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, October 05, 2014

Emeralds

Buffy Cordelia Wu nodded approvingly as her governess, Mrs. Prudence Higgety-Cheshire, pointed to party decorations on display at the D.C. Target.  "Winnie the Pooh?"  ("Yes!")  "Oh, here's the Little Mermaid."  ("Yes!")  "What's this?  What on God's green Earth are Transformers?"  ("Yes!")  "Well, we can't choose them all, now can we?"  ("Yes!")  "It's not easy planning a joint birthday party for a 3-year-old AND a young lady of 20, is it?"  ("Yes!")

Most toddlers were masters of the word "no", but little Delia was a big fan of the word "yes".  She was also a big fan of Angela de la Paz, who shared October as her birthday month, and it was Mrs. Higgety-Cheshire's idea to surprise Angela when she showed up for Delia's party.  Angela might be a spy with mystical powers of clairvoyance, but she was also a motherless girl, like little Delia, and Mrs. Higgety-Cheshire was determined that she feel celebrated just as much as Charles Wu's little princess.  "Alright, we'll do yellow balloons with pink streamers, Winnie the Pooh plates for you, and a piƱata for Angela."  ("Angela!")  "Let's hope your father finds her a nice gift at that fancy mall."

Charles Wu had, in fact, stalled in the dress department of Lord and Taylor's.  This was normally the part where he asked the most attractive sales clerk he could find to model the dresses for him, but he was sitting in the bored-husband chair, instead, staring at the pile of dresses in his lap.  Angela had dropped the baby weight and was ready for her current employer to clothe her in the luxurious spy wardrobe the Heurich Society had skimped on, but Wu could not stop thinking about Delia's mother.  He had never even known who she really was...until three days ago.

Isabelle Maria Sousa de Almeida was born a quarter century before, in Paris, to a French mother and Brazilian diplomat father.  If Wu had seen her clearly that night, he would have known she was the most beautiful woman he had ever known, but he didn't.  She had dyed her hair purple, painted her lips neon blue, added a phony beauty mark, and sported far too many earrings.  With her black leather dress but no tattoos, she looked like a pretty young ingenue recently toying with a Goth or punk look.  She was, in fact, working for British intelligence, and Wu was her mark that night in the smoky Singapore bar.

"Sir?" asked a sales clerk.  "Shall I take those inside to--?"  She waited for Wu to answer "my wife" or "my girlfriend", but he didn't.

"No, I'll take them all now," he said, handing the surprised clerk the whole pile of dresses.  She took them to the cash register, and then realized, with disappointment, a handsome man like this with such exquisitely manicured nails might be a cross-dresser.  "Cash or charge?"

A few minutes later, Wu was in the jewelry department.  It was a silly notion, but he was thinking he might get Angela and Delia matching necklaces.  What am I going to do about Angela?  He walked past the diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, then paused at the emeralds.  Wu didn't even remember Delia's mother--he had been trying to turn Angela into the next Camisole Silk or Apricot Lily.  Angela will never be like them.  He asked the clerk to take out some of the emerald pieces.  She's more like Delia's mother--orphaned young, gave up her own baby.

Isabelle Maria Sousa de Almeida had followed a tortuous path before becoming a British intelligence agent--runway model, sheik's concubine, polo player's girlfriend.  Then she had spent two months in India working at the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center--trying to find peace, selflessness, and love.  Somehow an Englishman talked her into going to Hong Kong with him, and then talked her into becoming a British spy.  And after Isabelle showed some talent at it, he talked her into spying on the half-British, half-Chinese Charles Wu--a double agent of theirs they had some suspicions about.  The night she seduced him, she was supposed to search his hotel room, but instead she had fallen asleep in his arms and woken up pregnant--not that she knew it, exactly, but she didn't feel quite right.  She had crept out early and told her handlers it was a bust.  A year later, she had decided that there was nothing wrong with Wu and plenty wrong with her, so she had found the intermediaries to take baby Delia to her father, Wu.  A year after that she was dead.

"Sir?"

"What?" asked Wu, then he remembered what he was doing.  "Do you have two of these?"

The clerk looked at him in surprise.  "Two of these necklaces?"  (He nodded.)  She had heard about men who bought the same jewelry for their wife and mistress, but this man did not even have a wedding ring on.  "Yes, we do!" she smiled.

"Make it three," he said.  She looked up in surprise again, but nodded.  I'll give one to Mrs. H-C, he thought.  He had never given Delia's mother a damned thing because he had never seen her again.  He always thought she would show up again someday--tell him she had gotten through whatever she needed to get through emotionally and wanted her daughter back.  He always dreaded that day and the nightmare of joint custody he would have to work out, but he never deluded himself that a girl could grow up motherless and turn out just fine.  And now he knew.  "How dare they try to end this beauty," he sang out loud without realizing it.  (The clerk looked up at him, but he was staring into space.)  Isabelle Maria Sousa de Almeida had gotten killed by another British agent in a botched spy operation:  that's what the planted listening device had finally gleaned from inside the car of British special agents Nigel ("Prickly") Blackthorne and Richard ("The Third") Mollington.  "Actually, do you have four of those necklaces?" he asked the startled sales clerk.

Wu took the bagged jewelry boxes and headed out to the parking garage.  He still had to hire a musician and get the moon-bounce, but who was going to be Delia's mother?  Mrs. H-C already had her own (grown) children, and Angela had given up her own because she was still too young.  He dialed the number of Lynnette Wong, which made no sense at all, but he needed to invite her to the birthday party, anyway.  (Then he needed to give the damned British agents more faulty intelligence about the civil unrest in Hong Kong....)

Out in the darkening river, Ardua of the Potomac felt the shift in Charles Wu's heart--the perfect balance was gone, and he had toppled over to the dark side.  "Ah," cooed the demon, "what atrocities men are capable of committing in the name of their children!"  She reached up through the darkness to breathe onto the face of a troubled soul driving his two young sons out of the city on the Key Bridge.

The man abruptly pulled his car over, told the oldest son to get out of his car seat, picked up the youngest son from the other car seat, and walked them to the edge of the bridge.  "Mommy's evil--this is the only way to save you."

"What does 'evil' mean, Daddy?" asked the eldest just before seeing his little brother tossed over the railing into the river below.  "Justin!" he screamed.  Then his father picked him up and tossed him over, as well.  Then the cold wind hit the man, and he thought about how the water might be very cold.  He jumped over to find his little sons and take them somewhere else--somewhere, but he couldn't remember where.

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COMING UP:  From Russia, with love!

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