Characters: Dean, Sam, Castiel (cameo) -- GEN
Summary: Set during S11, after Baby and before Thin Lizzy. Trapped and wounded, only one thing will save the Winchesters from the horror that waits in the cave: their bond as brothers. Too bad they can’t remember who they are.
Disclaimer/Warning: They’re not mine. More’s the pity. Ironically, title does not come from Mumford & Sons song of the same name. Even though that’s totally something I would do. But the chapter titles are classic rock songs. Because why not? Oh, and the cave monster? Pure fiction. I think.
Author’s Note: It’s been 84 years….
Just kidding. But, it has been a while since I wrote an original Supernatural story (i.e., not a tag or missing scene built off of an episode where I just needed a little bit more). I’ve been hanging out quite happily in the world of the gorgeous, swashbuckling brotherhood of The Musketeers and lurking on Hell’s Kitchen’s rooftops with Daredevil’s blind vigilante lawyer. I won’t be leaving those troves of storytelling inspiration any time soon, but….
A little over a year ago, I had an idea for the Winchester brothers (around the time Dean was de-demonized in S10), and after some ridiculous insomnia and endless months of familial angst, I started chewing on this idea. Honestly, it’s really just a story, nothing more than a way to remember all the reasons they are who they are—a flashback episode, if you will—and an excuse for some angst and h/c Winchester style.
I am a little rusty, and I know you have plenty of other places to go to get your h/c fixes, you resourceful things, but I’m offering this to you anyway, warts and all. It was written for pure entertainment purposes, so if you read, I hope you enjoy.
PS? LiveJournal became a bit of a headache to post stories to while I was away. Hope this loads okay for everyone.
He was falling.
His body jerked to a harsh, sudden stop, his arm tethered to something above him. Pain ripped through him like lightning, coursing down his side with claws of agony, tearing at muscle and breaking bone.
He was screaming before he was truly aware of anything beyond the pain, blinking through a haze of torment as the sound seemed to echo around him, bouncing off of the darkness itself and crashing back against him like a surgical strike. Something hard and cold tore into the skin on his wrist and he jerked his body in reflexive resistance.
“Hey! Hey, hold up! Quit moving!”
The voice was breathless, strained, and coming from above him. Instinctively he bit down on his lip to silence the endless scream that yearned to press forward. Seconds after the disembodied voice pleaded for him to hold still, he felt fingers grappling for his, the sharp sting at his wrist spiking for a moment as another hand twisted for a grip. His fingers felt stiff and numb, heat lightning shooting up through his wrist and into his shoulder as the grip tightened.
“Okay, I gotcha,” the voice panted. “Reach up. Your other hand, reach up.”
The pain along his side burned through him; he didn’t think he could breathe let alone lift his other arm. He couldn’t see anything around him; it was dark enough he might believe he’d been struck blind. He tried to look down and his forehead hit a rocky surface directly in front of him.
He was hanging from his right arm, nothing below him, rock in front of him.
And he was freezing.
What the actual hell?
“Hey, buddy, c’mon.” The voice was strained even more now. “Don’t…don’t know how much longer…my arm can take this.”
He reached up, directly above his own head, and miraculously felt the back of another reaching hand. Grasping the other man at the wrist, he bit his lip, swallowing a bleat of misery as his body was pulled upwards, his chest scraping against the rock, the pain in his right arm and down his side intensifying. As his upper body cleared a flat surface, he felt an abbreviated pop in his shoulder and an involuntary cry slipped free, the sound once again reverberating around him.
“Almost there,” assured the voice, and he suddenly felt a long arm wrap around his back, gathering him close and tugging him up and over the edge.
His face was mashed into the broad shoulder of the other man, the musky scent of sweat and dirt and something that smelled oddly like ashes filling his senses. He felt his knees hit the ledge and rolled against the man to bring himself safely to solid ground. For a moment, they lay still, tangled and spent, gasping for air.
It wasn’t until then that he registered he was soaking wet. The realization itself seemed to exaggerate the chill in the air; he could feel his body shaking in a detached way, as though all of this was happening to someone else. He started to push himself upright, but stopped the instant he put weight on his wounded arm—which seemed to be attached to his rescuer—the pain spiking once more.
“Hang on,” the other man pleaded.
It took a moment of awkward shifting, but they managed to sit up, more or less facing each other, his right arm stretched slightly forward where it was tethered to the taller man.
