Read Supernatural Fresh Meat Online

Authors: Alice Henderson

Supernatural Fresh Meat (4 page)

BOOK: Supernatural Fresh Meat
9.09Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Instantly they were assaulted by the stench of decaying flesh. Sam fought back the urge to gag.

Bobby stared inside, then lifted his arm to his nose. “Nobody home.” He crept forward, coughing at the reek. Sam and Dean followed him inside.

A small room lay beyond. A simple wooden table, cut from rough logs, stood in the center. A rickety bench sat next to it. Dozens of items lay scattered across the earthen floor: an old candle, a used box of matches, a sleeping bag leaking stuffing, a soiled pillow, a collection of old books with crumbling spines, a deck of worn playing cards. Metal glinted in the dirt at the far side of the cabin.

Sam placed his bottle of gasoline on the table and pocketed the lighter. He walked to the gleaming metal and bent down. He pulled a dented gold pocket watch from the dirt, clicking it open to find the crystal cracked and grime on the face. An engraving on the back of the watch read “W.M.F. from S.M.F.” The watch was old, nineteenth century, and probably not from a recent victim.

Sam straightened up. Most of the items scattered on the floor were old. The playing cards had yellowed with age, the books spotted with mildew and tanned from the sun. In another corner lay some old daguerreotypes of a woman and a small boy, and an image of a general store and post office with the name “Foster’s Bar” painted on a sign above the door.

Bobby still had his mouth covered with his sleeve. “What is this place?”

Dean nudged the rank sleeping bag with his foot. “Something lives here.”

Bobby glanced around. “Where is that god-awful stench coming from? I don’t see any bodies.”

Sam looked down at the dirt. “Maybe it’s just seeped into the floor. Decomp liquid soaking the soil.”

“You think this is the wendigo’s digs?” Bobby asked. “Not your typical deep, dark cave.”

Dean winced at the stench. “For one thing, where are the bodies?”

A high keening wail sounded on the wind outside.

They fell silent, listening. Sam heard it again, a human cry for help. He hurried to the door of the shack, waiting.

Then it came again, and he could make out the words. “Help me!” A woman’s voice, in the distance.

“Is that—” he started to ask, turning toward Bobby.

“It could be the wendigo,” Bobby answered, joining him at the doorway.

Dean bent down in the dirt, gathering up a tattered notebook and a yellowing envelope. “Let’s bring some of this stuff. Could give us a lead.” He stuffed it into his pack, then slung it on his back. He joined them by the door.

Outside, the woman cried for help again, screaming from somewhere in the distant trees. She was either fighting for her life or it was the wendigo, imitating a human voice and trying to lure them closer.

Sam stepped aside as Dean moved past him, raising the flamethrower. “Let’s do this,” his brother said.

They moved toward the screams, Sam gripping the bottle of gasoline and placing his thumb on the lighter’s striking wheel.

FOUR

Together they crept toward the sound of the woman’s cries. Dean gripped the flamethrower, finger on the trigger. As they neared a dense cluster of trees, the cry suddenly stopped, cut off. Either the creature had just finished her off or there was no woman at all. They listened, pausing. Bobby studied the ground, pointing to more brush with broken branches. Up in the trees, a fresh break had caused a branch to fall. They listened. The reassuring hiss from the blue flame at the tip of the flamethrower was the only sound.

Bobby walked to the fallen branch, then studied the trees above for movement or sign.

“Anything?” Sam asked.

Bobby frowned. “This whole area is riddled with old mines. Thing could be holed up somewhere, right beneath our feet.”

Sam looked down. “That’s a reassuring thought.”

A crack of a branch brought their attention up. Dean saw a blur of movement, leaping from tree to tree, but it was too fast to make out. He aimed the flamethrower up, but the thing was gone before he could fire. He wasn’t exactly excited about the thought of setting the forest alight, either. He had to be careful. As careful as he could be and not end up dead, anyway.

Twenty feet away, high in the branches of a ponderosa, the thing moved again, circling. Bobby poised to throw the cocktail and instinctively the three formed a protective ring, backs to each other.

“When it comes down it’s going to come in fast and furious,” Bobby told them. “Brace yourselves.”

Then the attack came. Dean felt claws slice into his chest as a blur of movement streaked by him. He fired the flamethrower, but it missed its target. He spun around, moving away from Sam and Bobby. Another hit struck him on the back of his head and he went down. Blood streamed into his eye as he staggered to his feet. He heard Bobby cry out and saw Sam fly through the air and slam into a tree. Something growled, wet and hot, next to his ear, and he slammed his fist backward, meeting something fleshy and cold.

Dean brought up the flamethrower. He was going to gank this sucker. Sam wasn’t moving, leaning against the tree with his head sagging. Dean couldn’t even see Bobby. For a moment he feared that the thing had grabbed Bobby and taken to the trees. He heard Bobby shout and looked up, seeing his friend dangling from the wendigo’s arm. Bobby thrashed around, hands closing around the stock of the rifle slung on his back.

How damn strong could it be?

“Bobby!” Dean yelled.

Bobby wriggled the rifle around to the front of his jacket. His finger laced through the trigger and a deafening shot rang out. The bullet tore through the wendigo’s face. Bobby fell, crashing through branches and landing with a thud in a cluster of bushes.

Shrieking, the wendigo leapt down on top of him, claws raised. Another cacophonous boom rang through the forest and the wendigo staggered backward, shotgun pellets embedded in its chest. Sam had recovered and stood to the left, shotgun poised for another round.

Dean saw his chance and ran forward, firing the flamethrower. Bobby groaned and rolled free of the bush. The edge of the fire touched the wendigo’s arm and it howled, moving so fast that Dean could no longer see it. The blur moved into the dense trees, the cry on the wind fading as it ran away.

