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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Desert Song Chapter Seventeen

        Dean woke in a room filled with electronic equipment.  The walls were painted a light gray.  He felt a hard gurney-type table beneath him.  A breathing machine was attached to him.  The machine eased the pain of taking a deep breath.  The older Winchester didn't feel need quite as bad.

        The young hunter tried to talk but his voice was incredibly hoarse.

        “He’s awake, Doctor,” a woman’s voice commented.

        “Where’s anesthesiology?  I need him under.”

        The older Winchester’s mind was foggy but he understood the word, “under.”

        “Good, there you are.  We need to go in, stat.”

        The green eyes almost crossed as the injured man tried to focus on the mask someone behind him was placing over his face.  He made an attempt to stop the mask from reaching his face, but his hands wouldn’t move.  They were strapped down.

        A confused mumble of “What the hell?” could be heard erupting from the patient 

        “Breathe deeply, Sir.  It’s important they take care of you right now”

        “Wha…?” Dean was asleep.


Sam lay on a gurney in the emergency room, waiting for an orthopedic doctor to arrive and look at the x-rays.   His leg was throbbing and his head hurt.  The doctors had informed him he had a concussion.  They planned to keep him for a few days to monitor the injuries, but weren’t sure if he needed surgery for his leg.

He kept asking questions about Dean and was getting no answers.  Frustration was not helping him. When asked about next of kin, the nurse wanted someone besides Dean.  Sam finally gave her Garth’s number and said he was a step brother.    
The orthopedic surgeon suggesedt surgery to keep the bone strong and allow it to heal.  Sam was not happy but agreed and signed the papers.  He’d already signed Dean’s.

The younger brother asked about Dean one more time and was told he had regained consciousness before the anesthesiologist put him under.  Sam was moved to a gurney and taken to the surgical area.

“We are going to prep you, Mr. Winchester.  Blood work was done and an IV was inserted.  Soon, he was moved into an operating room and someone told him to breathe.

Desert Song Chapter Sixteen

        Sam held his brother for over an hour when an idea came to him.  Laying Dean on the sand, he covered his face lightly, keeping the hot rays from burning the man’s face more than they already had.

        Forcing himself to rise and walk, he felt a slight movement of the bone in his leg and hoped it would not break more and come through the muscle and skin.  He found the old river bed and began to look for wood that would have washed out of the canyon.  It took the man several hours to find enough wood to build a bonfire.  Opening his backpack, he removed a small can of starter fluid and some matches.    In the bottom of the pack, he spotted on bottle of water.  Grateful to the powers that be, he opened the water and drank a small amount.  Lifting Dean, he raised his brother’s head and gave him some of the water.

        “Not too much, Dean.  I found this one in the bottom of my backpack.  The taller hunter helped the smaller one sit up.  Dean squinted in the bright light and saw the wood pile.

        “What the hell is that?”

        “I remembered that the border patrol goes over this area because illegal aliens come this way to avoid being caught.  They use helicopters, Dean.  Remember the ones we saw in the town we drove through on the way to the reservation?  They’re gonna be loud enough to be heard.  I’ll set fire to this and draw their attention.  We’ll get help.”

        The older man stared at his brother, “Okay, Sammy.” 

        After the sun went down, the Shaman appeared and stood between the brothers.  Sam raised the shotgun and watched.

        “You should not be alive.  The Spirits cannot want this.  It would seem my skin walkers are not strong enough to handle you.”

        Dean almost smirked, and the old man was irritated by it.

        “How are you even alive?  I know how sick you are.”

        “Somebody likes me,” the injured man commented.

        At that point, the Shaman turned into a large eagle and attacked Sam.  The shotgun flew into the air.  The bird flew at a fast speed, talons stretched out and aimed at the younger man.

        “Sam,” Dean shouted with what voice he had left.  He managed to rise and put all of his strength into reaching the younger man.  Sam held his arm out at an angle, blocking the large bird from reaching his face and neck.  He didn’t see his brother until the man was on top of him. 

        Dean pinned the eagle between himself and his younger brother.  He grabbed the silver knife he still carried and stabbed into the eagle’s back, severing the spinal cord, and sliding the blade up into the heart.  The force of the attack cause a small explosion.  Dean was thrown back.  Sam lost consciousness.

        At the moment the blast occurred, older hunter saw animals grab the Shaman and drag him away.  The man was screaming.