“I’m wet,” he said, his voice low and rough, shredded from the scream. It sounded both foreign and familiar to his ears. “What the hell?”
“Just…just, Jesus. Take it easy,” his rescuer entreated.
He really wished he could see his companion. See something.
“I’m wet, too,” the guy continued. “Well, part of me is anyway.”
“Where the hell are we?”
His head was pounding; the sound of his chattering teeth intensifying the ache. Reaching up with his free hand, he gingerly pressed against his forehead and cheek, testing the stinging spots and feeling the scuff of abraded skin. His fingers came away wet, but he had no idea if it was water or blood.
“Dunno…’s big, though. Sounds big anyway,” his rescuer replied, panting slightly as though from pain.
He figured if his arm was on fire, the other guy had to be in pretty bad shape as well. Then he heard the man cry out and his heart rate spiked.
He frowned, the motion pulling at the wounds on his face. “Seeing? I can’t see shit in here.”
“Not…not seeing…’s like…images,” the other guy swallowed hard, the gulp audible, “of a horror movie or something.”
Curling slightly forward, trying to relieve the pressure sitting upright put on his damaged muscles, he took a shallow breath and immediately regretted it. Now that he was on solid ground, he could pick up on the smell. It was a sickening, over-ripe, rancid smell, like…rotting corpse.
Many of them.
“You maybe got a light?” he rasped, trying not to let the panic take over.
He felt the other man twist around and stifled a curse as pain once again rippled through him in chilling waves. It seemed pretty clear that his wrist had broken in the fall, and he wasn’t positive, but his shoulder felt stretched, swollen, and hot—like it had been pulled from the socket. He stifled the urge to jerk back in protest when it suddenly became clear what his rescuer was doing.
The light from a cell phone flashlight illuminated the space around them and immediately glinted off the material binding the two men together. He blinked in the glow, eyes closing automatically in reaction to the sudden brilliance, then refocused on their wrists and frowned.
Both of their wrists were torn and bleeding where the cuffs had ripped into their skin from the force of his fall. He could feel blood soaking into the sleeve of his wet shirt and saw it staining the edge of his companion’s jacket.
Cautiously, he looked up at his rescuer’s face. The moment he did so, however, the other man gasped and jerked away.
“Shit,” the guy choked out.
The movement pulled sharply at their linked arms and he cried out, closing his eyes once more, genuinely afraid he was about to be sick right here in the dark.
“Sorry, but…sh-shit,” his rescuer repeated.
“Just…quit moving for a second,” he pleaded weakly, opening his eyes once more and taking in the man across from him.
Longer hair framed a wide face with a slightly upturned nose, cat-like hazel eyes, and a generous mouth with lips pressed tightly together. A day or two’s growth of beard shadowed a strong jaw, brows furrowed close over the bridge of his nose. He’d hoped that when he saw the man’s face, he’d have at least a sense of recognition, but he’d never seen this man before in his life.
“Do you know me?” he asked, trying to cradle his wrist.
“I--, uh…,” the long-haired man started, then swallowed loudly. He really hoped the guy wasn’t going to be sick; he seriously wouldn’t be far behind at this stage. “I think, maybe?”
More disconcerting than not recognizing the man who’d saved him was the look of terror that had found a home in that man’s eyes as they stared back through the bluish glow of the cellphone light.
“I…can’t tell what’s actually…y’know, real or….” Long Hair rubbed at his face, looking decidedly rattled.
“Any idea why we’re wet?” He rotated his neck, trying to find some relief from the ache that seemed intent on stealing his breath.
“You’re not more concerned about us being handcuffed?” Long Hair returned.
He frowned, instantly irritated. “No, frankly, I’m more concerned about the fact I can’t seem to remember my own fucking name.”
He breathed shallowly; he’d been so intent on the pain, the fact that he didn’t instantly know who he was hit him only now. As he searched for something—anything—to explain how he’d ended up inside what was apparently a cave, hanging off the edge of cliff from a pair of handcuffs, the sensation of tumbling into a bottomless abyss sent a swooping feeling of dizziness through him.
“You don’t…you don’t remember your name?” Long Hair asked.
Shaking his head, he asked, “You?”
Long Hair shook his head slowly in response, fear erasing years from the unfamiliar face. A strange feeling of protection seemed to shift within him at that. Holding his wounded arm close, he looked up and around at the blackness surrounding them.
“Shine that thing around,” he ordered.
