB and brought her hand up. She chewed on her thumbnail a little, trying not to let her imagination wander as to why her cousin and brother hadn’t contacted them.
“Something’s wrong–” Sam replied as he watched the girls. Behind him, Dean finished his beer then looked at the empty glass.
“Yeah, I’ll say . . . I’m out of beer.”
Creasing his brow at the comment, Sam turned around to look at his brother.
“No Dean, I meant over there, something’s wrong.”
Dean tipped his head to one side to see past Sam’s shoulder. He noticed the tense way the two girls stood together, both of them huddled around the CB.
“Yeah you’re right,” Dean’s eyes shifted to his brother.
“Still got a funny feeling?”
Sam nodded then slid out of the booth. “We should see what’s wrong.”
Dean shuffled across the bench seat then stood up. Glancing around casually, he cleared his throat as he approached the bar.
“I’m going to give Uncle Jesse a call–” Daisy picked up the mic and held the button down.
“Shepherd this is Bo Peep, you got your ears on?” Closing her eyes briefly, she let go of the button, and then repressed it.
“Uncle Jesse it’s Daisy, you out there?”
Min shook her head, her stomach tightening with worry at the silent CB.
“No Bo and Luke, no Uncle Jesse…Daisy, I’m worried.”
“Yeah, me too.” Replacing the mic on its stand, Daisy put her arm around Min’s shoulders. She touched her dark head to her cousin’s.
Leaning into her, Min gave a heavy sigh.
“What are we going to do, Daisy?”
“Nothing til Donna Jean and Marie arrive. Boss would fire us if we left now.”
“But what if they’re in trouble?”
“Are you all right?” The question made both girls start briefly. So wrapped up in worry, they hadn’t noticed that the two men now stood on the other side of the bar.
Trying to be brave, Daisy cleared her throat.
“Is there something I can get you?”
The two brothers exchanged gaze and Sam exhaled softly, Dean turned back and lowered his head as he leaned closer to the bar, his palms braced on it.
“Look we know something’s wrong, why don’t you tell us about it and maybe we can help?”
Now the girls exchanged glances, and Min stepped closer to the bar.
“Our cousins and uncle might be in trouble. We’ve been trying to reach them and no one’s talking back.”
Sam straddled the stool and folded his hands on top of it.
“Maybe they’re too busy to answer.”
Daisy shook her head. “No they wouldn’t do that. Anytime any of us are out of the house we all keep in touch with each other.”
“Bo Peep this is Shepherd…” Uncle Jesse’s voice came over the speaker, and Daisy practically pulled the CB off the bar as she snatched the mic and held it in both hands.
“Uncle Jesse! Are you all right?”
“I’m all right Daisy, have you heard from the boys?”
The reply made Min close her eyes and she sighed audibly in relief.
She leaned her elbows on the bar watching as Daisy spoke to their uncle.
“No we tried to call them, but they didn’t answer.”
“I tried too and got nothing.”
“Maybe the CB’s acting up again.” Min interjected and Daisy nodded.
“Could it be their radio?” She asked into the mic.
“Could be, but I don’t like not hearing from them. You girls stay where you are; I’m going to see if I can find them.”
“Stay where we are?” Daisy’s brow creased and she shook her head in disbelief at what her uncle had said.
“We can’t just stay here not knowing where the boys are; he knows we won’t.”
Min scoffed at that and straightened up; she reached out and took the mic from her cousin.
“Uncle Jesse, we’re not staying here, we’re worried too–” She glanced out toward the door. “Cooter has Darlin’ and Dixie has a bad starter so the boys brought us to work.”
Turning her gaze back to the two men, she thought about their previous offer and nodded.
“We’ll give Cooter a call to start searching the back roads towards Razorback Mountain , you take other way from the farm to the county line and Daisy and me will cover Route 7 and other ways they might have to come if they were heading for here.”
A long pause on the other end of the CB made Min look at the mic in her hand, finally it crackled to life.
“I’d rather you girls stay put but…how you going to search if you don’t have any cars?”
Smiling a little, Min’s eyes were locked on the brothers.
“Don’t you worry Uncle Jesse, we’ll find a way.”
“Copy that, this is Shepherd clear…”
“He didn’t tell us where he was–” Daisy took the mic and placed it back on the stand.
“Yeah I know, but we can’t worry about that right now.”
“Darlin’ and Dixie?” Dean asked, his eyes shifting from one brunette to the other.
“Oh and by the way, I’m Dean Winchester.” He said as he put his hand on his chest then turned to his brother.
“And this is my brother Sam.”
“Min and Daisy Duke.” Daisy said with a small smile.
“Good to meet you.” Dean answered back; he locked gazes with Daisy and smiled at her.
When both the looks and silence lingered, Sam cleared his throat and gave his brother a light elbow in the ribs.
“We meant what we said about wanting to help.”
Out of his stupor, Dean blinked and nodded.
“Right, help… be glad to–” He stammered.
“We sure could use it; both of our cars are out of commission.” Min stepped up to the bar and casually bumped into her cousin. Daisy started a moment and felt her face flush with heat at having been caught staring at Dean.
“Right, we really could use a ride.”
Dean managed to collect himself; he felt eyes on him and saw Sam staring at him. He glared a little at his brother, seeing his knowing smirk.
“That’s not a problem, Sam and I are great trackers; if anyone can find your family it’s us.”
Sam’s mouth twitched as he fought a smile. Dean had teased him about Min, and now he got to return the favor.
“Just point us in the right direction and we’ll see what we can dig up.”
“We’ll show you the ways the boys usually travel–” Min once again lifted her gaze to the CB, hoping and praying that Bo and Luke would call in.
“We know all the roads around here.” Daisy saw Min still watching the CB and moved closer to her. She put an arm around her shoulders and drew her closer. Min felt the light tug and turned to her cousin, an apologetic look in her dark eyes.
“I’m sorry Daisy; I know you’re worried too. Just that all that’s been going on and now the boys are Lord knows where.”
Daisy did share Min’s concern and nodded solemnly.
“We’ll get through this you’ll see. Everything will be all right. When Donna and Marie get here, we’ll start looking.”
No sooner had the words left Daisy’s mouth than the door to the Boar’s Nest opened, and in came a willowy young woman. Donna Jean smiled as she brushed back her blond hair. She walked over to the bar and set her white purse down on it.
“Hey girls, how’s business been today?” Donna looked down at her short jean shorts and blue sleeveless shirt; she brushed some fuzz from them then walked around the bar.
“All right, little hectic but not bad–” Daisy replied nonchalantly as she backed up, and let her fellow waitress lean over and get an apron from under the bar.
Sam and Dean got up from their bar stools and moved back towards their booth, waiting for Daisy and Min.
“Marie is coming in, she’s parking the Chevelle–” Donna tied the apron on then picked up a wooden tray.
Once again the door opened and in came the bartender Marie. She had a tan hair band in her hand and pulled back her shoulder length dark hair.
“Sorry I’m late girls; my brother was working on my car–” Marie too headed behind the bar and pulled out a black apron. She put it over her head, and pulled it down over her maroon plaid shirt and jeans.
“Everything all set for us?”
“Yeah, all set…” Min patted her pockets then pulled out a set of keys and handed them to Marie.
“Here’s the keys to the freezer and register.”
“Thanks, that’s why I dressed warmer today. Going in and out of that freezer in just a waitressing outfit was getting to be cold business.”
“Right well you two take over, Min and I have to get home–” Daisy smiled reassuringly at their replacements and motioned towards the brothers then to the door.
“Have a good shift, girls.” Min saw Daisy’s gesture and nodded as she followed her cousin to the exit.
Sam watched the girls, their demeanor relaxed as they exited the bar. He understood why they were being so casual; with part of their family possibly in trouble, the last thing they wanted to do was draw attention.
Dean pulled a few bills out of his pocket and set them on the table. With his keys in hand, he glanced over his shoulder at his brother.
“Let’s get out of here Sam.”
“Yeah–” Sam cleared his throat; he stuck his hands in his pockets and followed Dean outside.
******* ******* *******
Luke squeezed his eyes shut as a cloud of dust kicked up by the Fairlane’s near hit covered both him and Bo. On his stomach, he had one hand in the middle of his cousin’s back, and waited till the air settled then raised his head up enough to look past the edge of the ditch.
Beside him Bo groaned; his hand moved to the back of his head and rubbed a huge knot forming there.
“Wh-what happened Luke?” He tried to raise himself up on his elbows, but Luke’s hand on his back prevented the movement.
“Keep down–” He whispered then moved away from Bo, and started to shift enough to roll out of the ditch.
“It may still be out there.”
“What might be out there?” Bo asked, confused as to how he ended up in a ditch with a lump on the base of his skull.
“That black car, that one that nearly flattened you!” Luke eased out of the hole he and Bo had ended up in. Bracing palms to the rocky ground, he pushed himself up into a kneeling position then back on his haunches before slowly rising to his feet. Though the air still bore a haze from flying dirt, he could see the road.
“Come on Bo, I think for now we’re all right.” Luke leaned over and offered Bo a hand. The blond man slapped his hand loudly against Luke’s and got tugged to his feet. The sudden change in position made him squeeze his eyes shut; the world spun a little and he touched the back of his head gingerly.
“You were out of it Bo, if I hadn’t gotten to you first you’d be dead.” Reaching behind Bo’s head, he found the lump and hissed though his teeth at the size of it.
“Must have happened when we hit the ground.”
“I don’t remember that.”
“What do you remember?”
“Walking down the road and then–”
An engine revving up loudly cut through the still air. Both boys turned to see the black car suddenly reappear; it headed right for them both and knowing they couldn’t outrun it, both cousins turned and dove back into the ditch.
Once again face down; the boys didn’t see the Fairlane swerve violently to miss them then drive off and out of sight.
******* ******* *******
“Okay so we’re on this road?” Sam asked as he turned sideways in his seat. Directly behind him sat both Min and Daisy; the two girls silent in the backseat of the big black Chevy Impala.
“Min?” He asked as he leaned closer, he saw the concern and worry for her kin etched on her features. Reaching out, Sam gently touched her shoulder.
“Hey–” He whispered as Min started and snapped out of her stupor.
“Hey it’s okay, I know you’re worried.” His gaze shifted to Daisy.
“I know you both are.”
Daisy too jumped, and turned to look at Sam, then nodded.
“The boys being in trouble is nothing new, but this time, it’s different.”
“Yeah it is.” Min sighed then scooted to the edge of the seat, brushing her hair back from her face.
“I’m sorry what were you asking?”
“Just where we were,” Sam showed her the map.
“Route 7–” Min pointed to the single black line on Sam’s map, and followed it all the way down to the Boars Nest.
“See this is the most basic way to get to the Boar’s Nest from anyplace in the county.”
“But you don’t seem to think this is the way your cousin and brother might have gone?”
Dean piped up from the driver’s seat as he peered at the girls from the rearview mirror.
“We’ve had run into them by now.” Daisy leaned forward, resting her crossed arms on the seat in front of her.
“Wait a minute Daisy, what about Thompkins Road?” Still staring at the map, Min’s eyes followed the single thin line on the map then pointed out a turn off that lay just up ahead.
“You know how Bo is about what he calls an obstacle course. Nothing would stretch the General’s legs better than a steep hill or two.”
“Thompkins Road?” Daisy shifted closer to Min and gazed at the map.
“They’ve taken it before; we might want to give it a try.”
“Okay so where is this?” Dean slowed down and carefully pulled the Impala over. The big engine rumbled as it went idle and he turned to glance over his shoulder at his passengers.
Daisy’s arm extended as she pointed out the windshield.
“Dean it’s just up ahead, it’s sort of hidden, but it should be right where those trees are.”
“It’s a good place for a speed trap.” Min added, then both brothers shifted their attention to her and she shrugged.
“The local law sort of makes a game out of it, especially where Bo and Luke are concerned.”
“Cops and Robbers?” Dean turned back around and dropped his car in gear, then stepped on the gas.
“Something like that.”
As the car started to roll, Sam began to fold his map up.
“Min, when we were in the bar you said with all that’s been going on lately. If you don’t mind me asking, what did you mean by that?”
Min leaned back in her seat and exhaled softly.
“Just a lot of strange things have been happening, that’s all I meant.”
Daisy scoffed. “Honey this is Hazzard, you know strange things happened here all the time.”
“And I meant what I said back in the bar, if something’s going on maybe we can help–”
Dean watched her from the rearview mirror; he could tell she had something just on the tip of her tongue to say. He saw the trees Daisy had pointed out, and the small road that the trees kept concealed. He slowed the big car down as he turned.
“You are helping.” Daisy reached down and gave Min’s hand a gentle squeeze.
“You’re helping us find our family.”
“And family is really all that matter.” Min returned the squeeze then turned to Daisy and tried to keep her thoughts positive.
“Yeah you’re right–” Dean agreed then his brow creased as the Impala went up a small hill, just as it came over the top a bright orange car came into view. Not only did the abandon car made him crease his brow, but the area they were in seemed to have overall creepy feel. He tipped his head to one side, his hunter instincts suddenly flaring.
His words got Sam’s attention and he too seemed puzzled.
“Looks like an abandoned car.”
“Oh my God…The General Lee!” Min’s heart began to race as she let go of Daisy’s hand and moved closer to the edge of her seat.
“Oh no–” Daisy whispered as she felt her heart fall into her shoes.
“That’s your cousin’s and brother’s car?” Sam asked, watching as both girls nodded.
Dean pulled up alongside the Charger.
“They might be on foot.”
“They’d never leave it like that without a good reason!” Daisy too peered into the interior, the fact her cousins had left behind their beloved car only frightened her more.
“A damn good reason.” Min went over every bit of the big car that she could see.
“I don’t think the tires are flat, maybe it won’t start.”
“Then why not just CB Cooter?” Moving around in her seat, Daisy stared out the back windshield. She leaned closer, her hands pressing to the warm glass.
“Look, the road curves. We should back up and see if they went down that way.”
Dean saw the genuine fear in the girls’ eyes, and then glanced at his brother.
“Sammy, maybe you better get–” Shutting off the big car, Dean offered the keys to his brother.
“Yeah,” Sam nodded, as he took the keys, then opened the passenger side door. He jogged around to the trunk and opened it.
Min watched Sam from the rear window. “What’s he doing?”
“Just getting a little something for protection…just in case.”
The lid to the trunk slammed down, the girls both saw Sam holding a silver pistol and a sawed off shotgun; he stuffed something in his pocket as he headed back for the passenger side door.
Daisy’s eyes widened a little. “Protection from what?”
Dean saw her expression in the rear view mirror and turned around to face her, his green eyes serious.
“You never know.” He waited till Sam got settled in, then put the gear in reverse then glanced over his shoulder again as he began to back the car up.
“I don’t like this.” He and his brother both glanced at one another and Sam nodded.
“Yeah, me either.”
The Impala now right beside the turn off, Dean dropped it back in drive and headed down the dirt road.
“But why go down that side road when they could easily just go down to Route 7 and head for the Boar’s Nest?” Min looked around, and then leaned back in her seat a little. A wave of fear washed over her as she slowly turned and looked back at the abandoned car. She saw a flash of her brother walking away from it and the rev of a distant engine. Watching, she saw Luke chasing after Bo, then frantically run after him and tackle her brother just as a black car nearly hit him.
She gasped as she suddenly reached out and grabbed Dean by his leather covered shoulder and squeezed it.
The action startled Dean and he whipped around to stare at Min as he hit the brake; everyone jostled forward as the Impala came to an abrupt stop.
“What is it?”
She started to open her mouth to speak when the light overhead slowly began to fade, as if the batteries of a flashlight had just given their last spark of power.
Sam slid across his seat till his side pressed into the door then tipped his head out of the open window. He saw the heavy cloud cover that suddenly blocked out the sun.
“What the hell?” He whispered as the wind stirred the dark hair covering his forehead. Straightening he moved back into his seat, and glanced over his shoulder at Min. The color had drained from her face; her frantic breathing visible.
Daisy put her hands on her cousin’s shoulders and drew her back a little.
“She does this sometimes; it means she’s seeing something.” She said to both brothers then leaned closer to her cousin’s ear.
“Min, what are you seeing?”
Both Sam and Dean now stared at the young woman, Sam particularly seemed riveted to her waiting for her to speak. He felt his own inner sense flare up and blinked as the image of a near hit and run and two young men, one blond and one brunette had nearly been run over.
Min’s spine suddenly straightened as she slowly turned her gaze towards Sam; the moment she caught the gaze of his bluish-green eyes and what they contained, her own widened.
