You should never assume; it might make an ass out of u and me.
That's what Will Weston's wife always told him, and that was exactly what he was thinking after receiving the call from his brother, Dean. There is something you should know about Dean before we go on with this tale. Dean Weston, ten years younger than William, was always coming up with some kind of story. A tall tale, if you will. Sometimes he would outright lie about things, but a lot of times it was innocent enough, as long as you could put up with a fair amount of bullshit.
For instance, when Dean was sixteen years old, he came home two hours past his curfew, and decided that the truth simply would not do. He explained to his parents that as he was walking home from Bill Jenson's house (Bill lived a few blocks away), a car full of long-haired hooligans pulled their car over and demanded he get inside. Of course, he did what they said. If he didn't, they surely would have beaten the shit out of him. Then Dean went on to say that these bad people took him to a gravel road outside of city limits, yanked him out of the car and pulled him into a cornfield. They acted as if they were going to use him as a human sacrifice. The leader of these terrible people, a tall goon with missing teeth, actually pulled out a big hunting knife and threatened to open Dean's stomach. He threatened to let its contents spill out onto the soil in the name of Satan. Then suddenly, the whole group started laughing, as if it were a real funny joke. They left him out there in the cornfield, and he had to hitch a ride with some overweight farmer who smelled suspiciously like manure. Dean further explained that the reason his parents did not see the farmer's truck pull up in front of the house was because Dean had been so embarrassed of the guy and his grubby vehicle, he didn't want the neighbors to think that the farmer was associated with the Weston family. Dean told this story with a lively voice, using his body to pantomime what had happened in between his sentences. Of course, Mrs. Weston was able to find out with a single phone call to Bill Jenson's mom that Dean had been there the whole time, and had left about ten minutes before he turned up at home. Bill Jenson's mom said that Dean had told her that his mother and father were letting him stay out late that night, because it was a weekend. When confronted with Mrs. Jenson's version of what had happened, Dean sloughed it off as if nothing wrong had been done, and tried to slink off to his room. He was grounded for two weeks, but the grounding did not last. It never did.
Although Dean was a frequent teller of such fine make believe, he was still quite charming and loveable. His stories were far fetched, but the fact that underneath all the B.S. was a good person was obvious. And that is the reason why Will, thirty-eight years old, was ready to listen, once again, to whatever his brother had to say.
The phone call came on a Thursday evening in the middle of July. Will and his wife Emma had been about ready to watch a program on child rearing. They had a two-year-old son, and parenthood still seemed to be quite the mystery, so they figured they would listen to Dr. Phil preach on about how it was done. When the phone began ringing, Will and Emma looked at each other with matching expressions that showed no surprise. It was Murphy's Law. Emma made no move to answer it, and Will was inclined to do the same, but after the twentieth ring, it was apparent that whoever the caller was, they meant to be heard by God. Will got up, answered the phone, and was not at all surprised at who was at the other end of the connection. Dean immediately began sputtering unintelligible sentences as soon as he heard his brother's voice. Emma asked who was on the phone, and Will silently mouthed his brother's name. Emma didn't look unhappy, but by her body language, Will was able to tell that she had resigned to watch Dr. Phil on her own. She knew that when Dean called, it was hardly ever a short-lived conversation; it took time to relay the yarns that he came up with. Will grabbed the base of the phone and walked into the kitchen so as not to disturb the program that had just started. His brother had not yet stopped talking.
"Slow down, slow down." Will said into the telephone. "I can't understand a damn thing you're saying."
"God damn it, Will." Dean exclaimed. "Haven't you been listening to a thing I've been saying? I need to talk to you as soon as possible."
Will sighed. "Dean, I was about to sit down and watch something on T.V. with Emma. I mean, what's the emergency anyway?"
"No, no, no." Dean said, raising his voice. "You are most certainly not going to sit down and watch T.V. This is a fucking emergency. Will, I have to talk to you, and I mean right now! Okay?"
