|Night of the Zombie PC
Author: Guede Mazaka
There was a line of pain running down the center of Sam’s back, just like a second spine except for the part where it made his knees dangerously shaky every time he took a step. When he had to twist to push open the door to the motel room, the line branched out in both directions so it was like somebody was pressing the red-hot tines of a pair of rakes into his shoulders.
“Oh, man, am I glad to see that,” Dean said, pushing past Sam. Which kind of sent Sam into the door, thus making all the aches and bruises worse, but did Dean care? Noooo, he just kept going to flop face-down on the closest bed so Sam had to drag himself—and their gear—an extra six feet. “I am so beat.”
Sam…just didn’t answer. He was too tired. He crossed those last six feet, dropping stuff along the way, and then flopped onto his own bed. The mattress sank slowly down, letting out this weird groaning noise like maybe it was in the process of eating him. Given that they’d just finished battling an oversized cooler with a nasty habit of knocking people inside and then slamming shut on them, that wasn’t completely out of the realm of possibility.
A couple seconds later, Sam still was in one piece, so he assumed the bed was just really creaky. It did do a great job of cradling him, though, so he’d let that go for now.
“Sammy? Pick up the stuff.” Dean was talking into the bed, so it sounded like he had a big wad of gum in his mouth.
If doing it hadn’t required a whole lot of energy Sam didn’t have, he would’ve given his brother the finger. “No.”
No creaking from Dean’s side. He probably wasn’t moving, so Sam didn’t have to worry about defending himself. “Dude. That’s our gear there. Life-saving, all that. You wanna treat it nice so it treats you nice.”
“The gear is tools, Dean. Tools don’t matter unless you know how to use them, and since you apparently forgot, let me remind you that I was the one using them to save your ass. Treat your little brother nice and he won’t tell the blondes at the next bar that you’ve only got two more shots before the doctor says you’re clean,” Sam mumbled. Actually, this wasn’t the most comfortable position: his knee was all twisted around, and something stitched on the quilt was digging into his face. But he still didn’t want to move. If he moved, his back might get ideas about getting stuck in contorted positions.
It was a testament to how tired Dean was that he actually needed a few seconds to work up some outrage. And even then, he was still pushing all that outrage into the mattress. “What? Oh, do not tell me that that was why those…Sam? Sam?”
Sam pretended he was asleep. He was pretty close to dead anyway, so that wasn’t hard.
“Jesus, don’t—I know you’re faking, Sam. I know. I’ve got a sense for that kind of thing. You never could fool me.”
Where Dean was managing to get the energy for his rant, Sam had no idea. But hey, it was Dean’s waste, so he could run on as much as he wanted, as long as he stayed over there and didn’t interrupt Sam’s intense attempt at melding with the bed.
“Sam…oh, you are so getting it in the morning. For one—for one, you’re not driving till I…I deem you’ve repented enough and ah, fuck it. Can’t you at least turn off the light?”
“Prick.” There was some grunting and squeaking springs, and then the lights went out. They were shortly followed by a flopping body, and then an almost obscenely relieved sigh. “’night.”
‘Night, Sam thought. The whole pretend-he-was-sleeping thing was actually working pretty well at this point.
* * *
When Sam woke up, he was pretty sure it wasn’t because he had to wake up yet, and judging from the way pain dully rippled through his body when he shifted, it wasn’t because he wanted to wake up yet. His brain wasn’t exactly together, either, so he stayed put for a second.
Okay. It was still dark—darkish; a low glow was coming from somewhere so the shadow of the elkhead above the nightstand between the beds could totally freak Sam out for a second. He…didn’t need to pee. So something had definitely woken him up.
He listened hard, but Dean still seemed to be on the bed, breathing low and slow with the occasional snorting snore. After a moment, Sam reluctantly rolled over to check things out. The clock said it was two-fifty-two and checkout wasn’t till ten, so he definitely didn’t need to get up. He let his head drop back to the bed and closed his eyes.
Several seconds of trying just saw him more and more awake, and a hell of a lot crankier, so he opened his eyes again. Something was off and until he figured out what, he clearly wasn’t getting any rest.
Sam did a scan of the room from where he was, hoping really hard that he didn’t have to actually get off the bed. Or, well, really move anywhere. He didn’t—wait, yeah, he did see something weird. The laptop was on. Still closed where it sat on the table, but light was leaking from around the edges, and that was the source of the glow, and that was apparently what was keeping Sam up.
Okay, he’d gotten more sensitive or what? The way he felt, he should’ve been able to sleep through an earthquake, but the stupid…and he could’ve sworn he’d turned it off before they’d left.
Whatever. He was really tired and the computer was bugging him, and so he had to make the computer stop bugging him. Which involved getting up, goddamn it.
