Challenge #2-Supernatural: The Early Years

My second writing challenge was to write a fanfiction and I chose to write a story about Dean and Sam, the writing challenge-2Winchester Brothers, from the television show, Supernatural. This story takes place when Sam is 9 and Dean is 13.

Sam and Dean’s father is a hunter. But not just any hunter. John Winchester hunts demons, vampires, ghosts, and other supernatural entities. Someday, his boys will become true hunters themselves. This is the beginning of a legacy.

Dean watched the black Impala pull away from the parking space, the engine demonstrating its power with a thunderous roar.

“When’s he comin’ back?”

Dean glanced and over and saw his little brother, Sam, coming up the sidewalk with two cans of soda in one hand and a bag of chips in the other.

They both stood and watched as the car turned onto the main drag.

“A few days, I suppose. Why?”

“Just wonderin’.”

Without another word, they went back into the motel room. Dean threw himself on the couch and slipped his hands behind his head.

Sam pushed his brother’s foot off the couch and sat down.

“Aren’t you getting tired of him leaving all the time?”

Dean gave Sam a blank look.  “What’s the big deal? We’ve been alone before.”

“I feel like an orphan,” Sam told him sadly. “Especially with mom gone.”

They were both silent.

Dean sat up abruptly. “What’s the matter, Sammy? You can tell me.”

Sam looked at him solemnly. After a moment, he finally answered.

“Okay, Dean. But don’t be mad.”

“Uh, oh. What’d you do, Sam? It must be really bad.”

“Never mind. You can’t help me. I don’t think anyone can. I’m in big trouble. The worst ever.”

“Quit being so dramatic. Nothing can be that bad.”

Sam sighed and moved closer to his brother.”I took something of Dad’s. And the worst part is,  I lost it.”

“What was it? Uh, oh. You didn’t take the rent money, did you?”

Sam took a deep breath. “No, but you know that chain he wears around his neck? The one with the little metal piece on it?”

“Yeah, the piece of shrapnel he got during the war… Oh, no …. Sammy, you didn’t …. Dad’s lucky charm? He told me that’s the reason he’s never been hurt when he’s hunting!  And he just left to investigate a family of vamps without it?  This is just great…. Sam, we gotta go help him!”

Dean stood up ready to run out the door.

“How are we supposed to do that, Dean? We don’t know where he is or even how to get there.”

Dean thought for a minute before he picked up the phone. “Maybe we don’t, but Bobby and Rufus might.”

The phone rang several times before someone answered. The man on the other end of the phone sounded mad. “What do ya want?”

“Bobby, we need your help.”

“Who is this?  Wait … Dean? Is that you?”

“Yeah, Bobby, it’s me. Dad’s in trouble. We need your help.”

“In trouble? Where’s he at?”

“Out on a hunt is all I know. Sam lost Dad’s lucky charm.”

“What? You gotta be kiddin’ me? You boys know better than to touch his stuff. Are you and Sam still at the motel in Ridgemore?”

“Yeah, room 114.”

“Be there in 15 minutes.”

Dean hung up the phone and turned to Sam. “Where did you have it last, Sam? We gotta find it before Bobby gets here.”

“I had it this this morning before I went to school and when I got there, I checked my pocket and it was gone.”

Dean looked out and saw they only had an hour of daylight left. “Come on, we have to retrace your steps.”

He wrote a quick note to Bobby and taped it to the motel room door.

“He can come find us if we’re not back,” he told his brother.

Sam nodded and looked to the ground, trying to remember the path he took earlier that day. Dean followed behind him.

“Dean?” Sam asked solemnly.

“Yeah?”

“Why does Dad believe in lucky charms? They’re fake, you know.”

“How do you know? Maybe they really work. Look at all the other things we thought were fake.”

Sam stood up straight and looked at his brother. “You were the one who told me there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny.”

Dean smiled sheepishly. “Yeah. Well, what can I tell ya. I don’t know why he carries it, Sam. Maybe he just feels better with it around. Like that stupid blanket you carried until you were 5. You heard the story …. Dad almost died when that shower of bullets hit him when he was confronted by the Viet Cong. When they dug it out, the docs said it was a miracle it didn’t shattered his liver into a hundred pieces. I guess it makes him feel lucky.” Dean paused and looked around at the empty parking lot. “I’m surprised he left the house without making sure he had it.”

“Well … I knew he’d check, so I made a fake one,” Sam said quietly and looked at the ground in shame.

Dean shook his head and chuckled. “Seriously, Sammy? You’re getting as bad as me. You are in so much trouble when Dad finds out. But don’t worry. I’ll probably be the one who gets blamed for this.” His eyes scoured the ground for the chain. “I always do,” he added softly.