Will lowered his head so that his chin rested on his chest. He closed his eyes and breathed in and out heavily. He had half a mind to hang up. When Dean became hysterical like this, he could also become rude, and Will despised rudeness. Slowly, he raised his head and opened his eyes.
"Alright," he said. "I'll listen to you; but you need to slow down, first thing. Second thing; make it fast. I really want to watch this show."
When Dean spoke again, his voice was lowered; but his haste was not. "Will," he said. "This is an emergency! I'm not joking around here. There is no way in hell that I can make this fast. There's a shit load to say. Do you understand? Now I need you to meet me somewhere, because it may not be safe to talk about this on the phone. It's important. It may be-no, that's not right. It is a matter of life and death. What do you say?"
And that decided it. It wasn't so much the words that convinced Will to believe his brother, but it was the way he said it. It was the tone in his voice as he said it. He had heard many a tale from Dean over the last twenty years, and this might very well be one of them, but Will didn't think so. Something was different this time.
"Okay, Dean." Will said. "I'll meet you. Shit, I'm going to catch hell from Emma on this. But I warn you; this had better be good. Where do you want to meet?"
"Do you remember that bar we went to when I wanted you to meet Susan?" Dean asked.
"Uh huh." Will said. He remembered. The girl he was talking about lived with Dean for about two years, and then just disappeared. She had left her job as a waitress one night five years before, but she never came home. The police turned up nothing, and Susan became another statistic for missing persons. She and Dean had been engaged; their time together was the happiest Will had ever seen his brother. It was highly uncommon for Dean to talk about Susan.
"Good," Dean said. "I'll meet you there in half an hour. Will that give you enough time?"
"Yeah," Will said. "Listen, I'm sorry for the way I sounded there just a moment ago. I didn't mean to come across as such an asshole."
"Hey," Dean said. "I know I haven't always been Mr. Pleasant myself. Don't worry about it. It's just that this is the most frightening thing that's ever happened to me, and you're the only one I can trust. Half an hour, okay, Will?"
"Half an hour it is. See you soon."
Will hung up the phone and stared at it without expression for a moment. He had never heard his brother sound so sincere in his entire life. Whatever was going on, it wasn't just the same old baloney that one could normally expect from Dean Weston. There was something dire in his voice, an urgency that could not be feigned.
Walking back into the living room, Will could tell-even though he could only see the back of Emma's head-that she knew something was up. It was in the air. He set the phone down on its stand and sat down next to his wife. She looked over at him, and he was glad to see that there was no anger in her face. She knew that he was going to see his brother, as he had on so many other occasions when there wasn't any real reason to; she knew that he would not be keeping his promise about watching the program, but she was not upset. When she spoke, the softness in her voice made him glad.
"I heard you on the phone," she said. "I've never heard you talk to your brother that way; when you were apologizing for sounding angry. Has something terrible happened?"
"I don't know." He said. "Dean wouldn't say what was the matter. He said he wanted to meet me at the same bar where he invited me to meet Susan."
"He mentioned her?" Emma asked, surprised.
"Yeah." Will said. "For the first time in a long time. Is it okay if I go out, then? I really think something serious is up."
"Of course it's okay." She said, reaching over and ruffling his hair. "Your son and I will be waiting for you when you get back."
The only problem with what Emma had just said, although she couldn't have possibly known it; it was the last time she was ever going to see Will again.
Will put on his shoes and kissed his wife for the last time by the front door, then went out into the warm summer evening and got into the car.
William Weston was a good man. Growing up, he had been a decent kid who happened to get into trouble often. It wasn't that he caused a lot of mischief; he just got caught one hundred percent of the time. Call it bad luck, but that's just the way it was for him. He always tried to be a good kid, and most times, that was good enough. But he also wanted to impress others. He wanted to be accepted, and he didn't think being good and following rules was the way to do that. And so in an effort to make new friends, he would do something stupid so that he could feel that he belonged. He would impress others with his foolishness, but he would also be caught in the act.
