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 15, 2007

Smoke on the Water

Golden Fawn stepped slowly into the canoe. She was still a little dizzy from the radiation treatment, but she needed to work on Ardua some more. Her friend did all the paddling as they circled Roosevelt Island to find a secluded cove. Her friend dropped Golden Fawn off "to meditate", said she would be back in a couple of hours, then cluelessly paddled off to look for waterfowl further upriver. Golden Fawn stepped around the milk crate, soggy tarp, torn t-shirt, and plastic bottles--the least of her concerns. She wedged herself uncomfortably into the brush, nothing visible to passers-by now except her hands reaching out to build the fire. When the smoke was strong, she began saying the prayers passed down to her from her grandmother.

Deep in the Potomac, Ardua recoiled in pain. She screamed for her minions to attack Golden Fawn, but they were all afraid of her. The starlings and catbirds took flight, the ducks paddled away, the river rats fled to the far side of the island, and the beaver held his breath and swam for the Tidal Basin. Ardua tried to reach up out of the water but could not do it.

Less than a mile away, Perry Winkle was kayaking downriver when he felt a sudden wave nearly capsize his boat. He looked around, but there was nobody near him. He shrugged and resumed paddling. He had been out here all day, asking every boater he passed whether they knew anybody named "Dubious McGinty" who lived on the river. Suddenly a cantaloupe rind dropped into the water on the other side of the bridge. He moved closer, looked up, and saw a man peeping out from the watchman's quarters of the drawbridge. "Dubious McGinty?" Dubious did not respond. "I'm from The Washington Post. Do you live here?" Dubious looked away, suddenly feeling what was happening to Ardua. He ran inside to get his binoculars. "Dubious!"

Back on the island, Golden Fawn was hot and exhausted. She lay down and fell asleep. She dreamed she was holding a fish in her hands, walking around in a house, frantically asking everyone she passed where the fish tank was because she could not let this fish get away. The fish was slippery, and she was exhausted trying to hold onto it, but she was terrified of what would happen if it escaped. She finally found the fish tank and put the fish in it, but the fish pulled her into the tank, and she couldn't breathe. She tried to breathe the water, thinking maybe she had become a fish, but she could only gasp fruitlessly.

A Coast Guard helicopter flew overhead. The co-pilot contacted the patrol boat to let them know that smoke was spotted coming from the island. Marcos Vasquez turned the boat around and headed back towards Roosevelt.

"Mr. McGinty?" Winkle was still trying to talk to Dubious, but Dubious was on the other side of the bridge scanning the river for signs of that witchy woman. He saw the smoke, stuffed the binoculars into his pants pocket, then ran back to see if the kayak was still there. "Mr. McGinty!" Dubious unfurled his nylon rescue ladder and began climbing down towards the kayak. "Umm, I'm not sure that's a good idea." When Dubious got to the bottom of the ladder, he dropped the final 20 feet into the water, splashing in a few feet away from the kayak. "Dubious?!" Dubious surfaced, then clambered up on top of the kayak. "Are you Dubious McGinty?"

"Well, of course I am, fool! You been callin' my name for 10 minutes! Hurry up now, we need to get to Roosevelt." Winkle didn't know what to do, and tried to point out that the kayak only had one seat. "I'm fine on top--just get moving! We need to find her and help her!" Winkle's eyes lit up, and he started paddling. Maybe this would be a better story than he thought!

Up above, the Shackled were gathering, amazed at what was unfolding beneath them. They had never seen that kind of power against Ardua! A raven landed near Golden Fawn and started croaking loudly to try to wake her up, but she was still asleep when Winkle's kayak approached from the north and Vasquez's patrol boat approached from the south. They couldn't see her in the brush--only the fire. The raven landed on the ground, next to her head, and croaked again, but she still slept. Dubious slipped into the water and swam to shore, then the sound of the raven brought him to her. He picked her up out of the brush and carried her to the sand. "Leave her alone!" screamed Vasquez, as Winkle stared in amazement from his kayak. Vasquez dove out of the patrol boat, swam to shore, and was about to scream again at the man when he realized it was Dubious. Dubious gently laid her down on the sand and backed away. "What happened to her?" asked Vasquez, checking her pulse.

"She's started a war with Ardua, that's what happened to her," Dubious said gravely. Vaquez only paused a moment, then signalled his partner to toss him the medical kit. Winkle finally crawled out of his beached kayak and threw sand on the fire, prompting Dubious to cuss him out.

Deep in the Potomac, Ardua started licking her wounds. Up in the sky, the Shackled divided up to patrol the city and see how the city's ghosts would respond.

Over at the Watergate, Condoleezza Rice was sitting in her red leather recliner, sipping a rice milk, beet juice, cardammon, flaxseed, olive oil smoothie. A few red drops lingered at the side of her lips as she placed the empty glass on the woolen coaster atop her teakwood end table. She suddenly could not remember what she had been thinking about for the past twenty minutes. She looked down with surprise at the cat curled up on her legs. "Pippin!" She stroked the cat and tried to remember what she had been thinking about....Oh, yes....the plan. But she could not remember the really, really good idea she was sure she had come up with a few minutes ago. She looked out at the Potomac. I'm sure it will come back to me.


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