Are you suffering from Winchester withdrawal? We are, too. It feels like aeons since Supernatural's been on television. To help tide you over until the fall TV season begins, here's an exclusive excerpt from the brand new Supernatural novel, which tells about a previously untold adventure of the Winchesters during season seven.
Here's the official synopsis for Supernatural: Rite of Passage by John Passarella, which just came out from Titan Books:
Laurel Hill, New Jersey, is beginning to look like one of the unluckiest places on Earth when an escalating series of accidents and outbreaks hit the town. But Sam and Dean suspect it's more than just bad luck. Along with Bobby Singer, the brothers soon realize that a mysterious figure is at the center of the chaos. When they uncover a connection between the stranger and three teenage boys at the local high school who are experiencing some unusual growing pains, they know they will need far more than good luck to prevent an all-out disaster.
And here's our exclusive excerpt from the book:
Dean thought he might have to twist Sam's arm to get him into the Greasy Griddle diner on I-87, but it was the first eatery they passed after their night in Harpy Valley, and coffee had risen from a priority to a necessity. Fortunately, in addition to high-octane java, the busy truck stop offered a selection of bran muffins and a fruit cup, so Sam was set. Bobby had a poached egg and grapefruit. Dean ordered the Double Triple, which featured three eggs any style and three breakfast meats. Not wishing to complicate his order, Dean ordered everything fried.
From the stiff way Sam and Bobby had walked across the parking lot of the diner and then eased themselves into the booth, Dean assumed they were as sore as he was from the harpy battle. Bobby seemed crankier than normal, Sam quieter. Dean's sleep, what little he managed during the short night, had been fitful. Chugging aspirin and whiskey hadn't helped as much as he'd hoped. Coffee throughout breakfast, however, smoothed out the kinks.
Lately, relaxation came in small doses, especially in public. Ever since the Leviathan created dark-side doppelgangers of the Winchesters for a cross-country killing spree, Sam and Dean had to continually look over their shoulders in case somebody made them as the infamous serial killers. Because the doppelgangers purposely drove a black '67 Chevy Impala during their crime spree, the Winchesters had to abandon Dean's baby for a series of stolen beaters, none of which would be missed before they switched to the next. As the Leviathan now hunted the hunters, the Winchesters also had to abandon their old fake IDs and credit cards, switch to burner cell phones and avoid leaving behind an electronic trail. In addition, the brothers had to develop a strong aversion to security cameras. Hell of a way to live. But sound advice, nevertheless, from Bobby's bipolar and extremely paranoid acquaintance-friend was too strong a word-Frank Devereaux.
The Greasy Griddle was just what the paranoiac ordered: a high-traffic truck stop frequented by a series of anonymous faces and not a security camera in sight. They would pay for their meal in cash and have no need to give a name or flash a fake ID.
After their waitress, a middle-aged bottle blonde with a plastic smile who looked like she'd seen it all more than once and stopped registering the details long ago, cleared their plates, Bobby left the booth to settle their check at the register. With his stomach full and his cup topped off, Dean felt about as content as he ever did between hunting jobs these days. Sam, on the other hand, had already turned his attention to his shiny new laptop-courtesy of Frank Devereaux's Paranoia Emporium-and flipped through some paper printouts he'd assembled earlier, a clear threat to Dean's admittedly brief ‘between jobs' contentment.
"Dude, did you sleepwalk to a Kinko's?"
"Might be onto something..."
At that moment, Bobby returned from the cashier's counter with a late edition of the county paper and dropped it on the table in front of them. "Above the fold," he said. "‘Cannibal Woodsman?'"
Dean reached for the paper and spun it around, skimming the text for details. "‘Anonymous call leads police to grisly killing grounds... half-eaten... stripped bones... shallow graves... no suspects.'" He pushed the paper back to Bobby and spoke softly. "Got the ‘grisly' right. But they'll waste months looking for Jeremiah Johnson with a dog-eared copy of To Serve Man."
"You want 'em to find super-sized bird nests?" Bobby asked after checking for any potential eavesdroppers. "Hell, the victims' families will get closure. Least as much as they'll ever get."
"You're right. Nobody needs to know Uncle Ed or Cousin Jimmy was a Harpy Happy Meal."
