Grant Park - Michigan Street: South
A sea of green amidst the urban sprawl of the Windy City, Grant Park offers the area a bit of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of city life. A broad expanse of green lies on either side of a cobblestone walkway that leads to Buckingham Fountain. The fountain itself is a landmark in its own right, a colossal sculpture of steel and bronze that shoots water high into the air during the summer but lies dormant in winter.
The Art Institute of Chicago lies in one corner of the park while the amphitheatre is in the other. Picnic tables dot the length of the area for families to gather in order to enjoy the atmosphere and the view of the lake that the park offers.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Sunday, March fifteenth 2010. 1:13 am
The sun is down. The waning crescent moon is up. <30.0% full and fading>
The tide is high and ebbing.
Sleet and freezing rain fall from heavy clouds, coating everything with ice and making the ground slippery. The world looks silver. A raw wind blows from the northwest. There is about 6" of snow on the ground. The average temperature is around Thirty-nine degrees Fahrenheit, Three Centigrade.
Eleanor needed some air after a slightly unsettling Tarot reading she did for Rachel at the Seventh House Café. The pair decided to go for a walk, and the detective's feet led her, as they often do, to Grant Park. This is the place she jogs daily, and its familiar pathways are always a comfort to her. Running lets her clear her mind and stop focusing on the things that stress her out. Tonight she's not running. At least not yet. She's strolling at a leisurely pace with the teen beside her. Her hands are stuffed in the pockets of her peacoat which is settled over her work clothes. The dark suit's coat has been left in her SUV along with her laptop, although the case for it is still over her shoulder. The Glock in its shoulder holster is visible through the neck of the coat now and then and the chain of her silver crucifix is visible although the cross itself is hidden inside her blouse.
Rachel had found an all-weather cloak somewhere, with a hood which she has pulled over her head. As she trudges along by Eleanor, the thing flutters back and when the wind catches it, the thing looks much like giant bat wings. The left shoulder has an odd lump under the cape, a small backpack that hangs by one strap from that shoulder, something that she adjusts from time to time when it slides sideways. "So, are ok with the reading now? I don't think you should take it that serious."
The detective glances over at Rachel, and her lips press together in a tight line. "I'm a psychic, Rachel. My mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and pretty much every first born female of every generation thereof is a psychic. We take things like that pretty seriously. But you're right. It wasn't my deck. It wasn't your deck. It's a publically used deck that has passed through hundreds, maybe thousands, of hands. So that might have tainted the reading. Still, I worry about you. I'm afraid for you because that vampire," Eleanor won't even say his name aloud, "is dangerous. I have a friend who has very implicitly confirmed that fact to me. I just want you to be safe." She looks a bit sullen.
The vampire detective has been keeping to himself on his days off but that's not all that unusual, really. Hadley has on his trenchcoat, though it's left open, and he's standing near the fountain that hasn't yet been turned on again due to the cold weather. He's staring at the structure, or maybe through it, pensive and alone. He's not paying much attention to what's going on around him since there isn't usually a whole lot going on that he cares to notice this time of night.
Rachel tries to reassure Ele with. "I always land on my feet." she glances up at the other woman then pushes the hood back a bit so she can see her. "and like you said, could be the deck is tainted. That Merrick guy, he used his on deck, all wrapped up and silk and stuff." The wind catches the hood and flips it the rest of the way off her head so that it gives her the appearance of a hump back in the darkness.
Eleanor's steps slow to a stop at the sight of a figure by the fountain. Then her eyes register it as her partner, even as her senses reach out to brush at his energy and identify him more definitively. "Hads?" she calls out, starting to pace towards the vampire while gesturing Rachel to come along.
Hadley turns his head at the touch of power and his own flickers back against the psychic before withdrawing. He looks at his partner and her companion but since she knows who he is and she has Rachel, he doesn't say anything back to her and his attention shifts back to the fountain. With his hands in his pockets, he looks appropriately broody.
Rachel looks toward the man that Eleanor calls out to. She almost smiles. "he looks like the picture of Heathcliff on the front of a Wuthering Heights paper back." she takes a few more steps then whispers to Eleanor. "really romantic type read, you know."
Rachel gets a chuckle for her comment. "Don't tell him that if you don't want to be glared at." Her steps stop beside the vampire. "You're looking particularly broody tonight," Eleanor points out helpfully. It's said in a light tone, as she tries to push aside her unease from the tarot reading. She stops by the fountain and looks at it, trying to figure out what is fascinating Hadley. "Do you have a thing for seahorses or am I missing something?"
