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, January 18, 2009


The Warrior sat in the dense underbrush near the edge of the Potomac River, gazing over the water towards the city.  He was dressed for the elements and scarcely noticed the cold or the descending dampness.  He was over 400 years old, but he didn't know why.  Everyone he had ever loved, liked, or just known, was dead—dead by the musket, or pox, or flu, or starvation, or aneurism, or childbirth, or drowning, or old age.  He was certain he still had living descendants, but after a few generations, he had voluntarily disappeared from their lives—nobody wants a great, great, great, great, great...grandfather, or uncle, or anything else.  And sometimes he doubted his own story and was unsure what he would say about himself—he vaguely remembered he was Seneca and French, and where he had lived as a child and young man, but the images were all hazy and uncertain to him now.  He remembered a wife and three children, but sometimes he doubted whether he was correctly recalling what they looked like or even what their names were.  He had stopped feeling he had a family a very long time ago indeed.

And as the years went by and the modern age emerged, it became increasingly clear to him that society was rejecting death and insisting on life at any cost:  God only knew what scientists and entrepreneurs would have done to him to decipher his hidden elixir of life.  As far as he was concerned, he was on his own in this world.  He traveled and lived off the land with more and more difficulty as--year by year—every acre of the continent had been claimed by or for somebody.  Mostly he foraged and hunted through what they now called National Forests—he hunted to eat the bounty of good in the land and kill the plague of evil.  He had seen a lot, but he had never seen anything like Ardua.  He was afraid of nothing, but he did not know how to destroy Ardua.  He was beginning to think that, after all these centuries, he might still have something left to learn.  He picked up his binoculars to take a closer look at what appeared to be smoke on Roosevelt Island.

It was Golden Fawn, one of his descendants.  She was tending a fire but also waving a large bamboo fan to dissipate the smoke almost as quickly as it arose.  Her fiance was currently doing the helicopter exercises over this stretch of the Potomac, so she knew this was the best time to get in one last ritual before the inauguration.  She looked up at Marcos Vasquez as he made another pass, knowing how worried he was about the unprecedented number of death threats he was not even at liberty to discuss with her.  Haters were approaching from every direction, and the closer they got to Ardua, the more her power grew.  But hopers were approaching, too, and in greater numbers than had been seen in Washington in a very long time; nothing was certain.

A couple of miles north, a taxi driver pulled over next to Meridian Hill.  Two of his cousins had died in Somalia the day before, and he had a lot to tell Charles Wu about recent developments in the Horn of Africa.  He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment, simultaneously thinking about his relatives and wondering if the drunkard would succeed in urinating behind a bush and returning to the taxi before the sedan got rear-ended.  He opened his eyes to see the drunkard unsuccessfully try to pick up a couple of girls at the bus stop before climbing crookedly back into the taxi.  “Madam's Organ!”, he declared, but the driver pointed out to him that he had just picked up the drunkard from there.  “OHHH!”  The drunkard was laughing at himself.  “Right!  Where did I say I was going?”  The driver repeated the private address he had received earlier, and the drunkard nodded in agreement.  Everybody said there was Change in the air, but the driver hadn't seen anything different yet.

A few miles to the west, Charles Wu got out of a taxi, and a doorman escorted him into the Ritz Carlton.  “Welcome back, Mr. Wu!”  Wu pressed a fifty-dollar bill into the man's hands and headed into the Westend Bistro for lunch with his friend from the British Embassy.  The junior diplomat had already set up the cribbage set and shuffled the cards, but he did not see Wu approach because the man was blind.  Wu greeted him cheerily, they shook hands, and then Wu sat down to the martini already ordered for him.  The junior diplomat picked up the braille-enhance cards and began dealing; with his sympathy-evoking disability and Wu's legendary attractiveness, they were a babe-magnet team extraordinaire.  Today, politics was on hold, espionage was on hold, solemnity was on hold, and all that mattered was how many celebrity starlets and pretty entourage members they could meet before the inauguration juggernaut's Hollywood component left town.

A mile north, Henry Samuelson entered the Brewmeister's Castle, an old duffel bag slung over his shoulder.  He proceeded to the upstairs meeting room where the Heurich Society was gathering with multiple televisions, recently installed secure telephone lines, and a four-day supply of food (on top of the usual stock of a month's emergency rations in the store rooms).  The Chair was busy removing  Little Debbie peanut butter cheese crackers from one of the bags after seeing the CNN report of the salmonella-related recall; this was a great disappointment to Samuelson because that was his favorite food for hunkering down.  Samuelson made his way over to the champagne and pineapple juice punch, where Condoleezza Rice was wrapping up her token appearance before heading off to a whirlwind of inaugural events.  Just as well.  Samuelson had never trusted Rice and was glad the only female member of the Heurich Society was heading back to California—though she was still a member and would, undoubtedly, occasionally pop up at future meetings.  He watched her sail out the door, not entirely displeased to see the end of the Dubyah Administration—though some things would change for the worse, other things might actually become simpler.  The Moon Township Plan had not gone entirely as the Heurich Society had hoped, but it had accomplished a lot, and they were excited about the progress of the Ming Dung plan.  Finished with his peanut butter operation, the Chair saw the final member arrive, made sure everybody had a punch glass, and offered a toast to the next era of Heurich Society operations.  In the next room, Han Li was placing several air-purifiers and humidifiers around the cots, wondering why these people were acting like a coup d'etat was imminent.  He had been spying on them for some time now, but they still made no sense.

Up in the graying skies, starlings flew in restless circles, gulls scanned for rats on the ground, and the Shackled roamed in ghostly patrols.  Sparrows sang in the trees, and pigeon doves cooed in the grass.  Ducks quacked loudly against the cold, wondering to themselves why they had not flown south for the winter.  Catbirds imitated the sounds of helicopter blades, car horns, and police sirens.  And in the water, Ardua waited and watched.


Blogger Joe said...

Interesting story... and it has cribbage in it. Best regards to you. I've linked to you at Cribbaholics Unanimous. (cribblog.blogspot.com)


11:13 PM  

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