A Cut Above the Rest
Sam scanned the residential street. There didn’t seem to be anything that would threaten his brother’s life, but he’d thought that the previous eighty-nine Tuesdays, and each had ended with Dean’s death. By now, Sam thought he should be immune to watching his brother die.
He wasn’t. Probably never would be.
He glanced across at Dean, trying to gauge his mood. Dean was as aware of what was going on as Sam, though thankfully, he never remembered the previous day/days. It was frustrating for Sam as he had to explain everything with each new morning. However, some of the deaths had been gruesome enough to make Sam glad Dean wouldn’t remember.
The street was far from the quiet one might expect from the white picket fences and bountiful flower gardens. One man was mowing his lawn, another trimming his hedges. Barely audible was the screaming of children as they played, and the roaring of a car engine. It stuttered, before resuming with a loud clatter. Sam could see Dean was dying to help the man with his car. While Sam had no idea what was causing the cylinders to misfire he was sure Dean knew.
Sam envied the normalcy surrounding him. It had been a long time since he had craved an ordinary life. Right now, he would settle for an ordinary day with no one dying.
Danger could come from any one of a number of sources. Sam had given up trying to figure out what would be the cause of Dean’s death. Too many times he had found himself concentrating on one thing only to be blindsided by something else. It didn’t do any good anyway. He couldn’t stop whatever was to come. He wasn’t sure how many more times he could endure the torture of watching Dean die before he went crazy. Each time, Sam felt a little more of his sanity slipping away.
He rubbed the back of his neck, trying to ease tense muscles. When each day reset it didn’t seem to include the wear and tear on his body. His shoulders felt like they were on fire they were so full of knots. A permanent headache had taken up residence behind his eyes that no amount of aspirin could alleviate.
What made this whole situation even more traumatic was he never knew when Dean would die. Sometimes it happened before they even left the hotel room. Other times it was almost the end of the day. Those were the worst, giving Sam false hope the cycle was finally terminating. When this was all over, he was going to need several sessions with a masseuse -- and a psychiatrist.
A woman with bright red hair came out of the front door of the house where a man sporting a crew cut was trimming his hedges. Sam could see her mouth moving however her voice was drowned out by the piece of equipment in the man’s hand. Crew Cut lifted one hand to cup an ear, indicating he couldn’t hear her. Unable to control the powerful machine one-handed, it surged forward, bounced off a thick branch, went through to the other side -- slicing across Dean’s left leg.
Screaming in pain, Dean fell to the ground clutching the stump. Blood sprayed across Sam’s shirt, across the sidewalk, and over the hedges turning the green leaves red.
These were the deaths Sam hated the most, watching Dean writhe in pain, knowing there was nothing he could do. It made Sam feel sick to his stomach. Bile would creep up his throat until he purged it or it choked him. He didn’t try to stop the bleeding, he knew it wouldn’t do any good and not just because of the unending cycle their lives had become. Dean had already lost too much blood. All Sam could do was cradle his brother’s head and shoulders and wait for the day to reset.
Pray the day would reset.
Dean grew weaker and weaker in Sam’s arms. The light in the green eyes faded. The only color on his face was the red of his own splattered blood.
Sam was aware of the screams and cries of horror from the strangers around him, but he ignored them and concentrated on his brother. Doing what little he could to try to make these last horrifying minutes bearable.
When the end came, Sam closed his eyes and waited with anticipation and dread for the day to start again. As horrible as it was to watch Dean die, only to be resurrected again, the alternative was far worse. Each time Dean died, Sam couldn’t be certain if it was the last. And even though Sam had been living with the prospect of Dean’s demise since his brother sold his soul to the Crossroads Demon, now wasn’t the time for him to die. It was too soon. They were supposed to have months yet to find a solution to that particular problem. Sam had sworn he would keep his brother out of Hell. He would not go back on his word.
“Mister, an ambulance is on its way.”
Sam absently nodded his thanks, knowing Dean would be dead and the day over before the vehicle arrived.
At least, he hoped it would.