Hadley continues staring at, or through, the fountain as the females approach but when they're closer and with that last comment from Eleanor, he turns to face her and offers a look that's not really a glare but definitely not amused by what she says. Instead he asks gruffly, "Why are you two out here?"
Rachel doesn't even nod at Ele, she just slows her steps so that when they catch up with where Hadley is standing, she is a few steps further away from him than the other woman is. Rachel rubs at her forehead then adjusts the hood over her head and peers at the man from under it. She is quiet but for the racket her cloak makes when the wind whips it about and around her small body.
"Needed some air. I normally jog here," Eleanor replies. She shrugs a little bit and her brow creases in concern. "Why are you out here?" She rocks onto her toes, then back to her heels repeatedly as she tries to keep warm while no longer in motion.
"I like to be outside," responds Hadley, glancing toward Rachel who he, no doubt, notices keeps a certain distance. It doesn't seem to bother him. If he were a different man, he might commend her for it. But he's just Hadley.
Rachel seems to have lost interest in the couple's conversation, instead she is battling the wind to keep her cloak about her and has reached the point of uttering soft one word curses each time she looses her grip on it.
"I suppose the cold and the rain aren't as much of a pain in the ass for you," Eleanor quips. She looks fairly sodden at this point. She keeps one eye on Rachel though. "You remember Miss Winger, right?" she gestures to the girl.
"I do," Hadley says but he doesn't look at Rachel again. "Were the two of you headed anywhere in particular? You shouldn't be outside alone like this at night." Nevermind that Eleanor is a perfectly capable police officer with a gun.
Hearing her name mentioned by Ele, Rachel looks toward them and lifts a hand. "here." there is a soft laugh following the word and she seems to have decided to make her way closer to them, grouch or no grouch.
"Not really. Just walking for the moment. We were at the Seventh House Café having some tea," Eleanor replies. "And the same could be said for you, Hadley. Just because you have fangs, doesn't mean there aren't things out here that might think you're just as tasty as we are." She throws an arm around Rachel and gives her a motherly hug.
"I can take care of myself," Hadley says. Apparently his words don't apply to him and he doesn't appreciate the fact that Eleanor thinks they might. "I'll walk with you," he says, which doesn't sound so much like asking if they mind as telling them they don't have a choice.
Being closer to the others, Rachel gets a bit of a wind break after she gets the quick hug from Ele. She nods at Hadley and actually smiles at him when he suggests he walk with them.
The scent of blood fills the air, not strong enough to the human nose but clear as day to any with supernatural senses.. As a soft child's voice can be heard singing, in the distance, "Did you ever think as the hearse goes by, that you may be the next to die?" Followed by a burst of giggling, "They wrap you up in a big white sheet.. From your head down to your feet." Those with supernatural senses could easily pick up the sound of bones being crushed an a gurgling sound, "They put you in a big black box, and cover you up with dirt and rocks.. All goes well for about a week, then your coffin begins to leak…" A child-like tsking sound is heard to follow, then melodically the voice really starts to build in speed, and exuberance, "The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout. They eat your eyes, they eat your nose, they eat the jelly between your toes. A big green worm with rolling eyes, crawls in your stomach and out your eyes. Your stomach turns a slimy green, and pus pours out like whipping cream. You spread it on a slice of bread, and that's what you eat when you are dead.
Eleanor grins a little. She doesn't seem to take his offer, as un-offer-like as it might be, as something bad. "The more the merrier." She tilts her head back towards the path and resumes the walk. "Being out here helps me to think sometimes. Not having reminders of work and such all around me. It's sort of a clean slate type of place, where you can block out everything else." Well, everything but the eerie and all too familiar singing. Her eyes snap towards the sound even as her hand moves into her coat to pull out her gun. "Rachel, stay behind us." She pops the standard clip out of her Glock and slaps in her silver one.
Rachel was muttering, "dumb winter,, wish spring.." she blinks at the faint words then looks at Ele when she orders Rach to stay behind her. "why, just a bunch of kids out. prob drunk teens or something."
The scent of blood is what really sets Hadley off. His gun is in his hand almost immediately. "I don't think so," he murmurs back to Rachel in almost a hissing sort of voice. His energy is tense and his eyes move in the direction of the singing and other sounds, trying to pinpoint the location even as he steps forward to put himself between the sounds and the women.