For Dean Weston, things were the exact opposite. This kid could spend sixteen hours out of twenty-four being rotten, but suffer little consequence for it, even when he was caught. Especially when he was caught. Because he was up to no good most of the time, it was commonly accepted that that was just the way it was, and it should be cherished when his good side came out. It was normal for Dean to do something bad, and for Will to get into trouble for it; and many times, when Dean was caught doing something horrible, Will was blamed for not being a good enough example.
Once, when Will was seventeen and Dean was seven, Dean had knocked over their mother's antique lamp, and it had shattered to pieces. Their mother was not home; she was at a parent/teacher conference. When she came home, she broke out into tears because her brother had given the lamp to her; he had died from colon cancer years earlier. Dean told her that Will had accidentally knocked it over, and had told him to tell her that he was sorry. He couldn't tell her himself because he had to go out with his friends.
When Will got home, he faced the wrath of his mother, which could be devastating. He'd tried over and over again to tell her that he had nothing to do with the broken lamp, but still to this day, she did not believe him.
On another occasion, their father had found an issue of Penthouse under Dean's mattress. Dean never heard anything about this, but Will sure did. He was given a tedious lecture about being a more positive influence for his brother, and was grounded for a week. And the occurrences went on and on.
Deep down inside, and still to this day, Will had a simmering resentment for the way things were during his childhood. Sometimes he wished he could go back in time and raise as much hell as he could possibly muster, but the small part of him that wished that wasn't the real him. Even now, he was a good person; he meant well. His luck hadn't changed much over the years, however. That's not to say that good things didn't happen to him; he was extremely grateful for his wife and son. He knew that they were the best things that any man could wish for, and he appreciated them. It was the little things, and everyone knows that life consists of little things, which seemed to be full of bad luck; at least he thought they were full of bad luck. Possibly, his reason for feeling this way was because of his pessimistic view of life in general. That pessimistic view was born from his childhood; born from all the times he got caught for his wrongdoings and all the times that he was blamed for someone else's, especially Dean's. That same view was still strong in him as he drove toward the bar where his brother asked to meet him, even after the warm way in which Dean had spoken on the phone.
Will had the windows rolled down, and had the radio cranked; a luxury that he didn't usually have now that he was a father. Most times when he went somewhere, so did his family; and that's just how he wanted it. Going places by himself made him feel lonely. He hated feeling lonely. It reminded him of when he was single, and those were not times he liked to look back upon if he didn't have to. Before he was with Emma, his memories of life had a depressing aura around them; an aura he despised knowing were entangled with the thoughts that resided inside his head. But such was life, and it really was better now.
As William turned onto the street that would bring him to his destination, the memory of meeting Dean's fiance surfaced in his mind. He remembered walking into the bar and seeing her and his brother sharing a booth seat across from the bar; their arms were around each other, and they both had smiles that were wide enough to show their teeth; God, how they'd looked happy. Will silently damned whatever had happened that made Susan disappear from Dean's life. If she were still here, Dean's life would be so much better; he just knew it. Being with her was the only time that Dean cooled off on telling the tall tales he was known for. When he was with her, he didn't have to exaggerate anything, because everything was perfect. Now here Dean was again, with yet another story. Although Will believed that there might be some tangibility in what Dean wanted to tell him this time, he wondered if this conversation would happen at all if Susan were still around. He didn't think so.
Will came driving up to the bar that was simply called "Mark's Bar and Grill" and found a parking space right in front of it. He pulled into the space and saw that the car in front of his was Dean's car. A red Mitsubishi GT3000. His brother was obsessed with that car. Will thought at times that it was the only thing that kept Dean going; without it he might just float off into la-la land. It was a cool enough looking car, a 4-speed with 222HP. Not the best thing in the world, but Dean loved it with all his heart, and Will was glad that he had a hobby other than drugs and violence; a hobby far too many people participate in these days. At the thought of violence, the memory of Susan sprang into Will's mind again; although there was no proof that she'd met with violence, he couldn't help but thinking that she had.
