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 ....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Fevers

Dizzy sneezed a third time, and laid his trumpet down--his hay fever had never before interfered so much with his troubadour act. He pulled a bandanna out of his pants pocket and blew his nose, then he quickly tugged at his sleeve to cover up the Rolex peeking out. You're bad for business! He had seen brighter blue skies and bigger cherry blossom displays, but things at the Tidal Basin were coming along. He sneezed again and sat down in annoyance. I know it's you, you damn bitch! he screamed silently at Ardua of the Potomac, but ever since the Rolex had come back into his life, he was silently screaming at a lot of other people, too. Ten feet away, some Toronto tourists were bent over taking photos of two bumblebees mating, and Dizzy jumped up to yell at them: "Can't you let the damned bees get it on without getting in their face?! The startled tourists hurried away, and Dizzy glared at the bumblebees. Don't you have more sense than to chase away my paying customers!?

On the other side of the Tidal Basin, Liv Cigemeier and her husband were walking slowly along the path towards the Jefferson Memorial, not talking and not taking photos. You're allergic to your husband's RNA: that's not exactly what's happening, but it's the best explanation we can give you. Your body is never going to carry an embryo--his child--to term. Your body is rejecting his RNA. They were both replaying the doctor's words in their minds over and over again, but never out loud. There are other options--. At that point Liv had jumped up and left the doctor's office: she knew what the other options were, and she was sure none of them would cement and lock their marriage in place the way having a baby would. She was terrified to ask him what he wanted to do, and he was terrified to ask her what she wanted to do. He kissed her again on the cheek, and they continued walking in silence--both more loved by the other than they remotely suspected.

A few miles away, Atticus Hawk was in his Justice Department office, oblivious to springtime, oblivious to anything except the latest hunt-to-kill memo he was working on for a U.S. citizen now labeled an enemy combatant in Yemen. He would scarcely be aware of nature at all except for the recent ant infestation in his office, which was getting worse. Ava Kahdo Green needs to stop bringing me snacks in here! Hawk was allergic to ants, and this was becoming a problem. He smashed a few to the left with his Jefferson Memorial snowglobe, then refocused on the computer screen. A few minutes later, he scratched his leg, and jumped out of his chair at the feel of dozens of ants on top of his thigh. He brushed them off his leg, jumped around, then found more on his shirt. He started ripping all his clothes off, then mis-remembered "drop and roll" as the emergency instruction for getting rid of ants. He rolled naked around his office carpet, but this just picked up more ants. Pretty soon he was covered in a thick, black layer of ants. He could feel himself going into anaphylactic shock. I'm going to have a heart attack! Then he realized this was not the biggest problem. They're eating me! He lay flat on is back, twitching in agony as layers of skin starting coming off. They're almost at the blood layer! Please, eat my neck first--sever the spinal cord! Several ants massed on top of his nose, and he stared at them, cross-eyed, paralyzed in fear. Then they started spitting on him.

"Atticus!" Green tilted the bottle and poured more water on Hawk's face. "Wake up!"

Hawk sat up with a start, and began brushing his naked skin again.

"Stop that! You were having a nightmare!" She grabbed him by the hair and started shaking his head. "Wake up!" Hawk blinked several times, looked down at his naked body, looked around his body, and saw no ants. "You're working too hard!" She poured the remaining water into his mouth and made him swallow it, then she got back up to close and lock his office door. She sat down next to him on the floor and put her arms around him. "Everything's gonna be OK."

A mile away, Sebastian L'Arche was back at the White House, squatting down to greet his old friend, Bo. "So you've got hives, do you?" the dog whisperer said out loud, then he whispered something into Bo's ear.

"The vet thinks it's a peanut allergy," said the White House butler, Clio. "Somebody dropped candied peanuts on the floor, and he ate them...a week ago." She exchanged glances with her twin pre-schoolers, Regina and Ferguson.

"A week ago!?" L'Arche whispered with Bo some more, then looked up. "Tell me about the bunny." The twins gasped, amazed that L'Arche had figured it out. "Bo says that possessed bunny was the scariest thing he's ever seen!"

"It's true!" exclaimed Regina.

"And now we can't even say the word out loud!" exclaimed Ferguson.