Long Hair complied and they took in their environment. It was indeed a cave—a completely enclosed cavern, to be specific—easily a football field in length, with copper-hued stalactites dripping on them from roughly ten feet above their heads. Scattered around them and all over the floor of the cavern were what appeared to be bones—some clean, some with flesh still attached, and some, disturbingly, looked to have remnants of clothing fixed to them.
Next to where they sat was a ledge that ran the length of the cavern. As one, they leaned slightly over and looked down. Roughly six feet from the ledge, on the opposite wall, he could see the ragged mouth-like opening of a large tunnel. Long Hair angled the flashlight downward.
The light did not reach a bottom.
“Holy shit,” Long Hair whispered.
“Guess I’m kinda glad for the handcuffs,” he said quietly, another shiver wracking his abused muscles as he straightened up. “Looks like those bones account for that god-awful smell.”
“Well, yeah, plus all the guano,” Long Hair commented, once more shining the cell light around the cavern.
This time he saw large piles of waste, tinged a greenish hue in the light from the cell phone.
“Guano,” he repeated, wrinkling his nose in disgust. “From how many freaking bats?”
Instinctively, they simultaneously lifted their eyes along with the light and examined the ceiling of the cavern with trepidation. Other than the dripping rock formations, it seemed bare. No tell-tale movements, no sounds of wings, no chirps or squeaks. Aside from the still-haggard breathing of his companion, there was not another sound within the disturbingly complete darkness.
Still as a grave, he thought, feeling his heart clench.
“Okay, so….” Long Hair tipped the light down so that it glowed between them and running a hand through chin-length hair.
Trying to be stealthy, he reached up to feel his own hair: close-cropped, thicker on top, plastered to his skull by something with more substance than water. He dragged his hand down his face, careful of the cuts he’d felt earlier, sluicing the liquid from his own beard scruff and looking at his hand in the light of the cell phone. Whatever it was coating his head, it was pink-tinged from blood, and slick, but it definitely wasn’t water.
“There’s gotta be some reason we’re cuffed together,” Long Hair continued, frowning suddenly as if in pain, then dropped the cell phone as he reached for his head.
“Dude.” He grabbed up the light, momentarily terrified of being encased in darkness once more. “Hey, man, you okay?”
Long Hair shuddered, pressing the heel of his hand against his temple and blinking his eyes wide. The guy’s hair wasn’t wet, but his left arm and hand—the arm that was trapped by the handcuffs—was soaked as were most of his clothes. The guy shook his head as though to clear it and blinked rapidly back at him.
“Yeah, I just….” Long Hair’s swallow was audible in the suffocating silence of the cavern. “Just…r-remembered something.”
“Okay.” He stretched the word out; even if he didn’t know who the hell he was, he was really pretty sure this entire situation defied any semblance of anyone’s version of ‘normal.’ “Care to share with the class?”
“It was just…just a-a flash, like before, but….”
Long Hair looked up at him again and he felt that same swoop, low in his gut like he was falling and this man was his only life-line.
“I saw you. Again.”
“So, you do know me.”
“Yeah, but,” Long Hair looked down at their cuffs. “You were beating the shit outta somebody and you…your eyes were….”
“What?” He suddenly didn’t want to hear this. He knew he didn’t want to hear this.
“Black. All black. You looked….”
Long Hair frowned again and he knew instinctively he did not like that look.
“I’m pretty sure you killed somebody.”
He swallowed, closing his eyes against an especially harsh throb of pain. The way his side stabbed at him when he tried to take a full breath, he was almost certain the fall had cracked a couple ribs. He was also pretty sure that if he didn’t stop shivering, he was going to crack a few more.
“Look, we n-need to figure out a way out of h-here,” he said, his teeth chattering. “Let’s do this b-by the numbers.”
Long Hair nodded, accepting that logic. “You got a phone on you?”
He hadn’t thought of that.
Patting his front pockets and coming up empty, he slid his legs beneath him, groaning as he raised up on his knees and felt his back pockets. He came up with a pretty impressive lock back knife in his pocket and, surprise, another blade in his boot. Setting the weapons between them, he settled back on his rear, collecting his wounded arm as close as he could to try to stave off the pain while the other guy maneuvered himself similarly, emptying his own pockets.
Long Hair had on a jacket—which he was regrettably lacking—and more pockets to empty, placing a wallet, a blade, a full clip of bullets, though no gun, and a pack of matches on the ground. Watching the pile grow between them, he breathed shallowly until the guy stopped pulling on his arm with his movement.
