In a world filled with chaos, one man stands strong in the name of justice... and vitamins
|The adventures of Cherry Man.
Volume I: The succubus.
Earth. The blue planet. Home of 8.7 million species.
Many of them were catalogued and thoroughly researched, with said observations being documented in numerous books over the years.
There is, however, one species that continues to bring up questions to this very day.
This species is simply known as "fruit people".
They're beings that in appearance would be described as perfectly human, except for one little detail: Their heads were gigantic pieces of fruit typically found on Earth.
Apples, watermelons, lemons, tangerines, and so on.
No one knows how they came to be, when they appeared on this planet, or where they came from, as many aspects of them have remained a mystery.
They were also perfectly capable of speaking, seeing, listening, and even eating, despite lacking facial features entirely. The only thing they were apparently unable to do was smelling, which only brings more questions.
This story follows the life of one of this specimens.
Horace Woodrow Cherrington, better known by his nickname "Cherry Man", or just "Cherry", is an average fruit person, a cherry, if it wasn't obvious enough already.
Right now he was involved in a pretty energetic chase sequence where an unseen force kept throwing stuff as lightning bolts, explosives, fireballs and other deadly things at him. Meanwhile, Cherry was driving a motorcycle to survive the constant onslaught. He was actually really skilled with this, as one of his hobbies was, in fact, riding motorcycles.
As this whole scene unfolded, many people who just happened to be passing by stopped dead in their tracks while their jaws dropped in awe. Stuff like this certainly isn't seen everyday.
While many would think that Cherry's situation was something that looked like it came straight out of an action flick, for him... it was just tuesday.
As over the top as it may be, Cherry's life was like this on an almost daily basis. It was risky, yes, but it also was thrilling for him. Many odd beings who were up to no good wanted his head on a pike, or a sundae, but this doesn't hold him back. If anything, it gave him a reason to fight for this world he calls home.
True, his efforts may not be celebrated or aknowledged by anyone, but that didn't matter to him. He kept fighting because it was the right thing, because no one else would, but most importantly, because it was AWESOME.
The morning after escaping his attackers totally unscathed, Cherry found himself sound asleep in his bed.
The fruit headed person woke up while yawning and stretching as he followed his usual morning routine. After eating his breakfast, somehow, Cherry got upstairs, put on his favorite pair of suspenders, and proceeded to exit his house. He may not know what sort lurking evil would be waiting for him outside that day, but that's what made it fun, he thought.
As he walked down the street, passersby kept giving him odd looks, but he had gotten used to it by that point, so instead of ignoring them or insulting them, he just greeted them nicely as if it was the most normal thing.
After a while, he made it to his destination. A big, old looking house with an extensive front yard and a big cherry tree sitting outside. Unbeknownst to everyone else, this tree was actually Cherry's mother. Yes, Cherry in fact had a family, consisting of him, his mom and his 40 brothers and sisters.
"Hey mom, how are you?", said Cherry while waving.
[Fruitful fact: Fruit people are able to communicate with certain kinds of fruit trees. This skill only works with trees whose fruits grew up to become fruit people, and vice versa. Keep in mind that trees communicate via some sort of telepathy, so only fruit people can hear them]
Ms. Cherrington seemingly says nothing in return, but rest assured, she did in fact say something.
"Good, good. You know, just a little scuffle with the biker mages, but nothing out of the ordinary".
"I know you worry about me, but I do this to protect you and others. I don't know what I would do if something happened to you knowing that I could do something about it".
"I got this mom, I am your son after all".
"That's awesome. Where are the others, by the way?".
Just as he asked this, a little cherry headed girl came out of the house running towards him.
"Hey! If it isn't little Cherry Anne!".
Cherry Man picked up the girl and held her on his shoulders as he walked towards the house.
"Did something interesting happen yesterday?".
"Larry let me shoot a werewolf".
"Oh, that's great! And did you get him?".
After catching up with his siblings and his mother, Cherry Man started to head back home. However, his afternoon would soon take a turn for the worst as he saw a cloud of black smoke rising from afar.
"... Aw, nuts".
Not wasting any time, Cherry ran as quick as he could, only to find out that three houses in his block had caught fire, his included. He then approached one of the neighbours to find answers.
"What happened?! How did the fire start?!".
"An accident inside Ms. Willow's house. She did not go into detail though".
This was among the last things he expected to happen today. Now his home was entirely burnt to the ground, with nothing left to save.
