With an ear-splitting whine and a bone-shattering lurch, the Impala finally responded to Dean's solicitations, her left back-wheel emerging from the watery ditch.
Like a phoenix from the ashes, the black car streaked out of the churning cloud, and at top speed made her run for freedom
Just where that freedom might now lie, neither of the Winchesters had the faintest idea!
Worse, they had no inkling that in Stull cemetery where Sam had executed his swan song into the Cage with Lucifer and Michael, those very beings were top-side, surveying the drab confines of the burial ground.
In a grotesque symmetry with the Winchesters, neither were aware that they were now the last two arch-angels of Creation, nor that the very foundations of heaven had been shaken to the core.
"So Mikey," Lucifer smirked. "Ready to be my slave for the day. I've got a whole list of interesting tasks for you to..."
"Don't call me Mikey! " his brother-angel fumed. "My name is Michael and I'd be grateful if you'd call me by it. As for the wager..." A tiny curl of his 'lip' was the only testimony to the archangel's amusement. "You put no time nor date on it, Lucifer, so I shall delay the day of payment until it suits me!"
"You surprise me, Michael. I didn't think you were smart enough to hone in on that little oversight on my part, but then did either of us really hold out hope of getting out?" Lucifer smirked.
"That is why, instead of bickering like children, we should be asking ourselves for what reason the indestructible prison we were banished to, was cracked open like a watermelon. The only catastrophe that could account for such a thing would be one I hoped we'd never have to deal with again. The onslaught of the Darkness!"
If a faceless entity of white light could turn pale, then Lucifer did.
" You don't really think that's what happened? He shivered. The darkness retained no good memories for him.
"It's the only catalyst strong enough to undo the warding on the Cage." Michael said.
"But how can it be? Cain received the Mark and he has worn it for millennia without anything happening. He knew to pass it on if he decided he was tired of carrying it. It's only the destruction of the Mark that can free the Darkness."
"Then," Michael answered calmly. "That is what must have happened. Look to the horizon Lucifer. What do you see?"
Lucifer's gaze followed his brother's pointing finger, and sure enough there on the curve of the horizon lay a black line, a line that was coming ever forward.
"The Darkness," Lucifer whispered. He was the Devil and he feared nothing, but whoever did not dread the Darkness was a fool.
"We must find a safe place, brother, " Michael said. "For now, heaven is secure. The Darkness will first cover the Earth before turning its gaze heaven-ward. We must return there and regroup."
"Uhh—Satan here! " Lucifer pointed a finger at his own chest. "I don't get to cross the Pearly Gates."
Michael heaved a put-on sigh.
"Wait here then. I will go to Heaven and assess the situation. Explain to the holy host the disaster that has somehow been unleashed onto the Earth, and the danger to heaven. I don't think they'll refuse to let you have a visitor's pass for a quick call to arms."
"Then you don't know your bigoted fellow comrades," Lucifer declared. "They will never let me in. I'm still the bad boy as far as they're concerned."
"You are the bad boy, as well as being vainglorious and proud," Michael confirmed. "But this is an emergency. We all have to pull together for the greater good."
"Yeah, cos that went down so well for us the last time," Lucifer bitched.
"We are wasting time brother," Michael replied impatiently. "Wait for me here."
But Lucifer would have no need to wait, not even for an instant as Michael could find no way to enter Heaven. It was locked and barred.
"That has to be the shortest visit on record, "Lucifer smirked. "I didn't even see you leave."
"Heaven is closed. Why would that be?"
"We've been out of the loop for quite a few centuries now, Michael. Anything could have happened to your precious heaven."
"Come then, we must travel to a safe place and acquire two temporary vessels until we find out exactly what has happened"
"Leave it to me, Mikey. I'll rustle up two suitable ones before you can say 'Where's Dad?' My silver-lined tongue never fails to convince the needy humans."
The two arch-angels took to the sky in search of vessels and information.
Sam turned to look out of the rear window. The black cloud had slowed, or so it seemed to him. Maybe once the initial rush had worn off, it would spread more slowly. The Earth was a big place and to cover it all would take time.
He glanced at his brother. "Dean what's wrong?
"Well Sam, apart from an evil fugly black cloud following us, I'm peachy."
"It's more than that," Sam insisted.
Dean decided that coming clean was the best answer. He'd fucked things up good-time, and now wasn't the moment to keep secrets.
"Before you arrived, Death told me how this 'Darkness' had been defeated and imprisoned by God and his arch-angels, but we're little low on both this time round!
God is AWOL and the only two arch-angels left after Castiel's little genocide in Heaven are..."
"Michael and Lucifer." Sam finished for him, a horrified expression on his face!
Dean gave him a glance full of meaning, before putting the pedal to the floor again.