Escaping the Devil: Chapter Twenty Six



This story is rated Mature for adult language, sexual content, references to graphic violence, drug, and substance abuse. This means that this is intended for audiences 18 and up.

The morning came and brought with it a thunderous headache. They were quick to pack up their things and get back into the car, but all the while, Eli couldn’t help but think of the many ways she wanted to empty her stomach on the pavement. The bumpy roads did very little to ease her booze-sour stomach. The smell of cigarette smoke was acrid and caused pain to erupt between her temples. 

Gunner smartly didn’t say anything when she reached into the backseat and produced a bottle of lukewarm beer. 

“Hair of the dog,” she explained as she slumped into the passenger seat.

Yui contentedly napped off her hangover, curled up in her seat with her cheek pressed against the glass. Her eyes darted to the rearview as if afraid Yui might disappear if she took her eyes off her — even for one second. 

Their guide didn’t mention anything that happened the night before, though Eli couldn’t help but dwell. Her cheeks burned as she fished around for her first cigarette of the morning, recalling how hard she had come undone. Not just that, but how, for the second time, Gunner had witnessed her bottoming to Yui. It hurt her pride to think that he got the wrong idea about her — a strange notion, given that she should have been more upset about having put on a show for him in the first place.

And yet, she couldn’t bring herself to feel ashamed or embarrassed about what had happened. Yui had unlocked something in her she hadn’t known existed. Nothing could change that she felt powerful when eyes were on her. She felt sexy knowing she had someone’s rapt attention.

Even if it was the Archangel whose knuckles whitened against the steering wheel as they drove.

They remained in silence for a long time, both seemingly unsure of how to bridge the gap between them. 

A few hours passed, and Yui continued to snooze in the backseat. After a few false starts, Gunner cleared his throat. “So, why Sanctuary Hills?”

Eli paused, her thumb rolling over the lip of her long-finished beer. “Seems like as good a place as any.”

“How do you figure?”

“Omnus doesn’t have its grubby mitts on them. They’re too far East and too North.”

Gunner nodded. 

“And it’s a place for people like us.” 

“You don’t think they’d look for you there?”

Eli shook her head. “Omnus has been trying to get a foothold in Sanctuary Hills for a long time. They’ve never managed to. Besides, there are other places they’d look first.”

“Like your hometown?”

She nodded, her tongue pressed to the inside of her cheek. “Or even further north. They’d try to think of the last place I’d go.”

He made a small, thoughtful noise, and they settled into silence again.

Yui awoke a bit later and happily seized control of the conversation. Eli wasn’t sure what she was prattling about, but even she couldn’t miss how easily Yui and their guide spoke. Then again, it had always been one of the Siren’s latent talents. She had a personality that could light up an entire room. Even the gloomiest person would struggle to not be caught in her rays. 

Eli was keen to let the conversation happen around her despite her growing unease. She didn’t want to talk. She just wanted to get to Sanctuary Hills. 

After hours of being on the road, they were all in need of stretching their legs. Yui whined about needing “proper food,” and Eli couldn’t say that she disagreed. There were only so many bags of chips, pastries, and jerkies that one could eat before their stomach poised a full-scale rebellion.

A bit off the interstate was a bar that boasted the “world’s best gumbo.” Gunner didn’t have a chance, nor did he seem keen to fight when Yui’s hand curled around his, and she stomped toward the entrance. 

Eli was hard-pressed to fight either when she saw the sign that read “bottomless margaritas.”

They looked like a mismatched bunch, stuffed into one of the corner booths. Yui’s hair was pulled up into a high, braided ponytail, with neon yellow eyeliner and a hot-pink top that showed more skin than it covered. Eli stuck to her typical black and gray — threadbare t-shirts and holy jeans. Gunner looked the most “normal” of the trio in a white t-shirt and well-loved denim pants. His Harley Davidson boots were the only indicator of his former life as a biker kept pristine in stark contrast to his grease-stained, patchy jeans.

They devoured their dinner, and Eli polished off a large portion of the first pitcher on her own. When their meal was finished, Gunner pushed the tab toward Eli, stuck one foot into the aisle, and prepared to leave. 