“Okay, so…,” Long Hair started, a play he now recognized as the other man’s way to buy time as he thought of the right words, “I have my ID. You do not. So, I figure we need to agree on something.”
“That right?” He was starting to feel his trembling increase—not just shivering from the chill of being wet, but shaking from the effects of having his arm nearly torn from its socket. “Lay it on me.”
“We’re cuffed for a reason,” Long Hair started. “Either one of us is a criminal, or we both are.”
“Or we’re victims of some twisted sex game gone wrong,” he offered, needing to wipe the smug look of tactical advantage from the other man’s face.
“Either way,” the other man replied, obviously refusing to be baited for the moment, “until we figure out how to get out of this cave, I say we agree to work together. No matter what.”
“Whatever you say, chief,” he exhaled, pain exhausting him.
Long Hair nodded, pressing his lips out again, then reached for his wallet. Seeing the FBI badge on the inside fold was a bit of a shock. Nothing about the guy’s canvas jacket and flannel shirt hinted that he was a Fed. The guy angled the ID toward him.
“My name’s Sam,” Long Hair said. “Sam Banner.”
“Nice to meet you,” he replied. Although, admittedly, he’d almost gotten used to thinking of his companion as Long Hair.
“I am an FBI agent,” Banner huffed.
He couldn’t help but chuckle inwardly. “Need a little more Keanu to sell that line.”
“Forget it.” He shook his head.
“So…I guess you’re my prisoner?”
He drew his head up at that. “How do you figure?”
“You’re cuffed to my left hand; I’m not left handed.” Banner lifted his right shoulder, tipping his hand as if to say, see?
“You sure your name’s not Inigo Montoya?”
The names seemed to fall from his mouth as though someone were feeding him lines from a script. They connected to nothing concrete, nothing he could lean on and say he knew. He was basically speaking from muscle memory.
Banner continued, warming to his topic. “Plus you add in the memory of you killing someone—“
“Hold up, Banner.” No way was he ready to call this guy Sam. He tilted his head, eyes leveled on Banner in a way that surprisingly managed to cower the other man. “You got no idea what that…that memory…is of…out of context. Plus, I don’t have my ID—and what the hell happened to: we gotta work together no matter what?”
“Right,” Banner nodded, hazel eyes narrowed a bit, studying him in a way that seemed to see a bit too much.
He tried desperately not to visibly shiver, but he could feel his body ticking around him.
“We need to get away from this ledge,” Banner continued, “find some way to warm up, figure out how to get out of here. In that order.”
“Yessir.” He intended it to be mocking, but the response felt natural. Instinctive. Just directed at the wrong person.
Banner picked up the cell light and shone it around the cavernous space. For all the room around them, a sense of claustrophobia snuck in; the idea that they were beneath the ground, in the dark, bones scattered around them, the chill of the earth saturating them….
He had to force himself to take a slow, stuttering breath.
“There, see that?” Banner said suddenly.
He looked. Another tunnel, several feet to his right, and on the same level as the ground where they sat. After tracking the light along the stone walls and ceiling, it appeared to be literally the only way in or out of this cavern.
“We had to have come through there,” Banner continued. “I say we go back that way, see what we find.”
“Works for me,” he replied, unable to come up with an alternative plan. It hurt too much to think at this point in any case.
“Think you can stand?”
“Probably.” He gathered up his blades and shoved them back in his boot and pocket, then got his knees under him once more. “Together?”
Banner gripped his free arm to help balance and as one they climbed to their feet, his own strangled cry echoing around the too-silent cave. Once on his feet, he was dismayed to feel himself sway, the only thing keeping him upright for the moment being his taller companion’s strong arm. The vertigo pressed him forward until he was unable to keep his forehead from resting on the other man’s shoulder. He worked to gather his breath.
“Easy,” Banner said softly, not letting go until he was able to lift his head. “Wanna get out of here?”
He nodded, the moment of weakness behind him, then turned to move forward, wanting desperately to hold his wrenched arm against his torn chest, but unable to do so without pulling Banner’s arm toward him as well. Slowly, Banner led the way across the gore-covered cavern floor toward the tunnel with his light, careful to keep his left arm as still as possible as they moved through the eerily silent dark.
“Reeves,” Banner said suddenly.
“Your reference before. Keanu Reeves. You were talking about a movie.”
He frowned, keeping his eyes on where he planted is feet and trying to stay close to his longer-legged companion. “Okay, sure.”
