It's not easy to bargain with demons, which Eddie discovers the hard way after he escapes death by trading his soul to the demon Azir, a handsome and charming resident of Hell. Azir promises to return Eddie's soul in exchange for allowing demons the use of his body for their own amusement. It's the last deal he wants to make, but if he wants to save his soul, it may be his only choice.
There are many common-sense rules to live by, and I just managed to break three of them in one go: never wear black when walking at night, never cross against a red light, and never make a deal with the devil. So, there I am, lying in the street, the taste of blood in my mouth as I struggle to draw breath, and this guy walks up and looks down at me. He seemed like a normal guy, except for the absolute lack of any kind of human compassion in his eyes. He stared at me like I was some bug he couldn’t care less about stepping on.
“Boy, are you in a pickle or what?” he said, crouching down beside me. “That is a lot of blood. And I’m no expert on human anatomy, but I don’t think your arms and legs are supposed to bend like that. But I guess bouncing off a windshield, a telephone pole, and the street will do that to you.” He leaned closer, a flickering light dancing in the depths of his dark eyes. “You’re dying, Eddie. Can you feel it? Your life fading with each desperate beat of your heart?”
I wasn’t sure which was more frightening, that I could feel it, or that he knew my name.
“Are you ready to die, Eddie?” he asked. “In about two minutes, your heart will stop and your brain will cease to function, and you will find out what, if anything, waits for you on the other side. Are you ready for that? Or do you want to live?”
I tried to answer, but it came out as a sob, bloody bubbles flecking my lips.
“I can save you,” the strange man whispered, holding his hand out to me. …