And if John thought things had been bad a moment ago, they had just gotten worse
For, although Sam had succeeded in killing Mephistopheles, his death had roused the vampires from their trance-induced stupor. And now they were pissed. Because, for the second time in only a few months, the Winchesters had been responsible for the demise of their leader. First they had killed Luther; now they had slayed Mephistopheles.
And for that, they would pay.
With newfound contempt in their eyes, the vampires moved quickly to contain the Winchesters and in no time at all they had them completely surrounded, blocking off every possible avenue of escape. Neither John nor Sam had had a chance to react to this new threat. In fact John hadn't moved; his main goal remained keeping Dean alive. And Sam had only been able to take a few steps closer to his family in a vain attempt to shield his father and brother with his body. But they both knew that it was hopeless. They couldn't run. And they didn't have any weapons to even fend off the vampires, let alone to kill them.
What they really needed was a miracle.
But miracles didn't happen. Not in real life anyway. And even though the situation they were in lent itself more to being a scene in some B-Grade horror movie, this was indeed real life. And the reality seemed to be that they were all going to end up as cannon fodder for their satanic foes.
But then something completely unexpected happened.
The telltale roar of a shotgun blast suddenly filled the hushed night air, followed immediately by the whir of a speeding bullet whizzing past before culminating in a dull thud as it pierced the flesh of its target. Falling back on his years of military training, John had expertly followed the sound of the bullet, watching in amazement as it penetrated Kate's forehead and a thick black mark spread rapidly across her forehead. And although it hadn't exactly been a beheading, it had accomplished the same goal. Because Kate had crumpled instantly to the ground.
And even though John didn't know how it had happened, he knew why.
The bullet had come from the Colt.
And the vampires were once again thrown into a state of confusion. The startling discharge of the firearm coupled with the death of their latest emerging leader had propelled them yet again into turmoil and, for a moment, they seemed to forget all about the Winchesters. Some of them even took a few steps backwards in their addled state, thus creating a slight gap in the circle in which they had, only moments before, succeeded in enclosing their prey.
John wasted no time taking advantage of the chaos; he realized that this may be his only chance of escape. He quickly scooped Dean up in his arms, pressing his son's limp body tightly to his chest before he launched himself through the break in the swarm of baffled vampires. He hit the ground just outside the circle and rolled, trying to put as much distance as possible between himself and the vampires, all-the-while remaining mindful of Dean's torture-plagued body that he held securely against his torso.
Until he hit something that stopped him dead in his tracks.
And a highly irritated yet amazingly familiar voice boomed out from directly above him.
"Jeezus, John. Why don't ya watch where the hell you're goin', ya idjit."
John had never been so glad to hear his old friend's voice. But before he had the opportunity to acknowledge his friend, two strong hands seized his shirt collar and yanked him backwards. John clutched Dean's inert body tightly to his chest as he dug his heels into the ground in order to help Bobby maneuver him further away from the vampires. After being moved back about ten feet, John's back slammed viciously against a tree trunk, bringing him to an abrupt halt and causing Dean to pitch forward out of his grip. Unable to retain his grasp on his son's lifeless body, John was helpless to stop Dean from rolling down his outstretched legs and landing on the ground at his feet. John hastily inserted his hand back into Dean's chest so that he could get back to the task of massaging his beleaguered heart. But as he gently wrapped his hand around his eldest son's heart he realized that it was now beating steadily – albeit slowly - on its own.
The jolt against the tree must have been all that was needed to kick-start Dean's heart.
Encouraged by this latest development, John took the opportunity to steal a quick glance up at Bobby and he asked quizzically "How did you find…"
But his question was cut short as he watched Bobby briefly touch his finger to his lips before pointing back in the direction of the vampires. John immediately turned to look. And he was instantly devastated by what he saw. Sam was completely surrounded by the vampires; in fact, they were merely inches away from him and Sam was trying to fend them off by moving around in slow circles with his arms extended out to his sides. But there were simply too many of them. He couldn't ward them off by himself. And he had no means of escape.
And as John and Bobby watched in horror, the vampires simultaneously opened their mouths to reveal the descent of their fangs.
Knowing he had to act fast, John sprang to his feet. But before he could move any more than a few inches, Bobby grasped him by the shoulders. "John, don't be stupid," he cautioned quietly. "That's nothin' short of suicide."
"I can't just leave him in there alone," retorted John. "They'll kill him."
Instead of answering Bobby slapped a fully-loaded revolver heavily against John's chest and stated matter-of-factly, "Bullets are dipped in dead man's blood."
