Interstate 87
Montana

The target had stopped moving and Dean was fairly certain he knew where to go at this point. He was a bit over an hour behind the mini van, if that had indeed been the vehicle that had taken his brother out of Lewistown. The thing was, he didn't know for sure and that made the time reference very uncertain at best.

Sam had left the bar about two hours before Dean and from the state of things, Dean had guessed that Sam had been in the motel room for at least half an hour before he was grabbed. The lack of serious destruction in the room indicated that the fight had been over fairly quickly and that again could mean one of two things in Dean's experience. Either his brother had been drugged or there had been more than one assailant. If the attacker had been Gordon, then the whole scheme was off, so he had to assume that it wasn't the other hunter.

The Impala tore past the exit to Grass Range at too high a speed, but Dean had sense for little other than Sam right now. The tires screeched when he tore the car onto Highway 19 toward Dy Junction and floored the gas pedal, allowing the Impala free range. And the powerful engine under her hood roared angrily as the car picked up speed, nearing eighty-five miles per hour in record time.

The twists and turns of the highway were marked by the Impala's tires on occasion, her headlights cutting through the lingering darkness of the night, while Dean fought back any and all negative feelings that were trying to rise in him. He couldn't afford to be late and it made him send a silent prayer to anyone willing to listen that there was no police around on this stretch. Sam would be as good as dead if he was delayed in any manner or fashion.

Keeping that in mind, he ruefully pulled his foot off the gas and slowed down to just above the speed limit. If he crashed out here, that would be the end for Sam and he couldn't allow that. He checked the tracking on the laptop's screen again when he hit the 191, aware that there was a side road coming up somewhere ahead of him that he needed to pay attention to. "Ridge Road," he muttered. It lead toward Ford Peck Lake and seemed to be a dead end. "I swear to god," he growled, leaving the threat open.

A quick glance at his watch told him he was losing time fast and without thinking about it, he sped up again. The 191 took a sharp twist, then continued onward until he saw the side road coming up on the right. He slowed down enough to not lose traction when he ripped the steering wheel around and the Impala roared onto the less traveled and therefore more bumpy road without knowing what lay ahead of him. He didn't much care either. All he wanted was to find his brother and get him the hell out of here. The sooner the better.

The estimated time it would take to get from Lewistown to the end of Wilder Trail, which was the approximate area that Sam's phone was in right now, had been one and a half hours. Dean pulled the Impala to a stop a little over one hour after leaving the motel parking lot.

The headlights cut through the darkness, brightening up a patch of forest and a foot trail leading away from this dead end road and nothing else. There was no indication of habitation anywhere in the area.

"Shit," Dean muttered, then turned his attention to the laptop. It yielded no answers either and he didn't have time to do research. A steady pulse in the back of his head kept drumming into him that he was losing time with every second he spent thinking about this.

Instead of wasting that precious time to think things through, he grabbed the guns and got out of the car. From the trunk he retrieved a powerful flashlight and, just to be on the safe side, a backpack with the first aid kit in it. Then he started down the foot path, not allowing himself to even consider that this might be futile and that he might be wasting even more precious time on searching through the Montana forest for nothing. But the GPS information had led him here. Sam's phone was somewhere in the area and that hopefully meant that Sam was too. "He better be okay," he muttered under his breath, working up the anger that would protect him from harm and allow him to get Sam out of this quickly.

The worst part of this whole thing was that he had no idea what he was walking into. He assumed that the abductor was human, but he couldn't know for sure, so he had come as well prepared as he could.

***

Location unknown
Time unknown

Sam fought back the bile rising in his throat and tried to fight back the panic that rose in him. He was in serious trouble right now, just as much as that poor kid over there. Whoever this psycho was and whatever reasons he had for doing what he did, he was obviously utterly insane.

Struggling harder against the drug that kept him immobilized, Sam fought to move his right arm again, to raise his head, to do anything other than lie there like a damned sacrificial lamp.

