MoboReader> Horror > Bound

   Chapter 24 No.24

Bound By Julie Embleton Characters: 34136

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:02


When Dean came to he was face down on the floor, sticky blood congealing in a pool under his cheek. "Nyah, " he mumbled and then regretted it the second his ragged breath sent him into a spasm of agonizing coughs. Northfell's henchmen had really worked him over. Gingerly lifting his head he carefully turned it to one side. Nick was motionless on the floor a couple of feet away from him. "Nick, " he grunted, before spitting out a glob of blood. "Nick, come on, buddy, wake up."

Readying himself for pain he slowly took his weight onto his hands and pushed himself back onto his knees. He stopped halfway when the shattered bones, although already knitting back into a solid piece again, screamed against the action. "Dammit." Rolling onto his ass instead Dean let out a groan. He hurt in places where he didn't even think nerves existed, and when he looked down at his right arm he was pretty sure it was going to have to be re-broken; the bone had set, but at a strange angle, judging by the way his arm stuck out.

He glanced over at Nick again. "Nick, wake up, " he called, scooting towards him. "Come on, buddy, open your eyes."

Nick groaned and racked out a string of coughs.

"You okay?" Dean asked, grabbing the broken chair that lay over Nick's legs.

"Shit – no, dammit. . . shit." Nick had fallen in an awkward heap against the wall and allowed Dean to pull him away so he could roll onto his back. "I think every bone I have is broken, " he groaned.

"Can you sit up?"

"In a year maybe, " he wheezed, taking Dean's hand and dragging himself up. "Shit, " he moaned again.

"Think you can walk?" Dean rasped.

"Hell no, " Nick coughed. "I can just about breathe." He groaned again and tentatively flexed his right arm out. "Sons of bitches, I'm going to enjoy kicking their asses, " he muttered.

"Think I'm going to need you to re-break my arm, " Dean announced, displaying the oddly shaped limb.

Nick snorted. "I mock your screwed-up arm. I have a dislocated shoulder."

"Ouch, " Dean winced, seeing the awkward position of Nick's left shoulder. "Okay. So who goes first?"

"Let's just try standing up, " Nick suggested.

Using the wall, the bed and the smashed up chair they both heaved themselves upright.

"You know – they left us in a twisted heap on purpose, " Nick panted. "They knew our bones would knit together all screwed-up, make it harder for us to follow."

"Only being stone-cold dead will stop me from following, " Dean answered and then held out his crooked arm. "I can't phase until this is fixed, so come on."

When Nick let out a loud yelp a few minutes later Dean rolled his eyes. "Don't be such a baby, " he joked through a dry cough. "You've had worse than this done to you in the past."

"That curly-headed mutant is going to get such a beating, " Nick growled out in reply, massaging his freshly-set shoulder.

"We're not going to hand out any beatings, Nick, " he replied. "They're Nyah's pack mates, remember? It's Northfell who did this, not them."

Nick sank onto the bed and began rubbing his knee caps. "Are you going to be able to drive?"

For the first time since he had come to, Dean glanced towards the window. "Yeah, I should be – whoa."

"What?" Nick spun round to follow his stare. "What time is it?" he asked, echoing Dean's exact thought as he saw the inky blackness outside.

"Ten-fifteen. . . we've been out cold nearly five hours. We need to get going right now."

Hobbling and wincing they left the smashed-up motel room and limped across the lot. Dean awkwardly climbed back into the driver's seat of his jeep, wincing as he stretched to pull his seat-belt across.

"Did you see the hex necklaces?" Nick asked as he strained to pull across his own seat-belt.

"Yep, " Dean replied, starting the engine. "Next time we're having our asses handed to us on a plate forget about fighting back and focus on ripping them off instead."

"Cassius said he's got every pack member wearing them, " Nick replied. "It's gonna be some job."

"The second the hex isn't touching the person they're free, " Dean reminded him. "So as soon as the necklace is off we've got to let them know who we are and what's been happening."

"Hi there, " Nick began sarcastically as they skidded out onto the road. "My name's Nick. Your Alpha's planning on spawning demon babies with your ex Alpha's daughter and you've been his butt monkey for the last month. Don't worry if you can't remember anything – it's probably better if you don't. Now – any idea where your Alpha might hang out when he wants to summon demons?"

