Alan stole a glance towards his father. They hadn't spoken a word to one another since they'd hit the road. Even now, as they were working together, Alan couldn't bring himself to let go of his resentment towards the man. Nathaniel was no more than a figment of his imagination, but he felt real to him. Too real, but he was the only one who was able to help him get out of the Dark Place. He'd written him into the story. He had to trust him.

"Alan, son, when this all blows over and you get the hell out of here—" Nathaniel began. Alan vehemently shook his head. He didn't have time for his father's sentimental bullshit, not now. He was so close to escaping the Dark Place, and the last thing he wanted to cope with was any last wishes or whatever the hell he wanted.

"Stop, just stop!" exploded Alan, slamming the steering wheel in anger. "I don't know what part of my subconscious you are, but just fucking stop! You turned your back on me! On me and Mom!"

"You're angry."

"No fucking shit!" he snapped. "The only reason I'm trusting you is that you can help me escape and get back home." Alan tried putting a clamp on his temper, but he found he was sick of bottling up his bitterness towards the man. He was even beginning to regret putting him in the story, but it was too late now. Damned if he did, damned if he didn't. The man was his only chance of getting back home.

"Alan, wake up," said Nathaniel calmly. "I am indeed a part of your subconscious. You wrote yourself an ally, but your mind has been at war with itself. I am merely a manifestation of your innermost demons, not your father himself." Alan was about to respond when a man materialized in the middle of the road.

"Oh, shit!"

You are a fool to think you could escape. I was trapped here for centuries, as you shall be. A colossal tank dropped from nowhere, just barely missing them. I have been granted the freedom I have longed for. A train car fell, and Alan swerved, almost running himself off the road. It was then that he saw it. The body of Agent Nightingale, shrouded in darkness. The Dark Presence was using him as its host. You have been a very naughty boy. Nightingale vanished in the shadows, a black twister taking his place. Alan hit the gas, driving towards the storm.

"Alan, what the hell do you think you're doing?" shouted Nathaniel. "You're going to get yourself killed!" He wasn't listening. Cauldron Lake was close, and he couldn't afford to turn back now. He was taking a huge risk, but it was one he had to take. Alice, I love you. The tornado swept up their vehicle; Nathaniel was shouting various curses, but Alan barely heard him. He swung open the door, and jumped. The impact wasn't crushing, but he'd felt his wrist break upon collision with the pavement. Dammit, that smarts. The writer rose to his feet before taking off sprinting.

Time seemingly dragged on, until he finally saw the black waters of Cauldron Lake. To his shock, the cabin was already there. Had we willed it into existence without realizing it? Dammit, Alan. He had no time to question the matter. Alan burst into the cabin, rushing upstairs to the study. He was immediately blinded by a white light; Zane was here. He could hear his breathing through his oxygen tank on his diving suit, and faintly see him.

I've come to protect you from the darkness, said Zane. It knows you are trying to escape. I am here to protect you while you get out of here, but I can only fight it for so long. Alan nodded in acknowledgement. Zane had appeared to him before in the Dark Place, but never before did he need his presence as much as he did now. He had burned away the darkness' touch when he'd been manipulated into writing Departure so it could be free, only to be plunged into a more horrible nightmare. Alan had barely made another thought when he felt the cabin shake, and a flood of darkness rushed into the room. The Dark Presence and Zane's light collided in a bright flash of light, pushing and pulling at each other. It was a stunning, but terrifying, sight.

Alan saw the broken rail from where he'd seen the Dark Presence dragging Alice down into the Dark Place. That had to be his escape. Without another thought, he took a deep breath and jumped.


Sam, Dean and Alan's journey into the night will continue...

Stay tuned for the sequel No Light, No Light!