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*****


Previously in Heaven Bent: After surviving an attack on the rebel camp by a giant pit bull, movie star Stag learns startling secrets about the true nature of Heaven. Music legend E.P. recruits him for a dangerous mission: infiltrating Heaven's inner circle and assassinating the top boss, Byzantine. But when Stag reenters the heart of Heaven, he ends up in the hands of a torturer assigned by Byzantine to test where his loyalties lie...


Again, Dr. Curie touched the clamps of the jumper cables to my chest, and searing electrical current poured through me. My entire body galvanized from the impact, stiffening like a metal rod on the exam table--make that torture table.

Then, when Curie drew the clamps away with her black rubber-gloved hands, I slumped. I lay there, twitching, praying she wouldn't bring back the clamps for another round.

How many times had she shocked me already? Seven? Ten? I'd lost count. Each time, she asked questions in the same even tone, as if this were just another routine medical procedure without human suffering.

Seconds after the latest zap, she asked another question in the exact same tone. "Have you accepted an assignment from the Heaven Liberation Front?"

"No!" Even as I said it, I surprised myself a little. There I was, on electroshock treatment eight or eleven or twenty, and I still wasn't giving her the true answer. I wasn't telling her, Why yes, I've agreed to try to kill the boss of Heaven, Byzantine, in cold blood.

Thank you, Academy Award-winning acting chops.

"Tell me the truth, Mr. Lincoln," said Curie, "and I'll finally stop your suffering. Persist in your denials, and things will only get worse for you."

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