It Shall Be Done part 3
For full Header details, including Warnings and Description, please see Master Post
.Jensen let himself into the shack out back, careful not to spill any of the water that Alan had said Josh was allowed to have. Maybe his father would believe him if he said that he had spilt it but his dad hadn’t been the same since he had locked Josh in the cellar the night before. Jensen had heard him pacing from the kitchen to the living room and back until he had finally managed to fall asleep just as the sun was starting to brighten the horizon and when Jensen had finally crawled out of bed just after noon it was clear that his dad hadn’t gone to bed at all. He had dark, heavy bags under bloodshot eyes, he was wearing the same clothes from the night before, his words were sluggish and slurred even though Jensen couldn’t smell liquor on him. He just couldn’t risk it and therefore couldn’t spill the water because that was all Alan would allow Josh to have.
Alan had said that he had to close the door and Jensen didn’t have to look back to know that his dad would be at the back door making sure that he did. Keeping the glass of water grasped tightly in one hand, he pulled the door closed but his hands were starting to shake because Josh wasn’t answering.
His father had said that Josh was okay that this was the only way that Josh would buckle down and pray to God for a vision. That he hadn’t done it right the first time around when he had made Josh dig the cellar on his own because Josh still got to interact with them in the evening, even if he barely spoke those seven days and he wouldn’t come into the living room with them at all. That Josh needed seclusion to clearly see the error of his ways and silence so that the only one he had to speak to was God.
But what if his dad was wrong? Or what if Josh had been hurt somehow when their dad had put him down there?
Mindful to set the water glass aside, Jensen kneeled down in front of the trap door and tried to peer into the darkness beneath it through a knothole in the wood.
“Josh, are you all right?”
There was silence but enough ambient light shone through the cracks in the wood slats that Jensen could just make out movement.
Josh sat up from where he had finally fallen into an exhausted sleep on the stairs after screaming himself hoarse for his father to come back and let him out. “Jensen, is that you?”
Forcing himself up on shaking limbs, Josh crawled his way to just under the trap door. “Jensen?” He tilted his head up, trying to make out his brother in the bright light shining down, “Jensen, you gotta get me out of here.”
There was too much light, Jensen couldn’t make out enough and just hearing Josh’s voice wasn’t enough to reassure him that his big brother was okay. Cupping his hands around his eyes, he leaned over until his nose was pressed to the sun warmed wood, “I can’t.”
“But I’m hungry and I gotta go to the bathroom.” Josh wheedled.
“Dad won’t let me feed you. I brought you some water though. He says you can have a cup a day. But I’ll bring you more if I can.” He added, trying to help as best he could.
“Look Jensen, he’s gonna kill me.” Josh moaned, “You gotta get me out of here.”
Jensen shook his head, blinking quickly to force back the sudden burning in his eyes. This wasn’t his fault, he hadn’t put Josh down there and he wasn’t the one that had acted out in the first place. “I can’t. Put your mouth to the knothole right here.”
It felt like no time had passed since Jensen walked into the shack but Alan had been very specific on just how long Jensen was allowed to be with Josh. He didn’t doubt for a minute that his father would come and drag him out if he went over the allowed five minutes.
He pushed back up to his knees and reached for the glass. “Are you ready?” He asked and settled onto his stomach, carefully positioning the glass over the knothole, hoping not to waste any of the precious water Josh was allowed, “Here.” He warned and tipped the glass.
The sound of water filling Josh’s mouth was loud in the still air of the shack.
Jensen pulled the glass back, “You want some more or you want me to save it for later?”
Five minutes three times a day but only one cup of water in twenty-four hours. That was what their father had told Jensen.
“More!” Josh demanded, “More!”
Jensen let the glass tip forward once more but kept a careful eye on the level as it got lower and lower. At the halfway point, Jensen pulled the glass away and set it aside. For ten years, Josh had taken care of Jensen now it was Jensen’s turn to return the favor, even if Josh begged for more, he’d make him wait until later. Jensen was going to force him to make it last so Josh could pretend it was something other than water filling his belly later that day when the hunger pains really set in.
“You gotta get me out of here.”
“Dad says you’ll probably be out of there by the end of the week. You just have to accept God’s will.”
Josh pressed his hands to the underside of the trap door, “A week? I can’t stay in here that long!”
It was time for Jensen to go, not because their dad was at his back but because listening to Josh ask for freedom hurt almost as bad as knowing that Josh’s words had hurt dad. “I’ll pray for you.” He promised and pushed up from the floor.
