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Abominability

Chapter Text

Snow has always been a foreign concept to Caitlin Farmer. She’s seen it plenty of times, when the temperature at Samwell drops right after the new year, but it’s simply a reminder that Samwell, Massachusetts is not her California hometown.

She sits on the wooden porch of a cabin in Northern Maine, watching flurries turn into heavier snowfall as Dex pelts Nursey with a hastily fashioned snowball. Chris sits beside her with a matching mug half full of lukewarm coffee. Dex and Nursey are much more at home in wintery weather than she and her West Coast boyfriend could ever be.

Dex meanders over to escape the frozen downpour, Nursey following closely behind. Their eyes are bright and they have smiles on their faces. Will? Dex – one is too intimate for their new relationship and the other isn’t intimate enough – his face is bright pink from the cold and it makes Caitlin want to wrap another scarf around his neck.

“Storm picked up right when the radio said it would,” Dex says, sounding slightly like he’s had the wind knocked out of him. “We should probably get inside.”

“There should still be coffee,” Chris says, sipping at his own. “You two idiots need to warm up from shoving snow down each others’ pants.”

Dex squawks and Nursey throws his head back to laugh at full volume. Caitlin lets out a chuckle as well, knowing fully that Chris is hiding a shit eating grin in his mug. “I second that motion,” she says, standing up. “Everyone, inside.”

There’s still half a pot of coffee, just like Chris said there was, and they drain it while Nursey stokes a wood fire filling the hearth. Dex brings in firewood to make sure it stays dry and Chris builds a blanket and pillow nest large enough for the four of them.

“This is normally a summer house,” Dex says, settling in between Caitlin and Nursey with a mug. “I wasn’t sure how well it would hold up in a blizzard.”

There’s a roar outside and he tenses. Nursey claps a hand on his shoulder. “Chill, babe. It’s just the storm.”

“I know it’s the storm, I just-”

“If I know your family,” Chris starts, “this cabin will hold up fine.” He grins. “If anyone should be worried, it’s me and Cait. We’re not built for the snow.”

Dex rolls his eyes and Nursey chuckles. “We’ll be fine,” Caitlin says, planting a kiss on Dex’s cheek. He turns pink, like he’s been out in the sun too long. Nursey rests a hand on Caitlin’s upper arm and gives it a squeeze. Dex laces his fingers with Chris’.

They’ll be fine.

***

“We’ll be fine,” Dex says, surveying the snowfall the next afternoon, well after the blizzard passed. “There are shovels and chains for tires in the shed out back, we’ll just have to shovel our way to the road once the snowplows come through. It won’t take long.”

“Like we don’t have all the time in the world,” Caitlin says, trailing behind him with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. “We don’t have to be back at school until after New Year’s. It’s not even Christmas yet.”

Dex grunts in reply and steps off the porch. “I’m gonna go see if my car’s okay. The cold may have killed the battery, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some snow got under the hood and froze over.” He stiffens. “God, I’ll have to call my uncle Ian.”

“Uncle Ian can suck my dick,” Chris says, joining them outside. Dex starts toward his mini SUV, half buried in a snowbank by a cluster of fir trees. Nursey wanders outside and follows Dex to the car.

“Holy shit!”

Caitlin and Chris make their way over to see Dex in a squat, inspecting the snow on the opposite side of the car, and Nursey standing over him while they bicker.

“You totally put these here, Will, right?” Like-”

“No, Derek, I didn’t put them here, I’ve been outside for like two minutes-”

“They’re MASSIVE-”

“Thank you for letting me know, I wasn’t sure-”

“What’s massive?” Chris interrupts.

“These footprints!”

“These what now?” Caitlin steps closer to the other two men so that she can see what they’re seeing in the snow.

Stamped on the ground are footprints the size of her torso. The tracks come from the woods before stopping and doubling back next to the original path.

“Holy shit,” she repeats as Chris settles next to her. He’s silent, but his eyes are wide, and he has one gloved hand covering his mouth in shock.