Will waited for the traffic to pass by before getting out of his car and stepping onto 1st Ave. He looked around and noticed that the neighborhood had gone downhill from the last time he was here. What the hell is the world coming to? He thought. Sometimes he imagined that it would be better off for the world to come to an end.
He walked around the front of his car and fed the parking meter a quarter. He wondered how long he was going to be here. He wasn't sure, so he decided to stick in another seventy-five cents, which gave him the maximum time of two hours. He didn't think Dean would need any more time than that. He turned and looked at the bar; with its lighted and neon beer signs in the otherwise tinted windows, took a deep breath, and walked to the door.
Stepping inside, Will was blinded for a moment. The lighting of the bar was very dim, and it had still been light outside. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust. Automatically, the first place he looked was to the booth where he had seen Dean and Susan sitting the last time he'd come here. A group of four guys were inhabiting the space, laughing aloud and clinking beer bottles together in some kind of toast. One of the men looked up and saw Will staring at them, and the happiness left the man's face. He had gone from joyful to being ready to fight, and for something as innocent as being looked at, the way so many drunken people do. Will quickly changed the direction of his gaze, and just in time, too. The man at the table seemed about ready to get up, and when an angry drunk gets up, more often than not, it means trouble.
Will scanned the bar counter, which was on the left side of the room, and it took him a moment before he recognized his brother amongst the other patrons. Dean hadn't been watching for him. He was sitting at the end of the bar, facing Will's direction, just where it turned in an L shape. From where Will was standing, he could only see Dean from the chest up. He was wearing a long-sleeve hooded sweatshirt, which was very strange for the weather, and still he did not look up. His head was tilted down toward the drink in front of him. Will made his way toward the end of the bar; he had to walk right by the table where the four men were sitting, and he wondered if the one that had been looking at him might reach out and block his path. He walked by, staring straight ahead, tension in the muscles in his shoulders, ready for obstruction. Nothing happened. Will sighed as he made his away past the table.
Reaching the bar, he took the seat along the long side of the L shape in the bar, so that his back would be to the men in the booth. Dean had still not looked up. Will had never seen his brother look this way, and a worried feeling began to swell in his stomach, growing into a kind of nausea. The hood of the sweatshirt surrounded Dean's head, and sweat had covered much of his face. Dean reached forward, picked up the glass in front of him; it was filled with a dark liquid-and drank deeply, nearly finishing it. The look on his face told Will that whatever it was, it didn't taste very good. He set the glass down, and resumed his silence; he would not acknowledge the fact that Will was here. Finally, Will could not take the suspense any longer; he reached out a grasped Dean's arm.
"Dean," Will said in a low but sharp voice. "What the hell is going on here?"
Dean only sat there, still staring down at his nearly empty glass. After a moment, he picked it up and emptied the rest of the drink into his mouth. He set the glass down gently, and finally he raised his eyes, but not toward his brother. Instead, he was eyeing the bartender, waiting to get his attention.
"God damn it, Dean." Will said aggressively, "Talk to me, man. What's going on?"
Slowly, Dean turned his head so that he was facing his brother. The look in his eyes chilled Will's blood. He lifted his right hand from the bar and reached down into the pocket of the sweatshirt. From it, he pulled a small revolver. He kept it under the edge of the bar so that no one else but Will could see it. Then he slid it back into his pocket, and raised his hand back to the top of the bar.
"Jesus Christ!" Will said. For a moment, it was all he could come up with. After trying several times to get other words out of his throat, he finally said: "Where in the name of God did you get that thing?"
Nonchalantly, Dean said: "I heisted it from a friend of mine's dad." His gaze was back upon the bartender, and eye contact was made. The bartender walked toward them.
"What can I get for you?" He asked. The bartender was a well-built Italian, hair slicked back, white shirt with the top three buttons undone, and a could give a fuck attitude. He flung the towel he was using to wipe the bar with over his shoulder.
"Another whiskey and Coke, but keep the coke to a minimum." Dean said. The bartender turned and went about the business of mixing the drink.