Ignoring his brother, Jensen raced for the door.
“Jensen?” Josh yelled and started to bang on the underside of the trap door. “Jensen?”
His words were lost behind the closed door but the banging chased Jensen back into the house.***
“What about your dad? Did he ever go and see Josh?”
Jared knew, somewhere in some medical text that it explained that a symptom of exhaustion was feeling cold but he didn’t really believe that was why there were chills running up and down his spine. He wasn’t scared of the dark, never really had been but the thought of being locked up underground, in the dark for days was an idea that would give him nightmares for years. And he was twenty eight years old, an adult, what the hell would being locked up in the dark, in a cool underground, dirt hole do to a child of fourteen?
“On the seventh day.” Jensen allowed, “Dad came home early that day from work with four grocery bags hanging from an arm. He bought all of Josh’s favorites, thick T-bone steak, corn on the cob, potatoes, milk and fresh turned butter from the Ferris farm because Josh liked mashed potatoes best. And Cherry Cobbler from the Bakery on main street. He cooked it all up, everything was perfect, nothing burned or overcooked even with me underfoot and he was smiling, smiling like he hadn’t since the night he came into our room to tell us about the vision from the angel.”
The calmness on Jensen’s face melted into tension, “Then he went to the shack.”
It was irrational because he knew Josh had been okay, he knew that but it didn’t stop ice from worming through his veins.
“Dad came back in thunderous, he picked up the plate of food that he had set out himself special for Josh and tossed the whole thing into the sink, plate and all. The plate shattered, the steak ended up on the floor, the corn on the counter and the mashed potatoes up the wall and on the window set in the wall over the sink.”
“Why? Did he say what had happened?” Jared asked quietly.
“Dad asked if God had spoken to Josh yet.” Jensen squeezed the fingers curled around Jared’s, “Josh answered that there was no God.”
Jared let his head drop forward and slowly shook it back and forth. A part of him was proud of Josh, a mere child standing up for himself after being locked in a glorified grave for a week with only three five minute visits a day from his little brother. But the other part of him wanted to grab fourteen year old Josh by the shoulders and shake him until his teeth rattled. Being slowly starved to death, locked away and basically being ignored by his own father, what a battle the kid picked to try to win. When all he had to do was say yes, get out and get as far away as possible.
“How long did Josh stay in the cellar?” He tightened his own grip around Jensen’s fingers, “How did he get out?”
“It was four days after that when he wouldn’t answer me when I brought him his glass of water for the day. It was a good thing it was a Saturday and dad was home.”***“Josh? Josh!” Jensen pressed his face harder against the wooden trap door but couldn’t make out anything in the darkness beneath him. He’d been calling for Josh for the last five minutes at least and thought Josh was angry with him for not getting him out of the cellar but he had always answered when Jensen called for him, always.
Something was wrong.
“Dad!” Jensen yelled jumping to his feet and running to the shack door. “Dad something’s wrong with Josh!”
He knew his father was out in the back yard putting gasoline in the lawnmower; Jensen had passed him as he walked to the shack. Why wasn’t he answering?
Jensen pulled the shack door open; a gust of wind was fluttering his bangs as he blinked in the sudden brightness after the dull gloom of the shack. “Dad!” He hollered, his eyes falling on Alan’s hunched over form as he fed gas into the mower from the twenty liter jerry can in his hands.
Alan turned his head, his eyebrows raised in question briefly before some of the fear on Jensen’s face must have become clear to him. He dropped the jerry can ignoring the liquid spilling on the ground and ran toward his son.
“Josh’s not answering!”
“Josh?” Alan called as he pushed past Jensen, “Josh!”
Jensen dropped to his knees near the trap door but stayed clear of his father as Alan picked up the hammer and used the claw end to pry up the five loose nails he had hammered in to ensure that Josh wouldn’t be leaving the cellar until he repented. It didn’t stop him from crawling closer as Alan lifted the trap door and stumbled down the stairs.
Jensen caught a brief glimpse of Josh lying on the stairs, so close yet Jensen had not been able to discern him from the rest of the shadows in the cellar with the door closed, before Alan was scooping Josh up in his arms and carrying him out of the hole.
“Gimme that water.” Alan demanded as he settled on the floor with Josh laid across his thighs.
He dipped a couple fingers in the water, running the tepid liquid over Josh’s pale lips then back to the water in the glass then Josh’s slack mouth once again.
“Josh.” He whispered cupping Josh’s chin, his long fingers curling up over his cheek.