“I can’t believe- I thought it was a fucking, legend, to keep us from being here year-round, fuck,” Dex sputters, standing at his full height.

“What legend?” Chris asks.

“A Yeti,” Dex breathes, resting his hands on the back of his neck. “A snow monster.”

“Chill, I thought you meant the cooler, thanks for clarifying.”

“Fuck off, oh my god-”

“Yetis are from the Himalayas, by the way,” Chris interjects, a mischievous glint in his eye.

“Jesus Christ, okay, fine, an Abominable Snowman,” Dex admits. “It’s not a sasquatch or a bigfoot though, this is a monster that shows up in snow only. I’m still calling it a Yeti though.”

“Fair enough.”

There’s a brief silence that Nursey finally breaks. “Hey, listen, it’s probably just someone playing a prank, okay? Ian- or no, not Ian, fuck, who is it that tries to put itching powder in your sock drawer at every Thanksgiving? Owen?” He rests his hand on Dex’s lower back.

“Owen, yeah.”

“Owen’s probably just pulling a prank on us for claiming the cabin during the winter, yeah?”

“Yeah.” Caitlin has never heard Dex sound this scared, or… small.

Nursey looks over at her and Chris behind his boyfriend’s back. ‘Say something,’ he mouths.

“Yeah, like, if it were an actual animal, the tracks would go back on themselves so that we couldn’t see them so clearly,” Chris says, pulling from what remains of his Eagle Scout knowledge. “The here and back are side by side, that’s something that happens when someone wants you to see the tracks, so it’s probably a human trying to scare us.”

“See? Nothing to worry about.” Nursey shifts his arm so that it’s thrown over Dex’s shoulders. He turns the two of them away from the prints and toward the cabin. “Besides, you know what they say about big feet,” he jokes, flashing a wink at Dex.

Dex’s jaw is tense. “Yeah, that the creature that owns them will fucking kill you.”

“Oh boy, well, good thing the creature doesn’t exist.”

Caitlin sidles up on Dex’s opposite side and mirrors Nursey’s position. “Did your car start okay?” she asks, trying to distract him.

“Fuck,” Dex spits. “I didn’t even- Fuck.”

“Call Ian anyway.”

“Yeah, I’m going to. In the meantime,” he says, stepping onto the porch. “We’ve got to do anything we need to do outside during the daytime.”

Nursey tries to object before Chris shushes him. Dex continues, staring at the now setting sun. “Please, you three, even if you don’t believe me, just… Humor me? I want to keep you safe.”

“Awh,” Caitlin and Chris sigh as the latter opens the door.

“Pinky promise, babe,” Nursey says as he walks inside. “Our next snowball fight will be at high noon. This cabin ain’t big enough for the two of us.”

Dex chuckles. “It’s plenty big for four, though.”

“That it is, Poindexter, that it is.”

Dex sheds his coat and walks into the tiny kitchen that houses the landline, since none of their phones have had service since they arrived.

“This yeti is probably a family legend,” Caitlin says. She plops down on the couch in front of the fireplace. “I know a thing or two about those.”

“Oh?” Chris sits down on the floor in front of her, next to where Nursey has settled himself. “Please, Farms, tell us more.”

“Chupacabras. My abuela raises goats and is very superstitious.”

Nursey plants a kiss on Chris’ forehead. “Mmm, well, there are no goats here. Just people.”

“Sexy people,” Chris points out. He rests a hand on Nursey’s hip. “Very sexy people.”

“Wow, okay, I see where I stand in this relationship,” Dex chirps as he walks back into the main living area of the cabin. He has a relaxed smile on his face as he grabs a blanket and claims a spot on the rug next to Nursey. “Ian says he’ll be here tomorrow morning. Chewed me out for being here in December, though. He’s even more superstitious than I am.”

Nursey buries his face into Dex’s neck. “We’ve just got to wait for another twelve hours, then. Chill.”

“Literally, chill, the fire’s getting low,” Dex grumbles, moving to stoke it before Nursey pulls him back.

