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, December 08, 2012

Yellow

Charles Wu looked at the 10th Street entrance to St. Patrick's, walked carefully up the stairs, pushed the heavy doors open, walked through to the sanctuary, then stopped at the holy water font.  He watched to see if it started bubbling ominously (as it always did in the horror movies), but nothing happened.  Guess I'm not too bad after all.  He dipped his forefinger into the water--because he never passed up an opportunity to increase his own power--then wiped the water onto his neck.  Nothing.  Guess I'm not good enough.  He made his way past the saints to find Slow Man in the front, near Mary, and sat quietly beside him.

"It's the only quiet place within a half-mile radius:  the only one," said Slow Man (dressed in his signature yellow).

"It's very inspiring," said Wu, who immediately regretted telling a lie in a church.  "I mean, it's lovely."

"Yes, it's lovely.  There are prettier churches, but this is the only quiet place within a half-mile radius," repeated Slow Man.

Wu was starting to wonder if this was code talk he was not familiar with.  "Everyone needs a quiet place sometimes," said Wu.

"Not the Borgias," said Slow Man.  "They were loud."  (Wu murmured agreeably.)  "My mother said we have Borgia blood."

"No doubt," said Wu, who was impatient to get home and had no idea what Slow Man was talking about.

"What is China going to do about Syria?" asked Slow Man suddenly.

Wu hesitated for a few moments.  "Their interest is aligned with Pakistan in this instance."

Slow Man laughed out loud, then bit his finger, embarrassed.  "This instance.  Well-put.  The moments pass so quickly for us, and so slowly for them."

"The Syrians?" asked Wu.

"Are you asking about 'us' or 'them'?"

"What have you got for me?" asked Wu, who was starting to think he preferred meeting at the karaoke club and being required to sing for his intelligence.  "I need to go," he added, tossing several gold krugerrands into Slow Man's lap.

"The Duchess of Cambridge's nurse was murdered," said Slow Man, not yet touching the krugerrands.  "It goes far deeper than anybody suspects."

"That is distressing news," said Wu.  (I should have known this source had a slender grasp on reality.)  'This changes everything."

"EVERY thing!" agreed Slow Man.  He then noticed that the yellow of the krugerrands did not match the yellow of his coat, so he began slipping them inside his shirt.  "They're cold," he remarked.

Wu was done.  "I'll let you know if China makes a move," he lied.  "Have a nice day."  He walked out to F Street and headed over to the holiday market to pick up more holiday items for the house:  it was going to be Delia's first Christmas!

Several miles to the north, Calico Johnson pulled a piece of yellow cloth out of his sock drawer and re-read the words (written in black marker) as he did every morning just after picking out his socks.  "I have to leave town--maybe for a long time.  Please take care of Mega Moo."  He put it back in the sock drawer, put on his socks and shoes, then headed down to the shed to get the loudly whining Mega Moo some more hay.  (He couldn't pile much up in the Home Depot backyard shed he was using as the cow's temporary barn.  The architect was coming out to Potomac Manors today to discuss plans to build a real barn, and it wouldn't be soon enough--especially since Mega Moo was refusing to go to pasture in the cold.)  "Yeah, yeah," Johnson said to the old girl, which is what he always said to her.  "Here you go."  He shoveled out the manure and fouled hay, then stole a quick glance at Basia Karbusky's spread, but it was still burned to the ground:  nothing had arisen from the ashes.

He then walked over to the garage where his horse had temporarily taken the place of his Ferrari, next to his SUV.  "Hey, Ninja," he said to the black beauty he had bought for the sole purpose of boarding her in Basia's barn and giving him an excuse to chat up the blond beauty from Wisconsin.  He let the clever Ninja find her own way out of the garage to the pasture, and did some more shoveling.  (After the new barn was built, he'd be able to hire somebody to stop by a couple times a day and help with the animals.)  He locked the garage door and headed slowly back inside.  He hadn't been home the day of the fire, and the flames had spread pretty far, but not as far as his place.  The arson investigators had questioned him intensely about the fire--and about the violent and deranged trespasser he had received a week earlier.  He knew he should have shown them the note he had found speared to Mega Moo's horn when he discovered her (and Ninja) tied to his backyard poplar tree with rope, but it was the last thing he had from Basia, and he didn't want to turn it over.  Someday she'll come back for you, Mega Moo, he thought to himself.  He never dared say it aloud--not to Mega Moo, not to himself.

