Summary: Sam and Dean find themselves trapped on a moving train with over a hundred deadly ghosts and manifestations.
by: Seriously Sam
Camden, South Carolina
Beams of three flashlights swept across the old railroad car. Boxes and crates were piled up along one side and cobwebs hung from the corners, some sweeping from the ceiling across to the opposite wall. The car was drafty and sent chills up the three teenagers' spines. The kids were seventeen and sixteen, two boys and one girl, respectively. The boys wore lettermen jackets from the local high school as they cautiously entered the car, the girl trailing hesitantly behind them.
The first boy pushed back a strand of chestnut hair that fell into his eyes; the beam of light flashed towards the right to where a large cobweb occupied with a spider hung. Waving the flashlight as though it were a baton, the boy destroyed the web and stomped down on the frantic arachnid.
"Kyle, Todd, can we please just leave?" the girl pleaded as she crossed her arms protectively over her chest.
The beam of light highlighted the ceiling as she stood as close to the second boy as humanly possible. Her hand shot out several times to her blonde hair to make sure she didn't walk into any creepy crawlies.
"Olivia, please, calm down," the boy closest to her responded in annoyance. "We're here to see some ghosts. You wanted to tag along."
"I never thought you'd bring me here, Kyle!" she shrieked. "You know what's been happening here lately!"
Olivia raised her arm and swept her flashlight across the train car. Somehow, the boys had convinced her to come with them. She didn't know exactly why she agreed to come, perhaps out of curiosity? It was rumored the train car was haunted, but that wasn't the scariest bit of information in her mind. People were winding up dead in the train car after messing around the train tracks. Dead. Now, these two morons had dragged her out here in the middle of the night to investigate the deaths like they were professional ghost hunters.
"Yo, Casper and his little friends! Come out and play!" Todd shouted as the light swept across the train car once more. "I'll give you a Scooby Snack if you do!"
The door to the train quickly slammed shut behind them, causing all three teenagers to jump. All three raced towards the door and tried to pry it back open. It was no use. The door was stuck and wouldn't be opening anytime soon… if at all. The flashlights flickered on and off until they were surrounded by darkness. The fear was thick and palpable in the air. Hearts started to beat faster, heavy breathing echoed through the car.
The low hum of instrumental music started to play as the train lurched forward. It slowly started to pick up speed, chugging down the tracks to God only knew where. The lights flickered to life above the teenagers, who blinked frantically to adjust to the unexpected brightness.
The train car was no longer covered in boxes and cobwebs; it had somehow transformed drastically within the last minute.
The place was decked out as a dinning car. There were tables covered in the finest linens and set with the finest china and crystal glasses. It was bright, cheerful. The door at the opposite end of the car swung open, and a mass of people dressed in clothing that looked like it came from the 1800's swept in. Looking down at herself, Olivia noticed that she too, was now dressed in old style clothing. A bell-shaped dress with lace and petticoat had replaced her tattered jeans and favorite AC/DC t-shit, and her scuffed sneakers were now black leather boots that laced up past her ankles.
"Holy crap," whispered Olivia as her hand fumbled for Kyle’s.
"My Olivia was such a sweet girl… she'd never snoop around private property."
Dean glanced up from his notepad to look at the grieving mother. Setting his jaw, he glanced towards his brother; Sam's eyes were flickering to each of the pictures on the fireplace mantel. Each held a young girl with curly blonde hair and blue eyes was always smiling into the camera. The images varied from dance, to drill team, to a student council. She was the average teenage girl whose life had been cut drastically short.
Olivia Harris and her friends were not the first people to wind up dead in Camden. Dean feared that unless they figured out the case as quickly as possible, they wouldn't be the last either. The fact that people were dying wasn't that big of a shock. The brothers had seen their fair share of death in their lifetime. The way these people were murdered was just barbaric, unnatural.
"The police said they… they found her body all mu-mutilated," the woman sobbed out. "My baby girl! My beautiful baby girl!"
"I'm sorry for your loss, Ms. Harris," Dean spoke softly as he glanced up at the shaking mother. "Any information you could give us though, would help ensure we get the people who did this to your daughter."
"My partner and I will do whatever we can to find this monster," Sam spoke up as he walked over to the pair. "Monsters like this… they don't deserve to live."
The mother looked up, tears cascading down her rosy cheeks. She clenched a handkerchief tightly in her fist as her eyes traveled wistfully over the pictures of her daughter. Dean glanced up at his brother impatiently. He didn't like watching the mother grieve. He wanted to be out in the field and hunt down this sonofabitch.
"What can you tell us about the other boys she was with?" pressed Dean. "Anything unusual about them?"
"Kyle was Olivia's boyfriend, and Todd was Kyle's best friend. They seemed like such nice boys. The three of them were always together." Dean nodded, a soft smile gracing his features.
