A Memory of Barnes (Sam Winchester)

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A Memory of Barnes (Sam Winchester)
Date of Cutscene: 29 July 2008
Location: 167 Southbound, north Louisiana
Synopsis: Flashback scene to July 29, 2008: Young Sam Winchester finds strength and comfort in the example of his favorite comic book/historical hero.
Cast of Characters: Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester

Even at 5, Sam Winchester knew how to read the road, and how to read a clock.

That’s how he knew the Impala was parked on 167 southbound in the Kisatchie National Forest somewhere in Louisiana, north of a place called Dry Prong and past a spot called Winnfield.

He knew some of the rules of the road, and one of them was that you didn’t just pull over on the shoulder and park your car, but that’s what Dad had done. Grabbing a weapon and stalking off into the forest without a backwards glance as dusk had turned to night.

Night had turned boring, then increasingly terrifying. There were no street lights. The woods and the road were pitch black, save for the occasional cut of headlights across the highway. Those looked like ominous eyes, every car holding strangers, every car holding people who could hurt them. The rolling sea of clouds above blocked even the stars.

The woods held Something too, Something that Dad had gone after with his gun.

The woods shrieked with the song of a thousand cicadas, sounding like a tormented chorus. Every now and then he’d hear something else. An owl, maybe, or just the rustle of wind, which hissed like something out of Sam’s nightmares.

Beside him, Dean just looked bored, or maybe watchful. At 9, Dean was rarely much impressed by anything. Sam knew he had a gun of his own, though he wasn’t supposed to know that. The heavy weight of it, big for Dean’s hands, rested in a holster under his brother’s shirt on the left side.

Thunder rumbled in the distance. Another pair of headlights swept across the back seat where both boys sat. Sam didn’t want to let the whimper out, but it came anyway.

“C’mon, Sammy, it’s just thunder,” Dean said, glancing at him.

I know that, Sam wanted to say, but what came out was a small, “Dean, I’m scared. When’s Dad coming back? I want Dad to come back.”

“I don’t know. He’ll be back when he’s back.”

Sam bit his lip. He felt it wobbling. He wasn’t supposed to cry.

Dean sighed and gave him a second look. He reached down and got the big flashlight. He usually lectured Sam about preserving the batteries, but he switched it on now.


For a moment, it was. But then Sam realized Something could see them if they were illuminated, and he wasn’t sure. He didn’t want to upset Dean though, so he nodded his head a little bit.

Dean wasn’t convinced. He shined the flashlight about the car, casting about for some other answer.

The beam of the flashlight landed on Barnes.

Barnes had been Sam’s favorite army guy, but he was stuck in the door handle. Sam had tried and tried to get him out, but he just wouldn’t budge. Which maybe was just as well...they’d had to abandon all the other army guys about a month ago. They’d been left on the floor of the Bates Motel in Toadsuck, TN when Something had forced them to flee in a hurry. Sam had cried until John had finally whirled around in his seat and backhanded him.

Dean had comforted him, and quietly advised him on how he could avoid provoking Dad. Sam hadn’t brought up the army guys again. At least he still had a few Invaders comics, stored carefully under the driver’s side seat and never, ever taken into a hotel. Barnes was named after his favorite Invader, James Barnes, the youngest but bravest on the entire team.

“See?” Dean said. “There’s Barnes. Got his rifle pointed right at the window. Anything comes before Dad gets back? He’ll shoot them down. We’ll be fine.”

Dean’s words steadied him, though not for the reasons his older brother thought.

Sam was more than old enough to understand that a small plastic army figure wasn’t going to protect them if Something Bad came. He thought about Barnes. Barnes would tell him to be brave, that they could get through this.

He’d make some really funny joke and he’d come up with great ideas for getting them safe. The plan would be clever, and everyone would look at him with surprise as if he hadn’t come up with the last 8 clever plans, and he’d smirk at them and say something that made them all roll their eyes.

In four panels everyone would think the plan had been Rogers' idea. Barnes would remember it hadn’t been, and Rogers would, but nobody else would remember.

He snuggled up next to Dean, thinking it through. Dean put his arm around him comfortably, always ready to shelter him, even if sometimes he got impatient and told Sam he was acting like a girl. He wasn’t impatient now. One hand hovered near the weapon, and the other fit around the crook of Sammy’s shoulders.

He switched off the flashlight. “Get some sleep, Sammy.”

Get some sleep wasn’t a good action plan, but Sam was exhausted. He closed his eyes, imagining what it would be like if Barnes were here right now.

“Here, Sammy, take this weapon. It’s about your size.”

“What do I do, Barnes?”

“You just follow my lead. We’re going to find your Dad. I’ll track him through the woods. Look, I’ll show you how. See? There’s where his heel hit soft earth. There’s some blood on the leaves.”

Sammy, afraid again. “His?”

“No. He must have tagged the Bad Man. We’ll find them both up ahead. We’ll flank them. You go left. I’ll go right. If you see your Dad, tell him to ‘get down’, okay? Yell it really loudly. Then we’ll shoot, and the Bad Man won’t know what hit him. Ready?”

By the time he told Barnes that he was, indeed, ready, the daydream had become a dream in truth, leaving him sound asleep in Dean’s arms.