        Dean heard a different noise.  The blast attracted the Border Patrol.  He crawled to the pile of wood, poured the lighter fluid over it and lit it off.  The hunter felt the high winds of chopper blades and it was all he remembered.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Snippets One Hundred Forty-Two: Repercussions Part Two

        Dean woke the next morning, alone.  He jumped out of bed, looking for his brother.  When John Winchester was drunk enough to hit, he was drunk enough to still be drunk in the morning.  The older Winchester boy did not want his little brother crossing John’s path when he wasn’t normal.

        Going through the motel suite, Dean finally found Sam eating a bowl of cereal and watching TV.  His eyes searched the area, remembering the night before and the unseen attack on their father. 

        “Morning, Sam,” the older boy whispered quietly.

        “Good morning, Dean,” Sam spoke around a mouth full of cereal and milk.

        “You see or hear anything unusual?” he older boy

        “Like what?”

        “I don’t know.  Something grabbed Dad last night.  I couldn’t see anything.”

        Sam set his bowl on the coffee table, “Really?  I missed it?”

        “It’s not funny, Sammy.  Dad wouldn’t let me look at his hand.”

        “It hurt his hand?  Why his hand?”  Sam saw the bruise forming on his brother’s cheek.  Dean had such pale skin and bruises formed easily.”

        The other boy turned his head.

        “You can’t lie this time, Dean.  He hit you?  How many times?”

        “Just once.  I had it coming, Sammy.”

        “No, Dean, you didn’t have him hitting you coming,” the younger brother tried to make his elder listen to reason. “If he kicked your ass, I could see that, but he hit you in the face.  Good parents don’t do that, Dean. Dad’s got problems.”

       “He misses Mom.  He loved her so much, Sam.  He drinks to forget the pain.  I get in the way too much.”

        “No Dean, you take care of him and he doesn’t deserve it.”

        “You and Dad are all I got, Man.”

        “That shouldn’t include getting beat up. Next time, I’m calling Bobby and the police and I’ll turn him in.”

        Castiel, sitting on a chair, smiled and hoped the hand was either badly sprained or broken. 

Desert Song: Chapter Fifteen

        By midmorning of the next day, Sam saw the opening to the canyon.  He kept talking to his brother, urging him to keep going.   Dean was faltering, barely able to stay on his feet.

        “There’s the end of the canyon,” the younger man sounded excited.

        The green eyes squinted in the sunlight and Dean Winchester took a shallow, stuttering breath as he spoke, “I didn’t think we’d make it, man”

        “We did.  The car isn’t far from there, Man.  There’s water and air conditioning in your baby.  We’re almost there.”

        “Okay, let’s go find her,” the hunter spoke in a hoarse voice.

        “I’ll drive you to the nearest hospital, Dean.”

        “No…we find that son of a bitch first,” Dean started choking and was back on his knees, coughing up more blood.

        “Hold on, Dean.  Please.  Hold on.”

        The older brother nodded and tried to rise to his feet.  Sam could hear the moans and almost whimpers as the smaller man fought to regain an ability to stand he was on the verge of losing completely.

        The taller man cried out in pain after leaning over, putting his arms under his brother’s armpits, and lifting the man to his feet. The younger brother stumbled slightly and regained his footing, keeping most of the weight on his good leg.  Dean leaned back against his brother’s chest, sobbing slightly.

        “Damn it, Sammy.  We’re in a bad mess here,” he murmured.

        “I know, Dean, but at least we’re alive.  Let’s go.”

        After an hours walk, the boys reached the spot where they left the Impala.  The car was gone.  The older man collapsed to the ground, “No!  The bastards stole my baby!   Sammy, they got my car!”

        The taller brother knelt in the sand and held the seriously injured man and closed his eyes, trying to decide what to do.  They were in the middle of the desert, the water was gone, and their car was nowhere in sight.

        “I’m thinking, Dean.   Give me some time to figure out what to do.  Close your eyes and rest a bit.  I’ll find a way.”  Dean was on his knees, his head leaning against his brother’s chest, his arms hanging loosely by his side.  Sam knew that the man was at the end of his ropes and would be no help to him at the moment.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Desert Song Chapter Fourteen

        Walking out of the canyon was taking its toll on both of the Winchesters.  The injured legs made the going slow, but the coughing fits Dean was experiencing brought him to the ground.  Sam noticed the blood and worried.

        The hours passed slowly as the heat of the sun drained the strength from both of the men.  Dean slid to ground and sat still.

        “Dean, we have to keep going,” Sam insisted.

