Nicki almost died in the car accident. Instead she was offered a deal.
Now she works for the demon Azmos, delivering his mysterious envelopes all over town. Only her boyfriend Cam knows the truth about her after-school job—Cam, who’s (thankfully) as understanding as he is gorgeous and smart. Nicki’s never had Cam’s bold ambitions; her only talent is guessing the killer in a horror movie. All she wants is to graduate high school, marry Cam someday, and live happily ever after… but lately her work for the demon’s pulling her into deeper danger. Danger that threatens her life and also the bonds that matter most to her. Her best friend Melissa, whom she’s forced to lie to. Her grieving father. And Cam.
But is it even possible to free herself from the contract that saved her life?
And what if she did manage to untangle herself from the arcane world forever — without it, what kind of life does Nicki have left? Once you’ve seen death and darkness, once you know that magic is real, how can you ever go back to being a normal teenager?
It’s finally time Nicki faced her own demons….
“You’re late,” the voice says, and the gate buzzes.
I don’t question my luck, just open the gate and walk through to the lobby door, which also buzzes open for me. I don’t know whom Heather is expecting, and I don’t care if it makes this errand easier.
I knock on the door to 8D. A voice inside calls for me to come in. I twist the knob and push the door open, taking a step inside. Suddenly, water gushes down from overhead, cascading over me. I put my hands up like I can stop the ice-cold liquid. It soaks my hair and my clothes. Drenched and stunned, I push back my wet bangs and wipe at my eyes until I can see again.
I shiver, from both cold and shock, as water drips down my neck and into my jacket. My heart hammers in my chest and I take quick breaths to regain my bearings.
A blue plastic bucket has fallen onto the wood floor in front of me. Someone dumped water on me. Why would anyone do that?
A young woman stands just inside the apartment, watching me. She wears black vinyl and ripped fishnets and her short hair is black with purple streaks. She walks toward me, holding a cylindrical package of salt with the top cut off.
“What the he—” I start. She thrusts the container forward. White salt flies out. I close my eyes, flinch back. It sticks to my wet hair, skin, and clothes and gets into my mouth. I cough and keep my eyes shut, afraid to get salt in them.
“Damn,” the woman hisses. I hear the sounds of fumbling, a drawer opening and closing. Behind me, I hear the door click shut. Then there’s more fumbling and the sound of metal scrapes against a counter. A gun? Panic washes over me, then turns to fury.
“What’s wrong with you?” I demand.
The voice mutters about how difficult it is to get holy water. I use the lining of my coat to wipe my face so I can see again and slowly blink my eyes open. My hair drips onto my shoulders and the puddle spreads out around me on the hardwood floor. My legs and boots are soggy and coated in white specks of salt.
I stare at Heather—this has to be Heather Bancroft. She glares back like she might be able to make my head explode if she concentrates hard enough.
“I can’t believe it didn’t work,” she says. “Why aren’t you melting?”
“Because I’m not the Wicked Witch of the West,” I say. I try to brush the salt off my leggings and skirt, but it sticks to my palms. I look at the door, which has clicked shut behind me, and then back at her. Her eyes are wild and shift erratically.
“Are you a demon?” she asks.
“No,” I say, surprised at the question.
“Then why are you here?”
“I have a delivery for you.”
Tori Centanni is a nerd girl and a recovering goth. She likes dark, quirky stories with elements of humor. When not reading or writing, she can be found baking, watching too much television, and wrangling cats. She lives in Seattle, WA.