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, April 01, 2007

Another Night at Southwest Plaza

Marcos Vasquez walked through the unlocked and broken gate at Southwest Plaza, past the schizophrenic muttering to himself and walking in circles in the parking lot, past the empty security guard desk, past the wheelchair-bound transvestite complaining via cellphone, and past all the broken elevators, then started climbing the stairs to his apartment. On the way up, he saw an older woman pausing to rest, her grimacing face reflecting the crippling arthritis inside. "May I help you, ma'am?" She opened her eyes warily, but her face softened at the sight of the Coast Guard uniform. He lifted her up firefighter-style, and carried her the remaining three flights up. Then he went back down a flight to pick up the syringes and condoms he had spotted in the stairwell. He was thirsty when he entered his apartment at last; he washed his hands, pulled a beer out of the fridge, then sat down in the dark to stare out the window. When he had signed up for the Coast Guard, he had never anticipated he would someday spend a day babysitting cherry blossom tourists in Washington, D.C. Letting his partner worry about the entire checklist of possible terrorist activities they were supposed to have been monitoring for the Department of Homeland Security, Vasqez had spent the day looking at the water itself as they motored into, out of, and around the Tidal Basin. The only threat out there was Ardua.

One floor above him, Golden Fawn was also sitting in the dark, meditating. She had performed three exorcisms in the past two weeks. She rubbed her knuckles over her bald head, trying to squeeze the pain and dizziness out. Who the hell was the sadist who invented chemotherapy? She couldn't talk to her grandmother about it because she didn't have the courage to perform any mojo on herself. Anyway, she wasn't possessed, no matter how her grandmother tried to link the breast cancer to Ardua. It was a different battle. She rolled over, remembering the deranged ducks and their bizarre, almost psychotic, mating rituals outside the National Museum of the American Indian. Most people didn't know enough about mallards to realize something was wrong with them, but Golden Fawn knew. They were better now...as were the others. She closed her eyes and started drifting off to sleep until the screams of a battered woman running past her door made her jump up. A wave of nausea knocked her back down, so Golden Fawn reached for the telephone to call the police.

Three floors below Golden Fawn, the police were already in the building. They had just discovered a decomposing body inside a smelly apartment. They believed he had died of natural causes and old age, but they were wrong. They were interviewing Neighbor #2 and taking notes.

The schizophrenic entered the floor from the staircase at the other end. He had to make a phone call, but his phone didn't work because water had leaked into the phone jack and the management hadn't fixed it yet. Mold and mildew carpeted his draperies. Plywood covered his balcony sliding door because management was doing something to his balcony; he had no other window, and he could not understand why he had no window. He forgot whom he was supposed to call. He forgot he was hungry. He went to bed, breathing deeply and inhaling the spores. He didn't know what the spores were, but he felt them every time he woke up and knew they had been burrowing around inside his body all night. He closed his eyes and started feeling as if he were rocking on a sailboat. It was very soothing. He didn't know why he felt this way because he had already forgotten about the boat ride his uncle had taken him on to see the cherry blossoms today. He liked the boat feeling in his bed--it was magic, like being rocked to sleep as a baby.

Four floors above him, the battered woman was running out of breath, tired of screaming, tired of seeing doors slammed shut instead of opening up to her. She saw a fire alarm and pulled it. Coincidentally, two floors below her and at the other end of the building, the serial arsonist had just dropped a torch down the trash chute again because the starlings had told him to.

It was a typical night at Southwest Plaza, a half mile from Ardua of the Potomac.


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