EXCLUSIVE: Read An Excerpt From John Passarella's SUPERNATURAL - RITE OF PASSAGE
Courtesy of Titan Books, we have an exclusive excerpt from John Passarella's Supernatural - Rite Of Passage; a brand-new Supernatural novel, set during season 7, that reveals a previously unseen adventure for the Winchester brothers, from the hit CW series!
After Sam and Dean Winchester lost their mother to a mysterious supernatural force as young children, their father taught them how to hunt and destroy the paranormal evil that exists in the dark corners of America. Following their father’s demonic death, they discovered that they are descended from a long line of hunters and chose to continue their mission. 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.
About The Author: John Passarella is the Bram Stoker Award-Winning author of Wither, Wither’s Rain, Wither’s Legacy, Kindred Spirit, Shimmer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Ghoul Trouble, Angel: Avatar and Angel: Monolith. He owns AuthorPromo.com, a web design company with New York Times bestselling clients, and resides in New Jersey. Supernatural - Rite Of Passage goes on sale on August 28th and you can find out more details right HERE.
Tora sat at the back of the South Jersey Transit bus with the bowler tilted low over his deeply creased brow, his cane upright between his knees, both hands gripping the ironbound handle. Had he planned to crash the bus, he would not have boarded it. His interest lay in its route. For the same reason, he ignored opportunities to tamper with the lives of the passengers—early shift workers, probably food service or manual laborers by the look of them. Most wore casual shirts and jeans or shapeless polyester uniforms. A handful sported business attire. With his bowler, black suit and cane, he looked the most out of place on the bus, hence his decision to sit behind the other passengers, where he could observe without attracting undue attention. Of course, he could use his power to fade from their awareness, but saw no reason to expend the effort.
Of all the humans present, the obese bus driver, with his florid face and labored breathing, his girth straining the seams of his black vest and white dress shirt, offered the easiest possibility. But a medical emergency would probably prevent the completion of the buses route. Better to forego a small reward in favor of a bigger prize. Another test of his patience.
When the bus approached the intersection of Route 38 and Kressen Boulevard, he sat up straighter, attentively glancing left and right to observe the volume of rapid rush hour traffic. A broad smile spread across his ruddy face. As the bus slowed, several passengers stood to disembark. After a mischievous look in the bus driver’s direction, he followed the other passengers to the back door, ducking his head and turning sideways to step out. As the door hissed closed behind him, he tapped it with the pointed tip of his cane, an action unnoticed by the passengers who remained behind or those who left the bus before him. While they crossed the intersection or turned down Route 38 with clear purpose, he stood next to the traffic light as if undecided about which way to proceed.
Someone had taped multiple copies of a colorful flyer to the traffic light pole, as if worried they would succumb to attrition and at least one must last until the upcoming Sunday at 10am. The chamber of commerce was sponsoring the Laurel Hill 50th Anniversary Parade to commence at Broad and Main in something designated the Classic Business District. That the town had planned a celebration he found amusing. He chuckled, a deep, rumbling sound.
The heavy flow of traffic along Kressen Boulevard and Route 38 dutifully obeyed the mechanical commands of the traffic lights dangling overhead. Predictably, the drivers pushed their luck, running yellow lights, jamming their brakes at the last second, and yielding reluctantly. Conditions were ripe. But he would need a few moments to expand his awareness.
First things first. He stared down Kressen Boulevard until he spotted, several intersections distant, the receding form of the bus he had recently vacated. With the index and middle finger of his right hand pressed to his temple, he recalled the image of the bus driver. After a moment or two, the recalled image transformed and became the present. He saw inside the bus, heard the driver’s labored breathing and watched as his heavy foot pressed the accelerator pedal. Ahead of the bus, a T-intersection loomed. The driver would have to turn left or right or—
The third option held the most promise.
Tora rubbed his thumb over the head of the cane in concentration.
The bus driver gasped, clutching his right palm against his chest. Sweating profusely, he tried to speak but merely moaned in excruciating pain. His foot floored the accelerator and the bus shot through the T-intersection and jumped the far curb. Realizing the bus was out of control, several passengers screamed.
Directly in front of the runaway bus, on the far side of a narrow parking lot, the floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows of an athletic club revealed an impressive row of treadmills, stationary bicycles, elliptical machines and stair climbers— all facing away from the parking lot. The club members toiled away with no forward progress, either staring at the mounted row of flat-screen television sets provided for their entertainment or listening to private music through their earbuds.
The bus shot across the parking lot unimpeded, still gathering speed as it raced between two narrow bollards in front of recently vacated parking spaces, jumped the sidewalk and crashed through the plate glass windows. Two club members died instantly as the bus bowled over their cardio machines. Flying debris and smashed flat-screen TVs injured several others. Several bus passengers broke limbs or suffered concussions. One died from a broken neck. Fractured, the Laurel Hill Fitness Zone sign above the plate glass windows fell on either side of the bus. Within three minutes, the bus driver would die.
