(Continued from Trespass - Part Two)

"But studying the tape further, I noticed something, very subtle, had followed me out of there. And I think that's what that was back there. Seems they're pissed I got away. I tried hiding myself in monasteries across the globe. I drained my bank accounts, sold my house, and even my car just so I wouldn't be bound to any one place. I thought they had lost my scent. I was wrong, apparently. I was on my way from a Mexican Catholic church to a Buddhist Temple when I rented this car and stumbled upon you. I guess it's a good thing you were here to pull me back from that thing."

"Well, I'm here to lend a helping hand. You'd do the same for me; you did."

"I suppose. It's one thing to stop someone from being raped, it's something else entirely saving someone from Hell."

"Who said they're any different?" I looked at her. Her response was to lower her head slightly and shift her gaze out to the desert through the window at her side. The light from the radio reflected off the glass in such a strange manner that it appeared as a small circle above her head as she longingly looked out to the empty void. "We should go back."

"I beg your pardon?"

"To the bus. We should go back. They might need our help."

"Did you hear a word I said? Were you not paying attention to what happened to me just ten minutes ago? I don't cry blood, you know."

"What if those people were you? What if that thing that's out there gets them? You're just going to leave them be because you don't care about anyone but yourself. What happened to the guy that rescued me from those bikers? I know you're scared--"

"Yeah, I'm scared!"

"I am, too! But we have to help them if we can." I sighed heavily. The memories of my experience ran through my mind. The thought of even the chance of going back to Hell scared me to the bone. I felt the cold gaze of Marisol burning into my face. I slowed the car, turned it, and drove the way I came.

The lights of the bus were still on when I pulled up to it. I could no longer see anyone inside the vehicle but the windows were still covered in crimson. I shuddered at the thought. After parking the car, I left it running in the case it would be needed quickly. Before departing from the safety of my vehicle, I asked Marisol one last time if she was sure about what was about to happen.

"Of course I am. Come on, Lion -- it's time to get your courage." She stepped out of the car.

I followed seconds after her, the heat a sharp contrast to the nice breeze the air conditioning unit in my car gave. The bus was still idling, the noise of the engine making hearing very difficult. We walked to the blood-stained door and pried it open. The stench of death filled our noses and nearly burst the olfactory before we were able to cover our faces. We pedaled backward from the smell and Marisol dry heaved as I sucked in precious air. I looked at her and asked again, "Are you sure?"

She just gave me a knowing glance and made her way toward me. She looked me in the eyes that, for some reason, filled me a sense of serenity. I no longer feared what I was about to see. Instead, I was ready for it, almost craving the thought of helping others. I boarded the bus first with Marisol close behind me.

The bodies of five passengers and one bus driver littered the floor while the blood from their lifeless corpses decorated the transport in a macabre fashion. Curses were written along the ceiling and windows but not in any language most have seen. The one place I had witnessed such utter blasphemy was through the door of that house, the horrid sight of demons scratching their native tongue into the flesh of souls stayed with me and had never once left.

Sitting calmly in the back was the old man whose frenzy I had before observed. His head was large and balding, a sizable smile taking up most of the room on his face. His hands rested on a cane that appeared to be too big for him. The cane itself would have been a nice shade of mahogany had it not been covered in blood. The man seemed to be just another senile elder with the exception of one thing: he had no eyes. The sockets were instead filled with nothing but black void.

"Greetings," he roared in a thick voice, much too thick for an old man. "I've been waiting for you. I see you've brought some company. How nice."

"Who are you?" I asked.

"You should know that by now, my dear boy. You've escaped from me once but not again." It took everything I had not to run screaming from that bus. I gathered every ounce of strength I had and took two steps forward. His head did not move although I would have been out of his line of sight.

"Since you've been so kind as to wait for me, I suppose it's time we get this started." He turned his eyeless holes to me, filling me with dread. Something inside slithered around, but it was not enough for me to see clearly.

"I haven't been waiting for you, although I am quite pleased with your presence here." He turned his head back toward Marisol. "I've been waiting for the Seraphim."

When I next looked at Marisol, she was no longer the woman I remembered. Where she once stood was instead a pillar of bright light that didn't seem to cast a single beam away from her being. My heart raced and in my momentary distraction, the old man leapt up and grabbed hold of me. He hid himself behind my body and I felt foolish for allowing it to happen. Regardless, I was stunned; I couldn't move, be it from fear or something else, and my eyes swelled with tears.

In a language that I understood only due to my proximity to Hell itself, the two spoke: "You're not allowed to fight!" shouted the old man.

"One breached rule allows another, Demon."

"I'll kill him! Tear his throat out and suckle on his sweet, sinful soul!"

"Then you shall take his place in Heaven! The wonderful place you dread shall be your eternal prison!" The hand around my throat loosened. He shoved me toward Marisol, or what she had become. "And for your treachery you shall rot on this plane."

"Please, no," he begged.

"I chain you to this realm for the next one-hundred years of mortality, blessing you to never die until your time has been served. I strip you of any powers and condemn you with the desire to do right." The old man screamed in agony and he fell to his knees. The old body disappeared and there instead knelt a young, healthy man. He wore no clothes but was seemingly fine otherwise. When I turned to face Marisol, she had taken her previous form once again. She held her hand out to me.

"We're done here. Let's go."

I took her hand and she led me off of the dreadful bus. For the first time since I had met her, the sun rose over the horizon. I also took note that the desert air was chilled and not hot as it had been before I met Marisol. A great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I looked to the girl who was full of surprises.

"Enjoy your peace while it lasts," she said calmly. "This was just the start of what's to come; they'll be returning. I'll always be here to watch over you because you're a good man and you've earned an ally in me. Keep it that way and you'll be fine." She looked over the horizon, to the west where the sun had not yet touched. "We should go."

The glowing eyes of creatures stared back at us from the darkness. I climbed into the car with my new-found Angel and drove north toward the Temple.

Hell found me. So did Heaven. I'll be fighting for my soul until the day I die when I can finally achieve eternal rest --
         -- be it Heaven or Hell.

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