John nodded brusquely as he seized the gun' handle before quickly spinning it around and taking aim at the ravenous horde of vampires. Without hesitating, John discharged the first round squarely into the chest of a completely unsuspecting vampire. That first bullet had barely left the chamber when John fired again; this time the bullet struck the forehead of the vampire that was just about to sink its teeth into Sammy's neck. Continuing with his assault, John systematically shot the vampires. He was only vaguely aware of the gun that was firing beside him as Bobby, equally skillfully, picked off the vampires on the opposite side of the youngest Winchester.
Caught unaware by the intense onslaught, the number of active vampires dwindled rapidly as victim after victim fell to a lifeless heap on the ground. But try as they might, there were simply too many vampires for John and Bobby to be able to neutralize before their foes realized what was happening. Both men continued firing so fast and so accurately that soon only two vampires remained awake. And the surviving duo couldn't have been standing in worse places.
Both of them were standing directly behind Sam. One on his left and the other on his right. And they were holding Sam securely in front of them. One vampire held him firmly around the neck with one hand while he yanked on Sam's hair with the other, forcing his head so far back that it his neck looked like it was in danger of breaking. The other vampire had one arm raised above their captive's head, a sharp knife pressed against the skin of his own forearm, ready to inflict a cut that would spill blood directly into Sam's mouth as he struggled hopelessly against the hold he was in.
And if that was allowed to happen, it would turn Sam. And that would be the only thing worse than those vampires feeding on him.
John and Bobby froze. Their guns hovered in the air at shoulder-level. Their fingers rested precariously on the triggers. But neither man moved. Not one iota. And neither one dared to fire their weapon.
That is, until John took a chance.
He pressed back on the trigger at the precise moment he pivoted the barrel of the gun upward ever so slightly. It was just enough to have the desired outcome; the bullet struck the vampire's upraised arm at the elbow, jolting it backwards violently and deflecting it out of harms way. But the knife had cut a splice through the vampire's arm as it was propelled backwards and created the same bloody wound that was needed for them to accomplish their gruesome task.
But like part of a highly trained team, Bobby had had an innate knowledge of what was going on in John's mind. And as soon as he sensed John's movements beside him, Bobby adjusted his aim and fired a bullet into the neck of the vampire that was holding Sam. The shot felled the vampire instantly and freed Sam in the process. Sam stumbled forward and the sole remaining vampire leapt on him from behind and forced him facedown onto the ground. The vampire quickly straddled his body and spun him around so that Sam was now facing him. He grappled with Sam's mouth, desperately trying to force his lips apart in order to slip in some of his own bloods.
And once again neither John nor Bobby fired.
They were both out of ammunition.
John tossed his gun aside and charged the vampire, landing on him with the full force of his weight and knocking him off his youngest son. But he was no match for the supernatural creature and he was quickly overpowered. The vampire sat heavily on John's chest and pinned his arms to the ground. His mouth opened, revealing his deadly fangs and he lowered his upper body, intent on feeding on John's blood.
Just then another shot rang out. Blood splayed all over John's face and upper torso just before the vampire collapsed on top of him.
When John tackled the vampire he had given Bobby enough time to reload his weapon and shoot the vampire without being noticed. And now they had neutralized all of the vampires. At least for the moment. But it wouldn't last much longer; the effects of the dead man's blood would begin to wear off soon. And when they woke up the vampires would be even more pissed off.
They certainly weren't going to stick around for that.
John pushed the vampire off him and scrambled to his feet. He dashed over to where Dean lay motionless on the ground. After quickly checking his pulse, John lifted him into his arms and stood up just as Bobby and Sam reached him. Together the three men walked briskly through the darkened woods, heading back towards the highway. John had only gone a couple of hundred feet before he began to struggle under carrying the full weight of Dean's body but he couldn't afford to slow down. Nor did he want to risk injuring Dean further by trying to adjust him in his arms. So instead he pushed on, ignoring the pain in his body as he concentrated on taking one step at a time.
But he couldn't help feeling relieved as the dense vegetation began to thin out, indicating that they were approaching the edge of the woods. And if he had retraced his steps as well as he remembered, his truck should be parked on the shoulder of the highway just up ahead. John quickened his pace, wanting only to get to his truck before he dropped Dean. John was taken slightly aback when he saw Bobby's truck parked right behind his own even though he should have surmised it would be there. But he hadn't really thought about it until now. Bobby had undoubtedly been following them. Probably had been for days; otherwise he never would have been able to find them in those woods. And he'd known enough to bring the proper ammunition with him.