“You see it too, don’t you?” She asked, her voice holding astonishment.
Dean’s brow creased as his gaze bounced from Sam to Min.
“A black car–” Both Sam and Min replied at the exact same time; Daisy gasped and squeezed Min’s shoulders.
“The black car?”
“What black car? What are you talking about?” Dean asked, still slightly confused and Daisy shook her head.
“Dean we’ll explain later, just get down that road as fast as you can!”
******* ******* *******
Silence made Luke open his eyes and raise his head. He looked around and saw nothing but the road. Moving slowly, he shifted and tucked his legs under him then carefully sat up. Still unsure as to where the car was he remained cautious, not about to invite another attack. Nothing but silence surrounded him, and feeling somewhat relieved at that, he ran his hand through his hair and rubbed the back of his neck. His shoulders slumped as he exhaled, then glanced to the side and saw Bo still lying face down in the ditch.
“Hey Bo?” He asked, and then his brow creased.
“Bo?” Luke repeated then reached down to pat the center of his cousin’s back. When he got no response, Luke’s hands moved to Bo’s shoulders and rolled him onto his side. A large blood smeared rock sat under Bo’s head; the blood leaked from the cut just above his left eye and formed a small pool in the dirt. Luke’s jaw clenched and a flush of anger darkened his face as he picked up the rock and threw it away from his cousin. They were in trouble and he knew it, they were alone and with the black car stalking their every move, the General Lee seemed miles away.
“We have to get out of here,” Luke said to himself as he looked around, when he didn’t see nor hear the black car he climbed out of the ditch. He tugged on Bo’s arm and rolled the unconscious man onto his back. He stood and walked around to Bo’s head then leaned down, tucked both hands under his cousin’s arms, and sat him up. Luke grasped one of Bo’s wrists and held it as he stepped around to face his cousin, then bent over and pulled him over one shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
Luke grunted as he stood up fully. “You need to cut down on those flapjacks at breakfast time, Cousin.”
Bo hung upside down over his cousin’s back, and Luke wrapped one arm around his legs to hold him in place.
“I don’t know where that car is, but we ain’t waiting around to find out–”
Turning his head to first view one half of the road, then the other, Luke stepped up and out of the ditch and began to walk at a fast pace back towards the bend in the road. All he wanted to do now was get back to the General, and get out of there before that car came back.
“So far so good…” Talking to himself again, Luke walked as fast as his legs could with the added weight of Bo’s limp form.
Gotta keep going, gotta keep moving, Lord knows when that car will be back…Luke recited to himself. His heart pounded hard in his chest, and he kept glancing over his shoulder at the empty road; the feeling of dread sat like a brick in the pit of his stomach and only seemed to grow with every step he took.
But who would be after us? Who could be doing this?
Because the attacks happened so fast, he couldn’t get a clear look at who drove the black car.
“Kind of hard to see the driver when all you’re getting is a close up view of the bumper.” He groused as he walked. The road began to curve around; the ground dropped slightly downhill and Luke adjusted Bo as he continued down it.
“Duke…” The whispered name froze Luke in his tracks. The wind began to stir and he closed his eyes feeling the knot in his stomach tighten. Clenching his jaw, a cold finger dragged up Luke’s backbone and his throat felt full of sand.
Don’t turn around Luke, whatever you do don’t turn around…He said to himself, his body began to tremble slightly as a rush of adrenaline seeped through his veins.
“I have to, we need help!” Luke replied out loud, and then slowly he glanced over his shoulder.
A pair of lights hit him right in the face, and he squinted against the blinding glare. Raising one hand to block it out, he saw the black car less than 10 feet away. The headlights shifted from high to low beams and for the first time, Luke could see who sat behind the wheel.
A milk-pale man in overalls grinned coldly at him, a dirt smudged black hat sat atop his head.
“Who are you?” Luke shouted as anger began to pump through his heart.
The smile began to fade, the hands on the steering wheel gripped it even harder as the gas got mashed to the floor, and the Fairlane lurched forward violently. The nose of the big Ford aimed directly at two Dukes, Luke quickly gazed from right to left, trying to figure out what to do. With no ditches in sight and only the woods surrounding them he saw little choice but to run; his muscled legs trying as best they could to outrace the charging vehicle.
You won’t make it Luke, head for the trees! His instincts screamed at him, and he changed directions in a hurry, heading for a group of tall pines. The car gave chase, the long chassis jostling as it went off the road and over the rocky ground.
Luke glanced over his shoulder as the Fairlane continued its pursuit and he shook his head.
“We’re dead…” He panted out; his next step hit an unstable patch of the forest floor and he tipped forward, landing belly down. Not only had the impact lost Luke his air, but his cousin as well. Bo tumbled like a rag doll off of Luke’s shoulder, ending up on his side near a fallen log.
Struggling to breathe, Luke rolled over, perched on one hip. He put his arm across his stomach trying to catch his breath. He saw the car heading for him and quickly began to back up. His hands gripping nothing but fallen leaves and twigs, he scampered backwards, groaning as his back thumped into the solid trunk of a tree.
His heart slamming hard into his rib cage, Luke’s face became encased in the twin lights that barreled down on him. With the tree against his spine, he had nowhere to go. Realizing his grim fate, his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed hard. He raised his chin in one last effort at defiance, prepared to meet his death head on.
With one last gaze into the blinding lights, he held his breath and prayed. The roar of the engine grew louder, nearly deafening, and Luke simply closed his eyes bracing himself for whatever fate had in store for him.
Just as the brightness of the headlights made Luke cringe and shut his eyes, a voice rang out in his head.
The tree! The tree behind you! Roll out of the way! His mind screamed at him.
Luke’s muscles obeyed his instincts; he rolled away ending up on his stomach, and covered his head, waiting to hear the loud crash of the front end of the pursuing Fairlane meeting the tree.
A sound made Luke start hard, his whole body jerking. He expected to smell antifreeze and hear the hiss of escaping steam; the inevitable result of the collision being a busted radiator.
Instead of the sound of the crunch of metal, a shotgun blast rang out and echoed through the woods.
“Bo! Luke!” A pair of feminine voices shouted, and suddenly a small hand touched his back. Luke lifted his head then turned to look over his shoulder, seeing the terrified face of his cousin Daisy.
“Daisy?” He asked, astonished.
“We’re here Sugar, are you all right?” She tugged him by the arm and helped him to his feet.
As both Dukes straightened, they saw Min crouched near her brother.
Luke opened his mouth to speak when he saw two men rushing over, a black car parked sideways right behind them.
“He’s bleeding?” One of them said as he squatted down, gently rolling Bo onto his back.
“Sam, you got him?” Dean asked; he held a silver pistol straight out in front of him, and glanced around from side to side. The woods appeared calm and quiet. He glanced up at the sky, the shadow over everything also seemed to vanquish at the same time the black car did.
“Yeah–” Sam sat the unconscious Bo up, tugged him up and over his shoulders, then stood. He saw Min’s face and gave her a reassuring smile.
“It’s okay, he’s going to be fine–”
Still confused, Luke turned his gaze to Daisy.
“You okay?” Dean tucked the pistol into the back of his shirt and covered it with his jacket. He saw Luke’s uncertainty and held out his hand.
“Hi, I’m Dean Winchester, and that’s my brother Sam–”
Luke finally seemed recovered enough to realize what was going on. He had no idea who these two men were, but he did know that they had saved both him and his cousin. He gripped the outstretched hand and gave it a firm shake.
“Good to meet you—Luke Duke–”
“We got here just in time, things were about to get ugly.”
Daisy nodded; she put her arm around Luke, and then leaned her head on his shoulder.
Luke half hugged his cousin, though his gaze stayed locked on Dean.
“What happened to the car?”
“Rock salt—it’s gone for now, but I think we best get out of here before it comes back–”
“Rock salt?” Luke shook his head, not understanding what that meant. He started to open his mouth to find out more information, but then closed it. Dean was right; they had to get out of there before that black car returned. Seeing Luke silently agree, Dean glanced over his shoulder at his brother. He watched as Sam took Bo to the Impala. Min opened the door and together, she and Sam laid the unconscious blond Duke down onto the backseat.
Closing the door, Sam and Min joined the other three.
“Luke–” Min hugged her cousin, relieved. “Are you okay? When we saw that car coming right at you…” Her words trailed off.
“I thought I was going to be planted with the spring crops too!” Luke hugged her back then kissed her dark hair. His racing heart had finally settled down, and the dread that surrounded him lifted.
Sam watched as the two cousins hugged, then parted. Min sighed audibly and wiped a trembling hand over her face. Her distress clear, he reached out and put a hand on her shoulder.
“Hey…it’s okay, it’s gone and your cousin and brother are safe–” Sam said in a gentle voice.
“I know, just that seeing that car…” Min shivered, and then hugged herself.
“That’s the same one I saw in the cornfield.”
“It is?” Luke swallowed hard again. “The guy driving have a black hat and overalls?”
Min’s dark eyes widened and her skin color drained from her face.
The two brothers exchanged glances.
“We need to get someplace and sort all this out–” Dean said and Sam cleared his throat.
“I think your brother’s going to be okay, but you might need to call a doctor.”
“Dr. Appleby–” Daisy answered, then smiled at both Sam and Dean.
“If you guys need a place to stay, you’re more than welcome to stay at the farm.”
“At the farm? Look, we don’t want to put you out–”
“Dean, it’s no trouble at all, it’s the least we can do. You saved Bo and Luke–” Min smiled and Daisy touched her arm.
“We Dukes always pay our debts. We have a guest room, and if you like good old fashioned home cooking.”
“Well, if you’re sure–”
“Right, we don’t want to impose–” Sam glanced at Min shook her head.
“You wouldn’t be Sam.”
“Sugar, we aren’t taking no for an answer!” Daisy took Dean by the arm.
“Come on, we’ll show you how to get to our farm.”
******* ******* *******
Min sat at the foot of her brother’s bed, her small hand clasped around his big one. She sighed as she watched him sleep. Doc Appleby had said that Bo had a concussion, and had bandaged the cut above her brother’s eye. His chest bare; the sheet and blanket were pulled up to his neck. With a heavy sigh, Min gazed at the other two people in the room, Sam and Dean sat on the edge of Luke’s bed.
“Come on Bo…open your eyes and talk to me–” She whispered, turning her attention back to her unconscious brother.
The two brothers had been introduced to the Duke patriarch; no one wanted to talk about what had happened on the road, the only thing on their mind was Bo waking up. Both of them watched the brunette woman and her brother; outside the small room, the sounds of kitchen activity could be heard as Luke, Daisy and Uncle Jesse got supper ready, though no one would eat till their family was complete again.
“He’ll wake up soon–” Sam said, his elbows rested on his knees and his hands were folded, a pensive expression on his face. Beside him Dean nodded.
“You want to tell us about that car?” Min slowly turned; her dark eyes locked on Dean’s face.
“While we wait?” He motioned to Bo. She rubbed her hand over her face slowly. Seeing her obviously troubled, Dean pressed on.
“Back in the car, you knew that about black one chasing your cousin and brother–” He then gazed briefly at Sam.
“You and Sam both knew–” His green eyes locked onto hers.
“You’re a psychic wonder, like he is?”
Closing her eyes briefly, she turned away.
Sam got up from the bed and moved to sit beside Min; he put a hand on her shoulder.
“It’s okay, you can trust us. All we want to do is help–” Sam spoke gently, not wanting to push her into talking.
Min reached up and gentle touched the large hand, giving it a squeeze.
“I don’t know much about that car.”
“But you had a vision of it, right?” Dean interjected. Sam glanced over his shoulder at Dean, his eyebrows going up. His expression silently told his brother to back off.
“Yes–” Min whispered.
“You don’t have to tell us about your gifts Min. Just tell us when you first saw that car.”
“We were getting pumpkins–” She started slowly, Sam nodded, his hand on her shoulder still.
“I was alone, and all of a sudden something…came to me. Someone was calling my name from the cornfield nearby. When I went to look I found a black car and this man sitting in it. He knew who I was and when he looked at me…” She shuddered.
“It was like I was looking at the devil.”
“Min?” A weary voice spoke her name; Min turned to see a pair of dark blue eyes gazing at her.
“Bo!” Her face lit up as she smiled.
“What’s—What’s going on?” Bo asked; he tried to sit up, his palms pressed into the bed.
“Hey now, take it easy. You’ve got a concussion.” Min gently moved him back onto the mattress.
“I’ll get him.” Sam stood up; he opened the door and left the room.
Bo watched Sam leave, then his gaze shifted back to his sister.
“Sam Winchester and his brother Dean–” She saw Bo looking past her shoulder to see the other person in the room. The two men meet eyes, and Dean nodded in silent acknowledgement.
“They helped us find you and Luke. What happened out on the road Bo?”
“Hey Cousin, how’re you feeling?”
The other Dukes came in, everyone relieved as they crowded around his twin bed. Sam also came in, once again sitting beside his brother.
Sitting up, Bo winced as his finger grazed the bandage on his head. He managed a smile, glad to see his cousin especially.
“Oh I’m all right; felt worse than this after a Grange Dance.”
Jesse reached out and gently touched Bo’s blond hair.
“You had us worried,” He said low; Bo’s smile faded as he leaned closer to his uncle and hugged him.
Someone cleared their throat behind them; all eyes turned to see Dean.
“I hate to interrupt, and don’t get me wrong, I’m glad both of you are okay, but the fact is something was after you both. We need to know what happened out there before it comes back.”
“We pulled over to fix the CB when he heard a car coming–” Luke began; he perched a hip on the edge of the bed beside Bo. The blond man listened as Luke spoke of what happened, he thought back to the road and the way it made him feel. Everyone in the room listened to the story the two Duke cousins relayed.
“I couldn’t help it; like someone was calling me.” Bo added. “Then next thing I know we was face down in a ditch and Luke told me a black car nearly killed me.”
“Then it came after us again and you all showed up.”
“Glad you’re okay Cousin,”Daisy smiled as she took stroked Bo’s hair, then leaned over and kissed his cheek.
All eyes then turned to the Winchester Brothers. Dean took the cue and stood up.
“You never saw it before?”
Bo shook his head, but Luke crossed his arms over his chest.
“It looked like a runner–” His light blue eyes then shifted to his uncle.
Jesse felt all their gazes on him. “It’s gone now, that’s all that matters. I best see to supper–”
Before any questions could be asked, the older man left the room.
******* ******* *******
“We have the guest room and the sofa folds out into a bed–” Daisy set a platter of fried chicken down onto the center of the table. Sam and Dean sat across from Bo, Min and Daisy, while Luke and Jesse sat at the two ends of the table. They all bowed their head as Jesse said grace, then began to pass around the food.
“I’ll take the sofa bed–” Sam said as he accepted a basket of biscuits from Jesse; he gave the older man a small smile as he took a couple then passed the basket to his brother.
“Guest room for me then–” Dean also got took two biscuits then handed the basket to Luke.
“Thank you–” Luke set it down then picked up a bowl of mashed potatoes.
“Where are you both from?” He gave the bowl to Bo, who served himself some potatoes, then got a napkin and tucked it into the front of his red t-shirt.
“Really?” Min piped up; she had the chicken and put two pieces on her plate.
“We really haven’t been there in a while.” Sam reached over and got the tongs getting some chicken for himself.
“Yeah we travel around a lot,” Dean added as he took got chicken. He hadn’t had a home cooked meal in a long time, and his plate quickly becoming covered with food made his green eyes grow bright.
“Taking care of–” Min started to say, but then stopped when her uncle turned his gaze to her. The look on his face made the words stop dead in her mouth.
“Ghosts?” Daisy finished Min’s sentence, then picked up her fork.
The two brothers exchanged glances. Silently asking his Dean if the question should be answered, he raised his eyebrows. Dean gave a single nod in reply.
“We hunt supernatural creatures–” Sam said the words plainly, and then looked around the table waiting for a reaction. The only ones that expressed any kind of surprise were Bo and Jesse.
“Like vampires, werewolves?” Bo grinned, amused, but the faces of Dean and Sam remained serious.
“Like ghost cars–” Dean answered this time.
The reply made the smile slide off of Bo’s face. He suddenly found his plate interesting and stirred his potatoes with his fork.
“Ghost cars?” Jesse asked, and then turned his gaze to the two young men sitting to his left.
“Yes sir, like the one that went after your nephews–” Dean met the gaze head on, he could tell from Jesse’s cynical expression he didn’t believe what had happened to Bo and Luke.
“It was a ghost car Uncle Jesse, Sam and Dean shot at it and it disappeared like smoke–”
“You believe us, don’t you Uncle Jesse?” Min asked as she gazed at her uncle.