Cloying humidity hung thickly in the air of Blackwater Ridge when Dean and Nick slid soundlessly from the jeep less than three hours later. They had parked on a narrow track set way back from the edges of the forest surrounding the territory, and as they moved along the path, the first acrid waft of Lycan urine announced their location.

'We're here, ' Dean pointed out silently. 'Stay low and quiet.'

'And alive, ' Nick added dryly.

Blackwater Ridge had a small pack, but with every creeping mile that carried Dean and Nick further into the territory it became obvious their patrols were not in place.

'He left the place unguarded?' Nick asked as they hunkered low in the last of the dwindling trees.

Dean scanned the simple settlement set out in the clearing ahead of them. There wasn't a soul to be seen. 'Maybe there's no-one left to guard it, ' he suggested, staring at the deserted and completely neglected street. Lawns were overgrown, loose trash cluttered paths and flower-beds, and when he peered further along the un-lit street he had to blink a couple of times to be sure that what he was looking at were two burned-out houses.

'Whew, ' Nick's disbelief whistled in his mind. 'What the hell has been going on here?'

'Hell being the operative word, ' Dean replied darkly.

A movement to their left urged them to duck lower and a familiar face came into view.

'That curly-headed son of a bitch is mine, ' Nick growled. 'I owe him a knee-cap crushing.'

The figure was walking a slow, mechanical lap of what Dean reckoned was the pack house. If the pack house was under watch it made sense that Northfell was in there - and Nyah. But he couldn't sense her or any other wolves. It was eerie.

'Around the back, " Dean decided, jerking his head towards the rear of the building. 'Next time he comes round we'll take him, okay?'

As soon as the patroller vanished Dean and Nick slipped from between the trees and scurried across the overgrown lawn, darting around the back of the house to take cover behind a bank of dense shrubs. They waited in silence, watching the side of the house intently until the patroller rounded the corner again, his long steps unwavering in speed as he lapped the house.

Dean moved first. Flinging one arm around his neck and clamping a hand over his mouth, he drove a knee into his back and hauled him backwards. Nick had the hex necklace ripped from his neck before he made contact with the ground.

Immediately, the glazed, robotic appearance vanished, but clearly stunned, it took a moment before Nyah's pack mate became aware of his surroundings and began to sit up. "What the -."

Dean slammed his hand over his mouth again, swiftly cutting off his voice as he gave his head a warning shake. When he got a wide-eyed nod to confirm he understood, Dean lifted his hand away. "My name is Dean Carson, " he said in a low, urgent whisper. "I'm the Alpha of the Carter Plains pack. This, " he gestured towards Nick who was hunkered beside him, "- is my Beta, Nick Fisher. We're here for Nyah Morgan. Do you know who she is? Do you know what's been going on here?"

The man nodded vigorously and turned his alarmed stare onto the house.

"What's your name?" Dean whispered.

"Blake Creedon, " he replied, his eyes darting back to Dean. "What – what the hell did he do to me?"

Nick was still holding the necklace. He held it up and grimaced. "He's been controlling you with these, " he explained. "Your Alpha's involved with some pretty screwed-up shit, you know."

Blake scrambled to his feet and Dean and Nick followed. "He's in there, " he swallowed, gesturing towards the house. "He's been making us. . ." he began, before trailing off to lean forwards with his hands on his knees. "Oh man, " he said quietly. "The things I've. . ." his guilty eyes slid upwards to land on Dean's face. "Michael's wearing one of those things, too, " he said in a low whisper. "We need to get it off him."

"Where is Michael?" Dean asked.

"In the house." Blake threw another wary glance at the pack house and straightened up again. "Simon's in there with Nyah – wait -." He paused, his pale face creasing as memories began to re-load. "Nyah's back – she, she was gone – she got away. He found her again?"

Dean nodded tightly. "Nyah's my mate. I'm taking her back. And then I'm going to rip your Alpha asunder."

"Right, " was all Blake could breathe in reply.

"Can you get Michael to come out here?" Nick asked, staring at the dark windows of the house. "Are there any more of your pack in there?"

Blake dragged his sleeve over his mouth and drew in a jagged breath. "It's just Michael in there, the others are all in their houses, but one word from Simon and they'll all be here. We have to be careful."

"Are they all as strong as you two were?" Dean asked.