Several miles to the east, Atticus Hawk was sitting in his home office, doodling on a Justice Department yellow legal pad, contemplating what had arisen from the ashes of Basia Karbusky's home.  The FBI had quickly discovered emails and phone calls between Hawk and Karbusky.  His first questioning had been without an attorney present, but he knew he would have to hire one if they asked for a second questioning.  The FBI had found chemical traces of a lot of peculiar compounds at her place, and though he was fairly certain his explanation of the "benign" herbarium and other factors had moved "terrorist bombs" to the bottom of the FBI list, meth lab was possibly at the top.  As for Hawk, he had truly not heard an electronic peep from her since her disappearance:  all he had was a handkerchief he had found under his car's wiper blade, with a note written in black marker:  "sorry, darling, but I have to go away".  He had already flushed all the drugs, minerals, herbs, and vitamin supplements he had ever gotten from her, and scoured down every surface in his apartment and office that he could.  Could I have been so blind?  He continued doodling symbols and abbreviated words on the yellow pad, trying to connect the dots.  Drug dealer?  Basia?!  She was more like a naturalist--almost a hippie!  She was the one that got him passing all the security clearance drug tests...but how?  He crumpled up another sheet and pushed it through his home shredder.  He again began sketching out factors that would suggest drug dealers had gone after her, then shredded that page, as well.  Terrorist?  Bombs?  He sketched out the arguments for that again and came up far short.  He stuffed another yellow page through the shredder, then emptied out the shredder into the sink and set the pages on fire.  He watched the pages shrivel and burn, thinking about the exquisitely effective arson job that had been done on Basia's place--by somebody considerate enough to move a cow and horse to the next door neighbor's home.  It had to be her--but why?

A few miles away, Angela de la Paz and Major Roddy Bruce left the Downtown Holiday Market with their purchases and stopped at St. Patrick's to light a candle for Angela's mother and grandmother.  Then they sat down in a pew near Mary.  Angela reopened the box and reexamined the golden yellow angel ornament Bruce had just given her.

"So...you kill...monsters?"  (Bruce was restarting the conversation they had already gone through four times since last weekend.)

"Yes," said Angela, patiently.

"But that...zombie...was different?"

"Yes," said Angela, patiently.

"You think Basia Karbusky was really neo-Nazi Barbara Hellmeister?"  (Angela nodded.)  "And she had something to do with the zombie?"  (Nod.)  "And when we drove out to Potomac Manors and saw the raging fire, we turned around and fled without dialing 911 because--?"

"Because we couldn't be found with a chopped-up zombie in the truck of Vazquez's car.  What if they didn't believe it was a zombie?"

"Fair enough," said Bruce, "but what if there was a life in danger there?"

"There wasn't," said Angela, patiently.

"And you know this because--?"

"The raven and the pink warblers."

"So the raven talks to Golden Fawn, and the pink warblers talk to you?"

"It's OK if you don't believe that," said Angela.

"No, no, I'm just trying to get my head around it," said Bruce.

"Very few people can see these things clearly," said Angela.  "And even then, not all the time."

This was usually the point where they would start talking about something completely different, until the Aussie commando began the line of questioning all over again, but Bruce was tired of it and ready to take a leap of faith.  "Alright, I guess if I stick with you, I'll see another monster eventually."

"You believe me?" asked Angela, turning to him with a hesitant smile.

"I believe in you," Bruce said.  "That's the best I can do right now."

"That's enough!" said Angela, beaming.

Back out on F Street, Charles Wu hailed a yellow taxi to take home the decorations and gifts he had just picked up after his rendezvous with Yellow Man.  The house had seemed quiet since the departure of his parents after Thanksgiving, and his daughter needed lots of shiny things to crawl after to burn up all the baby fat she had acquired while being coddled by his mother for a month.  (Irked that she had missed Buffy Cordelia's first months, Ha Ling had insisted on carrying her granddaughter in her arms constantly, and feeding her every two hours, so it was up to Wu to get Delia on a healthier track again.)  The spy had some misgivings that the inflatable reindeer and Santa Claus on his roof made the house look ridiculous--even though he had purchased and deployed them to blend in with the rest of the neighborhood--but he had no qualms about filling his house with a ton of holiday items if it got Delia cooing and crawling around in delight.

Out on the 14th Street bridge, Dubious McGinty watched his urine glistening yellow in the sunlight as it sprayed down on Ardua of the Potomac, but the sunlight was fleeting and the Vietnam Vet would soon feel blue again....He was thinking about zombies.

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