Jensen’s grinned as Josh’s eyes fluttered open and focused on their dad.
“I saw God.” Josh choked out weakly.
Alan hugged his eldest close, finally Josh has seen, he understood and they would be the family they were destined to be. Loosening his grip, he reached for the glass of water just as Jensen moved to set it down on the floor next to Josh’s hand. “Just try a little sip.”
Carefully he led the edge of the glass to Josh’s mouth and allowed a little water to trickle past his son’s lips before pulling the glass away and passing it back to Jensen.
Kissing Josh’s forehead, he pulled him back to his chest and rested his cheek against his son’s sweaty hair.
Hallelujah, Josh had finally seen the light.
Glory be to God.***“Slow down there. You don’t want to eat too fast, you’ll make yourself sick.”
It wasn’t the meal Alan had prepared four days earlier, there was no steak, no mashed potatoes, no corn on the cob or Cherry Cobbler but Alan had truly expected Josh to remain down in the cellar for at least another few days. The boy had his mother’s stubborn streak, when the doctor told her that after the complications with her pregnancy and then Josh’s delivery that chances were that even if she did conceive she wouldn’t carry another child to term, Donna had proved him wrong by giving him Jensen. In the end it had taken her from him but Alan never blamed his youngest for his mother’s choice and he really couldn’t blame Josh for his, he could just show him the way and pray that he followed. Sometimes he had to go a little farther, like putting Josh in the cellar until God sent him a vision but he could still appreciate the boy’s stubbornness.
It was why he was letting Josh sit at the head of the table, in Alan’s own seat, to show his appreciation for his son’s stubborn streak, he knew it could be a good thing but also as his way of letting Josh know that he was proud of him for finally, finally, finding his way to God.
“So did God tell you about the demons?” Jensen pressed, practically dancing in his seat at the kitchen table. He wanted to know, he needed to know what had happened to his brother and if it meant that things would return to good for their little family.
Josh nodded as he stuffed another fork full of T.V. dinner mashed potatoes in his mouth, not even taking the time to savor the flavor before he was digging into the reheated peas and corn section and forcing the potatoes down. “Sorry I ever doubted you dad.”
Alan curled his hands around the pitcher of iced tea, rested his elbows on the kitchen table and leaned forward in the seat usually reserved for Josh. “I’m sorry too, son.”
And he was, sorry that Josh had to find God the hard way when it should have come easy. He was Alan’s son, they went to church every Sunday come rain or shine, he had been in Sunday school until he was twelve learning all about demons and angels and miracles bestowed upon the common man. But in the end, at least his son had come to understand.
“What did God look like?” Jensen asked.
“It’s kind of hard to describe.” Josh muttered around a swallow before forcing another fork full into his mouth.
“Was he big?” Jensen pressed. He just wanted something, anything. He knew God existed but he didn’t know what God looked like, he wouldn’t know him if he walked right into him in the street and Jensen needed to know what to look for. Because God walked among man and Jensen wanted the chance to say hi.
“Jensen,” Alan admonished, “Let your brother eat in peace. He can’t explain something like that.”
Jensen looked down at the table and scratched at a dried water spot. “But I want to know.”
“Then maybe you should pray for it.” Alan advised and nodded like that was the answer to everything. Because it was, it truly was. He had prayed for Josh to find his way and Josh had prayed for a vision and both those prayers had been answered. God listened and God rewarded the penitent.
“It’s not fair.” Jensen muttered petulantly, sitting back in his chair and turning his head so he didn’t have to look at either his father or brother. “All I’ve ever seen are demons and he gets to see God.”
“That’s right.” Alan waited until his youngest met his eyes before turning to Josh. His oldest was pale and he had lost so much weight after almost two weeks with no sun and no food. But in the end it had been worth it, it was so much better than the alternative the angel had suggested. “But look at the price he had paid.”
There was a burning behind his eyes and something sharp and metallic sitting at the back of his tongue. His poor boy, his poor, hard headed, opinionated child, having to suffer like that just to learn a truth that should have been gospel to him already. Alan blinked back the film in his eyes and smiled at Josh even though the boy had not lifted his head from his plate since Alan had set it in front of him. “That’s all behind us now.” He gently touched the top of Josh’s head, his fingers briefly sinking into the greasy strands, “It’s a new day. Isn’t it Josh?”
“Mmmhmm.” Josh nodded once; his eyes were still downcast and focused on the aluminum plate quickly emptying of food before him.
“So are we gonna go get us a demon now?”