“I like C’s idea for keeping warm.”

Caitlin laughs as both Dex and Chris turn pink. “Well, we’ve got twelve hours.”

“Holy shit.

This time, everyone laughs, and for a while it’s easy to forget about what may lurk in the woods.

Chapter Text

“He should’ve been here hours ago,” Dex huffs, pacing back and forth in front of the couch. “The sun is going down.”

“He’s on his way, babe. He’s probably just making his way through the snow.” Nursey chomps down on a marshmallow from his mostly empty mug.

“Ian knows how to travel in snow, he would’ve been here by now.” Caitlin watches Dex inspect his nails, bright red and jagged from hours of gnawing.

Chris shoots her a look. “It’s been months since he bit his nails,” he whispers.

“He’ll be here,” Nursey says, firmer. “Come sit.”

Dex does so, silent, but he lets Nursey wrap an arm around his shoulders and Chris throw a blanket over his lap. He stays still until the sun is down. “I hope he stopped somewhere for the night.”

“He probably ran into his own car trouble and found a place to stay,” Caitlin says, resting her feet on the arm of the couch. In the distance, wolves howl. “He’ll be here in the morning.”

Dex exhales. “Yeah. Yeah, you’re right.”

Nursey blinks sleepily and settles into the couch next to his boyfriend, and Chris follows suit, burrowing his head into Caitlin’s neck. She glances over at Dex, who mouths, “naptime.” She keeps down a chuckle.

Hours later, a thud from outside jerks Dex from his position. “Oh, thank fuck, that fucking idiot, showing up after sunset. Mama’s gonna kill him, Jesus Christ.”

He peels the drowsy men off his body and stands, arching his back to stretch. “You need help, Ian?” he yells, making his way toward the door. “Get in here, it’s dark, you know those stories Nana used to-”

Dex stops mid-sentence as he opens the wooden door that opens to face the woods. Caitlin turns her body as he cries out, taking a step back and clapping a hand over his mouth in shock.

“Dex? Will?” Caitlin shoots up, rousing Chris from his sleep. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”

“Ian-”

“What?”

“Huh?” Chris sits up, blinking his eyes open.

Nursey awakens as well. “Dex? Babe?”

Dex says nothing but sits on the floor with his legs crossed. His body props the door open, and a few stray snowflakes wander past, melting as they meet the warm wood of inside. Caitlin follows the trail of water to the outside, where the stains on the porch get darker and the smell of burnt wood is replaced with a sickeningly sweet, metallic smell.

A young man lays on the porch and makes eye contact with her, but there is no recognition in his eyes. He looks like Dex – freckled face, golden eyes, and bright red hair. His body type appears to be similar too. Of course, it’d be easier to tell if the man’s torso wasn’t separated from his legs.

“Is that-”

“Ian. That’s Ian.”

She can’t take her eyes away. She took a criminal forensics class last year as an elective. She looked at photos upon photos of gory crime scenes, looked at evidence from serial killer cold cases, figured out what effect different weapons had on the human body – it was nothing compared to the scene in front of her.

Ian’s legs, obviously broken, half hang off the edge of the porch. The legs of his jeans are spattered with blood, the denim becoming more and more soaked the closer it is to his waist. Viscera spills out from his abdomen, his legs and chest connected by only a few strips of intestine.

His coat is similarly doused, and the wool has deep slashes showing the clothing underneath. Ian’s hands are scratched from fighting, and his mouth leaks blood from where it entered his lungs. His eyes are still locked on Caitlin.

Fuck,” Chris chokes, finally making his way over toward the door. “Oh, fuck.” He looks away from the remains with his hand over his mouth, shoulders heaving. Caitlin breaks her gaze to look at Dex, eerily still as he hides his face in his hands.

She hears the squeak of the couch as Nursey shifts to peek at his partners but not at Ian’s corpse laying outside. “Are you guys okay?”

His voice sounds desperate. Desperate for confirmation that everyone’s all right; desperate to figure out that this is all a cruel joke and that they can get back to cuddling on the couch in front of the fire.

