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 ....

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Chimera

Angela de la Paz found The Warrior at Hain's Point, as she knew she would--and as he knew she would.  She sat down beside him on the grass, where he was seated with a pile of half-made bows.

"Pigeon feathers," he said.  "How my father would laugh if he knew I was making arrows with pigeon feathers!"  (But The Warrior did not laugh, thinking about the father who had walked the Earth hundreds of years before.)

"You could probably make a lot of money selling them on the Internet," said Angela.  (The Warrior said nothing, knowing she was still a teenager and sometimes said silly things without thinking them through.)  "I need to ask you about something I saw in the Dreamtime."

"I know," he said.

"Were you there?" she asked.

"The raven told me," he said.  "You saw the Chimera."

"Is that what it's called?"

"Yes."

"But how can an evil monster be in the Dreamtime?  I thought the Dreamtime was only for our spirits."

"It is a human spirit," said The Warrior.  "A lost soul full of confusion and rage."

"Can it hurt people?"

"Only through fear," he said.  "It traps other lost souls in its aura of terror."

"How can I stop it?"

The Warrior inhaled deeply.  "You are not strong enough yet."

"But I've accomplished so much!"

"I know, young one--be patient."

"I think the Chimera is blocking me from seeing Mia."

"This you can overcome," he said, handing her a small medicine bag.  "I made this for you.  When you see the Chimera, open it, and you will know what to do."

Several miles to the north, Henrietta Samuelson was spoiling the Heurich Society's post-4th of July barbecue with a Chimera of her own.  She walked into the host's backyard with--instead of the cherry pie she had promised--a file from her late father's CIA records.  "Why didn't you tell me about Project Chimera?!" she demanded, waving her father's file in the face of a former CIA operative.  "You sent me to Crimea without a warning!"

"I thought you had read all your father's files already!" he retorted without contrition.

"Well, I didn't know how many of them were written in code!  I thought this was a file about a CIA submarine in the Black Sea!"

"Well, there was supposed to be a submarine, and its name was going to be The Chimera, but our budget was cut, so we had to improvise with local hires."

"I could have gotten killed!  You sent me into a trap!  It was a miracle I got out alive!"  (It was, in fact, a miracle, since the only reason she had gotten out of Crimea safely was that her late father had sent in Ghost CIA operatives.)

"That's not true!" protested a retired three-star general.  "You had a sound plan going in, but you panicked at the first sign of trouble.  This will improve with experience."

"Yes, Button, it was really about your panic," said the Heurich Society's investment banker.  "Do you want a hot dog or a hamburger?"

"You people are unbelievable!" exclaimed Samuelson.  "This entire Black Sea Revolution project is way too dangerous!  People are getting killed just so you can mess up the European Union, destabilize Turkey, and get neo-Cons back in power in the White House?"

"Actually, I always thought Dr. Rice was a little too idealistic about the White House, but it would be nice to get more neo-Cons back in charge of the CIA," said a former NSA director.

"Why?" asked the former CIA operative.  "We're not the ones acting like the East German secret police," he added, an obvious dig at the NSA's latest black eye from the Washington Post.

"Well, if you people still had any intelligence agents left with intelligence, we wouldn't have to be picking up so much slack in the spy game!"

"You son of a bitch!"  And with that, fists were flying, potato salad was spraying, dogs were barking, and grills were toppling.

"Am I missing something?" crackled Condoleezza Rice over her Skype connection, but the laptop streaming her was now facing a large hydrangea bush, so nobody saw or heard her.

Then Henrietta (Button) Samuelson let out an ear-piercing, sustained scream until all went quiet again.  "No more secrets!" shouted the Chair of the Heurich Society.  "If you want us to take on a mission, you need to brief me fully!  The next person that withholds vital information from me will be expelled!"

"Can she do that?" whispered the investment banker.

"Yes!" shouted Samuelson, wheeling around to glare at him, but her sudden twirl had dislodged spilled potato salad from her dress, which somewhat weakened the dramatic tone of the moment.

"And our next project is Project Chimera!" she said.  "We are going to put a submarine into the Black Sea for ourselves!"  She looked down at the dogs eating up all the meat on the ground.  "Do we need to order pizza?"

A mile to the east, Charles Wu had endured three hours of disco brunch at Level One waiting for Yellow Man to introduce him to a friend, and it was quite late when they finally showed up.

"Sorry, dude," said the young goateed man with the Geek Squad t-shirt, sticking out his hand to Wu.  "I had an emergency call over on Capitol Hill."

"It's true," said Yellow Man, helping himself to Wu's pretzel bites.  "You wouldn't believe how often Chimera gets these kind of calls, hee hee!"

Chimera finished downing Wu's water glass, then asked for a Dos Equis at the first sign of the waitress.  "Congressman naughty pants!" whispered Chimera.  "Looked at a few porn videos on his laptop, and the next thing he knew, the computer was all screwed up.  Didn't want to have to call his chief of staff about it!"

"So Chimera went in and got rid of that nasty Ukranian virus," said the Yellow Man, nodding.

"Ukranian?"

"Oh, it has nothing to do with the current crisis--at least, I don't think so.  It's been around awhile," said the Chimera.