Tora frowned, slightly disappointed now that it was over. Aside from the delightful shock value, the accident had produced negligible results. No matter. He would accept it as an extemporaneous warm up act and proceed to the main event.
Again, he focused on the alternating flow of traffic, the give and take of racing and braking vehicles on Route 38 and Kressen Boulevard. Those on time wanted to arrive early; those running late needed to make up time. Either way, the commute became a daily ritual of gamesmanship, fueled by equal parts anger, resentment, distraction and carelessness. A perfect storm... with a little help.
Facing the intersection at a forty-five degree angle, he stood with both hands clasped over the iron handle of his cane and focused his attention on the flow of traffic, in one direction after another. With each passing second, his awareness spread farther from the intersection along each traffic artery. He filtered out the cars, SUVs and trucks as they exited the intersection, removing them from the organic equation of coincidence forming in his head. And yet that was insufficient for what he planned. He needed to see more.
The bowler hat rose slightly on his brow as he stretched his deeply creased forehead, revealing a rounded lump in the center, and the closed lid of a third eye. Finally, the dark eyelid fluttered open, exposing a milky white orb with several odd pupils—or at least what passed for pupils. The black oblong shapes drifted randomly across the nacreous surface of the eye, sometimes submerging and reappearing in a different location before sliding along the surface again. Humans who observed Tora’s third eye for more than a few seconds often became violently ill. Few lived long enough to tell the tale.
With his third eye exposed and active, he could complete his assessment. Now he saw farther than was possible with his other eyes. He saw the interconnectedness of every action and reaction, like a vast clockwork mechanism. One by one, the necessary gears resolved before the examination of the eye—
A man distracted by an angry cell phone conversation.
The woman driving beside him texting her husband.
A middle-aged man shaving in the car behind her.
A harried mother yelling at two children fighting in the back seat.
While nearby, a man adds artificial sweetener to an uncapped cup of hot coffee propped on his dashboard.
A driver of a battered pickup with a missing gate, the truck bed loaded with loosely tied propane tanks.
The teenage boy in a nearby car repeatedly changing radio stations, seeking the perfect song.
And racing along Route 38, approaching the intersection, a long-haul tractor-trailer driver who has spent too many consecutive hours behind the wheel.
As if cuing an orchestra to begin playing, Tora tapped the tip of his cane against the traffic light pole. Instantly, the red light facing Route 38 flickered from red to green.
With his traffic light green, the exhausted truck driver never touched his brake pedal, failing to notice traffic along Kressen Boulevard continued to flow, and well above the posted speed limit.
Closing his nacreous third eye with its drifting and submerging pupils, Tora relaxed the creases in his forehead, adjusted the bowler, and smiled.
First, the semi smashed into the angry cell phone talker’s car with a sound like an explosion, spinning the car almost three hundred and sixty degrees and blocking two lanes of traffic. Then, one after another, the distracted drivers reacted too late and slammed into the car in front of them a millisecond before getting rammed from behind.
Realizing he lacked sufficient braking distance to avoid the growing pileup dead ahead, the teenager fiddling with his radio presets swerved violently to the right. A front tire blew out and his car rolled over three times before reaching the far shoulder. In the process, his fuel line tore amid a shower of sparks. Flames raced across the highway in all directions, followed by the thunderous explosion of the battered sports car.
At the same time, the foam coffee cup on the dashboard of the sweet-toothed caffeine addict tipped over, spilling the piping hot beverage on the man’s lap. Yelping in pain, he involuntarily jerked the steering wheel and cut off the pickup truck loaded with propane tanks. The truck driver swerved and slammed broadside into a blue Mini Cooper. Several propane tanks became airborne, bouncing around the highway like metal beach balls. One was sandwiched between two colliding cars, resulting in another explosion near the intersection.
Some drivers climbed out of crushed and damaged cars, while others screamed in pain, trapped in what became metal coffins. Most of those who did escape their cars suffered death by shrapnel from the explosions or were squashed between tons of flying and skidding metal. Few escaped the carnage, none without significant injuries.
A truly satisfying symphony of death and destruction.
None of the out-of-control cars, roaring flames, concussive explosions or flying shrapnel touched Tora where he stood next to the traffic light pole. With a broad smile, he enjoyed the sounds of agony and grief, the smell of fresh blood and burning flesh. Unmoving, he stood by the pole as if in a trance, joyfully soaking in every moment. Until the arrival of emergency vehicles. They brought order and succor, diminishing pain, delaying or preventing death and, therefore, sapping his pleasure in what he had wrought. But even as the rush of euphoria waned, he sensed the power building within him. He would need all that power and more to reach across the town to finish what he had started.
The morning’s exercise was only the beginning.
Soon, they would hear his call and come to him.
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