Insurgency Rising
rating: 0+x

1929. Somewhere south of Virginia.


The moment she catches wind of those pretty little tin lizzies puttering behind her, Harley "Diamond-Tooth" Angelo knows the sensible move is to ditch Mercy's cargo and run. But Harley never was the sort of woman who let things like good sense get in the way of doing right.

The customized Studebaker whines with anticipation. Mercy's engine is a modified Straight-6 that guzzles torment and belches power; her gas-tank is loaded with enough liquid damnation to drown every preacher's pulpit from Meat Camp, North Carolina on up to Chicago, Illinois. The Foundies giving chase might as well be driving horse-drawn buggies.

She pumps the gas. Mercy roars in triumph as her engine slakes its thirst on the souls of the damned. The Studebaker Special Six shrieks down the mountainside, bellowing sulphur and brimstone. What was once a scenic woodland trail is now a blazing streak of trees, smoke, and hellfire.

The Foundies behind her don't concern Harley. Mercy can spin circles around them all day. But for every F-Man you see, there's two you don't — and Harley isn't sticking around to shake their hands and say how-do-you-do.

The road flattens out into a curve up ahead. Harley lifts her foot off the pedal and eases into it, leaning against the door. The suspension creaks — Mercy tilts. The Studebaker's left side rises off the road. The tank of ectoplasm sloshes below; she can hear the souls wailing and moaning. "Quit your bellyachin'," she growls back. "Y'all were going to Hell anyway. New York ain't that much worse."

"Ms. Angelo? Is everything — is everything okay?"

A face pops up in her rear-view mirror. The boy's cerulean-blue skin glistens in the light. Instead of hair, he's got a dozen tendrils mottled with splotches of white and gold. His eyes are as yellow as egg-yolks, with black slits in the middle.

He squeezes the back of Harley's seat with those webbed, four-fingered hands of his. Behind him, his two sisters are still sleeping. Their horns are tucked up against each other.

The road levels out; Mercy whumps back down on all fours. Harley adjusts the rear-view mirror and flashes the boy a diamond-studded smile. "Dandy as a dandelion, darlin'. Look after your sisters for me, alright? Auntie Angelo'll have y'all safe up north in no time."

He nods. Then his eyes get as wide as tea-saucers. "Ms. Angelo, is that —"

She sees it an instant after he does. Up ahead, coming in fast. Roadblock.

Shit. "Grab your sisters and don't let go."

Harley smashes the brake. Mercy squeals — metal screeches across metal. Once their speed is cut in half, she lifts her foot, snaps on the emergency brake, and yanks the wheel to the left.

Rubber snarls through gravel as Mercy's tires gouge a deep trench into the road. By the time they're done spinning, Mercy has kicked up a twenty foot cloud of dust — and pointed them back the way they came. Harley snaps off the emergency brake and taps the gas.

Mercy growls impatiently. The cars that were behind her are finally catching up — and they brought friends. Six black lizzies are buzzing down the mountain, sirens yowling like a pack of frisky tomcats looking to score.

Harley spares a glance back to her cargo. The boy and his sisters cling to each other, their eyes on the cars ahead. They're scared — scared of the F-Men. Scared of getting captured. Scared of going back into the cages.

"Hey, kids. Wanna see a magic trick?"

Three sets of eyes lock on her. Harley flashes them that brilliant, diamond-encrusted grin.

"Hold on tight, alright?"

Harley turns around, grabs the throttle under the dashboard, and slams it open. Mercy shudders with ecstasy; the damned souls of the Confederate Army's 26th Battalion surge through her carburetor. The Studebaker swallows a gulp of air, violently spasms, then belts out a deafening rebel yell.

Mercy lunges forward.

All four wheels leave the ground.

The Straight-6 spits sound and fury. Harley and the children are squashed against their seats as they roar ahead like a mortar shell shot straight out of Hell. Their ears fill up with the high-pitched squall of half a dozen murderous old cusses whooping and hollering their way through Mercy's carbon-steel innards, scorching a path back to the lake of fire where they belong.

By the time the dust settles, no trace of Mercy or her cargo can be found.


1965. Somewhere in Canada.