"What do you know about the train car where they were found? Anything you can tell us about that?"
"What?" Ms. Harris asked in shock. "The train car? You're asking about the stupid train while there's a psycho out there murdering people and le-leaving them in some dirty, abandoned place?"
"Thank you for your time, Ms. Harris," Sam interrupted quickly. "We'll be in touch."
The brothers walked out of the house, neither daring a glance back at the sobbing mess on the couch. Dean dug in his pockets for the keys to the Impala as they descended the porch steps.
"What the hell? You think this is a demon or just a vengeful spirit?" Dean questioned as he unlocked the Impala and eased into the driver's seat. The engine roared to life as he glanced over at his brother hauling his frame into the car.
"Uh, I dunno yet. The killings started a month ago. The train was transporting some cargo when all the workers died on the train, their bodies were found mutilated. Now, anyone who goes to visit this train at night, winds up the same way."
"You look up the history of this train?"
"Uh, it used to be an old passenger train in the 1800s," Sam sighed. "The library would probably have a more detailed dossier on the actual train."
"Dossier?" asked Dean in an amused voice. "Geek."
They'd been in the library shifting through records, old newspapers, anything for hours. Dean was growing bored; he never exactly liked the whole research part of the gig, downright hated it actually. It was more Sam's thing. He could spend his whole life in a library researching and be perfectly content. Dean needed to be doing something productive, needed to be out fighting… killing something.
Dean had stopped researching all together and found himself watching Sam, trying to sense if something was wrong with his brother. There’d been too many instances lately with Sam and his whacky destiny coming into play; and the worry for his brother was only growing. Sam, however, did nothing but shift through document after document, completely focused on the job at hand.
"Uh, wait, I think I got something. We're dealing with spirits," Sam spoke softly across the table as he tossed a yellowed newspaper to his brother. "Listen to this, on January 10, 1808, there was a murder committed on a passenger train. Twenty-year-old Elizabeth Marks was killed from blunt force trauma to the head. Passengers were upset and… Jesus, they started their own Spanish Inquisition on the train. They started torturing people for information on who killed Elizabeth. Thirty-three died before the train reached its destination, all of the bodies were mutilated."
"So, we're dealing with a murder on the Orient Express then? Awesome," commented Dean dryly as he glanced over the article. "Did they find the murderer on the train?"
"Dunno. I do know that on January 10, 2008 there was a mass killing on a cargo train. Everyone was killed, mutilated - sound familiar? Guess where they're storing the cargo train now?"
"Right here in Camden, South Carolina." Dean laughed. "You think it’s the same train?"
"I'm sure the train went through a few upgrades, but I'm willing to bet this is it."
"Well, looks like we have our night planned out… unless you just want to burn the whole thing?"
"We're not burning a train, Dean!"
That night, Sam and Dean stepped inside the train car, disregarding the yellow police tape; their shotguns filled with rock salt, at the ready. They surveyed the train car; noting the blood splatters on the walls and floor, the boxes stacked neatly along one wall and the cobwebs that hung, undisturbed, from the ceiling.
A light flickered on, a straight beam of light blinding the brothers. The ray of light dropped to their chests; and there stood Ruby, a shit-eating grin plastered across her face. Her arms were crossed lazily over her chest as the torch hung loosely from her fingertips.
"What the hell are you doing here?" snapped Dean.
"Hunting. How about you?"
"What? You a Ghostbuster now?"
Ruby merely shrugged as she looked around the car with little interest. The brothers shared a look of disbelief; Ruby only seemed to appear when demons were involved. They had never seen her hunting anything other than a demonic force. Why she was working a job involving some sadistic spooks was beyond them. In fact, it was downright suspicious.
"We don't work well with others, sweetheart," Dean said smugly. "Why don't you and your black eyes treat yourself at the local bar while the real hunters do their job.”
"If I saw any real hunters, then I’d let them go about their business."
Dean let out a sarcastic laugh, ready to snap back with some snarky remark when the train door closed behind them with a loud clunk. Ruby's flashlight flickered for several seconds before the three found themselves left in complete darkness.
The whistle blew loudly as the train slowly started chugging down the tracks.
Soft instrumental music hummed above them as the lights of the car burst back to life. The train car had transformed into a grand dinning room. The doors at the far end of the car burst open and a herd of people piled into the room laughing and talking.
That's when Dean noticed the clothing. The men were dressed in short-waisted coats with long tails attached to them. Frilled shirts were tucked neatly underneath the coats with a band of linen swath tucked neatly around their necks. Breeches covered their legs with stockings showing from the knees down.
The women were dressed in long gowns down to their ankles with puffy shoulders - some of the younger women had sleeves that hung loosely off the shoulders. Several of the women wore large hats on their heads with tight curls peaking out from underneath the fabric.