        “I can’t, Sam,” the tired voice was barely a whisper.  “I don’t have anything left.  I can’t do it.”

        “Get up, Dean.  You’re not staying behind to face those things alone.  Get the hell up, now!”

        The older hunter looked up at his brother.  Sam could see the dark circles below the green eyes.  He knew his brother was in a bad way, but he also knew he’d die if Sam left him there.

        “You’re not dying on me, Dean.  Are you gonna let that bastard win?”

        The hunter stared into his brother’s hazel eyes. “No,” he whispered and struggled to rise.  Sam reached down and helped the best he could.

        The two men struggled in the dark, stopping for rest breaks.  Another attack occurred while the two men were walking.  Dean was knocked to the ground with another mountain lion on top of him.  Sam shot the cat and watched it fall on top of his brother.

        With Sam’s help, Dean was able to push the man off.  Sam examined his brother and found some bites on his neck.  Bandaging them, the younger brother gave the older man a drink of water and another antibiotic.

        “Let’s keep going, man,” he spoke softly.

        Dean sighed, held up a hand for help.  “I didn’t know you were into torture, Sammy.  I need to remember that next time we have to question someone.”

        Smiling, the younger man, grabbed the shotgun he’d dropped and the two men continued to help each other through the canyon.

Snippets One Hundred Forty-One: Repercussions

Dean spent the next two weeks worrying about John’s return.    The boy knew his Dad was going to be angry, and he deserved whatever the man decided for punishment.  He winced when it crossed his mind. 

        Sam was nervous and quiet.  His big brother felt guilty for being the cause of the boy’s fears.  The younger boy didn’t understand that Dean was the one who would take the punishment.  John would be angry, but Sammy would be safe.  Dean would protect him.  He always would.

        Castiel watched the older brother with concern.  Dean was not eating and sleep was difficult for the boy.  No one should be that afraid of their parent.  The angel was angry, but was not sure what he would be allowed to do.  It was his job to guard and protect the older boy.  He wanted to do his job and do it well.

        Late one evening, the sound of the Impala’s engine could be heard and both boys stared at the door.  John Winchester entered the house.  The older boy rose to his feet when he smelled the alcohol.  Their Father had been drinking heavily. 

        Dean walked towards his brother and placed a hand on his shoulder.

        “Go to bed, Sam,” the teen told the boy, softly.

        The younger boy looked up at the brother and shook his head, “No,” he responded.

        Dean looked down into his brother’s eyes.  “I said go to bed, Sammy.  I can’t take care of both of us right now.  You gotta go.  Please, Sammy.”

        There was a tremor in the older boy’s voice and the younger one recognized the fear in it.  He looked at their Dad and remembered how his brother had looked after Flagstaff.  Sam turned and walked towards their bedroom.

        Castiel stood in the corner of the room and watched.  He had made a decision.

        Dean went to his father.  “Here, Dad, let me help you.  Have you eaten?”

        “Where are the fireworks, Dean?”

        “We shot them off, Dad.  You had a hunt, so Sammy and I celebrated the Fourth of July alone.”  

        “I didn’t tell you to shoot those off.  How’d you get out of town.”

        “I hot-wired a car, Dad.  We drove out of town.”

        “Did you cause that damn fire?  It ruined a man’s entire hay crop.  You boys could’ve been in bad trouble.  I would not have been able to get you out of it.”   

        Dean looked at the blood shot eyes and could hear the whiskey talking through his Father’s drunken voice.

        “I’m sorry, Dad. I won’t disobey you again.  I promise,” the boy spoke respectfully.

        The older Winchester slapped the boy, leaving a large red welt on the left cheekbone.  Dean stepped back, regaining his balance.

        “I can’t trust you do anything right.  I’m so damn tired of cleaning up your messes, Boy!”

        “What messes?”

        John’s fist came up but never moved any further.  An unseen hand grasped the fist and squeezed.  The older man screamed and went to his knees.  Dean’s eyes opened wide as he watched his Father writhe on the floor.


        Neither Winchester saw the angel as he squeezed on the man’s fist.
Castiel finally let go and whispered into the older Winchester’s ear, “Never lay a hand on the boy again.  The next time, I will break something.”

        In his drunken state, John heard the whisper but wasn’t sure it was real.  The pain in his fist was real, and that was enough.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Snippets One Hundred Forty: July 4, 1995 Part Three

        The boys found a lovely field surrounded by trees.  They pulled the ‘borrowed’ car off the road and set up a blanket and laid out the food they had brought.   Dean got out the ball and gloves and the two young Winchesters had a fine day playing catch and eating a lot of greasy chicken.