Alan tilted his head toward Jensen but his eyes and smile were reserved for Josh. “After a while. When Josh is ready.”***
“It took a week.” Jensen said quietly. “A week for Josh to build up the strength he lost in the cellar and for the angel to come to dad and tell him that it was time.”
He fell silent, the words escaping him when he needed them the most. It wasn’t that he suddenly couldn’t remember but it wasn’t almost to the point where Jared would learn all and no matter what Jensen truly believed, it was still a scary proposition to lay all this bare for another person to see, not when he had spent the better part of twenty-two years keeping his head down and his mouth shut.
“Josh’s first demon was to be Brad White from Dallas. Dad even went so far as to go out and get Josh a pair of his very own work gloves to wear while he was touching the demon.” He swallowed, his throat clicking in the quiet of the room. “More?” He touched the handle of Jared’s mug; his finger’s barely brushing the ceramic before Jared was shaking him off. Pulling back he got up from the table and headed to the coffee pot.
Perhaps Jared had had his fill of coffee and no matter what Jensen’s earlier thoughts were on the subject, he was going to need liquid to keep his throat from closing up around the words.
“It was the longest and shortest drive of my life.” He pressed on as he emptied the carafe into his mug, “Excitement and fear mixing together almost making me sick and causing dad to yell at me more than once that trip but it was hard to sit still. A part of me was ecstatic that we were going to be the family we had once been, all three of us on the same side and no more fighting, hurt feelings or anger. But the other part of me was so scared that Josh was going to chicken out at the last minute or change his mind and that we would be headed back to the shack and the cellar and long days and nights of worrying if dad would release Josh before he finally died in there.”
“Jen.” Jared said softly, “I’m sorry that you had to go through that. It had to be so hard.”
A soft snort escaped Jensen, “In the end that was the easy part.”
“What do you mean?” He asked slowly as Jensen settled back at the table, a mug of tepid coffee clutched between his sweating palms.
Shaking Jared’s question off, he forced himself to continue. “The demon, Brad, lived in one of the shadier areas of Dallas, it was supposed to be residential but it was starting to look rundown and I’m pretty sure the barely dressed girls and guys only a couple blocks over weren’t on their way to some party or night club. It was dark by the time we got to Dallas, not really late; most of the houses on the block still had lights on inside but dark enough that if someone wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood they would probably get turned around. Dad never did, he said the angel had told him exactly where to go.”
He sipped at the coffee then took a larger swallow, seeing the house so clearly in his mind and not really surprised that these were the sharpest memories of that time. “The house was a story and a half with grey stone and white wood trim, the paint was peeling but it was clear even with only the glow of the street lamps and the lights from the main floor that someone had taken the time to try to care for it as best they could. Someone in that house cared but dad said that Brad White was a demon so it had to be someone else, someone that the demon terrorized.” Jensen shrugged, “It’s what I thought anyway.”
Settling the mug on the table, Jensen sat back and curled his arms around his middle, “The plan was that dad and Josh would go to the door and tell the demon that they needed a tire iron because of a flat tire on the van. It must have worked because they came out from around the house carrying the demon between them. The threw him in the back where dad tied his wrists and ankles together and duct taped his mouth in case he woke up on the ride back to Thurman.”
“Did he?” Jared sat forward, tilting his head as Jensen’s voice got quieter.
“Nah, he didn’t come to till after dad had laid him on the floor in the cellar and took his face between his hands and shook him awake.”***Josh stood near the stairs, his shaking hands curled tightly around the axe handle his father had ordered him to pick up once they had made it into the cellar with the latest demon still slung over Alan’s shoulder. He made sure to hold it exactly as his father had shown him, right hand closed tightly just under the axe head and the other gripping the cool wood almost at the other end.
He was ready, so ready to do what needed to be done, not even flinching when his father cut through his line of vision of the demon as Alan stepped closer to the demon.
Gingerly Alan kneeled down in front of the demon, pulling on his work gloves before clutching at his side. The bastard had managed a good shot to his kidney when it had managed to recover before him after they had both been startled by Josh backing into a shovel in the demon’s garage but Alan couldn’t fault his boy for it. This was his first demon hunt and not so long ago it had been Alan’s, he could remember the nerves that made him shake and want to puke and get the job over with and not have to do it at all. He understood and there had been no true harm done, just a couple bruises that would heal.
Carefully, he didn’t trust that the demon wasn’t faking being unconscious and was just waiting for the chance to try to throw Alan off balance and try to hurt him in some way, hands and feet tied together or not, he took the demon’s head between his hands and shook him until the demon grunted low and its eyelids fluttered. He pushed back to his feet slowly and took a few steps back, ensuring that Josh had a clear view of his objective.