Involuntarily, he glanced over there again, the urge to vomit increasing. The pale white coils of intestines that the psycho had pulled out of the kid were lying on his stomach and hospital fatigue guy had his hand inside the cavity, looking concentrated enough to make Sam think he was looking for something. It didn't lessen his own distress, though, and it took him a moment longer than normal to realize the kid had stopped moving. He wasn't screaming into the duct tape over his lips any more. He was eerily quiet.

Sam blinked rapidly a few times and tried to focus on the kid's face. The eyes were staring up at the ceiling above him and it took a moment for Sam to realize that he was dead. The shock of the intrusion into his body had probably been the main cause for his demise since there was fairly little blood for such an extensive wound. "Oh God," he managed in a nearly non-existent voice.

He intensified his struggle to work the drug out of his system enough for him to move and he could only hope that hospital fatigue guy didn't notice his increasing mobility until he was able to fend for himself. To his immediate relief, the psycho changed position again and once again had his back to Sam and he saw that as his chance.

Using every ounce of strength he could muster, he struggled to raise his head, then his right shoulder off what appeared to be an autopsy table. The pain this caused in his left shoulder was blinding, but he had to move, had to get off this damned table and find somewhere to hide until he could move enough to kick the living shit out of this guy and get the hell out of here.

Somehow, he managed to sit up. He felt like he hadn't moved in years and that his muscles had forgotten how to act, but he still managed to pull first one leg and then the other over the left edge of the table. At this point he realized that the drug was only partially responsible for his near paralysis. The rest came from a bone-deep cold, and although he had noticed that it was cold, he hadn't registered just how cold it was because he had been too busy being scared. The matter of fact was that this place was freezing. It was like a meat locker and probably with good reason too. It helped subdue the bleeding of the victims and obviously also aided the drug in doing its job.

Sam chanced a brief glance back at the butcher still rummaging around in the dead kid's stomach and sent a silent prayer toward heaven that he wouldn't hear him getting off the table. Then he slid carefully off it, not letting go of the edge of it until he was certain his legs would support him at least for a bit.

His right foot had hit something soft, but due to the drug and the cold he couldn't determine what it was without looking down and for the first time in a long time he was afraid of looking down. The thought that the other kid hadn't been the only victim of this psycho crossed his mind and it called to mind too many horror movies he had watched with Dean during their years together. He glanced down quickly, certain he would throw up if it turned out to be leftovers from a human being, and froze when his still sluggish vision zeroed in on the blue mass he had stepped in. Lying there on the floor, cut to shreds, were his jeans.

His cell phone was in the right front pocket, but he knew already that if he tried to bend down to retrieve it, he would fall on his face and that would be the end of the great escape he had planned. Instead he let go of the table and took a careful step forward. His knee nearly folded under him, but he managed to remain on his feet and took another step forward. At this rate, he wouldn't get very far and he knew he had to suck it up if he wanted to get out of this one alive.

Chomping down hard on his lower lip, he took another step forward, then another, and with every step he took, his mobility became better. His vision wavered and bounced all over the place, though, and he had to force himself to keep his breathing as even as possible to not start gasping for breath.

Where he was and how he should get out of here was something he couldn't determine at this point. Right now all that mattered was that he found a place to hide, a place where he could maybe regain his strength. The fact that he was naked was of less concern to him than staying alive, but it also hampered him because it was so damned cold in here.

Sending an unsteady look over his immediate surroundings, he assumed this was some kind of basement. The area was vast and there were pillars at regular intervals. Enormous pipes descended from the ceiling here and there, twisting and turning their way to the floor and then ran across it to the rear of this place. The majority of what he could see was rusty, leaking and in disrepair. There was water on the floor, water dripping from the ceiling and leaking out of some of the pipes, the floor was rubble strewn with withered pieces of concrete. Old, disused place, then. Probably the basement of a factory hall or something.

Sam reached the first pillar away from the table and slid behind it. It was twice as broad as him and if he moved on the other side of these pillars, hospital fatigue guy wouldn't see him. He chanced a careful glance back at the butcher, who obviously hadn't noticed his absence yet, then leaned to the other side to inspect the area ahead of him. At the rear wall, jammed in between two huge pipes going through the wall, was a door. And it was ajar.

He briefly closed his eyes, summoning the strength this short trek had already stolen from him, then pushed away from the pillar again and moved as quickly as he could toward the door.