Shortly after the incident, Cherry called one of his friends to tell him all about it. A watermelon headed man named Arthur Colin Wethermullen, but they called him "Sir Watermelon" for short.
"Damn, sorry to hear that. Did you manage to save anything?", said Watermelon.
"No. The flames consumed everything. I arrived too late".
"That's a real shame, man. Are you going to tell your family about this?".
"No! ... Not yet. I don't want them to worry".
"Cherry, you can't hide this from them forever. What if the news report this and they see it or something?".
"I know, I know. It's just that, well, after I asked my brothers to help me pay the rest of my debts, I don't want to make them spend more".
"Dude, it was an accident, you couldn't help it, asking them for help for something like this will surely not bother them".
"It's a personal matter, you... wouldn't understand".
"Guess not. So, what are you gonna do?".
"I'll come up with something, eventually".
"Ok... well, see ya".
Cherry Man hung up and decided to head to his local convenience store. Now the only income he had was the 50 or so dollars he had in his wallet, and not really knowing what to do now, he went to buy a bottle of his favorite soft drink, as he often said that drinking helped him think.
After paying the clerk, Cherry got outside and sat on a nearby bench.
"What am I gonna do now? I guess I can spend the night at mom's place, but where and how am I gonna get a new house? Man, right now I wish houses grew on trees like I did".
However, his train of thought was stopped as he felt someone poking his shoulder. Cherry turned around to find out that somebody had sat next to him, but he was too busy minding his own business to notice.
It was a blonde human woman wearing glasses and clad in a business attire with a long pinstripe skirt. Her appearance was attention grabbing, mostly because of the big pair of... suitcases she had with her.
"Mind if I sit here?", asked the lady.
"No, go ahead".
"By the way, why the cherry themed headwear?".
"Oh, this? This isn't headwear, this is my head".
The well endowed woman tilted her head in confusion.
"... You mean, your head is a giant cherry?".
"Yeah. Don't worry, they ask me that all the time".
"Wow... that's new. Anyway, I couldn't help but notice that you're in the need of a new house, yes?".
"Yes, I am".
"Well, I just so happen to be selling houses right now".
"Wait, you are?".
"Yeah, I decided to take a break here and, well, I heard you talking to yourself about wanting a new home. Crazy, huh?".
"You can say that again. I'm glad for the offer, but a new house really isn't within my budget right now".
The businesswoman smiled and lightly laughed.
"Oh, don't worry. I sell houses that are not only nice, but they are well within the budget of the average public. Low prices mean more sales, you know?".
"Do you, now? Well, uh... how much for the cheapest one you offer?".
Cherry Man wasn't sure if he should trust this lady, but he also was desperate for a solution, not to mention that he didn't want his folks back home to know either. So he didn't have much of a choice.
"Oh, then you're going to love this!".
The woman opened one of her suitcases and pulled out a picture of a house.
"This one has 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, a kitchen equipped with all the essentials, plus some extras, front yard, backyard, garage, an extensive living room, two floors, and to top it all off, three TV's!".
"Whoa! And THIS is the cheapest one you have?! How much is it?!".
"Well, this one will cost you... 2,000 bucks".
"Are you kidding?!".
"Nope. And you can pay me at your own pace, so you don't have to cough up all the cash now. So what do you say?".
Many would think twice or more before deciding to agree on something like this. An offer this good was just too good to be true. But Cherry needed this... and so he agreed.
"I buy it!".
"Wonderful! Just sign the contract and it's all yours!".
Said the lady as she handed him a pen and the aforementioned contract.
As quickly as he could, Cherry Man grabbed both and wrote something on the dotted line.
Suddenly, a devilish grin was drawn across the woman's face. Cherry was understandably confused.
"Hehehehehe... you fool", she said.
After muttering those words, the contract rolled itself up and vanished in flames.
And before Cherry knew it, both him and the lady were quickly teleported to... somewhere.
He found it hard to describe, there was a sinister darkness looming over him, and lots of creatures wandering around that he couldn't describe.
"... Where the hell am I?".
"Where the hell are you? Heh, funny that you say it that way".
"... Oh no, am I in hell?".
"No, hell is a bit further down below. Welcome to the underworld, mortal".
Then, her appearance changed. Her white skin became red, her eyes went from green to a glowing yellow, a pointy tail suddenly started slithering out from behind her, her blonde hair turned bright orange, and to top it off, a pair of horns emerged from her forehead.