“I believe what you think you saw, but things like that ain’t possible–” He replied, his voice gruff. His gaze swept everyone around the table; his eyes reflecting a genuine fear that suddenly made him age right before their eyes.
“The Dukes have no enemies, no reason at all for us to get one now.”
Dean’s eyebrows rose as he watched him. He saw the fear in the older man’s eyes and the blindness and denial that went right along with it.
“You really don’t believe that, do you?” Jesse glanced away, turning from Dean’s stare.
“The Dukes don’t have any enemies.” His reply made the two brothers gaze at each other. Sam cleared this throat, seeing if maybe he could coax Jesse into talking.
“Maybe not now, but what about from the past?”
“That car looked like a night runner Uncle Jesse, almost like Black Tilly–” Luke piped up.
“I need to go do some chores–” Jesse wiped his mouth with a napkin then stood up.
“But Uncle Jesse, you’ve hardly touched your dinner–” Daisy glanced at his plate.
“I aint hungry just now, I’ll get something later. You kids eat up–” He then towered over Sam and Dean.
“You all are welcome to stay as long as you need to.”
Before another word could be said, Jesse took his cap from the hook near the door and left the kitchen, the screen door slamming as he went outside.
******* ******* *******
?You think Jesse is hiding something?” Sam stood by the open trunk of the Impala; he got out the shotgun they had used and passed it to his brother.
“I think he knows exactly what’s going on–” Dean held the gun by the stock and barrel then bent it in the middle; the chamber opened and he pulled out the one spent cartridge and deposited it into the weapons case.
“You think we should try again to get him to talk?” Sam sat on the edge of the open trunk, folding his hands in his lap.
Dean sighed then plucked a fresh rock salt cartridge from a small box in the weapons case then reloaded the shotgun. He then gazed at his brother and shook his head.
“I’ve seen that look before, he’s not going to talk and we can’t make him.”
“Then what are we supposed to do Dean? The whole family’s in danger, you know whoever that is just isn’t going to give up.”
The uncertainty in Sam’s eyes made Dean straighten up; he set his jaw as he perched the shotgun on his shoulder, the double barrels pointing straight up into the slowly darkening sky.
“We’re here Sam. All we can do for now is keep an eye on the Dukes and try to keep them safe.”
“So we just sit and wait?” Sam stood up; he turned and dug out the box of rock salt shells, the second sawed off shotgun and deposited them in the floppy green bag. He then closed it and lifted it.
“We stick close to the Dukes and try to find out all we can about them.”
Exhaling audibly, Sam nodded as he set the big bag on his shoulder.
Dean then glanced at the small, brightly lit house. The backdoor opened and Min came out, she stepped down the porch and crossed her arms over her chest as she wandered out into the yard. A smirk pursed Dean’s lips as he gazed back at his brother.
“Well, here’s opportunity.”
“Opportunity?” Sam creased his brow.
“Yeah…I saw how you were looking at her back at the bar. Kill two birds with one stone here,” He took the bag off of Sam’s shoulder and put it on his own.
“Why don’t you start with Min? See what she might know.”
Sam glanced at Min briefly then gazed back at Dean. “And just what are you going to do?”
“You start from the outside, I’ll start with the inside,” Dean also grabbed their bags from the trunk.
Before Sam could say another word, Dean slammed down the trunk lid. He walked to the backdoor of the Duke farm and went inside.
“You need any help with those?” Bo asked; the three Dukes inside were cleaning up from dinner. They all turned when they saw Dean come in.
“Umm no I got it thanks Bo–” Dean set everything just inside the door and nonchalantly slid the loaded shotgun into the green bag. He straightened up and saw what they were doing. Daisy had the faucets on, the sink filling with soapy water. Bo and Luke were clearing off the table and putting away the uneaten food.
“How about I give you a hand instead?”
“You don’t have to,” Luke commented, and then smirked.
“We usually don’t make house guests work for their meals.”
Dean returned the grin. “It’s the least I can do. This is probably the first place Sammy and me stayed that wasn’t some cheap crappy motel, and I can’t remember the last time we ate food that wasn’t fast food or from some minimart off the highway.”
He took off his leather jacket and hung it over the back of a chair. He watched all three of them with a combination of fascination and envy.
Bo and Luke saw Dean then exchanged glances. Luke cocked an eyebrow at Bo, who grinned.
“You look like you want to help.”
“I uh… I do–” The words came out with a little hesitation, then Dean grinned sheepishly.
“Well then Sugar–” Daisy shut off the faucets, then grabbed a dishtowel and tossed it at him.
“I’ll wash and you dry.”
The soft dishrag landed on the shoulder of Dean’s gray t-shirt. He plucked it from there and smiled.
“You act like you’ve never done this before,” Luke picked up a plate and leaned over; he scrapped the chicken bones into the trash with a fork.
“We really didn’t have much of a home life–” Dean went to the sink.
“Our Mom died when Sam was a baby, we’ve been on the road ever since.”
“Oh I’m so sorry,” Daisy put her hand on Dean’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze; a small sympathetic smile crossed her features as the two locked eyes.
Sam watched as Min walked around the yard then wander to the edge of the property. He glanced back at the house then sighed as he followed her.
Min reached the dirt road; she sensed someone coming up to her and her spine straightened. She whipped around fast then sighed audibly in relief when she saw who it was.
“Hey, sorry I didn’t mean to scare you–” Sam put his hands up briefly, and then let them hang to his sides.
“It’s not your fault,” Min walked back into the yard then over to a few bags of feed covered with a tarp that sat beside the barn. She sat down on the blue tarp covered pile, and then once again focused her attention on the road. Sam watched her, and then casually joined her.
“You look like you’re expecting something.”
“Guess in some ways I am,” She smoothed some hair back and tucked a few dark strands behind her ear.
“Ever since all this started, I feel like there are eyes everywhere, like I’m constantly being watched. This terrible feeling of dread is over everything like a veil.”
Nodding, Sam folded his hands in his lap. “Yeah, I felt it too when we first came here.”
“Something’s here now Sam, something’s that’s never been here before. I know that with Halloween coming up, sometimes things automatically seem spooky, but not like this.”
As the night began to settle in, the sky went from navy blue to the first traces of black. The moon now began to grow bright as it rose high in the sky like a pearl. The wind began to pick up; it blew back the long ends of Min’s hair. She crossed her arms again over her chest and shivered. She then gazed at Sam beside her. The barn light cast a silver glow above them, lighting up the handsome features of his face: the chiseled jawline, mouth and especially, his bluish green eyes that held a quiet look of sympathy and understanding, but also a sense of wisdom beyond his age. Suddenly realizing her staring, Min cleared her throat.
“What is it?” Sam noticed her gawking; he got a good look at her too, her large, dark expressive eyes, button nose, full lips and smile. He felt his heart speed up as he gazed into her face.
“I, I just wanted to say thank you Sam.” Min reached down between them and placed her small hand over his.
“You and Dean saved Bo and Luke, that car probably would have killed them both.”
Sam started a little at her touch; there seemed to be a hint of electricity in the air around her that he felt when their hands came in contact.
“We do what we can to help.”
Min nodded, and then hung her head. Her small shoulders visibly slumped, and Sam heard the soft sound of her sniffling.
“Min?” He asked as he took her hand, then reached out and carefully cupped her chin. He lifted her face, his eyebrows going up at the wet tracks down her cheeks.
“I’m scared Sam,” She whispered as more tears pooled in her eyes.
“Who is doing this and what does he want? It’s like I’m cursed,” Her voice slightly muffled.
The sight of her crying made his expression soften with sympathy. He knew all too well what it was like to be scared of the unknown: the creatures that called the dark their home, the evil that he sometimes felt seemed to encompass all aspects of his life.
“It’s going to be okay Min–” His voice low.
“I know what it’s like to be scared. I know what’s out there, things that come from nightmares, demons, vampires and—”
“Angry spirits that come back to take their revenge.” Min completed Sam’s thoughts.
Sam started, then pulled back to look down at Min. She had plucked the words from his mind as if they were grapes. Sam remembered how they had both said something at the same time back I the Impala. He stared at her in amazement; gazing into her dark brown eyes, he saw how strong her abilities really were, a hint of power and a sense of fear
“You’ve also dealt with freaks like me before.”
The statement made Sam’s mouth tighten and his light eyes flash in anger.
“You’re not a freak!” He said vehemently, his large hands gripping both of her shoulders.
“Yes I am Sam, I know I am! The things I can do! I–” She shook her head.
“I feel like I’m nothing but a burden to my family, like I should just leave them for their own good!” She looked at him, her brown eyes bright, the tears rolling freely down her face and dripping from her cheeks.
“I didn’t ask for any of this, it’s like I’m being punished. I just want a normal life!”
He tugged Min into his arms, her face pressed into his dark blue t-shirt, visible through the open ends of his tan jacket.
“Shh, it’s all right, I know how you feel,” Sam whispered, he squeezed his eyes shut as he felt his own emotions threaten. He took in a deep breath and rubbed her back gently.
“I’ve felt alone sometimes too, I’ve even tried to run away thinking Dean would be better off,” He sighed.
“But it didn’t work Min; you can’t run away from who you are.”
Min nodded; her tears tapered off; her eyes remained closed as she leaned into the embrace. Despite the fact they hardly knew each other, Min felt comforted; the arms that held her where powerful, lined with corded muscle beneath his t-shirt, the torso she pressed into also trim and solid. The steady beat of Sam’s heart thudded against her cheek, its cadence also a comfort. Min could get a feel for Sam beyond flesh and bone; she saw into his heart and soul, getting small flashes of his life: the death of his mother and girlfriend stood out prominently.
“We’re a lot alike Sam.”
Their common bond of tragedy and loss, the abilities that neither of them had asked for, and the day to day struggle of feeling like an outsider; Min understood Sam probably better than anyone else. Her arms came up, hesitated a moment before they slipped around Sam’s lanky frame.
She felt him stiffen suddenly, the body becoming rigid like a wood board.
“I’m sorry, it’s just been so long since…”
“You were held like this.” This time Sam finished Min’s sentence; the two of them on the same wavelength.
“Yeah,” She started to let go when Sam’s arms tightened around her and he relaxed.
“Don’t,” He whispered. “Don’t pull away.”
“Don’t want to,” Min said, her hands flexed a moment before they moved up along the material of his shirt.
Sam nodded, his chin pressed into the top of Min’s head; he leaned back, his forehead then touched Min’s as she raised her head. Their faces were close enough to breathe in each other’s air; their lips close enough to touch.
“Been a long time for me too, not since–”
They both closed their eyes, the mouths a mere fraction from touching.
“Oh that’s awesome!” A familiar voice rang out, followed by running footsteps.
“Hey Sam, you’ve got to check this…” Dean came running up, his words stopped when he saw his brother and Min.
“Ooops!” He looked sheepish, then turned away.
Sam and Min both wrenched apart, Min smoothed her hair back then crossed her arms over her chest. Sam cleared his throat and rubbed his hands along his thighs.
“I better go help Daisy with the pie.” Despite how little light there was, the blush on her face could be seen. She stood up then ducked past Dean with a sheepish expression before going into the backdoor of the kitchen.
Dean raised his hand and rubbed the back of his head. He glanced over his shoulder briefly at the sound of the screen door closing then once again to his brother.
“Sorry man, I didn’t know you two were about to–”
“What was it you wanted me to see?” Sam stood up fast, his hands in his pockets. His rapid change in subject made his older brother grin knowingly.
“This sweet Charger!” Dean hooked his thumb over his shoulder. “You should see the engine in this thing.”
“Yeah, okay.” Sam walked with his brother around to the front of the house. As they passed the house, he glanced at it seeing the shadows from inside, and wondered to himself which one belonged to Min.
******* ******* *******
Daisy bent over the oven and opened the door; she picked up two blue oven mitt squares and tugged out the wire rack that contained two browning pies.
“Giving Sam the tour of the farm?” She asked as she watched Min came in from outside.
“Not exactly, we were just talking,” She rubbed her arms suddenly chilled, then sighed at the warmth from the oven as she got closer to it and the smell of the warming pies filling the kitchen.
“You see Uncle Jesse out there?” Judging that the pies were ready, Daisy carefully lifted each one and set them on the counter.
“No, and we were right near the barn.”
“Mm hmmm,” Daisy said with a grin as she set the oven mitts down and got a large knife from the drain board.
Min could sense her grin. “Daisy, nothing happened.”
Going over to the wood and glass cabinet, Min got out a stack of small plates.
“He’s awfully cute though, and he’s the first guy you’ve been interested in since–”
“Daisy,” Min stopped her before she could finish her sentence, and then got a spatula out of the silverware drawer.
Her cousin glanced at her. “I know nothing happened, but you have to admit Sam seems nice and you haven’t been interested in anyone in a long time.”
“What makes you think I’m interested?”
A smirk tugged back the corners of Daisy’s mouth. “Your blushing face.”
She finished slicing up both pies, then went to the fridge and opened it, getting out a pitcher of milk. Min tried to ignore the warmth of the blood rushing back into her cheeks; she got the spatula and began dishing out the pie slices.
“Want to talk about it?” Daisy set the pitcher onto the table.
Before Min could answer, the backdoor opening got both of the girls’ attention. Looking up, they saw their uncle come inside and hang his hat back up.
“Uncle Jesse?” Daisy replied, the look on her uncle’s face made her stomach grow tight.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine Daisy, just seeing to Maudine.” He wouldn’t look at either of his nieces, though he felt their stares bore into the back of his head as he got a mug from the drain board and poured himself a cup of coffee.
“We were just cutting up the pies, you want a slice?” Min took him a plate. The two locked eyes, and a pang of worry settled around her heart. She gently touched his arm.
“Uncle Jesse, what is it?” She whispered, seeing his almost haunted gaze.
“I’m all right Min,” He gripped the plate she offered, then brushed passed her and got a fork from the drain board.
“See to our guests, I’m heading to bed,” He walked out of the kitchen and into the living room.
Daisy and Min both exchanged glances, and then followed their uncle.
“But Uncle Jesse,” Daisy started to say, then stopped when Jesse took a book from the shelf. He tucked it under his arm then went into his room and closed the door.
Min stood next to her cousin. “What was that?”
Recognizing the book immediately, Daisy turned to see Min’s curious gaze.
“That was the Duke family Bible.”
Creasing her brow, Min glanced at the closed door to her uncle’s room and sighed.
“Why would he want that?”
“That book contains all the births and deaths that has ever happened in the Duke family.”
Daisy crossed her arms over her chest and rubbed them.
“Maybe he just wants to read it.”
“Or maybe he needs to read it.” Daisy whispered as she reached out to pat Min’s arm, then both girls went back into the kitchen.
******* ******* *******
“Whoo listen to that baby purr!” Dean grinned; he and Sam watched as Bo revved up the engine of the General Lee. The blond man grinned proudly at the sound the powerful engine made. On one side of the open hood, Luke too looked pleased, his arms crossed over his chest.
“We just had Cooter tune her up, he did a great job.”
“Your mechanic?” Sam asked, he moved away from Dean then placed both hands on the edge of the hood then peered into it. The four boys all stood under the big tree in the Dukes’ front yard. The huge old oak tree stood a few yards to the left of the front porch. A single bulb work light hung from the top of the open hood, the chrome of the big engine shining from the pale glow.
Bo shut off the engine; he reached up to grip the edge of the roof and slid partially out of the car. He sat on the edge of the window.
“He’s the best grease monkey in Hazzard.”
Luke scoffed at this and shook his head. “Nah Bo, Cooter’s the best grease monkey in the state.”
“Yeah, you’re right about that cousin.”
Glancing over towards the front of the house, Bo saw the big black Impala.
“What about your car?” He directed his question at Dean.
“I just rebuilt her.”
“Car wreck?” Luke turned to see the car.
“Semi.” Sam stepped back.
Both Bo and Luke winced, their faces scrunching up in pain as if they got pinched.
“You two are lucky you came out of that unscathed!” Luke replied and Bo nodded in agreement.
“Heck yeah! Where did it hit?” Bo climbed out fully from the General Lee.
The four men walked over to the Impala. Dean opened the driver side door and leaned over. He tugged on the hood release.
“The front passenger side,” Sam pointed out.
Bo and Luke went over to the side in question. The front porch lights now providing the only light, made the black paint and silver chrome shine.
“Will you look at that?” Bo said as he crouched down; he ran his hand along the passenger side door. The black paint smooth and cool under his touch; the feel of it made him grin.