Blake frowned before remembrance slackened his mouth. "Oh, man, I'm sorry. . . I, oh. . ." his horrified eyes drifted down towards Nick's legs.

"Forget about it, " Nick grunted. "Just try and get Michael out here."

Blake nodded. "Okay, " he swallowed.

Dean and Nick remained behind the cover of the bushes while Blake stepped back out and walked towards the house. He kept his movements slow and even as he opened the door and stepped inside. A moment later, he returned, another recognisable figure appearing at his back as they emerged from the dim house.

Blake pointed towards the bushes where Dean and Nick were crouching low. Michael strode towards them and Blake stepped in behind him, grabbing him quickly while Dean and Nick rushed forwards.

Michael's initial confusion was stronger than Blake's had been. He writhed on the grass as they struggled to hold him down, Blake repeatedly pleading with him to be quiet. When lucidity returned he finally stilled and then unsteadily got to his feet.

Dean explained the situation in bullet points. By the time he had done, Michael's expression was aghast, his eyes drifting out of focus as his mind abruptly replayed the forgotten weeks of Simon's control. When he turned to Blake for confirmation all Blake could do was give him a tight nod. "No, " Michael trembled, "I, I didn't, did I?"

Blake nodded again.

"But I – I couldn't have. I mean – Leanne and Eddie – I didn't, they. . ." There was a pause before Michael spun round, clutching his middle as he leaned over and vomited.

Dean and Nick shared a concerned look. What in the hell had Simon made them do? They waited in silence until Michael had spat the last of his horror away. Wiping the back of his hand over his mouth he turned to face them again. "Northfell's inside, " he stated evenly. "In what used to be the dining room. Nyah's in there with him. We need to hurry, he's already started."

"Wait, " Blake grabbed Michael's arm as he began to push by him. "We can't just march in there. Once Simon sees we're not under his control he'll get the others here – we'll be completely outnumbered."

"Maybe we should try to get the necklaces off the others first, " Nick suggested. "We could do with more numbers on our side."

"We don't have time for that, " Dean said, already moving to stand beside Michael. "And you don't know what kind of trouble that could stir. A surprise attack against Northfell would work better."

"But Northfell is – he's. . ." Blake threw an irritated hand towards the house. "That's not just some rabid werewolf in there, " he warned desperately. "This guy is way off the grid and you're not going to get within ten feet of him. Rushing in there is not the way to do this."

"Nyah is in there, " Dean reminded him in a harsh whisper. "I can't stand out here and argue battle tactics when I know she's in danger." Turning to Michael he jerked his head aggressively towards the house. "Come on."

"Wait – hold on." Michael grabbed Dean's shoulder. "Blake's right. We have to be smart about this. We should split up; Dean – you and I will go in. Blake and Nick – you two go and rip some hexes off. At least if we get into trouble we know there'll be back-up coming, right?"

Dean considered Michael's suggestion with a tetchy sigh and another anxious glance at the pack house.

"We need more numbers, " Michael pressed. "Northfell's a lunatic. And look, I had no idea Blake was any different when he brought me out here – it should be easy enough for them to get those things off."

Dean exhaled. "Okay, then. But, Nick -." He pointed a cautioning finger at him. "Be careful."

"Yes, Alpha Carson, " he winked and turned to Blake. "Ready?"

With Blake leading the way they crept off and Michael motioned at Dean to follow him towards the house. "I hope you're ready for this, " he said opening the back door. "There's some nasty shit going on in here."

Nasty shit didn't come close to describing what was happening in the pack house. Once upon a time, the building had probably been a beautiful, characterful place. Now it was swamped in darkness. The walls were daubed with strange symbols and upended pentagrams, and as Dean passed one of the markings, the rusty tang of fresh blood confirmed his suspicions about what had been used to make the inscriptions. Bloody carcasses littered the floor; chickens, rabbits, a fox and numerous ravens lay scattered about, their lifeless, glassy eyes making Dean shudder with revulsion. Deeper into the house the scent of blood grew stronger and he pressed his mouth tightly shut, darting a quick glance at Michael's pained expression when the scent of Lycan blood became too obvious to ignore. Michael came to a stop outside a set of double doors.

Here? Dean mouthed.

Michael nodded and reached out for the handle. "Nyah's unconscious, " he muttered in his ear. "He has her tied to a chair."

Dean motioned for him to open the door.