Halfway there, the numb toes of his left foot caught on something, upending his already precarious balance and sending him to his knees. In an attempt to avoid busting his kneecaps on the dangerous floor, he braced himself with his left hand before remembering that his left shoulder was in bad shape. It sent a flash of jarring pain through him that sucked the breath right out of him. He scraped both knees on the old concrete floor and the rubble lying on it, which only helped to add to his misery, and an involuntary whimper escaped him despite his every attempt to keep it in.

In his ears, that whimper echoed loudly through the basement. He struggled helplessly to get back to his feet, to get moving. He managed to get his right foot under him when a powerful hand grabbed the back of his neck. He twisted, trying to get out of the grip, and lost his balance again, falling sideways onto the floor, bruising his left shoulder and jarring the wound there once more.

Hospital fatigue guy stood looming over him and Sam realized the pain had cleared his vision, had given him enough steadiness to see this guy clearly; not that there was much to see. He was tall, powerfully built, with white unruly hair sticking out to all sides. Over the t-shirt and hospital fatigues he wore a heavy, dark-green rubber apron that was stained with blood. And welder goggles obscured his eyes and some of his face, making it impossible for Sam to determine exactly what he looked like.

Since his left arm was pretty much out of commission, Sam kicked out at the guy, who easily sidestepped the attack. He reached down and slipped a hand behind Sam's neck, managing to completely ignore Sam's attempt to dislodge his hand because Sam simply didn't have the strength to put in a decent fight. The drug was still hampering him along with the cold and the pain. He pulled Sam up a bit and shook his head lightly. Before Sam could respond properly, he lifted him up further and then hammered him back down on the floor.

Dazed by the impact he had not seen coming, Sam fought to remain conscious, but kept slipping off as hospital fatigue guy picked him up and carried him back to the table. He desperately tried to fight, to pull himself together enough to at least give this bastard a run for his money, but he just couldn't focus his mind enough right now.

***

Near Fort Peck Lake
Montana

Dean broke out of the forest so suddenly, he came to a full stop. He hadn't seen the end of the tree line coming because he had been so intent on looking for clues. From where he was standing, he could see the edge of the lake, which twisted and wound its way through a good part of Montana and right in front of him, partly obscuring the lake, was what looked like an old waterworks building. The squat, ugly grey building was half overgrown with weeds and trees had sprouted out of the walls and on top of the flat roof near the river. An old sign dangling off a post proclaimed this to be Fort Peck Lake Waterworks.

For a moment all he could do was stand there and stare at the building. Even though there was only one building, it was fairly big and it would take time to scourer it all. He made a face. "If I was raving lunatic who abducts kids like Sam, where would I take them?" he muttered and glared at the building as if being angry with it would make it tell him.

His eyes darted along the sides of the building that he could see, searching for an indication, a hint, anything, but he saw nothing of use. "Shit," he growled, then started forward to the front of the building. He would have to get inside and start searching. "Bottom to top," he told himself.

There was no doubt in his mind that this was the place, but he still had no idea who or what he was up against and what had happened to Sam. All he knew was that he needed to shut up that voice blaring in the back of his head that Sam was running out of time. Once he was inside, he could call Sam's phone. Unlike his own phone, Sam's ringtone was an annoying ringing, which would cut through much more clearly than music.

He found the front doors, which were open, and carefully made his way inside. The concrete was withered and broken and it was probably only a matter of time before the whole thing collapsed on itself. "Just not today, okay? I just need to find Sammy. Then you can do whatever the hell you like," he muttered to the cracked, water-damaged ceiling above him.

It took him the better part of five minutes to locate a staircase that went down and he had to cross through most of the old building past long-dead turbines that had maintained the waterflow for the surrounding area to find the stairwells. He had always considered places like this to be majorly creepy. They were good places for ghosts to haunt, especially a remote place like this, and he would be surprised if this place didn't have a ghost or two, but ghost hunting was the last thing on his mind right now.