“You can’t even tell! Luke look at this!” He said over his shoulder to his cousin.
Luke crouched down next to his cousin; he too ran his hand along the door and along the side of the Impala.
“A good job.” He said as he nodded.
“Here, take a look at this!” Dean went to the front of the car and opened the hood.
Both Dukes stood up and joined Dean.
Bo whistled, then grinned. “You put some serious work into this engine, didn’t ya?”
“Absolutely…this baby and me go way back. Rode in it as a kid with Dad, and now Sammy and me ride in it.”
Sam heard the backdoor slam and turned towards it. He walked away from the others and around the rear of the house. Peering through the screen door and the window in the wooden door, he saw the two girls alone, his senses flaring. A silent signal inside of him whispered that they were distressed; Sam’s stomach twisted in a knot.
“Something wrong?” Bo suddenly behind him made Sam start, then whip around. His face reflecting relief seeing it was Bo. He watched Sam curiously, his thumbs tucked into his belt loops.
“Hey…I think so,”
Stepping closer to the screen door, Bo too saw the girls. The look on Min’s face especially made him nod.
“Yeah…we can mess around with the cars later.” He glanced back at the Luke and Dean.
“Looks like the girls cut up them pies, what do you say we go in and have some?”
“Pie?” Dean asked as he slammed the hood down, then brushed off his hands.
“Yeah, apple pie.” Luke answered him as the two men walked.
“Homemade pie? Fresh pie? Not some square piece of crap from a fast food joint?” Dean’s green eyes were glistening, a silly grin lit up his features.
Sam’s brow creased as he saw his brother’s expression and patted his back.
“There’s a paper bag in the trunk if you need to breathe in it Dean.”
Bo and Luke both chuckled at that; Dean narrowed his eyes at his younger brother.
“Yeah well just for that you can sleep on the fold out sofa bed, I’m taking the guest room.”
“A bed is a bed Dean.”
“A private room all to myself… Sweet!” He grinned.
“I already said I’d take it.” Sam reminded his brother, then smirked as he watched the triumphant grin on Dean’s face deflate like a balloon.
Luke shook his head. “I know how you feel Dean, aint easy having a roommate, especially this one!” He hooked his thumb towards Bo.
“Hey! Wait a minute now Luke, you aint the easiest to live with either!” Bo’s hands were on his hips as he gazed at his cousin. The two Dukes stared each other down, then finally Luke grinned and grabbed Bo around the neck in a headlock and rubbed his knuckles across his blond head.
“Luke!!” Bo laughed as he poked at his cousin’s side and back.
Both Sam and Dean started laughing.
“Hey maybe I should try that on you!” Dean gave his brother a light shove, smiling.
The backdoor suddenly opened; Daisy poked her head out and looked around the open door.
She saw Bo and Luke, and then her gaze shifted to Sam and Dean.
“They were trying to decide who got the biggest piece, but then I volunteered to eat their pie for them.” Dean grinned; Daisy returned it and shook her head.
“Oh, I’m sure you did.”
“You did not, Dean!” Bo said, panting lightly as Daisy’s appearance brought their tussling to an abrupt halt. Luke let his cousin go.
“Yeah! You aren’t taking my pie!”
Stepping back, the four men came in. Their smiles and laughter stopped when they felt the air in the kitchen. Sam and Bo gazed at each other, their suspicions now confirmed.
“What happened?” Luke said first; his hand went to the back of his neck and rubbed it.
Min took two plates and placed them on the table.
“Uncle Jesse went right to bed.”
“We gave him a piece of pie and he took it along with some coffee.” Daisy went to the silverware drawer and counted out six forks.
“And the family Bible.” Min added.
That made both Bo and Luke straighten up, they slowly turned and looked at each other.
“Luke, he never takes that book with him, unless–”
“He’s looking for something.” Luke finished his cousin’s sentence.
Dean looked around at the face of every Duke.
“What’s in that Bible?”
Sam put his hands on the back of a green chair.
“Most families put all their information in Bibles like births, deaths, marriages.”
Luke ran his hand over his face. “Yeah, that’s what’s in ours too.”
“That aint all Luke.” Bo pulled out a side chair then sat down. He glanced up at the other people still standing all around him.
“What else is in there Bo?”
“Why don’t we talk about it? Try and figure out whose car that is.” Dean also gripped a green chair and slid it back along the linoleum floor.
“I think that’s a good idea. Maybe we can figure out what your uncle might already know.” Sam added as he too sat down.
******* ******* *******
“I never knew there were articles in that Bible.” Min picked up the silver coffee pot and poured herself a cup, then held up the pot. When a few cups raised, she stood and began refilling the mugs.
“Thank you.” Dean replied as Min gave him more coffee. He took a sip of it, and then glanced up at Bo who sat across from him.
“And you’re sure of what you saw?”
“Yeah,” Bo gave his sister a smile as she refilled his cup then met Dean’s gaze.
“Last month, the shelf in the living room broke. I was helping Uncle Jesse empty it so we could fix it. When I went to get the Bible it fell and a few news clippings came out of it. I picked up one and he about snatched it out of my hands.”
“He’s always been very protective of the family Bible.” Daisy answered, she took the small pitcher of cream and added a little of it to her coffee, then stirred it with a spoon.
“And where was I?” Luke asked, he leaned back in his chair then his eyebrow rose as he looked at his cousin.
“You and Daisy were in Atlanta, and Min was at work.”
“Yeah, I had to work that shift alone, I remember that day.” Min set the coffee pot down and began to clear up the now empty pie plates.
“Here Min, let me help with that.” Sam rose to his feet and picked up Dean’s plate. He walked around the side of the table and took Luke’s plate.
“Bo, you said there were articles, do you remember what they were about?”
Bo rested his elbows on the table, his hands folded in front of his mouth. He thought back to that day and the old and yellowed newspaper clipping he had held.
“There was this smashed up car and it said something about…”
Watching her brother struggle to remember, Min reached out and touched his arm.
“What about a year? A name?”
“What’d the car look like?” Luke added in.
“Was it here in Hazzard?” Daisy also spoke up. Now all eyes were glued to the blond Duke trying to remember what he had briefly read.
“Look over towards the shelf Bo, remember the articles all over the floor.” Sam motioned into the living room. Bo turned to glance at the shelf, then his gaze went to the braided multicolored round rug directly under it.
“Anything that will give us a clue, Bo.” Dean said gently.
The silence in the room almost palatable, Bo continued to stare at the rug. His memory took him back to that day and the sudden panicked look in Jesse Duke’s eyes as he took the article from him.
“Deadly wreck on Route 3 claims one.”
“That aint nothing that concerns you Bo.”
“Deadly wreck on Route 3 killed one.” Bo repeated what he had read, just as he had that day.
Dean and Sam both watched as the other Dukes all looked at each other, uncertainty painted on all of their faces. The two brothers exchanged glances then Sam cleared this throat.
“That mean anything to any of you?”
Daisy and Min both shook their heads, but then Dean’s gaze rested on Luke.
“What about you Luke?”
Bo had come out of his trip down Memory Lane. He took saw the look on Luke’s face.
“You know Route 3?”
“I do, but you’re probably too young to remember.”
The confusion remained on Bo’s face and Luke sighed.
“Back when everybody ran shine, Route 3 was one of the back roads used as a short cut.” He reached out and began to rotate his coffee mug in a slow circle.
“Pretty rough country up there; I used to hear the other runners talk about it, so I asked Uncle Jesse about it one day. He said if you don’t know what you were doing your runner could take a heck of a beating.”
“Our Uncle Jesse said that? Luke, he once dropped a barn on an ATF agent!” Bo snorted and shook his head.
“Luke, how come I never heard of Route 3 after I started running shine?”
“Uncle Jesse stopped using it long before you and I started running. Uncle Jesse said it was just too hard on the runners. That and there was something else.”
“What Luke?” Bo asked.
“I don’t know if this has anything to do with that article or not but, Route 3 has another name.”
“Maybe your uncle had other reasons for keeping you from going up there.” Dean suggested; the seriousness of his tone made the smirk slide right off of Bo’s face.
“You mean if someone died up there?”
“Could be that’s how it got its name Luke. Could be that’s why he stopped using Route 3, and made up a reason to tell you other than the truth.” Sam said and his words made Luke frown.
“He’d never lie to us, Sam.”
“But he would try and protect us Luke.” Min’s head turned in the direction of her uncle’s bedroom and she sighed.
“He’d do anything to keep us from harm.”
“Min’s right Luke.” Daisy put her hand on her cousin’s arm and gave it a squeeze.
“Yeah I know Daisy.” Luke gave her hand a pat then his attention shifted to the two brothers.
“First thing in the morning maybe we can check out the newspaper office both here and in Capitol City, they keep papers there from all over the state.”
“Good idea, or maybe we can split up and each cover an office.”
“Me and Bo and you and Dean.” Luke said to Sam.
Daisy crossed her arms over her chest and scowled.
“What about me and Min? We’re going to come too and I aint taking no for an answer.”
Luke started to open his mouth when Daisy peered at him. The look in her eyes made him close his mouth. He knew full well that no one could argue with Daisy once her mind had been made up, and Min was just as stubborn.
The fire in Daisy’s statement made Dean smile. Sam saw it and nudged him with his elbow. Dean snapped out of his stupor and scowled at Sam’s grin.
“Right, good idea.”
“Glad you see things my way Sugar.” Daisy laughed as she patted Luke on the arm again.
“Like I had a choice!” Luke countered, but then laughed.
“Sure you do Luke, and the choice is, that you aint got one!” Min flashed her best smile. Both Bo and Luke rolled their eyes at that.
“Duke charm don’t work on other Dukes Min.” Bo said; he picked up a napkin and wadded it up then tossed it at his sister.
“Oh fine I’ll remember that Bo the next time you try in on me or Daisy!” Min caught the paper ball and threw it back at Bo. He ducked as it sailed over his head.
“How can you miss a head that big!”
“Me? A big head?” Bo reached out and put his arm around Luke’s neck in a headlock.
“Look who’s talking!” He rubbed his knuckles on top the dark head.
“Bo! Cut it out!” Luke tried to pry his cousin’s arm away from his neck, but his laughing made his efforts be in vain.
“Who you going to put your money on Daisy?” Min winked at her cousin.
“I’m not sure Min, how about both?”
The girls started laughing as the rough housing continued. Bo had managed to drag Luke out of his chair, and the two men moved to the living room. The girls, Sam and Dean got up to follow and were watching.
A bright light suddenly came pouring in through every window in the house. The beams cut through everything, literally turning night into day. The glare stopped everything as if it had been cut off with a big switch.
Bo and Luke froze where they were, both men turned towards the front door.
“What the heck is that?” Bo asked, he took his arm from around Luke’s neck as both men straightened up.
Sam and Dean both moved to the nearest window. Sam brushed back the lacy curtain and squinted.
“Too bright to see anything.”
“I’m going to open the door.” Dean reached out and wrapped his hand around the knob.
Min and Daisy both went over to Bo and Luke.
“Dean…don’t.” Min shook her head on her cousin as she took Bo by the arm.
As Dean opened the door, the sound of a powerful engine revving up came blasting through the small farmhouse. The force of it rattled the windows and the girls gasped at its intensity.
Daisy put her arm around Luke and leaned into him.
“Where is it coming from?”
“I don’t know, but that’s what it was like out on the road when that black car was after us.”
Opening the door now all the way, Dean and Sam stepped out onto the porch. They both raised their hands to shield their eyes.
“I don’t see any car, do you Sam?”
“No, I don’t.”
“To be that loud, the car would have to almost drive through the house.”
The engine revved again, this time shaking the house itself. The dishes and glasses in the cabinets rattled, the chairs around the dining room table fell over, a few books from the living room bookshelf fell out of it and landed on the floor.
Dean went back inside and over by the kitchen back door. He grabbed the green weapons bag and brought it into the living room, setting it on the floor with a thump.
“Sam,” He picked up one of the sawed off shotguns and tossed it to his brother.
Sam caught it easily and checked to see if it was loaded, then closed it. Now both brothers armed, they moved through the door. The instant both men stepped down onto the wooden porch, the light and noise were both gone.
“What the–” Dean gazed out into the night.
“Gone in an instant.” Sam shook his head.
“Just wanted us to know its still around.” Turning to look at his younger brother, Dean put the shotgun up onto his shoulder.
“I think we better take turns keeping an eye on things.”
“Right,” Sam nodded. “I’ll take the first shift.”
“Okay, I’ll get a few hours sack time then take over.”
Luke had his arm around Daisy then looked at Bo, who had his arm around Min.
“I don’t remember that out on the road Luke.” He reached up and winced as his fingers brushed the small bandage that sat above his eye.
“Well I do, Bo.” Luke’s jaw clenched.
“That car nearly killed us both.”
Min trembled as she leaned her head against Bo’s chest.
“Who is he? What does he want?”
“I wish I knew Min, but we’re going to find out.” Bo told her gently. Then the four Dukes moved to the open door, curious as to what the two brothers were doing.
Dean and Sam walked the length of the porch, then down the steps and out into the yard. The night air had become as cold as ice, and the white vapor of their warm breath visible. The darkness also took on a life of its own; the shadows seemed darker, and took on a sense of hostility.
Both men stood by the huge oak tree in the yard. Dean looked up at the aging tree; the twisted limbs stretched out like arms. Sam gripped the shotgun tighter in his hand. He could sense something in the air.
“Yeah Sam, I feel it too. Let’s check the road.”
Nodding, Sam leveled the shotgun as he followed his brother. Dean kept his rifle straight out, gazing down the length of the altered barrel. He swept from right to left from the front as Sam swept the right and left from behind; walking slowly and cautiously along the road, the pair of brothers covered each other’s backs as they moved from the house to the barn and back again.
“They’re brave; I wouldn’t go near that road right now if you paid me!” Daisy replied; Min nodded, she too could feel something all round the farmhouse.
“Feels like we’re being watched.”
Bo had his eyes locked on the pair of brothers, then looked at his eldest cousin.
“Shouldn’t we be helping out Luke?”
At Bo’s words, a realization hit Luke and he stiffened. Though he appreciated the help of the Winchester brothers, the Dukes weren’t ones to back down from a fight, especially a frontal assault on their own property. The Duke family pride winning out Luke gave a nod, a look of determination in his cool blue eyes.
“Yeah Bo, we should.” Gently easing away from Daisy, Luke stepped aside and disappeared into the kitchen. He came back with a pair of flashlights, and tossed one to Bo then motioned for his kin to follow him.
“Think us being out here is stopping it from showing itself?” Sam and Dean were crouched down, both of them seeing the marks in the dirt road.
“Maybe or maybe not. We’re not the ones its after.” Dean replied as he ran his fingers along the tire tracks that were made by the two muscle cars.
“Could be its trying to lure the Dukes out.”
The appearance of two shadows suddenly made both men rise to their feet in an instant. Sam and Dean both raised their rifles, then instantly turned their rifles away when they recognized who it was.
“Whoa! Just us!” Luke said as he raised his hands briefly then lowered them. Bo too briefly put his hands up and grinned his most charming grin.
“Right, just us fellows, n-no need to shoot!”
“Well that’s one way to get a blast of rock salt.” Dean sighed as he lowered his gun.
“Find anything?” Luke crouched down. He turned on the flashlight and shined it on the ground, the gravel and dirt that marked the start of the road about a foot from where he and Bo stood.
“Not really, whatever that was is gone now.” Sam gripped his rifle by its stock, pointing the barrel downward.
“After all that, y’all didn’t find one thing? Come on, there has to be something.”
Closing the distance between the two men and the road, Bo took two steps. The instant his boot-clad instep touched gravel, the light and horrible rumbling returned. The two Winchesters whipped around. The wind started to blow and combined with the cold, the icy gusts through everyone chilling them to their bones.
“What the frig…?” Dean replied; the dual headlights started from the section of the road closest to the barn. Sam too seemed surprised, his eyes widening.
“We were just over there! What brought it back?” He shouted over the increasing growl of the engine, and the howl of the wind.
“I don’t know!” Dean called out, the noise near deafening.
“Oh God!” Min gasped then took Daisy by the hand, both women ran down the porch to the yard. They ran to the road, the minute Min’s feet touched the road; the lights began to move towards the house.
“Dean! It’s coming!” Sam shouted as he ran back to where his brother stood. Both men raised their rifles, ready to deliver four barrels of rock salt at the oncoming vehicle.
