Authors: John Passarella
Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon
by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Supernatural: The Unholy Cause
by Joe Schreiber
Supernatural: War of the Sons
by Rebecca Dessertine & David Reed
Supernatural: One Year Gone
by Rebecca Dessertine
Supernatural: Coyote’s Kiss
by Christa Faust
created by Eric Kripke
Supernatural: Night Terror
Print edition ISBN: 9780857681010
E-book edition ISBN: 9780857685445
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Titan Publishing Group Ltd
144 Southwark St
First edition September 2011
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SUPERNATURAL ™ & © 2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Cover imagery: Front cover image courtesy of Warner Bros.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.
Printed and bound in the United States.
For Andrea, who kept our family on course while my writing routine drifted into the nightmare hours.
And in loving memory of my father, William Passarella whose absence/presence affects me every day.
This novel takes place during season six, between “Frontierland” and “Mommy Dearest.”
Gavin “Shelly” Shelburn ambled along the tree-lined streets of downtown Clayton Falls, Colorado with enough conviction to avoid any charges of loitering. Occasionally, he sat on one of the secured wrought-iron benches to rest his perpetually sore feet, which had worn down the soles of his scuffed boots to the intimation of rice paper. Mostly, he spent the evening hours circling the restaurant district, eight square blocks encompassing the most popular sit-down restaurants, asking for handouts.
Whether people were about to sit down to a good meal, or returning to their cars after enjoying a fine repast, his strategy was to impart a touch of guilt on these more fortunate citizens. With a notoriously bad economy struggling to right itself, Shelburn remained on the bottom looking up. Not that it was much consolation to a man who had lost his wife to a lengthy illness, his job to subsequent neglect in unforgiving times, and his house to dispassionate bankers, but his current disenfranchised condition lacked the stigma of years past. With record unemployment and housing foreclosures “There but for the grace of God, go I” had become a familiar refrain.
The decline and fall of Gavin Shelburn had begun in advance of the so-called Great Recession, but he wasn’t above accepting the sympathy of those still gainfully employed to keep his stomach, if not full, then at least occasionally mindful of its gastric function. To that end, he made his nightly rounds wearing a battered fedora—which he unfailingly tipped to the ladies and regularly flipped over to accommodate folded donations—along with a rumpled overcoat that also served as his blanket and fell to the top of his second-hand combat boots. His gaunt torso gained some bulk from the two button-down shirts he wore, one over the other, though he switched the layers each day in lieu of regular laundering. Combined, the two shirts had a complement of buttons sufficient for one. His threadbare jeans retained a hint of their original black color.
On most nights, the reliable combination of sympathy, guilt and polite panhandling kept Shelly’s stomach fed and, yes, his spirits warm, while steering clear of Chief Quinn’s holding cell. But the lingering effects of a poor economy led to slow evenings in the restaurant district, especially on weeknights. He’d reached the outskirts of his bread-andbutter zone, near the smaller pizza joints which offered slim pickings at the best of times, and was about to head back, when a middle-aged woman rushed out of Joe’s Pizza Shack with a large pizza box and a two liter bottle of Coke.
“Good evening, Madam,” he said, tipping his multipurpose fedora.
“Oh,” she said, startled, pausing in her dash to her car, a white Nissan idling at an unfed parking meter. “All right.” She set the pizza box on the hood of the car, fished a crumpled dollar bill out of her purse and dropped it in his hat. “Here ya go.”
“Thank you, Madam,” he said, graciously accepting the dollar, which he stuffed into his left pocket since the right had a hole that had traveled the entire length of the seam.
With a careless wave she gathered up her pizza box, jumped in the car, and sped off.
A fine white mist roiled in her wake, seeming to seep in from the side streets and roll past him, lending an unearthly quality to the gritty areas that lay beyond the reach of the urban gentrification of the downtown district. More than isolated, he felt... abandoned, as if reality, along with the suburban woman, had decided to move on without him.
He stood for a moment, staring after her car, before pushing the fedora back down over his thinning, prematurely gray hair, and turned back the way he had come. Despite momentary delusions to the contrary, his reality had not changed. Though it had become routine, his life remained unpleasant, with no guarantees.
But these days
, he thought,
nobody has any guarantees
Over the course of the slow evening, he’d collected enough to pay for a few slices of pizza and a beverage to call his own, but it was too soon to reward himself with a meal or a drink—alcoholic or otherwise. Within the next hour, the last wave of sated diners would be heading home to park themselves in front of their high-definition plasma screens. Surely a few would spare a buck or two for a neighbor who had fallen on hard times?
Ignoring a protracted grumble of protest from his stomach, he continued his trek back toward the heart of the restaurant district. He hadn’t gotten far, when he heard another sound behind him, a scrape like steel on concrete followed by a sudden, slurping hiss.
Startled, he whirled around. And staggered backward in disbelief.
“What the hell?” he whispered.
It wasn’t possible.
His right hand patted the flask tucked into his overcoat pocket. Almost full. He hadn’t touched the stuff. Was saving it for later, when he would hunker down for another fitful night’s sleep. But even if he had drained every drop, it couldn’t explain what he saw.
It was easily as long as two Nissans. A giant lizard, with a black pebbled face, its long powerful body and massive tail banded with bright orange. A name bubbled up from his subconscious, planted there in his grade school years and not quite forgotten.