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, July 29, 2007

A Chill in the Air

The squirrel carefully pulled on her figure skates, tied a scarf around her neck, then set out onto the frozen Potomac to practice her triple lutz. She hummed some Tchaikovsky music as she warmed up, then hummed only in her head as she had to start breathing more heavily. She did the single lutz without a problem. She skated some figures, then performed a double lutz without a problem. She skated another minute, set herself up, visualized her torso straight in the air through the entire set of revolutions, took off with her tail perfectly tucked between her legs, ONE, TWO, THREE--she was safely down! Then the ice cracked, she screamed, and fell in.

Perry Winkle sat up from his afternoon nap, gasping for air. The sun had long since disappeared behind the clouds, and his A/C unit felt frigid as it blasted him with conditioned air. He stood up to turn it off, then sat down on the edge of his bed. He had been having whacked dreams about the Potomac every night since he had tape-recorded Dubious McGinty's autobiographical yarn. Tomorrow morning he was supposed to be turning in a feature story on McGinty, but he was going to have to leave the most important part of it out--tilting at windmills, "Ardua of the Potomac". He would simply tell the Washington Post editor that they needed to discuss further how to keep Dubious anonymous or he would surely be evicted from his squat in the abandoned bridgeman's quarters of the bridge. And what about that Indian chick who wouldn't return his phone calls? What was that story? And why was the Coast Guard dude so mum about it? He shuffled into the kitchen to find some caffeine before returning to his laptop. What was he going to write?

A few miles away at Southwest Plaza, Marcos Vasquez was putting Golden Fawn's furniture back where it belonged and helping her clean up the mess left behind when the unauthorized workmen had installed her new but non-functional HVAC unit on Thursday. Judging by the looks of the place, he figured she had managed to move the furniture about an inch/day since Thursday before finally giving up and reluctantly calling him for help. She offered him iced tea, and they went and sat on the balcony to seek a breeze. He had gone through the same thing the month before--the old HVAC disconnected weeks before the new one was up and running. She looked weak--really, really weak--but she told him she was getting better. Her head bandana glistened with sweat, and her eyes were hollow. He know all about the breast cancer and her medical leave of absence from the National Museum of the American Indian. What he didn't know was why she kept dragging her exhausted body out to the Potomac to chant. They sat in silence for a few minutes, listening to distant thunder and watching clouds form over Washington. Then he asked her. Then she began telling him about the legend of Ardua of the Potomac. Golden Fawn absent-mindedly swatted a fly away from her face, and it fell to the balcony floor, dead. A raven came out of nowhere, swooped down to eat the fly, then perched on the balcony railing, its ear cocked towards Golden Fawn. She interrupted herself to look at it, it squawked at her, she whispered to it, and it was quiet. She continued the story as the pigeon doves huddled in the corner, watching the distant lightning.

Several miles north, the ravens at Observatory Circle were making a ruckus. Inside, the Cheney's and the Shackled were all taking stock: on the one hand, another insulting editorial in The Washington Post; on the other hand, the accomplishments of the previous Saturday's Presidency and a brand new pacemaker. The Vice President sat in an easy chair, wrapped in an electric blanket, his face turned towards the air conditioning vent. Lately, he always felt cold, but his head was always hot, and he needed to breathe cold air. His wife had been droning on about something for at least half an hour, but his ears didn't pick up until he heard something about the Heurich Society. "They've decided it's time to start holding meetings again," she said. "I can't even remember now--did you go to those meetings because you liked those people or hated those people? You would think they would understand that you don't have time for secret societies anymore!" Cheney gritted his teeth, furious that she had kept this from him. He took a deep breath, waiting for his heart to catch up to his brain.

Several miles west, Charles Wu had been wandering around Dupont Circle, bored with his lackluster espionage life in Washington, when he had suddenly seen a bevy of beauties from France entering the Brewmaster's Castle for the afternoon tour. Henry Samuelson's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw Wu enter the Heurich mansion while looking out the top-floor window to see when the final members would arrive for the meeting. "That's the guy I told you about!" he whispered to a wool-suited octogenarian fanning himself in front of the air conditioning vent. The octogenarian--a former Diretor of the National Security Agency-- had already forgotten where he was and why he was here, but nodded politely. Samuelson threw his hands up, then ran out of the meeting room to investigate for himself. Condoleezza Rice--the youngest person in attendance and the only woman in the room--looked up and rolled her eyes. Once a spook, always a spook.

A few miles to the west, Lynnette Wong was tossing jade and sapphire amulets into the Potomac to draw in cool air from the West Wind. "I'm not afraid of you!" she muttered to Ardua, the demon that had killed her father. "I'M NOT!!" Ardua had been weakened, and Lynnette knew it--otherwise, she would have been afraid.

Up in the drawbridge, Dubious McGinty looked out at Wong in disbelief. What the hell now?!? A hundred feet below him, Ardua seethed in anger and pain, but she knew her minions were growing stronger and would not fail. One fatal housefire, two fatal muggings, three homicides, four fatal car accidents, and another five fatal political decisions --it really wasn't such a bad week in Washington after all.

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