“Jason!” Sam screams as Jason’s whole body jerks at the sight of her falling. He reaches out to her, cursing at his inability and failure to save her.
Hugging the tree, trying to gain his strength, Jason digs his feet into the ground, inhales all the air he can and takes off after Sam. His heartbeat in his ears. Adrenaline fuels his legs. He gets two steps from the tree when he sees him. Drew. Raising his arm, closing one eye, Jason lines up his shot. He watches Drew dart towards a lifeless Sam. Moving his arm slightly to the right, exhaling all the air from his lungs, Jason squeezes the trigger.
Drew spins, his body releasing a thud that brings the trees to life as he hits the ground.
Struggling to stay on his feet as blood pours from his side, Jason takes off. His determination won’t let him slow down or feel the pain of his fresh wound. Passing Drew drives Jason to dig deeper. Straightening his back, Jason doubles his stride. He needs Sam like he needs air to breathe. Stopping in his tracks at the sight of her, Jason drops to his knees. “Sam, Sam! I’m here. Wake up, Sam. Wake up.” Lifting her off the rock she was resting on, Jason wipes the blood from her head and pulls her close.
“Sam,” Jason whispers as he examines her body for a fresh bullet wound. Touching every inch of her body, Jason finds nothing but a scrape on her shoulder. Feeling her take a deep breathe, “Thank you, thank you!” Jason whispers into Sam. He looks to the sky, “Thank you, God.” He praises the heavens for Sam’s life.
Sinking into the ground, letting his injuries take hold of him, Jason hears a noise coming from the woods. Darting his eyes back and forth, Jason feels the danger tickle the back of his neck. He taps the side of Sam’s face trying to arouse her. “Sam, come on Sam, I need you to wake up for me.” He doesn’t know how bad off Drew is, but he knows he won’t die that easily. He knows Drew wants Sam. And he now can see he will stop at nothing to have her. Watching her head slump to the side, Jason knows what needs to be done.
Wrapping Sam into him, Jason uses every muscle in his body, to lift her. He feels the blood sliding down his side. He feels his life force draining, but his love for Sam and the warmth of her body won’t let him falter. Hoisting her up slightly, Jason falls to one knee. Sam’s dead weight and his fresh, seeping bullet wound, make him weak. His muscles shake uncontrollably. His entire left side is numb.
The woods move around Jason again.
Turning his body to face the noise, Jason sees an opening. He isn’t sure if the darkness is hiding Drew’s body or if he is gone. He doesn’t wait to find out.
He bites his bottom lip, strains every muscle, Jason whips Sam over his shoulder while releasing a low, muffled groan. Jason wants to scream out, but Drew’s presence won’t let him. An unconscious, and hurt Sam won’t let him show weakness. Finally making it onto both feet, Jason fights the darkness obstructing his vision. He knows he doesn’t have much time, he has to get as far as he can before it’s too late for him and for Sam.
Filling his lungs with all the cold air they will allow, Jason stumbles a few feet. He slightly turns in the direction he thinks the cabin is and takes a few more steps into the darkness. He struggles a few more step before the weight of everything comes crashing down on him. Jason falls to the ground losing Sam’s lifeless body in the process. She rolls away from him as his body crumbles to the floor of the woods.
Reaching for Sam, Jason fights to get to her as the darkness takes hold of him.
Sam awakens to dew on her skin and a chill in her bones.
Groggy, she feels the cold, damp ground beneath her. Gathering the dirt within her fingers, Sam flashes back to her kids, and to the sound of gunfire. She remembers the sting of the bullet and the feel of the rock striking her head. Touching fresh blood, Sam tries to lift herself. “Jason?” Feeling the weight of the world pound the top of her head, Sam lays back down, wiping the new blood from her hands and rolling onto her side.
Feeling something warm, Sam opens her eyes. The moonlight hits a pale, motionless Jason and panic grips her body jerking her forward. Crawling towards him, she feels the sting of her leg. “Jason, Jason. Please be awake.” Pushing through the pain, Sam grabs Jason’s lifeless face.
Placing his head on her lap, Sam notices the white fog coming from her mouth. She also sees Jason doesn’t have the same white cloud coming from his. “Jason!” Sam cries while shaking his head from side to side. She feels a familiar tug gripping at her heart. Closing her eyes as tears stream down her face, Sam remembers the night she lost Jason. She feels the cold enveloping her body, reminding her of the frigid water she jumped in on her mission to save him. She chokes on despair as the words Jason is gone rings through her ears. She feels the cold, wet figurine stabbing her hand as she grips it for dear life.
“You can’t do this to me. Not again. I just got you back.” Slowly taking her shaking hand from Jason’s face, Sam places her two fingers against Jason’s neck and waits. She waits for the jump in his neck. She waits to feel his heart beating through his neck. Nothing. Her fingers don’t move. Jason doesn’t jump.
Pressing her fingers deeper, touching her forehead to his, “Jason, please Jason. Don’t do this.” Sam cries. Tears roll down her face, splashing Jason. “I need you. I won’t survive this time. I won’t survive losing you again.” Sam shivers from the inside out. She’s colder inside than out.
Placing Jason’s head on the ground, Sam curls up next to him, putting her head right on his heart.
Sam waits and listens.
Sam waits for his head to rise as Jason’s lungs fill with air. She waits to hear the pounding of his heart, but all she hears is the wind whistling in the trees.
Sam lay with Jason crying silently. They are accessories to the backdrop of the woods. Two stiff trees joined by their roots.
Shaking off the cold, Sam pulls at Jason. “No, this isn’t it. This isn’t how it ends.”