The demon glared at Alan before silently glancing around as best as he could laying on his side.
Alan looked to Josh, his face was set with determination; he had to trust that Josh wouldn’t run this time. “You know Josh, I’ve been waiting for this moment ever since all of this started.”
Josh looked from the demon to his father and nodded. “I’m ready to fulfill my destiny.”
Alan clapped him on the shoulder and gave him a reassuring smile, “I’m proud of you son.”
The smile fell from his lips as he turned back to the demon and forced himself to kneel back down in front of it, in spite of the pain in his side. Pulling one glove off, he reached out and laid his hand on the demon’s forehead, ignoring its swearing and threats.
Just like all the times before the images ran fast and cold through his mind. This one, this demon that paraded around like a human and calling itself Brad White was just as cruel and ugly and evil as the ones before him.
It had been a long trip between Dallas and Thurman and their dad hadn’t allowed them to stop for anything as simple as a pee break so Jensen had worried that he would miss Josh finally coming of age in the family. Luckily for him, their dad was just laying his hands on the demon as Jensen scurried halfway down the stairs. He watched as his dad twitched and the demon yelled behind the duct tape.
Finally Alan fell back, his left hand still pressed to his side, the pain was more pronounced now after what his body had just gone through and he panted through the fire licking up his side. He’d get up off his knees in a minute, he just needed to be able to fill his lungs with clean air and let his stomach stop rolling.
Finally he pushed up as Jensen silently made it to the bottom of the stairs and looked to Josh. “Destroy him!”
Jensen watched as Josh turned to look back down at the demon glaring up at him silently before his brother took a couple steps closer and raised the axe above his head, ready to strike. And then Josh just stopped, his teeth were bared and his face was set in resolution but almost completely still.
Jensen opened his mouth, not sure if it was to offer support or to say that he would do it. Jensen believed in God and the angels and his dad, he would do it if Josh couldn’t. But before the words barely began to form on his tongue Josh swung, his body twisting to the side and the axe sliced through the air to bury itself in Alan’s chest.
“Dad!” Jensen cried and raced to try to catch his father as the man stumbled backwards a couple shuffling feet before falling on his ass, his elbow was the only thing that stopped him from landing on his back.
Alan looked from the axe embedded in his chest, his hands curled around the handle but there was no strength to pull it out, to Josh staring down at him wide eyed and silent. He could feel Jensen’s small hands on his arm and stomach; he could see him in his peripheral, his youngest, his loyal little soldier. What was going to happen to Jensen now? Would Josh do to him what he had done to Alan?
“Dad, no, no, no!” Jensen sobbed.***
Jared’s head was spinning. Josh had murdered his father? Josh, the same guy who couldn’t hold a job outside of being a self-proclaimed novelist even though he had only ever published one book about, hell Jared didn’t even know about what and he had no one beside his brother and by proxy Jared to call friends? Who most days was either too drunk or too stoned or both to do much more than pull his ass up off the couch to piss, that Josh? Too skinny for his frame because he didn’t bother to eat for days at a time and if a good windstorm blew through Meat the odds were that Josh would be blown away? That Josh?
Oh God. Oh God!
“We buried him in the rose garden.” Jensen managed softly, silent tears were running down his face. “And a week later Josh went to the Sheriff and told him that dad just didn’t come home one day. They filed a missing person’s report but never did find anything. After a while they sent us to separate orphanages.”
He shouldn’t just be sitting there like a moron. What happened with Josh and their dad had happened years before but it didn’t matter, not to him and certainly not to Jensen if the completely broken look on his lover’s face was anything to gauge this by. Pushing back, Jared rounded the table and curled himself around Jensen’s back, ignoring the hard wood of the back of the chair digging into his stomach. “Jen I’m sorry. So, so sorry.” He whispered against his ear.
Jensen shifted and Jared heard as much as saw from the corner of his eye as Jensen scrubbed his hands across his stubbled cheeks. “Do you believe in evil Jared?”
Jared’s breath caught in his throat as his stomach swooped, the sudden shift in the conversation almost too much after what he had just learned. “I…I…” he stuttered.
“I don’t mean the evil we hear about in church, not Satan or the demons waiting to torture a soul of someone who’s done terrible wrongs once they die. I’m talking about the evil that walks among us, here and now.”
