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 ....

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Watery Grave

Angela de la Paz sat on Theodore Roosevelt Island, her wetsuit still dripping water from her swim through the river to get a good look at Ardua of the Potomac. She was staring into the water thinking about when she was a little girl and they had told her that her mother had drowned in this river...but it had turned out to be a lie. Now they were saying that Osama bin Laden's corpse had been dropped into the Arabian Sea. She believed it was true and yet....

Out on the river, Charles Wu was rowing hard--something he hadn't done since his university days in England until the day before the royal wedding when he had met up with some old college friends. He had brought his father as his "plus-one" to the wedding, and the eternal bird-watcher had spent most of the ceremony examining ladies' hats through small (but not entirely discreet) binoculars. Wu, never a fan of hats, had spent most of the ceremony examining the backs of ladies' unadorned heads. ( A half-breed himself, he had a slight fetish for taking in the range of hair colors from black to white, but for some reason which Wu had never comprehended, English women had the worst dye jobs in the Western world--stringy, lifeless, margarine coloring with enormous dark roots. Perhaps Kate would encourage more Englishwomen to return to life as a brunette.) It had been a shockingly dull affair until his phone vibrated and he read the cryptic message from Project R.O.D.H.A.M. about the "pigsty"--a code word meaning that Osama bin Laden's hideout had apparently been located. He had put the phone back in his coat pocket and turned to his father, wanting to say something, but he couldn't. So he had stared at the prince in his military uniform and the princess in her obscenely expensive wedding gown and thought, the world will once again be safe for democracy...or freedom...or--And then the music started up again, and this was a glorious thing because...because....He turned to his father again; he would never be able to tell his father how many times the British government had paid him handsomely and gratefully for his service to the United Kingdom...in Hong Kong and beyond. But why can't I?, he had thought. I don't want to take my secrets to the grave. He suddenly realized he had stopped rowing and was just floating past Roosevelt Island. Wu saw the unusual sight of a girl in a wetsuit, and briefly pondered making a landing, but she looked a bit young, so he started rowing again.

Angela recognized him immediately as Charles Wu because of her infiltration of Project R.O.D.H.A.M., but she could see that he didn't recognize her. He was a legend in the Project, handsomer and more effective than James Bond himself. The most ass-kicking feminists she had ever met would all start absent-mindedly playing with their hair and licking their lips just at the mention of his name. And they trusted him with their lives--everything he had ever told them or done for them proved true. But Angela didn't trust anybody with her own life, least of all her employer, the Heurich Society. They were annoyed with her abrupt departure from the Middle East, but she was frustrated at the slow progress of revolution. On her way out of the Brewmaster's Castle, she had heard Henry Samuelson remind the others that she was young, after all, and it was to be expected that she would still have streaks of idealism. Wu was out of sight now, and she stared at the water. Idealism. She shook her head. They don't know me at all. The Warrior had found her the day she returned, and he had told her about Ardua of the Potomac and the unborn Eeteebsse, and that destiny was calling her. Destiny. She was not even 17 yet. She had not even had a real kiss yet--one that wasn't a lie. She could count on one hand the number of people she had loved, and they were dead. She didn't remember 9/11, and she wasn't sure that killing Osama bin Laden would make the world a better place--there were still thousands more like him, and millions of people killing for other reasons. She was starting to want something bigger. She was starting to wonder if Project R.O.D.H.A.M. was the way to go.

Several miles to the east, Golden Fawn was sitting on the grassy field behind the National Museum of the American Indian, picnicking with The Warrior and her husband, Marcos Vazquez. Tourists had stopped by a few times to photograph The Warrior (who did look slightly like somebody who had stepped out of a 19th century painting) and Golden Fawn (everyone's idea of a perfectly lovely Pocahontas), but the three did not even notice because they were absorbed in conversation about what the enigmatic Angela de la Paz might decide to do about Ardua of the Potomac. "Do you really think she has the power to do something about Eeteebsse?" asked Vazquez, a Coast Guard officer who, to this day, still had moments of incomprehension that demons were a daily topic of conversation with his wife.

"Yes," nodded The Warrior.

"But does she believe that?" asked Golden Fawn.

"Yes," nodded The Warrior.

"She's so young," said Vazquez. "How can she be the one to decide if the Prophecy is real?"

The three were silent for a minute, pondering the Prophecy. {Ardua will become pregnant. She will die in labor, but the child Eeteebsse will plunge the Potomac area into an unimaginable darkness a thousand times more evil and dangerous than the horrors of Ardua's reign.}

"The young have clearer minds," The Warrior said at last, his own mind still undecided about whether Eeteebsse should be killed in the womb or allowed to destroy the horrific Ardua from within.

Suddenly a raven alit on their blanket and began whispering to Golden Fawn and The Warrior. "What is it?!" asked Vazquez, but the two just closed their eyes and clenched their fists.

A couple miles to the west, Dizzy abruptly dropped his trumpet with a clang onto the sidewalk and turned around to look past the Lincoln Memorial out to the Potomac. On the other side of the Tidal Basin, The Beaver cowered behind a pedal boat, John Doe fell down on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial in an epileptic seizure, and the pink dolphins swam frantically in circles. The river rats swam for shore, and the ducks abruptly took to flight.

Over in Chinatown, a jade rabbit abruptly fell off a shelf in Lynnette Wong's Chinatown shop and shattered on the floor.

At the National Arboretum, Rani the donkey began braying loudly and arborist Devi Rajatala looked up to see for the first time pink warblers singing on a tree branch--just like the ones Angela de la Paz used to tell her about.

In Southeast, Sebastian L'Arche slipped into a trance as his houseful of animals all began whispering to him at the same time.

In Georgetown, the leader of The Seekers felt faint and lowered his head to his desk, while the Shackled took flight from the site of the old slave wharf and circled restlessly above the Potomac like the starlings already doing the same. Charles Wu's muscles suddenly went limp, and he stopped rowing under the Key Bridge and turned to look behind him--at what, he did not know.

And finally Angela de la Paz clambered out of the water and up onto the Virginia shore. She pulled out the organ transplant carrying kit she had hidden in the bushes, opened it up, and dropped Eeteebsse into it. She pulled off the wetsuit and threw it back in the river. She picked up the case and walked to the rental car she had left on Daingerfield Island, which she immediately drove to National Airport to catch her chartered flight.

Deep in the Potomac, Ardua was still panting in pain from the moment Angela de la Paz had ripped the deadly baby out of her womb and abruptly swam off with it. And for the first time in her existence, Ardua passed out.

***********************
Happy Mother's Day! (cue diabolical laughter)

Washington Water Woman is heading back out of town but will return to blogging in mid-May.

Coming up: where is Angela de la Paz taking Eeteebsse?

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