That's when Dean's eyes wandered over to Ruby; she was clad in a round, fitted cream dress. Her hair was bunched up on her head in tight curls with a small hat situated off to the right side and white gloves adorned her hands.
"Son of a bitch," Dean muttered as he dared to look over at his brother.
The shotguns had disappeared as well as their clothes. Sam was dressed in a tailed jacket, a frilly top, and breeches. Hell, he even had on a pair of tights. By the look Sam was giving him, Dean figured that he was suffering the same fashion statement.
"You gotta be kidding me!"
Looking down, Dean noted his buckled shoes, tights, breeches, frilly top, and tailed jacket. He grabbed the swath of fabric around his neck angrily and threw it onto the ground. His jaw set furiously, as he noticed Ruby snickering at them from across the room.
"Please tell me we aren't decked out in Charles Dickens attire," commented Sam as he watched the very much corporeal ghosts walk about the car.
Dean’s jaw clenched tighter, like wire tying his mouth shut. Ruby passed through the crowd looking smug as she hitched up her dress in order to walk more smoothly. She stopped short of them, letting the ruffled dress drop down to her ankles. Her arms folded across her chest, she let out a chuckle.
"Don't you two look dashing," she said with a smirk.
"You do know that this doesn't make you a whore of a witch again, right?" snapped Dean. "You're still a demon skank despite the clothes."
"Are your knickers a little too stiff, or is it the tights?"
Stepping forward, Dean made a motion to hurt the demon in front of him, but Sam grabbed him by the elbow, tugging his brother away from Ruby. Who knew what the ghosts would do if they saw Dean attack what looked like an ordinary girl? Especially with the information they had on Elizabeth's murder. Dean jerked out of Sam's grasp and ambled away from the pair, fuming. He made his way through the mass of corporeal ghosts to investigate.
"I've wanted to talk to you for awhile. You said you could save Dean," Sam whispered.
Sam pulled Ruby through the throng of ghosts in the opposite direction of where Dean was going. He'd been waiting for a couple weeks to talk to Ruby alone about Dean's deal. He suspected that any sort of deal made, any soul sent to Hell, would only create a demon. After everything that happened with the damn book club of witches, Sam feared the worst. The urge to talk to Ruby had only intensified after Dean actually admitted he didn't want to die, didn’t want to spend eternity in the pit.
"Why haven't you done anything yet? We know about you being a witch before your deal was sealed. Are you going to use witchcraft to save him?" pressed Sam.
Ruby jerked her arm out of Sam's grasp and crossed her arms over her chest once more as she glared up at the man. Sam could tell something was off, as though she were trying to pick between the lesser of two evils. Her eyes trailed off him, something behind him catching her attention. Sam whipped around to see his brother twitching uncomfortably in the nineteenth century clothes.
"Good things come to those who wait, Sam," she finally said.
"No, you don't understand," protested Sam as he turned to face her. "There's a new big bad demon coming to play. Dean and I need to stop it."
Sam was seething, anger building up inside of him. There was something deep down inside of him that screamed that Ruby was a liar. If she could have saved Dean, they wouldn't be having this conversation. He wouldn't be worrying day in and day out about his brother's survival. They could concentrate on the war at hand, battle to defeat the demon armies.
"Do you know who holds his contract?" pressed Sam. "Do you even know a damn thing or have you just fed me false hope for months?"
"You know, you're really starting to piss me off," hissed Ruby. "I've done nothing but save your sorry asses time and again. And this is the thanks I get?"
The words of rebuttal clenched in Sam's throat. Dean would have been dead by now if it wasn't for Ruby. His lungs would have been coughed up on dingy motel floor while Sam was off being pulsated through a wall.
"Did you lie to me? Can you save Dean or not?"
"I'm working on it. It's not an easy thing to do - saving someone from Hell." Ruby sighed. "You know, if you weren't so tall, I wouldn't be going out of my way."
Sam nodded to himself, so very aware that trying to find a loophole to save Dean was the hardest thing he had ever done in his life. It felt like he had been through every resource on the matter. Hours were spent in Bobby's house painstakingly going through his hundreds of books. He had read 'Doctor Faustus' more times than he cared to count. He spent long night sipping coffee and searching through webpage after webpage. And nothing. He’d found zilch on how to save his big brother from going to Hell, to being damned for eternity.
"Well," Dean announced his presence next to Sam, "what do you say we kick some spook ass and get the hell out of these funky costumes?"
Dean jerked his arms and shook his legs. The clothing was more than a little uncomfortable after wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a leather jacket for the duration of his life. Ruby just scoffed before hitching up her long dress and storming away from the brothers.
"What's her problem? PMS’ing or somethin'?"