Sam and Dean were side by side; their stance shifting as they took aim. From the sidelines, the four Dukes watched. Their frames rigid and trembling, not believing what they were seeing. The pair of brothers facing down what looked like an impossible scenario: the two bright beams from the black Fairlane hitting them both like spotlights.
“Get ready Sammy!” Dean shouted; his gaze blank.
“Ready Dean!” Sam answered; he too bore a serious expression.
Both men had aimed their rifles at the nose of the approaching vehicle.
“Shoot in 5…4…”
Daisy right beside Luke, she had her hand around his arm. They stood closest to the front of the house.
“God Luke, what if this doesn’t work this time? What if–”
“Don’t think like that Daisy! It’s gotta work!” Luke said, he too rattled by both the cold and this menacing car that seemed to be stalking his family.
The black runner now less than 15 feet from the Winchesters, the front door banged open so hard it hit the wall beside the door.
“You kids get away from there!”
Jesse Duke yelled then descended the stairs fast. He brushed past Daisy and Luke, nearly toppling them; he grabbed Bo and Min by the arms and dragged them off of the road.
“3…2…1!” Dean called off the numbers. When he got to the last digit, both rifles went off in a white, dusty burst.
The black runner disappeared right before the front end received its cloud of salt. The chunks of salt rained down onto the ground.
When the car vanished, both Sam and Dean glanced at one another then whipped around to see Jesse with a hold on Bo and Min.
Two sets of eyes first went to the road then up to Jesse with his niece and nephew. When it occurred to the brothers were Min and Bo had stood, realization hit them both. Once again they slowly exchanged looks.
“Dean–” Sam started to say, and Dean nodded.
“Yeah,” He tucked his shotgun under his arm.
Regrouping, Sam and Dean joined the circle of Dukes, all eyes transfixed on the patriarch of the family.
“Uncle Jesse–” Daisy started to say softly, but Luke’s touch on her arm, and his gaze made her stop. Luke shifted his attention to Sam and Dean. Silent communication between he and them loud and clear, the pair of brothers nodded.
Sam cleared his throat.
“No one’s judging you Mr. Duke; we just need to tell us what you know.” He then gave Dean and sidelong glance, wanting his brother to agree and spare Jesse anymore guilt. Dean’s green eyes were sharp, but he gave a nod.
“Sam’s right, we just need the truth.”
Min and Bo were on either side of their uncle. He still had one of their arms in each hand and gave them both a squeeze.
Jesse felt the weight of their stares. His gaze tore from the Winchesters, then he met the eyes of his nieces and nephews. Bo and Min looked particularly perplexed; their confusion made the older man lower his head, his guilt palatable.
“I think we best go back in the house.”
******* ******* *******
The Dukes plus both Winchesters went back inside the farmhouse. No one both spoke. No one smiled. The questions they all had hovered in the air, and the one that had the answers seemed reluctant to talk. Jesse pulled his watch out of the front pocket of his light blue overalls to check the time.
“I’m going to change; I’m freezing.” Min whispered, rubbing her arms as she crossed the floor to the bedroom she and Daisy shared.
“Me too Min.” Daisy followed, the door closing behind them.
Daisy and Min sat in the center of the Dukes long white couch with the green vines, the both of them huddled together.
“Just can’t get warm,” Min said quietly.
“Me either, feels like my bones are ice.” Daisy wrapped the blanket tighter around herself.
“I saw his face and it feels like he can still see me.”
“That’s how I’ve felt since the cornfield.” Min agreed as she too bundled herself up.
“Maybe something warm will help. I know I could use something hot.” Luke mumbled as he went to the kitchen.
Bo nodded in agreement.
“Coffee sounds good about now.” He gazed at Sam, Dean, and Jesse a moment then left to get his coffee.
Dean watched the girls literally shiver and pointed to the fireplace.
“If you don’t mind sir, I think this place could use some heating up.”
Jesse saw where Dean motioned to and gave a nod.
“Go on, I think it’s going to be a long night.” He closed his watch, and then put it back in its pocket where he kept it. His red chair sat right beside the fireplace; Jesse sat down in it and folded his hands over his stomach.
Sam slipped off his tan jacket.
“I’m going to help Bo and Luke.” He hooked his thumb over his shoulder, and went into the kitchen. Both Duke cousins stood around the white stove. Sam saw their bags by the door, and draped his jacket over them.
“Hey…can I help you with that? I think everyone is going to want something to drink.”
Luke glanced over his shoulder at Sam.
“Tray’s on top of the fridge.”
“Right.” Sam retrieved it and brought it to the edge of the dining table. Bo took mugs from the drain board and began setting them in it.
“Hope everyone’s okay with coffee.” He said low.
Seeing the obvious distress in both cousins, Sam sighed as he pushed up the long sleeves on his black t-shirt.
“It’s going to be okay, you know that, right?”
With silence as the answer given from both cousins, Sam glanced back at the living room briefly.
“Me and Dean have been dealing with stuff like this our whole lives. We’re not going to let any of you get hurt.”
The sincere words made Bo close his eyes briefly as he looked up from the tray.
“Just never dealt with anything like this Sam, we Dukes have had our share of enemies, but–”
“They always met us up face to face, and they sure as heck didn’t play games.”
Luke finished the sentence, then carefully took the big silver coffeepot from the burner and began filling coffee cups.
“Most ghosts have reasons for why they do things, Luke.” Sam answered. He waited for Luke to finish pouring and picked up the tray.
Bo opened the fridge and took out a small pitcher of cream and set it on the tray, along with a small tan lidded bowl full of sugar cubes, and a few spoons.
“What’s it want then?”
“Only one person can answer that.” Grasping the handles on the wooden tray, Sam lifted it and carefully walked towards the living room.
“Yeah…” Luke agreed, then crossed his arms over his chest.
“Question is, will he tell us?” He then gazed at his cousin.
Bo too crossed his arms over his chest, and rubbed his hand over his face.
“He ain’t got a choice Luke, not anymore.”
Dean knelt on the braided rug directly in front of the faded red brick fireplace. To the left sat a tall basket that contained pieces of wood, and folded up newspapers. Retrieving one from the basket, he opened it and read the headline.
Setting the paper down, Dean reached out and lifted the screen off of the fireplace. Picking the newspaper back up, he opened it length wise, ripped off a long sheet, and wadded it up into a ball.
He had wadded up the paper into several balls then placed them in the grate. Next, Dean took several long pieces of split logs and placed them over and under the paper wads.
“You sure seem to know what you’re doing.” Daisy commented from behind Dean.
He glanced over his shoulder at her and shrugged.
“Sometimes Sam and I end up in places where a good fire makes all the difference.”
“Or can keep away bad things,” Min added.
Taking a silver Zippo out of his pocket, Dean flicked it to life then touched the flame to several of the paper wads. In a matter of seconds, the fire had spread and the logs began to burn. Again, Dean looked behind him. He caught sight of Min, his expression serious. The green eyes Min stared into showed a lifetime of experience hunting and dealing with supernatural creatures.
“You’re close to the truth then you know.”
She visibly shivered at his statement, and shrunk back into the couch. She thought of the pale face and dead eyes of the drive of the Ford Fairlane.
“That’s what I’m afraid of.”
“Coffee’s done.” Sam appeared from the kitchen. He held the wooden tray and sat down on the end of the couch. Nestled between the fireplace and the couch stood a small coffee table, Sam set the tray down onto it and began passing out the cups of coffee.
“Mr. Duke?” Sam asked as he held out a mug.
Jesse’s far off expression changed as he saw Sam’s offer. He sat up and took the hot drink before settling back against the plush red chair.
“Thanks, Sam.” Dean said to his brother as he got up and accepted the drink. He took the end of the couch beside Daisy.
Bo and Luke came back to the living room. The boys slipped around the couch, and sat in the two chairs beside it.
With everyone now feeling warmer from both the fire and the coffee, one by one the attention shifted to Uncle Jesse.
Calmly sipping, once again the Duke patriarch felt their stares and lowered his cup.
“Now I know you’re all wondering what’s been happening. I didn’t want to believe it but…” He trailed off.
“But now you do?” Sam interjected. Jesse’s gaze snapped to the younger man, but unable to deny the truth, he slowly nodded.
“Why don’t you tell us about it? We can get to the bottom of this.” Dean scooted to the edge of the couch, and placed his mug on the edge of the coffee table.
“Harder than you know to talk about it, especially considering some of the people that it does involve are no longer with us.” He paused a moment and looked at his nephews.
“It involves your fathers,”
The statement made Bo’s eyes go round. He began to play with his fingers, then chewed on his thumbnail. Luke gave a sidelong glance to his cousin, shifted in his chair, and rubbed the back of his neck.
“When?” He asked, his discomfort visible.
“Back a long time ago, back when they was about the same age as you fellas now.”
“Uncle Cooper and Uncle Aaron?” Daisy gasped then whipped her head to look at Min.
Min closed her eyes at the mention of her father’s name.
“That sure explains some things.” She said softly.
“You’re right Min, it does.” Sam said beside her. His words got the attention of both Bo and Luke.
“What do you mean?”
Bo too looked curious as to what Sam meant. He thought of something and his spine straightened.
“He means on the road and what just happened here.”
Creasing his brow, Luke shook his head.
“Sorry cousin, I don’t get you.”
“Min and me was standing on the road Luke, as soon as Uncle Jesse pulled us off of it–”
“The car was gone.” Min finished, and Luke ran his hand up his face and into his hair.
“I wasn’t standing on the road.”
“But you were back up on Route 7.” Dean reminded Luke.
“And we just got to you before that car did.”
Jesse remained quiet as the conjecture bounced between everyone like a ping pong ball. When things settled down again, he continued.
“Me, Aaron and Cooper were all gonna do shine runs. Halloween was coming up, and the orders for shine had us on runs practically every night. We was all running shine, and making good money. We even had a partner, Marty Dunham.”
“Partner?” Bo asked.
“Always been told making shine was a family business.” Luke got up from his chair; he crouched down and took another log from the basket and added it to the fire.
“It was, and its also tradition for the Dukes to share good fortune with friends and neighbors. Marty could repair a still better than if it was brand new, and he had could outfox even the toughest revenuer.” A small smile came to Jesse’s face, in his mind eye he saw he and his brothers clearly, and a dark haired young man in overalls wearing a black Fedora.
“How he loved that hat.” He said outloud, and then blinked.
“Marty loved this old ratty black hat, never went anywheres without it.”
Getting a flash of the man behind the wheel of the black car, Min shivered again.
“Uncle Jesse, did Marty like overalls too?”
The question hung in the air like smoke. Again, all faces were turned towards the head of the Duke family.
“Yeah, it’s all he ever wore.”
“God that is him.” Luke whispered as he slowly shook his head. He remembered seeing the driver of the black car, just before it tried to run him down.
“Black hat and overalls.”
“Go on with your story sir, now that we have a name, what happened?” Dean steered the conversation gently back to the story, he knew deep down that the only way to get to the truth, and how to stop this spirit, was to get the whole story.
“He’s right, go on Uncle Jesse.” Daisy gave a nod to her uncle. She saw the worry lines etch deeper in his face. She could tell by the look in his eyes how tough it was to talk about, especially where his brothers were concerned.
Jesse looked down into the coffee cup he held. His stare lingered at the black liquid, his mind once again reaching back to that long ago time of fast cars, revenuers, woodsy hide-a-ways and bubbling stills.
“A big order came in from Atlanta, someone wanted a hundred gallons of shine, and Aaron, Cooper, Marty and me all agreed to split it up. We was in three cars, each carrying over thirty jugs. The order was a late one, by the time we got to it, it was well past midnight.”
“And how does Route 3 fit into all this.” Sam watched as Jesse visibly flinched. His eyes widened, then he slowly turned his gaze to Bo.
“You remembered that article, didn’t you?”
Bo swallowed hard, but nodded.
“Yes sir, and I remember that car in the picture all burnt and smashed up.”
He lowered his head, and then took in an unsteady breath.
“We wanted to make the run as best we could. To save time, and to avoid Revenuers, Cooper suggested we take Superstition. By this time, the night really began to settle in, Superstition was foggy, but we paid it no mind. We all had run in fog before. ”
Both Bo and Luke nodded silently; every job had its risk and fog while running shine was one of them.
“I can remember hearing Marty over the CB. You sure we can do this Jess? You sure it’s going to be okay? I told him that yeah, there were four of us, we all had been running shine for years, and tonight was going to be no different.”
“But you were wrong…weren’t you?” Min asked, she reached down beside her and touched Sam’s arm gently. Sam started at the touch then looked down at the small hand. He gave it a reassuring pat.
Jesse set his coffee mug aside and moved to the edge of his seat. He brought his hands up. He bent one arm at the elbow and moved it across his chest; the other up towards his head as if snapping a salute.
“Now there’s two halves of Superstition Road… a lower half and an upper half. The lower half is the part that I mentioned with lots of rocky ground that can wreck a car. The upper half is smoother, a bit steep and narrow, but a faster way to get to Atlanta.”
Dean watched the demonstration of the road angles. His mind drew a conclusion as to what might have happened, but he remained silent, wanting Jesse to go on.
“And you took the higher road?”
The extended arms lowered slowly, the older man gave a nod. His gaze went to the braided rug at his feet.
“Cooper took the lead, then Marty, and finally me. Things were going all right till the visibility began to get worse about halfway up it. Cooper slowed down, and when they made one of the last turns, the road gave way under both the cars. They went down the embankment. They’d have gone all the way down into the ravine if not for some bushes and trees.”
Jesse! Jesse! We need your help!
Get some rope!
Hang on I’m coming! Just don’t move! Don’t move the car or you’ll go over!
Jesse stopped talking, his words trailed off. The past played out before him like a movie. He could smell his own fear, the sound of his brothers crying for help still just as loud now as they were that day.
Min watched her uncle; his words painted a picture that seemed to fill the entire room. She saw a younger version of her uncle scrambling up the hill, then looking down seeing two black cars nestled against brush and boulders. The runner duo sat about ten feet apart.
Jesse jerked the wheel; Black Tilly came to an abrupt halt ending up sideways. He got out and ran to the edge of the road, gazing down at the two black cars. Both of the runners had started to turn to the left, the road had crumbled under their tires and they had slid down over the edge. The drivers had fought the motion, and a turn of the wheel now had the two cars with their noses pointed in the direction of the ravine.
“Ropes! I need ropes!” He turned and ran back to the trunk of Black Tilly. His hands shook so bad he could barely fit the key into the tumbler. Getting the trunk lid up, a sight of a packed trunk full of clear jugs of shine made Jesse’s heart sink into his shoes.
Carefully moving the bottles from one side to the other, he found nothing beneath the load of liquor. Everything in the trunk had been taken out to make room for the moonshine.
“No! I need rope and I need it now!” He shouted out his frustration, and then raced back to the edge of the drop off. With only moonlight overhead and the headlights from the vehicles, he could make out the men below him.
“There aint no rope! My trunk aint got any rope!”
“Jess!” Marty shouted, he had managed to stick his head out of the drive side window.
“Backseat! Look in that backseat!”
“Backseat!” Jess repeated; a hint of relief in his voice. Practically jerking the door from its hinges, he found a few coils of rope on the floor behind the driver seat.
“Praise be the Almighty!” He said as he grabbed the bundles. Returning to the spot where the road had collapsed, he unbundled the ropes, the length looking like snakes coiling around his work boots.
“Can you grab the rope I throw down?”
“Yeah Jesse, we can get it and tie it to our bumper. You tie the other end to yours and pull us out!” He heard the voice of Aaron and nodded.
“I hear ya, Aaron! Get ready!”
Squinting against the darkness, Jesse had tied the rope into a lasso and swung it over his head. When the circle of rope rivaled his height, he said a quick prayer and let it go. The rope sailed from the road down to the car his brothers were in landing on the back window. He saw the dark head of Aaron emerge from the passenger side. The denim clad Duke crawled slowly and carefully along the roof of the car and laid down. He stretched out an arm; his fingers brushed the rope then were able to get a grip on it and pull it. Now with rope in hand, Aaron made it to the back window. Lowering his upper half down, he used the lasso and wound the rope around the hitch on the back bumper and gave it a firm tug. Raising his head, he waved to his brother.
“Got it Jesse!”
“I’m gonna pull you out! Just don’t move more than ya have to!”
Jesse than looked to the other car, he saw Marty and raised a hand to him.
“When I get their car out, you’ll be next! Just hang on!”
“I hear you Jess, get your brothers first, I’m not going anywhere!” He jested and gave thumbs-up.
“Less than five minutes Marty, then we can get out of here!” Jesse reassured his friend, then turned and ran back to his car.