As the singing continues, there's suddenly a sharp scream almost directly behind the group, though it is abruptly brought to an en, the scent of blood growing even stronger. In the far distance the light along the path begin to go out, each being extinguished as abruptly as the scream moments before hand as the light is steadily snuffed out. The sound of the glass being broken can easily catch Hadley’s ear even under the sharp wind and fowl weather.
GAME> Eleanor rolls 39 against 50% <+21% +20%> : 52% success
"Not drunken teens. Not kids. Not human," Eleanor rasps in response to Rachel as her throat constricts in fear. Her face drains of color and her hands come up to level the Glock in the direction of the singing. Then her hands whip around to face behind them at the screams and the lights being extinguished. She lets go of the gun with her left hand as she pulls out her cellphone and stabs the speed dial for the police station, handing it to Rachel. "Tell them the ghouls are back, and Detectives Wickham and Hadley are in Grant Park, by the fountain, preparing to engage. Tell them to send out SWAT and all available backup in the area armed to deal with ghouls and the amalgamation."
Rachel suddenly pushes her hood back with one hand and the other slides under the cloak to her back as she hisses. "Animator… damn too strong." The right hand suddenly appears, as if she had done this hundreds of times before, with a knife being held there, held as if she knew very well what she could do with it. As Rachel drops her left hand from her hood, she grabs the phone that Ele had thrust at her and brings it to her ear, repeating what Ele had told her to into it.
Hadley's attention is focused on the sounds. He probably just expects Eleanor to do all the 'important' stuff by now while he stands between her and the bad stuff to keep her safe. But the bad stuff seems to be coming from more than one direction and Hadley's energy tenses and he looks up at the lights as they start going out down the path. "You guys should leave," he says to the pair.
Even as Hadley the light directly overhead is shattered by a rock… No? A ball bearing… about the size of what one would find in a claymore.. Followed by the sound of child-like laughter as multiple voices, at least four separate children's voices, now begin to sing softly, "Oh why won't you come play with us, and come home with us? Lost under six feet, it lonely in the box we hide.." No one set location giving off their voices though as they would it seems be circling the trio.
"Do you have a crucifix, Rachel?! Get between us," Eleanor barks to the girl. Her hands tremble slightly on the grip of her gun as she tries to control her breathing and find her focus once more. If the teen doesn't have one, she's prepared to hand over hers to try and keep her as safe as possible. The problem is - she doesn't know if the girl actually has the faith to back up the holy object. But she'll jump off that bridge when she gets to it. For now she digs in her bag for her little maglight flashlight, clicking it on and sticking it in her mouth so she can keep both hands on her gun.
Rachel is facing outward from the other two, her first response is to Hadley. "Run where man, they are all around us?" she is slowly working the back pack loose from her arm to drop it on the ground while she laughs at Eleanor’s suggestion of the cross. "sorry, I don't believe in god, man or anything else."
Hadley doesn't reach for his maglight since he sees perfectly fine in the dark these days. He doesn't say anything else but he's still focusing outwardly and aiming his gun in front of him, probably waiting for some opening to fire or chase or actively protect Rachel and Eleanor.
GAME> Alejandro rolls 77 against 50% <+17% +10%> : 0% success
GAME> Alejandro rolls 77 against 50% <+17% +10%> : 0% success
GAME> Alejandro rolls 35 against 50% <+17% +10%> : 42% success
GAME> Alejandro's ranged attack does _2_ damage.
GAME> Success: 42, Obs: 15, Multiplier: 2, Max.Damage: 12
GAME> Eleanor sustains 2 points of damage <passing injuries>
A concerto of thwangs rings out as the last of the lights go dark, voices begin to speak to one another, as Hadley can make out three form in the darkness about twenty yards away, "They're the bad ones… They were in our home.." The female in the middle makes a face, "That wasn't nice.. they brought the badmen…" While the other boy on her opposite side inquires, "Ya but maybe the big guy was just being chased.. He brought snacks last time.." Both of the other two tell the third to shut up then a moment later the trio bring their arms up and open fire on Hadley, Eleanor, and Rachel. Those shot at Rachel and Hadley fail to hit their mark though the little girl it would seem took her time with her aiming… Or it just goes to show that even Almagam corpses of females have better hand eye coordination than boys and the girl strikes Eleanor in her hand with the metallic sphere.
GAME> Eleanor rolls 4 against 25% <+21% +15%> : 57% success
GAME> Eleanor's ranged attack does _28_ damage.