He stopped on the landing and sent a cautious look down into the bowls of this building. It was dark down there and wet. The light cone of the flashlight cut a brilliant path through the cloying darkness, illuminating the steps that were curiously free of rubble in the center. "Busted," he muttered and started down the steps, treading carefully to avoid making noise. To be on the safe side, he pulled the gun from his waistband as well and proceeded down to the basement level. "If these had been metal stairs, this could have been a scene out of Aliens," he muttered under his breath.

A heavy metal door hung off its hinges at the bottom of the stairs, giving him access to a basement that smelled of an array of things that made him grimace. Rot and old dirt and grease and ... there was something else mixed into that smell that almost reflexively made him gag and he pressed the back of one hand against his lips. It smelled like something had died down here. Actually, it smelled like a lot of somethings had died down here.

But that didn't deter him. He continued onward, moving slowly while lighting up the path ahead of him to avoid bumping into something or tripping over some of the old withered stuff lying around down here.

Half an hour he wove his way through the underground of the old waterworks, searching every room, checking every corner for something he wasn't even sure was there, when he suddenly remembered the cell phone again. "Stupid," he muttered, clamped the flashlight under his left arm, shifted the gun to his left hand and fished the phone out of his pocket. He flipped it open and dialed Sam's number, noting that the connection bars weren't exactly the best. But it should do.

The connection came through and in the distance something started ringing. The sound was muffled and far away, but it was definitely in this place somewhere. Dean sneered, switched the phone off again and proceeded onwards with more purpose than before. But he still kept a low profile, moving as quietly as he could.

He followed what appeared to be the main corridor and came to a stop in front of a door that was ajar. There was light coming from in there and the distant sound of metal clanging on metal. Dean frowned and edged closer to the door, listening more intently. There was another sound underneath the clanging of metal and the dripping of water. He strained to hear, to decipher what it might be, but couldn't really determine it.

Instead of wasting time on identifying that sound, he pushed through the door and found himself standing between two huge pipes that came out of the ceiling above him and vanished into the walls on either side of him. To his left was a long row of concrete pillars as well as to the right. There were dozens of pipes coming out of the ceiling here and there and the smell of wet rust hung heavy in the air. He started forward, moving slowly, listening intently to the sounds he could hear while he tried not to make any of his own. It was tough going, though, because the floor was littered with debris from the corroded ceiling above him and he had to walk really slowly to avoid both noise and taking a spill. A gut feeling told him that taking a fall in this place would bring more trouble than it was worth.

He scanned the floor before every step and suddenly saw something that made him stop short. Carefully, he hunkered down and eye the dark blotches on the floor, then touched a finger to one of them. It was blood and it was fresh.

He rose again and moved forward, heading toward the left row of pillars. He stopped just short of the left edge of one of the pillars and again listened to the sounds. They were far closer now and it hit him like a ton of bricks what that other sound was he hadn't been able to identify. Muffled screams of agony.

Still cautious, he carefully leaned out from behind the pillar to inspect what was going on down there and froze for a split second. From his vantage point he couldn't see much other than the back of a massive man and Sam, securely strapped to a table, and the whole table was jittering with the obvious agony his little brother was going through right now.

Then the split second was over and Dean burst into motion. He jumped out from behind the pillar, aimed the gun and fired. The guy with his back to him halfway turned, which was probably what saved his life. Instead of getting the bullet in the back as Dean had intended, it slammed into the guy's shoulder instead, sending him crashing into the table.

As Dean had observed many times before, people were scary. Crazy people were scarier though, because they didn't know when to quit. And the same went for this guy. He straightened, grabbed his shoulder and stared at the blood on his gloved hand. Then he let out a guttural roar, turned and charged toward Dean with something gleaming in his hand. Dean didn't think twice, he pulled the trigger again and the bullet hit its mark this time, slamming into the guy's chest and throwing him effectively off his feet.

The sound of the shot died away like an echo and Dean waited for a second longer to make sure this nutcase didn't get back up. When he made no move to do any of the sort, but just laid there and bled, Dean finally turned his attention back to Sam.

