Hi and welcome to the LAST chapter! I know, I said it would take a week but hey, I knew exactly what I wanted to do so I went out and did it! YAY! I hope you enjoy and I would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter or the story as a whole. This was fun to write and I hope you have found it fun to read. Thanks again to all of you who have read and those who have sent along such fantastic reviews! THANK YOU SO MUCH! :)
"Take your time Dean. I know you are nervous man but I will be here every step of the way. You won't be alone. We will get through this. Together."
Sam sounds so sure but he has no idea what he is asking of him. He is not so gung ho to rehash and relive his nightmares out loud. He doesn't know if he can. He takes one more look at Sam and sees his jaw is set in silent determination. He sighs when he realizes he is so not going to get out of it this time. He figures the sooner it starts the sooner it can finish.
He nods his head and takes a deep breath. He turns his attention from his brother's face to the putrid coloured carpet below. This will be hard enough without having to watch the emotions roll across his brother's features when he hears his secrets spill out.
He's not sure where to start. He isn't sure how a person can begin to explain something that no one should ever know. He doesn't think there are any words to describe the complete and absolute terror that only a journey down south can evoke. He figures he will just concentrate on the nightmares themselves. There is no need to delve any deeper into all the things he had witnessed and done during his time in the pit.
"Umm..." He closes his eyes, tries to focus his thoughts and ready his words. "Every time I close my eyes Sammy. Every single time I do I am dragged back down into the pit. Huh, it's weird you know. I have actually gotten used to it. Can you believe that? That's pretty screwed up man, even for me. I have accepted that it is just part of who I am now. A burden I will have to carry. It's like a black cloud you know? I can't escape from it no matter how fast I run or how drunk I get or how far past exhaustion my body is. It is always there. I have managed though right? I mean, I have learned to cope with it because what choice do I have? In my own way I have dealt with it every night since I got back. Maybe not in the most healthy ways but still, I've been dealing."
He can hear Sam breathe and wishes he would say something. When he is met with silence he decides to carry on.
"What Dean? Tell me. Please. What about this time."
He takes in another deep breath and steels his nerves in order to get through this.
"It was.. different. And I'm sure you know by now it wasn't a good kind of different. I couldn't wake up. I.. I kept telling myself it wasn't real, that it was just another damn nightmare. But he... he told me... He said... I never got out... I never..."
He can hear Alistair's voice rattle around in his brain. He can hear his laughter echo in his ears. He can feel wetness on his cheeks and his hands are clenched so tightly that he doesn't think even a crowbar could separate them. He feels hot. He feels dampness ooze out of his pores and track down his face and back. His anxiety and fear have climbed up the scale at an alarming rate and even though logic tells him he is no longer immersed in his subconscious, he can't help but start to freak out.
He feels hands on his and blinks through his tears to look down at them. He knows those hands. His gaze drifts upward and his worried brother stares back at him. Sam leans down and speaks softly in his ear. He listens and slowly gains back some semblance of control. He listens to the words and begins to feel calmness again. He can't believe how quickly he lets himself slip back into total meltdown mode. He doesn't know how he would survive this time if his brother wasn't right there to remind him of where he is. He is safe. He is with Sam.
There is no stopping it now. He needs to get it all out. Needs to have it out there in the open so he and Sam can work on a plan to fix it somehow.
"It felt.. so real Sam. I could see it. The flame. The fire. I could smell the sulfur. I could smell flesh as it burned. I could hear them Sam. The souls. They were screaming all around me. And then... you were there. I could see you but... then you disappeared in a cloud of dust. And that's when I knew..."
"That I was still there. Had always been... that what Alistair was telling me all along was true. I wasn't saved. I had been burning down in the pit the whole time. That my mind was somehow making shit up but that in the end I will still in Hell. And to prove it... he... well, that's when the fun began. Alistair. He... he..."
"What did he do Dean?"
"God Sam. I was on that damn rack again. All I could hear was that bastard laughing at me. He was giddy with how I had been broken. At how my last hope, the one thing I had clung to all along, was just an elaborate story my mind made up. He said that everything I believed had happened was all in my head. And he convinced me it was true."
He looks to his arm and swears he can see it as it was when he was tied to the rack. He can see the flesh that has been cut away hang by tendons. He can see his blood squirt out in one continuous stream of crimson. He can see the bone jut out from the crevasse the blade had created.
"Dean? Do you need a break? Dean?"
"He sliced me open Sam. My arm... I.. I could see all the way... inside...I could see...bone..."
He hears a gasp from his brother and that is all it takes for his churning stomach to make it clear that he is about to spew. He rushes to the bathroom and barely makes it to the ground before he retches and heaves and spills out whatever his stomach can offer. He leans on his forearm for a moment or two and distantly wonders where Sam went.
He slowly rises from his position and as he leans over to flush away the contents of the bowl he catches it. The water. It has a distinctive tinge of pink within it. He feels as though he has been punched in the gut as his mind starts to work into overdrive. He stands and faces the mirror to get a good look at himself.