Ever so slowly Michael eased the handle down and carefully tipped the door open, but before Dean could peer over his shoulder to look inside, the door was wrenched from Michael's hand and slammed back against the wall.

"You persistent whelp!" Simon's voice hissed from the murky shadows.

The room stank. Dean gagged as the foulest stench of rot and death barrelled into him, but he swallowed it back and made to shove past Michael. The moment he crossed the threshold of the dark, sweaty room he crashed into an invisible wall.

"Sorry, " Simon's voice sneered just before he materialized from a gloomy corner. "You're not invited. This is a private party for the bride and groom."

He saw her then. She was sitting on a chair in the centre of the room, her arms hanging over the back of the chair, her wrists and feet bound with rope. "Nyah!" he yelled.

She didn't react to his cry. Her head sagged low against her chest, her long black hair hanging in a still curtain and blocking his view of her face as he shoved against the invisible barrier, desperate to help.

"Invitees only, " Simon reminded him as the door began to slowly swing shut. "Although -." The door froze and Dean found himself staggering forward as the barrier suddenly evaporated. "Perhaps you should watch."

A macabre clutter of trinkets hung around Simon's neck, amongst them a werewolf fang and an assortment of tiny bones that Dean pointedly yanked his stare away from. The hollow clinking sound they made as Simon strode towards him sent another shiver of revulsion rattling down his spine.

"Please, do come in, " Simon offered pleasantly, before making a sharp beckoning gesture with his left hand. A force suddenly catapulted Dean straight into the centre of the room where he crashed to his hands and knees only feet away from Nyah. Behind him, Michael's sudden shout of pain was cut short by the door slamming shut.

"No more interruptions, " Simon ordered, and with a feather-light stroke, brushed his fingers across Dean's back just as he was turning to attack. Dean's entire body went limp in response to the touch and he twisted sideways, crumpling back onto the floor, his head cracking painfully off the hard wooden surface as he collapsed onto his back.

Simon lifted his foot and rested the tip of his boot against Dean's cheek, pushing his head forcefully to where Nyah was slung to the chair. "Best seat in the house, " he pointed out. "Considerate of me, no?"

From his prone position Dean could see a thin strip of Nyah's face. Her eyes were shut, blood was smeared on her cheek, and as his eyes frantically rac

ed over her slumped body for signs of injuries, he realised that the jeans and sweater she had been dressed in earlier had been replaced. Rage burned through him as he took in the pale blue dress she now wore. The very thought that Northfell had been touching her made his breath rush through his gritted teeth and when his eyes landed on the thick rope binding her bruised feet, the force of his enraged breaths sent spittle flying onto his chin.

It was as he stared at the knotted rope when he saw the markings on the floor. Nyah's chair was in the centre of a pentagram. Close beside it, a short distance from his paralysed feet, his eyes widened as he saw another pentagram daubed onto the wooden floor – a body lay in a rumpled heap in its centre. It wasn't hard to see that considerable amounts of fluid had been used to draw the pentagrams, and the lingering scent of Lycan blood hanging thickly in the air around him told him what he suddenly did not want to know. Slowly, but surely, Dean was starting to grasp the horror of what Michael and Blake had been forced to do.

His growing revulsion was interrupted by Simon's booted feet walking by, the heel of one foot purposefully grinding the immobile fingers of Dean's right hand into the floor. Pain flashed through him, but the cry died in his throat, a hissing breath the only sound his useless body could make. With the angry tide of breaths continuing to tear in and out of his nose he followed Simon's movements around the room, and from his skewed viewpoint on the floor he saw two items set beside the outer ring of the pentagram opposite Nyah; an ornate knife with a curved blade and a simple metal chalice.

"Time for the guest of honour, " Simon announced, lifting a book from a table. He cleared his throat reverently before lowering his head to read.

The guttural-sounding words were meaningless to Dean as he stared around frantically. He couldn't let this happen – this was the part where Northfell summoned a demon! Begging his legs to obey his order to move he glanced down desperately at his limp limbs, the veins in his face bulging hotly as he strained to incite a tiny movement from any part of his body. Nyah's as good as dead, he yelled at his pathetic body. Move! Get up!

