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Yellow Fever
Robin's Rambles by Robin Vogel
 
NOW: Dean is running down a dark street, legs pumping, lungs burning, looking over his shoulder at a snarling enemy chasing him. He falls over a homeless man's grocery cart filled with God-knows-what and says to the man, "RUN! HE'LL KILL YOU!" The man looks down at a teacup Yorkie, complete with pink bow. Dean takes off running, the dog runs after him, barking an adorable little bark.

 
Rock Ridge, Colorado, 13 hours earlier - Agents Tyler and Perry (the Winchesters, posing as FBI), meet Frank O'Brien, deceased, in the morgue. The man was only 44 and a marathon runner, according to the folder Sam is reading from. The doctor reminds them we all die sometime. Two other men died in Monmouth yesterday, says Dean, you don't think that strange? "That's Malmouth's problem," says the doc nastily. Dean says they want to see the results of the autopsy. "What autopsy?" asks the doc. "The one you're gonna do," says Dean smoothly. They all suit up for the procedure, and as the doctor cuts into the body, he looks at the icked-out expressions on the brothers' faces and asks, "First autopsy?" "Far from it," Dean assures him. Good, says the doc, because these suckers can get pretty ripe. He asks Dean for the rib cutters. Dean notices Frank had been wearing a wedding ring, while Sam sees terrible abrasions on his inside of his forearms. The doctor, puzzled, finds the heart to be pretty damned healthy. He asks Dean to hold the heart, which he does, grossed out. Sam smiles at his brother, silently making fun. Next second, Sam gets splashed with spleen juice, and it's Dean's turn to grin, still holding the heart in both hands. 


 
Sheriff's station - Sam and Dean sit in chairs, waiting. A young deputy throws them a huge smile. Al Britton, Sheriff, comes out and chastises the deputy for keeping the federal agents waiting. "You said not to disturb you," protests the deputy. "Shoes off," orders Al before they enter his office, and all three of them walk in, shoeless. (Al has a case filled with trophies.) He cleans his hands with a huge dollop of anti-bacterial sanitizer and asks how he can help them. "Me and Frank, we were friends," says Al, "hell, we were Gamecocks!" Dean laughs, unable to control himself. "That's our softball team's name," explains the sheriff, face severe, "they're majestic animals. I knew Frank from high school; I just got up the strength to go see Frank this morning--he was a good man." "Yeah, big heart," agrees Dean. Sam looks at him, then asks Al if he noticed Frank behaving oddly before he died. "Yeah," says Al, "real jumpy, wouldn't answer his phone, finally sent some of my boys over to check on him and well, you know the rest." Al coughs, hard, and cleans his hands with the sanitizer again. Sam and Dean exchange glances over that. "So why do the Feds give a crap?" asks Al. "You don't really think there's a case here?" "No," says Dean, it's probably nothin', just a heart attack." "No WAY was this a heart attack," says Dean as they leave the sheriff's office. Sam agrees. 

All the victims went from jittery to terrified to dead within 48 hours, and had those weird scratches on their arms, too. So what can scare people to death? "What can't?" counters Dean. They decide to speak to the last person who saw Frank, his neighbor, Mark Hutchins. "I don't like the looks of those teenagers over there," says Dean. Sam turns to see a group of harmless kids, but follows Dean around them nevertheless. "Tyler Perry!" exclaims Mark Hutchins, "Just like Aerosmith!" (Most folks don't catch their rock-related aliases.) He has a huge snake draped around his neck. "Yeah, small world," says Sam hastily as Dean looks around with trepidation at the man's vast array of reptiles. "Frank was watching me from his window," explains Mark. "I waved at him, but he just closed the curtains. He was totally freakin' out!" Dean nervously eyes a large reptile who is hungrily eyeing him. "WIZARD OF OZ was on the other night, and Frank said that green bitch was totally out to get him," says Mark. "EVERYTHING else scared him--Al Qaeda, ferrets, artificial sweetener, those Pez dispensers with the dead little eyes--lots of stuff." Mark describes Frank in high school as a dick--he probably taped half the town's butt cheeks together, Mark's included. When Dean smiles, Mark gives him a nasty look. "Would anyone have wanted to get revenge?" asks Dean professionally. "Frank had a heart attack, right?" asks Mark, refusing to answer anymore questions. "He got BETTER," he insists, "and after what happened to his wife. . .she died, about 20 years ago, Frank was really broken up about it." Noticing Dean gazing nervously at the snake draped around his neck, Mark smiles and says, "Don't be afraid of DONNY! He's a sweetheart! It's Marie you gotta look out for." He nods toward the couch on which they're sitting. A gigantic yellow snake is slithering between them, "She SMELLS fear," adds Mark. Marie crawls over Dean's thigh as he sits like a statue, trying not to move or exude the stench of fear.
 