“C’mon,” Yui pouted, leaning into his side with the same languid arch one would expect of an affection-starved house cat. “Can’t we just stay and hang out for a little bit?”

Gunner’s eyes roved over his face, his head shaking sharply. “We’ve already stayed too long. We should get back on the road.”

“We haven’t seen anyone, though,” Yui protested. “Can’t we just have a few drinks?” She stuck her lip out a pout, forcing them to tremble for added emphasis. 

“A few drinks wouldn’t hurt,” Eli added, stuffing her cash into the leather folder. “Besides, it’s our second night of freedom. Aren’t we entitled to cutting loose?”

“You mean last night wasn’t enough for you?”

Eli’s gaze darkened, and her teeth flashed in a feral smile. 

Yui sensed the shift in mood and flattened herself to Gunner’s side. “That wasn’t celebrating,” she grinned, her lips too close to the shell of his ear. Eli noticed the barely perceptible shiver that traced up his spine. “If you want to see what happens when we cut loose, let us have a few drinks. Dance a little….” 

Eli couldn’t know what was happening under the table, but Archangel’s jump gave her a good idea. 

Gunner’s eyes darkened with want, his gaze darting to Yui’s mouth before flickering back to Eli’s. “Fine,” he growled. “Only a few drinks. Don’t draw attention to yourselves. And then we gotta go. We’re already behind schedule.”

Yui squeaked and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “Thank you!” She crawled out from the booth, uncaring that Gunner was still in the way. 

Eli grinned wolfishly, noting the “accidental” way she wiggled astride his lap. The two linked their arms as they wandered toward the bar. “You’re absolutely wretched, Yuina.”

“It worked,” she shrugged, grinning devilishly. “That’s what matters!” 

A few drinks turned into a few and some shots. Yuina had done her best to make a few friends at the bar, saving them from breaking open their wallets. It wasn’t long before they found themselves in the arms of the locals.

Yui was pinned against the wall, with a stranger’s mouth on her neck. Her leg was hoisted up over his hip as they moved in rhythm to the music. They flirted with the precarious line of public decency. If it weren’t for their current situation, Eli would have been tempted to tell her to get a room. 

Eli’s sights, however, were on a curvaceous, dark-haired woman with a deep complexion, only a few shades darker than Damien’s. She introduced herself as Isabella, pronouncing it like “Eesa-bay-a.” 

It wasn’t long before they were flirting with the line of decency as well. Eli’s hands drifted over her thighs, reveling in the temptress’ smile that alit her dance partner’s face. Their lips were close. So close she could taste the tequila and lime on her breath. Eli inched closer, hungry and keen to devour her mouth.

A strong hand closed around her arm, tugging her away from the object of her attention. “We have to go,” Gunner snarled in her ear. 

“Fuck off,” she growled, wrenching her arm away from him. Still, he refused to break their contact. 

“Eli,” he snarled in a warning. “We have to get out of here.” 

She scoffed, her eyes rolling. “Fucking buzzkill—”

Her Beast let out a low, warning rumble. The haze around her head began to lift as she rapidly sobered. The door opened, and two men crossed the threshold, too well-dressed for this particular establishment. They carried with them the stench of wrongness — gunpowder, and blood. And something distinctly monstrous.


Shit,” she hissed, ducking her chin to her chest to hide her face. 

She and Gunner fell into stride as they carved a bee-line toward Yui. She was like a God damn beacon in a sea of brown and black. Gunner lurched for her arm, prepared to rip her from her tonsil hockey partner. Eli’s hand on his wrist stopped him. Her expression beseeched him to hold onto whatever flimsy patience he had left. Their argument happened in the heat of their stare, but he allowed Eli to step ahead of him grudgingly. 

She tapped the man on the shoulder. His attention snapped to her, lazy, lust-filled, drunk on Yui and booze. 

“Hey,” she purred, “that’s my girl.” She reached between them, teasing her fingers down the front of her shirt. Yui shivered under her gasp, fixing her with a wanting look. She wedged her lip between her teeth, stifling a low moan. 

The stranger’s eyes darted to her fingers, then met her eyes. 

Before he could think to say anything to reveal what specific breed of bar-pig he was, she gave him an offer she knew he would not refuse: “If you want to watch her make me come on her tongue while you fuck her from behind, meet us in the back in ten minutes.”