Sam just sighed at his brother's comment, refusing to further indulge the older hunter. Clearing his throat, Sam glanced around the train car packed with ghosts. They had never seen anything like it - ghosts manipulating the space around them in such a drastic way. The train car must have looked exactly like it did two centuries ago when the murders took place. It was eerie to say the least.
"What do we do?" questioned Dean. "See, I told you we should have just burned the whole freakin' thing to the ground."
"We gotta get out of here before the end of the night, or we’ll wind up flayed like the rest of the victims."
"Okay, how are we going to do that, College Boy?"
The brothers glanced at each other. The train door was sealed shut, and they knew that all of the other doors would fail to open as well. Whatever was keeping the spirits attached to the train was not material, as all evidence would have disappeared in the two hundred year span. They had no way of salting and burning the bones either. They had wandered into the train ill prepared. They never would have guessed they'd be trapped on the train going across country.
"What if we have to find out whodunit?" suggested Sam.
"So what? You're saying we have to find Colonel Mustard with the candlestick?" questioned Dean with raised eyebrows.
"It could be anyone from Miss Scarlett to Professor Plum. We have no idea who the murderer is."
Dean cast a sideways glance at his brother that clearly read come on, Man! He shook his head and let a long sigh escape his lips. Sometimes, Dean believed that his brother was the nerdiest person to ever walk the earth.
"Freak," he muttered under his breath.
"What I don't get is what Ruby is doing here," Sam quickly changed the subject. "Her deal is with demons. Why go on a spirit hunt?"
"Maybe she missed her clothes from once upon a time. Jesus, look at the fugly fashion statements being made. Who the hell would wear crap like this?"
"Should we ask her for help?"
The last thing either one of them wanted was to be even more indebted to Ruby. She had saved their lives more times than they cared to admit. Neither one of them wanted to give Ruby any more satisfaction, to let her believe that they wanted her around. They were supposed to be using her, not the other way around.
"Whatever, dude," sighed Dean.
They sauntered reluctantly towards Ruby; whether they liked it or not, they were stuck on the train together, so they might was well use her to their advantage while they were at it. It was the only logical thing to do in the situation – well, that's what Dean kept telling himself.
"You know, by the end of the night, we're all going to die so we might want to work together to stop the Orient Express from fulfilling its destiny," Dean said bluntly.
"Actually, I won't be dying when the night’s through," Ruby said smugly. "Demon. Immortal except for when shiny old guns shoot a bullet into me."
"Why the hell are you even here?" questioned Dean, his temper flaring. "You like offing fellow black-eyed skanks; haunted ghost trains really don't seem to be your thing."
"You two have been classic damsels in distresses lately, so someone has to watch your backs."
"Sam and I don't need your help, okay? And we sure as hell don't need you thinking we need to be saved. We've done fine our whole lives without some freakin' demon helping us out."
"Really? Because it seems like you two can't even cross the road without someone holding your hand!"
"You know, I haven't called you a bitch since you've asked me to stop calling you a bitch. So stop callin' me freakin' retarded and incompetent, you freakin' bitch!"
"Oh, I'm sorry," Ruby's voice dripped with sarcasm, "I didn't realize you skipped your nap today, Short Bus."
"Enough!" snapped Sam. "We need to work together or Dean and I are dead by the end of the night!"
Sam stepped between the pair, hoping to stop the brewing disagreement and get on with the hunt. Ruby and Dean stared daggers at each other, obviously not wanting to work with the other.
"Yeah, because we gotta find Madame Peach," Dean said sarcastically.
"It's Madame R- never mind. Look. We know the first murder victim was a twenty-year-old girl. She was found in a train compartment all by herself. Cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head."
"Okay, so it's the candlestick in the train compartment. Let's find whodunit."
"You know, Postie and Ralph, why don't we just go watch the murder happen?" announced Ruby with her arms crossed protectively over her chest. "That would be sorta logical… or whatever."
"As soon as we get the Colt back from that bitch Bela, I'm shooting that smartass demon skank in-between the freakin' eyes," Dean muttered to his brother.
"You know I can hear you right?" she questioned. "You're not that bright, are you?"
Dean grabbed his brother by the arm and started to drag him towards another train car to watch the murder happen when a loud wail of a scream wafted into the room. The ghosts stopped talking, stopped moving. All eyes were on the door to the car when they burst open to reveal another ghost covered in blood and screaming bloody murder. The brothers groaned. Of course, it wouldn't be that easy.
"Harriet!" a male ghost shouted as he rushed forward. "What happened?"
"Elizabeth! My baby girl! Sh-she's been murdered!"
"Sonofabitch! So much for that idea," retorted Dean bitterly.
Before the brothers knew what was going on, the doors to the train compartment were locked and guarded. Nobody was to leave the room until the murderer was discovered. Several ghosts left the car to track down every other being on the train. Sam, Dean, and Ruby were stuffed in the back of the compartment as over a hundred corporeal ghosts whispered frantically in the room.
