“Help,” he heard a woman choke out.
Obilian searched with his hand to find the light switch. He flicked it on.
A woman, with only a ratty blanket thrown over most of her body, lay on the bed, handcuffed to the headboard. Her face was tear-streaked, her left breast exposed. Obilian shut the door and crossed the room to the bed.
“Can you help me?”
He tested the handcuffs, firmly attached. He studied the lock. If he could have, he would have used magic to spring the locks, but he couldn’t because it wasn’t natural. A lock was meant to stay locked.
“Let me try.” He pulled on the handcuffs. He wasn’t strong enough to pull them away from the wooden headboard. The cuffs went down to the mattress, not leaving her with much room to move.
He stood up straight. “I’ll be back,” he said.
“Don’t leave me here!”
He opened the door, leaving the light on. Peaches had what he needed. He dashed to the main entrance, where he left Peaches. After rummaging in his saddlebags, he came up with a lockpick set. He started to run back, when another black man came out of the entrance.
“No, forgot something.”
“What, condoms?” The man laughed. “You got five minutes on the clock.”
Obilian nodded and ran back to the room. He had the lockpick set out the moment he shut the door. He undid one lock, when there was a knock on the door.
“Gimme a minute.” He fiddled with the second lock, and it sprung open. Obilian put his finger to his lips.
“I said, time’s up.” The door opened.
Obilian shoved the door into the man’s face. Leah gathered the blanket around herself as Obilian punched out toward the man’s body. But he wasn’t there.
The black man had moved to the left, out of the way of the door, and out of eyesight. Obilian took a step out, and immediately got slammed in the head by a bat.
Obilian was tougher than most people, but he still saw stars. Leah screamed, which made it even worse.
He barely recovered when he got hit in the ribs. Obilian blindly reached out, grabbing a hold of the bat and yanking it out of the man’s hands. He flipped the bat around and swung, crashing against the man’s shoulder, probably shattering it. The man howled in pain, and Obilian wound up for another strike.
The man held up his hand that hadn’t been hit.
“No, man! Shit!”
“Get in the room.”
The man struggled to dive into the room, while Leah came out, barefoot and holding desperately onto the blanket. Obilian grabbed her, yanking her to his side, slamming shut the door. He locked the door from the outside, assuming that was the only way it could lock.
“C’mon,” he said, pulling her arm. He would buy her some clothes as soon as he got away with her.
Sometimes, it didn’t matter whether he had magic or was fae. As he helped Leah onto the bike, he realized that now was one of those times.
A fallen angel, he was thrown out of heaven for loving another angel above God. What he doesn’t know is that God did him a favor.
He wasn’t familiar with the deep feeling in his gut, a rumbling and gnawing sensation. He walked past the bakery, and the feeling got worse.
The white-haired man gazed into the window of the bakery. Confections of sugar and flour sat beyond the window. He took a deep whiff, the baking bread aroma almost overpowering his senses. His gut gave another grumble.
Hungry. He was hungry.
He opened the door to the bakery. Fresh baked bread, something sweet beneath it, made his mouth water. The woman in an apron behind the counter smiled at him as she wiped her hands on the hem of her apron.
“Can I help you?”
“What smells so good?” he asked. His voice sounded gravelly, unused. He was used to singing praises, not speaking without a melody.
The woman grinned even more. “Chocolate chip cookies. A dollar a piece.”
“What’s a dollar?”
The woman’s grin faded. She glanced at his hair, and then nodded to him. “You’re one of those Kheldians, aren’t you?”
“One of those space aliens that change forms. They’re mostly heroes.”
He shook his head. “I’m sorry, I’m not a space alien.”
“Then you should know what a dollar is.”
“I’m afraid I don’t. I’ve only just arrived here.”
“Heaven,” he said, looking down, embarrassed.
“Heaven, huh?” The woman shrugged. “This is Paragon after all, I suppose anything’s possible.” She held up a finger. “Wait right here.”
As she went in the back room,