Story Excerpt Sunday: from by Jennifer Stevenson

It's Raining Angels and DemonsIt’s Raining Angels and Demons

Slacker Demons Book Two

by Jennifer Stevenson

I sat in the belly of one of our biggest black ops helicopters with forty-nine of my fellow demons, stripped naked to our bat wings and fanny packs, ready to jump at 19:00.

We were hovering over a sleepy little neighborhood in Chicago.

But we weren’t moving.

Because not content with launching an all-out assault, the Regional Office was coordinating, if you can imagine that, the assault with a similar vehicle from the Home Office. Two immense, cumbersome bureaucracies, so old and sloppy they’re like zombies with dead parts dropping off all over, coordinating.

Trying to picture fifty naked angels in one of their gooney-bird airships, my mind boggled.

Still, I was chuffed to be back in the field. After manning a desk for centuries, I tingled in places I’d forgotten I had.

I flexed my wings and tested my talons. Yup. Not too rusty.

We hovered.

As I sat there, wearing nothing but a fanny pack containing the essentials—credit card, toothbrush, condoms full of holes, and my orders—I realized something had gone wrong.

What was holding things up?

I could hear explosions below us, reaching almost as high as our helo. Surely no earthly weapons could have an effect on us?

The team captain yelled.

Guys ahead of me began bailing out of the open bay. Flashes of colored light went off intermittently. I smelled sulfur, though that could have been me. They were jumping into it.

By the lingering glow of one long red blast, I sneaked out my orders. This was strictly against procedure, but I was a field operative for only four centuries. I’d been a desk clerk a lot longer.

I didn’t trust the Regional Office not to fuck something up.

I peered at the orders sheet.

Boy, was I surprised. At the name of our target most of all. Fifty ops from each office, a joint task force, the whole unfathomably complex and bureaucratic rigmarole, just to get one guy?

Oh well. Mine not to reason why. Mine but to make somebody else die.

The line in front of me dwindled rapidly.

Geronimo.

Or something like that.

As I bailed out, I saw the red, bat-winged figures of my teammates below me. They weren’t descending in tight, vulture-like, controlled spirals.

They were falling like rocks.

Occasionally a wing would catch the air and a guy would start twirling insanely like a maple seed.

Then—bam!—I could hear them hitting rooftops, the ground, cars.

Holy Moses.

So, again contrary to orders, I veered sharply as I exited the helo, gliding away from the landing zone. Now I saw my opposite numbers exiting their gooney bird, and they, too, were falling like rocks, like albatrosses winged and flailing.

Those colored sparks were mostly gone, although I could now see a huge blaze of multicolored fire below, arranged in an ominous-looking circle. And then foom, just as I was congratulating myself on escaping whatever got the rest of us, another shell went off from that rooftop.

I descended through a cloud of green sparks.

I smelled ashes in the air as I skimmed over the landing zone. It was those almost-extinguished, darkened sparks that had got my teammates, I was willing to bet.

Shit, and I was headed right down into them.

I soared down in a tight spiral through sparks that stung and numbed me.

Unbelievable. Had those ground-bound land mammals finally figured out how to fight back against heaven and hell?

Unthinkable.

Unless it wasn’t them at all, but this one guy we were after.

That made sense. He’d always been a smart one.

My wings had gone numb. I felt myself beginning to spin out of control.

I saw a wall and a vast area of darkness beyond it.

Another tremendous green flower erupted above me. I was temporarily blinded.

When my eyes cleared, I saw I was close to hitting that wall. I had just time to realize this, stick out a wing to divert, and see the last of the angels skimming below me.

He hit the top of the wall and flipped over it like a Chinese acrobat, hitting my thigh a glancing blow with his wing.

The two of us tumbled over the wall.

We fell twenty feet into a pond.

o0o

Keek and I were putting ourselves to sleep by complaining about men when we heard a commotion in the street. She peeked outside. Something banged like cars smacking each other. “Oh my gosh!” she yelped.

I came to the window. “What is it? I’m in my nightgown.”

“This guy just fell off a building and hit that car. Oh my God, there goes another one!”

I looked out. A guy was indeed lying on his back on the hood of a parked car. It seemed he’d landed on a sheet, something white anyway. A woman came running out of the apartment building across the street and flung herself on him. That was weird.

“Should we dial 9-1-1?” I said. Then I noticed the other guy. He’d landed on the sidewalk, where he lay in a puddle of blood. No—was he lying on a big red cloth? And some woman was bending over him, kissing him. “Super weird.”

“Hey, fireworks!” Keek pointed.

As I looked, a huge blast of green sparkles erupted in the sky and then faded. Something white whizzed past our window, swooped, and went up. I gaped. It was a man, a naked man, and he had huge white feathery wings.

A moment later, a naked man with huge red bat wings followed him.

They skimmed over the cemetery wall and disappeared into the darkness.

“I’m going out there,” Keek announced, grabbing her keys and jamming her feet into her shoes.

“Wait!” I yelled. “You don’t know what’s happening!”

“Yes I do,” she said.

“Wait, what’s happening?” I shrieked down the stairs after her. “You’re in your pajamas!”

Her voice floated up to me. “It’s raining men!”

*********

Jennifer Stevenson lives in Chicago with her husband and two bossy cats. She eats a lot, speedskates, bicycles, gardens, and finds new uses for old sex demons. Check out her first series in a universe gone terribly wrong through magic, sex, and magical sex, Hinky Chicago. For recipes by Jennifer, see her posts on the BVC blog.

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