Warnings/Spoilers/Tags: 13 x 21, autonomy issues, caretaking of a darker kind, non-con, flashbacks, treks, angst, Americana, walkin' with the devil, borderlands across the 'verses
Summary: Sam's long walk.
title from James Dickey, The Heaven of Animals
Your soul's in your throat, ripped from, when you choke awake, when you walk, when you curse, when you beg, when there's nothing but this track from one wild to another. Walk, Lucifer says, hisses when he raises, when he gentles, marks you with his ore in the dark, when he guides you through pines and sings you the end times, sings you the made-for-each-other in the barks, with your blood burnt on the breath of the damned.
This dark is different. This death is different. These woods are alive with grace.
This trail was an exile: blood and Boones, rivers of blood, Wyandot and Shawnee, frontier ghouls, grace you tracked to an oak, in a Union in another world.
You fall back, die again, go to your knees with your throat torn out. Scream for Dean.
Hush, Lucifer says, lover-tender, flicks from the track some knee-length teeth.
Another tunnel: all those years ago, Blackwater, when you stood in the deep with your arms out. A long time before you went to hell, courted a reaper, crossed Ken-tuck-ee with a seraph, the terrible angel of
--light, Lucifer says, I gave you life, Samuel, my second son.
You are new-born.
The earth reeks of fire and lignites, shale-shocked dreams.
He didn't erase the memories--their hunger, their meatstock-breath, the mineshaft dark of a new death.
You were blind.
I can take the edge off, Lucifer says, give you something for the birth pains.
You tell him no and he gives it anyway, hits you quick in a vein and you stand up, rain-right for a time, lift your face to the wingless sky.
The track is unmarked, then grass, old highway, fences and grass, rises rolling with graves. In places ash, signage fallen and rusted black, painted "W" still bright on a side--
you laugh at that.
Lucifer has a mark, same as yours, faint throat-cut you catch with your new eyes, phosphor a-drip in that underground, cold cruising the trunks like your own glow.
Sammy, Lucifer says, cackles, my birthday present, my package--and you walk faster, and you sing to yourself in the whispers and scratches, starvelings held off by the father of lies.
Someday soon, goin' with him, someday soon.
Old familiar, old dog.
Lucifer talks shit and you shake in your new limbs.
Shut up, you tell him, shut up all the way back to the --
he cuts you off, hits you again with something sweet, something to ease the parts that grace left torn.
You see snow. Moss and the promise of north. You and Bobby and Dean in the woods, with Bambi.
You shake, just a little, puke in a patch of ash.
Lucifer takes your hand, tells you to leave no trace, laughs.
I've walked inside you Sammy, I could again.
The whole of you, backcountry Sam, foothill and holler, all of you, all of you; he dropped breadcumbs along your spine and licked them up again, found his way home.
You don't know your blisters, your thirst.
You sing to yourself,
someday soon, goin' with him, someday soon.
The sky still has a moon. Angels can't see you here. There are no crows. There is no god.
But your soul still sets in your ribs, and you pray to your own self.
It doesn't matter, we'll find a way, trick him one more time, we're gonna send him back to the --
I can hear you, Lucifer says, just so you know, I might even answer your sad little--
No answer. No monster. No angels when you cross into Ohio, river a sad sink of sulfur dioxide, bridge you brave on your wind–stiffened knees.
Licking River, you think, but that was awhile back, and Lucifer laughs--
is that your trail-name, Sam, is that what you want me to--
forked tongue, you know.
You tell the devil to go to hell.
Mom? It's in your head.
Dean? A sigh in the trees.
Jack's face when he was born, his imprint-eyes.
Carmen and the devil ,Carmen and the devil ...
walkin' side by side.
You could sleep standing.
You could die sleeping.
Ah, Lucifer says, catches you on the way down--
don't let the sigils burn your pretty eyes.
Your boots are heavier here, your jeans stiff
with the bloody ends you've come to.
Lucifer knots a bow of stolen grace around your thigh.
Your brother is an Ohio hardwood.
He splits you, right there in the wild you came to find.
Your vision shakes with shame.
You see his future. You see his reaper. You see an angel palming his shoulder. Your own body with such weight. Such light.
These woods are alive, alive, alive--and you in your halo and the devil behind.
Shakey Graves, "Roll the Bones"
The Gibson Brothers, "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane"
Della Mae, "To Ohio"
The National, "Bloodbuzz Ohio"
The Band, "The Weight"
Judy Collins, "Someday Soon"