"And just what do you think you're doing carrying a gun around?" Will asked, still in shock over seeing the revolver.
"Protection." Dean said simply. The expression on his face had not changed, and the sweat still poured from it.
"Protection?" Will said, keeping his voice low. "From what?"
Dean kept silent until the bartender brought the drink to him. Before he set the glass down, the Italian wiped the bar space in front of Dean. "That's gonna be four bucks." He said. Dean reached into the left hand pocket of the sweatshirt and brought out his wallet. He flipped it open; counted four one dollar bills from it, and handed them to the bartender. The Italian took the bills, turned, and headed toward the cash register at the other end of the bar.
"Do you got time to hear a story?" Dean asked after taking a minute sip from the glass.
"That's what I came down here for. And it better be a damn good one, too, for it to justify you carrying that fucking gun." Will said. "Let me order a beer; I'm afraid I'm going to need it." He signaled the bartender, ordered and paid for a pitcher of beer; he waited for it to be sat in front of him with a glass, turned toward Dean, and waited for the story to begin.
"Earlier today," Dean began, "I was with Bill Jenson. You know, the dude that used to live a few blocks from us when I was a kid? Anyway, him and me went over to a friend of ours house, just to bum around. Well, when we got there, we didn't see his car in the driveway, and the dude almost never puts his car in the garage, so we kind of figured that he wasn't home; but Bill-the dumb ass-decides to go knock on the door anyway.
"So Bill pulls his truck into the driveway. He puts it in park and says to me, 'I'll just go knock on the door,' and gets out. I could have gotten out too, but I figure, 'what the fuck, he's probably not here, so I'll just wait.' Now this dude we went to see, his den is in the back of his house, and that's where he's always at, so we always go around to the back door. So I'm sittin' there-it's only been a minute since Bill got out-waiting to see what's up, and all of a sudden, here comes Bill from the back of the house. He's staggering like he's all fucked up, and he's got his hand up, holding it over one half of his face; and there's bloodso much bloodjust oozing out through his fingers." Dean took a break here in telling his story so that he could take a large drink from his whiskey and coke. Will had been noticing the animation in his brother's face as he talked, and he couldn't help but to believe everything he'd said up to that point. Dean's face was still pouring sweat-Will wanted to tell him to take off that damn hood-but it seemed as if he wanted to be hidden away. If this story was true, then William certainly couldn't blame him.
After a brief moment of silence, Dean went on. "Okay, so I'm sitting there, and here comes Bill, just like I said; his hand covering part of his face, and it's gushing blood. My first reaction is to get the fuck out of the truckyou knowso that I can help him. I start to reach for the door handle, but I never take my eyes off of him, and right when my hand found the handle, Bill takes his hand away from his faceand ohoh God Will, he's reaching out for me to help him. I fucking froze; I couldn't move a muscle. Half of his face was gone. It looked like he'd been hit with a fucking lawnmower."
At this point, Dean began to choke up. A single tear swelled and then escaped his right eye; it made its way down his face.
"Holy Christ," Will said. He reached out and squeezed Dean's shoulder; it was the only comfort he could give. "So what happened? What did you do? Is Bill alright?" The questions started streaming out of him, but they came to an abrupt stop when Dean looked at him. The expression on his brother's face rendered silence.
"Hold on," Dean said. His composure was regained. "There's more."
William took his hand away from Dean's shoulder, poured another glass of beer with a shaky hand, and prepared for whatever was next.
"Bill was standing there," Dean went on, "pleading for help with his arms outstretched, and I could see the fear in his eye-the one he still had left. I opened the door and was about to get out. I'd set one foot out on the driveway, and just then I saw Dennis-the guy who owns the house-come walking out from behind the house. Thank God, I thought, and then I looked at his face. The son-of-a-bitch was smiling-no, that's not right. He was grinning, and it was no normal grin, either. The corners of his mouth were stretched back to his fucking ears, Will. I know that sounds impossible, but as I sit here and remember it, that's how it was. I swear on my life."
