Title: Deception - Prologue
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October 31st, 2004
“I call bullshit.”
Jensen glanced around Christian and smirked at Riley. For all the bluster in the kid’s voice, his skin looked almost sickly green in the pale light of the half moon and the hand Jensen could see was held tightly and fisted to Riley’s side. But Jensen had to give him credit for his determination to keep putting one foot in front of the other, forcing himself to keep up to Jensen, Christian and Steve, resolute in his desire to be accepted by their little group of friends and no longer be the “new kid” in school that he was willing to do this even though it was clear that he was scared shitless.
“Nah man, it’s true.” Steve assured from Jensen’s other side. “Every Halloween night at eight thirty five the kid’s ghost comes back to warn off people from trying to cross the train trestle. He doesn’t want nobody else dyin’ like he did.”
“So some stupid kid gets taken out by a train because he’s worried about being caught out when he’s grounded on Halloween night twenty years ago and now he’s what? A real life Casper the Friendly ghost?” Riley muttered, shooting a glance at Steve before turning back to stare at the dark form of the train trestle growing bigger and more distinct the closer they got.
Jensen snuck a glance at his watch, they only had another three minutes to get to the bridge, get Riley on the damn thing, start looking for the “ghost” and for Jason to come up from where he was hiding just below where the bridge started and the ground dropped, before the actual 714 out of Mineola hit the bridge on the opposite side.
It was going to be the epic of all pranks if they got there in time. Jason had been out sick with mono for the last week so Riley wouldn’t know who he was and with the white face paint and his older brother’s hand me down zombie’s costume, even if Jason hadn’t managed to get the fake wounds glued onto his face, he’s still be fucking scary to see. But they had to get there in time.
Riley didn’t know that the train would be on the opposite side of the bridge, they had told him it would be coming behind him, coming from Dallas and that so long as he was, at least, a foot onto the trestle that the “ghost” would show itself ahead of him, warning him off. In fact, Jason would be sneaking up behind him to scare the shit out of him by moaning in his ear.
“Kinda, I suppose.” Christian shrugged his shoulders, the leather of his jacket squeaking in the quiet. “But people have disappeared. Rumor is that if the ghost gets a hold of you, you’ll die of fright or he drags you off the side of the bridge and that’s what kills you or some such thing.”
Riley huffed out a noisy breath through his nose and gnawed on his bottom lip.
It was probably a good thing that they were finally there or chances were the kid was going to decide having friends in his new school wasn’t worth this.
“So don’t let him near you.” Jensen muttered and shoved at Riley’s shoulder, pushing him onto the bridge.
Riley spun around, resolutely frozen barely the two steps he had stumbled onto the bridge when Jensen had pushed him. “You guys ain’t coming?”
“Rite of passage.” Christian tilted his head before he made a shooing motion with one hand, “We’ve all done it. We all looked the ghost in the face when we were twelve but we’re giving you the benefit of the doubt, letting you prove that you’re a real man at fourteen seeing as you just moved here and all.” Christian took a step closer and made an obvious show of looking Riley up and down, “You are a real man aren’t you Riley or are you just a scared little kid?”
Riley bristled, his spine straightening just enough that his body stopped the fine shakes that Jensen had seen so clearly before Christian’s taunt before he turned and took a dozen quick and deliberate steps further onto the bridge just like Jensen knew he would. Riley was short for fourteen and in just the week he had been at Berkner High, several students had stopped him in the halls and asked him if he was lost and needed directions to the nearest elementary school. It was that that had probably convinced him to come out and do this in the first place, well that and to hopefully prove himself to potential friends, after they had convinced him during lunch that this was what he needed to do to be accepted as a man in Richardson. That all the kids had done it before him and that it was the only way he would be accepted as one of them.
A glowing white face and neck that tapered off into a ripped and bloodied red and black checked shirt with torn and dirt caked blue jeans materialized beside Jensen as Jason silently slipped past him and onto the bridge behind Riley. Jesus.