A suffocating stench of sulphur suddenly overrode the stink of Lycan blood and Dean's struggle against the paralysing spell came to a halt. A watery green fog had begun to swirl up from underneath the still body and from somewhere deep below something else began to rise, too, the vibrations of its approach thundering ominously beneath Dean as his head began to rattle against the floor. Despite his juddering vision he could clearly see the snaking light inside the pentagram had intensified enough to completely envelope the crumpled figure, and when the ground grew still again he watched in dread as the figure suddenly stirred and then drew itself up in an elegant, fluid motion.

"Yes?"

The voice that came from the throat of the red-haired girl was eerily distorted as she turned to face Simon. It sounded as if the single, nettled word she had uttered was comprised of two voices, her own, natural voice and that of what Dean could only guess was the demon possessing her body.

"Yannek." Simon tipped his head half-heartedly. "Welcome."

The girl lifted her nose towards Simon and pointedly sniffed at the air. "You stink of dog, " she stated flatly. When her eyes drifted from Simon's face towards Dean he would have winced if his face would have let him. The girl's eyes had rolled into the back of her head and all that stared out at him were two opaque globes of milky whiteness. The pale stare slid by him and settled on Nyah. "I hate dogs."

"Yannek, " Simon began, "I -."

"Where am I?" Yannek demanded. "Where have I been summoned to?"

Before Simon could answer, Yannek stepped to the very edge of the pentagram and squinted out into the darkness. Simon took a discreet step back.

"Topside, " it grinned. "The Kingpin's petri dish. How nice."

"Yes, " Simon replied testily. "Yannek, I -."

"I was busy down there, you know, " it cut him off again, pointing down at whatever place it had been sucked from. "Flaying isn't a job I like to rush."

Simon faltered briefly. He had moved further along the edge of the pentagram and Dean could now clearly see his face, eerily lit by the green light oozing inside the circle. "I apologise."

"Apology accepted." Yannek performed a bow and then registering the body it possessed, grinned maniacally. "Nice meat-suit." It spent a long moment suggestively running its hands over the slim curves before turning its attention back to Simon. "Enlighten me as to why I have been brought here."

"I require some of your blood, " Simon replied, indicating the knife and chalice sitting by his feet.

"Don't you all, " Yannek sighed. "And what do I get in return?"

"What do you desire?"

"What do you desire?" Yannek mimicked Simon's voice perfectly. "What do you think I want?" it asked, returning to its double-toned voice.

When Simon didn't answer Yannek leaned towards him. "I want out to play."

"Don't you all, " Simon replied, with his own mimicking sigh.

Dean's stare flicked back to Yannek's face – or whoever's face it was the demon was distorting into an enraged frown – was Simon actually trying to piss the demon off?

"Give me what I want and I will release you from this demon trap, " Simon announced.

"I'm not sure I can trust you, " Yannek sulked.

Simon spread out his hands and shrugged. "Your insecurity, " he warned. "Not mine."

Yannek rolled back the shoulders of the body it possessed before flicking back a length of the deep russet hair. "I get to keep this meat-suit, " it bargained. "And –, " a pair of cold blind eyes landed on Dean. "A puppy to have as my very own."

Simon gave a short laugh. "As you wish."

"And that one, too." Yannek jerked a thumb towards Nyah.

"No." The smile was quick to slide from Simon's face. "That one is mine."

"Aw, pwease, " Yannek pleaded in a baby voice. "It's so pwetty. And I want."

Simon ignored him and bent down to pick up the knife and chalice.

"Free me first, " Yannek ordered, dropping the tasteless baby sounds.

"No, " Simon replied flatly. "Your blood first."

Yannek folded its arms.

"Blood first, " Simon repeated. "If you refuse I'll send you back."

"And replace me with whom?" Yannek sneered. "You won't find my power in any -."

"Silicus, Malfreze, Azerkaan, " Simon began to reel off. "My eggs are not all in the one basket, Yannek."

"Maybe not, " it replied, "but you called me first."

"Because you're weaker than the others, " Simon retorted. "You're easy to rip from whatever hell dimension you skulk around in."

Yannek fell silent and Simon dropped to his hunkers, the knife and chalice still in his hands. "Step back."

The demon stilled as it considered its options. 'Don't trust him!' Dean wanted to yell out, desperate to prevent any part of what Simon was planning from happening. How could the demon be so stupid? Couldn't it tell that Simon was not going to give it anything it wanted?

