\The newest Supernatural tie-in novel “Fresh Meat” is now available! Written by Alice Henderson, the novel takes place during the season 7 episodes “Shut Up, Dr. Phil” and “Season 7, Time for a Wedding”. The book opens in the Sierra Navada Mountains in 1846, when a group of emigrants are attempting to survive a trek to a new life in California. When starvation becomes a permanent reality among the prospective settlers, some of them turn to cannibalism. One of the emigrants, Foster, starts going mad and even kills and eats the group’s Miwok guides.
In the present day, a rash of strange deaths in the Tahoe National Forest catch the attention of Sam and Dean Winchester, who immediately call Bobby for help. When they learn more about the disappearances and the history of they area they call Bobby for help. Together, the trio quickly concludes that they’re dealing with a Wendigo and they hike into the forrest to face the monster.
“Fresh Meat” – Chapter Two
The next day Sam and Dean drove across Nevada along Highway 95 in the gleaming black Chevy Impala, Dean behind the wheel, Sam sprawled in the passenger seat. Rugged mountains lined the horizon, sagebrush dotting the high desert floor. A writer had once described this part of Nevada as “the loneliest place I ever found myself,” but Dean loved the West. Loved the high, open spaces and the history. He’d seen every classic western movie ever made. While “Back In Black” by AC/DC played on the radio, he imagined Pony Express riders leaning over their horses, racing toward the Pacific. They passed through the small towns of Hawthorne and Schurz, seeing the hulking remains of abandoned mines on the hillsides. Wild mustangs ran in the open spaces. They reached Carson City, Nevada, where Kit Carson and Mark Twain had once roamed the streets, then turned west toward Lake Tahoe. On Highway 50, they started climbing into the Sierra Nevada mountains. The sun sank low behind the peaks, painting the clouds a dazzling red and gold. Sam drifted in and out of sleep.
The car crested a hill and the lake suddenly came into view, a deep sapphire-blue pool amid the snowy peaks. Dean let his mind drift, and it inevitably took him to Castiel. The angel had resurrected Dean, and had then become his friend, fought side by side with him and Sam. Next to his brother and Bobby, Cas was the closest thing Dean had to family. He couldn’t believe he was gone. Sometimes the life of a hunter made him feel like he was destined to lose everyone too early. Ellen and Jo, his mom, his dad.
The job could make a person crazy. He knew Castiel had been dealing with huge issues—the silence of God, a war in heaven, the apocalypse—but he could have talked to Dean. They would have figured it out together. Cas didn’t have to make a deal with Crowley, the King of Hell. He didn’t have to swallow all those souls from Purgatory and become the Heavenly equivalent of an unstable nuclear reactor. Now his friend was gone, torn apart by the ravenous Leviathan too powerful to contain, even for an angel. Right now, somewhere out there, the Leviathan were growing stronger and stronger, duplicating person after person, posing as doctors, entrepreneurs, scientists, politicians. Dean and Sam stared down the barrel of a new Armageddon, hot from the oven, that once again threatened to destroy life as they knew it. And Dean didn’t have the belief he once had, that unfailing knowledge that they could tackle whatever came at them. He’d lost that somewhere along the road.
Damn it. Why did Cas have to do that? They could have used him in the upcoming fight, used his power and knowledge.
But Dean missed more than that. He’d told Cas once that he was like a brother to him. Fat lot of good that had been in the end.
They descended into the lake basin, driving past steep cliffs. Out on the lake’s surface, white caps crested and fell. They drove through the town of Incline Village and entered California, passing through King’s Beach. Dean kept an eye out for good eateries. They turned north and drove through Truckee, once the most dangerous city in California, full of gunfighters and lynch mobs. As night fell and “Free Ride” by Edgar Winter played on the radio, they rolled into the small town of Emigrant Gap.
With only one main street, it wasn’t too hard to find Bobby. Dean spotted his van parked outside the Ritzert Roadhouse.
Sam stirred awake and they got out and stretched. A cold breeze sighed through the pine trees, the unmistakable scent of snow on the wind. Dean breathed in the high-altitude air, smelling earth and wet pine trees. Sam gathered up the case research he’d collected and they entered the grill.
Bobby Singer sat at the bar, a shot of Maker’s Mark in one hand. He leaned over a newspaper, making notes in a small notebook. His red flannel shirt and worn jeans were rumpled, and the blue, netted baseball cap on his head was just as soiled and beat up as ever.
“Bobby!” Dean greeted him.
Bobby turned on the barstool, taking Dean’s hand and patting him on the shoulder. He did the same with Sam.
“I was wondering when you idjits were going to show up.”
“It’s good to see you, too, Bobby,” Sam said.
Bobby motioned toward the empty barstools next to him. “Take a load off.”
They sat down, Dean ordering beers all round.
Bobby pointed to the newspaper he was reading. “There’s been another disappearance. Young kid, about twenty. Went back-country and didn’t come back. Rangers found blood and some torn clothing.”
Sam leaned in to look at the article. “Does it say where exactly?”
“Out near Sixmile Valley.” Bobby pulled out a topographic map and spread it on the bar. “I figure we can light out tomorrow. It’s about a four-mile hike in.”
Sam pulled the research folder out of his jacket and slid it over to Bobby. He studied the accounts, turning to the map on occasion, then nodded. “These attacks happened in the same basic area. As much as I hate to say it, I think you’re right. We’re looking for a wendigo.”
