When I woke up, only the headache remained, and each painful throb seemed less powerful than the last. As the pain waned enough for my brain to bother doing anything other than focusing on how much my head hurt, I looked around.
I was on the floor, mostly. My body seemed to be strewn across the splintered wreckage of the chair I’d been sitting in. I sat up slowly.
“Jesus,” said a chubby, dark-haired man sitting behind the Devil’s desk. “You look like hell.”
I placed an open palm to my temple in a fruitless effort to slow the pounding of my head. “Is that supposed to be funny?” I snapped weakly. “Who the hell are you?”
“Gus,” he said. “Your right hand man. Unless, of course, you’re left-handed,” he added with a trace of concern.
“Gus,” I repeated. “Okay, Gus. Do you know what’s going on? What happened here?”
“In a nutshell,” he replied helpfully. “The Devil’s blood took effect, you suddenly became endowed with a tremendous amount of power, your body hulked out, and you slipped into unconsciousness.”
“And the chair…?” I asked.
“Like I said,” he explained, raising his hands over his head to indicate size. “You hulked out.”
The headache was fading quickly. I got to my feet. “So what are you doing here?” I asked Gus.
“Consider this your orientation,” he said. “The last boss-man skipped town like a bat out of hell and that leaves it to me to give you whatever background info he neglected to mention.”
“Like what?” I asked.
Gus chuckled. He was probably about thirty, but his laughter had a grandfatherly charm to it. “Like how to be the Devil,” he said.