"Surprised, aren't you? I think it's time I introduce myself. My name is Kajolica, and as you can see, I'm a succubus, ergo, a demon".
"... Then why am I here?".
"It's quite simple, you surrendered your soul to me".
Cherry went silent a few seconds.
"... And when, pray tell, did I do such a thing?".
"Silly widdle cherry baby", said Kajolica in a condescending tone.
"You did it the moment you signed the contract I gave you. You mortals certainly need to learn to read before signing. Actually, scratch that, makes things easier for me".
The demoness proceeded to let out a hearty laugh celebrating her victory.
Cherry's situation was now even worse. First, he just lost his house, but now, he lost his very soul.
"Anyway, now I'll proceed to take what's rightfully mine. Now hold still, this will only hurt a lot".
"Wait. Before you do so, can you read the last part of the contract out loud for me? You know, just so I can at least know where I made that commitment before sending me into an eternity of despair?".
"Why of course! Take this as your last wish, so make sure to listen up reeeeeal good".
The succubus snapped her fingers, making the contract appear before her. And so, she started to read.
"Ahem. Upon signing this contract, I fully, without excuses, surrender my soul to Ms. Kajolica Demonicus, no matter how much I beg, cry, or scream to get it back, my soul now belongs to her, no questions asked. Signed... HUH?!".
In a rather unexpected twist, Kajolica's face went from "I totally won this" to "what just happened?".
"Is... something the matter?", asked Cherry Man.
"Signed... eat dirt, witch?!".
Sure enough, on the contract's dotted line was in fact not a name, but rather, the phrase "EAT DIRT, WITCH!", written in all caps.
"W-w-what is this?! Why in the name of Lucifer would you write this on a legal document?!".
Cherry Man simply shrugged.
"I dunno. You tell me".
"There's simply no reason for ANYONE to write something like this. Unless... your name is actually Eat dirt, witch?.
"Yeah, not a chance. Look... Kajolica, was it? Allow me to enlighten you. I knew it. From the very beginning".
To Kajolica, this all seemed surreal. No victim of hers had ever pulled off something like this.
"... Knew what?" she asked.
"Come on. Think about it. A very good looking woman comes out of nowhere when I'm complaining about losing my house, who also just so happens to be selling the very thing I'm looking for, at an absurdly low price no less. Did you honestly think I wouldn't find it... suspicious?".
Kajolica couldn't believe it. She simply couldn't. A few minutes ago she was thinking about how she successfully managed to fool yet another man into giving her his soul. But now, for the first time ever, a mere mortal, a fruity headed mortal, had managed to outsmart her. A demon, whose job was to trick people on a daily basis. This was, to put it simply, embarrassing for her.
"How... how is this possible?! This isn't what's supposed to happen! You sign the contract without reading, I take your soul! You can't just do... whatever you did there!", said Kajolica still in disbelief.
"Well, looks like the tables have turned this time, huh?".
"No... No! I refuse, I repeat, REFUSE to accept that you managed to fool me!".
"Well, since my name isn't on that contract you can't take my soul now, can you?".
"I... I... URGH! You're right! As long as you don't sign your name that contract has as much worth as toilet paper! And the Demon Code states that until you sign I cannot take your soul!".
"And if that's the case, then why am I here in the first place? If you can't take my soul, how was I brought here for then?".
Kajolica covered her face in shame as she blushed. This was getting worse for her by the second.
"... That was on me. I was so sure that I got you that I automatically warped us here thinking that your soul was mine...".
"So, since you can't claim my soul... does this mean I can go?".
"NEVER! You're not going anywhere! You'll stay here until you sign properly! So SIGN!".
"I said no".
"Oh, come on! I am literally BEGGING when YOU'RE the one that's supposed to be begging!".
"Beg all you want, I won't sign".
"Well, if you're not going to sign, then I guess you're stuck here in the underworld!".
"Good, I needed a new home anyway. What's a few demons roaming around and the cries of anguish from the damned souls? I can totally live here just fine!".
"Well fine! Make yourself at home!".
"I will, thank you very much".
In reality, Cherry wasn't intending to stay and start a new life in this place. He thought that if he tried enough, she would eventually let him out. But Kajolica was persistent, as her pride was so wounded she wouldn't budge.
So now he had to think of a new strategy. After a bit of brainstorming, he had it.
"Say, what would you say if we made the taking of my soul a bit more... interesting?", said Cherry Man.
"Hmph! What ever could you mean?", replied the succubus.
