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 05, 2011

Dreams Past, Dreams Future

Angela de la Paz walked slowly past her old school, Bell Multicultural, as if she were in a dream. She was wearing a state-of-the-art GoreTex winter parka, but she could still feel the cold wind hitting her face. She remembered the first boy she had a crush on--the one who would always jump in front of her during dodgeball to make sure she never got hit. She remembered the last boy she had a crush on--the one who gave her his Gameboy after her mother's funeral to cheer her up. She remembered the boy she didn't like who had a crush on her and told her they should run away together to Las Vegas. She remembered her best friend--who stopped being her best friend after she started living in hiding with her mother. She remembered her favorite teacher--the one who submitted her poem about the pink warbler to a teen literary journal and got it published. She remembered the teacher she hated--the one who had told her to stop tapping her feet in class, and how she then vigorously swung them under the desk to generate any warmth she could as she hugged herself with her arms, and he complained again, and she said she wasn't making any noise, but he said her legs were still a distraction to him, and she asked, "Why are you looking at my legs anyway?", and his face turned beet red before he wrote her up for subordination and sent her to the principal's office where she had to explain she was just cold. The Warrior took her by the hand; they both knew she was no little girl anymore, but she let him. He also knew they had turned her into a warrior, but it was for all the wrong reasons. Dr. Rajatala did not even recognize her at abuela's funeral until The Warrior quietly brought her over. Dr. Raj then tried to talk Angela out of the whole thing, but she couldn't. "This too shall pass," The Warrior had whispered to Dr. Raj before they headed back to the National Arboretum where The Warrior would perform a cleansing ceremony for the girl, and then try to prepare her for her first kill. She told him that they had trained in Kansas by hunting and killing wild pigs (which were enormous, heavy, and super smart), and she had killed pigs in dozens of different ways. "Pigs aren't people," The Warrior said. "You're not ready for that, not spiritually." (He wasn't sure how to prepare her spiritually without knowing when, if, or how she might end up killing somebody, but he had to do his best.) Pigs aren't people, echoed in Angela's mind, but she also remembered her mother once saying that almost any human folly could be explained with the simple expression, people are pigs. "Everyone has to die one day," said The Warrior, himself over 400 years old, "but not everyone has to kill. There is a always a choice."

Several miles to the west, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope was tapping his own feet furiously on the rug beneath his State Department desk, partially to keep warm and partially because of the four cups of hot coffee he had already downed to warm himself up. He still had a photo of Eva Brown on his desk, but it was all over: when he had proposed at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, she had told him she was shocked that he would think her capable of entering such an archaic and sexually oppressive legal structure after all the conversations they had shared about her time in "China" [actually Afghanistan, though she had never admitted that]. "You don't understand me at all!" she had wailed before telling him at 12:03 am, 2011, that she wanted to go home. "The daughter I adopted is going to grow up knowing that women can be totally free of male oppression!" she had declared, as they headed out into the chilly night. He protested and asked what he had ever done which was oppressive to her or her daughter or any other woman, and she said if he wanted to lock them into the institution of marriage, he was subconsciously a slave to the shackles of the male-dominated paradigm. All further attempts to protest her assessment were futile, and he was alone. I didn't want to oppress you, he thought for the thousandth time as he gazed at her picture. He was fairly certain he could never win her back, but he did harbor one hope, which was that some day he would commit a revolutionary act to smash female oppression loudly and soundly enough to win her admiration...and love. And he suspected his best bet was joining the mysterious Project R.O.D.H.A.M., which was why that was on the top of his New Year's Resolutions.