Dean stared straight ahead in silence for a moment, and then took another swig from the glass, emptying it.
"Anyway," he began again, "I was still frozen from the shock of it all. I just sat there and watched Dennis, with that fucking grin on his face, walk right up to Bill. As soon as he came right up behind him, he turned his head-and he stared at me; right at me, and God as my witness, that grin widened. And his eyes-they were pure malice, and I could feel the malice, Will. I could feel the hate and rage in that stare, and I knew he wanted to kill me. I think it was because of realizing that that made me move. My paralysis broke, and I brought my leg back into the truck and slammed the door shut. I slid over to the driver seat-thank Jesus the truck was still running-and threw it into reverse. I looked up again, and Dennis had his arm around Bill's neck. He was dragging him back behind the house. Bill was flailing and trying to get away, but for all his fighting, Dennis was just too strong. Bill's heels were dragging along the driveway, and one of his shoes came off. It came right off. And do you want to hear what happened next?" Dean was staring at Will, and the look on his face was the look of a madman.
"No, Dean." Will said. "No, I don't think I do." He had been so taken in by Dean's story at this point, that he hadn't considered the fact that all of this might in fact be one of his brother's fabrications; but the thought suddenly struck him. With all of the experience in hearing ridiculous stories from Dean all his life, how could it not? He was about to ask his brother if this whole thing was some kind of elaborate joke, when Dean reached over and grabbed his wrist.
"I saw things-legs-I think they were legs." Dean continued. "They looked like spider legs; or maybe insect legs-ripping out the sides of Dennis's body; under his arms, along his ribs. Something inside of him was trying to get out! He wasn't even human. Well, when I saw that, I hit the fucking accelerator and shot out of that driveway. I'd been in such a crazy state, I don't even remember how I got to Alex's house, but when I finally snapped out of the daze I was in, that's where I was. Parked in front of Alex's house. Alex is a buddy of ours and the fucker still lives with his parents. So I sat there for a long time, I'm not sure how long, thinking about things. After awhile, I got out of the truck. I decided that I'd talk to Alex; see what I ought to do. You know, it never even occurred to me to go to the police. Isn't that fucking weird?
"Anyways, I walked up to the house and knocked on the door. Alex answered it, and said 'Hey, how's it going'? Come on in.' I went inside, and Alex said 'Wait right here, okay? I've got something incredible to show you,' and off he goes, leaving me standing in the living room. Now Alex's dad is an ex-cop, and he's kind of eccentric. He's got guns all over the fucking house. I don't know what made me do it all of a sudden, but I walked over to the hallway that connected to the living room. In the hall closet, there was this revolver. I knew it was there because Alex had shown me all of the guns in the house at one time or another. So I nabbed it. Stuck it in my jeans and pulled my shirt down to conceal it.
"Now here's the worst part yet. I go back and wait in the living room. I don't know why, but I was standing by the door, and thank God, because if I hadn't been right there, I'd be dead. While I'm standing there waiting, I start to hear this weird fucking noise-a wet sound, a slippery sound. I don't know how else to describe it. It's coming from the hallway, and before I see it, it talks to me! 'Dean', it says in this horrible, slimy, serrated voice. 'Dean, now you know our secret,' it says. 'Now you'll have to die, and it's going to hurt, Dean, it's going to hurt when we rip you in half and eat out your insides.' And then it comes out of the hallway and into the living room. It's Alex's father-at least it used to be his father. I could tell because it had bits and pieces of flesh all over it, from when it ripped through him. I could see pieces of his face that I could recognize, Will. But even worse than seeing human skin bloody and all torn to pieces was seeing what was underneath. It was some kind of insect. It was some kind of thing-oh fuck, man, I don't know what it was. From the hallway, I could hear more of that wet, slippery, ripping sound, and I knew that it was Alex and his mom becoming those things. I was back in Bill's truck before I knew it, driving the fuck away.
