His breath was coming hard and fast.
The frozen wind was stinging against his face. Burning in his lungs, igniting flames inside his chest.
You can do this Dean.
Dean could hear them chasing behind him. They were getting closer. But it didn’t matter. If he got caught trying to escape…. He was dead anyway. Might as well die from running too hard for too long. It would be less painful.
You can do this…
His head was throbbing, and blood was dripping slowly from his temple. His bruised ribs weren’t helping with the breathing problem, neither were any of his other injuries for that matter…
Dean pushed the pain away, like he had been forced to learn oh so many years ago and pushed his legs to go faster.
He had been in Lucifer’s territory for ten years now, tortured, enslaved, starved, abused, even drafted… the list went on. Now the promise of freedom was so close, he could almost taste it.
You can do this!
The deep mud was making his footing difficult and the dead, broken tree limbs kept tripping him. Before the Great War began, this had probably been a forest of some kind. Now it was nothing but wasteland and death… pretty much like the rest of the earth.
Keep Runn- “AHHH!”
Dean felt a searing pain slice through his shoulder, his pace faltering making his feet betray him and throw him to the ground in a heap.
“He’s down! Terminate him!”
Dean felt the blood flowing from his shoulder were the demon had thrown its knife into him. The throbbing in his head was now a roaring pounding, his vision going hazy, threatening unconsciousness.
Dean heard the three demons approaching him rapidly, their footsteps crashing towards him.
I won’t die like this.
Dean was a fighter. He had decided the moment he began his escape that he would either succeed or die trying. There was no other option. And he had come too far to die now. Days on the run. He was so close.
Dean took a deep breath and pulled himself up to a standing defensive position, pulling the demon’s knife out of his shoulder to use against its previous owner.
Here goes nothing… or everything…
The three demons came at him all at once. He began slashing quickly, the knife flashing dangerously in the moonlight. The first demon got hit in the chest, while Dean ducked the second’s punch. He dodged the third’s kick, quickly grabbing its foot and breaking the leg backwards.
Their eyes flicked black as Dean began the exorcism, his only chance of survival. Their attacks quickened with fury at his treasonous speech. But Dean was too good for that. He sped up his attacks in response, his words continuing on.
One landed a hit against his temple and he went down with a scream of pain and frustration.
The mud was mixing with the blood, but the deadly gleam in Dean’s eyes pierced through, and the demons realized in that instant…. They were too late.
The demons fell to their knees screaming in agony as black smoke poured out of their bodies. After mere seconds, the demons were gone, and their meat suits dropped lifelessly to the ground.
Did I just…
Dean’s eyes were huge, a slow smile growing on his face. His triumph filtering into his foggy mind.
The overwhelming emotion of victory flowed down on him. His slightly hysterical laughing filling the dead wood.
Tears of joy and relief glistened against a vibrant green.
“I’m still alive…..” He whispered hoarsely in relief.
After a moment to collect himself from his survival, Dean painfully came to a standing, leaning slightly against the tree. His shoulder was not as bad as he had thought, thankfully, it had already stopped bleeding. His temple was sporting a dark bruise, but he’d live.
Dean gave himself one more moment of reveling before pushing off of the tree and began trudging towards his now almost-assured freedom.
Just beyond this wood was a Midway. One of the few unclaimed areas, possessed by neither Lucifer or Michael, where freedom fighters usually resided in large communities of huts and impoverished, decrepit buildings.
There he would find freedom. Safety. Well, more than normal.
It took hours of limping tiredly through the dead wood, before Dean finally caught sight of the huts. He was exhausted, in pain, and just downright filthy, but he didn’t care. He had made it. Days of being on the run, fighting group after group of demons sent to hunt him down. And he had made it.
As he neared the ram-shackled cluster of buildings, a group of freedom fighters ran out to him. Repurposed water-guns filled with holy water, aimed at him.
“STAY WHERE YOU ARE!”
Dean raised his hands defensively, taking a more relaxed and casual stance.
“Easy there, fellas.”
The water splashed unto his face and he spat in response. “Really dudes?” He muttered, wiping away the holy water that was dripping from his now soaked hair, merely smearing the mud already there.
With that, the men turned around and gestured him to follow them into the town.
One of the young men, a dirty blonde with grey eyes, smirked at him over his shoulder. “Sorry man. That really is my favorite part though.” He laughed, grinning at Dean, who was trying his best to not look like a wet dog.
“Your compassion overwhelms me.” Dean sneered sarcastically. His sopping footsteps following the young man.
“My name’s Caleb.” The blonde offered, shaking Dean’s hand while they continued walking.
“Dean. Cool. So, what are you doing out here anyways?”
Dean sighed, running a hand through his blood and mud-spiked hair. “Just got away from Lucifer’s Legion.”
Caleb stopped abruptly, staring at Dean in shock.
Dean turned to him and shrugged his shoulders…. well, one of them. “I just escaped from being imprisoned by Lucifer.”
Caleb’s eyes were wide like saucers. “Oh dude….we are…. SO GOING TO CELEBRATE!!” The young man let out a whoop, his eyes dancing. “I’m paying for rounds. Renegade, you are amazing. Only a handle of people have EVER been able to get away from them. THIS IS SO COOL!”
Dean let out a small laugh, feeling a slight swell of pride. “Yeah, well, as much as I’d love some sweet booze right now, I’m kinda walking wounded here. How about a pit stop with the doc first, yeah?”
“Whatever you say Renegade. Let’s head over to the medics.” Caleb grinned. “THEN, I’m buying rounds.”
He led Dean to a large, crumbling building that looked like it used to be a warehouse or something before the war. Just one big open room full of people. He could see a couple medic signs in the right front corner with a couple cots and curtains that came into view as Dean was led closer.
But just as Dean reached them, he suddenly got the feeling that he was being watched. Subtly glancing to his left, he was met with a hard gaze of dark brown eyes.