A wendigo was an incredibly fast, vicious creature that had once been human and that craved human flesh. Sam and Dean had fought one a few years ago. The thing had been hard as hell to find and kill. It had an uncanny ability to imitate human voices, crying out for help to lure in victims. Then it ate, not leaving much behind. The only weapon that could kill it was fire.
“I picked up some supplies on the way down,” Bobby told them. “A flamethrower and the makin’s for some Molotov cocktails.”
“And here I thought you were going to say s’mores,” Dean said. “I love a camp-out.”
“This ain’t a game, boys. These things are mean and hungry.”
Dean smiled. Bobby wasn’t openly emotive, but every now and then his affection came through in the form of gruff advice.
Bobby packed up the map and research and tucked it away in the folder. “I’m getting some sleep. I’ll see you two in the morning.”
“Okay, Bobby,” Sam said.
Dean turned to his brother. “We need to find some digs. And something to eat.”
That night Dean slept fitfully, images of the last wendigo hunt keeping him awake. He could still hear the screams. Dean was starting to feel worn out and hopeless about the hunting gig. They’d go out there and hunt the thing and then what? Another monster would be waiting somewhere else. No matter how many they killed, another always took its place. Sam would tell him that they saved lives, that that was important. Dean used to think that, too. He supposed he still did, on a good day. But they’d saved the world so many damn times already, and it was always ready to off itself again. Sometimes it was as if it wanted to end. Maybe they were just uselessly postponing the inevitable, all this suffering was for nothing. Dean’s head just wasn’t in the hunt like it used to be. He was feeling used up. He knew Bobby would warn him that was a dangerous way to be. You don’t have your head in the game, you’re dead.
Then there was Castiel. Dean felt so betrayed. If Cas hadn’t let those Leviathan bastards out of Purgatory, humanity wouldn’t be facing annihilation again. Sure, maybe Raphael would have busted them out anyway. Maybe it was better that it was Cas who did it. First, though, the power had gone straight to his head. He’d actually demanded they bow down before him, their new god. Only toward the end was he the Castiel that Dean remembered.
Dean flashed on the last time he saw him, wading into the deep waters of the reservoir before erupting with the blackness of thousands of Leviathan, all swimming eagerly out into the world. His friend had vanished in an explosion of darkness, leaving them alone to deal with the upcoming catastrophe. Sometimes Dean got so angry about it he wanted to put his fist through a wall.
He rolled over, trying to get comfortable. On the other bed, Sam murmured in the dark; he was having a nightmare. Dean worried about his brother. Knew that he was struggling a lot more than he let on. But he wasn’t letting Dean in like he used to. Wasn’t leaning on him like when they were kids. Dean felt shut out. He’d never admit it to Sam, but sometimes he felt like his brother just didn’t need him anymore. What was the point? Dean had protected him for as long as he could remember. His father had charged him with that duty, and he’d done his best. And then Hell itself had claimed Sam…
Last year Sam had made the ultimate sacrifice to save the Earth. He’d agreed to be Lucifer’s vessel, then flung himself and Lucifer into Hell. Castiel rescued him, but it took them a while to realize that not all of Sam had made it out. He had come back minus his soul, which remained locked in combat with Lucifer in the cage. When they finally managed to get his soul back in his body, a wall existed in Sam’s mind, blocking out memories of Hell.
Castiel destroyed that, too. He removed the wall, and Sam hadn’t been the same since. He was tortured with visions of Lucifer. Dean had a hell of a time convincing Sam they were hallucinations and not the actual fallen angel, sitting there tormenting him wherever he went. But pain helped. An old wound in the palm of Sam’s hand helped his brother differentiate what was real and what wasn’t. Pain seemed to focus Sam’s mind.
Dean rolled over, trying to make his mind go blank so he could just get some goddamned sleep. He was going to need it tomorrow. What waited for them in that forest was fast and deadly, and Dean had to get his head together if he wasn’t going to end up as wendigo jerky.
He thrashed around, then sat up on the edge of the bed. He stood up and walked into the room’s small, dingy kitchen. He pulled out a bottle of whisky and a tumbler. Filling the glass halfway, Dean downed the contents. Then he filled it again and drank more slowly. He was tired of the world threatening to explode. Tired of seeing his brother suffer. He needed a goddamn day off. Hell, he needed a goddamn life off.
Sam stirred in his sleep again, groaning. His brow knitted together. Damn Castiel. If he hadn’t removed that mental wall, things would be a lot easier for his brother. They needed every break they could get. But once again Cas had betrayed them, and now Dean had to watch his brother suffer daily through those hellish visions.
He walked back to the bed and sat down, watching the shadows of trees move on the thin curtains. Finishing the rest of his drink, he lay back on the bed, trying to force his mind to go quiet.
The morning came too early, with Bobby knocking on the door. Dean’s head throbbed dully from the whisky last night and a lack of sleep.
They drove to the trailhead and geared up, loading their packs with ammunition, Molotov cocktail ingredients, food, and water. They slung rifles over their shoulders, and Bobby took the lead, searching for the first trace of the creature. Dean followed him, carrying the flamethrower, and Sam took up the rear, watching their backs. The forest was quiet, with a few birds singing in the trees and the wind sighing peacefully through the branches. But Dean knew it wouldn’t be long before they were fighting for their lives.