All I can do is I nod my head. He's right in not trusting a guy who sold out to Satan and lives twenty-four seven with a demon. Not once have I had any faith in my fellow couriers, being setup today a perfect example.

An explosive crash and a wave of screams interrupt our conversation. My eyes widen, and so do theirs. We run from the chapel to investigate. I think how unprepared I am for whatever awaits and Boss concurs by squealing in my head.

Several of the nuns block the end of the hall leading into the grand entryway. My heart races as I make out the horrific scene through the crowd. A winged being, at least ten feet tall and shimmering like a bronze statue, stands with his chest out and a fist resting at his waist. With chiseled features and spikey hair, he's handsome, yet terrifying in a way that makes my skin crawl. Or maybe it's that he's holding a nun's veiled head in his other hand.

Up above, where the iron chandelier hung, a large hole now opens to the bright blue Colorado sky. Two sisters lay under the collapsed fixture, a river of crimson seeping across broken candles. At the fallen angel's feet, the headless body of a heavy-set nun, her blood inching its way to meet with the expired life-force of her sisters.

As he flaps his black and bronze wings a full twenty-feet, a gust of air brushes a mixture of sulfur and men's locker room stench over us, causing me to gag.

It's him. It's Azael. Boss's voice shakes in a way I've never heard.

"What is that odor?" I turn up my lip.

To men and demons, he smells vulgar. To human women he's intoxicating.

Evidenced by the five nuns standing in a single row as if presenting themselves to Azael. They stare straight ahead, frozen in places, under some sort of spell.

Boss adds, Those nuns want to have his babies.

This is the worst introduction to the fallen angel imaginable. I can't save the world from Azael. "We're screwed," I whisper.

Try screwed with a double shot of fucked up the ass. Boss starts to whimper.

While Father Timothy herds the remaining nuns back toward the chapel, Trisha advances. I somehow find the courage to push forward along with her, despite the sharp pain Boss inflicts at the base of my spine. Look what Azael did. We have to help, I tell him. He lightens the pressure.

When Azael sees us, he laughs. "Fools." His deep voice sends a wave of vibration across the room that raises the hairs on every part of my body. His wings graze the staircase behind him before disappearing into his back. He tightens his grip on the nun's head, winds up like a major-league pitcher, and throws the head at Trisha.

She makes the catch. Warm droplets of blood splatter over our faces. Careful not to take her eyes off Azael, she places the head on the floor. Trisah grabs my arm and holds me near her side. It's as if she knows I want to run. Together, we back up into the hallway, out of Azael's line of sight.

"Where's Father Timothy?" She glances behind us. "We need the Sword of Sin."

"I'm right here." He's out of breath as he jogs in to join us. "It's locked up in Mother Superior's office."

"Let me guess." Trisha huddles us closer together. "Mother Superior has the only set of keys in her pocket."

"Let me guess. She's Mother Superior?" I point at the severed head near our feet and hold my stomach at the sight of her eyes fallen back in her head and tongue hanging out of her mouth.

"Yes and yes," the priest replies.

"Then we do this the hard way." Trisha pulls her hair back tightly and it magically stays in a ponytail. "I'll rush Azael and knock him off his feet. Pete, run in and get the keys out of Mother Superior's pocket. Throw them to Father Timothy."

"Wouldn't it be easier to break into the room?" I ask, considering my legs feel unwilling to follow through on her plan.

"No." Before I can object further, she rushes at the fallen angel.

I'm about to dash toward Mother Superior when Azael peers skyward and whistles. Five white warriors swoop down through the ceiling and each pick up a hexed nun. They ascend through the roof before anyone can intervene.

"Get the keys." Father Timothy nudges me.

Maybe he's not ready to give up, but I continue to hesitate, afraid the white warriors will return. Something about them seems more dangerous under Azael's rule than Trisha's. And Boss's whimpering in my head is adding to my anxiety.

Trisha pulls at Azael's leg. He treats her like an annoying fly and swats her into the air. She catches the banister iron railing on the second floor, and her only wing extends as if on impulse. He leaps at Trisha and grabs her by the wing. As he shakes her in midair, he bares his sharp, pointy teeth and growls. The wing's adjoining bone snaps and rips away from her shoulder blade. My body shivers when she falls on top of Mother Superior.

Despite her injury, Trisha's far from giving up. She rolls around, groping the headless nun, then springs to her feet, her white suit dripping with blood. She holds out the keys and throws them to Father Timothy. He pushes me out of the way to make the catch, then runs between the grand staircases.

Trisha spins on one foot like a dancer and holds up her fists, inviting Azael to join her for another round. "Let's go, asshole."

His baritone laughter ripples across the room. "I have what I've come for. Bye bye, little angel." He waves her wing and springs through the roof, taking Trisha's last ability to fly with him.

She stomps her foot in a puddle of blood shakes her fist at the sky. "God damn you!" When she realizes she's used the Lord's name in vain, her eyes pop and she covers her mouth. She brings her hands together and bows her head.

The sisters rush back into the room weeping. Some sign the cross, while others hold their rosaries to their lips. The scene is horrific enough that a tear escapes my eye. While I rock from foot to foot, surveying the damage in disbelief, I wonder why he didn't kill more of us?

Why would he destroy what he wants? Boss says. He'll be back for more nuns.

"Sisters, back to the chapel. Pray for those lost," Father Timothy calls out as he rushes back into the entryway holding a long wooden box that could house a sword. "Trisha and Pete, follow me." His deep scowl makes him look ready to kill.

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