A couple miles away, social worker Hue Nguyen was off to a good start with her New Year's resolution, which was more culture and art field trips for the residents of the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged. Her charges were delighting in the vivid colors and larger-than-life imagery of the Alexis Rockman exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (National Portrait Gallery). Nguyen was leading group discussions of the explanation of each painting--what inspired it and what the depictions suggested about the future our society is heading for. Helping dog Millie gently prodded back anyone that pressed too close (Nguyen had no idea how she learned to do that), but most of the enormous paintings needed to be taken in from several steps back, anyway. Former spy mastermind Cedric was furiously scribbling in his notebook about secrets that Rockman must have had access to--how else would he have known about the super chickens being genetically engineered at Fort Mead, or the drug-hunting amphibians taking over the Amazon River? Melinda and Buckner insisted that Manhattan was already covered in water the last time they saw it, and Larry said the same thing about Mount Rushmore. Theresa just kept whispering the names of colors over and over again, like they were precious jewels: "green, blue, yellow, purple, red, white, orange", until she ran out of colors to say, and then Larry started showing off by calling off fancy color names like "chartreuse" and "periwinkle". And Freddy Ritchings (AKA Brother Divine of the International Peace Movement) was rendered uncharacteristically speechless by the eye candy feast spread out before him because he could not come up with words that rhymed with "mesmerizing" or "spectacular". And so a fine (and fairly lucid) time was had by all until Nguyen's charges wandered over to the gay art exhibit, prompting all sorts of loud and inappropriate commentary as Nguyen tried unsuccessfully to talk them into going downstairs to the gift shop.

Not far away, Liv Cigemeier was writing up an article on the pros and cons of genetically engineering agricultural crops for the website of International Development Machine. Their boss insisted that Momzilla be listed as co-author because Momzilla had told the boss the article was her idea (lie) and she would have written it herself (lie) if she had not been at home pregnant with the twins (lie). Cigemeier had irrefutable proof that Momzilla only had one baby and had adopted the other illegally to continue the lie she had simply made up to outdo Cigemeier's own pregnancy. (She had also made up a lie about one twin needing heart transplant surgery in the seventh month in utero after the sympathy poured out for Cigemeier after her miscarriage). Cigemeier's husband repeatedly told his wife she should feel sorry for Momzilla because she's a nutcase, but Cigemeier didn't see her that way--she was born to connive, and cared nothing about international development or human rights--or genetic engineering, for that matter. Cigemeier's last article had received 200,000 hits from around the world, and her boss was pleased that she was drawing more attention to the expertise of their organization. He didn't like it when she wrote articles about desperate refugee camps in Haiti or flooding in Pakistan. "People don't give money to hopeless situations," he constantly reminded her. "They want to see development." The donors were drying up, the foundations were still reeling from the recession, and the Republican-controlled Congress was about to slash the international development budget, but her boss said, "don't worry--I've lined up a new project for us". It was a secret project with a $3 million deposit into their bank account from an intermediary who said he could not name where the money came from. And for the timebeing, only the boss knew what it was for.

Not far away, White House butler Clio was dozing away the last day of her vacation as their train headed for Union Station. The train tickets to North Carolina and pre-paid hotel reservation had arrived in an envelope stuck under her door on Christmas Eve, and she still didn't know who had paid for it all. She was dreaming about the loblolly pines and the bluebirds and the wall of fog on Jordan Lake and her twin pre-schoolers actually being nice to an animal after their cousin showed them how to brush the long winter coat of Mr. Highfalutin', one of the horses she took care of as a barn manager in Fuquay Varina. Regina and Ferguson had run around in the last traces of the Christmas snow, fed carrots to Red, Blue, Pokey, Butterball and a dozen other horses, and proudly ridden the Shetland ponies around the ring three times. Sometime after Richmond, the car's heat had been turned off, and the gradual cooling down of the train was slowly rousing Clio now. She had scarcely recognized her sweet, angelic, vacation children, but when she opened her eyes, the gift jars from Southern Season and Mama Dip's had all been opened up, their contents currently in the process of being smeared by the twins all over each other, the seats, and the table. "Reggie! Fergie!" They were back in Washington.

Deep in the river, Ardua of the Potomac had morning sickness, and when a demon has morning sickness, it's epically bad. She knew the so-called father of her baby would be back in Washington soon, and her hatred continued to grow.


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