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"Nielsen just captured another Vatsu demon. It suicided under questioning."
"Not again." Desmond Sutton winced at the fury in his boss's tone. "We still have no idea how to get them back to their home plane?"
"Not unless we find that portal." James Brewer, director of the Detroit branch of the Wyndewin League, grumbled.
"I'm working on it." Des had been, with the help of a few friends.
"You're not hanging out with those bloody elves or wolves again, are you? Any information we gather from those sources can't possibly be trusted."
Des paused to lean against a bus-stop bench and rubbed his eyes. "Since one of the elves is my brother-in-law, it's kind of hard not to see him. But no, I'm working this on my own." It was a lie, but Des was tired of being chewed out for consorting with other species.
"I'm warning you again, Sutton. Steer clear. You've had one major screw up in your career. Make sure you don't have another."
Well, isn't that just great? He was supposed to avoid his sister now? Not happening.
Shoving his phone in his pocket, Des looked around him at the young, carefree students rushing to and fro on campus. They were all blissfully unaware that their city was full of demons, not to mention elves, wizards, witches and werewolves.
Des wished he was so lucky, but Fate could be a vicious goddess sometimes. Knowing things that other people didn't was supposed to be a gift. For the most part it was Des's personal curse. People always said, "Knowledge is power." No. It was more like a rashsomething itchy and uncomfortable one couldn't quite ignore, no matter how hard one tried. There was a reason so many of the world's great minds had been alcoholic, depressive, heroin addicts or suicidal. While normal people got to trip through their lives in blissful ignorance, others, like Des, were excruciatingly aware of exactly how screwed up the world really was. Seeing too much, knowing too much might have been far more tolerable through a haze of anesthesia.
Reality, such as it was, stank. His city was in crisis, his world might well be on the brink of disaster. And his personal life? What personal life? He hadn't had so much as a date in over a year, as his sister constantly reminded him.
He glared down at the sidewalk, absently booting a crushed coffee cup out of his way, before his conscience kicked in and he picked up the offending garbage, depositing it in a trash can half a block down the street. He pulled the collar of his trench coat tighter around his neck, warding off the cold November breeze and the light flurry of snow. For about the hundredth time that week, he considered the possibility of chucking it all and taking off to some island in the Caribbean. He could spend the rest of his days reading Tarot cards for tourists, soak his liver with rum and fry his skin with all-natural ultraviolet radiation.
It was tempting. Could he pull it off? For another few hundred yards, he pondered.
Not a chance. No matter how hard he tried to talk himself into it, quitting still wasn't going to work. His superiors and his own intuition agreed that both his duty and his destiny lay here in Detroit. The demon troubles were far from over.
Despite the widespread belief that demons had something to do with religion, the truth was, they were just beings from different planes of existence. Some were helpless, others benign. Some though, came through to Earth to cause trouble with a capital T. As a Wyndewin wizard, Des was destined to be caught squarely in the middle of whatever disaster went down.