Washington Horror Blog

SEMI-FICTIONAL CHRONICLE of the EVIL THAT INFECTS WASHINGTON, D.C. To read Prologue and Character Guide, please see www.washingtonhorrorblog.com, updated 6/6//2017. Follow Washington Water Woman on Twitter @HorrorDC ....

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The D.C. Ether

Charles Wu walked down the grassy slope of O Street Beach towards Rock Creek Park. He was looking for a stump next to a rock under which "C. Coe Phant" had left him a memento of the latest Korean nukes discussions hosted by China. Wu already had the Chinese version of events; now he would take a look at the State Department's version. The cold wind blasted his faintly graying head, and he bent over, holding his head down. He really missed the Hong Kong weather. He had been sorely misled on what the weather would be in this city! He was going to have to tell Phant enough already with the cold outdoor park drops. He located the stump, then the rock, then the CD. He pocketed the CD, turned to leave, then stopped at the sight of flesh sticking out of a bush. He walked around the bush and saw a dead woman lying in a crumpled heap. He knew she was dead by her color, but checked her pulse anyway, so that he could tell the police he did so. He pulled out his cell phone to call the police, then walked back to the stump and rock to redeposit the CD for retrieval later--he couldn't risk the possibility of their searching him. The cold wind hit him again. He would be out here for at least an hour, maybe two, with the police. It was too damned cold. He put the CD back in his pocket. He walked back to P Street, walked down to the nearest hotel, walked nonchalantly to the lobby bank of pay phones, then pulled out his untraceable phone card to phone in an anonymous tip about the body at O Street Beach. He saw a beautiful woman heading to the hotel bar and decided to follow her in. He needed to warm up. Trafficking nuclear secrets was one thing, but a simple assault and murder was too much barbarism for him to stand. He steeled himself against the weakness of his revulsion, then felt better as the tickle of liquor hit his belly.

Two hundred feet directly below Wu. the freaks living in Dupont Down Under were shoring up their barricade against the encroaching underground federal presence, even as they attacked the expanding infrastructure of the "$3 million, one-year project" to redo P Street between 22nd and Dupont Circle. Sometimes they could not believe how stupid the rest of this city was: who the heck would believe that it takes $3 million and a year of work to redo three blocks of a city street? Surely somebody would figure out that was a fake sign up there, and that was not what was going on with this construction project?! The Alpha Crew was poking holes in the newest batch of temporary federal barricade, allowing the river rats to regain access to the federal sector underground. The Beta Crew was patching up the camouflage on the freaks' own underground sector, which the feds had not yet discovered. The Council was in session, trying to come up with a new plan for catching the Beaver from the Tidal Basin--the great one, the one they knew could chew through the federal project and build a dam to protect their own turf. Maybe they needed to come up with a new plan. The Council leader noticed that Sheila was missing and asked where she was, but nobody had seen her since the day before. Sheila was lying crumpled in a bush at O Street Beach, waiting for the police to come and get her. One of the Shackled hovered at her side, pleading with Sheila's ghost to move on, but Sheila's ghost was not going to move on. Another malevolent spirit took its place in the D.C. ether.

Over at the White House, the butler's twins were arguing about the ghosts. Reggie said that it was wrong to talk to the ghosts on Sunday, but Fergie said it was fine. "What are you two arguing about?" their mother asked, as she entered their small bedroom. She could still not understand a word of their secret twin language, but something about their tone sounded like an argument. They smiled up sweetly at her and babbled happily, so she gave them a quick kiss on her way to taking a nap. What a long week. Everybody was cold and crabby. She coughed weakly for several minutes, then finally fell asleep.

Upstairs, President Bush was reading a newspaper account of the Gates admission that the prisoner abuses at Abu Gharib had hurt the United States. He did not appreciate the editorials' referring to Gates as "Captain Obvious" or "The 'Duh!' Guy". As Dickie had explained to him, there was a right time and a right way of handling everything. Very few people really understood these things, said Dickie. That's why it was up to President Bush to lead them. President Bush turned to an editorial about the Scooter Libby trial. Well, this didn't look good either. He folded up the newspaper halfway through the editorial: he had other people to worry about this stuff, it really wasn't his job. Football was over and there was no baseball yet, so he wasn't really sure how to spend the rest of the afternoon. The nearby ghost began whispering in his ear, so he picked up a pen and jotted down a couple of ideas.

Not too far away, fomer Senator Evermore Breadman was sitting in Prince and Prowling, jotting down a few ideas of his own. He rarely came in on Sunday, but his raging bowels had driven him back to Chinatown to buy more herbs from Lynnette Wong. He didn't know she was waging a botanical war for his soul, but she did make his bowels feel better most of the time. He had stopped by the office to pull out a few of his Korean files, knowing that he would get more calls on Monday for his advice. He loved making cash by the hour for giving advice! It was way more fun than Congress ever had been.

On the floor below him, the new batch of contract attorneys were toiling away like cotton-picking sharecroppers on the latest medical defense litigation. Some of them had lost their souls to Ardua years ago: they were hollow machines, slaves to the billable hour, no life to speak of except survival. The few who kept hope alive with job applications and interviews really irritated Ardua--not because they could withstand her forever but because their spirit was delaying the complete takeover of Prince and Prowling. P and P was the closest place she had to a complete victory, and she was growing increasingly impatient with the holdouts there. Tying them to the chairs, making it dificult for them to check their email or phone calls, inhibiting their actual contact with the outside human world, fusing them to the cold money-making spirit of their computers, yelling at them for sitting idle when it was actually the IT Department's fault--these all added up to slow bombardment, but Ardua really wanted a faster annihilation. She was going to have to take a closer look at Chloe Cleavage and Bridezilla to see if she could draw them into ramping up the evil there.

Back at O Street Beach, the police did not have much trouble finding Sheila. They shivered in the cold and moved quickly through the crime scene investigation steps, unaware that some ducks were lined up on the shore and staring at them. The ducks seemed oddly oblivious to the cold, and stared with glassy eyes for several minutes before turning to head back to the Potomac where Ardua was taking it all in.


Blogger Geoff_Livingston said...

Wow, that's an impressive story. Good writing.

2:02 PM  

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