His initial reaction was to say no because God wouldn’t allow such things to exist among his children, only…only he knew that wasn’t true. Hadn’t he already conceded that true evil did exist on earth, that there had to be real demons walking the earth and tormenting mankind, hadn’t he already given himself examples of people that clearly could not be human?
Had he not met one such individual when he first moved to Meat all those years before?
Everybody in town had said that Phillip Arnolds was a God fearing man with the patience of a saint who took in foster children that no one else could deal with, even after his wife had run off almost ten years earlier. Jared remembered Phillip Arnolds last foster child, a slight boy in Jared’s grade named Misha Collins. All he could really remember of the boy was dark hair, big blue eyes and that everybody thought the kid was weird. He never really spoke to anyone and insisted on changing in one of the toilet stalls after every phys-ed. He was gone a month after Jared had arrived and Jared had overheard his grandparents saying that some distant relative had gotten custody of the kid.
Single people weren’t supposed to get foster children but he had such a great track record for turning around cases that even the agency had deemed as lost causes so the system let the rule slide and if the occasional child ran away, well they were bad kids headed for a life of interment in prison, it was best that they were out of the foster system before that happened. The general populace didn’t like to find out that the foster system had a little thief or arsonist or worse in its care and their taxes were paying for them but the media sure as hell liked to report it so if the lost slipped through the cracks before anything happened, Child Services could claim it did all it could but how could they be held responsible when a child ran away and couldn’t be found?
Only that’s not what happened.
Almost seven months after Jared had moved to Meat to live with his grandparents, a child social worker had shown up on the door step of Phillip Arnolds’ home with another bad kid in tow, another lost cause that only Phillip could turn around. Only Phillip wasn’t home to greet the social worker and his new ward. He was never going to meet another social worker or take in another child again.
Phillip Arnolds had disappeared sometime during the night, leaving behind his wallet, his car and the rest of his possessions never to be seen or heard of again.
It didn’t take long for the rumors to start. Somebody in the Sheriff’s department who had been assigned to search Phillip’s house for any clues about his disappearance must have talked to his or hers spouse who told his or hers best friend who told someone else who told someone else and the stories began to circle the town in less than seventy-two hours after he disappeared.
There had been an old wooden teacher’s desk, town records indicated Phillip had bought it from the high school when the school had auctioned off old supplies to raise money for new, painted all black and pressed up against a cement wall in a tiny, windowless room in the basement. Hanging above it, secured to the wall with a heavy cement screw was an inverted cross and spread across it were animal bones, a satanic bible and several tools needed for rituals, including a pewter bowl and a chalice. The whole room was painted black, walls, celling and cement floor, the only light source black taper candles in stone skull holders.
That was the best of the worse, Child Social Services records indicated that in the fifteen years that Phillip had been taking in the tough cases that eleven of his foster children ran away. But ran away wasn’t what had happened, in the corner of his backyard was a disused vegetable garden and buried in that garden were eleven children and one female adult, Genevieve Arnolds, Phillip’s wife.
The other foster kids that had been lucky enough to survive their time with him were found during the investigation and told similar stories. Abuse for any infraction, from not saying “excuse me” when passing in the hall of the house to “acting out” in school and being forced to participate in Satanic rituals. The lucky ones got out with bruises, scars and nightmare inducing memories the not so lucky ones were dumped unceremoniously in the vegetable garden in the back.
None of that alone would scream that Phillip Arnolds was anything but a psycho that enjoyed physically and mentally terrorizing those weaker than him but Jared knew something most didn’t.
Jared hadn’t been in Meat long, just long enough for Chad to decide that they were going to be friends for the rest of their lives and started showing Jared that fun could be found in small town America if you knew where to look when Jared had backed into Phillip Arnold.
The man had just come out of the Tal’s Hardware and Jared was walking backwards down Main Street, calling Chad a douche and an idiot for thinking that he had any kind of chance with Sophia Bush and had backed into the man. The feelings that washed over him happened instantly, his blood ran cold and bile rushed up to choke him, making him gag and shake and tear up fighting it back down. But the worst was feeling like he had fallen into slimy, clinging oil that stank of sulphur.
When he spun around, Phillip Arnolds looked just like any regular man on the street but to Jared he felt different, wrong, evil.
For so long he had convinced himself that what he felt that day had been nothing more than a bad reaction he had had to something he had eaten because back then, well even now if he was being honest, Jared could and did eat damn near anything even if others wouldn’t because it had gone bad the day before. If it still smelt good and tasted fine what was the point in wasting it? But it wasn’t something he had eaten because he had felt it since then when he knew nothing he had eaten had possibly gone bad, Jensen wouldn’t keep anything in the house if the due date was the next day.