        As the day grew late, Dean put the blanket in the car and set out the fireworks.  Both boys sat on the hood of the old vehicle and watched the starts come out.  When it grew dark, the older boy grabbed his flashlight and made sure he had a lighter. 

        The next hour was one of rare joy for John Winchester’s sons.  They shot off bottle rockets, Saturn missiles, Roman candles and many other loud and colorful fireworks.  Halfway into the second hour, a fire started in the hay field next to the land the boys were on.  Dean grabbed the blanket and ran to the fire, trying to put it out.  There had been no rain and the hay was dry.  The fire spread like wild fire.

        “Sammy, grab everything and throw in the back seat!  We gotta make sure we leave nothing behind!”  Dean ran towards his brother and searched the grounds.  Everything went into the back seat of the car. 

        When the parked the car at the old gas station, both boys ducked as fire trucks sped past them, followed by police vehicles.

        The two Winchesters hid behind the building until everything returned from their picnic ground.  They sat on old tires and talked quietly.

        “Dean, Dad’s gonna kill us.”

        “No, Sammy. Me.. maybe, but not you.  You’re okay.”

        The angel had watched everything carefully and new that his charge was in deep trouble.  John would want to know what happened.  Castiel was not happy.  He would have to find a way to protect the boy.

Desert Song Chapter Thirteen

        Sam allowed Dean to sleep several hours, against his better judgment.  They needed every second of daylight to move toward the canyon exit and the Impala, but his brother was in worse shape than his own leg.

        The older man moaned in his sleep and woke with a jump.  He cried out in pain.  The younger hunter moved closer and put the bottle of water up to the waking man’s lips.  Dean tried to sip the water, but he was so thirsty.

        “Dean,” Sam said urgently.  “We only have a few bottles left.  Let’s take it slow.” 

        Sam watched his brother as he nodded slowly, noting the sunburn had made his freckles more dominant on his face.  He hid a small smile, remembering the man as a child.  He had teased him a couple of times about the spots. 

        “Share the joke, Sammy,” the hoarse voice spoke softly.   “I could use something funny right now.”

        “I was just remembering when we were kids, and I used to tease you about your freckles.”


        “I found enough branches to make two walking sticks, Dean.  We should be able to move a little faster that way.  You ready?”

        “Yeah, man.  Let’s get out of here.”

        Sam managed to get onto both legs and winced, but his splinting and the tight use of tape helped to hold the bones together a little better.  He reached down and handed a walking stick to his brother.

        “Thanks, Sammy,” the hunter whispered and he grabbed hold of the stick and pushed into the ground, using the stick to pick himself up.  When he managed to stand on both feet, holding himself up, he groaned and cursed, “Shit!”

        The two brothers leaned on each other’s shoulders and helped support one another.  The slow trek out of the canyon was begun.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Desert Song Chapter Twelve

        By the time the sunrise began, Dean was on his last legs. He could barely keep moving.  The clawed leg would hardly hold his weight and he could  no longer get a deep breath. 

        He stumbled through the night, refusing to stop for any length of time.  When the sun had finally risen, he looked into the distance and saw the large boulder.  

        The hunter moved slowly but steadily towards the rock that held his brother.  All he could think of was rescuing Sam and finding some way to out of the canyon and finding his Baby.  The thought of air conditioning was almost better than the thought of sex at the moment. 

        An hour later, he reached the base of the rock.  Sam was asleep and had not seen him coming.

        Dean could barely talk by this time.  He lifted a rock and tossed it towards the top of the huge boulder.  Sam jumped when heard the rock hit the top and slide off.

        The younger Winchester looked down, “Dean?”

        “Hey, Sammy,” came a hoarse reply.  “You ready to get the hell out of here?”

        “Hell, yeah,” came an excited reply.  “I thought you were dead and I’d end up dying here.”

        “Toss me the shotgun and the backpack,” the older man replied, and caught both items.   “Okay, Sammy.  Slide down to me and I’ll catch you.”

        Dean managed to break the slide and both men hit the ground; Sam on top of his brother.

        “Man, Dean.  I’m so glad to see you.”  Sam looked at his brother and saw how red and blistered his face looked.  “Are you okay?”

        “Don’t really know, Sammy.  Please tell me there’s still some water in our duffel.”