"They don't know they're dead," Sam whispered. "It's like Molly all over again. Remember that?"
"I don't think they're all ghosts," commented Dean. "I think that only about thirty of them are ghosts and the rest are just a manifestation of the ghosts' memories of that night, just like the dinning car doesn't really look like this."
"I never heard of a ghost doing something so… drastic."
"Yeah, remember that X-Files episode? The Christmas one where the dead couple made Mulder and Scully see things that weren't really there? Who knew a show about aliens could be so accurate about ghosts, huh?"
Sam didn't respond but knew exactly what his brother was talking about. They had watched the show every week together, barely missing an episode. Sam watched as a small group of men and women formed together near the door. Malice filled their eyes as the group surveyed the crowd as though looking for anyone looking suspicious in any way, shape, or form.
And the brothers didn't know where exactly to go from there. They could hunt down a supernatural being - a spook, demon, whatever - without much thought. To find a murderer on the train within a couple of hours? They'd never really tried it before, and Dean was starting to doubt if they could actually pull this off.
The people on the train were just a mixture of faceless strangers with no names. Sam and Dean couldn't even begin to separate them into some sort of categories before the torturing started. A guy in the corner, one who was kinda fidgety and nervous looking, was bombarded by a posse of men. He was grabbed under the armpits and dragged out of the train compartment kicking and screaming. His yells and cries vibrating through the walls and echoing throughout the train.
The whole thing was so barbaric that the brothers even started to doubt that this was how it all went down two hundred years ago. The group would move on to person after person, grabbing them, hauling them off, torturing them, and eventually killing them. And all in the name of some form of warped justice.
They had tried to talk to the ghosts in the room, the manifestations, but they were mostly tight-lipped out of fear and anxiety as they watched the events unfold before them. Six out of the thirty-three were already dead again, and time was slowly dwindling away.
The whole situation made Dean and Sam uncomfortable. They had tried to block out the screams of agony and simply work the job. As the time wore on, the fear in the car became palpable, they were finding it increasingly harder to do their job properly.
"We gotta get to the body," Sam insisted.
"What good would looking at a dead ghost girl do us?" whispered Dean. "We already know the cause of death, and we know exactly what's going to keep happening unless we find the murderer. Even then, Sammy, I'm not convinced that this whole situation will turn out to be a pile of roses. These spirits are seriously pissed off, and it doesn't help that they don't have enough closure to just stop reliving this day."
"Your dick work sucks," announced Ruby. "Stop trying to talk to the ghosts and go investigate already."
"Oh, yeah, let's go investigate because getting out of this room is so damn easy. Forget about the homicidal ghosts or manifestations guarding the door. We can just mosey on out of here and find the culprit. No problem," Dean snapped with sarcasm dripping off his words.
The screaming in the next compartment ceased as the small gang of do-gooders surveyed the train car for their next victim. Blood splatters covered their once neatly pressed shirts. Their tail-jackets were discarded. They were starting to slide perfectly into their roles as murderers of the innocent.
"So little Elizabeth's mom is in cahoots with the serial killers," commented Dean. "Who's the other chick?"
He jutted his chin towards the small group conversing. The mother was gripping hands with a young man while the other arm was wrapped around a girl's thin shoulders. She didn't seem phased at the horrific events taking place. In actuality, she seemed bored by the whole show. She was the only one in the room who looked the least affected by the turn of events.
"Uh, sister? Best friend? We can always go ask her?"
"And move up on the list of torturing fun? I'm game." Dean paused. "As soon as they pick their next victim, I'll go turn on the charm with make-believe girl."
They were only waiting a couple minutes before the group had decided on their next victim to question and then murder. They heaved the struggling man through the compartment doors, slamming it shut once fully inside.
Dean strolled forward as he tried to ignore the old-fashioned clothes irritating his body in more ways than he could imagine. The ghost girl was younger than Sam was, perhaps in her early twenties. As Dean swaggered forward, he forced his most charming smile on his face. He'd have to turn on the charm as high as it could go in order to get the information he needed.
"Pretty brutal stuff going on, huh?"
The girl turned around, her eyebrows furrowed as she took in Dean. Clearing her throat, she stood up straighter and ran her hands along the ruffled dress.
"Yes, you could say that. My best friend was just murdered and no one on the train will admit they were the one to kill her."
"But, hey, you got some relatives and friends torturing guys until they confess, right? That's gotta be a plus."
Though Dean chuckled, the girl in front of him didn't even crack a smile. She looked annoyed beyond anything else. That's when Dean noticed there was no sadness, grief, despair, in her features or body language. She simply looked annoyed and frustrated by the entire process of finding the murderer of her best friend. It was almost as though she were waiting for something else to happen.