GAME> Success: 57, Obs: 21, Multiplier: 4, Max.Damage: 32
Unfortunately, with a flashlight in her mouth Eleanor can't point out what a detriment Rachel's lack of faith is in this sort of situation. She doesn't yank her own cross out yet, because she doesn't want to affect Hadley's ability to function. It's a last ditch effort for her if all else fails. She jerks and spins part way around when the metal ball slams into her hand. The world goes still and silent for her as the pain blossoms. Everything narrows down into targets and charges, those to shoot and those to protect. She aims at the amalgamated girl that injured her and pulls the trigger. The Glock makes a sharp retort and gunpowder scents the air even as the creature’s head explodes when the silver slug buries itself in her skull.
Rachel finally gets the bag strap loose from her shoulder under the cloak and it hits the ground. She suddenly goes to one knee next to it keeping her knife out and forward a bit while trying to make herself as low a profile as she can. Her heart is pounding so hard that she barely hears the pops of the guns from the two cops.
GAME> Hadley rolls 58 against 104% : 46% success
GAME> Hadley's ranged attack does _35_ damage.
GAME> Success: 46, Obs: 24, Multiplier: 5, Max.Damage: 35
The vampire detective is aiming and firing on the targets he sees almost as soon as he sees them. He pauses though, because he hears Eleanor firing too and it won't do much good if they fire on the same target. Fortunately they don't and another goes down with a clear shot in the head, but Hadley's attention shifts toward Eleanor and the scent of her blood, which he's passingly familiar with by now. "Eleanor," he says, concerned enough to use her first name rather than her last.
Looks down at his dead companions the remaining child drop his bag of bearings and sling shot in order to turn and flee, running around the fountain as several forms come lurching out from hiding. The trio's power having been reduced to only a singular entity who is not even attempting to control the beats as he flees.. Four ghouls lurch out of the fountain while another half dozen appear from all over at different distances and away, each having been apparently placed there ahead of time and forced into a dormancy…
GAME> Eleanor rolls 26 against 50% <+21% +15%> : 60% success
GAME> Eleanor's ranged attack does _12_ damage.
GAME> Success: 60, Obs: 21, Multiplier: 4, Max.Damage: 32
GAME> Eleanor rolls 85 against 50% <+21% +15% -10%> : 9% failure
"Just a graze, Brian," Eleanor calls back to him. As the final ghoul child flees, she tracks its path with her gun, but draws up short at the incoming ghouls. "Son of a bitch!" she blurts out. As the ghouls come out of the fountain, she levels the Glock at the closest and snaps off two shots. The first one hits, but doesn't finish the creature. The second one goes wide and chips the tail off of one of the seahorse sculptures on the fountain. She is so going to hear from the city for that.
Rachel is whispering "crap crap … damn you Mary…" and she opens the closer at the neck of her cloak and suddenly comes off that one knee to a crouch with the cloak sliding to the ground behind her. With her eyes on the approaching ghouls she reaches behind her with her left hand and grabs the edge of the cloak. She suddenly moves forward while pulling the cloak around, and for once the wind helps by filling it as she swings it around at what ever is facing her now. She lets go of it to let it blow toward the ghoul, hoping to tangle it within the fullness of the cloth.
GAME> Hadley rolls 91 against 64% : 27% failure
GAME> Hadley rolls 37 against 94% : 57% success
GAME> Hadley's ranged attack does _35_ damage.
GAME> Success: 57, Obs: 24, Multiplier: 5, Max.Damage: 40
Hadley aims for the one running but whether he hits or not, and it doesn't, his second shot is re-aimed for one of the ghouls because he's not going to run after the one getting away and leave Rachel and Eleanor to fend for themselves against the creatures left behind to distract.
GAME> Alejandro rolls 34 against 50% <+25% +15% -30%> : 26% success
GAME> Alejandro rolls 8 against 50% <+30% -25% -10%> : 37% success
GAME> Rachel sustains 6 points of damage <passing injuries>
Toro! Toro! Rachel is a real bull fighter… well.. Ghoul fighter.. least she could always get a job in Mexico or Spain, right? A the first ghoul is left tangled up within the folds of the cloak and sent tumbling to the ground in a fit. Attempting to rip through the material and get itself free while the last of the four close ghouls leaps towards the now cloakless and defenseless girl. lashing at her back with its talon-like bones it shoves its fingers literally into the girl's back while attempting to pull her closer. Tonight's dinner? Rachel Al-la-carte. Te other six rapidly drawing closer, though apparently all smart enough to weave and bob in order to make themselves harder to hit.
