And I'm in no hurry to go back to the demon pool, even if you are short, gassy, and afraid of women.

"Cut the insults. Find me an escape route." I push the accelerator to the floor.

Take the next exit, he says. There's a Purgalator coffee shop connected to the Conoco station.

"Oh, yeah."

It's a sanctuary for Eternals from Heaven, Hell, and Earth. They're hidden in gas stations and convenience stores all over the world. Right now, it's my last hope for survival.

A minute later, I swerve onto the Walsenburg off ramp and descend the hill.

The pickup follows, losing ground.

At the red light, I steer a hard left. The van tilts and screeches through the intersection, narrowly cutting in front of a semi-trailer. From behind, the driver blares his horn.

Are you trying to take your own head off?

"I lost him, didn't I?" I slap the steering wheel. "Ha!"

Surprisingly without soiling your pants.

I shake my head, turn into the gas station parking lot, and skid to a stop beside a trash dumpster. My heartbeat quickens, hoping the Purgalator is as safe as it promises.

An approaching engine revs. It's the mercenaries, but they're too late. I take a deep breath, jump from the van, and race through a door disguised as a utility closet.

Inside the place, I scan the counter and service area. A sign on the wall reads, 'Neutral Zone. Offenders will be ousted to their respective realms.' It doesn't ease my mind or Boss's when the door opens, and the two mercenaries rush in, both sporting black trench coats. One pulls back the side of his coat to reveal a gold Egyptian style sword strapped to his hip. The other snarls his lip.

Boss is quick to holler, run. He stabs at the base of my spine. His way to convince me to do what he wants.

I flinch and shuffle forward.

Stop. Wait.

"Make up your mind," I mumble through clenched teeth.

At a nearby table, a guy wearing a Metallica t-shirt, arm tattoos, and a dirty apron pauses mid wipe. "Can I get you something?"

Last rights, Boss says.

I roll my eyes, then glance from the coffee jerk and the mercenaries. "Is there a back door?"

A squeaky voice in the far-left corner says, "Pete, over here." She emits a glow that catches me off guard.

My head spins. My vision blurs. I glide toward her as if drawn in by a siren.

"Hey, wake up." She snaps her fingers.

When I refocus, a chill rushes up my spine. It's Trisha, the angel's apprentice. She and her white warriors—couriers who have turned to the side of good—have been chasing Boss and me for years.

"What do you want?" I ask her. She's wasting her time if she thinks I'll give up Satan's devilish rewards to serve her. After a thousand years, battling for God's army, the foolish warriors are rewarded with an eternity in Purgatory's bookkeeping department, accounting for souls.

"Gee, Pete, considering those two goons want your head, I thought you'd be happier to see me." She cocks her head and points a long red fingernail at the mercenaries settling at a table in the opposite corner of the Purgalator.

"You know about the hellhole closing?" I rub the back of my neck.

"Why'd you do it?" She leans in. Her long brown curls fall forward to frame her face. "Not that I'm complaining. You're making my job easier. It just strikes me odd that you would betray Margery."

Fall for Freedom (A Courier Prequel)Read this story for FREE!