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Dr Archeville

Unbalanced: Cannonade's Oct 2010 Vignette

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October 31st

I Got A Rock

Cannonade was really tired of dealing with monsters. But the giant demon made of rocks apparently didn’t want to hear it.

It had been a weird month for Southside. Everyone knew that Il Diavoli Neri and Los Diablos Rojos had started fighting – apparently, they’d decided there could only be one devil-themed gang in South Freedom. It was the usual for Cannonade over the first few nights – stopping shoot-outs, breaking up drug deals, interrupting assassinations. Nothing different.

Then came the three-headed dog. Somehow Il Diavoli Neri had managed to garner some occult power and used it to dig one of Hades’ pets out of the Underworld. The thing had gone on a rampage, mainly working on Rojos holdings until Cannonade had managed to fashion an impromptu leash out of a downed power cable. Once the dog was incapacitated, Eldrich came by to banish it back to wherever.

The Rojos responded in true Chicago style by summoning up a giant burning bull. The thing set fire to a strip club held by the Neri and was getting ready to go to work on the rest of the block when he’d wrestled it back. According to what Eldrich had said later, it was called the taureau-trois-graines, so named for three of a… certain feature. Cannonade had only found this out after landing a lucky shot with his boot that made the thing fall on its face. The danger of having three of those was it made things so much more sensitive.

If it had only been the Rojos and the Neri, it would’ve been okay. But with all the summonings, apparently an express highway had been set up between this world and the other side. Meaning any gang banger with a handful of occult knowledge and a desire to wreak serious havoc could call something down.

The Crusaders managed to get their hands on an Odinist who’d dug up a giant snake. The guy who summoned it up said it was “the spawn of he that gnaws at Yggdrasil,” but Cannonade hadn’t managed to get much more out of him before punching him into unconsciousness. The snake had been a bit tougher, but it still went down. The Yellow Kings…

There were tentacles involved. That was all Cannonade remembered, and all he wanted to remember.

And now this guy. Apparently the 4Ses were tired of being upstaged in the “summoning up great ancient evil” department, so they decided to bind a demon. But they must have gotten a syllable wrong or something, because this guy had just burst screaming out of an apartment building and started causing the street to tear itself in half. Cannonade leaped to it, trying to find a weak spot in the guy’s stony skin. But the guy was tough as concrete, and he threw Cannonade right through the window of a bodega.

After getting his wits together, Cannonade looked out to the street. The demon had plunged his hands into the ripped-up street, and was touching the earth beneath. Already he could feel the tremors starting; this guy was trying to start an earthquake. He felt around for purchase, his hand finding a rolling glass tube. He looked at it. Hello…

The demon was obviously busy. Glass was starting to shake in storefronts, and cracks were forming in the asphalt where he stood. Which is why he didn’t notice when the devotional candle went flying through the air. In fact, he didn’t notice until the glass shattered against him, spilling wax all over his rocky carapace.

The demon screamed as the consecrated candle wax burned against his body. The volley was soon joined by other candles, until the demon looked like a birthday cake left lit for too long. When enough of his chest was covered to make a fine target, Cannonade came running out from under cover.

“Hey!” he yelled. “When you get back down there—"

He ran towards the demon at full speed, driving his fist into the wax-covered area. It yielded like taffy, going right through and out to the other side.

“—tell ‘em to stay out of Southside.”

The demon let out a strangled stream, then collapsed into a pile of stones at Cannonade’s feet. He exhaled, then made sure the coast was clear. When all seemed calm, he went back to the deli across the way and knocked on the glass.

The eight kids in costumes came out soon after. “Is he gone?” one of them asked.

Cannonade went back to the middle of the street, then kicked the rocks. “Yeah, looks like it,” he said. “So, where do you guys want to go next?”

“Grove Street!”

“Okay. Grove Street it is.”

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