Edvil—Ed—a minion of Hell, is Lucifer's best soul-taker. Stationed in New York, he's very good at what he does. However, all his plans go by the wayside when Hell's accountants tell the overlord that they’re two souls over. There’s a balance, and that balance between souls up and souls below must be preserved at all costs. If the balance doesn't hold by the end of each year, then the world will be destroyed, and the rulers of Heaven and Hell will have to start the whole process of evolution all over again.
Ed is given the task of helping two souls go topside. His assistant is Millie, a Halo—angel—and together, they have an almost impossible task. Furthermore, Ed's chief rival, Markus, decides to sabotage Ed's efforts for reasons of his own.
Undeterred, Ed and Millie press on with their mission, and along the way they find out that they're much more into each other than they want to admit. After numerous setbacks, Ed discovers Markus' ultimate plan and has to do everything in his power to stop the final apocalypse from happening.
New York City. One AM. June seventh, 2032. An alleyway in the Bronx.
Hunter vs prey. That was the law of the jungle, and even though the alleyway was far from the continents of Africa, or India, or South America, it was still a jungle, albeit an urban one.
Ed—the hunter—knew that. He also knew that he was different from the average person. Gazing into a store window as he walked by, he saw his reflection, that of a young male, lean, muscular, and in perfect physical condition, like a decathlete, only more so.
He wore a pair of high-toned slacks along with a made-to-measure tailored long-sleeved shirt. That seemed totally out of place in the hot and steamy summer weather. His sharply defined features and short black hair, along with his gaze—deep and penetrating—made him stand out from the rest of humanity. After getting into position, Ed waited in silence, scarcely breathing. A fly landed on his arm. He quickly flicked it away and watched as his quarry made his way into the alley.
Heat notwithstanding, he took no notice of the weather and paid scant attention to his surroundings. He was after something more important than a cool room in which to relax.
Ah, his prey had made his appearance, a tall, skinny cat burglar in his late twenties named Billy Crate. Ed had followed his target for the past three days, ever since Crate obtained his parole from prison.
Billy made his way into the alley, and Ed stepped into the shadows, blending with them. It was his skill set that kept him hidden. Special abilities, one might call them.
However, they were endowed abilities, and they didn’t come from the one above. They came from the one below. Point of fact—Ed was a demon, and demons could shield themselves from human eyes.
He watched as his target crept along the alley with quiet, careful steps. It was a game, really, to see who was better at stalking. Ed knew that Billy was out to steal something.
Tirelessly, he’d trailed his human target as he went from his flophouse of an apartment to roaming the streets in search of a score. He’d watched Billy’s every move, and listened in on his telephone calls to a fence named Winger.
Ed knew that Billy would use his cat-burgling skills to try and steal some cash or jewelry to fence. Only now, he, as a hunter-demon, would strike first.
For his part, Billy gazed at his surroundings, spat on the ground, and uttered his verdict. “What a dump.”
Call that a spot-on assessment. The alleyway was narrow, filled with discarded boxes and crates. Every apartment house had violated the building codes long ago. What held them up was spit, substandard metal, and wood, and most of all, luck.
Urban blight didn’t half describe this area. However, the greedy owners, not to mention the city officials, had let things slide. Call it bureaucracy—business as usual.
Ed watched as Billy quietly made his way down the alley. It was only a hundred feet long, and there was a chain-link fence at the end.
After looking around to make sure no one was around, he spat on his palms and jumped up to scale the fence with little difficulty.
Ed teleported a bit closer, taking up a position in the shadows from which to observe his target. He watched as Billy jumped to the other side, not bothering to look around. As far as he was concerned, he was alone. In reality, he wasn’t.
He must have also thought that he wouldn’t be caught or that no one was following him. He was incorrect in that assumption, as well.
Billy had already served two stints in prison, and while it should have shown him the error of his ways, he was of limited intelligence. He also happened to be stubborn, two extremely negative traits that indicated he’d never rise above his station in life.
Ed knew that tonight Billy wouldn’t rise above anything, and a grim smile coated his lean features. He watched as the cat-burglar climbed to the third floor of an apartment building and quietly entered through the open window.
Five minutes later, he emerged, clutching a gold watch, eighty dollars, and a bag of weed. “High quality,” Billy murmured with satisfaction.
He descended to the ground to do a funky pirouette in celebration of his score. In addition to his dance, he also zipped his fly down to take a leak. Some people would say he was marking his territory or leaving a puddle of urine as a final insult.
Enough is enough, Ed thought as he emerged from the shadows. He could have gone straight over to Billy, but that would have been too obvious and not as dramatic.
This situation called for something dramatic, and so, he hid himself from human eyes. The show would begin soon.
From the invisible void he’d entered, Ed watched as Billy swiped away the sweat with his free hand and cursed the weather once more. “Damn, it’s hot,” he muttered and sniffed the air. A moment later, he recoiled, as a smell of sulfur slammed into his nostrils. A heavy, cloying smell, it overrode the horrid stench of garbage and animal droppings.
“What in the hell is making that damned smell?”
His question was partially answered when a manhole cover blew off its moorings ten yards ahead in a blaze of blue fire and smoke. The cover, solid iron, went straight up and smashed into the ground about fifteen seconds later.
Billy Crate’s veneer of manliness shattered, and his output immediately dried up. Now he was spooked, and he wasn’t the type to spook easily. Hastily, he zipped up his jeans.
Smoke billowed in the air, obscuring his vision. He coughed and swatted the air in front of him, blinking away the acrid grayish-blue cloud that caused his nose hairs to wilt.