Chris bolts toward the kitchen, Caitlin sobs, and Dex lifts his head, looking pissed as hell. “I’m not.” He stands up and slams the door, hiding Ian from sight. “I’m not okay.”

He stomps toward the hall closet and pulls down an ancient looking backpack, worn from years of abuse from its owners and the elements. He stays silent as he walks back and forth across the house, gathering assorted items: dried meat and fruit from a forgotten cabinet in the kitchen, homemade plaid blankets from a basket in the den, and a shotgun and shells from a safe hidden in a bedroom closet.

Nursey goes pale. “What the fuck are you doing, Will?”

“The yeti got Ian,” Dex says softly, shrugging his arms into a sweater. “It ripped him in half. If I don’t do something about it, it’s gonna get us too.”

“William Jacob Poindexter.” Nursey points one shaky finger at Dex. “It’s, like, 30 degrees outside. You are not going to go out with a fucking shotgun and hunt a creature that doesn’t exist!”

“It does too exist, Nursey!” Dex yells.

“No, it does not!” Nursey yells right back.

“Both of you cut it out!” Chris emerges from the kitchen doorway. “Dex, Nursey’s right. You can’t go out in the middle of the night to hunt the Abominable Snowman.”

“You’re making it sound ridiculous!” Dex continues preparing himself, shoving his feet into snow boots and putting on his winter coat. “That thing murdered my uncle!”

“It’ll murder you too if you go out right now! We don’t need two dead Poindexters on our doorstep!”

Dex softens at that, staring at the floor. “I just want to keep you guys safe. It’s taunting us.” He blinks hard and stray tears fall from his eyes. “It put Ian’s body on the porch so that we could find it. It’s not killing for survival, it’s killing for sport.”

Chris throws his hands up in exasperation. “Then, like how most people hunt, wait until the sun comes up. Fuck, I’ll come with you and help track it.”

He sighs. “Yetis are not something I believe in. But obviously, there’s something out there, something intelligent, that will come for us if you don’t come for it first. And that.” He points to the closed door. “Was not something done by a human being. It’s cruel, half-mindless, and I want to get rid of it.”

Caitlin crosses her arms. “Oh, like hell are you two going by yourselves. Give me an axe or something, I’m coming with you.”

“Do I have to be the voice of reason here?” Nursey stands from the couch. “You all, seriously? A yeti?

“Nursey,” Chris starts. “What human has the strength to rip a grown man in half? What other creature would rip a grown man in half and dump it on the doorstep without eating any of it?”

“We have to kill it before it kills us, Derek!”

“And you’re not staying in this cabin alone.”

Nursey stops, runs his hands over his face and temples. He’s in his head, thinking, processing. Caitlin can see the gears in his brain turning. He looks Dex in the eye.

“You’re right. All three of you are right. Count me in.”

Chapter Text

“Okay, who knows how to use a chainsaw?” Dex rummages through the tiny wooden shed at the edge of the forest, sun rising over the trees. “I also have a couple of hatchets, snow shovels, a pickaxe… I think there’s a weedwhacker in here somewhere.”

“What am I least likely to accidentally hurt myself with?” Nursey leans against the empty doorframe.

“Probably a shovel, but I don’t think a yeti is gonna be very scared by that.” Dex shoves the handle of a hatchet in Nursey’s direction. “Here. It’s flatter, and only one side is sharp.”

Chris reaches past him and grabs the lone pickaxe. “What are you thinkin’, Farms? I’ve got one more hatchet, or-”

“Pass me the chainsaw.”

He does so. It’s lighter than Caitlin thought it would be, and she holds it with one hand while she adjusts the strap of her backpack.

“So, we have food, blankets, weapons, everyone’s bundled up, we can melt snow for water…”

“Flashlights, but we’re coming back before sunset.” Chris glares at Dex.

“Yes, sir.” He gives him a soldier’s salute. “Sun’s all the way up. Let’s go now so we have time to double back if we need to."