GAME> Alejandro rolls one 2-sided die : « 2 »
GAME> Eleanor rolls 45 against 25% <+21% +15%> : 16% success
GAME> Eleanor rolls 5 against 25% <+21% +15% -20%> : 36% success
GAME> Eleanor's ranged attack does _8_ damage.
GAME> Success: 25, Obs: 21, Multiplier: 4, Max.Damage: 20
GAME> Eleanor's ranged attack does _16_ damage.
GAME> Success: 26, Obs: 21, Multiplier: 4, Max.Damage: 20
"RACHEL!" Eleanor goes into that deeply unpleasant place where she last went when the little girl was being disemboweled in the bowling alley. She maneuvers to get a clear shot at the undead thing grappling the teen and squeezes the trigger twice without hesitation or any flinching at the gore that showers both of them at close range.
Rachel goes down to her knees from the weight of the ghouly with her arms flailing as she tries to stab backward at the thing on her back. She growls out a curse, half screaming it. "Damnation, what…." she wobbles a bit then falls forward into the ice/snow/slush when shots ring out again.
GAME> Rachel sustains 6 points of damage <minor injuries -05%>
GAME> Hadley rolls 66 against 74% : 8% success
GAME> Hadley's melee attack does _4_ damage.
GAME> Success: 8, Muscle: 37, Multiplier: 1, Max.Damage: 4
With the one ghoul dead, Hadley's attention is on the ghoul attacking Rachel. He rushes toward the pair, more specifically the ghoul half of the pair, to free the girl from the creature and put on his own smackdown. Ideally he'd probably like to grab the attention of all of the ghouls and give the women a clear route of escape.
GAME> Alejandro rolls 13 against 50% <+30% -25% -5%> : 37% success
With a wild look to its eyes, akin to a trapped animal the ghoul leans down and bites, down, hard, upon Rachel's neck in an attempt to regenerate its own flesh. Which it indeed starts to do almost immediately. The other ghoul wrapped into the cloak can be heard tearing himself free as the others raw closer and closer.. The other that had been shot has apparently recovered as it leaps towards Eleanor in an attempt to feed off her as it companion dines upon the other, both ghouls having apparently decided Hadley to be too much of a physical threat to fight without more numbers.
GAME> Eleanor rolls 63 against 80% <+21% +15% -10%> : 43% success
GAME> Eleanor rolls 8 against 50% <+21% +15% -10%> : 68% success
GAME> Eleanor's ranged attack does _24_ damage.
GAME> Success: 43, Obs: 21, Multiplier: 4, Max.Damage: 24
GAME> Eleanor's ranged attack does _24_ damage.
GAME> Success: 68, Obs: 21, Multiplier: 4, Max.Damage: 36
"Brian, heal her!" Eleanor begs even as she continues firing into the ghoul on Rachel. Her focus has narrowed down to the girl she's promised herself she will protect. She fires and blows the head right off the ghoul, leaving just its teeth embedded in the teen. She wheels at the sound of the injured one she shot earlier and fires right between its eyes, splattering grey matter all over the path.
Rachel tries to push the thing off, her hands sink into the slush under her, and she never stops her low cursing from anger and pain from the thing on her back. Again she tries to roll or push to get it off then the teeth sinks into her neck and she screams with the pain of it as she again tries to hit the thing with her knife that she has somehow held on to so far. When the thing goes limp on it, the dead weight just pins her in place no mater how hard she tries to get up.
GAME> Rachel sustains 4 points of damage <major injuries -15%>
GAME> Hadley rolls 47 against 61% : 14% success
GAME> Rachel recovers 3 points of damage <major injuries>
Hadley is a little torn between helping Eleanor and helping Rachel. But since Eleanor seems to be doing a decent job of covering them for the moment, the vampire falls to his knees beside the girl and pushes the dead ghoul off of her and reaches for some skin to skin contact with her. As soon as it's there, an energy unlike the usual cold rolls over the girl and focuses in her wounds. "Eleanor, we need to get her to a hospital," he says without taking his attention off of her. The vampire gathers Rachel up as well as he can and rises. He heads for Eleanor to grab her unceremoniously, too, and he runs the hell away from the ghouls as they advance on them. He takes them all to his car, depositing Eleanor and Rachel in the back seat before peeling out to head to the hospital.