"Many thanks for the warning, lady," Benny says from where he's already shaking out his own bedroll before cramming it into his bags, reaching for the one he'd given Dean. It's a different fox than last time--larger but less sleek, with the rawness of youth to her. She's all but dancing in place with her anxiety for them.
"What'll they do if they catch us?" Dean asks, still barefoot from sleep, catching one-handed at the horse's loose reins and leading it over to a convenient fallen log. His boots are ... somewhere. He should probably grab them before they leave, though from the fox's urgency there's probably not time to actually put them on.
"My brothers have never tended towards kindness," Benny says. "Best not to find out."
With speed as the main worry, Dean winds up in front, for once, bags bouncing against his knees, boots and rabbit an awkward armful, Benny behind and wrapped around him to handle the reins. It's hideously uncomfortable and precarious, but it means that by the time there's the faint baying of some hound, they're already off, fox darting ahead until the horse digs itself in for a proper gallop.
"Good luck!" she cries as they go past, and then it's all desperate clinging with knees and legs, Benny's arms suddenly the closest Dean has to security as they jolt and shudder along. At least this is old forest, the trees huge and the ground mostly bare--there's still the occasional close call from some inconvenient branch, but they might yet make it out and away without Dean getting blinded.
And Dean knows, somewhere in the back of his head after spending a couple of weekends watching the Triple Crown that year with Lisa, that horses can run flat-out like this for only so long, but it seems like maybe the horse doesn't know, because it seems to just keep accelerating until there's finally visible daylight breaking in through the treeline and then they're *out*--Dean squinting desperately through the sudden brilliance of direct sun, and the horse dropping down to a staggering, shuddering walk. They're at the edge of a rolling meadow; in the distance shines the rolling iridescence of some river. It might be the one they've already crossed--at this point he has absolutely no idea where they are in relation to where they've been.
Sweat and foam stream down the insides of Dean's thighs and even down across his bare feet, but the horse keeps going, its stride smoothing out a bit even as its sides heave with each snorting breath. "Think we lost them?" he asks Benny. He can feel the rabbit's heart hammering against his thumb as he cradles it, as though it had been the one to win them escape.
"You've lost your boots," Benny says in reply, voice perfectly even. Dean opens his mouth to ask what that has to do with anything, but--
"They have dogs," he remembers.
"Yes," Benny says. "We'd better head for the river."