Simon lifted his head and fixed an impatient stare at Yannek. "Would you prefer to return to your oh-so-important-flaying?" he asked. Reluctantly, it stepped back and Simon slid the knife and chalice over the outer lines. "I don't need a lot, " he said, standing upright again. "A few teaspoons should do."

"And then you release me, " Yannek said, the gravelly depths of its true demon voice suddenly louder than the light tone of its host.

"Yes, " Simon sighed, wearily. "I will free you of this demon trap."

"Don't cross me, dog, " Yannek warned, quickly striding to the very edge of the bloody line. "I'll mark you if you do, and any of my kin who are free on this plane will hunt you down."

Simon spread out his hands as if entirely innocent of any deceiving thoughts. "Why wouldn't I set you free? What do I care if one more of your kind is loose?"

Yannek frowned and circled a finger in Simon's direction. "What do you want my blood for?"

"None of your business, " Simon replied, but Yannek had the chalice and the knife on its side of the line and reminding Simon of the fact, bent down and lifted them off the floor. "It is my business." It traced the tip of the blade around the inner surface of the cup and the resulting squeal that grated out made Simon wince. He didn't answer Yannek however.

Dean threw another glance at Nyah. She hadn't moved once; he was finding it difficult to tell if she was even breathing. He wondered at that moment where the hell Nick, Blake and the others had got to. Someone needed to burst into the room and prevent Simon from getting Yannek's blood, or worse still, allowing him to set the thing free.

When Dean looked back towards the demon it had placed the chalice back on the floor and was threateningly resting one foot upon its rim.

". . . do you care?" Simon was replying impatiently. "Do I ask you what you intend to do out here? No – because it's none of my business."

"That's your choice, " Yannek retorted. "But I'm a precious little thing when it comes to donating blood. I have standards." The bare foot resting on the rim of the cup pushed down. Immediately the edge of the cup began to buckle.

Simon sucked in an agitated breath. "Alright, " he snapped. "I need to ingest your blood, as does she, " he revealed, jerking his head in Nyah's direction.

"Why?" Yannek asked.

"None of your -."

The cup buckled further.

"A new breed of Lycans!" Simon spat out, his hands jerking out as the cup grated against the floor.

Yannek lifted the foot away and leisurely bent over to pluck the cup back up. "You're a fool, " it sneered, "welcoming such chaos. Have you any idea how mutated those whelps will be?"

Simon barked a single, loud laugh. Then he threw back his head and flung his arms out by his side. "I welcome chaos!" he declared. "A brave, chaotic, new world!"

"And I shall be here to enjoy it, " Yannek realized. Wedging the chalice under one arm it grasped the blade in one palm, curled its fingers tightly around it and slowly and purposefully drew the blade down.

Black drops of molasses-like liquid oozed between the fingers of the clenched fist. They snaked over the pale, porcelain skin, worming their way to the edge where they gathered in a heavy drooping glob before snapping free and falling into the chalice.

The steady drip sent a fresh wave of horror through Dean. Simon wanted Nyah to drink that? Frustration ripped through him as his body continued to lay in a pathetic stupor while his mind screamed and thrashed. There was complete silence in the hallway outside the doors. Nick and Blake should have been back by now, and why wasn't Michael doing something? His eyes dragged themselves away from the dripping blood. Nyah was still motionless. Was it a spell? It had to be – Northfell had her this way on purpose, otherwise she'd be screaming blue murder.

Simon clapping his hands together with glee snapped Dean's attention back. Thick black blood was still dribbling into the chalice. "Thank-you, " he said waving at Yannek to stop, his trembling hands desperate to take possession of the chalice.

"One last drop, " Yannek said, making a show of watching a heavy glob slide from the fist and land with a sickening plop. "All done." Lowering the chalice to the floor, Yannek nudged it towards the edge of his confine.

"Further, " Simon ordered, his fingers straining to grasp the neck of the chalice.

"Release me first, " Yannek demanded, halting the chalice just at the edge of the scarlet mark.

"I can't, " Simon replied quickly. "Not while your spilled blood is in the circle with you. Pass me the knife and chalice and then wipe off that hand."

Dean watched incredulously as the demon obeyed. Simon snatched up the chalice and knife as soon as they were within reach, while Yannek hurriedly smeared the bloodied palm across the sweater of the body it possessed.

"Now what?" Yannek asked excitedly.

"Now I keep my side of the deal, " Simon replied smoothly.