"Dean? You okay bro?"
He suddenly thinks maybe he isn't okay. He looks at himself and can see his mouth is rimmed with dried blood. He takes in all of his features and he doesn't like what he sees. He looks. He looks dead. His skin is a sickly greenish gray, his eyes seem dim and lifeless and his hair is plastered to his head. He runs the water and splashes the cooling liquid against his burning skin. He chalks it up to his stupid nightmares and the fact that he really needs to get a real sleep. He is exhausted and pretty sure that his brotherly talk is over for the day.
He lifts his head and takes one more quick peek in the mirror. His eyes go wide in utter disbelief. He is surrounded in that mirror. By flame. And fire. And blackness. He can see the rack off in the distance and beside it stands Alistair. The demon looks over to him and he shudders at the smile he sees. It takes a moment but he notices a figure strapped to the rack. He feels sick at the sight and when the victim turns his head he needs to grip onto the sink for support. He stares at the figure. He stares at himself as he hangs there covered in blood and sweat and gore.
He whips around to look behind him and sees nothing but the white shower curtain. He turns to the mirror and the images are gone. He hears a knock on the door and nearly jumps out of his skin. Reality floods back into him as he hears Sam call out to him from the other side of the door. He wonders if this is how it is when you go insane. Maybe he really is losing his marbles. He breathes deeply and opens up the door to meet Sam's concerned gaze.
"You alright man? Don't take this the wrong way but you don't look so hot."
"Just.. um.. yeah, I'm okay. But I don't think I can do this anymore tonight."
"Listen, why don't you go sit down while I take care of some bathroom business and we'll see what happens. Okay?"
He nods but remains where he stands as Sam disappears and closes the door behind him. He knows he should give him some privacy but he feels unnerved and unsettled and can not distance himself from the one person who seems to be his only lifeline to reality at the moment. He hears the toilet flush and can't wait until Sam is finished and comes back out. He hears the door unlock but then the water starts to run. He pushes the door open and sees Sam look up at him through the mirror with his familiar question mark eyebrow and he knows he has to spill it.
"Sam. God, I think I am cracking up."
He watches his brother dry his hands and face and he feels a lump form in his throat as he waits for some kind of response. His brother doesn't turn around but continues their conversation through the mirror on the wall.
"What happened Dean, why would you think that?"
"I'm seeing things Sammy. It comes on without warning. I mean I saw. In that mirror... I saw things in that mirror. I saw myself in that mirror. I was tied to the rack. I was covered in blood... and... and..."
He hears a low and rumbling laugh emanate from his brother's frame and it instantly makes the hairs on the back of his neck shoot straight up. He is overwhelmed by a sudden case of dejavu but can't wrap his brain around what caused it.
"Um, not funny dude. What could possibly be amusing about me going nuts?"
He stares at the reflection of his brother through the glass and can't quite read the expression that his face holds. He shivers and his gut churns again as he witnesses the formation of the creepiest kind of smile emerge from his brother. He is getting an incredibly bad feeling about this.
He continues to stare, unable to move an inch from the spot he seems to be frozen in.
"What is wrong with you Sammy?"
His brother lowers his gaze to the sink and shakes his head slowly and deliberately. "Poor little Dean. He thinks he is losing his mind. How charming."
"How many times are we going to have to go through this? How many times am I going to have to tell you Dean?"
He swallows and is overcome again by a massive wave of dread.
"Tell me what? Sammy?"
He reflexively backs up towards the door but never wavers his gaze from his brother's form. He is more than a little freaked out and his heart plummets and his knees start to buckle when his brother looks up at him again from the vantage point of that damn mirror.
He stares at Sam's reflection and thinks he may have just let out a whimper. He looks at those eyes. The eyes that stare back at him from that pane of glass. He stumbles against the frame of the door as his gaze remains locked on those eyes. Those eyes. They are not Sam's.
He can't speak. He finds he suddenly can no longer move. He is gripped in a tight ball of terror. He is staring into the eyes of a damn demon. Again. The demon that wears his brother's face.
His body finally responds and he takes a step back and a mouthful of air when the demon spins on his heels and stares down at him.
"Dean... this?..." He watches the demon gesture towards the body he is currently stored in and can't help but flinch when the demon snaps its fingers. He can only look on in horror as he witnesses his dejavu moment. The image of his brother begins to melt away to leave Alistair in its wake. Not again. No.
"...isn't..." The demon snaps his fingers again and the motel room begins to disintegrate around them. He can't breathe. His nostrils fill up with the pungent odor of sulfur and blood and flesh. His eyes are thrust back into the darkness where the only trickle of light is from the glow of Hell fire. The beautiful light he had been engulfed in has been extinguished in the blink of an eye.
"...real..." He hears another snap and feels himself be flung across the room. He braces himself for the impact against the wall but his breath is taken away when he hits something else. Something hard. Something painful. The clang his body makes on impact tells him where he is.
He is on the rack.
THE END. Thank you for stopping by and take care! :)