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 19, 2015


It had been a month since the neurosurgeon at George Washington University Hospital had saved Yasmin's life, and three weeks since Dr. Khalid Mohammad had spirited her away before her violent father could take her home.  Khalid had put Yasmin in the master bedroom of his Foggy Bottom apartment and taken the guest bedroom himself.  Instead of succeeding in obtaining visas to get his relatives out of Jordan before ISIS wreaked further violence, he had rescued an American girl.

She would never be the same.  He hadn't known Yasmin before her father had dented her skull for dating an infidel, but the brain damage was obvious.  Today they were making lunch together, but she still couldn't hold her hand steady enough to chop anything--she did the stirring and spreading and moving things around.  She still wore a head scarf that partially covered her face, but perhaps now it was more to cover her shaved head and surgery scars.

It had taken awhile for Khalid to convince her that she was nineteen and did not have to go home with her father.  Yasmin had finally acknowledged to Khalid that she didn't know anybody to take her in whom her father wouldn't find out about, and here she was.  He couldn't see her mouth, but he knew she was smiling at him because of the way her eyes looked at him.  The smiles were still fairly new.  He thought she might never take the scarf off unless he married her, and maybe he would, but it was not going to be easy.

Up in Cleveland Park, triple agent Charles Wu was discussing the matter over lunch with Angela de la Paz, while they watched through the window as Wu's English governess sat (without her usual sense of decorum) in the kiddie pool, spraying little Delia with a water gun.  It had been Wu's neighbor and de facto employee, Liv Cigemeier, who had first been contacted by Dr. Mohammad through her Girl Hurl blog.  She had discussed the case with her attorney husband, who had secretly turned to Wu, whom he knew had far more going on than Liv suspected.  Wu had put Angela on the case, and now she was telling him how it stood.

"Yasmin's father is from Cappadocia, Turkey.  His mother was ethnic Armenian, but he was raised Sufi Muslim by his father--a genuine whirling dervish.  His father used to take him around to the ancient sites to show him beheaded pagan statues from the first century B.C., and the Christian dwellings abandoned after the Islamic conquest.  He spent time in Iran as a spy feeding intelligence to NATO.  Got his visa to come to the U.S. twenty-five years ago. Married a Syrian woman, and they had a daughter, then a son.  He still works as an intelligence analyst for the CIA, but Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo radicalized him.  Changed mosques, put his womenfolk in veils, sent his son to an imam."

"He's still working for the CIA?" asked Wu.  "Why do they trust him?  Didn't they notice this?"

"If they didn't notice it before, they definitely noticed it after his daughter ended up in the emergency room.  But they haven't cut him loose."

"He knows too much?" asked Wu, and Angela nodded.

"He never let her get a driver's license, and she's never had a passport," added Angela.

"Well, that just makes it simpler," said Wu.  "We'll just get her Social Security number, change her legal name, and let her start over."

"Start over?" asked Angela incredulously.  "She's a walking bull's eye!  If that doctor really wants to protect her, he needs to take her hundreds of miles away from that father."

Wu leaned back, finishing his mimosa.  "I don't think so.  I think she needs to go public on Liv's blog."

"She's living with a man right now!" exclaimed Angela.  "She'll have more than her father trying to finish her off!  And the doctor will be under threat, too!"  Wu smiled, and Angela was aghast.  "How can you smile about this?!"

"I'm smiling at you," he said.  "I realize now I can let you handle this on your own."

Angela sat back and let this sink in for a few minutes.  "I never had a vision about this girl.  Why didn't I have a vision in the first place, to protect her?"

"Because you can't protect everybody.  And you don't need a vision now--you know what to do."

Angela went upstairs to the guest bedroom, which just happened to have a window that looked over to the bedroom of Lucas Cigemeier, whom she had given up for adoption over a year ago.  She didn't have to enter the Dreamtime to know Lucas was taking his afternoon nap.  She lay down on the bed, closed her eyes, and looked for him there.  He was happy.  She picked him up, and they talked for a few minutes--she was the only one who could understand his baby babble.  She told him she had something important to do, but would see him tomorrow.

She looked for Yasmin's father, but he wasn't asleep.  She had never summoned somebody to the Dreamtime before, so she looked for her mother and abuela instead, and they found Yasmin's grandfather to help her do it.  A few minutes later, Yasmin's father was overcome with drowsiness and lay down to take a nap.  Then he was back--back in the Cappadocia mountains, back near the waterfalls.  The imam was calling the faithful to prayer, but his father was in a Sufi daze, twirling and twirling and twirling.  His father rose to the sky, floated past the secret Christian cave dwellings, past the fairy chimneys, all the way to Nemrut Dağ.  Then Yasmin's grandfather motioned to Yasmin's father to look at the ancient pagan gods and goddesses, decapitated by religious zealots.  "Your faith is not here," he said.  Yasmin's father said he knew that already.  Yasmin's grandfather shook his head.  "Your faith does not come from smashing the heads."  Yasmin's father started trembling.  "You smashed my granddaughter's head."  Yasmin's father started weeping.  "She does not belong to you anymore.  But you still have a son."

Then Yasmin's father was alone, in a shimmering pool of melted snow, shivering, and this is when Angela came to him.  "Who are you?" he asked.

"I am the one who will kill you on Earth if you cause her more harm...but you won't, will you?"  (He shook his head.)  "Then go to your wife and son.  Tell them you know Yasmin is in a safe place.  If she marries and has a child, that is when you will see her again."

He vanished from the Dreamtime, awoken.  Angela opened her eyes.  How many could she drag into the Dreamtime, away from their fear and hatred?  If she did it all day and all night, it would never be enough.

Angela went downstairs and told Wu it was done:  Liv Cigemeier could tell Khalid and Yasmin that her attorney husband (Felix Cigemeier) was taking care of everything.  Yasmin could change her name, and her father understood there would be grave consequences if he did not stay away from her new life.  "We never worked on a pro bono case together before," Angela said to her boss, who was filling more water guns at the kitchen sink.

"Pro bono?" he laughed.  "I've got a new contact at the CIA that I can blackmail!"  Angela shook her head sternly at him.  "Maybe 'blackmail' is too strong a word."  She shook her head again, but this time she was smiling.

"I'm going to take a vacation to Turkey," Angela said.  "I want to see those places."

"Turkey is right next to Syria, you know."

"I know," said the woman formerly known in Egypt as "she whose gaze must be avoided" because anybody that saw her face died.  "I might take a hit at ISIS while I'm there, but I know I can't save everybody.  By the way:  get Mrs. H-C out of the sun before she has a sunstroke."

Out in the backyard, the sparrows resting in the shade of the bushes watched in delight as Charles Wu beckoned his governess and young daughter back into the house.  A flock of starlings dove for the kiddie pool, but the sparrows got there first and wouldn't give it up.  The starlings flew off, a fury of shimmering feathers and heated darkness.

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