11. Salvation

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John's research was all over the motel room. The walls were covered with information on the yellow-eyed demon. Weather charts, hieroglyphs, pictures, newspaper articles, written notes, a shelf of books and more.

John sat at a paper strewn desk, the Colt in front of him. Sam leaned against the counter, Dean paced, and Cassidy sat on one of the beds.

"So this is it," John told them. "This is everything I know. Look, our whole lives we been searching for this demon, right? Not a trace, just... nothing. Until about a year ago. For the first time I picked up a trail."

"And that's why you took off," Dean said.

"Yeah. That's right. The demon must have come out of hiding, or hibernation."

"All right so what's this trail you found?"

"It starts in Arizona, then New Jersey, California. Houses burned down to the ground. It's going after families, just like it went after us."

"Families with infants?" Sam questioned.

"Yeah. The night of the kid's six month birthday."

Sam thought for a moment. "So basically, this demon is going after these kids for some reason. The same way it came for me? So Mom's death... Jessica. It's all because of me?"

"We don't know that, Sam," Dean said.

"Oh really? 'Cause I'd say we're pretty damn sure, Dean."

Dean grew frustrated. "For the last time, what happened to them was not your fault."

Sam began shouting. "Right. It's not my fault but it's my problem."

"No, it's not your problem, it's our problem!"

John stood. "Okay. That's enough."

Everyone took a breath and calmed down.

"So why's he doing it?" Sam asked. "What does he want?"

"Look, I wish I had more answers, I do," John answered. "I've always been one step behind it. Look, I've never gotten there in time to save..." he looked down, unhappy.

"All right so how do we find it... before it hits again?" Cassidy asked, awkwardly changing the subject.

"There's signs. It took me awhile to see the pattern, but it's there in the days before these fire signs crop up in an area. Cattle deaths, temperature fluctuations, electrical storms. And then I went back and checked... and..."

"These things happened in Lawrence," Dean realized.

John nodded. "A week before your mother died. And in Palo Alto... before Jessica. And these signs, they're starting again."

"Where?" Sam demanded.

"Salvation, Iowa."

John's truck sped along a misty road, followed closely by the Impala. After a few moments, he pulled off to the side, the Impala followed, and everyone sprang from their seats.

"God damn it!" John cried.

"What is it?" Dean asked.

"Son of a bitch."

"What is it!"

"I just got a call from Caleb."

"Is he okay?"

"He's fine. Jim Murphy's dead."

"Pastor Jim? How?" Sam asked.

"His throat was slashed. He bled out. Caleb said they found traces of sulfur at Jim's place."

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