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 28, 2007


Angela de la Paz was happy that her grandmother was home from the hospital, but she was a little sad that her cousin had moved out. It was nice to have somebody older to look out for her at school and in the neighborhood, give her advice and clothes, bring in extra cash for groceries and shampoo. Angela didn't know why her cousin couldn't stay with them, but maybe her cousin wasn't used to having three people in a bed. For awhile, it felt as if somebody was taking care of her, but now Angela was back to being the one taking care of abuela. No more dance club, no more after-school homework sessions at her best friend's apartment, no more having a hot dinner waiting for her--now Angela had to come home straight from school, do the household chores, help her grandmother bathe and take medicine, make dinner, and do homework by herself while abuela dozed off early in the evening. Her cousin was talking about moving to Denver to find a half-sister, and it made Angela wonder about her baby brother she had still not met. She didn't understand why her family was scattered all over the place, and all she had was abuela. But abuela was special, and she was lucky to live with abuela. Abuela had taught her the most important things in life, and when they were together, Angela felt the string of life connecting her all the way back to their ancestors, and she knew how she fit into the world. Angela had finished her math homework without even realizing it. She looked out the kitchen window and listened to her pink warblers chirping for her. Her grandmother was taking an afternoon nap, so Angela put her headphones on and began dancing again.

Several miles south, Laura Moreno was skulking around the Prince and Prowling library, clandestinely gathering support for her pro bono client's case while nobody was around to bother her. Unable to reach her client for weeks, Laura had feared the woman dead until she finally came home from the hospital and telephoned Laura. After the case had been docketed for ten months, the new judge on the case--Judge Sowell Ame--had actually given them the greenlight to proceed. Laura was frantic to get ready for her first-ever court appearance. She finished the photocopies and returned to the workroom, which had begun smelling like a dead rodent again after the office building had switched from A/C to heat. At least you weren't in the hospital for six weeks. She did a little more reading, organized her notes, and at last packed up her files. She turned to look at the pile of Prince and Prowling work on her desk, debating whether to pick up a couple of hours of overtime pay. She looked at her notes on the folders--the notes that had prompted the paralegal-from-Hell to yell at her for putting unprofessional handwriting on the folders instead of putting post-it notes on the folders. But post-it notes fall off. (It's unprofessional!) She looked at the box full of the folders that the paralegal-from-Hell had wasted two hours relabeling instead of preparing the witness binder that Laura had told her the partners needed by noon on Friday. Nobody outside the law firm would ever see those files. Laura's handwriting was all over the boxes and folders filling the workroom shelves around her. Was the paralegal-from-Hell trying to erase all evidence that Laura had ever been here? Laura thought about the junior partner who had yelled at her on Wednesday for doing exactly what the senior partner had told her to do on Tuesday, and how the junior partner had never apologized even after the senior partner had set him straight. Laura thought about the look on Chloe Cleavage's face when the senior partner admitted it was true that he had told Laura to do that, but it would not happen again, and Chloe had not apologized either. Laura could still smell the dead rodent, so she picked up her bag to go home.

Former Senator Evermore Breadman was just about to knock on the suite door before he saw Laura heading to the door. She opened the door to let him enter, and he thanked her profusely, as he always did. He then forgot about her instantaneously as he always did, and wrinkled his nose at the foul smell coming from the workroom he passed on his way to the corner office. He walked to his desk, opened the bottom drawer, and pulled out his Chinese herb bags to add to his Starbucks. He gripped the desk with both hands for a moment, willed his abdominal pain to subside, then pulled out his note pad to read over some notes he had taken earlier in the week. He opened his locked filing cabinet, pulled out a file, and compared it to the notes on his note pad. He jotted down one more sentence on his note pad, then locked the file back in the cabinet. He telephoned Condoleezza Rice to give her the news.

A couple of miles west, Rice put down the phone and stared out at the Potomac for a minute. She finished off her acerola/broccoli/cinnamon/caraway smoothie and went in the bedroom to put on her burqa, pausing for a moment to dab away the red drops stuck in the crease of her lips. She grabbed her satchel and headed quickly downstairs to flag one of the taxis cruising by the Watergate. Soon they were on a bridge over the Potomac. Rice stared blankly out at the water, seeing nothing in front of her except the outstretched bloody hands that had been thrust in front of her face at the Congressional hearing on Wednesday. Ardua reached up to grab Rice, and Rice blinked from the jolt of energy. She pulled out her satchel to review some notes before their arrival in Arlington. Ten minutes later, the taxi driver found the address and pulled over to the curb. Rice handed him a fifty-dollar bill and asked him to wait for her.

Hue Nguyen answered the doorbell of the group home for the mentally challenged and stared dubiously at the burqa-clad woman, who asked to see Cedric. "No visitors without prior arrangements," the social worker said. Rice pulled out her Homeland Security Writ of Entry. "Hmmmm," Hue said, looking it over, still dubious. "OK, but I have to search your bag." Hue looked into Rice's bag, saw nothing amiss, ushered her to the front parlor, and then went to get Cedric before repulling his file to figure out if there was something about his past she didn't know.

Rice drew down the shades and pulled a note pad from her satchel. A few minutes later, Cedric walked in. Rice recognized the face from the photo and pulled down her burqa hood. Cedric showed no sign of recognition. "I levitated in front of the White House on Tuesday!" he announced to her brightly. He had seen the levitator on TV and now remembered it as his own stunt. "I was showing the White House that reality is not always what it seems!" Rice asked him to sit down. "I learned it in India, but don't ask me how to do it! I can't do in this house." He lowered his voice to a whisper: "Can't let the body snatchers see me do it, or they'll snatch me, too!" Rice nodded sympathetically, then asked him if he remembered his final year as a member of the Heurich Society. Cedric's eyes began blinking quickly, and a vein began throbbing in his forehead. "I don't know what you're talking about," he whispered, but she could tell he was lying. She told him how important it was for the public good, how vital it was for him to remember. "I don't think I remember that," he said quietly. She could see he was already softening and told him that his country needed him now more than ever. "Well...." His eyes were glistening now, and he was gripping his arm rests fiercely. She told him he could be a hero. "Well, maybe I remember a little."

Several miles east, Charles Wu was in a hotel room with his old friend from the Netherlands, who had just shown him how to levitate. "It's important to show people that reality is more than it seems." Charles nodded, feeling the rush of chi. "People can change the world if they really want to!" Charles nodded again, knowing he had, but probably not in the ways his goofy friend imagined. "Mankind is fundamentally good!" Charles nodded again, but he had stopped believing in the concept of "good" a long time ago.


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