"Bunny," Clio said quietly, and Bo groaned and huddled closer to L'Arche. "And I think he's getting scared every time he hears similar words--like 'sunny' [groan], 'funny' [groan], 'honey' [groan], 'money' [growl]. I mean, the President's a good man, but sometimes he has to talk about money [growl]. And I don't know how we're gonna put up Easter decorations, I don't."

You're smarter than this
, L'Arche whispered. I went through Hell serving in Iraq, but you think I throw a conniption fit every time somebody says the word? And words that rhyme with 'Iraq'? Now that's just superstitious nonsense! You know you're stronger than the White House ghosts, and whatever possessed that bunny, you killed it! You killed it, Bo! That means you won! I know it ain't easy livin' here, but they need you!

Bo ran around in circles a few times, barking loudly, then sat silently next to the dog whisperer. "Reggie, Fergie, you come here and help me pet Bo." The twins joined him and followed his lead in slowly rubbing down the dog. A few minutes later, the hives were gone. "Alright." L'Arche took some kisses from Bo, then handed him off.

A couple miles to the east, the State Department's Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope was rubbing down his own arms and legs as he entered Lynnette Wong's Chinatown herb shop, trailed by television reporter Holly Gonightly and her cameraman. "We are now following the Assistant Deputy Administrator into a Chinese herb shop as he makes one last desperate attempt to get rid of the hives covering his body since the massacre in Afghanistan."

"It's got nothing to do with the massacre!" he exclaimed, turning to glare at the reporter, who had discovered his story by accident as he was leaving the George Washington University Hospital emergency room. "I'm allergic to everything--that's what Dr. Khalid said!" (He didn't like saying 'Dr. Mohammad'.)

"Allergic to everything!" repeated Gonightly into the camera.

"Allergic to everything?" said Wong. She grabbed the man's wrist and examined his pulse.

"For all intents and purposes," the hived one said. "If I weren't on steroids, I'd still be in the hospital. Another flare-up and I'll become a bubble boy."

"The threat of a lifetime consigned to be lived inside a sterile, plastic environment: that is what we are dealing with today!" said Gonightly. (This is a great story! Nobody will notice I'm too fat for television because they'll be trying to spot his hives.)

Wong motioned the hived one to sit in a white plastic chair next to the counter. She put on some plastic gloves, pulled out her acupuncture needles, and placed three on the back of his neck, just under the hairline.

"Acupuncture!" exclaimed Gonightly, who couldn't think of anything to add. (I wonder what happened to that girl, Mia? I don't see her around.)

Wong went to the tea station, scooped out herbs from various canisters into a mug, then poured boiling water into it. She set it aside and squatted down below the counter where neither the camera nor the reporter could see her. She extracted one of Charles Wu's blood samples from the dried ice chest and drew it up into a syringe. Only Wu's chi will save this guy! Thank God he's O-positive. She kept the syringe out of sight as she passed the tea mug through the quick-cooling chamber Wu had purchased just last month, then brought the mug to the hived one. "Drink it all down," she said.

"Herbal tea!" exclaimed Gonightly, who couldn't think of anything to add. (Should I ask about that girl?)

"I feel all tingly," the hived one said, and Wong quickly inserted the syringe through the seat back opening, straight into the adrenal gland near his left kidney. "AHHHH!" he said, feeling waves of something flow through his body. Wong dropped the syringe surreptitiously into her smock pocket, then removed the acupuncture needles.

"The hives are disappearing!" exulted Gonightly, and her cameraman moved in closer. "His arms, his face, his neck!" The civil servant lifted up his shirt to examine his belly, and they all watched as the hives faded right before their eyes.

"A Chinatown miracle!" exclaimed Gonightly. "How do you feel?"

"Good!" said the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope.

(Really, is that the best you could come up with?!) "He feels totally overwhelmed and joyful, thanks to ancient Chinese wisdom. And this civil servant is returning to the State Department instead of becoming a bubble boy! Reporting live from Chinatown, this is Holly Gonightly!"

A few miles to the east, Charles Wu was watching Angela de la Paz watch baby Delia getting her diaper changed by Mia. "She had a reaction to Desitin, so we're trying Butt Paste," said Mia. Wu was wondering if he could get them both to be spies and both to be nannies.

Back at the White House, Bo was running energetically through the East Wing, chasing ghosts from every room he entered--chasing them until they fled in disgust, flying over to the Tidal Basin to see how Ardua of the Potomac was doing with the tourists.

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