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F L I P P I N G  T H E  B I R D
 

 

 

This was the stupidest idea in a long history of stupid ideas, Dean thought.


The Impala bumped unsteadily across the ice and, not for the first time, Dean worried for his baby’s suspension. The grand old lady was built for the open road, the lonely highway, the blacktop that stretched into forever, not really for the icesheet; but whatever, saving his fellow penguin and hunting things came before bent track rods and brittle shock absorbers. Just about.
 

“Karrk,” he bitched at Sam, making an angry gesture with his flipper to the world in general just for the hell of it. He had a duty to penguinkind, but it didn’t mean he had to like the damage it did to his beloved Chevy. “Kaarka kaark.”
 

Sam just wrinkled his beak in the patented Sam bitchface and held on tight.
 

Not that he needed to. Dean was a good driver, had been almost since he’d cracked his egg, and the Impala swept purposefully over the ice, dodging the deep drifts and skirting crevasses, before he brought it to a graceful sliding stop at their destination, a large, snowy mound, isolated and alone.
 

“Karrk,” he said with a smug grin.
 

“Krrr,” Sam replied, unimpressed as usual and Dean’s smile deflated just a little. As if there had been any doubt he would get them here in one piece.
 

They got out. Sam waddled right up to the remains of the old snow cairn while Dean searched the perimeter of the camp for clues. Or possibly for fish, he was rather peckish, now he thought about it.
 

Sam though, was ignoring the importance of a fish supper, because the bird brain had found something.
 

“Kaarrk!” he called. “Krraa Kark!”
 

Dean waddled over as fast as he could.
 

It was a piece of canvas, poking out of the ice where the extreme of the spring melt had pushed back the snow. It was the remains of a tent.
 

“Kaark!” Sam warned him.
 

But it was too late; Dean had already reached out with a flipper and prodded the material. Suddenly, the air grew colder still and a vicious wind picked up, ruffling their feathers with dread.
 

“Kaaaarrrrk!” Sam squawked as an unseen force raised him up and choked him. His flippers flapped helplessly against nothing as he tried to get free, but it was no good. The spirit had him held, it was up to Dean now.
 

“Krraa!” Sammy! Dean cried, but there was nothing he could do to help as the same force threw him backwards, depositing him into the centre of a snowdrift.
 

Flippers flailing, he hopped to his feet again. Their only hope now was to get this done.
 

The wind had whipped itself into a blinding blizzard. Dean hardly knew which way he was meant to go. He could see a face now, the face of a man, a frozen, lost man taking shape in the whiteout. He looked cold and dead and desperate, a penguin-botherer stuck where he didn’t belong. The long solace of death denied him forever.
 

Dean gritted his beak and pushed on. Sam needed him. Penguinkind needed him. Even the penguin botherer needed him, Good job Dean needed to be needed too. He reached the canvas with one last effort and held on, his flippers gripping as tight as they could. It was now or never.
 

Fire wasn’t going to do this and the salt was still in the trunk of the Impala. He needed something else.
 

“Karrk! Karrky karrrk!” Sam spluttered.
 

That was it! If he’d paid more attention to Bobby and not to that hot chick’s tail feathers, he might have remembered sooner that they needed the other body, to lay it to rest with its comrades.
 

“Kaaka! Kaaka!” he called to the uncanny wind, making it an offer. “Kark!”
 

The wind whistled and bit. It agreed. It dropped Sam and Dean let go.
 

The wind took them both and they were swept up into the sky. There, they tumbled and swooped, almost like the snow petrels might, before the wind gently placed them down next to a dark shape half hidden by the snow. The wind blew and blew, and the snow pulled back to reveal a heap of frozen bones grimacing into the ice.
 

Captain Oates, I presume, Dean thought, amused at himself; then he grabbed a furry boot and heaved.
 

Sam caught on and grabbed the other leg. It was slow work, but eventually, pulling with all their might, they got the body of the fallen explorer and placed him next to the frozen cairn. The wind whipped up again, eddying excitedly around their webbed feet as they packed fresh snow over the body until the cairn was complete. Oates was back with his people and penguins were safe.
 

Job done.
 

Dean flopped down next to his brother. He was exhausted. Humans were so heavy, even when they were dead.
 

He nudged Sam with his flipper. “Kaark Kaark!” he joked. He smirked to himself. He was so funny sometimes.


“Kaaarka.” This time, Sam actually agreed.

 

 

 

 

 

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