Jared couldn’t see demons or what they hid behind their faces when he touched them but he sure as shit could feel the wrongness in them.
And he felt that every time he touched Josh.Shit!
Jared uncurled himself from around Jensen and shifted until he was standing in front of him. Gracefully he dropped to his knees and took Jensen’s slack hands in his own, resting them on Jensen’s thighs. “Jensen…those six people that disappeared and they only found one body…” he couldn’t be right, it had to be lack of sleep and Jensen telling him about his childhood, it had to be. “They…were they demons? I mean I’ve heard the reports and nothing bad or evil has been reported about them but…”
Jensen shook his head, “No Jay, just poor souls that crossed paths with the wrong person.”
“But…but the guy calls himself “God’s Hand” and that’s what your dad called you guys…” he felt sick again, his stomach flipping over and over. “But your dad is dead. So who…who is…Josh?” He finally spit out knowing that he didn’t need to be more coherent because Jensen would understand.
“Josh killed those people, yes.” Jensen admitted quietly, “But they weren’t demons anywhere else but in Josh’s own mind. “I promised I’d take him to the rose garden.”
“Dad said that God chose where the demons were to be buried.”
“The Thurman Public Rose Garden.”
The cold, slick, slimy feeling of oil slipping across Jared’s skin every time he touched Josh Ackles, Oh God, Oh Jesus Christ!
Jared shut his eyes trying to find his equilibrium. “Jensen,” he swallowed hard, trying to keep down the sudden surge of bile while forcing the words out. “How did Josh die?”
“Those notes the “God’s Hand” killer left, that Josh left, they were left for me, to lure me in.” Jensen finally admitted, keeping his hands curled around Jared’s but not tightly, not trapping them with his own. “Josh knew I’d come. I guess he figured when the killings made the news that I’d come for him. But I had to wait,” his eyes widened, pleading for Jared to believe him. “I had to wait till God put him on my list. To go before that would have been murder.” ***
No matter what the angel had promised Jensen a part of him had been worried sick that Jared was going to bolt the minute that Jensen admitted that he believed his dad and that he had been and was still following in his father’s footsteps. But all that happened was that Jared nodded slowly, his face staying neutral and, for one of the rare times, unreadable, and his fingers tightened against Jensen’s.
“So you…destroyed Josh?” He said slowly.
“Yes.” It still hurt but he had known since the night his father had died that Josh was a demon. His dad had used his final breaths to tell Jensen that the angel had told Alan that Josh was a demon and needed to be destroyed. “Then I took him to the rose garden and buried him in the place God had deemed demons be laid to rest.”
“Is…are you…was Josh the last?”
“One more.” He leaned down and pressed their foreheads together, “There is one more on the list and I need your help.”
Jared reared back far enough that their eyes could meet without crossing. “Wh…what? I…I can’t see demons Jensen. I think I can feel them, I mean I knew there was something…something off about Josh but…”
Jensen smiled reassuringly, “The angel told me that it was time to tell the one person that I could trust with my life. That that person deserved the truth and would be my aid to finish this last one then I could rest. You are that person Jared and I don’t need you to see demons, I just need you to tell Sophia to take the night off and spend it with Chad and enjoy the quiet for one of the last times before their baby is born and answer the Sheriff’s Department’s phone.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I’m going to go to the FBI offices in Dallas tonight and I’m going to meet with the agent in charge of the “God’s Hand” case, a Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the last demon on my list. I’m going to tell him everything I just told you with one twist, I’m going to tell him I’m Josh because when all is said and done and he is destroyed, I’m gonna make sure that the FBI spends the rest of eternity hunting for Josh, not bothering you and me. All you have to do is tell them I’m Joshua Ackles when he calls to ask about me.”
“I don’t understand.”
Jensen squeezed Jared’s fingers, “You will.”
Jared pulled a hand free and cupped Jensen’s cheek, “You’re a good man Jensen Ackles and you are doing God’s work but how do you think you’re going to get into FBI Headquarters and out without being caught on tape?”
“Because I am doing as God commanded.”***
Sophia Murray spun around in her desk chair and smiled up at the gentleman in a black suit and tie, the white of his shirt still bright against the black even in the dim lighting of the reception office of the Enid County Sheriff’s Department. She narrowed her eyes slightly, no one in Meat wore a suit and tie on a weekday unless there was a funeral or a wedding and she didn’t think this guy was there for either which meant he was some kind of Fed, his light brown hair that was pulled back into a pony tail at the back of his neck notwithstanding, he was still a Fed of some sort.