After another moment, Sam pushed himself up on his elbow, then got to his feet. His back groaned, pain fizzling up and down his spine and between his shoulderblades; he gritted his teeth and concentrated on using the least amount of stumbles necessary to get to the table. Once there, he flipped up the laptop. It was on, but nothing was running, so he just moused over to the shutdown button and clicked.
The proper windows popped up and everything, and the desktop faded out so Sam turned away…and light slapped over the side of his face. Squinting and cursing, he turned back only to see the damn computer starting up again. Had he hit ‘restart’ instead?
He waited. The computer finished booting. He moused to ‘shutdown’ and then made absolutely dead sure, even bending down so he was at eye-level with the pop-up window, to hit ‘shutdown.’ The computer shut down. And booted up again.
Great. They had a virus. At two in the morning. After getting beaten around a backlot by a killer ice cooler for the better part of an hour.
Sam started to reach for the chair, then stopped because he had a fucking brilliant idea. Instead he walked around the table and yanked out the power-plug from the wall, then slapped the laptop lid down again. It’d run out in a couple hours and have to turn itself off; it’d be a bitch to start up again, but at least it’d slow down the virus or whatever till Sam felt like dealing with it.
Then Sam went back to bed, which was amazing, really amazing.
* * *
Why the hell was Sam awake again?
“Oh, God, that’s so good…”
Right. Because Dean was—was having some kind of fucked-up wet dream. Great. Pillow…pillow over the head wasn’t gonna work. “Dean. Dean!”
“H-wha—huh? Who—oh, that’s—holy fucking shit, Sam. Something’s crawling up my leg!”
Sam scrunched up his face into the mattress and just wished everything would shut up and go away. Too bad that The Shining didn’t seem to be a valid reference for the paranormal yet. “What?”
Lots of frantic little rustling noises. “There’s something up my pant-leg and it’s touching my—Christ.”
The whole first part had been in a fast, almost incoherent babble but that last word had been sharp and hard with real fear, immediately bringing Sam up. He lunged for the table-side lamp while grabbing his knife from beneath his pillow. The room flooded with light as he swung around, eyes narrowed against the glare. “Dean? You okay?”
“No…” Dean was half-curled on his side, his hands down by…no, they were lower than his stomach. Actually, he was holding his crotch as if somebody had just kicked him in the balls, except he didn’t look so much like excruciating pain as like extreme apprehension. “Um. Okay. If I don’t move, it doesn’t squeeze. I think. But ohmyfuckinggod get it off my dick.”
“What?” Then Sam saw the black cord trailing from the cuff of Dean’s jeans, and then he sort of got it. He followed the cord across the floor, but it went around the corner so he couldn’t—
--funny little sss-thump. Something glinted at the corner of the bed; Sam was busy staring at it so he didn’t know what Dean was doing, but he could guess that his brother was watching it, too. Sss-thump and then…half the laptop appeared. Two seconds. Three.
The laptop slowly lifted its front edge about two inches; the sss-sound came from its back-end sliding across the carpet. Then it dropped down, having advanced another three inches.
“Sam.” Dean spoke very, very slowly. Either he was about to freak or he was about to seriously lose his temper. “Your computer is molesting me.”
Or despite the direness of the situation, he was still really exhausted and feeling the early hour, too. “I thought you said it was trying to castrate you.”
“Yeah, well—” Dean started to push himself up. He jerked to a stop, hissing, and his eyes bugged out like nothing since the mutant alligator in Alabama. “That too. God, it’s possessed, isn’t it?”
Well…that made the most sense and how fucking weird were their lives when that was the simplest explanation? But okay, okay, higher priority was getting Dean out of danger, and then exorcising the computer. “Um…hang on a moment. I’m going to test something.”
Dean looked like he wanted to add a lot of clauses and disclaimers and warnings to that, but he thankfully didn’t so Sam could lean over the bed without making its springs groan too much. Since Dean still seemed okay, Sam went ahead and bent over to wave his arm above the laptop, which was moving again. Nothing happened. ‘kay, it wasn’t tracking him.
So Sam aimed, chucked the knife, and it neatly severed the power cord. And the laptop suddenly leaped off the floor, snapping like a rabid oyster, so Sam had to scramble the hell away and then off the bed. “Jesus!”
“You sick perverted piece of crap Mac!” Dean yelped. Sam looked up in time to see his brother toppling over the far side of his bed, but a second later Dean bounced right back up. He triumphantly held up the power cord in one hand, and with the other he was holding up his unzipped jeans. “Got it!”
“Great! Now get the—oh, fuck—salt—” The laptop skittered out after Sam and lunged for his ankle just as he leaped for the bed again. He made it, but not before some kind of shock hit him. That sent him rolling over on his back; at first he clutched at his ankle, but then he realized that hey, maybe not a good thing since he couldn’t see what the computer was doing.
