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The Immortal Writings of Nara Kagerou





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Title: Stull
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG
Characters: Sam
Summary: Post S3, Sam heads for Stull Cemetery, looking for a way to reach Dean.

Notes: Most Supernatural fans will already recognize the name Stull Cemetery, it's the reason Kripke chose Lawrence, Kansas in the first place. If you don't, look it up. Supposedly it's one of the most cursed places on earth, unholy ground, mouth of hell--fun stuff all around. An abandoned prairie graveyard with a gateway to hell. And for Sammy, in more ways than one--it's home.

Local legend has that it's unholy ground, the sprawling frontier cemetery home to so many mean, nasty spirits that at nights, the whole place glows red, like bad blood gone radioactive. They say that the preacher who came to settle this land built the church on top of the mouth of hell, ringed it round with protection and holy incantations, blessed the hell out of it over and over again, and it worked for six years, until he died, and no legend tells exactly how he died. The records all omit it, and the ones that didn't start blank were quickly erased, torn out, burned, smashed, whatever necessary to hide the truth of that man's death. That poor, poor man, Sam reads, finds the words in a diary so old the pages are already just fragments of dust in a plastic sleeve, and the plastic's so old that even it had turned yellow and rotting.

Stories say that after the preacher died, hell woke up and bubbled through, black evil coating the earth so thick that people died for five counties around, and the ones who didn't die wished they had. The town was abandoned, stayed abandoned, the nearest settlement was ten miles off, and even that was too close for comfort to the mouth of hell.

It seems like a good place to start, back to the start and heading straight up to the source. Seems like it'd be the most likely place where hell might doff it's hat and say, hello there, Sammy, sure took you long enough to find your way back home.

When he gets there, pulls the Impala into park and steps out, he almost laughs at himself, realized he was expecting something with lightning-blackened trees, ground so withered that nothing will grow, stones stained with blood and the echoing laughter of demons. He would have felt better for something out of a Hollywood movie, something that screamed unholy so loud it would make his eyes burn, make his scars itch, make that black demon blood in his veins run hot and hungry.

Instead, he just feels hot prairie dirt scuff under his boots, long grass swallowing up a quiet graveyard and the empty shell of a homestead church, sunbleached boards with the last sad speckles of whitewash clinging between grooves in the grain. A couple of white morning-glories bob their heads at him, quiet and mournful, white petals shot through with rose-red, like bursting blood veins under corpse-pale skin. There's a wire fence around the cemetery, to keep back the thrill-seekers and the misguided occultists, chain links bowed and bent in places by time, prairie winds and the kicks of frustrated ghost-hunters. These things don't stop Winchesters, and Sam barely slows to find a rock and smash the rusted lock until it drops off, letting him haul open the gates and step inside.

Dry grass whisks around his legs, pale skeletons of vegetation, and all through the grass Sam can hear mice scurrying away among the tangles of weeds, parched green leaves of the morning glories peeking out through the dessicated forest. A rattler hisses at him from somewhere to his left, but Sam ignores it.

It's peaceful here, quiet and sad, and it's nothing Sam would expect of cursed ground, just the long, empty stretches of prairie that he remembers from childhood, the endless plains of wheat and corn, but here it's just empty plains, only the bare ruins of a church abandoned so very, very long ago.

The door's long since gone, leaving behind only bent and rusted hinges, and the warped doorframe, walls leaning so far to the left that Sam has to stoop almost double to get through. Inside, the prairie light filters dusty through the broken slats of the walls, the patchwork hollows of the roof, and even though the walls are more air than wood, Sam blinks at the change in the light.

Sure doesn't seem like the mouth of hell, Sam thinks, can't help but think. Just seems like an abandoned prairie church, black stains from fire marking one wall. The pews are only long, flat heaps of wood at odd angles, like card-houses collapsed in and worn bare by the sun and rain. At the front of the church, the giant wooden cross--two rough-hewn beams hammered together--lies on its side, as if collapsed in exhaustion. The place feels abandoned, as if no human has stepped foot within for two hundred years. Sam's been in abandoned places before, and one gets used to the detritus of humanity cluttering up even the lonely skeletons of a building--spray-painted obscenities, abandoned beer cans, the burrowed, rag-littered nest of a passing drifter. None of that here, not even an invasion of field mice crouching among the pews.

Empty, all but one man by the altar, one six-foot figure in a low-slung hat and a leather jacket. For a moment, Sam's heart skitters, the way it always does when he sees a six-one man, a particular haircut, full lips, a cocky grin, any shade of green eyes. He finds himself looking for Dean among strangers, and he knows that he's not coping, not moving on, because he hasn't even gotten past denial, even though he knows that Dean's body is on ice at Bobby's. He still thinks he's going to turn a corner and see Dean smirking at him, ragging on him for being late.

Step by step, he walks up the aisle, like his heart's not beating so hard he's going to have bruises on his ribs. The figure turns, and for a moment, all he sees are sharp cheekbones, smirking lips, and vivid green eyes, until the face settles and he doesn't recognize it. He braces himself, because he's brought himself here for whatever it takes. He can kick ass, he can make deals, he can cast spells and take risks and send himself tumbling down to Hell after Dean. Whatever it takes, he's ready.

"Hello, Sammy," says the stranger, the one with Dean's smirk on his lips, even if they're the wrong lips, tipping his hat in greeting. "Welcome home."
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