Feds never came to Meat, not since Phillip Arnolds and that whole mess back when she was in high school. Something cold slid down her spine but she forced a smile to her face to hide her unease.
“Didn’t hear you come in.” She apologized and shot a quick glare at her computer monitor, the miserable hinge that allowed her to tilt it back and forth was starting to fail, bump the damn desk and the monitor would fall forward far enough that only a dust bunny sitting on the desk directly beneath it would be able to see what was on it. And because she was eight months pregnant and had the belly to prove it, she was forever bumping her damn desk. Not your fault baby. She laid a protective hand over her stomach. “How can I help you?”
“I’m with the FBI. I need to speak to the Sheriff. Is he in?”
“Sure thing.” She turned the chair to be more angled toward the closed door that led into the bull pen of the department.
Sure it probably wasn’t professional to just holler for Jensen but Sophia was pregnant and her feet were swollen and painful. It had been sweet of Jared to offer to take the night shift for her the night before but perhaps she should have said no. The extra alone time with Chad had been great but he had insisted on rubbing her feet and as much as she had enjoyed it at the time, they seemed twice as worse today. And she still hadn’t quite got a handle on the new phone system, she blamed her pregnancy brain for that, all of that equaled not being the perfect professional but then again, no one was stupid enough to call her on it, not if they didn’t want her using hormones as an excuse the beat the hell out of them.
“Sheriff!” She swiveled the chair back around, “Would you like some coffee?”
Jensen pushed the door open and stepped through; wiping his hands on a shop rag that Jared had left behind the last time he had come in and tried to breathe a few more weeks’ worth of life into the building’s air conditioner. The grease on Jensen’s hands contested to the fact that it had only been two days’ worth of breath.
The agent returned the smile with a tight smile of his own, “No I’m fine thanks.” His eyes flickered to Jensen, “Sheriff?”
“I’m agent Christian Kane of the FBI. I need to ask you some questions about your brother.”
Jensen leaned against the opposite side of the counter, “Josh?”
Jensen nodded slowly, “Why don’t you come on around back.”***
Jensen followed FBI Special Agent Christian Kane out of the Enid County Sheriff’s Department and into the late afternoon sun. It wasn’t as warm as it should have been for early September in Texas but Jensen didn’t mind since he was still waiting on the County to cough up enough money to replace the air conditioner. Until then he had an excuse to get Jared to come down and see him during working hours since heating and air conditioning were Jared’s specialty.
“Well, I appreciate you coming by to tell me personally about Josh.”
The agent, Christian, gave him a side long glance as they walked down the block toward the government issued black sedan parked further down by the curb. “I just wanted you to know before we go public.”
“Listen if there’s anything I can do, don’t hesitate to call.”
“I think we’ve got it pretty well covered from here.” Agent Kane answered as he twisted the key for his car between his fingers, “But again, if you can think of anything, or if he contacts you…”
Jensen nodded and stilled, meeting the agent’s eyes as he turned back toward Jensen. “Of course.”
Agent Kane stuck his hand out and Jensen cupped it in his own, getting a quick flash of an overworked man who insisted on standing up for what was right even if it sometimes made him less than popular with those he worked with. “You’re a good man Agent Kane.”
Agent Kane stared at him for a long moment before giving Jensen’s hand one last quick pump before breaking the contact between them and stepping out into the road and into his waiting car.
Jensen watched as the agent eased into what could, laughably, be called rush hour traffic in Meat, and followed the car with his gaze until it disappeared around a corner and onto the road to take the agent back out onto the highway.
“Everything alright Jensen?”
He hadn’t heard Jared come up behind him but wasn’t surprised. For all his promises of being okay with what had happened over the last couple of days, it was a lot to take in and Jared had been walking around on tether hooks since Jensen had returned that night after burying Agent Morgan.
“Everything’s just fine, Jared.” He watched as Colin Ford and a couple of the kid’s friends crossed the street, laughing about something and eating chips out of a large bag between the three of them. Eventually he was going to have to track the kid down and remind him that just because this was Meat didn’t mean that Colin could jaywalk, it was still illegal even in small town America.
“God’s will has been served.”
“Praise God.” Jared said softly from behind him before he felt Jared’s hand on his hip.
Jensen turned, Jared’s hand sliding around to the small of his back and curling into the material of his Sheriff’s shirt. He smiled and pressed his lips against Jared’s.
La fin.Master Post