        Sam opened the duffel and took a bottle of water and handed it to his brother.  Dean was so weak at this point he could barely unscrew the cap.  The younger brother realized that there had been no water for the older man since the rains.  He took the water from the man and told him to drink it slowly or he’d just get sick.  Dean began to sip it, struggling to keep from drinking it down in one breath.

        Sam began to check his brother.  He found the massive bruises on his back, side, and front of the right side of his chest.  He stared into the injured man’s eyes and saw the pain there.

        “Damn it, Dean.  What happened?”

        The younger man listened to what his brother told him.  “Shit, Dean, how are we gonna do this?”  

        “Gotta find a better way to splint your leg and make a crutch for you.  Then, we walk outta here and we kill that son of a bitch.”

        Sam knew they had no choice, so he looked around for possible wood for a better splint.  He crawled over the damp sand of the river bed and found some pieces of wood that had drifted on the waters. 

        Looking at Dean, he decided to let him rest, gritted his teeth, and reset the splint with what he had in his duffel med kit.  He looked at his brother’s leg and groaned.  The leg had red streaks going down it and was badly swollen. 

        Sam dressed the leg and found the antibiotics in the med kit and made the older hunter take one. 

        “We’re gonna let you rest for a while and then we’ll head on.”
Dean didn’t even argue.

Snippets One Hundred Thirty-Nine: July 4, 1995 Part Two

        Castiel arrived around eight in the morning of July 4, from a mission for Father.  Dean had dozed off on the couch and Sam was still sleeping.  He saw the large box of fireworks and looked for John.  The older Winchester was nowhere in sight.  
        Sam walked into the room, yawning.

        “We need to wake up Dad, Dean,” he said, excitedly.

        Dean woke suddenly and looked up at his little brother.  It was at that moment, he made a decision he knew would get him in trouble.  He got his duffel out of the bedroom and emptied it.  Sam watched as his brother packed the fireworks into the bag.


        “Dad left on a two week hunt last night.  We’re gonna celebrate Independence Day on our own, Sammy.”

        “How are we gonna get out into the country?”

        “There’s an old abandoned car at the gas station at the end of town.  We’re gonna hot-wire it.”

        “Dean, we’ll get arrested!”

        “Not if no one’s using it.  It’s been sitting there.  The owner wants to sell it.  I talked to him about it two days ago.  He’s not open today.  It’s a holiday.  The pumps are open for credit cards, Sam.  We’re gonna have our holiday.  We’ll stop and get some fried chicken.  One of the convenience stores is gonna be open.  They have a deli.  I’m not letting you down.”

        Castiel stood in shock as he listened to Dean’s idea.  He wanted to stop him but felt a nudge from Father to let him go.

        ‘Father, he never disobeys John Winchester.’

        ‘It is time, my Child.  Dean has never rebelled.’

        ‘He will be punished.’

        “But this time, he will have earned it.’

        ‘How is that good, Father?’

        “Dean will learn that everything you do has a repercussion.  He needs to learn this.  Now is a good time for him to learn.  Protect him from the law, Castiel.  It is not time for him to deal with them.’

        ‘Yes, Father,’ the angel answered in a confused voice.

        Castiel followed the boys as they walked through town and stopped to buy chicken.  Sam placed it in his backpack.  They reached the closed gas station and Dean hot-wired the old car.  Using a credit card, the teen filled the car.  They backed out of the station and headed out of town. 

        All Castiel could think of was ‘Grand Theft Auto.’ as he sat in the backseat of the car.

Desert Song Chapter Eleven

        Dean walked slowly for the next five hours.  It was still daylight, but he could no longer see the sun.  Shadows filled areas of the canyon.  He hoped there would be enough moonlight to walk by when it finally grew dark.  
        Stumbling and falling became the norm for the injured hunter. The clawed leg kept up a steady, painful throb, and the coughing halted his progress.  With a stubbornness those who knew him could attest to, the oldest Winchester forced himself to continue on.  He had no water, no food, and no medicines to help him.  All he had was the need to get to Sam and a silver knife he kept in a sheath on his leg.

        Exhaustion and pain were making it more difficult to stay on his feet.  The hunter’s tongue felt swollen from thirst.  His lips had cracked open.  Sunburn blistered his pale skin.

        Darkness began to seep into the canyon making it hard to see.  Dean found a rock tall enough to sit on and not make it difficult to stand up again.  He wiped his forehead and coughed again.

        It was at this moment that a large cat jumped him.  He could barely see it as he went down and rolled, reaching for the blade under his pants leg.