“And Inigo Montoya,” Banner slowed and half-turned. “You remember pop culture references, but not your own name?”
He arched a brow, blinking a bit as blood from the abrasion on his forehead slipped to his lashes, stinging his eye. “That’s a little pot and kettle, don’t you think? Agent Banner.”
Banner stopped completely. “What are you saying?”
“Just that…you still got no clue who you are,” he accused. “You said the name Sam Banner like you were reading it from a book.”
Banner frowned at him, turning the light from the cell full into his face.
The lanky man started to protest, but just as he did a roaring sound echoed from behind and beneath them, bouncing around the cavern like a ricocheting bullet. The two men ducked, looking around the dark room, the light from the cell phone pointed, forgotten, toward the ground.
The darkness itself seemed to be reaching for him as he exclaimed, “What the fuck was that?”
They turned as one, Banner careful not to pull on his arm. Slowly, Banner lifted the cell light and directed it toward the origin of the sound. For a full minute nothing happened. No sound, no movement, no breath. And then the roar echoed once more, this time clearly coming from within the tunnel they’d seen on the other side of the abyss.
“Oh man, this is a Romero movie waiting to happen,” he breathed, holding his wounded arm close.
“I think we need to get out of here,” Banner muttered.
He could hear the other man’s teeth clicking together as he clenched his jaw anxiously. They turned toward the tunnel once more, but this time Banner wasn’t as careful about out-walking him. The slight tug from the cuffs had him hissing and hurrying, pain making him breathless long before exertion had a chance. Just before they reached the edge of the tunnel, he felt the air churn around them, a gust chilling his wet hair as though a storm had suddenly picked up.
“Whoa, hey, dude,” he called, unable to pull the taller man to a halt by ceased momentum alone. “Stop, stop, stop.”
Banner skidded to a standstill and turned, the cell light hitting him full in the face once more. As one, they opened their mouths to say something when the roar sounded a third time, this time from above them. He felt the stir of air again and slowly looked over his shoulder into the pitch, certain he was about to see his death staring back at him.
What he saw instead were two large amber eyes, glowing like massive coals from high on the cavern ceiling where he remembered the stalactites were located, pupils’ elongated to narrow slits. The cellphone light trembled as Banner raised it to where the eyes hovered, revealing something impossible.
The body was as large as two men, leather-like wings folded closed around the torso, and talons that looked like giant sickles clutched at the rock from where it hung. The head was enormous, the amber eyes taking up half the real estate, and like crystalline strings, long, thin tendrils of saliva stretched from its mouth toward the ground.
“Holy shit,” Banner whispered.
“Son of a bitch,” he found himself muttering at the same time.
Without another word, Banner lowered the light and they began to slowly back away from the creature, edging toward the opening of the tunnel. Misjudging the distance in the dark, he bounced against the rock wall and bit off a cry of pain as he felt Banner stumble at the entrance. They turned, Banner shining the light on the ground, and hurried into the tunnel.
The space twisted and thrust jagged rock edges toward them, which the light of the cell exposed mere seconds before they avoided crashing into them. The smell of rot and decay intensified in the enclosed space and it was all he could do not to gag. He found himself stretching his senses to their limits, aching to see anything beyond the narrow glow of the cell light, hear anything that wasn’t the stumbling, crunching drag of their awkward footsteps on the rocky surface. His skin felt hyper-sensitive, his shivering body tensed and ready for literally anything to step out of the dark and eliminate him.
After several minutes of silent escape, Banner paused to maneuver around a particularly lethal looking stalactite and spared a glance back with the dimming light.
“That was a…a bat, right?”
“You ever seen a bat the size of King Kong?” he returned, voice rasping across his dry throat and trembling a bit in its exit.
“Honestly? No idea.” Banner leaned closer, the light like a hot needle into his eyes. “You don’t look good, dude.”
“Gee thanks, Agent,” he growled. “I’m fine. Let’s just get moving.”
But Banner was closing in, a single line bisecting his brows, shadows from the cell light turning the man’s eyes into pits of worry. “Maybe you should sit down…you’re shaking so hard, I feel it in my teeth.”
He closed his eyes against the glare of the cell light; he didn’t have enough energy to inform the other man that he had plenty of energy. He did not want to be in this narrow tunnel, in the pitch dark, hundreds of feet beneath the ground, the earth pressing close and stealing the air—
“Whoa, whoa, hey.” Banner’s free hand suddenly gripped his left arm, muffling the light and sending them into complete blackness. “Easy, man. Just breathe, okay?”