It was getting darker by the minute. A passing car caught something in its headlight.

“There it is!” he yelled, pointing at the ground.

Dean scooped it up and held it up in the street light.

“Cool! Now all we have to do is get it to him,” he said.

“I’ll take that,” they heard someone say, as a hand with long, red fingernails snatched the chain from him.

They turned to see a pretty slender woman with long black hair and a man with pale skin and piercing dark eyes standing behind them.

“Hey! Give that back! That’s mine,” cried Dean, but the chain had already disappeared.

The woman smiled and said, “What a beautiful chain.”

She held it up for the man to see. He peered closely at the piece of metal.

“Yes, that’s it,” he confirmed and gave the boys an evil smile.

The woman took a deep breath. “You’re lucky we’re taking mercy on your pitiful lives and letting you go,” said  the woman, bending down to get closer to the boys. “If we wanted you dead, you’d be long gone by now.”

She straightened up and turned to leave. “Oh, and give your dad a message for us. Tell to keep his distance, or we’ll send him so far to hell no one will ever find his pathetic soul.”

“That’s my dad’s,” Sam told her boldly. “Give it back.”

“Oh? This one?” she said with a laugh and held the chain up.

Sam felt the anger rise up inside him. As the woman turned to leave, Sam  kicked her in the back of her knee, making her stumble and fall. Dean crouched down and used his leg to trip the man.

The woman cried out in pain and dropped the chain. Just then, a bright light lit up the parking lot.

Bobby jumped out of the car and cocked his rifle. “What’s going on here?”

The man and woman disappeared in a cloud of swirling dust.

“Where’d they go?” Sam and Dean looked around but they were gone.

“You boys okay?”  Bobby’s flashlight rested on their faces.

Dean and Sam nodded and shielded their eyes from the bright light. “Yeah, we’re fine. Can you please turn those lights off?”

“Oh, sorry. I got your note. I’m glad I found you.” He bent down and picked the chain up from the ground. “Is this it?”

“Yep, that’s it,” said Dean. “Why would they want it?”

“I don’t know, but I’ll hang on to it for safekeeping,” said Bobby.”

“What were they?” asked Sam.

“Vampires,” said Bobby. “I’m sure of it. I could tell when I shined the light in their eyes. But why didn’t they kill you why they had the chance?”

Sam and Dean looked at glanced at each other and shrugged their shoulders. “Maybe ’cause we had the lucky charm,” Sam said sarcastically.

“Come on,” Bobby told them. “We gotta go find your dad.”

——-

“Any idea where he went, Bobby?”

“Not exactly, but I talked to a few hunters who have been scoping out a large nest east of here in the wooded area off Highway 96. He might be headed there.”

They piled in Bobby’s old ’79 brown Pontiac, lovingly referred to as “The Beast.”

They drove down the Highway, looking for any signs of their dad or the black Impala. Bobby pulled over when he saw tracks leading into the woods.  Bobby looked closely at the grass and weeds that had been trampled down by something big.

“He might have gone that way. The tracks look more like they were made by wagon wheels, though.”

They each grabbed a flashlight and got out of the car.

“You think a wagon did this?” Dean asked him as he shined the light on the tracks. He got down to inspect it closer. “It must have been really heavy. Look how far it sank into the dirt.”

Bobby walked over and looked down at the ground. “Hmmm….you boys get back in the car. “I’m gonna go see what where it leads.”

He grabbed his rifle out of the trunk, and then grabbed extra ammo. He slammed the trunk closed.

“Sam and I are going, too,” Dean told him, feeling his back pocket for the knife he grabbed before leaving the motel room.

“No, sir, there’s no way, you’re comin’ with me. Your dad would have my behind if anything happened to you. Stay here and watch your brother.”

Dean felt the anger begin to rise inside of him. But instead of fighting, he simply said, “Okay, Bobby. We’ll stay here and watch for Dad.”

Bobby gave Dean a suspicious look. “That was way too easy. What are you up to, boy?”

Dean smiled coyly and glanced at Sam. “Nothing. I’ll stay here and take care of my little brother. Just go find my dad.”

Bobby looked into the dark woods and then back at Dean. He nodded and trotted off.

“What was that all about?” Sam asked, as he followed Dean back to the car.

“Know what I think?” Dean told Sam in his best know-it-all voice. When Sam didn’t answer, he continued.

“I think those tracks are a decoy meant to throw us off. And I bet the real trail is over there,” he said pointing to the creek bank on the other side of the bridge.

“How do you know that?” asked Sam. “Bobby and Dad could be in real danger. We can’t just go chasing some random trail.”