Dean sits in the Impala, absently scratching his arm through his jacket. When Sam climbs in with him, he jumps. Dean shows him an article about Frank's wife, Jessie, a manic depressive who went off her meds in 1988. She disappeared. They found her two weeks later, three towns over, strung up in a motel room--suicide. Frank was working a swing shift when she died, so he didn't "help her to the other side." Sam's sweep of Frank's apartment turned up nothing weird--but then he realizes Dean's DRIVING THE SPEED LIMIT! He also passes by their Hotel, the Churchbird, because he doesn't want to take a chance on making a left hand turn into oncoming traffic. Sam realizes his EMF meter has gone crazy in his pocket, and he takes it out and moves it over Dean. Red lights flash and it buzzes wildly. "Am I haunted?" asks Dean, freaked out. "AM I HAUNTED?"

   
Sam, on the phone with Bobby, tells him, "Keep lookin'." He passes by a beautiful mural on a wall of their hotel and heads for the Impala, where Dean lies on the front seat, orchestrating the beat to "Eye of the Tiger" on the radio. Sam bangs on the roof of the car. Dean sits up with a start, exits the car and shows Sam scratch marks on his inner arm, just below the elbow bend. Sam hands Dean a box of donuts, which Dean whiffs and throws into the car. "I just talked to Bobby, and you're not gonna like it," says Sam. "It's ghost sickness. Some cultures believe that ghosts can infect the living with a disease, which is why they stopped displaying bodies in houses and started takin' them off to funeral homes. Symptoms are you get anxious, then scared, then really scared, then your heart gives out. Sound familiar?" We haven't seen a ghost in weeks," Dean reminds him. "I doubt you caught it from a ghost," says Sam, "once the spirit infects that first person, ghost sickness can spread like any sickness, a cough, handshake, whatever; it's like the flu. Frank O'Brien was the first to die, which means he was probably the first infected, patient zero. Frank was in Malmouth over the weekend, softball tournament, which is where he must have infected the other two victims." (Here we get a flashback to a bunch of guys in Cornjerker and Gamecocks uniforms drinking beer, double dipping chips, having a grand time.) "So a ghost infected Frank," says Dean, "and I got it from his corpse? So now, what, I have 48 hours till my heart stops?" "More like 24," says Sam reluctantly. "Super," says Dean. "Why me, why not you--you got hit with the spleen juice?" Sam and Bobby have a theory about that, too: "Seems all three victims, a Vice Principal, a bouncer, a bully, shared a certain personality type--basically, they were all dicks." "So you're sayin' I'm a dick?" asks Dean, eyebrows upraised. "It's not just that," says Sam, "all three victims used fear as a weapon, the disease is just returning the favor." "I don't scare people," protests Dean. "All we DO is scare people," says Sam. "Then you're a dick, too," says Dean. "Apparently I'm not," counters Sam. "Whatever," says Dean, "how do we stop it?" "We gank the ghost that started all this," says Sam, "we do that, the disease should clear up." "You think it's Frank's wife?" asks Dean. "Who knows why she killed herself." says Sam. "What are you doing, waiting out here, anyway?" "Our room's on the fourth floor," says Dean, "It's. . .high." "I'll see if I can move us down to the first," says Sam. Dean thanks him, climbs back in the car, looks at the donuts, and puts them aside. (He MUST be sick! Dean, not eating?)