As John reached the truck, Sam moved in ahead of him to open the passenger door. Straining under Dean's weight, John simply grunted his thanks to his youngest son as he slid Dean gently onto the seat. After he had positioned Dean safe;y in the truck, he took a deep breath and turned to look at Sam.
"You okay," he asked.
"Yeah, I'm alright," replied Sam, still a little out of breath as he climbed into the truck.
Coming up beside them, Bobby piped up, "John, those vampires have been watching you for days now. They know where you're stayin' and they're gonna head right to your motel as soon as they wake up. It'd be safer if we all go back to my motel instead."
John nodded in acknowledgement and then climbed into the driver's seat. He waited until Bobby pulled his truck onto the highway before driving out behind him. He looked over at Dean lying immobile on the seat beside him. His oldest son's skin was extremely pale and he was just barely breathing. John prayed that the motel wasn't too far away.
Otherwise Dean might not make it.
John pulled the last suture tight, seemingly oblivious to the blood that completely covered his fingers. The hole in Dean's chest had been a bugger to close and he was thankful that Dean had remained unconscious during the entire procedure; otherwise the pain would have been unbearable. The skin around the wound had had to be carefully stretched and pulled in order to close the wound and there had been numerous times where it had been in danger of tearing. Bobby had had to continually massage the fragile tissue to provide more elasticity to the seared skin.
But it was done now. And John sat on the bed beside his oldest child. Maybe he was imaging it but Dean already looked a little better. The color was beginning to return to his skin and his breathing was longer and deeper. John gently placed his hand overtop of his son's chest; he was still afraid that his heart might stop beating. But he could feel a faint thumping under his palm. Dean's beleaguered heart was beating rhythmically and seemed to be slowly getting stronger.
And that was a good thing.
Because they couldn't afford to stay here much longer.
By now the vampires would have discovered that they weren't at their motel. And they would have begun looking for them. There weren't that many motels in the area; it wouldn't be long before they came upon this one. Then there'd be no escape. It would be best if they left before the vampires arrived.
Except, Dean wouldn't be ready to travel for days. Moving him would probably put his life in jeopardy. And he'd been in enough danger a few hours ago; John certainly wasn't going to try his luck again. It had never been that good.
He turned to Bobby and asked the question he'd tried once before that evening. "How'd you manage to find us?"
"You and I were supposed to meet in Jefferson. Remember?"
John had forgotten all about that. Bobby had phoned him and told him that the boys were headed to Jefferson to confront the demon. The two of them were supposed to meet up and intercept them. Only it hadn't happened that way. John had come upon the accident scene and forgotten all about Bobby and their intended meeting.
"You came upon the accident too," asked John, more of a statement of fact than a question.
"Yeah," admitted Bobby. "I got there just as in time to see both your truck and the ambulance leavin'. Luckily I was drivin' my tow-truck that night. I just drove right up to the car and told the cops I was there to tow it. Took it back to my yard and then went back to Jefferson. Been shadowing you ever since."
"What about the Colt. Where'd you get it?"
"Found it in the trunk of the Impala."
"Are there any bullets left?"
"Nope. Used the last one tonight when I killed that female vampire."
"Damn," John cursed quietly. "We really coulda used that gun to kill a few more of those suckers."
Bobby looked at his old friend for a minute before he ventured hesitantly, "Yer not plannin' on havin' a showdown with them, are you?"
John glanced over at Dean before answering, "Dean's in no shape to travel and, after what we did to them tonight, they're never gonna stop hunting us."
Bobby took a deep breath. Then he looked over at Sam. But Sam's expression was impassive; his thoughts unreadable. Bobby knew he couldn't count on his help to dissuade his father from this foolishness.
So Bobby looked back at John and reluctantly asked, "Okay, so what's yer plan?"
They waited in the darkness. Silent and still. Waited for the vampires to come to them. They had left the motel twenty miles behind. It was a gamble leaving Dean unconscious and alone in the room but they didn't have much choice. The distance alone should be enough to keep him safe because it would never occur to the vampires that they would abandon him. That was the main reason they had decided to mount their attack here.
They had scoped out this motel. And it was perfect. Because it had seven crude cottages scattered on the half-cleared property behind it. It was the ideal location. One the vampires wouldn't question. It made sense that they would be holed up here; it was off the main highway and the cabins weren't visible from the road. The road sign had fallen into a state of disrepair and the lettering announcing the cottages existence had long since faded and peeled away, making it was impossible to make out what it had originally read.
Under normal circumstance it was the perfect place for hunters like them to stay. The vampires wouldn't be suspicious. And to add to its credibility, John, Bobby and Sam had inundated the entire area with their scents, taking extra care around the door of every cabin. It was similar to animals marking their territory except this was intended to cause uncertainty. The vampires would be confused about which cabin they were staying in and in order to search all of them simultaneously, they would separate into smaller, more manageable groups.
