Images of his own face scarred and burnt beyond recognition. Feelings of searing pain surging through his body as if his flesh was being ripped apart. Screams of Dean, calling out to him. They all came flooding back to him.
However, this time he willed it; wanted it. Because at that moment, he wanted to know. Because at that moment he suspected they were not mere nightmares but memories of things that have actually happened.
He opened his eyes.
His wrists hurt from the plasticuffs that cut into his flesh. Anna had taken great joy in tightening them as hard as she could.
Sam looked around him. But she was not there. Nor the blue-eyed hostess. Instead, he was alone in the storage shed-like room with Alice. His eyes turned searching for her. Sam found Alice near the window, the only source of light into the room. Standing as she did before while the other two were there.
In the light of the sun, and in that white dress, she looked every bit like a divine maiden in a fantasy island of pleasure. At the sight of her, he almost forgot that it was Alice who had subdued him and brought him here.
Sam wanted to hate her but couldn’t:
‘Maybe she saved my life.’
‘Who knows what Anna would have done if she hadn’t intervened.’
However, his pressing concern was ‘why was all this happening’.
Once again, it seemed she must have heard his thoughts because she turned towards him. With her standing in the light he couldn’t see her face clearly. But there was no mistaking the lack of joy or cheer there. But then again, all that could have been fake; just her trying to seduce him like a siren.
They stared at each other silently for a while until Sam couldn’t take it anymore:
“Who are you?”
“Where am I?” he asked but again she didn’t respond. She just turned away back towards the window as if considering escaping through it.
“Why are you doing all this?”
“Why did you help me find the demon? Were you hoping it would kill me?”
“I was hoping that he would kick some sense into you” Alice finally said. “I was hoping that when you realize the truth you would understand and be more compliant” she continued. But she never once looked at him.
“Why are you doing this Sam? Why are you behaving like this?” she asked looking at him. There was sadness in her eyes that he almost believed was honest. “What did we do wrong?”
“Am I real?”
“Yes, you are Samuel Winchester, son of John Eric Winchester and Mary Winchester. Everyone we brought back is real. We can’t create human beings out of nothing. We are not Gods” she said sounding mad.
“Did you bring us back for Dean?”
“Is that so bad?” she asked, but she hesitated before she answered him. “Is it so wrong to learn that your brother loves you so much that he would, of all things, even more than Lisa and Ben, want you? That the one thing your brother cares about is to see you safe and happy?”
Sam didn’t answer.
“‘Why’? Why did Dean want you?”
“Why did you want Dean ?” again Alice didn’t answer.
“How did I die?”
“I think you know!”
“If it is any consolation you managed to kill Jesse and save the world before you died.”
“For the same reason you do anything, Sam. The same reason you two ever act. To protect each other. Jesse would have killed Dean if you had not killed him.”
“Why would Jesse…”
“It was his destiny”
“No, we changed that”
“No, you just delayed it.”
“So now what?”
“That depends on you, Sam. All we ever wanted was for you to have a good life after everything you two went through. We gave you everyone you loved, everyone you cared for. We gave you the life you lost or would have if Azazel never comes into your life. And all we ever asked was that you live it in peace. But you just seemed incapable of doing just that.”
She then suddenly laughed and then turned away from Sam again:
“We actually expected trouble from Dean, but he was actually easier to deal with.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Does that even matter?” she asked turning back towards him. “Billions of people out there who pray for a second chance like this and here you are questioning it,” she said and shook her head. But Sam could tell it was anger that drove her.
“Where is this place?”
“It is not heaven if that is what you’re worried about.”
“It is a safe haven. Sort of like a witness protection. A place where people can be safe from the real world. But I have already told you all this.”
“They helped in defeating some really bad people. They deserve their happily-ever-after. Do not be so judgmental Sam. Everybody deserves a second chance.”
“What if I don’t want my happily-ever-after?”
“What about Dean?”
“You even stopped to think what all this is doing to Dean?” Sam wanted her to stop but she wouldn’t. “Did you in all the times you were running around in a mad dash to find the truth, just stop to think about how your actions were affecting him? Do you ever, Sam?”
“Tell me, Sam, when you did find your truth. When you found your way out of this ‘hell-hole’ what then?” she continued. “What happens to Dean?”
“Is your quest worth denying him the happiness he has found here? Is it worth getting him to go back to that world? Back to the pain and misery that was his entire existence?”
“Do you hate it here so much that you want to take away the happiness he had finally found, so you can be content?”
“After everything, he has done for you, sacrificed for you, Sam, will you ask him to sacrifice this too?”
Sam wanted to shout. He wanted her to stop but she wouldn’t.
The truth was she was right. All this time, he was so hell-bent on his quest he forgot all about Dean. What was he feeling, what he was going through?
He had been blind to everything except that what he wanted; thought he needed. The annoying thing is that he had found what he was looking for and yet it had not given him the relief he wanted. In fact, he was feeling worse.
Sam felt a lump in his throat and his heart felt heavy.
“So what next?” he asked; the words coming out with great difficulty. But Alice didn’t say anything. She just turned her gaze away from him.
“We could have left you dead Sam. Left you in Hell and just wiped Dean’s memories of you. But I thought that would not be right, that it would be safer, better if we gave him what he wanted. I felt you would be the one to keep Dean in line” she said and laughed half-heartedly.
“They are having quite the laugh at my expense.”