“I can’t believe we’re doing this.” Nursey is obviously exasperated, and anxious, grinding his foot into the deep snow. It crunches underneath his boot as he hits the frozen ground. “Do you guys realize how fucking crazy this is? What am I gonna tell my parents?”

Dex nudges him to follow Chris into the woods, along the path that the creature dragged Ian’s frozen body. Caitlin shudders, remembering the scene from the night before. Back on the porch, the corpse is covered with a tarp scavenged from the same shed as their weapons.

“I mean, Jesus Christ,” Nursey continues. “At Christmas, ‘Hey Der, honey, what did you do at the cabin?’ Oh, you know, Mama, I went into the woods after a blizzard, carrying a fucking hatchet, to hunt the Abominable Snowman! It was great! I can’t wait to put it on my resume for the New Yorker!”

“That’s crisis management and adaptability,” Dex deadpans. His next words are softer as he shifts the shotgun on his shoulder, pointedly keeping the barrel away from the group. “We’ll be fine. I promise.”

Caitlin catches up to Chris, walking alongside him and allowing Dex and Nursey to have their moment. The two of them connect to each other in a way they didn’t connect to anyone else. It’s the kind of link that can only come from their specific brand of argument, though according to Chris, they haven’t had a screaming match since well before they announced their relationship. It’s the kind of link that comes from a complete lack of tolerance for bullshit and the full embrace of both of their character flaws, Caitlin thinks. It maybe, just maybe, has extended through the group of four.

She grips the handle of the chainsaw tightly with both hands. This link convinced chill, rational Nursey to come out in freezing weather with loyal Chris and impulsive Caitlin to hunt a goddamn snow monster.

“Yo, Dex, the drag in the snow stops here,” Chris says an hour later as he leads them into a small clearing, surrounded by frost dusted firs. The snow is disturbed enough to show the earth below, red-brown with old blood.

Caitlin keeps an eye on him. He swallows deeply at the sight of red. She watches the way Nursey’s hands grip the handle of his hatchet so tightly his knuckles are as pale as she is. She watches Dex’s eyes, amber shining with anger and hurt and a little bit of fear, as he shifts the shotgun from his shoulder.

A set of massive footprints, matching the ones Dex found by his car, leads to and from the spot, in the direction of a massive rock wall – nearly invisible from the foliage around it.

It’s eerily silent. There are no chirps or calls, no creatures stepping on twigs. Even the whistle of the wind is absent. Nature knows to stay away from this place, Caitlin thinks. They’re not as smart. Subtly, thinking of her abuela and the goat-suckers, she crosses herself.

Dex stares at the sun. “Assuming it’s nocturnal, this thing won’t be awake any time soon. I’m gonna find it and kill it with a headshot before it has a chance to wake up and hurt anyone else. I don’t even have to take off my backpack, ammo’s in my pocket. Bang.”

Nursey fixates his icy glare on Dex. “I know I said I had a competency kink, but I wasn’t including a competency with firearms.”

“Wow, okay, that’s- That’s a conversation for later. Right now…” Chris points to the tracks. “These lead to those rocks, which probably houses a cave of some sort. It’s the middle of winter, so who knows why this thing isn’t hibernating.”

“It hibernates in the summer, Chowder. Why do you think my family stays away when it snows?” Dex walks forward, placing himself at the head of the pack, merely a few steps away from the rocks on the edge of the clearing. “It’s fast asleep right now, I can load the gun, sneak in-”

He’s interrupted by snow falling from a tree close to the rocks, followed by a low growl. All four of them freeze in their current position, eyes locked on the massive creature emerging from the thicket in front of them on all fours.

The yeti stands on its hind legs, dwarfing Dex in both height and size. Its shoulders are as long as he is tall, and his height twice that of the average hockey player. Its scraggly, dirty white fur nearly blends into the environment, dried blood on its hands and mouth keeping it from disappearing entirely.

