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 ....

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Southeast

Perry Winkle was back at his Washington Post office, trying to write up the story about four children found dead and decomposing in a Southeast rowhouse, but his fingers refused to move over the keyboard. It would be days before the coroner's office could issue a report on the cause of death, so what was he supposed to write about now? The mystery woman living in the house with four corpses? What could he say about her? He knew nothing except that the bird in the maple tree outside that rowhouse had really given him the creeps. He exhaled deeply, then decided it was time to look up Dubious McGinty again and try to learn some more about...whatever it was that was happening in this town.

Several miles away, the Shackled were still hovering in that rowhouse, quarreling with the ghosts that lived there. There were the old ghosts, angry and spiteful, and now there were four new ghosts, dazed and unstable. The Shackled were pleading with them all to leave the rowhouse and move towards the light, but the ghosts could see no light. Outside, a catbird was sitting in the maple tree, imitating the sound of gunfire, and this was making the new ghosts jumpy and agitated. The Shackled continued coaxing the new ghosts away from the house, telling them that a better world awaited them, but they had to let go of their home in Washington. At last, as the sun began sinking, the four ghost children saw the true light and went towards it. The Shackled then turned back to the old ghosts, who swore they had nothing to do with those deaths, but this was a lie. One of the Shackled went outside to the maple tree, grabbed the catbird, and flung it to the pavement to kill it. The world grew quiet as the spirit flitted over the yellow police tape and back into the rowhouse, where it was going to be a long night.

A few minutes later, Sebastian L'Arche made his third trip past the yellow-taped rowhouse, several leashed dogs trotting cheerily at his ankles. The dogs were on top of the smashed catbird before L'Arche even saw it. He hollered for them to heel and yanked their leashes away from the corpse. He turned back to look at the grim sight as they walked away, wondering what had happened to it. Too much death for one day. A half-hour later, he was back at home with a coffee cup in one hand and the will in the other. He read it again, the fourth or fifth time since he had left the probate office. Jeff had a half-sister in Philadelphia to whom he wanted to give his computer, but he wanted the rest to go to his army buddy L'Arche. L'Arche put the letter down and stared out the window, remembering the soldier he knew in Iraq, as well as the underweight veteran who had just died of a meth overdose. L'Arche knew what he would inherit from the guy--a bunch of CDs and DVDs, some crappy old furniture, a few books, and the dog bed for Scooby--who was already living with L'Arche. Anything else would be sold to pay the estate expenses. His lip trembled, but he had decided a long time ago not to cry when people died. A burst of real gunfire too distant for L'Arche to hear with human ears prompted Scooby to jump abruptly into L'Arche's lap, and L'Arche pulled him close. A flock of starlings passed over L'Arche's house, on their way to report back to Ardua.

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