Despite Sam’s objections, Dean led him over to the bank where they found a man’s shirt, torn and bloody. Dean held it up smugly. “What do you call that?”

“That’s not Dad’s shirt, Dean.”

“I know, but it has to mean something. Come on. Let’s follow that trail and see where it leads.”

The woods seemed to get darker with every step, and soon they weren’t sure which way to go.

Suddenly, Dean stopped in his tracks. Not far ahead of them were two men, each holding Bobby up by his arms, dragging him toward a run-down shack.

On the porch was the woman they encountered earlier. Beside her was a little girl holding a ragged doll by a leg.

“Bobby Singer,” the woman said loudly. “You should know better than to be roaming around these woods alone. You don’t know what might be lurking in the shadows.”

She laughed deviously and grabbed the little girl’s hand. Bobby lifted his head, but then dropped it again. Blood ran from a gash in his forehead.

“They got Bobby,” Dean whispered to Sam.

“What are we gonna do?” asked Sam, his voice trembling.

Dean turned and held his forefinger to his lips. Then he motioned for Sam to follow him.

They  had only gone a few steps before someone grabbed Sam from behind. They carried him off kicking and screaming while Dean ducked behind a tree. He sat as still as he could until he was sure they were gone. His heart pounded in his chest as he thought of his helpless little brother captured by vampires.

He cautiously peeked around the tree, his head reeling as to what to do next. He took a deep breath and tried not to cry, but tears sprang to his eyes, anyway. With all the courage he could summon, he started out after his brother and the monsters that took him.

Just as his dad had taught him, he kept low and out of sight. He sat on the edge of the woods and watched as Sam was taken inside the shack, now guarded by two men. Dean went around to the other side of the shack to see if there was another entrance, but there was just a tiny window, too small for him to crawl through.

Someone grabbed him from behind and before he could utter a sound he turned around to face his dad. His dad took his arm and led him back to the woods.

When they found a safe spot, Dean told his dad the story about how they needed to find him, and how Bobby had volunteered to help them. “I’m so sorry, Dad. They got Sam.”

“I know…I saw. But I have something they don’t. My lucky charm.”

He reached in his pocket and took out a chain with a piece of metal on it.

“Dad,” Dean told him. “That’s not the real lucky charm. Sam took the real one to school and then lost it.”

“Where is it now?”

Dean was silent. “Bobby has it.” He looked toward the house. “Will it be lucky for him?”

“I doubt it Dean. It’s a special lucky charm.”

A look of defeat came over John’s face. John Winchester was a good hunter, but even he couldn’t take on a family of vampires. Not without his lucky charm.

“I got that charm from a Shaman a few years ago that has a powerful spell on it,” said John. “Without it, there’s no way I can kill those vampires.”

“So it really is lucky,” Dean said under his breath. “Does Bobby know about it?”

“I don’t think so,” said John. “I don’t think I told anyone how powerful it really is or what it’s used for. We need to get it back so we can take out the leader of the nest. If we can do that, we can take them all out.”

Dean and John sat down and devised a plan. Dean would distract them and flush them out while John found a way in and to get the charm from Bobby.

“It’s the only way,” said John. “I’m the only one who knows the incantation.”

Dean hugged his dad and ran to the clearing to get the vampire’s attention.

Standing in the clearing, Dean started making a ruckus to get the vampire’s attention.

“Hey! Come and get me, you dirt bags! ” he screamed. “Let my brother go!”

The door opened and the two men ran out after Dean. He saw them coming and started running through the woods, already thinking of the course to take. He would take them to the creek and then double-back to a cave he found earlier.

The woman, who had been standing on the porch, grabbed a shovel and ran after them.

John saw his chance and ran in the house, not sure which way to go or what he would find.

“Bobby! Sam!” he called frantically.

“In here!” a muffled voice called.

He opened the door and saw Bobby tied to a chair, and Sam tied to the bed post. A little girl was on top of Sam, ready to take a bite from his neck.

She saw John and hissed, her bloody fangs glistening in the moonlight. She jumped off the bed and crouched in a corner. John took a syringe full of dead man’s blood and injected her with it. She immediately fell unconscious.

John untied Sam, and then Bobby, and helped them outside.

“Where’s my charm, Bobby. I need it!”

Bobby reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out the charm.

“Get Sam out of here,” he told Bobby, nudging Sam.  “I’ll be right behind you!”

They jumped off the porch just as the tall pale man was coming around the corner. “We warned you, John. I guess you’re not very good at following directions.”

“Lucien, I thought I killed you years ago.” John smiled and made a fist with the chain, preparing for a battle.

