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SPN: Surrendered Flags (Tamara)

Written for spn_xx's Gen Flashfic Challenge, prompt #2: "Do one thing every day that scares you." -- credited to Eleanor Roosevelt

Title: Surrendered Flags
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Supernatural
Character: Tamara
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: They do not sleep nights but stand between rows of glowing corn and cabbages.
Notes: Set after 3.01



She drove until the needle of the gas gauge shivered on empty.

*


The sun came up, and Tamara leaned her head back, sighed. Dawn wasn't any safer than dusk, but she felt safer, nonetheless. From the sign on gas station's window, it was still a good breakfast's length before she could properly stretch her legs out, spend the last of her cash on gasoline and energy bars.

She and Isaac had stolen gas, in the heart of desperation, but memory was all that chased her, and she didn't need anything but a long drink and a longer scream.

There was a bag of pretzels in the glove compartment, next to a sprig of rowan and a container of Morton's salt. She ate the pretzels one by one, let them dissolve into grainy mush on her tongue before swallowing.

She thought about going home again.

*


It had been decades since she'd waited tables, but it required skills one couldn't easily forget. Her hands smelled like grease at the end of the day, but the job got her three square a day and limitless coffee, and the pick of abandoned newspapers, besides.

It had been easier to read homicide reports aloud before, when Isaac would elide the details too familiar, or too strange. Grandmothers, grandchildren, family pets. She had done the same for Isaac as well, but he had always needled her for more details, like he was picking scabs for the both of them.

Another baby disappears! the headlines screamed at her. Experimentation a factor?

She flipped the newspapers over during her shift, refused to deal with the photographs when she was supposed to have a smile on her face. After she bussed the last table, though, polished the counter a last time after the early afternoon rush, she gathered the papers in her arms, the pages crackling like funeral flowers. She trotted out to the bin in the back alley and skimmed over details, hoping a quick read would hurt less.

It didn't.

*


Hunters weren't supposed to work alone. There weren't hard and fast rules, of course, but lessons learned over time. Hunters who worked alone got paranoid, got lost, got killed.

Tamara pressed her second-best suit and affixed an ID badge to her jacket pocket. For the next week, she introduced herself as Emma Fitzgerald from Social Services, never-you-mind what office.

The pictures haunted her, more than the bereaved mothers. Newborns, toddlers, and even a three-year-old girl. All delicate, pale under harsh lights. Normal, except for those missing pigments, those surprising alleles.

At night, Tamara paged through her notebooks, and traced her fingers over Isaac's handwriting. She wished he had left something tangible for her, something besides a sack full of laundry and a lifetime's scrawl of horrors.

*


She followed a road marked by red pushpins and folk tales, collated data and nightmares whispered in the dark.

It takes the children, the storybook told her. It grows them like vegetables, then sends them out, howling.

The town's lights were bright on the horizon, but miles out, under the moon, all Tamara saw were fields. All she heard was the rush of grass and leaves, and maybe the skitter of things that should never have been grown.

She armed herself with fire, and lined her pockets with salt. She drove to the edge of the farm, and the harvest of ghosts was waiting.

###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Erin Belieu's Legend of the Albino Farm.

Linked on spn_xx.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
montisello
Mar. 18th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
Freaky fic, lady. Loved the tenseness in it, despite it's brevity. Tamara seems more interesting here than in the show. Good job!
moodfic
Apr. 8th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
pheebs1
Mar. 18th, 2008 12:31 pm (UTC)
What an interesting character to choose - I love what you did here, how fleshed out she felt. something besides a sack full of laundry and a lifetime's scrawl of horrors. Great line. Thanks for joining in.
moodfic
Apr. 8th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
dotfic
Mar. 18th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
This is lovely, eerie and vivid, and it adds layers and layers to Tamara.

I'm also thrilled you did the challenge! :D
moodfic
Apr. 8th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
I'm thrilled there's a challenge in the first place! *g* Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
moodfic
Apr. 8th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it.
erinrua
Mar. 31st, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
This is one of the best uses of a minor character I have ever seen. Haunting and oddly poetical, and you make us feel how very alone the poor woman is, now. Beautifully done, thanks for sharing.
Cheers ~

Erin
moodfic
Apr. 8th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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