He was breathing. He was breathing just fine. In fact, he was breathing super-fine, and so fast he could hear it beating against his ears and slapping the rock walls as they closed in, burying him.
Again, his mind supplied. Bury you again.
“Son of a…bitch,” he exhaled, feeling his knees turn to rubber, unable to hold him up despite his attempts to lock them in place.
Banner’s grip shifted and the phone fell, clattering to the ground, the light facing upright and hitting the taller man from beneath his chin. Their cuffed wrists caused Banner to twist slightly to try to catch him, and they went to their knees, the cold of the stone ground almost instantly permeating the denim and seeping into skin.
With Banner’s grip keeping him upright, pain slipped across him like a living thing, blanketing him in a bone-deep misery and pulling a recalcitrant groan from his gut.
“Okay, okay, easy, man. Hey, you’re okay.” Banner’s voice was thick with both concern and reassurance.
“Th-thought I was your p-prisoner,” he managed through chattering teeth. Holy shit, he was seriously going to pass out, right here in this goddamned, pitch-dark cave if he did not pull it together.
“Yeah, well, pretty sure I’m not the kind of FBI Agent who brings back dead bodies,” Banner claimed.
He blinked up at the taller man as he felt the large hand shift against his arm. Banner closed his shadowed eyes once more. The grip on him loosened and he found himself slipping sideways, his good shoulder finding the wall and his body molding against the rock as though it was eager to return to the earth.
Banner gasped, the shadows from the cell phone morphing his basically attractive features into something almost monstrous. Gripping his head, Banner curled forward, groaning.
“Wh-what? What is it?” He demanded, his breath thin, vision tunneling—terrifying in the already dark space.
“There’s a…I think something is killing you. I can see you…Jesus Christ,” Banner lifted his head and the shadows obscured his eyes completely. The man was panting as though he’d run a marathon, despite having not moved. “You died. I was...I was there, holding you and you...you were dead."
He swallowed. These did not sound like memories; they sounded like nightmares.
“Okay, well. Still here, so….” He had to breathe, had to get a grip. They couldn’t both go to pieces or they’d suffocate and die in this tiny, tiny tunnel. “S’let’s get outta here.”
Banner gulped, drinking the limited air like it was endless. Didn’t he realize how little there was? Stop sucking up all the air, you freaking giant!
“Right, okay.” Banner nodded. “C’mon.”
Before he was ready, Banner had grabbed his arm and was pulling him to his feet. He ripped a strangled cry from the air and hurled it toward his reluctant captor, needing the other man to know just how much he protested moving. Banner all-but ignored him, crouching to retrieve his cell phone with its rapidly dimming light and propelled them both forward.
“N-not sure ‘f I’m the b-bad guy here or not,” he ground out through clenched teeth, “but ‘f I wasn’t hurting so much…I’d be k-kicking your ass right n-now.”
Banner huffed, sounding oddly amused. “Something in me believes you.”
They moved forward, slowly, Banner awkwardly holding him close enough their joined arms didn’t jostle. The tunnel began to open slightly, the ragged edges of rock and mineral deposits tapering off. The air had changed, too. He could smell…water. The scent of minerals was strong enough he could practically taste it. Banner’s breath had evened out. He was just starting to breathe a bit easier himself when the light suddenly went out.
“What’d you do that for?”
“Battery died,” Banner grumbled.
“Dammit,” he muttered, closing his eyes for a fraction of a second and trying to push the claustrophobic thoughts to the back of his mind.
“Wait, look,” Banner gasped, forcing him continue forward. “You see that? There’s light up ahead.”
Opening his eyes, he realized that Banner was right; a soft ambient glow that could have been sunlight lit the end of the tunnel.
“See? We got down here somehow, right? So I figure—“
It happened so suddenly that for a moment he thought he blacked out. One second the lanky FBI Agent was next to him, practically supporting him through the cold, dark tunnel and the next he was flat on the ground, Banner’s weight pulling on his damaged arm with such ferocity breathing was impossible.
Then, with the rush of a bomb blast, reality surged around him once more and he was screaming.
His right arm was plunged into a deep, icy pool, the ground having opened up and given way to a pocket of water. Banner was still attached to him and he could feel the man struggling against the cold, fighting to reach the surface. Without another thought beyond God, make it stop, he shoved his free hand into the water, grabbed the first thing his fingers found, and pulled upwards.
Continued in Chapter 2: Bat Out of Hell