Friday, November 2, 2018

Blood in the Streets

Blood in the Streets
Bobby Derie

Bob the Knob was dead. There would be blood in the streets.

The witches of the Thirteenth Street Coven circled their cauldrons and sharpened their athames. On Rune Street, the warlocks put up their wards and oiled their tommyguns. Down by the docks, the Kraken Tong raised black flags, and lowered them to half mast. Ahead of the funeral, the Daughters of Mina cleaned out a mausoleum and installed fresh caskets. They were ready to go to the mattresses.

The cream of society did not arrive to see Bob the Knob's black casket lowered into the earth, but the scum of the darkworld came to pay their respects. The succubi and incubi the Knob had favored worked the edges of the crowd, lifting black skirts to comfort the bereaved at a discount—and no-one doubted its what Bob would have wanted. Each ex-wife stuck a silver pin into the skin over his heart, looking at his face for any sign, and more than one went away red-eyed when the corpse remained unmoved. They were not his widows, but they had shared something of his life, and now they shared something of his death, congregating a little and swapping old memories, little of the venom left for each other now.

A low priest served as master of ceremonies, a defrocked Dagonite who had bowed before any number of altars. Most of the crowd made their signs against the evil eye as the thin balding man with a friendly face made the opening invocation, only gently slurring the pronunciation of the Knob's patron deities.

The casket was barely lowered when the long white hearse swung past the grave...the window rolled down... No one knew who was the first to scream, but the word rang out shrill among the quiet graves.


Don L'ambrusco melted down to his bones in the opening barrage, though no-one knew if he was the one they were after—the Knob's funeral was a target-rich environment. Yet this was a crowd that did not duck and cover when the infernal flames burst out and wilted the green grass and scorched the earth.

The wands came out, and pocket pistols. Curses pinged off the limo's wards, but the bullets cracked the unarmored glass, smudged the sigils, and struck into the darkness from where the hellfire had emerged. Some fool had failed to ward the tires, and the black rubber popped and shrank, the limo dipping precipitously, unable to speed off or steer. Blasts of lightning scraped along the weakened wards as the soldatos moved in for the kill, and the limo knocked over couple of tombstones and ended up crashing into a tree.

The driver tried to flee. She got about three steps before being hit by multiple curses. The thing that fell on the grass, squirming horribly, looked somewhere between a frog and a squirrel, twitching limbs clawing at the suit suddenly three sizes too big for it. One of the ogres stomped it flat, sometime later.

Blood rained from the sky, as the survivors turned on each other...but this was only the beginning.

Bob the Knob was dead, and the truce was broken.

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