I had to give Talamur some credit for remaining calm even after I literally ripped his head off. Azraal hadn't been nearly so collected under the same circumstances. As I held Talamur's face between my palms with my rage palpably pulsating around us, he regarded me with an air of disappointment rather than fear.
"It's us demons who are supposed to be so capricious and violent all the time, not you emotionally saturated humans," he said. "Do you have any actual interest in an explanation or are you planning on just ripping other body parts of mine off of me?"
I considered that for a moment. “Why not both?”
“Of course,” he muttered, rolling his eyes.
“That doesn’t sound like an explanation,” I warned.
Jaelin appeared nearby with Fikhos in tow. “What the hell are you doing?” she shrieked.
I was about to tell her in no uncertain terms to leave me alone, but Talamur answered more quickly. “Relax, honey,” he told her. “Jason and I are just having a little bit of a misunderstanding. This will all get sorted out in a minute.” Jaelin fell silent but she didn’t truly relax. Not that I could blame her, considering I was holding her lover’s severed head.
“So here’s the deal,” Talamur told me. “I was hired to kill you, so I possessed three of your friends and used them to beat the shit out of you.”
“They’re not my friends,” I grumbled.
Maybe a little more to the point, Fikhos said reverently, “You possessed…three people at the same time? I wasn’t even sure it was possible to possess one.”
“Like I said before,” Talamur said with false modesty, “I’ve picked up some tricks most demons don’t know about in my centuries of boredom up here.”
“Wow,” Fikhos said. I almost thought he was about to ask for Talamur’s autograph.
“So Quinn, Mike and Jessie aren’t actually murderers?” I clarified. “They were just your little marionettes. Patsies.”
“That is pretty much what they were, yes.”
“Wait, then who hired you?” I asked. “I was just a kid. Who wanted me dead?”
“Heaven,” Talamur replied. “Well, strictly speaking, I met with an angel, Salabas, who spoke on Heaven’s behalf, but it was definitely Heaven that put out the hit, if you will.”