He thought and suppressed a shiver of anticipation tinged with fear. He had been right, even if he wasn’t sure that Jason had managed to glue on wounds to his face, the rest of him looked like something right out of a horror movie, right down to the small twigs and, was that grass in his hair
Jensen jumped as a hand wrapped around his bicep and Steve snickered in his ear, “Smooth Ackles. Maybe we should have pulled this one on you.”
“Fuck you Carlson.” He hissed back but didn’t fight as Steve dragged him into the tall wild grass growing a foot away from the track in the shadow of the bridge. If Jensen fucked up the prank because he was too stupid to remember to hide and make Riley think that the ghost had gotten him, Steve and Christian, then Jason was going to kick his ass.
“Man.” He groaned as Riley let out a high pitched scream, not amused as Steve was, he had missed Jason getting right up behind Riley, too busy shifting around, making sure he wasn’t going to kneel in anything he’d regret later. Still he was in time to watch Riley take off across the bridge.
There was a flicker of light from the other end of the bridge, the 714 rounding the curve just before it would head onto the bridge.
Jensen turned in time to watch Jason dive into the high grass on the other side of the tracks, somewhere near Christian before looking back at Riley’s still retreating form.
Any second now Riley would notice the light before he heard the train and think that the “ghost” had materialized in front of him and turn around and run back. This was the kind of thing that they would tease him about for at least the rest of the year but he’d be one of them because he hadn’t punked out in the first place.
The rails were vibrating with the weight of the train speeding closer, the whistle, as it neared the bridge, was piercing and Riley had to know he needed to turn the fuck around by now. He had to know he couldn’t beat the train to the end of the bridge and get off safely. Yet he wasn’t turning around, he wasn’t running back toward them.
Why wasn’t he turning around?
“Riley!” Jensen screamed as he stumbled back onto the tracks. “Riley come back!”
Distantly he heard the screams of the others, yelling for Riley, yelling for him to come back, to turn around, to get off the bridge and still the distance between them and him kept growing.Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ!
Time seemed to slow down, as the electric engine became more than just a bright light and a hulking shadow far away. Jensen swore he could feel each vibration shake up from his sneakered feet and rattle his teeth. “Riley!”
It wasn’t a conscious thought but one minute he was standing rooted to the spot and the next someone was pulling him back off the bridge.
“No Jensen!” Jason yelled in his ear, “You won’t make it to him in time.”
“He’s got to get off the bridge.” He moaned before screaming again. “Riley get off the bridge!”
“He’s gonna make it to the other side.”
Steve sounded more hopeful then sure but Jensen clung to the thought. Riley wasn’t too far to the safety of the other side and the trains always slowed down some before they hit the bridge. He could make it, he would make it, he had to.
“Come on.” Jensen hissed, “Come on.”
Hope flared in his chest, Riley was only a dark speck against the glaring light from the train engine but Jensen was pretty certain that he only had maybe another dozen feet to go.
The bridge was too long to really make out much but the squeal of metal against metal as the conductor tried to do the impossible and stop the train made Jensen’s ears hurt, the sound almost overwhelming the piercing noise of the whistle and completely obliterating the noise of the impact of body and train. The only reason that Jensen knew that Riley hadn’t made it was when Riley’s shadowy speck disappeared completely from view having only just barely starting to veer from the center of the tracks.
“Oh God.” Jensen moaned as his legs gave out and pain ripped up his spine.
February 20th, 2005
“The court has found you, Jensen Ackles, Steven Carlson, Christian Kane and Jason Manns guilty of the charge of Involuntary Manslaughter in the death of Riley Smith. But as you were charged as minors it is this court’s decision that you will be remanded to the custody of the State of Texas Juvenile Detention Authority until your eighteenth birthdays. It is also this court’s decision after reviewing your poor assimilation in the Richardson Juvenile Detention facility, choosing to group together and refusing to move outside your own peer group that you will be sent to separate facilities in the hopes that you will learn and grow instead of becoming stagnate during your incarceration.”***Part 1