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, August 26, 2007

Migrants

The monarch butterflies were midway between their trek from Canada to Mexico, and stopped to feed at the National Arboretum. They fluttered nonchalantly over the Asian collection, passed the azalea hill, and descended upon the Friendship Garden. Angela de la Paz smiled up at them, and Devi Rajatala smiled at the sight of Angela smiling. Even Jai Alai paused from her pruning to look at the shimmering wave of orange descending on the butterfly bushes. Jai called out to her kids to come see them. It was the third time she had brought them here on a Sunday. She told herself it was for their benefit because she could not face the truth that she liked having an excuse to get away from their father on the weekends. She watched her children's faces light up at the sight of the monarchs, even as her mind wandered back to her childhood on St. Lucia. She suddenly had a clear memory of being sent out to gather mangoes from the ground, and hearing the dull thuds of her mother's being beaten inside the house. She still couldn't eat mangoes. She looked over at Dr. Raj, trying to understand why she still hated that woman so much. Dr. Raj began talking to all the children about the great migration of the monarchs. Sometimes she thought about going back to India, but seeing the butterflies reminded her that some creatures naturally roamed further before they could find their way back home.

A few miles north, Charles Wu was inside the locked-down motel housing the imported Chinese laborers working on the new Chinese embassy. He was corrupting them with Dunkin Donuts and iced coffee before a Sunday morning soccer game got underway. He knew they were being electronically shielded from the full spectrum of internet, television, and radio transmissions that could misinform them, and it bothered him--blind loyalty was the shallowest of all, and the most likely to be turned. He didn't like seeing country yokels dragged over here and harnessed to the job like ploughhorses with blinders on--it was one of the things he disliked about China. The workers answered Wu's questions about their hometowns, and laughed at his Hong Kong accent as he told them about his. They thought he was a spy for China because he had loathed British rule over Hong Kong. About half of the time, this was true. He spoke to them contemptuously of his British father, and this contempt was also only half true. The workers were supposed to be sources for him, but he found himself liking them, and this was a problem.

Several miles west, Dr. Khalid Mohammad was sitting in the George Washington University Hospital cafeteria reading The Washington Post, wondering why a story about bird poop was on the front page. Starlings were beautiful birds--if people had nothing better to do than complain about bird poop, their lives were pretty good. He had now been in the U.S. over ten years, but still thumbed impatiently through newspapers and journals to get to the stories about the Middle East. Sometimes he had serious doubts that he would ever go back to Jordan. He paused and went back to the first page to read the starling story--he needed to start caring more about where he lived now. His pager buzzed, and he got up to return to the emergency room, where a stabbing victim was being unloaded from an ambulance.

A mile away, Sebastian L'Arche was embarking with Karl Rove's dogs on their long journey to Texas. Having been instructed to transport each dog in a separate cage, he knew they were attack dogs, and this was not going to be a pleasant trip. The dogs had barked non-stop until they reached the bridge across the Potomac, at which point they did the opposite of what most dogs did there, and fell silent. Sebastian glanced at his rear-view mirror and saw the dogs all lying down in crouch positions, fear glinting in their eyes. He accelerated over the bridge and exhaled deeply when he reached the Virginia side of the river. The dogs remained silent.

Deep in the Potomac, Ardua watched unhappily: she didn't want those dogs to leave. From the other side, a Pakistani taxi driver was heading from the airport across the river and into the city: he had big news for Charles Wu, whom he would be picking up from the motel in a couple of hours. He accelerated over the bridge, eager for the cash Wu would give him, wondering if his children would ever see his childhood home in Pakistan. Overhead, a few gulls lazily surveyed the damage of the night's storm as the Shackled convened for their Sunday prayer meeting, wondering if they would ever see Africa again..

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