"I'm Dean Winchester, by the way."
"Anne Covington. Pleased to make your acquaintance."
"So, who do you think murdered your best friend? Her name's… Elizabeth right? I overheard some people whispering about her."
"I have not a clue, Dean, that is what her father, uncle, fiancé, and friends are trying to find out."
Anne hitched up her dress and stormed off. Dean narrowed his eyes, watching her as she made her way across the compartment. Something definitely wasn’t right - she was hiding something. Turning around, Dean gave his brother a look that clearly read follow her.
They waited for an hour, watching Anne go through the motions with her best friend's family. Ten more men had been dragged off for questioning, tortured, and eventually murdered. The brothers didn't want to know what the next compartment even looked like. There was little doubt, it contained nothing but a huge pile of discarded victims.
Anne grabbed a boy's hand, the one that had been comforting Elizabeth's mother the entire night. She was whispering to him feverishly, tugging at his arm to pull him into another compartment. The brothers were erect with interest immediately. The boy looked uncomfortable with the whole situation, but, he led Anne out of the compartment with little notice.
"Ruby, put yourself to use and cause a distraction," Sam whispered.
"Would you just do it so we can get off this train?"
Ruby closed her eyes with a sigh. The lights above them started to flicker and the passenger ghosts screamed as they tried to figure out what was happening. Sam and Dean glanced at each other briefly before sneaking forward towards the compartment door where Anne and the boy had disappeared. Dean led, carefully avoiding the ghosts as best he could. He strained his ears in order to keep track of Sam, to make sure his little brother wasn't far behind him at all times. It would not do to lose him in the dark.
They slipped silently through the door and into an almost empty room. On the carpeted floor was a trail of blood leading to the next compartment. They knew drag marks when they saw them.
As they made their way down the blinking compartment, they noticed discarded shoes and coats thrown about carelessly.
In the next compartment, they found a bloody ghost huddled in the corner of the compartment. He was bleeding heavily but was "still alive". They could hear his haggard breathing and his incoherent mumbles. The ghost was flinching away from the hunters, curling himself into the smallest ball that he could. Sam and Dean followed another trail of blood to the next compartment.
In the next car, the flicking lights stopped. They were dimmed, causing the brothers to easily crouch and make their way undetected through the place. That's when they noticed the pile of bodies to the right. They were stacked on top of each other, limbs twisted in ways that were unnatural; and every inch of the floor was saturated with blood. Sam and Dean's buckled shoes made squishing noises as they worked their way through the compartment.
The sight of the bodies was enough to make both brothers gag involuntarily. Never before had they seen so many people so messed up. Half of the bodies were naked; the other half, barely clothed. There were multiple lacerations covering the skin, and some had begun to show deep blue and purple bruises. Several of the dead men's glassy and vacant eyes glared up at the brothers.
They made their way as quickly as they could to the next compartment. They faltered as soon as they stepped in, ducking into the nearest shadows. They could hear arguing - a man and a woman. Dean recognized Anne's voice. Reaching next to him, he tapped his brother on the chest to let him know they’d finally found who they were looking for.
Leaning forward slightly, Dean and Sam were able to catch a glimpse of Anne and the boy standing in front of one another. Anne was reaching for him, clawing desperately at his hand to hold hers; but he was pulling away from her, keeping his distance as best he could.
"How can you say something like that, Ernest? We are in love!" exclaimed Anne.
"Anne, I was - am - in love with Elizabeth. You know that."
"That night, Ernest, that night where we made lo-"
"My God! You killed her, didn't you, Anne! I told you I could not be with you. My heart belongs to Elizabeth."
"Elizabeth is dead, Ernest. We can be together."
Anne stepped forward, her hands reaching once again for Ernest. He jerked away, evading her touch almost venomously. His face was ghastly pale and sweat welled up on his brow. His chest heaved, his breaths coming out in sharp rasps.
"What have you done?" he demanded. "What have you done? She is your best friend!"
Backing farther away from Anne, Ernest whipped around and ran from the compartment. He passed the brothers without even the faintest acknowledgement of them. Frustrated tears formed in the corners of Anne's eyes before she feverishly wiped them away. Calming herself, she stormed out of the compartment after Ernest.
"There were affairs and love triangles in the nineteenth century?" questioned Dean.
"I’d guess they’d be very hush hush. I mean, that's punishable by death if they were to be caught… right?"
"Dude, I don't know, but that girl is seriously the 'cook the rabbit' crazy in that relationship."
A commotion began in the next room, a crowd roaring. The brothers glanced at one another before dashing towards the main compartment. They ignored the pile of dead bodies, paid no attention to the dying ghost. When they got to the next compartment, the one right before the dinning hall, they halted just in time to see a herd of men dragging out one of their own - the boyfriend. The man was kicking and jerking as he professed his innocence, screaming that Anne was the murderer. The do-gooders paid no attention to him.