“Never should have taken this road, time saving or not!” Scolding himself, Jesse crouched down and quickly secured the other end of the rope to the underside of his bumper than stood up. He got back behind the wheel of Black Tilly and started her up.
“Sweet Baby, get everyone out of this and I’ll treat you to high octane gas, a wash and a wax!” His foot on the gas, he revved the engine, then put it in reverse. The Mustang gave a lurch that made its owner wince.
“Come on Tilly, you can do it!” His foot began to press on the gas, the Mustang gave another lurch, the tires spun a moment, but then the car began to back up. The rope tied to the front stretched taut with the weight of the both cars on both ends.
“That’s it Baby, you’re doing fine!”
The car slowly moved backwards, the rope held and after a few moments the back bumper of his brother’s runner appeared over the lip of the road.
“A little more Sweetheart! A little more! You almost got it!”
The back end of car teetered a moment, but then moved up and over the road coming to rest on it. Jesse didn’t stop there; he backed up until his brothers were back on more solid road.
Jesse shut the engine off, and then closed his eyes.
“Thank you Tilly, you sweet girl!” He said as he lovingly patted the dashboard. He got out of his car and hugged both his brothers at the same time.
“Thought I was going to lose you both!”
“You nearly did, Jesse.” Cooper said as he patted his brother on the back.
“We’re all right though, thanks for the help.” Aaron added as he nodded.
“We aint never using this road again, I don’t care how much time it saves!” Jesse stated, and both his brothers nodded in agreement.
“Amen to that!” Aaron said as he spotted the bundles of rope and untied it. He moved back to the road and glanced down.
“Marty, you ready!”
Cooper got the end of the rope Aaron held and tied the end of rope from his bumper to it.
Marty had crawled partially out of the driver side window. He waved his arms.
“Yeah! Toss it down!”
“Here it comes!” With a grunt, Aaron threw the rope down to Marty. He watched as the young man caught it.
“I’m going to move to the back now!” Marty called out as he held the rope in his teeth. He climbed up to the roof, and then slid his body along the top of it, over the back window, and down to the hitch. After winding the rope around the hitch, he tied the rope tight.
“Got it!” He then retraced his path and slipped back into the open driver window.
“He’s ready!” Aaron called over his shoulder.
“Go for it Jesse!” Cooper patted Tilly’s hood.
“One more time Till, one more time then we’ll be on our way.” Jesse started up the runner and put it in gear. Again, the Mustang jolted then began to back up. Cooper joined his brother at the end of the road. Together, the brothers watched as Marty and his car began to move away from the rocks and brush.
“It’s moving.” Cooper sighed, and then shook his head.
“Man this could have ended bad Aaron, if we had gone all the day down–”
“With that much shine, the car would have–”
The words stopped short as Marty’s car made it to the halfway point to the road. The extra long rope creaked; the knot that joined the two ropes grew tauter and an area just past it began to unravel.
“The rope!” Cooper shouted. He spotted the pile of ropes and ran to it.
“It’s not going to hold Aaron! From this distance, the car will go straight to the ravine if it breaks!”
“Jesse cut it! The rope’s breaking!” Aaron made a slash motion across his throat. When Tilly shut down, he joined Cooper and grabbed one end of the rope.
“Here, grab onto it!” He handed the end to Cooper and leaned forward.
“Marty! The rope! It’s not going to hold! We’re going to toss one down to you! Just grab it and we’ll pull you out!”
“What?” Marty gazed up at the line and saw the rope.
“Oh my God!” He realized where he was, where the road was, and worse yet…where he’d end up if the rope broke. Swallowing hard, he waved again.
“Hurry! Toss me the rope!”
“Here it comes!” Aaron threw the rope down toward the car. The line landed a few feet from the back of the car.
“Dang it!” Swearing, Marty started to climb out of the window again. The motion made the car drop a few feet back towards the rock. Marty gasped loudly and he froze instantly.
“Marty!!” Both Duke said at the same time.
“Don’t move! The rope could go any second! We’ll try and get the line closer to you!” Cooper began to bring the rope back up, working hand over hand.
Marty watched the road above, seeing the two Dukes scrambling.
His attention shifted to the rope; a single strand kept him from a long drop. Feeling the sweat break out all over him despite the cold, Marty breathing grew labored as fear began to course through his heart.
“Toss it down! Hurry!”
“Here it comes, Marty!” Cooper called out again as he let the rope fly. A much better toss this time, the rope sailed high, landing over the roof of his car.
“Thank God!” He said to himself as he reached out to get it.
Just as Marty’s fingers brushed the rope, the last remaining thread broke.
The snap of the rope echoed through the night, as loud as cannon fire.
The last thing Marty Dunham saw were the gaping mouths and wide eyes of Cooper, Aaron and Jesse Duke. The looks of horror and helplessness lingered as the distance between the Dukes and Marty widened…
“The car was up high enough that when the rope snapped, it rolled and smacked into those rocks, then flipped end over end. It blew up when it got to the bottom of the ravine. The fire was so hot, all the trees and brush started to burn. We called for help, took the firemen the rest of the night to put it out.” Jesse took in a shaky breath; he wiped a trembling hand over his face. His gaze had turned to the crackling fire, the glow of the flames reflecting in his eyes.
“I can still see Marty to this day, reaching out for us. When they brought up what was left of his car–” He shook his head slowly.
“You saw the picture, Bo.”
“Yeah, wasn’t much of nothing left Uncle Jesse.” Bo whispered.
The air in the room grew chilled. Whether from the weather outside or the story, no one knew. Dean got up from the couch. He took two logs from the basket and crouched down as he added them to the fire.
“Least we know why this spirit is after you.” He moved back from the fire, and sat on the end of the coffee table.
“Revenge?” Luke got up from his chair and stood close to the mantle.
“They did everything they could do save him.”
Sam nodded as he too rose to his feet.
“Spirits don’t always see things like that Luke. They only see that their death was before their time, and at the hands of someone else.”
“They’re trapped here because they can’t move on, and they have unfinished business here.”
Dean paused a moment. He could feel Sam’s eyes at the back of his neck, but ignored it.
“They get angrier and angrier as time goes on.”
“What does he want? To kill us? Why come back now?” Min spoke up, all gazes shifted to her.
“Could be for any number of reasons like–” Sam’s mouth opened, but then closed it.
“Wait a minute; you said it happened before Halloween?” He addressed the question to Jesse.
“Day before,” Jesse answered with a nod. He had his hands over his stomach and once again appeared to be lost in his own thoughts. Daisy unwrapped herself from her blanket and went to her uncle. She sat on the arm of his chair and gently touched his arm.
“It’ll be all right Uncle Jesse.” She whispered. He didn’t speak, simply covered her small hand with his.
“Anniversary?” Dean piped up.
“Yeah, could be this spirit is back to get revenge on the day he died?” Sam joined his brother on the coffee table.
“Could be, or maybe another reason. What happened after the accident?”
“Funeral. Marty was cremated and his ashes were buried in the Dunham family plot over in Sweetwater.”
“Cremated?” Both the Winchesters replied at the same time. When Jesse again nodded, they slumped and groaned.
“So much for remains.”
Their reaction got Luke’s attention. He did an about face.
“What do you mean remains?”
“The best way to get rid of a spirit is to get rid of what ties them to this world,” Dean spoke up and his brother nodded.
“Usually in cases like this we need to dig up the grave and salt and burn the bones.”
“Which is something we can’t do if he was already cremated.”
“But wait a second Dean, if he was already cremated, then what is tying here other than revenge? I mean, there’d have to be something physically here.”
“Right, but just in case we better see if Dad’s journal has another way to get rid of spirits other than destroying the remains.” He rose to his feet, and then stepped around his brother as he headed for the kitchen.
“Where’s the article? The one that you read Bo.”
“It’s in the Bible.” Jesse spoke up, and then got up from his chair.
“I’ll get it.” Quietly slipping away, he walked out of the room. He opened the door to his bedroom, and then sat on the edge of his bed.
“Aaron, Cooper.” He whispered as he hung his head.
“What happened that night ain’t anybody’s fault, but your boys and me are paying the price. You all trusted me to take care of your boys, and now they’re in trouble over something that wasn’t even their doing.”
A shadow passed over his door; he quickly glanced up and saw Dean carrying a small brown book. The mattress creaked as he moved closer to the door.
“I’ve been through this Sam, all it says over and over is that something is tying a spirit to this world and only finding it and destroying it is the only way to get rid of it.” Dean sighed as he handed his brother the journal.
The Winchesters and the Dukes all gathered around the coffee table.
“So the question still is, what is keeping this spirit here and how do we get rid of it?”
“Other than me, Bo and Uncle Jesse dying.” Luke said. His words made both the girls look up.
“Luke Duke don’t you say stuff like that!” Daisy scolded as she swatted his arm with the tie to her robe.
“God no! Don’t ever talk like that cousin! I don’t care what this thing wants, but it sure as heck not going to get the three of you!” Min added, she too scowled at her cousin’s words.
“That ain’t funny Luke!” Bo too added his grievance and socked Luke in the shoulder.
“Okay okay!” Luke put his hands up.
“I won’t say it again!”
Sam shook his head.
“That spirit out there Luke, just might take up on an offer like that.”
“Offer?” Jesse watched from his partially opened door. He turned away from it and walked around the side of his bed. There on his nightstand sat an aging silver frame. He picked it up and ran his fingers down the picture of himself and all of his brothers. The weathered, worn Bible sat right beside it.
“I’m not going to let anything happen to those boys.” His voice determined, he carefully set the photo back down.
“And the last thing you need is to face that spirit alone.” Dean patted the journal on his lap.
“Our dad gathered information on how to deal with all kinds of supernatural things. The last thing you want to do is give a spirit more ammo.”
“Besides, that might not be what this spirit really wants. Sometimes spirits have ulterior motives to what they do and are just trying to get your attention.” Sam said then looked around.
“Wasn’t your uncle going to get that article?”
“Yeah, he said he was.” Bo got up.
“Uncle Jesse?” He poked his head into the bedroom door on the far left side. He shoved the door open, and it swung back on its hinges.
“Uncle Jesse?” He said again as he stepped into the room.
The room was empty.
“Oh no…” He whispered as he caught sight of the open bedroom window. The lacy curtains danced back and forth in the freezing cold breeze that now filled the room. Something just under the window on the wooden floor fluttered in the breeze.
“What is that?” Bo squatted and picked up the object. The same yellowed newspaper article he read long ago, he now held in his hand. His eyes roamed over the picture of the twisted and burnt runner, and a chilled finger of fear suddenly ran up his spine.
“Luke! Daisy! Min! Sam and Dean!” He shouted.
******* ******* *******
“What the heck is he trying to prove?” Dean drove the Impala, the beams of his headlights cutting through the darkness that seemed to engulf everything.
From the passenger seat, Luke sighed; he ran his fingers through his hair and exhaled. He had tried to contact their uncle on the CB, before they all left the farmhouse, but got no answer.
“He’s trying to protect us Dean. He’s been one of the only real parents we’ve ever really known.”
“Getting yourself killed isn’t going to do anyone a bit of good.” He muttered in reply.
“It’s hard to explain Dean.” Daisy said from the backseat, then scooted to the edge of it. She had changed into warmer clothes, a pink long sleeved flannel shirt, her long jeans, and had borrowed a denim jacket from Min.
Dean caught her eyes in the rear view mirror.
“If you think I don’t understand what it’s like to want to do anything to protect your family. Believe me, I got more experience at that then you might think. All Sam and I have is each other, and we’ve both nearly died for the other more times than I can count.”
She put her hand on Dean’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze. He saw her gentle smile in the mirror; he moved his left hand from the steering wheel and placed it over hers.
“Don’t worry, we’ll find him.”
Luke kept his eyes locked on the scenery ahead, looking for any trace of his uncle.
“We ain’t got a clue where he went!” His voice sounded thick with frustration; he jammed his hands into his denim jacket pocket to keep from thumping his fist against the dashboard of the black Impala.
“If he’s trying to take on Casper the friendly Moonshiner, maybe we better start with Superstition Road.” Dean glanced at his passenger.
“Makes sense Luke, it’s where everything happened.” Daisy reached out and rubbed Luke’s shoulder. He eased down at her touch and nodded.
“Yeah, guess we should start there.” He leaned back in his seat, not that they had some semblance of a plan, he relaxed a little.
“Think Sam made heads or tails of that article?”
“Call him and find out.” Dean motioned to the hand-held CB radio that sat on the console between the seats.
“Sam’s a college geek; he’s good at all the research stuff.”
The comment made Luke laugh as he picked up the radio and pressed the mic button.
“Bo, Sam, Min? You read me?” He said into it, then released it waiting for an answer.
“Emergency vehicles were called in to the huge fire that started in Route 3 Ravine, also known as Superstition Ravine. Working through most of the night, the fire was finally put out in the early morning hours.”
Sam read outloud as his eyes roamed over the words. Though yellowed with age and somewhat fragile, he could make the words out clearly. He sat in the passenger seat of the General Lee. Bo drove the big orange Charger; he kept going from the road to Sam, hoping to get any kind of clue what he looked for. Though all he got was Sam’s stoic expression of deep concentration, Bo sighed as he steered the car.
Min scooted to the edge of the rear bench seat. She could tell how from the set of Bo’s shoulders how tense he was. Echoing the feelings of both stress and curiosity, she bent her elbows and leaned over the back of the front seat.
“Hmm?” He raised his gaze from the newspaper clipping.
“Sorry, guess I just got lost in thought.”
“Actually, yeah I think so.” Sam started to open his mouth when the CB in his lap crackled to life.
“Bo, Sam, Min? You read me?”
“Guess me and Min aren’t the only ones wanting to know.” Bo felt better at the sound of his cousin.
“Now you can tell everyone at the same time.”
“Yeah, guess so.” Sam picked up the hand-held radio.
“We hear you Luke.”
“You read that article yet?”
“As a matter of fact I did, I think I found an answer.” He read the printed words again.
“Well don’t keep us in suspense Sammy.” Dean’s voice came through loud and clear.
“God, he reminds me of Luke sometimes.” Min replied, and then covered her hand with her mouth, not sure if her comment would offend Dean’s brother.
Sam saw her do that and shook his head.
“Don’t worry about it Min.”
“She’s right though, he does sound like our cousin.” Bo added, and then winked at his sister in the rearview mirror.
“According to the article,” Sam said into the CB.
“The fire was so hot that it actually melted the car.”
“Gotta be from the shine.” Bo pulled the General Lee over. He turned in his seat and gave his full attention to Sam.
“You mean the alcohol content?”
“Bo’s right, nothing in the world can burn or explode better than moonshine.”
“Ain’t that the truth, cousin.” Bo shook his head.
“A still blowing up can kill a man.”
“Uncle Jesse said that there were 30 jugs in each car. That’s like driving around with your car loaded with dynamite.” Min added. She leaned over to one side and caught a glimpse of the article Sam held. The picture of the melted, ruined car made her gasp.
“Oh my God!”
“Pretty bad, I know.” Sam said then cleared his throat.
“So you’re thinking what I’m thinking Sam?” Dean piped up again.
“Yeah, here’s the proof Dean. Fire Department states that the victim, Martin Dunham, 29 of Hazzard County, was found inside the vehicle. The chief said that it was hard to tell which was man and which was machine.”
“That’s it, good job Sam. Now we know what we have to do.”
“We do?” Bo asked, and then shook his head slowly.
“Yeah Bo, if the fire was that hot, and the firemen that put it out couldn’t tell Martin from his car—”
Bo drew his own conclusions and wrinkled his nose.
“If part of him was in that car, then that’s what’s keeping him here?”
“They probably didn’t bury all of Martin, just they got what they could from the car.”
“Oh that’s awful Dean.”
“Yeah it is Daisy, but it makes sense.” Luke once again came through the CB.
“What we have to do now is find what’s left of Martin’s car.”
“Yeah, but that’s the part that worries me Luke, if it’s been 30 years or more, where would the car be? Would the car even be in a junkyard?” Sam spoke into the radio, but he also asked the question to Bo.
Bo thought a moment and stretched out his hand.
“Here Sam, let me have that.”
Sam handed him the radio.
“Cousin, if the wreck happened up on Superstition, that leaves at least two junkyards right?” He let go of the button, waiting for Luke to answer.
“Sure would Bo, Atlanta and Capitol City. Capitol City has been around a lot longer, I’d try there first.”
“But Luke, if he was a resident of Hazzard, wouldn’t it have been brought to Hazzard?”
“Not necessarily Min. Whoever was closest probably towed the wreck.”