“It’s getting away!” Sam yelled.

“I see that!” Dean called back. He looked to Bobby, who wasn’t going to be jumping up any time soon to track the wendigo before the trail went cold. “And unless you got something that moves a hell of a lot faster than we do, we won’t catch up.”

Bobby crawled away from the burning bushes. Some of the pine needles were starting to catch and the fire spread. Dean flung down the flamethrower and rushed to his friend, dragging him clear of the flames.

“Damn wendigo messed up my ribs,” Bobby grumbled.

Sam started stamping out the flames and Dean joined him, kicking dirt onto the fire. The pine needles caught unbelievably fast, and Dean took off his coat and started swatting at them.

They were so engrossed in stopping the fire that they didn’t hear the person approach from behind them. Dean heard the cock of a handgun and a voice yelled, “Just what the hell are you boys doing?”

Dean spun around to find himself looking down the barrel of a .38.

FIVE

The ranger stood in a firing stance, pointing the gun at Dean. She was a petite woman with short, efficient blonde hair and an attitude that let Dean know she was not to be messed with. On her back towered a tremendous backcountry pack that looked like it weighed two times more than she did.

“We’re just trying to put the fire out,” Sam told her, holding his palms out in a placating gesture.

She pointed the gun at him. “I heard shots.”

Bobby stood up, wincing in pain. “That was me,” he said. “Caught sight of a buck.”

“And the fire?” she asked.

Dean put on his best well-meaning smile. He knew the flamethrower lay only a few feet away and dared a glance at it. Thankfully, it was obscured by brush. “I accidentally dropped my cigarette.”

“You smoke?” she asked dubiously.

“Oh, yeah. Packs and packs. I’m trying to quit, though,” he added.

“If you jerks are trying to burn game out of the forest, I’m going to cite you for so many tickets you’ll have to mortgage your grandmother’s teeth to pay the fines.”

Dean lifted his hands. “Oh, no. We wouldn’t do that. Bambi is safe with us.”

She lifted an eyebrow. “Your friend there just said he took aim at a buck.”

Dean shifted his weight. “Is Bambi a buck?” He looked to his brother for help, and Sam shrugged hopelessly. “I thought Bambi was a… Bambi.”

The ranger lowered her gun, evidently taking them for clueless louts.

“Okay, let’s put this out,” she said. She dropped her huge pack and pulled out a small shovel. She went to work burying the flames in dirt and soon the blaze was extinguished. Her eyes fell on their pile of belongings. Dean had left his bag open, and peeking out were his silver .45, a shotgun, a bottle of holy water, a short sword, a large knife, and more bottles of gasoline for Molotov cocktails.

Bobby’s pack, which was only slightly open, revealed another rifle and the muzzle of a Mossberg pump-action shotgun.

Sam’s pack was zipped.
Thank goodness for small miracles,
Dean thought.

“You boys are planning quite a party,” she said. “What do you need all these guns for?”

Bobby responded, trying to mask the pain from his ribs. He spoke through clenched teeth and gripped his side nonchalantly. “We heard there was a rogue bear out here. Just wanted to be careful.”

She eyed the stash of weapons. “You have licenses for all these firearms?”

“Of course,” Bobby said cheerfully.

“Pepper spray is more effective against bears,” she told them. “You shoot a bear and ninety percent of the time you’re just going to make it mad.”

“We’ll keep that in mind, officer,” Dean said with as much chipper enthusiasm as he could muster.

“It’s ‘ranger,’” she told him. “Ranger Grace Cumberlin. You boys have a hunting license?”

Bobby reached into his jacket and pulled out a mess of paper and cards. They were all fake, of course, but they were good fakes. Hunters needed a lot of forged papers. Fake I.D.s to get them into morgues and police files, licenses for a vast array of weaponry.

She took the licenses and nodded, satisfied for now. But Dean could tell that she didn’t trust them one bit.

She handed the papers back to Bobby and indicated his side. “You okay?”

“Perfect. Just took a spill.”

“A spill. Uh-huh.”

Dean winced. Yeah, she was so not buying this. But she probably couldn’t guess the truth, either. Probably just thought they were suspicious losers.

She picked up her massive pack and slung it on her shoulders like it weighed as much as a box of tissues. “You boys be careful. I don’t want to see you again.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Dean nodded, putting on his best smile again.

She narrowed her eyes at him.
Yeah, she is having none of it.

With a final disdainful glance over her shoulder, she walked away, disappearing into the trees.

“That was close,” Bobby said when she was out of earshot. “Thought she was going to haul us in.”

Dean watched her retreating form, then went to pick up the flamethrower from the brush. “Yeah, I think she could have lashed us onto that pack and hiked out with us, too.”

Sam looked at Bobby. “You doing okay?”

“I’ll live.”

“Can you still track?” Dean asked.

“Well, I’m not giving up now,” he growled.

They slung their packs on and Bobby searched the ground where the wendigo had run off. “Let’s go,” he said.

They hiked until dark, and the trail had gone cold. Bobby’s ribs were much worse than he was letting on, and the temperature dropped considerably as the sun set behind the mountains. They were without jackets and sleeping bags, so finally Dean came to the hard conclusion that they should go back and regroup. They were no good to anyone dead.

He stopped. “We have to go back.”

Bobby paused, turning around.

Sam said, “I was thinking the same thing. We need more firepower.”

BOOK: Supernatural Fresh Meat
9.09Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb
Bonfire Night by Deanna Raybourn
The Biology of Luck by Jacob M. Appel
Mikolas by Saranna DeWylde
Heaven and Hell by Kristen Ashley
The Psalmist by James Lilliefors
The Knitting Diaries by Debbie Macomber