        Listening for movement and the animal’s breathing, Dean held the blade in an attack posture.  He had no intention of fighting defensively.  In his condition, it would only kill him.

        The hunter heard a rustle to his right and forced himself to move quickly out of the way as the cat leaped into the air.  He reached up with the blade in both hands as he got a glimpse of the animal.  The silver blade entered the cat’s stomach and Dean ripped it open as he tore into it.  The large animal screamed in shrill shriek and turned into a man as it hit the ground. 

        Dean Winchester sat still on the ground beside the dead skin walker. He leaned over and pulled his knife out of the stomach as the entrails poured out behind it.   Wiping the blade off on the Native American’s leather leggings, he cried out with the pain the movement had caused.  Killing the creature had cost him dearly, but he was still alive.

        He rose to his feet, breathing hard.  “How many more of you bastards are out there?” the hunter spoke in a hoarse whisper. 

        Standing still, he held the knife in the air and shouted, “I’m still alive, you son of a bitch.  Another one of your monsters is dead!”  The older Winchester slowly turned and continued towards his brother.

Snippets One Hundred Thirty-Eight: July 4, 1995 Part One

        John made a decision to spend time with his sons.  Using one of his credit cards, the hunter bought a tremendous amount of fireworks for Independence Day.  He planned to take them out to the country, have a picnic and shoot off the fireworks.

        Sam and Dean were surprised, but thought it would be a fun family time; something they never really had with their Father.  Both boys went to bed early, excited about the day ahead. 

        Dean heard the phone ring in the middle of the night.  Slipping out of the bed he shared with his brother, the older boy stood in the doorway and listened to his Dad plan a hunt for the next day.  Sighing, he walked into the room and got his Father’s weapons and began to clean them, knowing the man would not be there in the morning for them to take care of it.

        John got off the phone and looked at his oldest son.  He grunted and smiled at the boy.  Dean was the perfect soldier.  He didn’t think the boy would ever equal his younger brother, but he obeyed every order and could be trusted to what he was told.

        The oldest Winchester walked into his bedroom and packed.   He came back into the living room and looked at the teen finishing the breakdown and cleaning of his rifle.  He nodded and sat down.

        “I’m gonna be gone for a couple of weeks, Dean,” he commented.  You two stay here and keep out of trouble.  Stay away from the fireworks. We’ll find another time to use them.  Who knows.   They might actually be usable in a hunt.”

        Dean forced a smile and answered, “Yes, Sir.”

        John grabbed his weapons and duffel and headed for the door.  He turned and looked at his oldest son.”

        “Tell Sam goodbye for me.  Keep an eye on him.   I don’t want to have to punish you if anything happens.”

        Dean winced and answered again, “Yes, Sir.  Nothing will happen.  I won’t let it.”

        John grunted in reply, headed out the door to the Impala, and drove away, leaving one unhappy teenager behind him. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Desert Song Chapter Ten

        The evaporating water made the humidity in the canyon rise.  Dean was still damp from his time in the waters, and the humidity was making him sweat profusely.  The sun was almost overhead and beating down upon injured man.   The hunter wiped the sweat from his eyes, and missing a step, he fell to the ground with a loud moan. 

        “Damn it,” the older Winchester choked out as he tried to get a deep breath.  He finally managed to stumble to his feet and keep going.  In Dean’s mind was the picture of Sam on the top of the large rock, holding onto a mesquite branch, one leg in a splint, and no way down.

        The heat from the sun caused the remaining water to evaporate.  The hunter felt as if he were in a steam room.  It made breathing more difficult.   Stumbling again, Dean was unable to catch himself as he fell.  Raising his head, the injured man had a bad coughing fit, doubled up, and held his chest in agony.  The last cough brought up blood.   Dean looked at it and wondered if it was his throat or his lungs. 

        The hunter rolled onto his back to try to ease his breathing.  He saw the Shaman on the canyon’s edge.  Anger gave him the strength he needed to stand up, and he did so, defiantly.

        “You may think you’re winning, but I’m not dead!  I won’t die easily,” he shouted to the old man.  Dean had a sporadic burst of coughing.  He stood straight again and yelled, “I’ll get my brother out of here.  Then, I’m coming for you!”

        He heard the echoing laughter of the Shaman and the man disappeared. 

        “Damn,” Dean muttered, wiping blood drops from his mouth and chin. 

        He looked up at the sun and searched for a walking stick.  The waters had taken anything loose with them.  Shaking his head, the hunter resumed his slow tread towards the large boulder and Sam.