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 30, 2013

Near a Rocky Creek

The Warrior  walked pensively along the water's edge, following the stream through the heart of Rock Creek Park.  Since moving to this region, he had quietly used his bow to take about half a dozen deer per year.  Even that was too much meat and hide for him to cure serendipitously in a land with so many white settlers, and yet not enough to keep the herd thinned and in balance with the environment.  From time to time, he would see the Hunter-Gatherer Society make a raid on the deer, but the Society was loud and clumsy, and would invariably scare the deer off and then have to settle for a mass murder of squirrels to sate their blood lust.  This week the National Park Service had brought in "sharpshooters" to kill dozens of deer:  this was apparently their perverted idea of efficient land management, and who was to say which tribe would suffer more lasting psychological damage from it, the deer or their human neighbors?  The political protests had failed, the courts had ruled, and the sharpshooters were in charge this week.  The Warrior stopped to inspect an oak sapling several feet above the creek's high water mark.  Nature was far, far more out of balance here than the white man's land managers knew, but they were not entirely to blame:  the legends said this place had never been in balance since the Year of the Starling, and the Warrior believed it.  It was not in balance when he first visited the Delaware over a hundred years ago, and it was far worse now.  He crouched down low to look for fresh mushrooms and small plants, then watched for signs of insect activity in the cold sod.  He stood up and continued on, fearful that a cold spring would abruptly jump to summer in the space of a moon.

Two-hundred feet away, a couple of teenagers were watching the Warrior through their binoculars (mistakenly believing he was unaware of their presence).  Washington Post "Metro" reporter Perry Winkle was leading the youth on another Urban Guerrilla Field Trip--this time to inspect the aftermath of the NPS deer hunt in Rock Creek Park.  "Who is that guy?" they were whispering, as Winkle came up behind them and trained his binoculars in the same direction.

"That's the Warrior," Winkle said.  "That's what we call him, but I've never gotten close to him."

"He looks like an Indian or something."

"He is," said Winkle.

"How do you know?  Maybe he's just some crazy vet from the war in Afghanistan, hiding out here, living off the land."

"Come on," said Winkle, pulling the growing crowd of oglers in the other direction.  "We're here to look for signs of deer life."

"Well, it's boring--there isn't any."

"Well, if you had come out at 4 a.m., like I told you--"


"--you would have seen live deer.  Instead, you get to look for chewed up branches and deer poop.  Come on."

The teens grumbled but smiled; it was nice to have an excuse to run around the woods without having to admit they liked the fresh air and the beauty of spring.

Further from the creek, up on the trail, Angela de la Paz was running a reluctant fourth mile with her boyfriend, Major Roddy Bruce.  The Aussie commando liked to push her endurance training, even though she kept telling him her operations were generally about lightning strikes and mad skills.  She slowed to a walk, gasping for air and blaming the jet leg from Asia.  "Wimp!" Bruce teased her, running circles around her for a couple of minutes for emphasis, and then stopping to grab a kiss.  He still didn't know her body was more of a plastic surgeon's creation than a naturally healthy specimen, and that her mad skills flowed more from her latent supernatural gift than the Heurich Society training she had received in Kansas.

"I did a great service to my country this week--I should be on vacation!" she whined.

"Yeah, you did!  Nailed that ghost bastard's bloody ghost drone!  Now the CIA and the ghost CIA are gonna be afraid of you!"  He gave her another kiss.  "When are you gonna tell me how you did it?"

Angela sat down on a large rock and bent over to massage her calves.  "It was actually really horrible," she said, straightening back up.  "You see," she started, but faltered.  Bruce sat down beside her and gave her an arm to lean her back on.  Angela looked at the ground.  She had never told him about taking the baby demon Eeteebsse to execute misogynistic killers in the Middle East, or trapping Eeteebsse in a Himalayan glacier because she was growing too big to control.  "I used an ally to help me do it."

"Wu?"  (She shook her head.)  "Project R.O.D.H.A.M.?"  (She shook her head again, and he waited.)

