Chase is the only human who works in Hell’s Gate, the one hospital in Boston where demons can go when they need help. It doesn’t make for an easy or restful life, but Chase loves what he does, even though none of the humans he knows understand it.
Thailor is a League demon—they’re the bogeymen of demons, working in the shadows to keep the city and its inhabitants safe. Sometimes he wonders why he even bothers helping humans when they couldn’t care less about demons, but it’s what he’s paid to do, and he’s good at it.
When Chase stumbles on a demon killing another demon, he knows he’ll be the only one to care. He tries to intervene, but he’s too late, and no matter what he thinks of Thailor, they seem to gravitate toward each other.
When Thailor is there for Chase when he’s assaulted, Chase finally gives in. They’re fighting against time to save the city’s demons from someone who’s kidnapping them and harvesting their organs, and as the body count rises, so does the danger for Chase. Thailor promises himself he’ll keep Chase safe, but will he be able to?
Chase’s cell phone beeped, pulling him from the half-sleep he’d been trying to enjoy. He reached for it, his hand hitting the table corner. He swore and tried to shake away the pain, but his phone beeped again, demanding his attention.
He sat up, knowing the only reason someone would call him while he was supposed to be sleeping would be an emergency. He got up, smoothed down the front of his scrubs, and grabbed his phone. He checked the display as he opened the door, swearing again when he saw he had two missed calls from Samra.
He briefly closed his eyes against the harsh white light of the hospital hallway and called Samra as he strode toward the ER.
She answered after only one ring. “Chase, we have another one. You’d better hurry up, because I don’t think he’s going to last long.”
“I’ll be right there.”
Chase hung up and ran. The last thing he’d needed was for his already shitty day to become even shittier, and having a demon missing bits and pieces definitely belonged to the shitty category.
The ER was chaos, like always, and Chase had to duck to avoid a green tail. He didn’t stop to help two nurses trying to tame a ghoul, even though they obviously needed it, and hurried to the room he’d started using when it became obvious he had a problem on his hands—after the third demon missing organs had been brought in.
“What do we have?” he asked as he pushed the door open and went straight to the box of latex gloves that sat on the counter to the side of the room.
What they had was obvious as soon as he looked at the table in the middle of the room. A pishacha was on it, his stomach open and blood trickling from it. The floor under the table was slick, and Chase had to step around the puddle of blood to get to the demon.
Samra was standing on the demon’s other side, taking the pishacha’s vitals. “He’s missing his stomach, his arsoer, and his cinalah,” she said.
Chase shook his head and got to work. There was nothing he could do to save the pishacha. The species couldn’t survive without their cinalah. But Chase could try to make the pishacha’s last moments less painful and more dignified.
“Give him two milligrams of morphine.”
Samra nodded and obeyed Chase’s order while Chase took a suture kit. He closed the pishacha’s gaping wound as fast as he could and without finesse while keeping his heartbeat in check. Chase wasn’t surprised when it started to slow down.
He finished stitching the wound and covered it, then pulled a stool closer so he could sit down. He took one of the pishacha’s hands with both of his, careful of the spines that covered part of the tough, leathery skin, and leaned closer. The pishacha hadn’t woken up yet, and Chase wasn’t sure he would. He nodded at Samra, who injected more painkiller into the drip.
Chase waited for what felt like a long time for the pishacha to wake up. He didn’t look forward to explaining to him that he was going to die, and soon, but he needed answers. The pishacha was the fourth demon to come in with missing organs, and he’d be the second to die from it. Chase couldn’t allow things to continue, but he didn’t know how to stop it.
The pishacha’s hand twitched, and Chase straightened on his stool. The pishacha blinked, and Chase held his breath, hoping his patient wouldn’t react badly to being in the hospital. There was a flicker of pain on the pishacha’s face. It lasted only a few seconds, and the next thing Chase knew, the pishacha was trying to get up.
Chase snatched his hands away when the pishacha arched his back and fought the restraints Samra had put on him. It had to hurt like hell, but the pishacha didn’t seem to care, and he continued to fight.
“Calm down,” Chase said. He didn’t have much hope his words would get through, but the pishacha froze and slowly turned his head to look at him.
“Hospital?” he asked in a rumbling voice.
Chase nodded. “Yes.”
“Human?” the pishacha asked, still looking at Chase. His nostrils flared, and Chase sighed. Of course the pishacha would know right away that Chase was human. At least he hadn’t freaked out over it.
Blood seeped through the sheet on the pishacha’s stomach as he struggled again. Chase needed him to calm down. “I’m human, but you’re not in a human hospital, don’t worry.” As if a human hospital would have taken the pishacha in. “You’re in Hell’s Gate.”
Chase hated the nickname the demons had given to the only demon hospital in Boston, but he knew the pishacha was more likely to recognize that one rather than the official name.
“What happened to you?” he asked, knowing he didn’t have much time.
The pishacha looked at his stomach and made a rumbling sound, almost like a growl.
“What happened?” Chase pushed.
The pishacha groaned and closed his eyes. “Human,” he said again.
It was too late. The pishacha opened his eyes again and looked at Chase. His body went limp, and Chase knew he was gone.
He sighed and closed the pishacha’s eyes. Samra hovered close, and Chase nodded at her. “Time of death three twenty-three P.M. Take care of him, okay? I’ll try to see if the nests around town are missing an adult male.”
Even if they were, there was little chance Chase would find them, but that wasn’t going to stop him.
Samra nodded, and Chase left the room. She knew what to do. She’d been working in Hell’s Gate far longer than he had.
He pushed the door and stepped outside. He leaned against the wall and closed his eyes, wishing the scent of blood would leave his nostrils.
It couldn’t go on. Chase didn’t think he could do anything himself, but he could talk to the cops. Again. They hadn’t listened to him the first three times, but he wasn’t going to stop going to the station until someone finally looked into it. Maybe seeing him again and again would change something. Chase didn’t really believe that, but he’d try. He always did.