Cal, this story is one of the best things I have read. I know I keep saying that but every time I think I have read the best one ever, you come up with something like this. Fresh, intriguing material to bury my teeth in. YUMMY!
And boy, you did something this time no one has done so far. A flashback-story without the objects of our dreams and desires (let's exclude Tree here, coz all that talk about pistols, pepperboxes and stuff will be like walkin into a candy store that is handing out freebies!).
Yet the usuual suspects, i.e. Sam and Dean, still shine through, they seem to be in the room, permeating every line as if it was their story.
Or maybe, their story is just part of a bigger one. The one of EVERY hunter that has ever walked the earth.
There are so many possibilities. And you chose the backstory to one of the most mysterious items on the show. Where I'd have gone for the amulet (and someday will) you went after the Colt, like a true Winchester-fangirl. The gun that can kill anything. 'cept for Lucifer and a few other things that go bump in the night. The Colt that mesmerizes both the Winchesters and us, baffles us. And regarding Tree, might make our hearts quicken like only Dean could for me. Heehee-.
I loved the way your writing skills helped the emotions come to life, how they drew me in, sucked me in, through a wormhole back into the Wild West.
Your vocabulary and the phrases painted pictures in my mind, in sepia, and I swear I heard the obligatory piano tinkle away in the background and saw a few tumbleweeds roll thru my room.
I smelled the rain, felt the cold bite at my skin, tasted the gore and blood in the air, traced the scars on Reade's skin with my own hands (yum... and ouch), winced with him.
I wept with Colt, guilt-stricken about a person he had killed. Blinked in unison with him when the strain on my eyes from carving in the dim candle light became too much.
I was glad to feel the whiskey flare down my gullet and blaze in my stomach after the hunt in Cutter Hill, felt my ribs protest with hot flashes of stabbing pain. I shivered when I felt the thin lines on the cards beneath my thumbs.
I trembled when the cougars pranced and advanced on me and the two desperate men. How glad was I when Reade slammed the door shut and the charm and his goofer dust bought us a few hours! Bought Colt a few hours to carve, Reade to breathe and me to witness it all.
On the whole I would say, Reade is like Dean and Colt like Sam, yet there are differences, or maybe you took their characters, stuffed them in a tumble dryer and out came two men that seem familiar in many ways yet are eerily different at the same time. They both seem a mixture of the hunters we know so well but they bear their own scars, carry their own guilt and grieve over their own losses. So beautiful so powerful.
Maybe the familiarities aren't typical Winchester traits, but simply describe features of their profession. I mean to say, hunters always have to be hard, guilt-stricken, driven by revenge or the urge to save the innocent. To do good. Once you know what's out there, you either pick up the sword/gun/knife/your ass and fight or you run away and hide... That's what sets hunters aside from the regular people...
You know, when I started watching Supernatural and saw JDM the first time on screen, I jumped inwardly and said OMG The Gunslinger from King's Dark Tower cycle... so... even if we have our Winchesters or other hunters, they all merge into one epitome of THE hunter, who is a badass, deadly, yet heroic outcast... a person living on the margin of normality yet intervening with regulars to save their idiotic asses... sorry... I got sidetracked. I could write essays on stuff like this...
I picked out a few lines that I loved or that made think of the Winchesters …
The best line of the whole chapter: Damn kid's got hunter's hands. What a powerful image! I never even thought about them having hands that distinguish them, that show their hard, bloody job. Great idea. After all, many professions are judged by their hands (surgeons, pianists, writers *winks*). And it sent shivers down my spine. To think that Sam Colt developed such hands in only 3 years. The poor guy. And you know that I have a soft spot (some call it an obsession or a fetish, I was told) for hands. Especially, hands that are calloused, strong and end in corded, muscular arms... *mind wanders off to tasty images*
"DROP!" He pulled the trigger as he roared the command, no more time to do anything other than hope that the kid heard him. Dude! Full-on Winchester-bros action! Awesome! And a nice shout out to the boys!I grinned broadly at that even tho the scene was soooo tense... I eased into the ficlet even better from then on... felt at home... I didn't need the Winchesters to show up anymore. I simply got swept away and dived into your 'verse! And you didn't stop there... you sprinkled even more familiar quips or phrases in, not too obvious but subtle... as is your way! *applauds* A little bit of familiar things and I am immediately yours... heehee... maybe you should remember that for future ref. I yield easily... only need a bit of Winchesters... so if you need anything....
standing hip-shot and arrogant a few feet away clear Dean-vibe, I could just see Jensen do the Dean- swagger, lopsided smirk and cocked-eyebrow... And then you follow this up with turned another page in a thick, hide-bound notebook a clear Sam-vibe if ever there was one! He even has a notebook... (I kept grinnin' thinkin' about the need to plug that one in... LOL)
"Godammit," he growled, clenching his jaw so hard he thought his teeth would crack. He twisted aside, coughed harshly, bitter acid filling his mouth as his hands began to shake. I chose this as a surrogate for all the nice hurt in this fic... Can I just say this: Thanks for a wounded shoulder, many scars and teeth gritting to work thru the pain... oh and the 3 slashes... dude... YUM!
as the beast reared up, black blood spattering the dust... the gaping hole the shot tore in its throat wreathed with smoke as the consecrated iron scorched the unholy thing ... His finger sank to the third knuckle, came out covered in gore and he retched, heaving into the dust until there was nothing left to come up. Some nice icktasticness too in this one... shame I was eating when I read this... hadda pause... no, not reading but eating... couldn't stop there! Seriously, how could anyone???
"You ever wish you could go back? Just go home again?" "No," he growled. "Seein' them out there is all the reason I need to keep on." "I never asked for this. But now I know... I couldn't go back. "It's a chance to do something that's important. Even if no-one's ever really gonna know about it." The typical hunter or typical Winchester guilt; and what happens to innocence in the line of duty... A dialogue easily fitting into season 1 of Supernatural. And still it was spoken more than 150 years back in the past.
You should've listened to me, Sam, when I told you to leave,... Then maybe you'd never've had to know any of this and you could stay alive and do somethin' important that everyone would know about. You should've just listened. But how, Reade, how could he? It was his destiny... there was nothin he coulda done. Either you are a hero or you're not. It's completely unimportant when fate gets ya. Fact is, it will always snatch you in the end and it will pull you from the woes and worries of your normal life and hurl you into the deadlights (yeah I am quoting King... so what? It fits!) of insanity that is Supernatural's universe...
the villain is kinda creepy. So it's a demon (black eyes), a girl (the chick from the card) and it's called Abbadon... intriguing and sounds like the place the men are at has some dark meaning too? Southern Wyoming... the devil's gate there comes to my mind... oh, I can't wait to read(e) on!
Lemme finish by saying I am absolutely hooked and BRING ON THE NEXT CHAPTER! Well done hun, and I still love that banner!