Ladona was sitting with her back to the stone wall once again. Her shirt was cold and sticky from her blood and she shivered from shock. Anna had not returned, but neither had Celeste and Ladona was glad for that at least. She didn’t know how much longer she could survive here or even how long she’d been there.
Dean … her mind called out to him again and behind her closed eyes she could hear him laugh. She could see him as she did when they were in the car and he reached his arm across the back of the seat to play with her hair. She felt his kiss and how warm his hands were on the bare skin of her back. Dean … I don’t want to leave you, but I don’t know if I can hold on much longer.
She stood in the middle of a large wheat field and it was warm with a large, bright sun overhead. A forbidding, dark forest stood to one side of the field and Ladona shivered just looking at it. The sun felt good on her shoulders and Ladona looked down to find herself wearing a dress and no shoes. Her hair fell down her back a bit and her arms, legs and hands were tan. Her grandmother’s ring – a large sapphire surrounded by diamonds on a wide, gold band - glinted on the middle finger of her left hand.
Ladona walked a few steps further into the field and away from the forest. “Dean,” she called out.
“I’m here,” he answered, his voice coming from behind her.
She turned around and saw him. He was wearing a loose white shirt and looked tan and relaxed, his green eyes twinkling in the sun, the half-smile she loved. Ladona grinned and walked toward him. “I knew you’d find me,” she told him.
“I’ll always find you,” Dean answered, reaching out to cup her cheek in his palm and rub his thumb across her bottom lip.
Celeste’s voice snapped across the cave pulling Ladona from her reverie. The younger witch groaned involuntarily. Ladona’s eyes popped open when she was lifted unceremoniously to her feet. The older witch looked tense and afraid and it set off alarm bells in Ladona’s mind.
“What do you want?” Ladona snapped back.
“My god has no need of you,” Celeste told her, looking back quickly over her shoulder. “He’s left you to me.”
“I don’t think so.” Ladona struggled to hold on to the warmth from the image of her and Dean in the field and that’s when she knew. Dean and John were here. Dean was close. She knew it and it gave her strength. “You look scared, Celeste.”
The woman snorted and raised her hand, but Ladona had what she needed. As soon as the spell was released, Ladona stuck out her good hand and caught the spell in her palm. The energy dissolved quickly, but it was enough to give Ladona the extra push she needed. She bent and picked up a jagged piece of shale from the floor and flung it across the room like a Frisbee with all her might.
The rock whistled through the air and sliced across Celeste’s throat, cutting her deeply and spraying her blood across the walls of the cave. The old witch sank to the floor, an expression of incredulity frozen on her beautiful, scarred face.
Ladona felt the magic that bound her lift with Celeste’s death, but she didn’t have the energy to use her power. Instead, she put her arm out to steady herself and tried to walk towards where she knew the opening to her cell was. Ladona hit the floor and lay on her side before she’d even taken a step, gulping air and trying to make the room stop spinning and the bright lights behind her lids stop twinkling.
She put her forehead against the cool stone of the floor and felt her arm begin throbbing, which meant she was bleeding again. “Dean,” she whispered.
“I’m here,” he said, cradling her head on his arm, his eyes searching her pale face. “I’m here, Ladona. Open your eyes.”
Oh, dear Goddess, he thought. How much blood had she lost? The light in the room was dim, but he could see the slick wetness – a lot of it - pooled a few feet away and her arm was bleeding profusely – and was that her bone? - it was worse than he thought he could stomach. Could he move her? He had to get her out of here, but how, without her losing more blood or injuring her further?
Ladona forced herself to open her eyes and blinked to clear her vision. She sobbed with relief when Dean’s face swam into focus. “I’m here, baby,” he soothed. “Sshhhh … I’m here.”
Dean lifted her in his arms, understanding that John had gone to take care of the god or whatever it was and that his father had lied to him deliberately. Dean didn’t care, though, since he would have done the same thing. Cautiously, Dean went back out into the hall, but it was silent and he was confident he and John had taken care of everyone who lived there. Well, except for the dead witch where they’d been holding Ladona, he corrected himself, proud that even weak and nearly unconscious, Ladona had been able to hold her own.
Anna. He hoped John was able to get to Anna in time. If Ladona had been in the one room, that meant Anna was with that thing and who knew how much blood it had taken from her. Dean firmly pushed aside what it could mean for his dad if Anna were to die and continued on his way out of the caves and into the coolness of the night. He’d cross that bridge when and if necessary. Right now, he only wanted to get Ladona to safety and then to a hospital. He moved quickly, trying to ignore the fact that his shirt was soaked and getting wetter by the second with Ladona’s blood.
John ignores the faint popping sound as he steps through the silencing spell which served the unintended purpose of keeping the demigod from knowing of the attack. But his mind isn’t working on any kind of rational level at the moment. All he sees is a naked man on top of his wife, his mouth fastened against her throat. Low animal growls and grunts fill the chamber.
John takes two large steps and hooks his boot into the creature’s ribs, dislodging him from Anna’s throat and sending him flying. He notes how still and pale she is before stepping over her to finish the job he started 20 years ago. Before the creature has time to do more than kneel and turn John has his machete drawn. He swings it in a smooth arc and watches with satisfaction as recognition dawns in the creature’s eyes mere seconds before its headless body slumps to the floor. The end, he thinks savagely.
But there’s no feeling of victory as he kneels beside Anna. Her skin is milky white, providing a stark contrast to the ragged red bites on her arm and neck. He quickly strips down to his t-shirt and uses his outer shirt to bandage the wound on her arm. But he has no way to stop the blood flowing from her throat. Terror grips him as he scoops her into his arms and staggers to his feet.All he can think of is getting her to a hospital as he moves quickly through the caves and out into the night where Dean waits with an unconscious Ladona in his arms. Without a word they begin their descent. It’s a long way down the mountain and Anna’s warm blood is already soaking his t-shirt.