Lucien’s face contorted into fury and he grabbed John by the throat, raising him off the ground. “You know that old saying … you can’t keep a good vampire down,” he said in a deep voice.

Sam and Booby jumped on the vampire, but he knocked them back with his flip of his hand.

John managed to put the charm on Lucien’s forehead and then pressed it into his skull as hard as he could, reciting the incantation: “Mura, Taci, Ki … Loka, Tei, Min.”

Lucien screamed in agony and let go of John’s throat. He grabbed at the chain, trying to pull it out. His skin began burn and he collapsed in a heap on the floor. They heard screams from the woods.

John and Bobby looked at each other. “Where’s Dean?”

They both started yelling for Dean as loud as they could. When he didn’t answer, John said, “I gotta go look for him. Stay here with Sam.”

Just then, they heard something rustle in the weeds and Dean ran out of the woods.

“I did it! I lured them to the cave and they fell in. I think they’re all dead.”

John cleared his throat. “Well, you know the only way to kill a vampire. Boys, you need to stay out here.”

John took a machete from Bobby and went inside. Soon, the boys heard a loud thwack! and a thud as their dad cut the vampires ‘s head off.

Dean looked at Sam. “Are you all right? I’m sorry they took you. I should have been watching out for you.”

“It’s okay, Dean. It’s not your fault.”

John walked out the house, the machete dripping with blood in one hand and the head of the vampire in the other. He threw the head to the ground and wiped the blood off the knife with a rag he found.

Sam walked up to his dad and stood looking at the ground. “I’m sorry I took your lucky charm,Dad. I won’t do anything like that again. I promise.”

John smiled and lifted Sams’s chin to look at his face. “No I don’t suppose you will. I’m just glad you’re okay.”

He hugged Sam tight. “And I got my charm back,” John said,holding it up for everyone to see.

Dean took the charm. “Wow, it really is lucky.”

“Well, to tell you the truth, I consider myself pretty lucky already,” John said with a smile.

Challenge #1- An autobiography

There’s a lot more to my life story than what I am about to write. The long version would fill countless pages and take more than a couple of days to write, but I think I can give readers a fair synopsis of what it’s like to be me in 1,500 or less.writing challenge-1

I was born April 8, 1963, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Tom and Betty Meis. I was the youngest of eight kids, until my little brother came along unexpectedly two years after me, and then there were nine.

My first memory was when I was 2. We lived on 31st Street SE, a dead-end street, behind Bever Park. There was an elderly woman who lived on the corner and take a walk every day at 3 o’clock. As soon as we’d see her start walking up the street, I’d  run out to walk with her. She was a nice lady and invited us to her house for cookies afterwards.

We moved in October 1965, but only a few blocks to the south. We were still close to Bever Park, where my brothers, sisters, and I spent most of our days. It had a playground with swings, slides, and a fire truck with a real firepole you could slide down. A small creek (or crick, if you’re from the Midwest) ran through the park, complete with fish and frogs, with a small waterfall at the end that emptied into a drain. A huge rock, leftover from the Glacier period (but my brother had me convinced it was a meteor) sat on the bank below the concession stand that we’d play on and dare each other to jump off.

Bever Park was home to a variety of animals, including a lion, bears, peacocks, and monkeys. As I lay in bed on hot summer nights with the windows open trying to catch a cool breeze, I could hear the roar of lion echo through the neighborhood. The peacocks joined in and added to the beautiful melody.

The park had a cement wading pool that was filled every morning with water so cold it took your breath away. The concession stand sold everything from candy buttons and taffy, to Popsicle and banana fudge bombs. The park was always packed with kids and families enjoying the summer days. But about 20 years ago, the popularity dwindled as the animals were taken away and people became busy with other things. Bever became just another park.

I met Jenny in first grade.  She had about a hundred cats and there were always kittens running around. They had a willow tree in their backyard with a swing that hung off it and a cement swimming pool. She told me one time they buried their poodle in the back under the tree and I was afraid to step where it was buried.

Jenny and I had a lot of fun together and had great imaginations. One of our favorite games was pretending we were orphans and had to take care of ourselves. (I think it was because one of our favorite book series was The Boxcar Children).

Jenny moved to a farm when I was 8 and we lost touch for a few years. One day she called me out of the blue and invited me to come to their farm. Amazingly, though I had lived in Iowa for 10 years, I had never been to a farm.

I had a great time. We played with the cows and goats, and ran after the ponies in the pasture. Once in a while we caught one of the slow ones and jumped up on its back.  They would buck or run into things to try to get us off, but we held on to their manes for dear life! Only once I fell off, but I got right back on.

