The chicks are crazy in the Hellfire.

I'm fixed on one in particular, a total blam-blam with a lip tattoo, some dangerously low leather pants, and a tail that she keeps shaking suggestively. She accidentally hits some poor transfixed soul with it, giving him a massive cut in his arm.

I quickly look down and text Switch before the moment passes—we need to ban tails.

I get his reply in seconds, an annoyingly logical how do you suggest we do that?

He's right—there's no way. You cut 'em off, they grow back. It's fucking irritating, is what it is. Unfair. Demons get sharp tails, nails, and teeth, along with some kick-ass red skin.

I get a knife. And if Satan's feeling especially kind (not very often) a scythe.

My phone dings again, another message from Switch. He's asking if I'm gonna be home soon. I'm not, I know that much, but I don't want to hurt him, so I stick with a noncommittal I'm busy tonight.

We haven't been partners very long, just a few months. We live together, but only because he was my roommate before Satan paired us up.

I think Switch is a great guy, but I have this thing that keeps me from long term relationships—girlfriends, friends...anything more than a one night stand is pretty much impossible for me. Oddly enough, it's not my job that sets them off. You'd think that bounty hunting would be a turn-off, but no, chicks dig me for that.

It's Surface work, too, so I'm not around much. Kind of addicted to the Surface, honestly. I hate it down here, but this is where I stay until I'm needed.

The reason I can't have relationships is Cesare. I have repeatedly been told that Cesare does not exist. But that's not true, because he's hurt me. He's touched me—I've felt it. So who the fuck are they to tell me he doesn't exist?

Cesare…it's complicated. We used to be friends when I was little—in my first life. On the Surface. Before I came down here.

We started out as friends, but as I got to being a teenager, things escalated pretty fast. He started treating me like I was shit. Telling me my friends hated me, giving me proof. And it worked, I pushed people away so much.

I was arrested for attacking my girlfriend.

She had a massive kitchen knife in her hand, and we were arguing, and Cesare…he told me she was about to hurl the knife at me, and I believed him.

She gestured at me with the blade, and I hardly remember what happened next. There were sirens and police and an ambulance, and I was crouched in the main room of her apartment, head between my legs and knife dangling from my hand.

Cesare was squatting next to me, leather glove comforting on my neck, telling me I did the right thing.

It's funny, because no matter how much I hate Cesare, I always listen to him. He has such good arguments for why I should push people away. He's so goddamn trustworthy.

Anyway, he usually keeps me from having relationships. Sometimes I think he's jealous. But he hasn't said anything about Switch.

Well, yet.

Some punk band's just taken the stage, loud and really fucking annoying. I can't take it, and leave the club, shoving my way through people and choking on Ubiquity smoke.

I tried Ubiquity once—but that's a story for another time. Let's just say that it didn't end well for me. Satan tells me to stay off it.

When I get out of the Hellfire, gasping for some fresh air and blinking a few times in the sudden darkness, I feel Cesare. We have a special connection—he knows when I'm in trouble, I know when he's around.

"What," I say, not really in the mood for his bullshit.

"Just checking up on you," he says from behind me. I turn around, and he's leaning against the wall of the Hellfire, hood up and playing with the chain he wears on his right wrist.

"I'm fine. You can go."

Cesare's the reason I'm here, I'm not too keen on him, really not. I have to work my ass off for something that was his fault.

"No you aren't. You're a bit strung out, aren't you?" He runs his tongue over his teeth and stares at me.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Stressed, yeah? This new partner's really taking it out of you. He's so clingy. You don't need to fucking be home until you want to be. He shouldn't guilt you into anything."

Ces is right. He is really clingy, and I can go home whenever I please. But, no, Switch is a nice guy. But something about Ces just gives me a fresh dose of annoyance. "Yeah, and when I reach out he's cold, like he's too goddamn perfect for me."

"Right! I think he's shit, you should ask Mr. S for a reassignment," Ces says.

I turn, consider this. Satan has pretty willingly reassigned me before, he shouldn't have problems doing it again.

"No, I like Switch," I say, turning back to Cesare, trying to lift the strength of his words off of me. But he's vanished, and I'm talking to a wall.

I look up. If I focus, I can see past all of the smoke and brimstone to the Surface. Not much, just some plumbing and subway tracks.

I can't help but think that I'm supposed to be up there.

And I am.

Stupid fucking Cesare, though…he ruined it. I'm sick of him.

But there's nothing I can do.

I decide to go home to Switch; I've got nothing else to do.

That statement becomes a lie as I'm about to enter the apartment. My phone lets off an ominous hum that would chill most people to the bone. But I'm used to it.

Satan's calling me.

"Hello?" I say, quickly grabbing the phone out of my pocket.

"M'darling," Satan says, laughing a low and gravelly laugh. "Bowie, Bowie, my blam-blam, we have a situation."

"Which would be?" I ask.

"The angels. They're trying to free all our souls, Bowie. Our souls that are really fucking deserving of being down here."

"And?"

"Get them out."


A/N: All feedback is massively appreciated; I'll return all reviews that aren't just 'this is awesome' or 'this sucks'.