"I went home, grabbed a change of clothes-you're probably wondering why I'm wearing this damn sweatshirt. I just wanted to hide my face, you know? Anyway, I changed, and then I called you. And I drove my car. I didn't want to get back into Bill's truck. It's a dead man's truck. Well, there it is. I had to tell you. These things-whatever the fuck they are-they're everywhere. It's crazy, but it's true. So, Will, what do you think?"
Now there was one hell of a question. Will sat there looking down at his drink; much in the same way Dean had been when Will first came in. The first thing to come out of his mouth was: "Dean, you're not fucking with me, are you? I mean, I don't think so, but are you?"
"Jesus Christ, no!" Dean said with a raised voice. He looked hurt. "Do you honestly think I'd just make all this bullshit up?"
"No, Dean. I don't." Will said. "It's just that you've always had a way with-how can I put this-stretching the truth. I just need to be absolutely positive that that's not what's happening here."
Dean gave Will the most serious look he'd ever seen. "Will," he said, "I'm serious as a heart attack. No bullshit."
Will looked down and saw that his hands were shaking. He looked back at his brother; Dean was staring down at his empty glass. Suddenly the bartender appeared in front of them.
"Can I get you another drink?" He asked Dean. Dean looked up, stared at the Italian for a long moment, and nodded. The bartender walked away with a perplexed look on his face.
When Dean spoke again, the words that came out of his mouth were not what Will was expecting. "I miss Susan," he said. "God, I wish she were here. I wish I could have spent these last five years with her. I've been so lost without her, but at the same time, I'm glad she's not here. I almost hope she's dead. Is that monstrous? I hope she's dead, because death would be better than knowing what we know. After what I've seen today, I wish I was dead." Another tear escaped his eye, and he wiped it away with the sleeve of the sweatshirt. The bartender came back and sat the drink Dean had ordered down it front of him. Dean pulled out his wallet again and paid the man. His face was somber.
When the Italian walked away, Will said: "Hey man. I can't tell you how sorry I am about Susan. I really am. I don't know that I ever told you that." He patted Dean on the shoulder.
"I know you are," Dean said. "I know. Thank you, I appreciate it." He sat up straight, and allowed a small smile to come to his face. It wasn't a pleasant smile, Will knew, but his brother was trying to show that he was more with it than he really was. "Listen," Dean said, "this alcohol is really hitting me hard. I've got to use the restroom. I'll be back in a second." He got up and began walking toward the bathroom, which was directly to his right. The entrance to it was through a small alcove in the bar's outer wall. Will watched his brother disappear through the door, and then in his mind began sifting through all he had just heard. He poured himself another beer from the pitcher and had just raised the glass to take a drink when he felt a hand slam down on his right shoulder. He whirled around on the stool and saw the drunken man from the booth standing before him.
"So you and your buddy like to talk shit behind people's backs, huh? You're not man enough to say it to my face?" The drunk said. He stood about 6'6 and was built like a bulldozer. The smell of beer surrounded his body like an aura of light around the sun. His fists were clenched at his sides; he was ready to fight. The look in his eyes could have easily belonged to a serial killing neurotic. He was waiting for a reply from Will.
"Look," Will said, observing the giant in front of him. He saw that the man's friends were still sitting in the booth. "I don't want any trouble, okay? The man I'm with is my brother, and we were definitely not talking about you. Alright?" He raised his hands palms outward to show that he did not want to fight.
"So are you calling me a liar?" The big man asked. "Because I'm no fucking liar. It seems to me that you're too much of a pussy to admit that you and the other guy were sitting over here talking shit about me, so now you're gonna have to learn a lesson."
William leaned backwards on his stool, preparing himself for a blow that was likely to knock his head off. He hoped that the bartender was on the phone to the police, so that maybe they'd get here in time to stop this madman from killing him, but he didn't hear anyone talking. Everyone in the bar was silent and watching for what would happen next. And what did happen next surprised Will because he hadn't realized that Dean had come back from the restroom. When Dean spoke from right behind Will, he let out a small gasp in surprise.