Slowly moving her hand from his heart and lifting herself off the ground, Sam talks to herself. “I have to stop this bleeding.” Turning, Sam searches the woods. She doesn’t know what she’s looking for or what will help him, but she knows something, anything, must be done.
Taking a few steps away from Jason, Sam looks back to make sure he’s still there. She takes a few more steps and checks again. She’s so worried about Jason she’s not even looking for anything.” We are getting out of here, Jason. Both of us. Together.” Stumbling over a rock, Sam crashes into a cluster of yarrow plants. “You have to be kidding me.” Sam laughs to herself. Wrapping her hands around a handful of the plants, Sam pops to her feet and wobbles to Jason.
“Jason, you won’t believe what I found.” Sam crashes to the ground next to Jason ungracefully.
“I didn’t even know these grew here.” Grabbing Jason’s head, Sam pulls him into her lap.
“These plants will stop your bleeding. I would use these all the time when I would salvage.” Sam crushes the plant in one hand, and she lifts Jason’s shirt with the other. Blood comes spewing from his side.
Sam cringes at the sight of Jason’s wound.
Taking a deep breath, she plunges the leaves of the flower into Jason’s side.
“Fuck!!!!!” Jason lets out a low moan.
“Yesss.” Sam caresses Jason’s face. “I knew now just as I knew, then you wouldn’t leave me without a fight.”
Lowering her mouth to be parallel to with Jason’s ear, “Just hold on baby. I got you. I got us.” Sam whispers as she presses her hand deeper into Jason’s side.
Sam sits with her hand deeply pressed into Jason’s side until the blood stops pouring through her fingers. She watches him. His lip twitches as insects buzz around his face. She thinks she sees his eyes moving under his eyelids. She knows his chest is moving and that’s enough for now.
“Now that I know you’re going to be okay, I have to leave you. I have to find us help.” Sam whispers to Jason, slowly looking up to the sky. “The north star is south of us, which means I have to go north.” Sam places Jason’s head back on the ground and stands ups. “I have to go, I don’t want to leave you.” Sam grabs two handfuls of yarrow plants, crush some in one hand and gently place the leaves on her leg. Sam bites her bottom lip as the plants make contact with her skin.
“I think we’re close to the cabin. And, I’m hoping my cell phone is still there. Or something that can help us.” Sam places more leaves and flowers on Jason’s side. “I know you don’t want me going out there by myself without knowing where he is, but I don’t have a choice. You’ll die if I don’t at least try.” Sam kisses Jason long and hard on his lips as a tear escapes her eye. “I love you, Jason Morgan.”
Standing up, looking to the sky, Sam finds the North Star. She positions herself in the direction of the cabin, digs her feet into the ground, but she can’t move. She looks back down at Jason. She watches the color slowly re-enter his body. She watches his chest rise and fall. She loved seeing Jason like this. Relaxed and peaceful, but he’s not, he’s dying. Remembering what needs to be done, Sam takes one step forward, and another then another until she’s running at full speed.
The wind picks up as it chases Sam through the trees. The cold wraps around her, threatening to derail her, but Sam shakes it off and keeps running. She lets the fire in her chest warm her, and the light from the stars lead her. She doesn’t let up until she sees lights in the distant. Slowing her stride, the cabin is the only thing visible as the darkness of night blankets the entire woods.
The front door is still open, pouring light into the darkness. Sam stands next to a tree and watches for movement or any signs of life. She’s watching for Drew.
“Sam?” Jason jolts up, grunting and breathing heavily through the pain. “Ahh! Sam.” He pushed himself into a sitting position as pain engulfs his entire left side. Blinking hard, Jason cuts his eyes through the darkness trying to locate Sam. “SAM!”
Jason rolls onto his knees and tries to lift himself, “Ahhhh!” Jason yells out as his feet firmly planet on the ground. Feeling the toll the blood loss has taken on his body, Jason grips the nearest tree as all the blood from his head rushes into the rest of his body, leaving him shaken. He fights through the pain, and the blackness creeping into his vision. Steadily, Jason touches his wound. He expects to find a dirty, bloody mess when his fingers brush flowers. Snapping his fingers back, Jason raises his shirt and looks at his wound since receiving it. He sees dirt, leaves, yellow flowers painted in blood, stems that seem to protrude from his body, but most of all he sees dried blood not fresh.
Jason begins to pick the flower away from his skin when he realizes it is what’s stopping the bleeding. Slowly bending over to collect the fallen leaves and stems, Jason presses it back into his skin, lowers his shirt, and leaves his hand there applying pressure to the bloodstained yellow flowers. Moving his attention to his feet, Jason barely lifts his left foot off the ground. Scraping his foot against Earth’s floor, Jason loses his balance, catching himself on a nearby tree. “Sam?”
“Sam? Sam, if you’re out here let me know. Say something. SAM!” Jason screams into the darkness. Leaving his bloody handprint as he goes, Jason moves from tree to tree, screaming Sam’s name.
Seeing the light in the distance, Jason tries to move faster, but blood begins to drain from his side again. He stumbles, catching himself on a tree, hugging it tightly. Fighting impending doom, Jason can feel the cold freezing him from within. He can feel the blood seeping from his side. He can feel death scratching at his back. Shaking those thoughts, he tries to keep moving. He tries to take another step, a step that leaves him hugging the ground instead of a tree. He works with everything in him to keep moving, to find Sam, but he can’t.
He has nothing left.
“Sam?” Jason asks to the night as he sees someone approaching him as darkness swallows him whole yet again