One night when I was 11, Jenny asked me to go to an auction in Walker, a town north of Cedar Rapids. I had never been to an auction but Jenny told me how it worked. We walked up and down the stalls looking at all the horses, choosing which ones we wanted to bid on. When a scared colt came up for bidding, I felt so sorry for him. I wanted to bid on him so when the bidding started at $5, my hand went up. I looked at Jenny’s mom, who nodded and encouraged me to keep going. The farmer bidding against me must have had a soft heart because pretty soon he stopped bidding and the colt was declared mine…for $27.

I was thrilled, of course, as any horse-loving kid would be, but panic set in once I realized I still had to pay for it and figure out how to get it home. Luckily, Jenny’s mom had a soft heart, too, and told me she would pay for it and I could pay her back. We didn’t have a horse trailer, either, so it was decided that Jenny’s older brother could hold the horse still while they transported it home in their pickup. ‘

I named him Star because he reminded me of the colt in Marguerite Henry’s, Sea Star. I adored Star, and spent most of my weekends and time off school with him. He was only a year old and not trained yet. Jenny and I worked with him as he grew and the day came when I could finally ride him. I loved riding him in the huge fields and woods next to Jenny’s farm.

But, as I got older, other interests caused me to lose focus on Star and it was apparent he wasn’t getting the attention he deserved. After a lot of thought, I sold him to Jenny’s little sister.

I graduated from Kennedy High School in 1981, where I was active on the school newspaper. I met Bruce and we dated our entire senior year. We had planned on going on to college, but decided to get married instead.

July 3, 1982 was a hot and humid day. Morning showers gave way to a sticky 93-degree afternoon, but I was oblivious to it. The frosting melted on our wedding cake, my make-up ran, and my hair fell because of the humidity, but I didn’t care. All I cared about was that moment, and I was marrying the man of my dreams, my best friend. No matter what happened, we would face it together, because we could do anything as long as we were together.

That sentiment lasted about 6 years.

The year our youngest daughter was born, it was apparent our marriage wasn’t working. I filed for divorce, thinking life would be better for everyone, but the only thing I found was heartache and another child.

Two years after Sean was born, I got married again, but that too, ended in divorce. And just when I thought I would die alone, I met someone I thought would change it all.

Have you ever heard the old saying, third times a charm? Well, it’s not.

I took a good look at my life. I wasn’t happy with what I saw, but I didn’t know how to change it. In April 2005, something wonderful happened. I became a grandmother.

At that time, I was a heavy smoker, smoking two packs a day or more. I drank a lot, too. I was depressed and lonely and kind of a mess.

But having a grandchild changed it all. I wanted to be a part of my grandchildren’s lives and watch them grow up. But the way I was going, I didn’t think I would even see 50.

I made the decision to change my life. I wanted to feel better. To be better. But I knew it wouldn’t be easy.

So I took the first step on my new path and quit smoking and drinking.  I went to therapy and confronted my demons. I learned how to meditate. And I wrote. A lot. I filled eight 5-subject notebooks with notes and affirmations that reminded me why I chose to undertake this massive task. Before long, I started to see the changes, not only in my life, but in myself.

I went back to college and graduated with honors from Mount Mercy University with a degree in Journalism. I started a newspaper  in Hiawatha, a town north of Cedar Rapids, and though it lasted less than a year, doors began to open for me.

Along the way, I met someone who changed my life even more. He showed me that I could do anything I set my mind to and gave me the confidence I needed to keep going. And I wasn’t alone anymore, even though now I know I never really was.

I have to stop here, but there is so much more to this story, so much more to tell.  But someday I will finish it … and then you’ll know the rest of the story (Thank you, Paul Harvey.)

 

 

 

I love a challenge

I love a challenge. My entire world revolves around those daily random occurrences that challenge my sanity. But I have to admit, as twisted as it sounds, I do get a thrill out of it.writing challenge

Though there were countless times I wanted to throw in the towel and admit myself to the psych ward, I was able to keep going to complete my challenges.

It wasn’t always pretty, but I became good at it. I imagined that it was a game; to see how far I could push myself before I reached my limit and broke down, which, thankfully, didn’t happen. But I did learn a lot from the process, and I’m ready to see exactly what this writer is made of.

Which brings me to this blog post.

Scrolling through Facebook today, I saw an image someone posted titled, “Writing Challenge” (see photo). All I had to do was see the word “challenge,” and I was hooked. It inspired me to challenge myself to finish all 14 tasks. And just to make it interesting, I’m giving myself only a month to complete.

What better way to celebrate my father, who was also a writer, as well as celebrate the day of summer?