“Sam, does it say anything about what happened to the car in the article?”
Scanning the article, Sam muttered to himself as he read it out loud again.
“No Dean, no mention.”
“We’re going to have to look at both of those junkyards. We think Uncle Jesse might be heading for Superstition Road, that’s where we’re heading now.”
“Copy that cousin, we’ll check out the junkyards.”
“10-4 Bo, good luck and be careful.”
Bo handed the radio back to Sam. He faced forward in his seat and started the General Lee back up.
******* ******* *******
The old white beat up pickup truck slowed to a stop as the headlights splashed over a rusted, weathered sign.
An arrow pointed to the right, Jesse sat up in his seat as he looked over the top of the hood. The road up ahead seemed darker than the area around it, as if the mouth of a cave. He hadn’t been down Superstition Road since that fateful night, and just the heaviness and dread in the air made him want to quickly turn around and get out of there as fast as he could. But no…the pickup remained stationary.
“You’re in there, ain’t ya Marty.” He whispered.
A flash of lightning crackled overhead, a breeze kicked up some of the dead leaves the covered the road and a handful hit the windshield.
Instinctively ducking, he watched as a single brown, twisted leaf slid down the glass and came to rest on a windshield wiper.
“You’re daring me, ain’t ya?”
The wind kicked up, the white truck rocked a little from side to side with the force of the gust, as in silent reply.
The name accompanied the breeze; just the sound of it made Jesse’s heart began to pound. He glanced down at his CB radio. He had turned it off, and now a quick thought flashed through his mind that maybe he should call for help. He shook the thought right out of his mind.
“No. I’ve look after them boys ever since they was small. I can’t let their daddies down.”
He put the truck in drive, and headed down Route 3.
******* ******* *******
The first junkyard that Bo drove to was Capitol City. He pulled up the a pair of huge rusting wrought iron gates, and shut the General Lee’s engine off.
“Ain’t surprised considering what time it is.” He looked up at the overhead arch, the words CAPITOL CITY JUNKYARD had crooked letters, a combination of black and rust color, and the Y hung by its end, nearly falling off of the frame.
“Nice place.” Sam too looked up at the huge gates that were topped with barbed wire, and a BEWARE OF DOG sign secured to a few of the bars with twisted wire.
“Don’t worry about the dog sign, this place ain’t had a guard dog since Luke and me was kids. The fella that owns this place says it ain’t a fitting proper junkyard with a beware of dog sign.” Bo tried to reassure Sam; he tucked the hand-held CB radio into his pocket then leaned out the open window. He grasped the edge of the roof, then snaked his body through the open window then swung his legs out.
“He makes that look so easy.” Sam replied as he started to climb out of the passenger side window. He slithered through the window, braced his hands on the roof, and sat his rear end on the frame. He turned his body to the side, his long legs slipped out, and his feet touched the ground.
Min watched and couldn’t help but smile as she climbed over the front seats.
“There is, it’s called being a Duke.” Now sitting in the passenger seat, she started to imitate her brother’s escape route when Bo came up behind her and sat her on the window’s frame.
“Just hold it there Sis, maybe you shouldn?t go.”
“What?” She sat side saddled, which put her a little taller than her brother.
“Bo, I can’t just sit here and let you all look for this car, I won’t just stay here. I’m in as much trouble as you, Luke and Uncle Jesse are. Now you need all the eyes you can get.” Without another word, she got out of the General Lee.
The air suddenly hit her and she crossed her arms, rubbing them.
“Whoa, is it just me or did it get colder all of a sudden?” She had on a thick blue long sleeve sweater and jeans, but now she felt like she had her waitressing outfit, the air cut straight through to her bones.
“You’re the one that wanted to help.” Bo looked at what his sister wore.
“I got some flashlights in the trunk, maybe my corduroy jacket too.” Bo took the keys out of his jeans pocket and walked around to the trunk.
“You sure you ain’t cold Bo?” Min followed her brother. She looked at his long sleeved grey shirt.
“I got on more than you do, and I’m freezing!”
“Just hot blooded I guess.” He grinned as he opened the trunk. The first thing that greeted Bo was the spare tire. Bo leaned over and moved it aside. Between two green rolled up sleeping bags, and two black long cases that contained their bows and arrows, sat a lantern and two silver flashlights.
“Dang, I don’t see my jacket Min.” Bo picked up the lantern and handed it over his shoulder to Sam, then picked up the two flashlights.
Sam set the flashlight at his feet; he changed from his tan jacket into a thicker black one before they left the farmhouse. He unzipped it, revealing a white and black flannel shirt he had put on over his t-shirt.
“Sam, you don’t have to do that, I’ll be okay.” Min couldn’t help but smile at the offer.
“I’m okay; I’ve got this extra shirt on. I’m not cold.”
Sighing, Min took the black jacket and slipped it on. Though a little baggy, she zipped it up and crossed her arms over her chest.
“That does help, thank you.”
Picking the lantern up, Sam opened it and took out a silver Zippo lighter. He touched the flame to the wick inside the lantern and turned it up.
“Here Min.” Bo handed his sister a flashlight. She took it and turned it on.
“Thanks.” Min went over to the big gate and reached out to touch the thick padlock and chain that held the gate closed.
“How are we going to get through this?”
“We’re not going to fool with that lock Min.” Bo shone his light up the length of the gate.
“Should be a piece of cake.” Sam held his lantern high.
“Up and over.”
“Up and over.” Min repeated as she gazed up at the gate. There were patches of chain link fence where some of the bars had deteriorated, and some of the other patch jobs involved wide mesh chicken wire.
“Guess I can use some of this wiring as footholds.”
“Aw you’ll be just fine.” Bo said as he started to back up.
Both Sam and Min backed up and out of the way. Bo moved far enough away to get a running head start. He turned off his flashlight and tucked it into his back pocket.
He took in a deep breath and began to run, his long legs pumping. When he got to the point of almost crashing headfirst into the gate, he jumped up and grabbed the top of it. He waited a moment for the gate to stop shaking then started to move. Bracing his boots on the bars, Bo managed to pull himself up enough till his waist was above the top of the gate. He teetered, flipped over it and landed on the other side smoothly.
“Not bad!” Sam commented, then he began to walk backwards.
“Welcome to Duke family circus!” Bo laughed, then glanced over his shoulder at Sam and Min through the bars.
“Come on, we ain’t got all night.”
“I’ll go next.” Sam tossed his lantern over the gate to Bo before he too ran, leapt to the top of the gate, and then flipped over to the other side.
“Oh Lord.” Min sighed.
“I don’t know if I can do this Bo!”
“You can do it, come on Min. Just climb the gate; you don’t have to run like we did.” Bo motioned to Sam.
“He’s right Min, just climb to the top; we’ll catch you on this side.”
“I’ll try.” Min turned off her flashlight and tucked it into the jacket pocket. She glanced up at the gate and saw some of the wire about halfway up.
“So much for getting out of running and jumping.” She murmured to herself as she backed up about five feet. She took a few running steps then pushed herself off the ground and grabbed the bars, her small fingers gripping the chicken wire. Her legs scrambled, but after a moment she slipped her boots between the bars.
“That’s it! Now work your way up!”
“Come on Sis, you’re doing fine!”
Min didn’t look down; she kept her gaze on Sam and Bo on the other side. She raised her hands up, fingers gripping the chicken wire. She pulled herself up, then one hand stretched up till she found the top of the gate.
“You’re almost there!”
Having a death grip with one hand, Min’s other hand joined it and she pulled herself up. When her boots found the chain link, she had better purchase and her waist now pressed into the top of the gate.
Bo and Sam moved to just under her and raised their arms up.
“Just swing your legs over Min, that’s all you have to do.”
“Yeah… okay!” Min leaned over some, then grabbed the bars right below her. She tipped over to one side and stretched her leg out along the length.
“Just a little more with that leg!”
“I know Bo, I know!” She closed her eyes and started to move her leg when suddenly she stopped. Her eyes flew open.
Sam creased his brow as he saw her expression.
“What is it?”
“I- I’m stuck! The gate’s caught my jeans!”
“You have to work it free Min, just shift your leg back!”
“I’ll fall!” Min remained still; her heart began to pound out of fear. She realized that with every passing moment, their uncle could be deeper and deeper into trouble. She looked down and saw that Sam and Bo were directly under her.
She closed her eyes and tipped forward, letting her weight plus gravity not only free her, but get herself to where they were.
They both raised their arms up; they locked wrists and caught Min right before she hit the ground. She landed face first then slowly opened her eyes and peered over her shoulder at two astonished faces.
“Hi.” She said, giving them both a sheepish grin.
“You about took a decade off my life Miranda Duke!” Bo let go of Sam’s wrists. The action rolled Min into a bridegroom carry and he set her gently on her feet.
“I couldn’t think of what else to do Bo!”
Sam picked the lantern where he had dropped it and brought it close to her legs. He saw near her ankle where the jeans had been caught on the wrought iron.
“Are you okay?”
“Other than falling head first off a gate? Yeah, I’m okay.” Min rubbed her hands together, her fingers hurt from climbing; she bought them close to her mouth and blew on them.
Bo clicked on his flashlight and looked around. His beam hit an arch made of car parts that were spray painted black. There were huge stacks of cars that flanked it on both sides. Right behind the left side of the arch, and first stack of cars, sat an old single wide trailer; the front of it had smears of grease and splatters of oil. It had a black wrought iron railing covered in hubcaps for the steps leading to the door. Just past the trailers, more tall stacks of cars towered over head and divided the path up ahead into three different sections.
“Looks like this is the end of the line. The cars get older the further in you go, so the oldest cars should be in the middle.”
“One trail for each of us.” Sam walked to the middle section.
“I think we best stick together.”
“Bo, we can cover more ground like this.”
“You both know what you’re looking for, right?” Sam turned in either direction to address both Dukes.
“Believe me, I’ll never forget that car, and the way it made me feel.”
“Give a holler if you find anything.” Bo sighed as he took the right fork of the road. Min took the left and that left Sam in the middle. Each person disappeared into the innards of the junkyard, in search of a proverbial needle in a haystack.
******* ******* *******
The white Ford pickup truck came to a stop. Jesse had entered Superstition Road and had taken the higher road. He pulled over at the same spot where the accident had occurred, and shut the engine off to his truck. The sound of the metal creaking sounded muffled as Jesse’s door opened all the way. Something seemed to surround everything, like a thick fog that swallowed up the air and the sound along with it, as if Jesse had parked in the middle of the eye of a hurricane. His gut gnawed at him, and when his feet came to rest on the ground, a pain engulfed his right toe and shot straight up to his hip. He had to grab the door frame to keep from falling over as his leg gave out.
“Easy now…” He said to himself, closing his eyes against the pain as he straightened up. Jesse knew full well the pain in his toe was a warning sign, but he ignored it. There were more things at stake than just himself, and he knew it. He gingerly took a few steps, using the door, the side mirror and the hood as a guide. When the pain subsided some, he limped over to the edge of the road.
Risking a glance over the edge, he carefully leaned forward. Despite how much time had passed, things remained much as they had been that night. There were a few remnants of the fire, the bases of some of the older trees that covered the ravine floor, had scorch marks, and some of the boulders too had blackened.
“Tried all we could to help you that night Marty, you gotta believe that.”
The name sounded close, practically whispered in Jesse’s ear. He started at its proximity, still hunched over. He could feel a sudden blast of heat from behind him, and he closed his eyes. The smell of burnt flesh filled his nose, and he fought the urge to get sick that filled his mouth with bile. His heart jack hammered in his chest, his breathing audible now.
“We did all we could to save you Marty. You ain’t got no right to be doing what you’re doing.” He said firmly.
Getting up enough gumption, Jesse slowly straightened up. The smell of burning flesh and hair nearly suffocating now, he swallowed hard. He took in a breath then whipped around.
The sight made Jesse back up fast enough that his overall covered back hit the side panel on the hood of his truck.
Marty stood a walking wall of fire. From the top of his brim hat down to his booted feet, every single thing on the moonshiner was burning. As he moved towards his long time friend, chunks of burning clothes and flesh dropped off along with burning footprints he walked.
The heat and stench kept the older man pinned. He stared at Marty with wide eyes and a gaping mouth.
“We tried, you know we tried!” Jesse managed to get out, the extreme heat started to close his throat as Marty got closer. His face began to turn red and sweat broke out instantly along his hairline and ran down his face in rivulets.
“Marty!” He gasped out just as one burning arm reached out towards him, fingers splaying to grasp the opening of the tan shirt Jesse wore with his overalls, and the red long johns that covered his neck.
“Uncle Jesse!” Daisy screamed as she brought one hand to her mouth. She pointed straight ahead. Through the windshield, Luke and Dean both saw someone or something on fire, and what was about to happen to Jesse. Luke too had a horrified expression.
“Oh Lord, he’s got him!”
“Holy–!!” Dean turned to Luke.
“Take the wheel!”
Luke snapped out of his stupor and leaned over, taking hold of the steering wheel. Dean turned in his seat.
“Daisy! Give me one of the shotguns out of the bag!”
Daisy tore her gaze from her trapped uncle; she saw the big floppy green bag at her feet. Her hands shook as she fumbled with the handles, and finally got it open. Among a slew of weapons, she spotted two sawed off shotguns and picked one of them up.
The answer came as Dean snatched the shotgun from her hands, and climbed partially out of the driver side window. The flames could be seen from a great distance, and the moment he stuck his head out into the night air, the overpowering stench of burning flesh and cloth made him want to gag.
“Luke hit the gas!”
The black Impala sped up the sharp incline, when it got to the curve; Luke jerked the wheel hard over, the car nearly slammed into the pickup as it spun to one side then slid to a stop.
“Jesse! Down!” Dean shouted as he raised his shotgun high and pulled the trigger.
Jesse ducked as a blast of salt rock sailed through the air, and hit Marty. An unearthly howl echoed as he disintegrated in a shower of burning flesh and bits of cloth. Ending up on all fours, Jesse looked up as Dean, Luke, and Daisy came racing toward him.
Luke took a hold of his arm and helped him to his feet. Daisy launched herself at him, hugging him tightly.
“Oh you’re all warm!” She pressed her hands to his face, then his forehead.
Dean still had the shotgun and looked around.
“Where did he go?”
“I don’t see him, guess he’s gone for now.” Luke sighed, shaking his head.
“Damn! If we hadn’t gotten here…”
“Yeah…” Satisfied that things were in the clear for now, Dean lowered his weapon.
“We need to get the hell out of here until we can find that car and destroy it.”
“Marty’s car? That’s in Capitol City junkyard.” Jesse finally felt more like himself again; he took a red bandana out of the pocket, and dabbed his forehead.
“Yeah, that’s what we thought, either one or Atlanta.”
“Bo, Min and Sam are there now looking for it.”
“We better let them know they’re in the right place.” Luke went over to the pickup and opened the passenger side door. He took the mic off the CB and held the button down.
“Bo, this here’s Luke, you read me?”
Bo whistled as he walked, his flashlight beam hitting pile after pile of wrecked junker cars. His boots crunched along the ground, the dirt covered with bits of rocks, oil, gas and broken glass. He glanced down then kicked at a pebble.
“Come on, you gotta be around here somewhere!” He said to himself as he paid attention to the make and models of the cars all around him.
“Cuda, Pontiac…looks like they’re getting older and older.”
“Bo, this here’s Luke, you read me?”
The voice of his kin nearly made Bo jump straight up in the air. He stumbled a moment, regained his footing and stopped walking. Taking a moment, he hunched over, put his hands on his knees and tried to calm down his suddenly pounding heart.
He reached behind him and took the CB out.
“Bo here, go ahead Luke. Any news on Uncle Jesse?” He let go of the button and slowly straightened up.
“Between you and Min, I’m going to die before my time!”
“Yeah, we found him.”
Closing his eyes briefly, he sighed in relief, then raised his head up to the black night sky.
“Thank you Lord!”
“We got here just in time.”
The smile slid from Bo’s face as his brow creased.
“Just in time, what happened Luke?”
“Marty almost had him, but Dean got rid of him with rock salt. Uncle Jesse did say that the car is in the Capitol City junkyard, so you’re in the right place.”
“Well that’s a relief.” Bo lowered the CB and slowly looked around. Totally surrounded by cars on all sides, including front and back, he sighed.
“Don’t suppose Uncle Jesse can narrow things down a bit?”
“Hang on Bo, I’ll see if he can give any clues as to where to look.”
