Chapter 10 (2)
The forest was not what he remembered it from last time. It was not bright and cheerful. There were no sprinkles of light falling like fairy dust. The forest he saw was more akin to what he was used to.
Weeping willows and dark menacing oaks circled around him. Twigs like skeleton hands reached out to him threatening to snare him in their iron grips. There were roots peeking out of the ground, promising to twist his ankle if he dared not worry where he went. The dark canopy high above was thicker and barely let any light through to the ground below.
Yet, on the forest floor grew smaller plants, and the grass was thick and spread across nearly the entirety of the floor. Covering in some parts, like a bald man’s head, the path he was depended on.
Sam stopped running and shifted on to a fast walk.
As hurried as he was to get to the waterfall, he didn’t want to risk a fall that would make escape harder.
He kept his eyes focused on the path ahead. Careful not to wander off even slightly. The forest grew thick and like the houses in the neighbourhood showed no marks he could have used to find his way through.
He was trying to remember how long it had taken to reach the falls the last time. But then he was too busy being awestruck by Alice to notice time passing by. His thoughts wandered to that time. But they didn’t get the chance to linger too long there before a sound interrupted his thoughts.
The forest, like before was silent. Though the silence now was eerie and not peaceful like last time. So that the sound he heard came clearly and he had no troubles recognizing it for what it was.
The bark of hounds…
Sweat poured down from his forehead and on to the wounds that the twigs and branches across his path had made. Sending surges of immense pain through his body. But they also fell into his eyes and blurred his vision.
He wanted to wipe the sweat off but his mind seemed fixed singularly on one task and was uncooperative with anything else.
As much as Sam wanted to stop, knew he would have to soon enough. The sound of the Hellhounds on his track kept him going.
Fear of tripping and falling was kept at bay by the terrifying sound of the hounds.
Sam didn’t know why he ran.
What he hoped to accomplish by trying to escape.
These were Hellhounds.
They were relentless.
They would never tire; never give up. They would hunt him to the ends of the earth.
‘Sooner or later he would have to confront them, and when he did, would he survive?’
While Ruby’s knife could kill a Hellhound, he had no doubt there would be more than one at his heels. So, even if he managed to get one, if they all attacked at once, he would still be done.
For a second Sam considered the possibility of giving up and letting the Hellhounds get to him. Be done with all the pain and misery he had endured.
Who knows, if Anna and the others were adamant about needing him to keep Dean, maybe they would pull him out of hell. Maybe even wipe his memories and leave only the happy life he had been denied.
‘Would that be so bad?’
Just when Sam was ready to give up he heard something in the distance.
He heard the call of the Elysium Falls and it felt like the song of the siren beckoning him to his own doom.
The sound of the Hellhounds felt closer and Sam found himself running again; faster than before. No longer was he concerned about watching where he was running. He had only one thing going through his mind and it wasn’t even his thought.
He once again reached the familiar opening in the forest. And the familiar roar of the falls greeted him.
He ran through without stopping or slowing down and found himself once again in the same familiar open meadow.
He stopped and stared at the falls before him. Its roar now deafening the barks of the hounds pursuing him.
He felt at peace and safe.
When he had reached the mouth of the clearing he had expected Elysium falls to take on the same gloomy and sinister tone that the forest had taken. But instead, he found it unchanged from what he had seen before.
Sam found himself gazing once more, frozen in place, just staring at the magnificence of the falls.
Then his eyes wandered away towards the stepping stones that Alice had once used to reach the island throne.
Sam didn’t know what compelled him to run towards them or what made him believe that the falls would protect him. But the memory of what Alice had told him about the falls, how she felt near them, drove him. Somewhere deep inside of him, he felt that the falls would never let anything bad happen to him or anyone else while in its purview.
Maybe it was the way it had remained as if blissfully unaware of the changes that were taking place in the rest of the city.
Sam rushed towards the stepping stones.
He hesitated only for a second before leaping on to the first stone.
He felt the soles of his shoes slip on the curved surface of the wet rock.
He felt his body tilting towards the crystal blue waters.
Somehow though he managed to keep his balance.
He heard the sound of the hounds.
Even above the falls, he could hear their bark and he knew for certain they were close by.
He looked over his shoulder, the act itself almost tipping him off, and towards the tree line. But he couldn’t see anything. Though he felt them there watching him from the edges.
Sam continued. Leaping from one stone to the other.
Memories of Alice flooded into his mind. He remembered how she had done it, how she had never hesitated nor stopped. Moving fast until she reached the other end. Sam knew that was the secret. Though he didn’t have the grace of Alice, he followed her step and discarded any concern of falling and then rushed towards the island.
His feet barely touched the throne island when he heard a voice call out to him.