Dean knew that this was their chance to stop the whole charade, to put the spirits to rest. The actual how was still hazy in his mind, though. If they jumped in too soon or said the wrong thing, they would be surrounded and murdered. Looking over at Sam, Dean tried to find any indication of what his brother was thinking. The younger man stood there stoned faced and contemplating where to go from here.
"It was Anne!" Sam shouted. "She couldn't stand that Ernest loved Elizabeth more than her!"
"Subtle," muttered Dean.
Sam ignored his brother and stepped forward cautiously, his hands raised. Anne's jaw tightened as she glared at the Winchesters. Her eyes trailed down to Ernest who lay pinned to the floor, completely helpless. His upper torso twisted as he struggled to look at the newcomers behind him.
"Jealousy. It was all out of jealousy. Anne and Ernest… they made a mistake. Anne fell in love, refused to let him go. Except Ernest was in love with Elizabeth and wasn't leaving her."
"Nonsense!" protested Anne. "I would never commit such a sin!"
Letting out a strained chuckle, Sam took another step forward. His hands were up, held out in front of him in order to assure the torturers that he meant no harm.
"This is never going to end, Anne. This night will go on forever."
"He has the devil inside of him!" Anne announced with resolve. "Me kill my dearest friend? One who is like a sister to me? Devil in disguise, I’ve no doubt!"
The minions holding down Ernest looked torn. Continue with what they were doing or attack Sam instead? Anne stepped forward, a cold stare settling in her eyes. Her jaw was tight, her movements jerky.
"She's torturing you, all of you," protested Sam. "Anne is the murderer! She's been in love with Ernest for the longest time. She's been biding her time hoping that they would split. It's a crime of passion. With Elizabeth out of the picture, Anne can swoop in and try to claim his love."
"Nonsense. Do not presume you know me or my feelings."
"We saw you arguing with Ernest," interrupted Dean. "Oh, sweetie, you really should save your squabbles for when you're not trapped on a train."
The men holding onto Ernest let him go. He scrambled backwards, trying to get as far away from the men as humanly possible. The men turned their focus to Sam and Dean, advancing slowly. With one look, the brothers ran. They tore through the compartments as fast as they could. Footfalls could be heard pounding behind them, shouts to run faster echoing through the train.
They dashed through the compartment after compartment; their minds working overtime. There was no way they could outrun the herd of murderers chasing them, regardless of whether they were manifestations or not. They were screwed unless they could prove Anne's guilt.
Sam faltered in his stride, his hand waving towards a body laying off to the left. Elizabeth lay there pale and cold. Her hands were folded on her stomach, her dress flat against her frail body. Backing up, Sam shut the compartment door just in time; the manifestations pounding and tugging on the door with all their might.
"Check the body! I'll hold them off!" Sam ordered.
Dean squatted next to the body, looking over the dead girl to see exactly what had happened to her. The right side of her head was caked in blood, a crimson streak ran down her cheek and a pool of blood stained the carpet. His eyes wandered south and landed on her left hand – her engagement ring was missing. Reaching out, Dean picked up the hand and turned it over. Nothing. He searched around the body to see if it had fallen off somewhere close by.
"Anne has her engagement ring!" called Dean.
"If the affair story isn't true, why would she steal the ring off her dead best friend's finger?" questioned Sam.
Sam's body shook violently against the banging of the door. He strained with all his might to keep the door closed, but the other side was slowly winning, the door opening fractions at a time. He grunted as his hands slipped from the door and he fell backwards, quickly surrounded by a mass of angry manifestations.
Dean jumped up, ready to protect his brother, when he too, was surrounded by men. His first reaction was to fight. He was outnumbered and ill prepared, but he had to do something. The other men were already dragging a struggling Sam out the door. His fist jutted out, breaking the first guy's nose. His foot then flew to the right and collided with another one's knee, a sickening crack resonating through the air. Before he could get in another kick or punch, he was overpowered.
He fell backwards, his head banging against the hard floor. Grunting in pain, he feebly tried to fight off the men; but they gripped him around the elbows and twisted his arms in a way where he couldn't move them more than an inch or two.
He was dragged out of the compartment; his struggles were useless as the men held him in a way that made escape seem nearly impossible. The familiar hallways seem to blur together. His focus was not on the décor, he was looking around frantically for his brother, straining to hear his voice. There was nothing. Then again, Dean knew that Sam would never give them the pleasure of hearing his cries if he could help it.
"Hey, Elizabeth's engagement ring is gone!" shouted Dean. "I betchya anything that good ole Anne stole it when she smashed up her friend's head."
A fist rammed into his face. His jaw throbbed with pain as he worked his mouth open and closed. Glancing up, Dean noticed it was an older man who slugged him - probably the father.
