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 18, 2007

Only One Star

Dubious McGinty turned off the TV and walked out of the bridgeman's quarters to spit into the Potomac River. He could not believe they were saying that Iraq was a worse tactical blunder than Vietnam! Shit. The number of people maimed, mutilated, scarred, stoned, and killed in Vietnam could fill up this city. Iraq was a damned mess, but they couldn't possibly have that dim a memory of Vietnam already. He still remembered it like it was yesterday, still had dreams about his men. He spit down again, angry that Ardua was enjoying the deaths of homeless Vietnam veterans in the bitter cold February weather. Dubious looked out at the cloudy night sky, searching for a star, any star. Why was it so damned hard to see stars in this city? Shivering, he headed back into his warm cubby hole to go to sleep.

A few miles east, Golden Fawn was also searching the cloudy night sky for a star. It was difficult enough on a clear night, but this was almost hopeless. She really missed seeing the stars at night, and the lack of them was one of the things that often made Washington seem unreal. Tomorrow she was getting lymph nodes removed to see if the breast cancer had spread. This also seemed unreal--doctors cutting things out of her body to tell her if they were infected, twisted, wrong. She needed to call her grandmother. Why was this happening? Science would say it was the industrial age's toxins accumulating in her mammary glands, and the odds of it happening to the modern woman seemed to increase every year. Her grandmother would say it was Ardua of the Potomac, and that Golden Fawn needed to fight back. How could she fight anything if she had to do chemotherapy? Her grandmother would tell her not to. Maybe her grandmother would come to take care of her?

Several miles north, Angela de la Paz had finished washing the dishes and was staring out the window at the new layer of snow. She could hear her grandmother slowly groaning her way from the bathroom to the bedroom. It seemed a very long time ago that abuela used to take care of Angela, and Angela missed that. She dried her hands and went into the bedroom to help her grandmother climb into bed. Angela read a little from the Bible while her grandmother prayed the rosary softly, eyes closed, kidneys straining to keep it together until tomorrow morning's dialysis. When Angela looked up from the Bible, abuela was staring out the window. "Donde estan las estrellas?" Abuela had come to this city twenty years ago, but she never stopped asking where the stars are. Angela looked out the window and saw her pink warblers perched on the outside ledge, their feathers achingly beautiful resting above the fresh snow. She looked back at abuela, but abuela had already closed her eyes and fallen asleep.

Back at the Potomac, Charles Wu was riding the metro train across the bridge back into D.C. He looked out at the starless sky, again. He had seen no stars but the North Star since he had moved to this city. At least there was plenty of water. He looked down at the frigid river. He had not expected to miss Hong Kong so much. He looked over at the glistening Tidal Basin and stunning Jefferson Memorial. Was something crawling out of the water? He turned his head, but it was too late--the train was already heading into the tunnel.

Over at the Jefferson Memorial, the Beaver deposited the cursed Rolex watch on the marble steps, then dove back into the water with Ardua. A lost gift from Dick Cheney to Donald Rumsfeld, the watch had a new destiny now, and it glittered like the only star shining in D.C.

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