“You do not leave us much choice, Sam. Well, you do, but I am still hoping there is something worth saving in you” she said after another pause. “But we cannot afford to have you running around making trouble; having to worry about you with everything else to worry about.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“We going to wipe your memories. Like we did of your death, but more completely. You will have no recollection of anything that happened in your life. The ten years you spent on the road with Dean will disappear and instead, you will only remember marrying Jess and living the life of a lawyer as you had planned. Your mom would never have died, Azazel would never have entered your life” she explained.
Sam didn’t protest.
“I hope you do a better job with all that than you did with my death,” he said and Alice looked confused. “I still have flashes of it and images every now and then of that moment.” He continued, turning his gaze down to the floor.
When Sam looked up Alice was frozen in place and staring at him. Her mouth was almost hanging open. The sight confused Sam. But then she quickly recovered and made towards him.
Then Alice reached out towards Sam. Her delicate fingers reaching towards his forehead. He felt the sensory overload he had felt before when she was near. The anticipation of what was to come and what had happened had dulled his feelings, but it was still there.
“This will hurt, but once it is over, you will feel better,” she said and touched his forehead.
Sam braced himself for the pain. But when the screams came, it was not from him.
With a blood-curdling scream, Alice fell to the ground.
Sam found himself staring down at the limp body of Alice at his feet. He was too shocked to even realize what he was supposed to do. The moment had stunned his mind; crippling it.
All he knew was that one moment Alice was alive and well and the next she was lying; looking dead.
‘Did he somehow do it?’
‘Was his demonic powers the cause of this somehow?’
‘Or the look of confusion on Alice’s face as he told about his visions/dreams the real clue?’
However, he soon realized that he had another problem. It won’t be long before Alice’s screams would bring the other two girls into the room. It wouldn’t be wise to wait to see what happened.
He struggled against the cuffs but other than cutting into his wrists it did very little else. He didn’t think the bleeding would help get his hands out of the cuffs. They were pretty tight. Besides, he wouldn’t have been surprised if the cuffs cut off circulation.
He looked around him. Trying to see if there was anything around that could possibly help. But the room seemed otherwise deserted. The room from its walls and empty shelves looked like it had been deserted for quite some time. From the lack of any lights or anything else, it was possible to assume that until now it had never been used before.
His mind started to race. Trying to come up with a solution to his current problem.
However, before he could come up with anything he heard a sound.
Sam watched, his eyes open wide and his mind at a standstill, as the solitary door in the room started to open and light flooded in.
Anna walked into the room. Her face had an expression of worry. But when she walked in and saw Sam staring back at her, the worry turned to confusion. The confusion, however, was short-lived. Sam watched as her eyes went down to his feet and to the prone figure lying there. And immediately the confusion gave away to another feeling.
Anna screamed in horror at the sight of Alice and turned her gaze back towards Sam. Even in the lighting of the room, Sam could see the rage that was in her eyes. It burned brighter than when she attacked him at the demon’s house.
She waved her hand and Sam flew, with the chair, through the room and slammed hard against the wall on the other side.
He heard the crack of wood as the chair broke into pieces.
He was free.
Sam rose to his feet after a while dazed and bruised. He was knocked out of his sense, but only for a second. His wrists were still tied behind his back but he was free of the chair. He quickly ran his tied hands under his feet and got them in front of him. He turned towards Anna, waiting for her next attack but after her initial one, she had rushed to Alice. Anna was at that moment kneeling next to Alice, her hands over the other girl.
Sam didn’t waste time trying to see what she was doing. Though he found his mind desperate to know if Alice was alive. Instead he turned his attention back towards the room.
Now that his needs had changed. Sam was hoping that the room would give him something to help him get out.
Just like before the room was empty. But the adrenalin that was pumping through his body and the fear that was scourging through his brain seem to work well together. He saw things more clearly.
The room was not completely empty. While there were no chairs, tables, or even cleaning supplies, to show that the room was used for anything at all. There was something. At first, he didn’t see it clearly but he found that his vision got clearer as his eyes focused on the object. It was a metal rod that was lying up against a wall. It was black, which was maybe why he didn’t see it before.
He ran towards it, before Anna could decide to finish her job, and picked it up. It was heavy in his hand and felt awkward holding it the way he was forced to. He quickly accustomed himself to the weapon and managed to get a relatively firm grip before turning towards Anna.
She was now bending over Alice and searching for a pulse.
He wanted to know what she found.
However, the survival instincts inside of him kicked in and he found himself moving on autopilot.
He reached Anna just as her head rose from Alice’s chest.
Sam froze again as he saw the look in her eyes.
There was just pure malice unlike any he had seen before.
Yet again that survival instinct caught him and drove his hands, as he swung the iron bar through the air.
There was a loud crack as the bar hit Anna straight on her forehead.
He saw nothing of what happened or had any knowledge of what he did.
Sam stared at the two girls lying next to each other and he froze.
The iron bar dropped from his hands.
He turned away from Alice and turned towards Anna. He searched as fast and as carefully as he could her person. Until he felt Ruby’s knife against his fingertips. He pulled the blade out quickly and used it to cut the restraints on his hands.
He turned to Anna and at Alice, giving her one final look before getting back on his foot.
As he reached the door, he had replaced the knife under his shirt again.
He hesitated before reaching for the doorknob; opening it slowly.
He stared at the open door for a few seconds before stepping out.
The image that accosted him as he stepped out once again caught him by surprise and he found himself frozen where he stood, shocked.