"Check her. Do it. Prove a smartass like me wrong."
"Dean…" Sam called weakly.
"You sonsofbitches, if you touch him, so help me God, I will kill you with my bare hands!"
They stopped dragging him and lowered him to the floor, pinning him to the bloodstained carpet. Craning his neck, Dean caught a small glimpse of his brother's legs. He resisted the restraints in order to get to his brother. Switching his gaze, Dean noticed Ernest standing against the compartment wall. The guy was deathly pale and fidgeted nervously as he watched the men around him.
"Ernest, Anne has the engagement ring! Get it!"
Dean watched as Ernest broke for the main compartment. Several men dashed after him. There was a female cry and a male voice pleading to let his daughter go. The men pinning Dean to the floor let go and scrambled up, rushing towards the compartment door.
Dean sat up and saw Ernest holding Anne in front of him like a shield. Her hair was twisted around his fist and pulled back tightly to reveal her throat. His free hand grasped a chain around her neck, tugging it out from underneath her dress. At the end of the chain was a ring.
"My God, that's Elizabeth's ring!" a man gasped. "You- you killed my daughter, didn't you? What they have been saying…"
"She was a wench! She led Ernest on for months! Every man in town knew her in more ways than one! I killed her, and I am not sorry!"
A rush of cold air filled the train compartment. Mangled ghosts flew in from all directions, latching onto Anne. Her screams echoed round the train. Her body flashed as the angry spirits dragged her downwards until they disappeared. The other manifestations disappearing with her. The train screeched loudly as it slowly started to come to a stop.
Dean's gaze snapped towards his brother; Sammy was lying on the floor panting heavily. He was no longer dressed in the nineteenth century clothing, but back in his usual pair of jeans, boots, t-shit, and a jacket. Scrambling forward on his hands and knees, Dean hurried over to his brother. Sam's face was caked in blood.
"Are you okay?" questioned Dean as he reached his brother.
"'M’fine," he responded. "Just a couple cuts and bruises. Nothing some rest won't heal."
Dean helped his brother to his feet; Sam wincing slightly at the help. It was then Dean noticed his brother's shoulder was out of its socket. He'd dealt with popped shoulders in the past; his father had taught him how to put them back into place. Grabbing his brother's arm, Dean yanked and twisted the arm quickly until shoulder was back where it should’ve been.
"Dammit, Dean," grunted Sam. "Thanks."
"Yeah, don't mention it."
"Well, you boys actually saved the day," Ruby said as she leaned against the doorframe. "Bravo. Now, if we were only in Camden, I could watch you boys ride off into the sunset."
Dean swore and pushed his way past Ruby. Opening the door to the train, he stepped out into the brisk February air. They were definitely not in the railroad yard. Instead, they were stranded in the middle of a freakin' field with nothing even remotely close to them.
"What the hell? Where are we?"
Sam scrambled out of the train car and stood beside his brother; looking around for any indication as to where they might be. Ruby jumped off the train and took her spot next to Sam.
"Well, we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto," said Ruby. "Have a nice night, boys."
"No, no, no! Where the hell is my car?"
"Back in Camden," replied Sam wearily.
Ruby chuckled as she slowly walked away from the boys without a thought. How the hell were they supposed to get back to Camden? Where were they even?
"You think they'll notice the train missing?" questioned Dean.
"Yeah, I would think so," sighed Sam as he started to walk off.
"I mean, dude, do you think we could be charged with this? Because, if we ever were caught by Hendrickson again, I'd love to see his face when he's reading off all the terrible things we did and then get to train stealers. Who would steal a train, honestly?"
Sam ignored his brother's comment as Dean jogged to catch up with his brother. They walked side by side looking for the nearest car to jack. They had to get back to South Carolina somehow.
"Why do you think Ruby was here?" Sam changed the subject.
"Sammy, listen to me."
Dean faltered in his stride. Gripping Sam's jacket, he stopped his brother from continuing as well. This conversation was long overdue.
"Ruby is a demon, Sammy, okay? I know, we can use her and she apparently can help me out. But, you know, she could be lyin' to you too. She's a demon. That's what they do. She has her own little agenda going on, okay? And we don't know what that agenda is."
"Stop talking to me like I'm five, Dean. I know the risks, and I'm being careful," Sam snapped. "Just drop it already."
Dean watched his brother storm off. He couldn't help but worry about his brother. The guy was changing. No longer was he the sweet kid who felt guilty looking at porn or killing a spider. No, Sam was becoming ruthless and snippy. Dean couldn't figure it out. There was a part of him t hat felt like he was at fault. He did bring his brother back from the dead.
Special thanks to AJ for editing for me.
Also, thanks to the SNSIE crew.
Don't forget to leave a review.