"Back the fuck off, Paul Bunyan." Dean said. Will turned and saw that his brother was standing just behind him on the short side of the bar counter. The hood of his sweatshirt was off, and he had the revolver out of his pocket and pointing right at the big man's chest.
"Okay, Dean," Will said. "Go easy, alright? Why don't we all just take a deep breath and relax. Let's just take it real easy."
But nobody was taking it easy. The big drunk still looked like he was ready to attack, and Dean kept the revolver steady and level with the big guy's chest.
"Make your move, asshole." Dean said to the man.
"You know what, you little piece of shit?" The guy said. "I think I will make my move, because I don't believe you have the balls to pull the fucking trigger." And suddenly, the man did make his move. He took one step forward in Dean's direction, and the report from the gun was deafening. Will's ears were immediately filled with a high-pitched whine. The big drunk fell back and knocked over a small bar table that was behind him. His body hit the floor hard. His arms flailed back when he hit, and knocked over two of the chairs that had surrounded the table.
Will looked over at Dean at the same time the three friends of the drunk were clamoring out of the booth. The gun was still held high in Dean's hand. He had the look of rage on his face. Will knew that he'd snapped. The friends of the giant man were coming toward Will and Dean, and they looked ready to kill. The other five bullets in the revolver made their way out through the barrel of the gun, and the three men dropped to the floor in a frenzy of flailing and blood. Most of the other people in the bar were on the floor, covering their heads with their hands. Will could only imagine what was going through their minds based on what was going through his; my brother has lost his fucking mind.
A long time passed before there was any movement in the bar; how long, Will did not know. When he was finally able to break from his shock, he reached over and took the revolver from Dean's still outstretched arm. The gun was empty, but Will hadn't realized that; he hadn't been counting the bullets. Dean relinquished the gun without hesitation; the murder was out of him. He stood there looking down at the carnage he'd caused. People started to stir on the floor and began getting up, checking themselves for wounds. And then the front door of the bar opened. Will and Dean looked over, expecting the police to come caterwauling through with their guns raised and fingers on the triggers, but it wasn't the police. It was Alex, the guy Dean had gone to see after witnessing what had happened to Bill, and his parents. Will did not know who these people were, but he had a growing suspicion when he heard Dean utter the words: "No. Oh God, no."
"Yes, Dean." Alex's father said. "I'm afraid so. You thought that you could get away, but you were wrong. You thought running from us would keep you safe, but we know how to find you, Dean. Oh yes; we know."
The three people who had just come in began to lurch and go through horrendous convulsions. The young one, Alex, Will presumed, began to grin in the terrible way that Dean had described, and he was right; the physics of the grin were impossible. The corners of his mouth were stretching back toward his ears, and the teeth in his mouth were long and thin and pointed, like thick needles. And then the flesh started to rip and fall away from their bodies, causing streams and freshets of blood to pour to the bar floor. While this was going on, the dead bodies of the drunken man and his friends began to move. Things that looked like the brown, hairy legs of a giant insect began ripping through the sides of their bodies. Something inside of them was struggling to get out.
"Yes, Dean!" Came a demonic voice from one of the creatures at the front of the bar. The other customers in the bar began to scream from what they were seeing. "Are you ready to die now?" The monster asked.
Will grabbed his brother by the shoulder and turned him toward the back of the bar. "There's got to be a way out; a back door. C'mon, let's go." Will and Dean ran down a small hallway that led to a door with a lighted EXIT sign above it. Just as they were about to reach it, the Italian bartender jumped in front of them from a small room off the hallway. He had somehow gotten back there first in anticipation of them trying to get away, and it appeared that he was one of them. On his face was an impossible grin, and his eyes were glowing red.
"No escape this way, boys; there's no escape at all." The bartender said in a gut retching, ear grating voice, as his skin began to lacerate. He laughed louder and louder through his inhuman lungs, but the laughter was not even close to covering the screams of the two brothers and the others being slaughtered inside "Mark's Bar and Grill."