The boot slammed into her chest. Casi tried to scream, but the boot returned, pounding her shoulder. There was a loud crack as a bone broke. When she finally managed to glance back up, lobster claws had returned to his spot, and balloon head was gone.

            “Think she can die again?” a voice beyond her field of vision queried.

            “Hey, Jaras,” another voice spoke. “Did Rayedd tell you how to kill her? Or is he leaving that up to us?”

            “He didn’t say,” the one named Jaras remarked. “But I kind of like watching her suffer.” The demon leaned over from behind her, getting so close to her ear she could smell its rank breath. “So much for your little plan to get us all out in the open so you can destroy us. Won’t matter anyway, since we’d never fall for that ruse, now that we know all about you, little angel mouse. Hey, guys. I say we go ahead and stomp her to death. Whaddaya say? Let’s smush her into bloody little pieces, until there’s nothing left but worm food. Y’all have at her. I’m gonna start with her head.”

            Casi sensed a boot rising above her temple, the edge of the sole coming into view from the corner of her eye. Reaching up with one hand, she grabbed the boot and at the same time rolled to the side, dragging the leg with her. Her action jerked the demon off balance, and the creature fell backwards. Her sudden movement surprised them, and gave her that second to get to her feet.

            Standing was close to impossible. Her body rang with agony, and her head threatened to black out at any moment. She held out her one usable hand, as if she could ward them off. To her surprise, they hesitated.

            Remember the one who hit you? The little voice reminded her they couldn’t make skin-to-skin contact with her. Doing so didn’t harm her, but it was like pouring acid on them. Along with the reminder came the vision of the creature whose hands and arms began to boil after beating her.

            Naked. I need to fight them naked.

            Grabbing the hem of her t-shirt, she slid it over her head with one swift tug. It hung up for a micro-second on her shattered arm and shoulder. Gritting her teeth, she fought the sharp knife-like stabbing racing through her body and dropped the garment, leaving her nude from the waist up. The demons tensed, waiting for her next move.

            Keeping her head up, she dove straight toward them. The demons reacted automatically, and darted out of the way to avoid being touched. She ran past them as a couple tried to reach out and snag her. There was the sound of something popping, followed by the smell of burning flesh, but none of them were able to get a grip on her.

            That injured demon had stupidly left the door wide open, and no one had closed it behind him. Maybe it was because they believed they could prevent her from escaping by their sheer numbers. That after they were done with her, she would either be dead, or completely incapacitated, too injured to move.

            Casi burst through the doorway to discover she was inside a larger warehouse type of structure. At the far end of the building were a set of large delivery doors. They were also open, and beyond she saw an open field.

            She took off toward the doors when she heard the demons emerge behind her. They were running after her, attempting to head her off. Someone shouted orders to shut the door. A loud beeping noise filled the cavernous building, followed by a rumbling sound, and she saw the doors start lowering.

            No! Nooo!

            From some inner well she found the strength for a burst of speed. If she had to, she’d throw herself onto the floor and try to slide out underneath if the doors were too close to the ground. But she quickly realized they were shutting faster than she could run, and her meager energy was nearly depleted.

            Someone took a swipe at her, striking her arm. Another brief burst of foulness came with a screech. Then something hard hit her in the back of her head. Casi stumbled and fell forward. She tried to throw her arms out in front of her to break her fall, and her hands met the rough cement, scraping away the skin from her palms and fingers. The impact sent fresh waves of debilitating pain through her body as her broken arm collapsed underneath her, and she went tumbling, rolling over and over until she came to rest on her side.

            The demons caught up with her, laughing with delight from being able to stop her from escaping. As they made another circle around her, one of them hunched down to face her directly.

            “Nice try, little mouse. Our little mouse angel.”

            A demon near her feet snorted. “Some angel. Where are your wings?”

            “More like a wingless angel,” another remarked.

            “You know they don’t get no wings if they’re still alive,” still another taunted.

            The one squatting arose. “Let’s see if she sprouts any wings, then,” he announced, and raised his boot.

            A sword of fire came down, slicing off the leg below the knee. At the same time, the warehouse was filled with a golden glow that permeated every inch of space. The glow intensified, bringing with it a heat she could feel. But the heat and light didn’t affect her. Not like it did the demons. Casi watched as the creature in front of her let out a screech as it slowly melted, skin from muscles, to bone and organs, until the blood hissed as it evaporated.

            Around her, the other demons dissolved into puddles, steam rising from their remains. Once the last demon was nothing more than a wet spot on the floor, the light and heat dissipated, leaving behind a blessed coolness.

            Casi lifted her face for his kiss.

            “Don’t move, Casi, my love,” Coheed whispered. Helping her to roll over onto her back, he gently wiped her body with his hands. Gliding his palms over her wounds, allowing them to miraculously heal. Sending sheets of warmth throughout, until the bitterly cold warehouse no longer affected her. He took extra time to administer to her shattered arm and shoulder, mending the bone and muscle until no mark or bruise remained. While he worked on her, she drifted in and out of consciousness, without pain or care. Without any worry of any more demons trying to attack her. They knew better than to confront an archangel.

            At some point she was aware of the warehouse doors opening. Outside, a car’s engine rumbled as it pulled up next to the building. She recognized the rough sound of Gilly’s vehicle. Before she could say anything, Coheed lifted her into his arms and carried her out to where the priest was waiting.

            The angel slid into the back seat, cradling her in his lap, and Gilly drove them away.