He rolled over just in time to see the damn thing coming up the side. Sam hurriedly got his feet under himself and jumped to Dean’s bed. The frame screeched like a banshee and he winced, momentarily thinking about the room damage costs they’d be billed for. And then the laptop turned around and was still for a second, like it was eying Sam or something, and that was just so wrong. Inanimate objects shouldn’t…plot.
“There!” Dean bounced up onto the bed besides Sam and flicked his hand towards the other bed. A shower of white specks pattered down on the laptop, which went absolutely nuts, snapping and flipping and twisting around. “Got you.”
After a couple of seconds, the laptop abruptly snapped shut and was motionless, looking like an innocent little plastic-encased bunch of microprocessors. Sam glanced at Dean, who rolled his eyes: yeah, neither of them were buying it. And Dean had fixed his fly, thank God.
“Okay, so you think we can use the same ritual we used for the cooler?” Dean asked, settling down. He swung the box of salt between two finger-tips.
Sam considered it, once again wishing this had waited till goddamn morning. “Probably. And hey, you know it runs Windows, right?”
Dean blinked. “Well, Windows doesn’t rhyme. And it’s too long to yell. And dude, are you sure? ‘cause a Mac seems more like the kind of thing that’d sneak up on a guy and—and take his balls hostage. You didn’t install any kind of funky stolen software on it back in college, did you?”
“Oh, my God.” There were a lot of things Sam could say to that, and—and the laptop had just made this whirring noise that’d sounded distinctly pissed off. “This is too fucking early in the morning.”
“A-fucking-men, bro,” Dean replied. He got down lower and stared hard at the laptop. It lifted its top slightly so a menacing green glow could be seen. “So let’s exorcise this bitch already.”
* * *
“…well, it’s closed. Not my fault if your ass left a big dent that made the salt slide around.”
“Dean, could you just—never mind. Bell and Bible?”
“Okay.” Sam looked up from his scribbled notes for the earlier ritual to check on the laptop.
It’d made a couple lunges at them, so they’d given up on moving it and just drawn the circle on Sam’s bed, which was going to be a pain to clean up. Now it was sitting there again, not doing much except for the occasional angry beep, the light bouncing off its stupid heavy-metal/hard rock decals.
“You know, maybe it was one of the stickers you put on it,” Sam couldn’t help saying.
“Shut up and start reading.” Dean sat down on his salt-free bed with the candle, still trying to out-glare the laptop.
With a sigh, Sam began saying the ritual. The laptop started to move around, getting more restless and violent as he went on; when Dean pinched out the candle, it viciously snapped at the air. He reached for the bell and held it up, grinning…and kept holding it till Sam kicked him in the shin. God, it was a freakin’ computer, and whatever had gotten hold of it obviously wasn’t exactly among the big names in evil spirits, but nooo, Dean still had to with the pissing contests. Like he could really brag about vanquishing a laptop to anyone.
Sam got through the last lines and Dean dramatically slapped the Bible shut. A brilliant white glow momentarily surrounded the laptop and a loud clap made Sam jump. Then everything was quiet, and the laptop…appeared to be normal.
Dean hefted the Bible, then leaned forward and poked at the computer. Nothing. He tossed the book onto the mattress and patted the laptop with his hand. Nothing. “Think it’s safe now.”
“Finally,” Sam muttered. He sat down on the edge of Dean’s bed, then flopped over and stuck his notes on the bedside table. Oh, God, lying down felt good.
Something pushed at his side and he rolled over, but that was about it. The hand came back to jab at his ribs, and that kind of hurt, but Sam could ignore it if he worked at it.
“Oh, man, Sam…c’mon. It’s just a little salt…come on. Get up and clean off your bed and—I’ll even help. Come on…goddamn it, Sam.” Dean pushed for a couple more seconds, then sighed. “Okay, fine.”
His knee thumped into Sam’s hip, and his head felt like a rock when it fell against Sam’s shoulder. Jerk.
“But if anything else gets possessed, you’re so dealing with it. God, that thing stuck its…cables up my pants. I’m traumatized here,” Dean mumbled. “Your stupid perverted laptop.”
“Whatever. It’s half yours, you know. Maybe it was picking up on your deepest desires and—ow!”
“My deepest desire is not to get jerked off by a fucking computer, geek-boy. I like live girls just fine, thanks.” Dean wriggled around a little more and finally got himself settled. He was totally crowding Sam into one measly third of the bed, but making him move would require too much effort. “Move.”
So would that. “No.”
“You’re such a brat sometimes.” Fingers messed with Sam’s hair. “Wake me up if the bed starts to try and eat us.”
“Mmmph.” Yeah, good night, too. And hopefully without the weirdness this time. At least not before they got coffee.