The angel frowned. “The HR wants to hire you for a job.” He enunciated each word as it came out, as if I wouldn’t understand him.
Which actually, I didn’t. “Come again, Wings?”
“My name is Eli,” he said, with a very angelic glower.
“Of course it is,” I crooned. “So, Eli, I kind of thought I just heard you say that the Holy Representative, that is, the direct ambassador between Heaven and Earth, God’s right hand man, all that’s pure and holy, etc., wants me, an eternally damned soul sucker who’s technically within the Devil’s jurisdiction, to work for him. Did I hear that right? Or did that extra shot of pixie dust in my cocktail push me off the far edge of crazy?”
Winner of the Geekdom House 2015 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Christmas Contest!
There was a rush and crush of darkness and something that sounded like wings beating. Not the feathery kind, but the heavy, leathery wings of a bat. My head spun as if I’d been thrown into a hurricane. Heat, ice and the smell of earth pressed in around me. Then everything stopped, and light returned.
I was standing in some sort of cave… no, a temple. Both, actually. Stalactites dripped from the ceiling, and carved stone pillars rose up from the floor. A set of rough stairs led up to an expansive dais. Flickering lanterns hung from the walls at intervals. As my eyes adjusted, I could see that Riley and Quinn stood beside me. Donovan, too. He looked as shocked as I felt. So, he wasn’t in on this.
Mr. Cabrelle stood before us, or rather the true form of the creature called Mr. Cabrelle. He still resembled something roughly humanoid. Huge chocolatey velvet wings hovered behind him, and patches of purplish scales dotted his skin. His eyes were the same though, only now I could see the monster on the outside. Was he some sort of demon spawn? I hadn’t sensed anything like that when we first met. But he clearly had magic at his command, deep and ancient magic. The feel of it still shivered over my skin as if I’d walked through dirty cobwebs.
He caught me watching him. “Ms. Star, Mr. McGregor, allow me to introduce my employer, Raoul Cabrera.” With his hand he swept my attention up the stairs, to the back of the dais, where a tall man sat on a chair. A throne really, of yellowed bones and sharp teeth. I almost snorted. Cliché much?
Unfortunately, clichés aside, we were in super deep shit.
Raoul Cabrera was basically the supernatural overlord of Brazil, and a good portion of the rest of South America. Rumor had it he was half demon and half faery, just about the nastiest combination of supes I could imagine. Both cruel, spiteful races, with crazy mad magical skills and an arsenal of other unpleasant talents. One major badass motherfucker, this guy. No wonder he’d used a front to hire me. Never in a million years would I have come otherwise.
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