Caitlin feels the blood drain from her face. Its eyes are almost human, intelligent enough to recognize them as the intruders from the cabin but not intelligent enough to communicate with them. Dex takes a tentative step back, hands gripping the unloaded shotgun in fear.

The yeti follows, also taking a single step, humanesque eyes locked on him. It snarls, bearing its blood covered teeth, but makes no move to attack Dex.

“Guys,” he says lowly, reaching for the shells in his pocket. “Move slowly. Get to high ground.”

“What if it can climb?” Chris hisses.

“It’ll give me time to load this thing, or at minimum, we can jump on top of it and throw it off its game. Or distract it somehow.” Another growl comes from the creature, chest heaving with anger and claws at the ready.

“Come on, you guys!”

Dex manages to get a single shell into the gun while inching away from the other three. As he nears the opposite edge of the clearing, Caitlin realizes that he’s using himself as the distraction.

“You asshole!” She sprints away, creating a triangle of weapons. She rips the cord on her chainsaw. The roar grabs the yeti’s attention, but it stays in front of Dex.

“Cait!” Chris yells, hands tight on his pickaxe as he follows her. “What the fuck are you doing?”

She positions the running chainsaw in front of her body. “If it comes for me, it’ll hit this first. Will! Shoot it!

“I’m not that good a shot, Farms!” Dex says desperately. “I don’t wanna shoot you on accident! Why do you think I wanted to do this while it was asleep?”

“Why am I dating three impulsive imbeciles?”

“Not the time, Nurse!”

Caitlin revs the chainsaw. The yeti roars and moves toward the center of the clearing. Nursey holds the handle of the hatchet like a batter at the plate. Dex finishes loading and holds the butt of the gun under his shoulder, shaking slightly as he aims for the yeti’s torso.

“I got one shot! Get ready!”

Nursey nods and stalks around the edge of the trees toward Dex, hatchet in both hands, and Chris keeps his attention – and the pickaxe - focused on the monster. Caitlin can feel her heart in her throat as the chainsaw rumbles in her grip, buzzing with more motor power than she knows what to do with.

She makes eye contact with the yeti, black eyes showing the slightest hint of humanity, as a shotgun shell lodges into its back. The monster’s roar echoes throughout the entire forest.

It turns toward Dex and Nursey and growls, crimson running from a wound on its left shoulder blade.

“Grrrr,” Nursey returns with a mocking tone, hatchet outstretched. His body language invites the monster toward him, and his eyes are narrowed and focused, a stark contrast from his attitude at the beginning of their trek. Dex keeps the empty shotgun in his hand but takes a step back to let Nursey take the lead.

Caitlin’s heart rate is through the roof, adrenaline pumping through her veins at what feels like the speed of sound, and she wants this damn thing dead, and she wants it dead now.

Before she can process what’s happening, she feels her body lurch forward, the chainsaw leading the way toward the yeti. Red spouts from its calf, covering the blade, and white fur catches in the teeth as it runs. It roars again, more desperate than the last, and in its haste to turn toward her it falls backward.

She neatly steps out of its trajectory and leaps to hack at its other leg, ignoring its wail of pain. Its blood turns the snow around the writhing body red and splatters Caitlin’s boots, adding to the pattern on her coat from the chainsaw.

“Cait! Cait!”

Caitlin pauses, weapon still running, and looks at Chris across the whimpering yeti. He looks just as determined as she was moments ago, pickaxe in hand, hair disheveled, eyes wide.

“We have to kill it. It’s just suffering at this point.”

She lets the motor of the chainsaw die out. “Yeah.”

Minutes later, the deafening pop of Dex’s shotgun silences the yeti forever.

Their group is silent too, as they retrace their steps back to the Poindexter cabin. They’re silent as they step over the tarp covering Ian and silent as they strip off their cold and wet clothing. The only sound is the gurgling of the coffeepot and the distant rumbling of the dryer warming blankets and quilts.

“Will? Derek? Chris? Are you guys okay?” Caitlin asks, sandwiched between the latter two on the couch in front of the fireplace.

Will cries, and the rest of them cry with him.