Two things hit him at once. The first was that his brother didn't have a thread on. That would have been able to fuel endless teasing for years to come if it hadn't been for the second thing. Dean blinked, unable to comprehend what he was looking at. His lips went dry in an instant as he slowly lowered the gun and straightened out of his defensive stance. His movements were almost mechanical when he finally regained enough sense to start moving toward Sam; Sam who was staring at him with eyes that were just too wide, his face tear-streaked and deadly pale, his hands jittering despite the restraints that kept him in place.

The second thing was the blood on his abdomen, the gaping wound in his flesh, but that was not the worst of it, no sir. Not by a long stretch. The worst of it were the bloodied white coils of intestines this psycho had pulled out of Sam's stomach.

Feeling bile rise in his throat, Dean quickly diverted his attention to Sam's frantic, pained eyes. He dropped the flashlight on the floor, shrugged out of the backpack and strode over to Sam.

The first thing he did was pull the duct tape off Sam's lips. The glue on that stuff was heavy-duty and it ripped pieces of skin off Sam's lips in the process, but Sam didn't seem to notice. His breathing was erratic, his body bathed in sweat despite the meat-locker like temperatures down here. "D..ean," he ground out, barely able to form a word.

"Easy, Sammy," Dean muttered and glanced sideways at the damage that psycho had caused. He couldn't for the life of him remember a single lesson on how to deal with something like this. Abdominal wounds? His mind drew a blank on that one.

"W..atch out," Sam suddenly gasped, but not before something connected heavily with Dean's back, throwing him off his feet.

He landed on the floor, rolled under the table and shot up on the other side, aiming his gun at the recently resurrected manic doctor. And this time he took no chances. He pulled the trigger repeatedly, emptying the clip into the man, then reloaded in a flash and emptied another clip into him while advancing on the once more fallen body. He made sure this son of a bitch wouldn't get back up by putting the last three bullets in his head.

Breathing hard, he stood still for a second, the empty gun aimed at the body, and then he kicked him just for good measure. There was no further movement and Dean doubted very much that this bastard would ever move again.

He dropped the gun and turned back to Sam. This second encounter had steeled his nerves and he was much more clear on what had to be done. "I can't deal with this, Sammy. I'm calling the paramedics," he said and reached into his pocket to retrieve his phone. Only it came out in pieces. He stared in near shock at the broken phone, which was quite dead. It had obviously been damaged when he'd hit the floor. "Shit," he hissed. Then he remembered hearing Sam's phone and dropped what remained of his and looked around in search of the other phone.

What remained of Sam's jeans still lay on the floor and he hunkered down and rummaged through them only to find that Doctor Maniac had stomped it into oblivion, obviously as a result of Dean calling it. "Shit, shit, shit," he hissed, rose again and turned back to Sam. The oh so very brief steeling of his nerves had vanished in a flash. There were no phones for miles around and Dean just couldn't imagine what he could possibly do to get Sam out of here. If he got him on his feet, the risk that the rest of his intestines would spill out of him was very real.

He rubbed a hand against his brow, trying to force himself to think, to find a way to handle this situation, and yet he couldn't come up with anything.

"D..ean," Sam pressed out.

He strode back over to him and put a cold hand on his shoulder. "Easy, Sammy. I just ... uhm ... " He hesitated, uncertain of what to say. How the hell could he tell Sam that things would be okay when he was totally out of options? "We don't have a phone. I can't ..."

To keep his hands busy lest they'd start fidgeting all over the place, he unstrapped Sam and his brother grabbed a handful of his t-shirt and yanked him forward with surprising strength. "You ... have ... to ... close ... it ... up," he pressed out.

Dean stared at him. "Are you nuts? I can't! Nothing's more sensitive than ... that," he said, waving a hand at the damage done.

"Please ... Dean," Sam rasped, barely able to force the words out around the immense pain he was in.

For the first time ever, Dean was at a complete loss. He felt transferred back to that night so many years ago when the shtriga had attacked Sam the first time and he had been frozen, unable to act. He felt the same way now and there was nothing in this world that he hated more than this feeling.

"Please," Sam whispered, tears in his eyes.