Setting the knife onto the ground, but keeping the chalice in a tight grip he picked up the book he had read from earlier. Yannek rubbed its hands together in anticipation. Simon began to read aloud and Dean found himself wishing he could laugh as the words Simon spoke began to register with the demon. "Liar!" it bellowed. "You said you would release me!"

Simon continued to call out the words and once again the ground began to tremble and the snaking fog began to form a twisting column around Yannek. Simon snapped the book shut and threw it aside.

"We made a deal!" Yannek shrieked, flinging itself against the boundary of the circle.

"Yes, " Simon agreed, turning his back to Yannek as he held the cup up as if in offering to some god. "I said I would release you – I just didn't say where, exactly." He began to laugh and Yannek went demented. It thrashed and kicked at the invisible wall, red hair whipping from side to side as it hammered frantically at the impenetrable shield.

As if oblivious to the commotion Simon lowered the cup to his lips and took a deep pull of the black liquid.

Dean knew that if he wasn't paralysed at that moment he would have gagged as Simon swallowed and then licked his lips. All that was missing was an approving smack of his lips.

Simon turned his bloodied smile onto Nyah. "Your turn, " he sang.

Dean's desperate breaths rushed through his nostrils, his eyes bulging feverishly as Simon began to walk towards her. No – she couldn't drink that stuff, she couldn't. His wolf snarled and writhed, furious as to why it couldn't phase and protect its mate. Nyah! he screamed inside. Don't drink it! Don't, baby – wake up! Nyah, wake up!

Simon ran a hand over the top of her head, trailing it down towards the back of her neck where he roughly grabbed a fistful of her hair and wrenched her head up. It lolled heavily to one side and Simon changed the pressure of his grip, jerking it under control.

Nyah! Dean roared. Nyah!

"Drink, " Simon crooned, bringing the edge of the cup to her lip. "It's a wedding day gift from me to you."

Nyah's eyes suddenly flashed wide open. "And here's mine to you, " she spat before throwing herself back into the chair.

Movement erupted in a short, frenzied moment.

Raising her knees, Nyah slammed her bound feet hard into Simon's belly. The chalice flew from his hand, flipping over in mid-air, the thick blood hanging for a split second before slapping onto his forehead. The force of Nyah's kick shunted him backwards and he stumbled, the blood momentarily blinding him as he staggered near the edge of Yannek's pentagram. The hysterical bellows of rage came to a sudden stop as Yannek saw what was happening and it threw itself towards the edge of the pentagram again, its white gaze fixed on Simon's lurching body as he swayed dangerously close.

"You bitch!" he snarled, wiping the glutinous mess from his eyes. "You stupid little bitch!" The heel of his boot landed on the outer ring of the pentagram and Yannek stretched its two hands forward, fingers wriggling in anticipation of one final, tiny step. Simon teetered on the brink, cursing as he tried to open his eyes.

Dean wanted to look at Nyah. He wanted his eyes to tear themselves away from what was unfolding so he could reassure himself she was unhurt and none of the foul blood had touched her lips, but he couldn't. His unblinking eyes remained glued to Yannek, the whirling green fog now clearly trying to drag the demon into whatever place Simon had commanded.

"I'm sorry, " Yannek cried, in a pitch-perfect replica of Nyah's voice. "I, I didn't mean to, " it cried out.

Simon roared, lurching blindly towards the voice with his hands outstretched. "I'll kill you for this!" he began, "I'll cut your -."

Yannek's shriek of victory sliced through the air. Wrapping its hands around Simon's neck it wrenched him inside the circle, grabbing him into a choke-hold as it ripped the protective talisman clean off his neck.

"Who's the fool now!" it cackled malevolently, holding the thrashing Simon with ease.

Dean's vision vibrated violently as the greedy mist enveloped the two figures. There was one final roar of victory from Yannek before the light flared and spat, forcing Dean to mash his eyes shut, his last glimpse showing him Nyah quickly turning her head to one side in order to protect her own eyes from the searing light.

The end came so abruptly it was as if someone had simply flipped a switch. The room fell completely silent in one staggering soundless explosion, blackness flooding every corner as the searing light extinguished.

When Dean cautiously opened his eyes the red-headed girl's body had returned to a motionless crumpled heap. Yannek had gone back to whatever hell dimension it had come from, and had taken Simon with it.

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