Red dripped into his eyes but he didn’t see it.
Pain pounded through his skull but he didn’t feel it.
Adrenaline charged under his skin but all he knew was calm.
Calm, because he knew that the spell careening towards his unconscious brother would never touch him.
Years of preparing for a moment like this made the actions automatic. By the time he’d recognized the threat, he was already mid-jump.
Don’t give it the chance to kill Sammy when you’re gone.
He raised his gun and fired.
The spell hit him in his chest- he flew backward-
He slammed into the wall and pain exploded through him. The instant his head collided his vision went dark. He slid down -unable to hold himself upright- crumpling onto the gritty floor. The pain was everywhere now. Violent and impossible to ignore. It tore through his skull. Throbbed in his chest. Seared his skin.
The pain was too strong- he could feel it pulling him away. Being awake was agony. He just wanted to close his eyes and drift away until everything stopped-
Something was wrong.
A tiny sliver of a thought protested again the dark.
He couldn’t die yet…
He needed to see- he couldn’t let himself die if the witch could still kill Sammy-
He rallied every ounce of his fleeting strength and forced his eyes open.
Somehow- maybe through sheer desperation alone- he shoved the blackness away. Shadows blurred and he strained against them- he needed to see!-
As though obeying his command, his vision cleared-just for an instant.
The witch lay sprawled on the floor- her eyes charred, her face frozen in surprise.
Dead, he realized as the darkness crowded in on him. He let it come.
Sammy was safe.
He felt himself slipping away and he let himself go. Anything to escape the pain…
Stay safe, Sammy. I’ll see you soon.
He wouldn’t though.
It would be a lifetime before he would see Sammy again.
Maybe if he’d known that he would have fought harder to stay.
But he didn’t know.
And he let the darkness take him.