“I’d appreciate it Cousin.” Releasing the button, Bo spotted a white car with a familiar shape; he stepped close to it and recognized it as a Charger, the same year as the General Lee. It sat off to one side of a huge pile of flattened cars, and he leaned in for a closer look. The car had no windshield, and four flat tires, but the rest of the body seemed intact.
“Look here General, I found a long lost cousin of yours!” He laughed.
“Least now we know where we can get body parts.”
A loud metal groan made Bo look up fast. He shone his light up the massive stack of cars.
“What the heck?”
“Bo, come in.”
“Y-Yeah I’m here.” He kept his gaze locked on the uppermost portion of the stack.
“Uncle Jesse said there’s a huge sculpture of two cars standing straight up, one with its nose in the dirt, the other with its rear in the dirt. He said after Marty’s services, he and the rest of the runners all met up there and gave Marty a memorial service. They made a little marker for it, since Marty’s ashes were scattered.”
“So look for a little grave marker next to two upright cars?”
“10-4 Cousin, should be close to the middle of the yard.”
“I’m getting close to it now Luke, I’ll give y’all a holler when I find it.”
“Bo this is Dean, you might want to stick close to Sam. Marty already tried to get to your uncle, you and Min could be next, especially if you’re trying to find the one way to stop him.”
Bo thought of the cars groaning over his head.
“Uh yeah, right. I’ll keep that in mind Dean.” Instinctively, he backed up a few steps, not trusting the pile to remain where it sat. His gaze transfixed on the stack, he cautiously moved around it, and didn’t turn his back to it till he was well out of range.
“Two cars sticking up and out of the dirt, nose first, rear first.” He repeated as he kept walking.
As he kept going, he passed a long row of highly stacked cars so tall and wide they resembled pillars of some massive holy Egyptian temple on the banks of the Nile.
At the halfway point, that long and low metallic groan rang out again. The sound stopped Bo in his tracks, and he slowly turned towards the row to his left. Dean’s words of warning ran through his mind, and he slowly began to side step, keeping the row in his line of sight. As he moved the groaning grew louder and suddenly the piles of cars began to shake.
His mind shouted, and needing no further cue, Bo turned and ran as fast as he could just as the first pillar of cars fell, them the second, then the third, the stacks now falling like dominoes. Bo’s long legs were running at their full speed, the creaking sound reaching a high pitched crescendo that made his ears ring, a split second before the huge thump shook the ground.
Panting, Bo’s heart pounded so hard it nearly burst. Up ahead, he saw the end of the line and willed himself to kick his running up a notch.
Come on! Come on! You can make it!
Just as he came upon the last tall stack of cars, the pile began to shake and teeter. Bo caught sight of it in his peripheral version and closed his eyes. He pushed off with the balls of his feet, dove out of the way of the falling pillar, hit the ground with a thud then rolled a few feet. A massive spray of dust went up into the air; Bo quickly covered his head waiting to be flattened like a pancake.
“Bo! Where are you?”
The sound of coughing now broke the silence, and two sets of hand grabbed at the back of the now dusty Duke.
“Oh God!” Min gently rolled her brother over onto his back.
“Bo! Bo say something!” She shook him gently.
Finally realizing he wasn’t dead or about to be squashed, he lowered his arms down and gazed up at his sister and Sam.
“Bo, hey, are you all right?” Sam helped Bo sit up.
“Yeah, I think so.” He brushed off his shirt, then coughed at the dust cloud he had created. He glanced over his shoulder at the scattered cars that now looked like broken columns.
“Guess Dean was right about Marty coming after me.”
“Dean?” Min asked as she touched her brother’s arm.
“Does that mean Uncle Jesse is okay?”
“Safe and sound.” He met Min’s eyes then once again looked at the toppled over stacks of cars.
“Wish we was.”
“Come on, let’s get you to your feet.” Tugging Bo up, Sam shook his head as he too saw the carnage.
“Yeah I’d say someone wants to even the score.” He then raised his lantern up, then glanced at what was up ahead.
“God Bo,” Min felt her stomach twist, the crash of the falling stacks of cars had gotten the attention of both her and Sam. They both came running, and now the reason why and the fact Bo nearly got squashed, made her blood turn to ice.
“We have to find that car, before Marty kills us all.”
Bo tucked the flashlight under his arm, and put both hands on her shoulders.
“It’s going to be okay Min, we’ll find that car. All we need to do is look for two cars standing straight up. Got that from Uncle Jesse himself, he said they made Marty a marker that’s right in front of the car. Soon as we find it, we’re home free.”
“You mean like that?”
Both Bo and Min looked up; Sam had wandered away from them. With only his lantern light as a guide, they moved to where he stood. Bo took his flashlight and flicked it on then raised it up. The beam traced up the underside of a pair of cars. He got to the top and saw the bumper of one, then the trunk of the other.
“Two upright cars.” Min whispered.
The three people than walked around the corner from the sculpture. Directly behind the buried nose of one sedan, sat what looked like a pile of burnt, blackened trash. Sam went over to the pile that sat about five feet high and about as long. He ran his fingers along what looked like a part of a door. Rubbing until he saw the glint of metal, Sam then wrapped his knuckles against it.
“Yeah, it’s a car.”
“And that must be the marker.” Min replied as she crouched down.
A small grey piece of sheet metal had been nailed to a wooden stack. The surface of the small metal square was surrounded by four moonshine jugs, each one filled with dusty, faded cloth flowers of every kind.
A huge grin came to Bo’s face, and he sighed audibly in relief.
“That’s it, we found it!”
******* ******* *******
“This will keep us safe till we hear from Bo, Sam and Min.” Dean brought the green bag out of the passenger side of the Impala. He squatted down and dug into the bag, then dug out a big square metal can.
“What’s that?” Luke sat on the hood of the pickup; he had taken out his pocket knife and whittled away at a small branch of a tree. Jesse sat in the open door of the driver side. He didn’t say a word, simply gazed at his watch.
“Salt, it keeps spirits away.”
“What is it Uncle Jesse?” Daisy stood next to him, she rubbed his shoulders gently.
“Nothing Daisy, just worried about your cousins. Don’t want them to get hurt.”
“They’ll be okay, you’ll see. Now don’t you worry.” She kissed his cheek and gave his shoulder a squeeze.
Daisy winked at her uncle, then moved around him. She also gave Luke’s knee a pat as she passed him then stood over Dean.
“More surprises in your bag of tricks?”
He looked up at her with a smile.
“You could say that.” He straightened up, showing her the shining metal can.
“Salt, not really a trick though.”
Her gaze flicked to the can he held. She put her hands on top of his.
“If it keeps us all safe, then it’s a lot more than just salt.”
Dean met Daisy’s hazel eyes. He saw her small smile that made her eyes light up, and he gripped the can’s handle harder.
“I uh, I better spread this salt.”
She nodded, then stretched up on her toes and kissed his cheek.
“Just my way of saying thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” Dean cleared his throat, then side stepped her. He unscrewed the lid and tipped the can over. He poured out the salt, and formed a circle of salt around the pickup truck.
“There, now unless the wind kicks up and blows the salt away, we’re protected.”
Replacing the lid, he recapped the can and set it on top of the truck’s hood.
“Think they’ll find the car?” Luke asked. He brought his knife close to his lips, and blew away some debris and dust from the blade.
“If anyone can find it, Sam can.”
“Uncle Jesse! Luke! This here’s Bo! We found it!”
Luke grinned as he snapped his knife closed and tucked it into the pouch on his belt.
“You sure called that one.” He slid off the hood, then went around to the open driver side door.
“Bo, was it where I said it was?” Jesse asked into the mic.
“Yes sir, right where you said.”
Daisy smiled as she heard her cousin, she too had worried they were in danger, but now hearing Bo’s voice put her at least partially at ease.
“So what comes next?” She directed the question at Dean.
“Salt and torch that car.”
“Only one small problem with that Dean.” Sam’s voice now came through the CB.
“Problem, what problem Sam? You’ve done this a hundred times before.”
“Uh…You have the salt.”
Dean’s green eyes widened; he turned to see the bag on the ground, then the can that sat atop the hood.
“Well yeah, but you got the other shotgun, and you grabbed a handful of bullets!”
“Guess I’m just worried it won’t be enough.”
“It’ll be plenty Sam, don’t worry.”
“Just do it Sam,” He checked his watch.
“If Casper is going to do something, it’ll be soon and the only thing keeping him away is a protective circle.”
While the Winchesters had their salt debate, Daisy moved away from the truck. The circle of salt that Dean had poured gave them a few feet of movement, but not much more beyond that.
“Daisy.” Luke turned to see his cousin wander away.
“Don’t leave the circle.”
“Things are quiet for now Luke; I don’t think he’s around.” She said over her shoulder to him.
“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean we need to invite trouble.” Luke went over to get her. Daisy stood on the edge of the circle, as soon as Luke got close to it, the air suddenly changed.
“Do you feel that?” She asked as he took a hold of her arm.
Luke looked around, he noticed how still and silent everything got, as if all the life had been sucked out the whole area.
“Yeah…” He said as he backed up, and took Daisy with him.
“This is how things felt before when Marty nearly grabbed me.” Jesse handed Dean the CB mic as he stepped down from the truck.
“Sam, you better hurry. I think Casper is about to appear.” He left the mic dangling over the half cranked window.
“We’re all right, long as we’re in the circle. He can’t get to us as long as its not broken.”
No sooner had the words left Dean’s mouth, the wind began to blow.
The three Dukes all turned slowly, their gaze fixed on Dean.
“Sammy, I hope you’re making with the salt and gas.” He whispered as the force of the wind began to grow. He caught a glimpse of the grains of salt beginning to blow away, and grabbed the can.
“If we run out of salt before Sam finishes burning…”
“We’re in trouble?” Luke finished the sentence.
“Yeah…” Dean whispered as he looked down at the metal can, wondering to himself how full it was.
******* ******* *******
“Sam!” Bo came running up with a few gas cans. He sat them down at Sam’s feet.
“Found these near the trailer, hope Old Man Guthrie don’t mind if we borrow them.”
“It’s for a good cause.” Crouched in front of the burnt car, Sam had a pile of white paper bullets at his feet. He tore open the makeshift ammo one by one and poured its contents into the can.
“Hope this is enough salt.”
“It has to be enough.”
Min stood over Sam watching him. She then shifted her attention to the charred remains of the car.
“Should Bo and I start dousing?”
“Not yet, I’m almost done.” Sam ripped open the last few bullets and emptied the salt into the can. He then dropped the paper shells, and straightened up.
“Sam! I hope you’re getting ready to burn!” Dean’s voice came over the CB that Bo had left sitting on the ground. He could tell from the tone that something was wrong.
“It’ll have to do! Start dousing!” Sam also grabbed a gas can and uncapped it. He first dumped the salt on the hood. He went around the side and dumped the right on the drive seat.
“Min, get the inside, the driver seat especially!” Sam called out to her as she picked up one of the gas containers.
“Okay Sam!” Her legs felt like gelatin as she moved to the wretched open door. She got a flash of Marty burning, and squeezed her eyes shut against it.
She spotted what remained of the driver seat, there was the frame, some bits of material and springs; the metal melted and twisted, the material charred beyond recognition.
“Min! Just douse it!” Bo’s shout startled her. She splashed some of the liquid directly on the ruined seat, then watched as the gas formed a puddle directly where Marty had sat.
Using all her can held, she stepped away from the car. Sam and Bo were done, they threw their cans aside. Sam retrieved his lighter and flicked it to flame.
“Rest in peace Marty.” He said as he tossed the lighter inside the front seat, it landed on what little material remained and instantly burst into flame.
******* ******* *******
“Dean! Over there!” Daisy pointed to the right edge of the circle. The wind at gale force now, Dean had been running around with his can of salt trying to keep the circle intact. He relied on the Dukes to help him. Now to make matters worse, the black Ford Fairlane appeared at the bottom of the hill, revving its engine.
“He can’t get to us!” Dean shouted over the force of the wind.
Uncle Jesse, Luke and Daisy were huddled together. The harder the wind blew, the tougher it was for Dean to maintain his vigilance over the salt.
“Uncle Jesse, I’m scared.” Daisy had her arms around his waist. She had her head against his chest.
“I know, but we’ll be all right.” Jesse had his hand on her head, gently patting it.
“We’re going to be fine.” Luke concurred, though when he and his uncle locked eyes, their gaze told a different story.
The sound of the revving engine grew louder; Dean turned and stopped dead in his tracks with the appearance of the black car just outside the circle. He motioned for the Dukes to back up.
“Get in the truck.” He said calmly, knowing that the truck’s frame would shield them.
“Dean…?” Daisy whispered as she slid inside, sitting between Luke and Uncle Jesse.
“If that car charges,” Jesse started to speak, but then shook his head slowly.
“Don’t talk like that Uncle Jesse!” Daisy spoke up.
“It’ll be okay Daisy.” Luke patted her back, then watched as Dean backed up one step at a time.
“Sam…” Dean whispered as the salt circle at his feet disappeared in a massive gust. He dropped the can, it landed right beside him with a metallic thud.
The Fairlane lurched at him, the revving of the engine now sounding more like a growl then man-made.
“Steady now boy, easy does it! Don’t want to start off our relationship on the wrong foot, do we?” Dean joshed, then started when his back hit the hood of the truck.
He watched as the black car backed up a few feet. He saw the driver behind the wheel, looking exactly as Uncle Jesse had described.
“So you’re Marty huh? Nice to meet you. Wish it was under better circumstances.”
The wheels of the Fairlane began to spin.
“Sam…” He said again as he watched Marty grasped the gear shift.
“Oh God! Uncle Jesse!” Daisy buried her head in his chest.
“I know Baby.” Jesse whispered, then flicked his gaze to Luke.
Dean closed his eyes, the engine noise drowning out everything else. He heard the distinct click of the engine as the gearshift clicked down. He took in a deep breath and held it, knowing any moment now the car would be on top of him. Marty smiled coldly at him as he put the car in drive and the Fairlane took off in a burst of speed. Dean met the gaze straight on, his jaw clenched. His heart pounded hard in his ear, the last sight he would ever see about to be the front of the hood.
Just as the car reared up to hit him, the car burst into flame.
Dean dove out of the way landing on his side. He watched as the fire engulfed the charging car. The three Dukes looked on, they watched as the car went from bright orange to black, then crumbled like burnt charcoal. The pile in front of the truck burst into powder, and simply blew away.
“Oh God! Sam! I take back everything bad I ever said about you!” Dean flopped over onto the ground, panting hard.
“Dean!” Daisy climbed over Luke; she stumbled out of the trunk, and ended up on her knees beside him.
“Sugar, are you all right?”
He grinned up at her and gave a sigh.
“Never better! Someone better call Sam; let him know we’re still alive.”
“I’ll do it.” Luke sighed in relief. He patted his uncle on the back as he went to use the CB.
******* ******* *******
“Let me see your pumpkins.” Min came into the kitchen carrying hers. She had the carved face turned away, not wanting to show anyone just yet.
The rest of the Dukes, plus Sam and Dean, all sat at the table.
“You know, we never really celebrated Halloween before?” Dean used a big spoon and scooped out pumpkin innards that he put in a big bowl in the center of the table.
Beside him, Sam nodded.
“Yeah, we never really have. I’ve always dreaded it.” He put the top on to his pumpkin. The front of it had a standard face, two triangle eyes, one round nose, and a jagged toothy smile.
“I know you boys have had lots of reason to not celebrate, but us Dukes see every holiday as being about family.”
“Never thought of it like that.” Sam said in reply.
“Maybe that’s because we really haven’t had much of one.” Dean added; he scooped more seeds and guts from the pumpkin.
“First our mom, and now our dad too.”
Daisy reached out and touched both Sam and Dean on the hand.
“Well you do now.”
“She’s right, you do now.” Min set her pumpkin down and turned it. The front of it had been carved with the 01 from the doors of the General Lee.
“Hey!” Luke laughed at the carving; he elbowed Bo in the side.
“We should get her to do the numbers the next time the General gets a touch up!”
“Yeah we should! That’s better than how Cooter does them!” Bo laughed.
“Thanks! That means a lot from you two.” Min went to the fridge and took out a pitcher of apple cider.
“Oh! Here let me get some glasses.” Daisy got enough glasses for everyone. She set one down near each person as Min poured the cider.
When the last glass was filled, Jesse stood up.
“We really want to thank you boys for what you did, and what Daisy said was right, anytime you need a home, you got one here.” He picked up his glass and raised it.
The brothers looked each other as the rest of the Dukes stood up and joined them, they too held up their cider.
“To friends and family.”
“Friends and family.”
Everyone repeated then touched glasses before they drank.