"So he replaced it with a good old American virus," whispered Yellow Man gleefully.

"A spybot worm, would be a more accurate description."  (Yellow Man rolled his eyes.)  "Anyway," continued Chimera, "my little critter runs an algorithm which constantly clears out cookies and other memory-suckers, so their computers run better, and they keep referring me to their friends on the Hill."

"And?" said Yellow Man, gesticulating to encourage Chimera to get to the juicy part of the story.

"And my critter enables me to remotely access their laptops and pull up a mirror image on my own computer.  But I'm bored with these Congressmen!  They hardly ever have anything interesting:  most of their files are speeches, and most of their emails are thank-you notes to millionaires for campaign contributions.  I'm looking to get some referrals at the State Department or the White House or the Pentagon.  Yellow Man got me a few, and he said you might be interested as well."

"Would I get the mirror, too?" asked Wu.

"Of course!" said Chimera.  "But I do have some rules.  The first is you have to tell me why you want to spy on somebody.  I mean, I'm not the frickin' NSA!  I've got principles, and I'm only gonna spy on jerks!  Or people hiding war crimes--stuff like that."

Wu preferred to deal with people who were happy to do a job for cash, but the allure of being able to send Chimera in to help people with their computer problems was too much to resist.  "Alright," said Wu.  "The next time a bad person tells me they're having a computer problem, I'm sure we'll be able to come to an understanding."

Back in Cleveland Park, Angela de la Paz had arrived at Charles Wu's house to relieve Delia's governess, Mrs. Prudence Higgety-Cheshire, from duty so that she could go out to supper with a friend she had met at the British Embassy's 4th of July party.  "She's still asleep," said Mrs. H-C, shaking her head disapprovingly.  "I had to take her to a birthday party at 2 p.m., so her nap is terribly late.  Why do parents schedule a birthday party at 2 p.m.?  It's utterly appalling!"  (Angela smiled sympathetically.)  "Her supper is in the saucepan already--you just need to bring it to a boil when she wakes up."  (Angela nodded enthusiastically.) "Ta ta!"

Angela walked upstairs to look at Buffy Cordelia, whom she found still sound asleep in her crib.  She settled into the rocking chair, and pulled out the medicine bag to examine it.  What?  She opened it wider.  It's empty!  She shook it out over the rug, but nothing came out.  Whatever.  She closed her eyes, impatient to find the Chimera again.  She quickly entered the Dreamtime and began calling out for Mia, Delia's first nanny, who had committed suicide.  "Mia!"  She stopped for a few minutes to embrace her mother and abuela, but they could see she was in a hurry and let her continue.  "Mia!"  She increased her concentration, pulled all her chi together, and blocked every other thought from her mind.  "MIA!"

The Chimera reared up out of nowhere, and Angela jumped back in surprise, then quickly refocused her energy.  "You can't have her!  She doesn't belong to you!  We love her!"  The Chimera roared at her with such fury and intensity that Angela thought she would go deaf.  "MIA!"  The Chimera roared again, and Angela took another step back.  Then she remembered the Medicine Bag, and opened it to see if there might be something in it after all.

"Young one," said the old woman now standing before Angela.

"Who are you?" asked Angela.

"I am my son's mother," she said.  Angela looked at the woman's gray braids and deerskin tunic, and knew who she was.

"What should we do?" asked Angela.

"The nanny will come when she hears Delia call her name."

Angela inhaled deeply and looked nervously over at the Chimera trying to hear their whispered conversation.  "It's too dangerous for Delia."

"Delia needs to see Mia more than anybody else does," said the Warrior's mother.

Angela inhaled deeply again, then summoned Delia from her sleeping place until the child was nestled in her arms.  "We need to find Mia," Angela whispered to her.

"Mia!" repeated little Delia, looking around excitedly.

The Chimera roared in fury, and little Delia buried her head in Angela's bosom to cry.  Then Mia came for her.

"Delia!"  Delia turned at the sound of her late nanny's voice, and stretched out her little arms to be picked up.

Mia held Delia tightly for a long time before looking up at Angela.  "Thank you!"  Angela embraced them both for what seemed a very, very long time, until finally her arms were empty.  She looked up and saw Mia walking away.  "Thank you!"  Then she was gone--as well as everybody else.

Angela opened her eyes.  Little Delia was sitting up in her crib, looking intently at Angela, who went to pick her up without saying a word.  She returned to the rocking chair to hold Delia for a few minutes.  Do you even remember your mother, baby?  Is our love enough for you?  Delia took her head out of Angela's bosom and looked up at her babysitter.  "Are you hungry, sweet pea?"  Delia smiled sweetly, and the two went downstairs.

A couple hours later, Angela went next door to nurse her infant son, Lucas, for the last time.  She told the Cigemeier's she knew it was time to go.  She packed her sparse belongings, said goodbye to Liv and Felix, then walked out the door.  She knew she could see Lucas whenever she wanted to in the Dreamtime, but she wanted him to start his life now with his adoptive parents.

Outside, a flock of starlings flew in circles above her until she gave them one last menacing look before climbing into a taxi for the airport.  The starlings quickly flew off to report to Ardua of the Potomac all they had seen.

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COMING UP:  OMG, Congress is running out of 2014 working days?!

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