Sarah rolled her eyes, “That’s what you always say.”
“Of course it’s what I always say. I say it because it’s true!” Dean struggles to keep his voice low, glancing around from side to side nervously. His shadow is lanky and stretched across the ground in the bright moonlight.
“Yeah yeah yeah.” Sarah finishes tying her dark hair back, focused on the fence in front of her. “Go home then.” She’s stocky, strong as she grasps at the chain-link fence and begins to pull herself upwards.
“I’m not leaving you out here to get kidnapped.” Dean retorts and circles a bit more nervously, eyebrows knitted together in concern. “Look, can’t we do this some other day?”
“Why not today?” Sarah replies with a grin, looking down at Dean, already having scaled four feet up the tall fence.
“Well it’s dark for one!” Dean gives a small noise, glancing around as he quickly lowers his voice again, “And you’re going to get caught. These guys aren’t going to be nice to you if they’re at all like what you think they are.”
“All the more reason for me to look. If they’re nice, we’ll get let off.” She continues climbing up with ease. “Coming or not?” Dean nervously paces back and forth as she covers a bit more distance up the fence before hurriedly racing to follow her.
“We do nothing stupid. Promise me that.” Dean demands as he climbs.
“Sure, whatever.” Sarah replies, laying the thick blanket she had looped over and around her bag and body on top of the barbed wire edging the fence.
“Saraaaah.” Dean whines as she begins across it and down the other side.
“Hey, that’s all you’re getting from me on this. Think of it as one of your little D&D adventures.” She giggles at the thought as he scowls, getting past the halfway point quickly in an attempt to catch up.
“There’s a difference. I play a Wizard who shoots fireballs in a D&D game. I don’t see fireballs coming from my hands any time soon, do you? And the other part is that none of it is real!” He grumbles more as he continues climbing.
“Well this is a real-life adventure then. If you want, I’ll even say you helped me with the article.”
“I don’t want my name on that.” Dean begins over the blanket and down the other side.
“Suit yourself.” Sarah drops to the ground with a small thump and brushes her hands off, looking around eagerly and looking almost disappointed when nothing happens.
“What, did you think that the world was magically going to change the second we hopped the fence?” Dean questions, continuing to climb down hurriedly.
“No.” Sarah claims but begins to walk off, relying on the moonlight for seeing.
“Sarah, wait!” Dean calls quietly after her, hurrying a bit more and falls from the fence to the ground with a loud noise, scrambling up with a wince. A short run has him caught up with her, heart hammering in his chest.
“Isn’t this exciting?” Sarah asks with a light tone to her voice after a couple minutes of walking.
“If by exciting, you mean terrifying, then yes.” Dean replies, voice hushed to just above a raspy whisper while his eyes scan the area. His body was completely tensed, glancing from point to point with any noise.
“You’re such a downer.” Sarah chuckles as they continue along and deeper into the woods, brushing off his worries. It only makes him panic internally more the more blasé she is about the whole situation and he pauses, watching her continue onward.
“We should head back.” He’s quiet as he speaks, feeling a nervous pit gnawing at him. She looks back at him, blond hair looking ash-colored in the moonlight and he can barely make out the frown appearing on her face.
“I am not going back. I need this story.” Her voice feels too loud for the silence of the thin forest, making him wince visibly. They continue onward without incident though, reaching a brightly lit building surrounded by a small forest of trees. There are sounds of people but no signs of them whenever they manage to look through a window, only hints.
“They know we’re here.” Dean warns in a whisper, Sarah bats at his face to warn him to shut up however with a deep scowl and begins to search for a way in. There’s a basement window that’s easily jimmied open between the two of them, and after a lot of ‘begging’ and ‘pleading’ on Sarah’s part for Dean to help her or she would kill him.
“I don’t care if it’s breaking and entering.” She hisses at him one last time as she slides through the open window into the dimly lit room below, landing with a small noise. Dean considers it for a second until he hears her again, “Get the fuck down here.” He glances around again before slowly making his way through the window, tall enough that his feet brush the ground when he’s holding on with his fingertips.
Sarah’s hiding behind a set of crates, her video recorder out from her bag and a little red light saying that it was recording, gesturing for him to join her with that excited gleam in her eyes. He joins her, ducked down carefully and moving silently, even though he’s sure that whoever was in the room could hear his heart hammering in his chest. There’s some shuffling paired with low, intonations on the other side of the stacked up crates as Sarah records without really looking. Dean instead looks at the stamps on the crates until she taps him on the shoulder.
“I need a better view. Stay here.” Sarah mouths with very faint noise and Dean’s eyes widen, rapidly shaking his head.
“No no no no no.” He mouths it over and over but she simply grins and stealthily bounds from group to group of stacked up items and boxes. If Dean didn’t know better, he’d guess that someone was moving their house along with someone else’s. She finally stops behind a short pile as his heart races even faster, sweating heavily.
The figures are moving carefully, candles in danger of catching the long, flowing clothing on fire with each movement that they make. He supposes that a group of devil worshippers in the town would be a good story for Sarah’s paper. But there was rumor of human sacrifice and he didn’t see anyone in the middle of the obvious circle on the ground. Sarah grins back at him and he gestures for her to come back and join him again.
Instead, she returns her attention to recording. He wants to scream and yell at her but that wouldn’t help get them out of here. There’s more movement and he glances up to see that the group is bringing an unconscious, young child to the area. Dean feels his heart drop through the floor and himself paling. Sarah is even staring openly at what’s going on. He hadn’t actually believed that the rumors could be true.