"Okay, okay. I ... " Dean glanced around and spotted the backpack. The first aid kit in it contained a lot of what he might need. The only thing they had nothing of at the moment, something they had discussed this morning – 'Oh god, isn't it longer ago?' he thought helplessly – were the heavy-duty painkillers. They had Aspirin and that wouldn't help at all in this case. He dislodged Sam's cramped fingers from his t-shirt and retrieved the pack, then glanced around again, spotted the instrument tray Doctor Maniac had used and tipped it briefly to get rid of all the tools he had used before he placed the kit on it and opened it.

Knowing what he had to do didn't make it any easier. Sam was right, of course. Without being able to call for help, he would have to make sure that nothing further contaminated the wound until Dean could get Sam to a hospital. Right now, that seemed lightyears away, though.

"We have no morphine," he said, his voice suddenly hoarse. "I can't give you anything for the pain, Sammy."

"Do ... it," Sam whispered through clenched teeth. He didn't move at all, but his entire body was tense as a bow.

"Alright," Dean muttered, put on a pair of gloves from the kit and poured alcohol over them to sterilize them, then threaded a needle and turned back to Sam. He eyed the pale white coils for a moment, unsure of how to go about it without causing Sam too much pain, and then figured he'd just have to get on with it. It wasn't as much as he had first assumed, but it was still plenty to give Sam permanent side-effects if it wasn't handle correctly. "Alright, here goes," he said and held his breath when he touched one part of the intestine. Sam tensed even more, but somehow managed to keep the pain under wraps. "If you gotta scream, Sam, you just do it. Don't hold back," he said, nervous like all hell.

Ever so slowly, he started reinserting the extracted part of Sam's intestines into his abdominal cavity, noting how hard Sam was gripping the edge of the table with both hands. Eventually, his little brother couldn't keep silent any more, but he still kept his vocalizations to a minimum, whimpering through clenched teeth while tears spilled freely down his face.

Dean was meticulous, trying to make sure that nothing got squashed, all while he fought to keep his stomach at bay and his eyes from tearing up. He couldn't afford to give in to either weakness right now. Sam's life and continued health was at stake here and nothing else mattered.

The last bit of white intestine disappeared into Sam's abdomen with an audible slurping sound that made Dean gag. To quiet down his rebellious stomach, he sucked in a deep breath, then started stitching the wound up with fast, crude stitches. It didn't matter if it wasn't neat. Once they reached a hospital, the doctors would cut it open again to clean the wound properly. Dean had no doubt about that.

"There," he finally rasped, his throat so dry he felt like he had dirt in it. "That should hold for the duration," he added shakily and glanced around the area. There was another table on the other side with a sheet covering it and Dean needed that sheet. It was obvious that the sheet hid something, but he didn't care about that right now.

He strode over to the table and pulled the sheet off it, then froze for a second. "Oh god," he whispered. The kid on the table had not been as lucky as Sam and it made Dean wonder how many kids this lunatic had murdered.

He shook his head and returned to Sam. There were more pressing issues at hand right now. He draped the sheet over Sam, who at this point was breathing in short shallow gasps. "Breath deeper, Sammy. You're gonna make yourself pass out if you keep this up," he said before he could actually consider what he was saying. Maybe it would be beneficial if Sam did pass out.

But his words had the usual effect and Sam started breathing a little deeper. After a moment, he gripped the edge of the table again and before Dean could stop him, he tried to sit up. Naturally, that had very bad consequences and he stopped trying with a cry of agony when he'd only managed to raise his head.

"Don't move, little brother. I'm gonna have to carry you out of here," Dean said, putting a lightly shivering hand on Sam's chest.

"Y'can't. M'too heavy," Sam pressed out.

"I can manage," Dean said, convinced he could. There was no way in hell that he would leave Sam here to go for help. He needed to get his brother out and he needed to do it now.

That knowledge calmed him down, centered him, and his hand stop shivering. He drew in a deep breath, tugged the sheet around Sam as best he could and then picked him up off the table. He had expected the weight to be heavy, but it wasn't as bad as he had thought. Sam wrapped an arm around his shoulders, his muscles hard as stone. Dean knew that the movement hurt Sam badly, but there was nothing to be done about it. "You just hang in there, Sammy, you hear me? I'm gonna get you out of here," he promised darkly and started walking.

***