"You know, I told you about Ardua of the Potomac."  (Bruce nodded, his eyes growing wide with the imagining of a river demon being airlifted to Kazakhstan.)  "Well, she had a baby."  (His eyes grew wider.)  "I took her to the Middle East and Afghanistan and Pakistan, long before I met you.  I was using evil to fight evil.  I'm not sure how you'd feel about that."  (She paused, but he just sighed and said nothing.)  "She was still growing, and it was getting harder to control her, so I trapped her in a Himalayan glacier...until this week."   (He took a deep breath.)  "I let her out because there were ghosts and evil magic guarding that drone, and I didn't know how to deal with that."  (Another deep breath.)  "But I didn't let her kill any humans this time.  And I forced her higher into the glacier so she won't thaw out this summer."

Bruce stood up to walk around for a couple of minutes.  "It was you!" he finally said, looking into her face.  "You were the one everybody was talkin' about!  'She whose gaze must be avoided!'"  (She nodded, acknowledging the nickname she had first earned in Egypt.)  "You were a one-woman killing machine!"

"I was executing mass murderers," she said quietly.

"Judge, jury, and executioner," he replied.

"There was no other judge or jury for those people, and they would have kept killing!"

"I'm not defending them!" he protested.  She sighed and looked down at the ground, then Bruce sat back down beside her and put his arm around her.  "You were awfully young to be takin' on the Taliban and the like on your own."

"I wasn't on my own," said Angela.  "I had the Heurich Society and Eeteebsse.  But I stopped going there because it's hopeless.  There are too many men there that hate women--they're just going to keep enslaving them, maiming them, raping them, killing them.  I would have had to kill a hundred-thousand men, and maybe even then it wouldn't have stopped.  And I just...."  Her words trailed off as she started to shake.

Bruce pulled her close, amazed that his girlfriend was both the strongest and most fragile woman he had ever known.   They sat in silence for several minutes.  "You controlled that baby demon," he finally said.  "You've dealt with ghosts, you see birds and dolphins that are invisible to the rest of us, you have all these supernatural things I don't understand:  you might have figured out how to defeat that black magic in Kazakhstan on your own."  (She turned to look into his face.)  "Maybe this whole 'Femme Nikita' thing they trained you for just got everything confused.  Maybe you don't like the Heurich Society telling you what to do because deep down you're supposed to be listening to somebody else."

"You don't even go to church," Angela said.

"I know!" Bruce said.  "Maybe tomorrow we should go."

"If I start thinking God is telling me who to kill, that means I'm a psychopath!"

"Is that what you're afraid of?  If you listen to God, you're scared to find out what He'll say?  Maybe He'll tell you to take up pottery!"

"Since when do you listen to God?" she protested, sidestepping the joke.

"Since I found out demons are real, and they're competing for my girlfriend's attention!"

She smiled and shook her head (he always reeled her back in the end), and they got up to walk back out of Rock Creek Park.  She decided to wait until another day to tell him that she had met with Charles Wu in western China after delivering the rogue Predator drone to Project R.O.D.H.A.M., and he had offered her a million dollars to assassinate the President of North Korea.

A half mile away, Golden Fawn descended unsteadily into Rock Creek Park, leaning heavily on her husband, Marcos Vazquez.  He was surprised that she was so weak after only a few days of chemotherapy and he feared the recurrence of the breast cancer was taking a heavy psychological toll on her.  He had never seen her so desperate to connect to nature, even if it might mean huddling in a winter's coat just to listen to a babbling brook.  She was already talking about quitting the chemotherapy, and saying if using evil to fight evil didn't work last time, why should she expect it to work this time?  He barely had enough emotional influence over her to get her to do the chemotherapy, and he was afraid she would not continue it much longer.  He wanted to believe that there were ways for light to triumph over darkness, but he wasn't really sure that cancer was evil--not in the way she believed it was evil, not in the way she believed it was an attack from demonic forces and a wholly unnatural way to die.  He hated it when the word "die" even crept into his thoughts, and he leaned over to kiss his wife.  At last they were at the creek's edge, and she sat down to gaze into the flowing water.

From a distance, the Warrior noted Golden Fawn's arrival.  A raven alit on a boulder in front of him to tell the Warrior about the tumor, then the raven flew off.  The Warrior looked around in desperation, knowing there was no medicine he could gather for her in this anemic place.  Then he made his way over to lay hands on her and tell her he would make a pilgrimage on her behalf.

Under his passing footstep, a nascent spring rock cress bounced back up, born again and ready to bloom.


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