 
Dean sits at a desk in their hotel room, doing research. He can hear the second hand of the clock passing by, very loudly. He reads that people afflicted by ghost sickness have hallucinations and vomiting. Words on the page start to suddenly go bold: YOU'RE DYING. AGAIN. LOSER. YOU GONNA CRY? BABY GONNA CRY? The passing seconds on the clock pound in his head. The screen goes black and we hear the sound of a shattering clock.

 
Sam enters the hotel room and finds a smashed clock at his feet. Dean is drinking a beer. "Everything all right?" asks Sam cautiously. "Oh, yeah!" replies Dean. "Just peachy! Find anything?" Yes--Jessie O'Brien was cremated, reports Sam, so she is not our ghost. Seeing his brother scratching his arm, he orders, "Hey, quit pickin' at that. How you feelin'?" "Awesome," says Dean. "It's nice to have my head on the chopping block again, I'd almost I'd forgotten what that feels like." He begins to cough, then choke, and runs to the sink. Concerned, Sam follows him. Dean throws up a piece of wood. "We've been completely ignoring the biggest clue we have--you," says Sam. "I don't wanna be a clue," protests Dean, staring at the wood chip. "The disease is trying to tell us something," says Sam. "What, wood chips?" asks Dean. "Exactly!" says Sam. 

 
Dean drives the Impala to the lumber mill. "I'm not goin' in there," he tells Sam, who counters, "I need backup, and you're all I got--you're going in, Dean." The latter takes a giant pull from a pint of booze, shakes his head and says, "Let's DO this!" He looks around the deserted mill and says, "A little spooky, in't it?" Sam takes his gun from the trunk and tries to give Dean his regular gun, too, but his terrified brother insists on "manning the flashlight." Inside the mill, Sam's EMF meter goes off, but Dean says, "It's not gonna work with me around, is it?" Sam, resigned, agrees. He bends down and picks up a wedding band inscribed, "To Frank, love, Jessie." What was Frank doing here? they wonder.   The come to a group of lockers and hear banging inside one. Sam reaches for the handleon the door, lip-syncs, "On three," and opens it. A cat streaks out. Dean screams, an open-mouthed, girly, panic-stricken scream that has Sam staring at him like he's bonkers. "That was scary!" says Dean, chasing after Sam when he just walks away. In a room littered with paper and desks, Sam finds the employee badge of Luther Garland from 1989. Dean finds a beautiful drawing of Frank's wife, Jessie. When he pulls at it, the drawing tears. The mill machinery abruptly roars to life and the brothers spot the ghost of a heavyset man with his back toward them. "Hey!" calls Sam, startling Dean, sending him running for the exit. The ghost, Luther Garland, turns, his face a bloody mess. He runs at Sam, who shoots him with a rock salt bullet. Outside, crouched behind the Impala, Dean rapidly finishes off his bottle of booze. Sam comes running out, Luther's badge in his hand. "Looks like we got the right place," he says, gasping for air.


 

Comments  

Karen
# Karen 2010-07-01 10:14
Hi Robin
I really liked this episode, I also saw it more than just a comedy. It brought out the subject of Dean’s innermost fears.
I believe the ghost sickness fed off of even the smallest of fears or apprehensions and intensify it to the point of turning it into something so horrific that it would become fatal.
In this case it fed off of Deans fear of Sam going dark side and his fear of going back to hell and of being reacquainted with Lillith.
As for Luther I also felt for him. To be judged and alienated because of your size and mental capacity, you would think in today’s society this wouldn’t still be happening.
As for your first question I think Dean was going to tell Sam, but when he saw his eyes glow yellow, so he stopped himself. I think it was just some remaining ghost sickness.
Suze
# Suze 2010-07-02 08:04
When I first saw this one I thought the kitten in the locker was a bit daft, I mean, how did it get there? Then we got some kits of our own and the horrible truth dawned. They can teleport. Although it only seems to work if the destination point is somewhere dangerous/ immpossibly hard to get out of/ really disconcerting to the nearest human ... ;-)
faye
# faye 2010-07-06 11:02
Yes, suze, kittens are like that. they feed on your innermost fears that they are helpless, NOT!