"So," I grunted, struggling to breathe despite the pressure on my windpipe. "You want to take over too? Big surprise."
He released me suddenly, pulled me to my feet, smoothed the fabric of my shirt briefly, and looked me solemnly in the eye. "I am prepared to offer you a deal," he said.
"A deal?" I echoed, rubbing my throat. "A second ago you were choking me to death."
"Yes, well, that's all rather ugly," he said dismissively. "There are other ways I prefer to do business."
"So what's this deal?" I asked carefully.
"Don't--make--a deal!" Gus hissed quietly.
"I know a way out of here," Vilnius said. "And I don't mean a door to the world of the living, I mean a door...upstairs." He pointed upward with one finger as though a visual aid were necessary for me to properly understand.
"Upstairs?" I repeated.
"A door to Heaven," he clarified. "If you willingly submit to the blood spell and allow me to assume control of Hell, I will provide you with one of my aides to personally escort you to and through that door." He spread his arms wide. "Consider it--you'd be free of the headaches and constant fighting of being in charge of the roughest prison in the universe, free of the tortures and agonies of being a prisoner, and reunited with your grandparents or whatever in eternal happiness in Heaven."
"That does sound pretty good," I admitted. Gus was urgently tugging on my arm. "Uh, can I have a moment to...uh, confer...with...my aide?"
"You have one hour," Vilnius said sternly. "After that, you either accept my offer, or I fucking destroy you on a molecular level, you uppity piece of human shit." He smiled wanly. "Choose carefully. I'll see you in an hour."