"How about... a game? You win, you take my soul, I win, you let me out".
"Come on. Going that far just for one soul? Sorry, not interested".
"I see, then how about... raising the bet?".
This, surprisingly, got her attention.
"... Raise the bet you say?".
"Yes. I bet not only my soul, but the souls of my friends. You should know that, compared to the rest of species on Earth, the fruit people population is microscopic. So you'll have the honor of owning a number of souls of a rarer than rare species. The other demons will surely envy you, don't you think?".
Kajolica thought about it. If she won this, this would more than enough make up for the humiliation Cherry made her go through.
"... Ok, I'm interested".
"Not so fast, missy, I'm not done yet. I get to pick the game, and if I win, you'll not only have to set me free, but you'll also have to give me the house you intended to sell me, free from any kind of trickery, ghosts, possessions, etc. Surely your demon powers are capable of doing such a thing, unless you're not able enough".
"Ah, provoking me, aren't you? Fine, then so be it! But just so you know, you're NOT fooling me this time".
"We'll see about that", said Cherry remaining calm.
"So, we have a deal?", said Kajolica extending her hand towards him.
Cherry Man, after a few seconds, went ahead and shook Kajolica's hand.
"Hehehehehe, your overconfidence will be your downfall... so, what game are we going to play?".
"Ah, nothing too complicated. Just plain old... checkers".
"Alright then", said Kajolica snapping her fingers.
Suddenly, a table and two chairs appeared right before them, with the board and chips resting atop the table.
With that, both players took their seats and the game began.
"Demon ladies first", said Cherry.
"Flattery will get you nowhere, mortal".
"I'm just being a gentleman".
"Fine then, but the end result will not change. I WILL get your soul and the others as well. In fact, I'm pretty sure I can win this match in just 5 minutes at most".
[ 3 minutes later... ]
"HOW THE HELL DID I ALREADY LOST?!"
Cherry Man, in less time than anticipated, had managed to successfully defeat Kajolica.
"It's a funny story, actually. I used something we fruit people call inverse psychology. I moved my pieces so that it looked like you could capture two of them via two methods, a simple obvious one and another more elaborated one. Then, using that setup, I moved some more of my pieces to drive your attention away from the easy method towards the elaborated method, however, I assumed that at one point you would start to think that the elaborated method was a trap so you focused again on the easy method, and the paranoia would make you capture the easy piece only for me to reveal that those two methods were both a setup as the arrangement of your pieces at that point allowed me to capture all your pieces in a single move using a third option you didn't even notice until I made said move".
. . .
"... What did ANY of that mean?!", asked Kajolica clearly confused after Cherry Man's explanation.
"Oh, trust me, it's a lot easier done than said. Anyway, I won, so if you'd be so kind to give me my freedom and my house that would be great, thanks".
Kajolica, however, was not willing to do that. Her eyes twitched, her blood was boiling, and her fists were clenched.
"You... are not... leaving... EVEEEEEEEER!".
The demoness lunged forward violently with the sole intention of attacking Cherry Man and bludgeoning him to death, even if it meant that she could no longer take his soul, she didn't care, as she was blinded by rage at this point.
However, the fruit fellow had one final ace up his sleeve.
Preparing for the impact, Cherry raised his fist, which started glowing, and shouted:
[Fruitful fact: Fruit people have extraordinary supernatural habilities they use for combat and self defense]
And delivered a powerful energy infused punch right to the succubbus' face before she could even scratch him. The resulting force of the attack sent Kajolica flying towards a nearby wall where she crashed and subsequently fell from to the ground.
"... Alright, you win", said Kajolica meekly before slowly raising her hand and snapping her fingers, opening a portal back to the surface where his new house was found.
After blowing on his fist as if it were the smoking cannon of a gun, Cherry Man dusted himself off and walked towards the portal.
"Wow, a part of me can't believe this plan actually worked. Either all succubi are this stupid or I just got lucky. Care to enlighten me, Kajolica?".
But he got no response from her.
Cherry walked towards the downed demon and started waving his hand in front of her.
"Hello? Anybody in there? Dang, looks like she's out. Oh well, that's the power of the Fruit Punch for ya".
However, before leaving, Cherry realized that he still had the pen Kajolica gave him to sign the contract.
And so, Cherry Man returned home, leaving behind the underworld and, quite literally, his mark on the place, for now Kajolica had the phrase "#igotf****dbythecherryman!" written on her forehead for all demonkind to see.
(Based on a true story)