Chapter 1: Invaders

I sit at my desk doing research on ‘The Edo Period’ when suddenly the lights go out. Luckily I’m using a laptop, however my StarLink is out as well. I groan and get up from my seat and make my way to the breaker box, but before I get there I hear a crash in my kitchen. I charge into my bedroom and grab my Spas 12 from under the bed and slowly walk in the direction of the noise. Peering from around the corner I am surprised to see what I can only describe as three devils with horns and a two legged wolf thing. My breath hitches and I turn away.

The memories of my day in fourth grade flood back to me as I remember the fear in the three boys’ eyes. I saw my reflection in a puddle and my face was replaced with that of a wolf.

“Hey, see if he’s got any booze.” I hear one of them say in a rough, yet still feminine voice.

“Nothing in here!” Another voice speaks. This one sounds like a country girl.

“We aren’t here for booze, we’re here for the target.” Another voice says, this one is male, but his voice has a weird inflection.

Hearing the word ‘target’ I immediately go on the offensive and present myself to the four intruders. I walk out of the darkness of my hallway, my Spas 12 aimed at them. The three devils raise their arms up, however the wolf-girl stands her ground in front of them. She sniffs the air and her eyes give off a radiant glow as she stares me in the eyes.

“Who do you work for?” I say, growling.

“We aren’t telling you shit!” The wolf-girl announces.

I fire my gun to the side, the bullet shattering a nearby lamp. I pump the shotgun, loading another one into the chamber. “I won’t ask again.” I growl, getting angrier.

“They work for me.” The tallest of the devils announces, stepping around the anthropomorphic wolf; his hands still raised. “You’ve got us okay. We’ll talk-” just as he says that, the little devils remove their weapons. The tall one holds two flintlocks, one in each hand, while the country girl has a large war axe. The third devil who looks like a total dork has a single Glock. The wolf-girl extends her claws and lunges at me as the others fire.

I dart and roll back into the hallway. I remove the Glock I have holstered at my side. I peer around the corner and fire a single shot, which embeds itself in the she-devil’s shoulder. She screams out in pain and the dorky one curses me as he angrily starts to fire in my direction. I count each shot as he gets closer, and eventually after fifteen I peer around the corner again just as I here his weapon click. I fire, aiming at his leg and… bullseye. The dorky devil cries out in pain, and the she-wolf lunges around the corner, aiming her claws at my face. Thinking quickly, I grab the standing lamp nearby and block her attack. She angrily lunges again, only this time I break the bulb on her head, and she collapses.

“Loonie!” I hear the tall devil scream as he comes around the corner, firing at me. I switch back to the Spas 12 and fire a single shot, which hits his right hand. His flintlock falls to the ground as he starts jumping around, holding his right hand. “Oh fuck! Satan’s dick that hurts!”

Having bested them, I pump my shotgun again and aim it at the tall one. “Don’t make me blow your head off. I’ll hang those horns on my wall.” I say calmly. Before he has an opportunity to react, I’m knocked off my legs and fall to the ground. The tall devil aims a flintlock at my head with his free hand. At his side is the wolf holding the standing lamp from before.

My blood boils, and for the second time in my life I turn back into the beast. The two back up as I stand. My black fur stands on edge, my red eyes glow angrily, and my claws extend. I lean over and keeping my eye on them, I grab my Spas 12 and aim it. “I won’t ask again. Who do you work for?”

The four intruders sit in chairs forming a circle, their hands tied together.

I point my shotgun at them, still in my wolf form. “So, you’re from Hell and you work as hitmen, and were hired to kill me. Is that it?”

“Yeah, that’s pretty much everything.” Their leader, having introduced himself as Blitzo says matter-of-factly.

“Who hired you?” I ask, scowling. In my wolf form – thanks to my heightened senses – I turn to the wolf-girl, now known as Loona. “You cut that rope with your claws and I kill you on the spot. I won’t hesitate to do so.” The cutting sounds I’d heard come to a halt.

“We tend to respect our client’s privacy.” Blitzo says in a bored tone. “Besides, I have a question for you.”

I raise a brow, but don’t speak.

“I can’t help but notice you’re a Hellhound. Loona knew she smelt something, but we certainly didn’t expect that.”

“A… Hellhound?” I ask incredulously. “I was born in Austin, Texas to human parents. Whatever you think I am, you’re wrong.”

“I know that smell,” Loona says. “You’re definitely a Hellhound. I can’t say how that happened, but if what you say is true, and you were born on Earth, then some mistake must’ve been made. That or your dad wasn’t your dad.” She grins at that sentence.

“Forget the Hellhound, who hired you?” I ask, aiming at Blitzo.

“Fine, I’ll break my rule and tell you, but only because I see no other way out of this.” The imp struggles, trying to get comfortable. “A man by the name of John Wang.”

I growl loudly, the growl transitioning into words, “John Wang hired you to kill me?! Makes sense that asshole went to Hell given what he did for a living!”

“Not that it really matters, but what did he do?” The dorky one, known as Moxxie asks.

“Man was a notorious sex trafficker. I won’t get into the details, but that man was a monster. He deserved to die, and he deserves to live out eternity in Hell.” I spit out those last few words.

“So… what do you do for a living?” The final imp – known as Millie – asks in her southern twang.

“I run a military history blog. I was in the U.S. Army Special Forces, but I was discharged four years ago.”

Loona’s eyes widen when she hears this. “You definitely were born on Earth then. You’re a pretty serious dude, props.”

“Oh darling, you aren’t nearly charming enough to get out of this.” I say, making sure to accentuate ‘darling.’

She growls, “Fine, can’t accept a compliment then. Whatever.”

“So then tell me.” I say, looking down at their boss Blitzo. “Why shouldn’t I end you four on the spot?”

“Well…” Blitzo says, rolling his eyes. “Now that I know a bit of your background, and have seen what you’re capable of, we actually could use your help.”

I scoff before saying, “Elaborate.”

“What does that mean?” Blitzo asks.

“He means he wants you to explain.” Moxxie says, rolling his eyes.

“Oh, yeah. A friend of ours has-” Blitzo starts.

“You mean your fuck buddy?” Loona interrupts.

I raise a brow before telling him to continue.

“Our benefactor has reason to believe a super secretive branch of the U.S. government has access to Hell. We have some theories on ‘how,’ but we need some serious help figuring out what’s going on, and…” He stretches the ‘and,’ which tells me he’s nervous. “We could use a security guard, as well as a personal guard for my lovely daughter.”

“Hold on… WHAT?!” Loona yells, even making me flinch.

“I take it Loona is your daughter.” I ask him. “She seems like a real pain in the ass.” Loona merely growls.

“Fine, I accept your offer. It would give me something to do. But,” I lower my voice and growl my next few words. “If you try anything, I won’t hesitate.” I slide a single claw across my neck. The imps gulp, and Loona just laughs.

“You think you scare me?” Loona says. “You didn’t grow up in Hell.”

“You have no right to tell me what I have or haven’t gone through!” I bark back.

Loona rolls her eyes. “Yeah, whatever. Just untie us now.”