My back stiffens and I rub my hands on my jeans to try to drive out some of my anxious energy. Why did I just ask them for truth I didn't want to hear?

Father Timothy pauses beside the table and crosses his arms. "His intention is to create a world he can rule with his children. In a few months, they will take away free will and force mankind to live a scripted life of Azael's design."

"Azael believes he's saving Earth from humans," Trisha says, "but instead, the world will turn chaotic as it had been during the time of Noah."

I fall back in my chair and let out a long exhale. The more they confess, the more dangerous the mission becomes. While I lack the skills and confidence to follow through on what they want, the thought of Azael impregnating nuns is horrific enough I shouldn't question risking my neck. Still, I have to ask, "What makes you think I can re-imprison a fallen angel?"

"It's not that we think you can succeed," Trisha says, "but more so that we're running out of time and have little to no support in saving mankind."

"Huh?" I run my hands through my hair and grip my head tightly.

You hear her, Boss says. We do this and we're pretty much on our own. Can you live with that?

"We will be with you," she says. "It's just that the Catholic Church can't—"

"We have moved into a new age of technology." Father Timothy interupts. "Most of the world doesn't believe in the supernatural and religious ways of the past. The Church is a business today. Priests are talented in raising funds, not protection against evil forces. To tell people that a fallen angel has escaped to conquer the world is to further risk the reputation of the Catholic Church."

"Excuse my language, but that's fucked up." My eye twitches. "If you have no support, how do you have the sword or even know how to capture him."

"I'm a part of a small elite group of priests who reports directly to the Pope, and we battle evil for the Catholic Church," Father Timothy says. "There's a diary written by a Knight of the Templars at the Vatican. It explains how to use the Sword of Sin."

"Where is it?" I ask. "Can I read it?"

"It's not here, and they won't release it. Or they can't because it's too fragile," he says. "But you can rest assured I'm an expert in its contents."

"Well, start talking," I say. "How do I take down the bastard?"

"You'll first need to understand that angels' life forces are in the light that encompasses us. We are separate, yet one, and communicate and protect humans through the light. But when the angels fell to earth, their life forces separated from ours and each other. As they solidified into a human-like body, their brilliance imploded in their chests to form a dark void the size of a human heart."

"Let me guess. It's where I stab Azael with this Sword of Sin you keep talking about?"

Trisha nods her head.

I lower my head and close my eyes. "What does the diary say he'll do after he's stabbed?"

No one answers.

I lift my head and stare at the wooden case the priest had placed on the counter when we entered the kitchen. Slowly, I repeat, "What does the diary say he'll do?"

Father Timothy evades eyes contact and clears his throat.

"Remember that the Sword of Sin weakens him," Trisha says.

Bet they don't know, Boss says.

The priest confirms Boss's suspicious when he says, "The diary is missing pages."

I push away from the table. "You need to find someone else to do this."

"You're not alone, Pete." Trisha places her palm on my back. "We're just as terrified, but willing to do whatever it takes."

The refrigerator door pops open, and I nearly jump out of my skin. The two-headed ladies exit holding a tall green cup. They waddle to the table and place it in front of me. The blonde says, "You drink it all up now. It will free you from Satan and Margery and your demon in about a half hour."

The lady with the bun leans in close to my face. "Boss, I know you're in there. We've added something for you. You'll know when it hits, but you won't like it." As she walks away, she sniffs and grunts an odd sort of laugh.

Only a fool would drink that. Boss.

He's right. Why am I doing this? I'm not the sort of man who fights to save the world. I'm the sort who sits in a van for nine hours a day. My average evening includes a microwave dinner, a bottle of scotch, and the latest political thriller.

A sharp pain strikes my lower-back. You can't drink it. You won't drink it.

My eyes widen. "Ahh..."

"What's the matter?"

"Boss." I draw in a deep breath, and clutch my tailbone. "He's resisting."

"Listen here, demon. I'm going to give you one chance to comply." Trisha grabs my arm and digs in with her nails. "This is Pete's only option to keep his head. If you help Pete succeed, you keep your home inside him. If you help us, but Pete dies, God will see to it that Satan possess you in the next human of your choice. If you continue to resist, God will make sure your spine essence is lost in hell, never to see the light of day on earth again."

Boss lightens his hold on the base of my spine, but the minor pain that remains tells he's letting her win this round. Knowing him, he's already plotting his revenge.

I focus on the drink. How could a release from the underworld be as easy as downing this potion? Then tiny eyeballs rise to the surface along with the ass end of a beetle. The foul odor of a bait bucket that's been sitting in the sun for a week accosts my nostrils and burns my nose hairs. "I can't drink this."

"You have to," Trisha says. "We can't have Margery and the mercenaries able to track you."

I lift the cup and hesitate. Keeping the potion in my nervous stomach will be hard enough. Once it's there, we move to the next level, blindly pursing a fallen angel.

"Pete, we're running out of time." Trisha rapidly slaps the table. "The nuns need us now, and so does mankind."

Swiftly, I chug, then gag after a few swallows. But the disgust I have for the drink is nothing compared to how I feel about the dead and kidnapped nuns. This better be worth it.

It won't be. Boss releases his grip on my lower-back and I wonder if he's giving up.

Trisha turns to Father Timothy. "Prepare a vehicle. It's time for war."

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