It was clear by his slack-jawed awe that he consented. He nodded emphatically, allowing Yui’s leg to drop. She tugged her hand, urging her in the direction of the bathrooms, down a narrow, unoccupied hallway. 

“Oh my God,” Yui giggled. “You’re so hot right now—”

“Sorry, babe.” She smiled apologetically in response. “As much as I would love for an actual threesome with you, we’ve got other things to worry about.”

“Wait—What? I thought?”

“Nex is here,” Gunner growled, startling them both with his breath on their necks. “We need to go. Now.

He reached past them, opening the metal door to the back patio. A gaggle of patrons gathered in their respective groups as they chatted and smoked their cigarettes. Eli and Gunner instinctively fell into stride behind Yui, shielding her from the eyes of the bar-goers. Black was easy enough to blend in, but she was a God-damned neon sign in the dark. 

They hurriedly made their way to the car.


Their rancor came to her on the wind. Their intentions clear in their bark, awakening the Beast beneath her skin.

“Go. Now.” Gunner shoved them both toward the car, his hand disappearing into his pants, emerging with his gun. 

They scrambled into the car, Yui falling heavily into the backseat as she dove into the passenger side.

Shots echoed in the dark. Terrified screams erupted from the back patio. The shots grew closer as Gunner backed up toward the car. A hideous sound of metal being punctured tore the breath from her lungs. “YUI! GET DOWN!”

The Siren curled up into a ball in the backseat, pulling her shins to her chest. 

Eli leaned forward and wrenched the driver’s side door open. A few thunderous shots were fired. Gunner’s ass collapsed into the driver’s seat, his shoulder glistening red, the scent of copper filling the car. He hurriedly turned the car on and slammed it into reverse. The tires screeched as he peeled out of the parking lot.

In a flash of white, the hitmen were racing toward their car.

The car accelerated, reaching breakneck speeds at an impossible rate. They hurled down the road, surrounded by swathes of black and smudges of moonlit blue. A pair of headlights appeared behind them in no time, steadily closing the distance between them.

Cursing under his breath, Gunner took a sharp turn onto a side street. They were getting closer to the city limits, making the neighborhoods more densely packed — and easier to hide in. 

Yui whimpered in the back seat, keeping her hands clamped over her ears. 

“You’re going to be okay,” Eli comforted, reaching back to hold her hand. The Siren clung to her for dear life, staring up at her with terror written on her features. 

“Hold on,” Gunner growled, taking another sharp squealing turn onto a side street.

Still, the car continued to catch up.

Eli turned to warn Gunner. She was blinded by a pair of approaching headlights on her side of the car. She let out a terrified scream, drowned out only by the blare of the horn. They were missed, just barely, but the car pursuing them wasn’t as lucky. The two collided, the ass-end of Omnus lack SUV spinning them until they came to a stop on the hood of another car.

Gunner stepped on the gas, hurtling them through the city streets.

They were silent for a long while, Yui still struggling to catch her breath and Eli’s drunken mind struggling to catch up with everything. 

“I told you we shouldn’t have fucking stopped,” Gunner barked as he took another painfully sharp turn. “Now this car is fucking cooked. We have to find another one.” 

“An ‘I told you so?’ Real fucking cute. That’s what you want to use your energy on right now?” 

“No. I’d rather be using my energy to get us as far the fuck away from them as I can get!”

“Then shut the fuck up and drive!”

“Stop it!” Yui pleaded from the back seat. “Stop fighting, please,” she sniffled, shakily righting herself. “Gunner, you’re right. We shouldn’t have stopped. We’ll listen to you next time—”

“Like Hell—“ 

“Eli, he just saved our lives.” Yui reached for her, soothing her with her fingers on the inside of her arm. “He’s managed to escape more times than we have. We should listen to him. Please, no more fighting. We have to focus on getting to Sanctuary Hills. In one piece.” 

She grit her teeth, her eyes shifting from Yui to Gunner and then back again. 

She knew she didn’t like them bonding.

Grudgingly, she nodded and flopped into her seat. 

“So, what do we do now?”

“We find a new car.”

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