Can't get enough Supernatural in your life? Dreading the season ender? Then let us perk you up with this excerpt from a new Supernatural novel, The Unholy Cause by awesome horror author Joe Schreiber.
Here's a quick synopsis of the novel:
Way back in April 1862, Confederate Captain Jubal Beauchamp leads a charge across a Georgia battleground… Fast forward to 2009 and a civil war re-enactment becomes all too real. When Sam and Dean head down south to investigate they find that history has got somewhat out of hand…
We've got an excerpt from chapter 4, when the action heats up.
THE UNHOLY CAUSE, Chapter 4
The field hospital was nothing more than a stained canvas dog tent billowing in the breeze, fifty yards from the Commanches' bivouac. Even before Sam and Dean arrived, they could hear the groans and cries of the men laid out inside.
"Doc, I'm gutshot."
"It's bonebreak fever... I can hear the angel band calling me..."
"Gimme a bullet to bite on. This leg's got gangrene. I think it's gonna have to come off-"
To Sam-who had seen more than his share of pain and dying-the performances sounded unnervingly realistic.
Where did they learn to make it sound so convincing? he wondered. And why would they want to?
He lifted the tent-flap and peered in. Everywhere he looked, soldiers were scattered almost shoulder-to-shoulder on mats laid across the floor, or sprawled directly on the dirt.
Their groans and pleas were almost constant.
Standing in the middle of them, dressed in a shabby white coat that hung down to his knees, was the one man who looked even less like he belonged here than they did.
"Cass," Dean said. "What's going on? Why are you slumming with this crowd?"
Castiel didn't even look up. He had his hand on one of the wounded men's heads and his lips were moving slightly. Then he reached down and lifted the soldier upright, setting him on his feet and propelling him backward.
The re-enactor staggered away, nearly tripping over the bodies of the men behind him. Glaring with confusion, he looked up at Castiel.
"What the hell was that?"
"I've returned the strength to your legs," Castiel replied, his expression unreadable. Turning his back on the man, he opened his hands again. "Who's next?"
Still ignoring him, Castiel bent down over a soldier whose face was wrapped in layers of sagging, bloody bandages.
"Let me see," he said, peeling away the gauze and laying his hands directly over the man's eyes. "There. Now look upon me."
The re-enactor frowned, blinking.
"Where'd you come from, bro?"
"Heaven," Castiel said, and he began to lift the man's bloodstained shirt. "Now let me see that chest wound."
"Take your hands off me!" the man shouted, and he squirmed away.
Castiel froze, his arms still partially extended. Sam shot Dean a look.
All around the tent, the other "wounded" had begun to pull back, withdrawing to the corners without completely abandoning the pretense of injury. Finally Castiel looked back and noticed that the Winchesters were standing there watching him.
A slight frown creased his forehead.
"Whoa," Dean said. "Awkward moment."
"What are you doing here?" Castiel asked.
Dean raised his eyebrows.
"Right back atcha, Cass."
"I walked the battlefields of the South a hundred and sixty years ago," Castiel replied, a faraway look entering his eyes. "I moved among the men and brought their souls to glory. And now..."
Something moved over his face for just an instant, so rare and brief that Dean almost didn't catch it: a flicker of hope.
"And now," he repeated, "I'm healing again."
"Cass..."Dean shook his head. "You do realize that none of these jokers is actually hurt, don't you?"
Castiel's expression darkened, but he didn't speak.
"See?" Dean nudged the man closest to him with his toe, and the re-enactor let out an authentic, well-rehearsed warble of pain. "It's a show. Their hobby. Like those couples that dress up in furry animal suits and..."
"Dean," Sam cut in.
"Sorry." He turned back to the crippled angel and shrugged.
Castiel regarded the tent around him again and sighed.
He turned away, taking off the white coat and tossing it to the floor.
Still avoiding their eyes, he picked up his familiar trenchcoat from the back of a chair and slipped it on. When he turned to face Sam and Dean again, his face was utterly composed. The hopefulness was gone, buried beneath an iron mask of grim determination.
"I have more pressing business to attend to," he announced.
"The great God-hunt," Dean said. "Tell me, is He a Civil
"I found a lead recently," Castiel announced. "A first- order witness."
"Is that like a mail-order bride?"
"First-order witnesses are among the rarest of celestial beings. The term refers to one who actually broke bread with Christ Himself."
"Six degrees of Jesus, huh?" Dean asked.
"Less than six. One."
"What makes you think he'll spill?"
"It is the break that I've been hoping for. Whoever the witness is, he will answer to me."
"Gotta respect the confidence," Dean said, "but let's face it..."
Then he stopped.
The place where Castiel had been standing was already empty.
Shaking his head, he looked around. Several of the re- enactors had broken character completely and were standing up, staring in disbelief at the spot where Castiel wasn't.
"Who was that freak?" one of them managed.
"Freak?" Dean looked around at them, grown men in costumes, huddled together with bruises and injuries painted on their faces, and Sam was afraid he was going to say something they'd both regret.
But he just shook his head.
"Don't worry about it," he said. "He won't be back."
Want more? Pick up the book at Amazon.