First they would go up to the front doors. But every door was padlocked and the shades on the front windows drawn tight. But the three humans had turned lights on in the back room of every cottage and left the shades and back window open slightly. The vampires would peer into the cottages looking for any sign of them and that's when they would attack.
With thirteen vampires and seven cottages, the odds had pretty much been evened out. And Bobby and the Winchesters would have the element of surprise.
That, and really big, sharp swords. Along with the skill to wield them. If they played their cards right, each attack would be swift and silent, leaving them the opportunity to confront their next set of victims unnoticed.
The cottages were situated in an almost perfect "V-shape". There were three cottages on each side with the final one at the back. The men had thought out their best strategy and taken up positions behind the cottages where they would have the biggest advantage. Sam was hidden in the bushes behind the second cottage on the east side of the field. John was hiding behind the cottage right next to him. Bobby, on the other hand, was somewhere behind the first cottage on the opposite side of the field.
Each man would attack the vampires as they arrived at their respective cabin. Once those vampires had been eliminated, Sam would move back toward the motel and attack the vampires at the first cottage. John would turn the other way and kill the vampires at the fourth and furthest cottage from the motel while Bobby headed to the second cottage on his side of the motel. Once they had eliminated all those vampires, John and Bobby would meet at the third cottage on the west side and take on their remaining foes. For his part, Sam would run back to the parking lot and execute any vampire that might have remained on alert at the front of the motel.
John shifted on his haunches to ensure that he didn't cramp up. He needed to remain limber so that he could move swiftly when the time came. He scanned the woods to his left looking for Sam and could just barely make out his son's muscular form in the dense vegetation. Sam was focused on the cottage ahead of him, listening and waiting for any sign that the vampires were approaching.
They didn't have to wait long. Within moments the rumbling of a couple of vehicles could be heard coming down the road toward them. The familiar drone of the engines continued, growing steadily louder as the vehicles got closer. When they reached the motel, the cars slowed down briefly before turning into the parking lot.
John, Bobby and Sam readied themselves; they altered their stances one final time and readjusted the weapons they held in their hands. And then they waited while a succession of car doors opened and closed, followed by the muffled sound of footsteps that announced the arrival of the vampires on the grounds behind the hotel. The short silence that ensued was broken by the din of hushed voices as the vampires discussed their plan of attack.
By now the three men could see their adversaries. And they had been right; there were thirteen of them. And as expected the vampires broke off into groups of two with the remaining vampire returning to the front of the motel to act as a lookout. Everything was falling neatly into place.
John, Bobby and Sam waited patiently until the timing was just right. Then with lightning speed, they emerged from their hiding places and attacked, approaching the unsuspecting vampires from behind and, with swords crisscrossing rapidly, the sharp blades tore though the neck of their hapless victims, beheading them instantly. Before their partners could react, the second vampire in each group was beheaded in the exact same fashion. Then the men moved silently on to the next cottage and the next set of victims. And the darkness of the night concealed the bloody carnage that ensued as each pairof vampires was discretely deposed of.
John sliced through the neck of his fifth and final vampire before turning in time to see Bobby behead its hapless partner. Both men took a deep breath and stared at each other for a brief moment. Then without uttering a word, they dashed to the front of the motel in search of Sam. But when they got there, he was standing over the headless corpse of the sentry vampire. All the vampires had been killed.
"You okay?" John asked as he approached his youngest son.
Sam nodded, slightly out of breath.
"Good," John replied. "You ready to blow this popsicle stand?"
"Yeah," answered Sam as he turned to head to the truck. "We gotta get back to the motel and check on Dean."
John walked over to Bobby and the two men shook hands.
"John, you head on back to the motel," Bobby stated. "The room's registered under the name Arnold Paole and it's been paid in full 'til the end of the month. That should give Dean time to recover."
"You not comin' back with us?"
"Nay, I gotta be getting' home. Wasn't plannin' on being away this long and I got things of my own to take care of. But you look after your boys. And keep in touch, ya hear? Call me if ya need anything."
John nodded and they headed over to their own vehicles. John slid into the driver's seat and started the engine. He laid his head on the headrest and briefly closed his eyes. He let out a slight chuckle before he opened them and put the truck into gear.
Sam looked quizzically over at his father. "What are you laughin' at?"
"Your brother. Dean's gonna be really pissed when he finds out he missed this fight."
"Ya think?" Sam responded, realizing the truth in his father's words.