"Guys," Sam said. "I think I have something here."
"No rest for the wicked," Bobby commented.
"Laurel Hill, New Jersey," Sam said, looking at the printouts. "Three roofers fell off the second story of a house yesterday, one after the other. Two broken necks. The third split his skull open. Also broke his neck. The homeowner says they all fell within minutes of one another."
"Weird," Bobby said, frowning, "but not outside the neighborhood of weird coincidence. Laurel Hill?"
"Why?" Dean asked. "You got something?"
"It'll keep," Bobby said. Then to Sam, "Go on, son."
"Few blocks away, couple minutes later, guy on a ladder trimming a tree with a chainsaw falls, slices open his femoral artery and dies on his lawn."
"Weird enough for you?" Dean asked Bobby.
"It gets weirder," Sam continued, turning his attention from the printouts to the screen. "This morning a mass transit bus driver has a heart attack and drives his bus right through the front window of a fitness center. Guy on a treadmill and a woman on the elliptical machine next to him were killed instantly-"
Dean leveled an index finger at his brother. "Sammy, don't ever mock my health choices again."
On a roll, Sam let that pass. "Few minutes later, less than a mile away, seventeen car pileup. Multiple explosions and fatalities."
Bobby shook his head. "Sounds like the bad luck fairy ripped Laurel Hill a new one."
"I'm game," Dean said. "Bobby, you in? Or you wanna head back?"
Bobby scratched his beard at the jaw line, his gaze thoughtful under his trucker's cap.
"Something about Laurel Hill?" Sam prompted.
"Know somebody there might help," Bobby said. "Emphasis on the ‘might.'"
"A hunter?" Dean asked.
"Yes and no."
"I'm not even sure I know what that means," Dean said.
"Problem in a nutshell," Bobby said. "I'll call. He agrees
not to slam the door in our faces, we'll have a basecamp."
Bobby shrugged. "Fleabag or abandoned rat-trap. Pick your poison."
Sam drove the Plymouth south on I-87. Bobby followed in his Chevelle, on the phone again with his Laurel Hill contact. The first call, in the diner's parking lot, had been short, ending with an emphatic hang-up on the other end. But Bobby wasn't giving up... yet.
After about fifty miles of silence, Sam glanced at Dean sprawled in the passenger seat, ostensibly relaxed but definitely scowling. He had taken one pull from his flask before settling in for the long ride.
Finally, Sam asked, "Wanna talk about it?"
"About last night. The harpies."
"If something's bothering you..."
"It's a job, alright," Dean said. "Do the job. Get out. Don't need to sit around toasting marshmallows and singing ‘Kumbaya.'"
"No. I get it, Dean."
Dean was right. It wasn't like they celebrated a monster kill. Mostly it was a relief. Do the job, because it's what they did as hunters. No glory, no after-parties. But Sam couldn't shake the sense that something deeper was troubling his brother. He decided to let it rest.
Then Dean surprised him.
"I'm not like you," he said. "Not anymore."
Sam considered that statement before responding. "How so?"
"Even with a bat in your belfry, you're okay with everything," Dean said. "Wrap up one job, turn the page, move on to the next."
"Look, Dean," Sam said, "I know there's a cost. I give a damn, okay? It's just... This is what I have. Here. Now. This keeps me... focused."
Sam glanced at his brother again. "Dean, we're hiding from the Leviathan. We have no idea what their game plan is, no clue how to kill them, but we know they want us off the board. They killed all those people while wearing our faces to neutralize us."
"You think maybe I forgot?"
"So, what? You want to quit?"
Dean heaved a sigh. "No," he said softly. "That's not what I'm saying."
"That guy on the tree branch," Dean said. "Broken back, guts ripped out, bleeding." He shook his head bitterly. "The poor son of a bitch never had a chance, Sam."
"If we'd got there an hour sooner," Dean said, slapping his palm down on his knee angrily, "half hour, maybe..."
They'd had this discussion before. The cruel facts of hunter life: you couldn't save everyone, you didn't always arrive in the nick of time, but you took solace in the lives you had saved.
"We stopped them, Dean," Sam said. "There won't be another vic."
"Wrong, Sam," Dean said grimly. "There's always another one. No matter what we do..."