I Didn't Do It

18 1 0

September 1995,
Walsenburg, Colorado

My van jerks forward from a sudden hit. I tighten my grip on the steering wheel and snap my bulging eyes to the side-view mirror. A black pickup, closer than it appears, reflects from the rear.

What's his problem? Why rearend me?

So far, the highway drive north of Trinidad, Colorado has been quiet, but I'm a courier for Hell, and God's army of white warriors can attack at any moment. Something's off about this guy though. My van is empty, and they only chase us when we're carrying evil energy. Plus, God's forces always appear in white, while the vehicle on my tail is on the opposite end of the spectrum.

The pickup's engine revs, and he rams me again. My slick black hair falls forward and tickles my forehead. On impulse, I floor the gas pedal and swerve into the right lane.

"Margery, you there?"

She's the demon who protects the cargo. I work for her, and normally, her voice pipes in over the AM radio in a matter of seconds. She can talk to us drivers over it anytime, anywhere. When she doesn't answer, I squirm in my seat but hold out hope for Hell's next level of support—a murder of giant crows that never fails to attack our enemies. But the sky remains blue as the truck advances, sizing up the next hit.

"Hey, Margery." My voice shakes. "I'm in trouble. How about a little assistance?"

"You've got a lot of nerve, taking one of my vans after what you did," Margery says in her gruff New York city accent.

"What are you talking about?" I stutter, then clear my throat. "I'm driving back to Denver like I do every day."

"Those aren't white warriors on your ass, Pete. They're mercenaries." A deep inhale and crackling cigarette resonate in the background. "I sent them to take off your head."

"What?" My stomach drops and so does my mouth. "Why?"

"Don't act stupid. I know you sabotaged the hellhole." She hacks a cough. Phlegm gurgles in her throat as she adds, "We were only a few months away from opening the Gates of Hell, and now we have to start over. Do you have any idea what's going to happen to me when Satan finds out about this?"

I smooth back my hair and wonder why she's blaming me, her most faithful driver. This is a setup, and any one of my co-workers could be responsible. "I've been working for you for fifty years. Why would I turn on you now?"

She blows out a long exhale. "You tell me."

Sweat builds on my forehead, and my thin lips tremble. "C'mon. Please. Call them off. Let's talk about this."

"You're on your own." She cackles. "Good luck."

The van jolts and my gut smashes into the steering wheel. A twenty-ounce cola in the center console flies out of the holder and lands at my feet. Foam and liquid spray up onto my cowboy boots, jeans, and face.

"Margery, listen to me!"

No answer. She's gone.

Dude, you are so fucked, a whiny voice in my head says.

It's my demon, Boss, and I've been possessed by him for as long as I've worked for Margery. Constant scrutiny from an evil alter ego keeps rebellious couriers like I once was obedient.

If you stop, the mercenaries will turn your head into a bowling ball, Boss says.

"No shit." I shiver at the thought of my eternal life coming to an end only fifty years in.

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