But if they would kill a child, imagine what they’d do to the two of them. He had to get them out of here before they were noticed. *But the kid…* He can only watch as they draw the child to the center of the ring and watch Sarah record the whole thing. His fingers dig into the crates and he looks down at them again, looking confused as he reads the listing on the side. His face twists into horror and he attempts to get Sarah’s attention. She looks surprised at him, mouthing ‘what’ over the distance separating them. He points at the boxes, almost jamming his finger into them more than once. She peers at what he’s doing before looking at the boxes in front of her, confusion showing before she pales.
There was a name of a missing person paired with a list of belongings and a small stamp stating ‘rejected’ in tall, red letters. Among some of the personal effects on the box were listed gold fillings for teeth, wallets, pictures, keys and some clothing. The most disturbing item however was an urn, listed in the same place on each box. He can see Sarah making sure to get shots of the listings on some of the boxes in front of her, her head bobbing as she looks up and down between the cultists and the boxes. Dean’s fingers dig more into the boxes, watching the cultists in paranoia of them seeing her.
Sarah was finally beginning to look like she had a point for coming out here that was actually valid for once. He couldn’t argue against her after this, she’d just bring up this and he’d follow her to the ends of the Earth as her conscience. The candles flaring a little draw his gaze to them and he feels a chill at watching them sway in the lack of a breeze. Sarah returns the camera up to where it can see the cultists, face pale even from where Dean is watching her and the group.
The low chanting continues until one male voice grows louder speaking above it, “We give you a gift. A return to this world if it pleases you, if it’s frail form will hold you. If it does not, let it burn.” Dean swallows thickly at the statements; his eyes glued on the group of cultists as the candles flicker more, the child in the midst of the group. *Please don’t kill them. Please don’t kill them.* The child’s eyes open slowly before a scream bursts from their lips, not male or female but simply inhuman. The cultists stay where they are but a few shake their heads as the chants slowly begin to die away.
The child’s body is consumed by flames impossibly fast, leaving the clothing and the small necklace they had been wearing on the ground with no marks on them. Dean’s head spins as he attempts to pull air into his burning lungs, having been holding his breath, looking to Sarah in worry again. She’s staring at the group, having caught the entire thing on video, mouth hanging open. *Physics does not allow for that. We need to leave this place, now.* She glances back to him and seems to follow his train of thought, beginning to move to return.
“Little mouse.” The man’s voice is cool and measured and Dean’s heart skips a beat. Sarah stares at Dean, clutching her camera tightly before one hooded figure attempts to grab her. He gets a fist in his face and she springs away, shaking her head at Dean’s movement to help her. The camcorder skids across the ground as she shoves things and throws other things at the cultists and Dean grabs it, holding it to his chest, the red light showing it to still be recording his tiny whispers of “oh god oh god oh god” over and over again. His back is to the crates and he looks at the window with some hope. Maybe she’d get out.
A scream of anger and fear drowns his small hope, and he glances up long enough to see them dragging and pulling her to the center. Dean pauses for a second before lifting the camcorder to record. Sarah spits and bites and kicks viciously until a blow to the head drops her unconscious and she’s dropped into the center.
“I believe we have enough for a second attempt tonight.” The man states, rubbing at his elbow. “A fit specimen, maybe a body good enough to handle the stress, though of the wrong gender.” He sneers a little and Dean continues recording, biting back his rage, closing his eyes tightly to fight off tears. He couldn’t do anything but record as they started up the same ritual as with the child. It takes longer and longer, the chanting beginning to drive him insane before Sarah simply sits up and he begins to make to call to her. The gasps of the cultists override his tiny voice as she opens her eyes and belts a scream out, body trembling.
When she looks up the second time, she has horns, wings, and bright yellow eyes that seem to glow in the darkness of the room like the candles. Dean’s voice dies as cold fear overtakes him and the cultists bow down to her as she takes her feet, a very un-Sarah-like smile on her face.
He flees out the window, the camcorder still on to record her looking up at him leaving. The window’s frame scratches his arm open as he struggles out and onto the wet grass. He scrambles up to his feet, blades of grass and dirt sticking to his hands and jeans, beginning to run back the way that they had come in. The camcorder still held tight in his hand and still records as he races towards the fence.
“Deaaaan.” Sarah’s voice makes him trip and stagger, the camcorder flying out of his hand. She’s standing nearby, smiling cruelly as her eyes glow in the darkness. It looks like she floats as she heads towards him, the bat-like wings beating the thick air slowly. Her skin looks like it’s turning rancid, like she’s infected with something. “You’d leave me behind?” Her voice lilts and twists like someone wringing a towel out.
“You’re not Sarah.” It’s all he can manage out, backing away and attempting to get to his feet, searching for the camcorder. Instead, he finds a large rock under his hand. She bounds at him and he dodges out of the way as she hits the ground where he had been. He scrambles over, landing heavily on her, a wing slicing his cheek open as he attempts to pin her down.
“I’ll kill you!” She screams, voice sending shivers up and down his spine. Dean brings the rock down on her head and she attempts to claw at him with long nails, wings still fluttering. “I’ll rip you to pieces!” He brings the rock down again, attempting to hold his tears back. She gives a loud inhuman scream and gurgle and he brings the rock down again. Her body twitches as he brings it down the fourth time and collapses over her, tears running down his face.
“Shit… shit… shit… I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I couldn’t… I didn’t do… anything…” Dean pulls himself to his feet and searches for the camcorder, finding that it had fallen to be focused on what he had just done. He takes a few deep breaths before looking at Sarah’s fallen body, still distorted with wings and horns and claws, clutching the camera between his hands with the lens focused on her. He turns and takes off towards the fence again, this time covered in cuts and with her blood splattered over his clothing.
The climb over the fence is nerve-racking and panic driven as he hears voices and sees lights flashing through the thin trees. The camcorder dangles off his wrist again, actually tied in place this time as he uses the blanket to hop over the barbed wire alone. He pulls it down with him as he climbs down the opposite side and runs for the police station.
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