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 ....

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Autumn Migrations Begin

Charles Wu looked on in satisfaction as another Monarch butterfly alit on the purple butterfly bush next to his infant daughter.  Twenty different flowering bushes had been planted in the past week to attract the migrating insects, and Buffy Cordelia was delighted.  "Bu bu bu bu bu!" she gurgled, bouncing up and down in her Italian designer spinning seat as the Monarch--and several other types of butterflies--flitted about her.

"Delia's so happy!" cooed Mia.

Wu smiled at the scene, happy for his baby but concerned that Mia was becoming too soft to be much of a spy for him.  He hit play again on the spy recording from Yemen and frowned.  Then he saw Mia's lips moving and hit the stop button again.

"It's too bad we can't have a butterfly room indoors all winter, like at the museum!" said Mia.

"I already hired somebody," Wu said.  "They'll start in November."

Mia looked back at Delia, who was in danger of becoming the most spoiled child in Washington--and that was saying a lot.  Maybe I should tell her grandparents, she thought.

Several miles to the south, the Secretary of State was preparing for her afternoon meeting with Charles Wu.  The embassy attacks across the Arab world had left her reeling, and she was desperate for additional intelligence.  Project R.O.D.H.A.M. had succeeded at holding many wolves at bay, but the program was far too small to cope with this.  There was still disagreement about whether the Libyan attack was a pre-planned 9/11 event or a reaction to the anti-Muslim movie, but the copycats were decidedly focused on the film.  Predator drones taking out Islamist leaders all over the place, R.O.D.H.A.M. operatives assassinating militants right and left, and these people go ballistic over a movie?  Hillary Clinton sank back in her chair, closed her eyes, and pondered her legacy.  We can't win this war...but we can't retreat.

"We can't retreat!" said John Doe to Angela de la Paz, who was sitting near the waterfall in Meridian Hill Park and contemplating the strange man with a mixture of irritation and amusement.  Ghost Henry whispered the next lines into John Doe's ear.  "You have to let the Sunnis and the Shiites go to civil war:  they either kill each other or they kill us!  The choice is clear!"  The ghost of Henry Samuelson whispered another line into John Doe's ear, but Doe frowned.  "I don't think so."

"You don't think what?" asked Angela de la Paz.

Just say it! hollered Ghost Henry.

"I told you not to yell at me!" protested Doe.

"I'm not yelling!" retorted Angela.

"I don't agree with that!" exclaimed Doe.

This time Angela said nothing, as it was now clear that Doe was looking over his shoulder and talking to himself, not to her.

What do you know about Arabs?! exclaimed Ghost Henry.  I am revealing the Prophecy--you can't argue with it!

"That's an abomination, and I won't take any part in it!" declared Doe.  "I have standards!"

Angela stood up to walk away, regretting ever agreeing to meet with the mysterious stranger from the telephone call, when a desperate Ghost Henry ran over and started poking her.

"Hey!" hollered Angela, glaring at Doe.

"I didn't do it!" said Doe.  "It's Henry!"

You weren't supposed to tell her that! cried the ghost of Henry Samuelson.  Not yet!

"What do you mean?!" asked Angela, looking around wild-eyed.  (It had been a long time since the secret agent was scared of anything.)  "Henry Samuelson?!"

John Doe and Ghost Henry both stood silently, not yet ready for the next move.

"G'day!" exclaimed Major Roddy Bruce, running swiftly past them, up the stairs.  Well, that was a pretty sheila! he thought.  I should jog here more often!  (He didn't know he had just run past the "She whose gaze must be avoided" from the military briefing.)

"I'm here for the briefing," said Bridezilla, in Arlington, several miles to the west.  "I'm looking for Mal Evelynt."

"Malevolent?" asked the Romney campaign receptionist, puzzled.

"MAL-COLM E-VE-LYNT," enunciated Bridezilla, annoyed.

"Oh!  Third room on the left," the man said, pointing.

Bridezilla walked towards the room, determined to follow Bucky's advice about asserting her creative ideas for new campaign ads in Virginia.  I'm not just a SuperPac fundraiser! she chanted in her head.  I'm not just a SuperPac fundraiser!  She walked into the conference room where a lone man was pinning storyboards to the wall.   He was tall, dark, and handsome, with piercing blue eyes that ripped through her heart the moment he turned to look at her.

"Hi!" she said, in a soft Virginia drawl, not unlike the way she used to talk many years ago when she had won the Junior Miss pageant.

"Hi!" he said, in a soft Virginia drawl, not unlike the way he used to talk when he first started selling credit default swaps on Wall Street.

Back in the city, contract attorney Laura Moreno was doing partner Bridezilla's bidding in a stuffy workroom at Prince and Prowling.  The other contract attorney--the latest temp--had been complaining about the lack of air conditioning for three hours.

"You know," Moreno finally said, exasperated, "I thought you were desperate for more hours.  I thought you would be happy we asked you to come in!"

"Happy?!" he exclaimed.  "Go home, come in, go home, come in!  I would have been happy to get more than 10 hours of work when the ventilation system was on during normal business hours, instead of trying to make it up on Saturday, unable to breathe!  And why does the photocopy room smell like a wet dog was sleeping on the floor?!  And somebody stole my lunch from the fridge, and since it wasn't you, it has to be that Senator guy because nobody else is here!"

Moreno sighed, knowing he was entirely justified in his complaints...but...but.... "Well, it's not my fault," she finally said.

"I know, I know," he said.  "I apologize.  I don't know how you've put up with this place for years!"

By losing every shred of human dignity I once had, Moreno thought.  By telling myself I'm lucky to be one of the ones they keep telling to come back.  But am I?

"I can't wait to find another gig," her coworker added.  This woman's gonna die in here, he thought.

She almost died here, thought Sebastian L'Arche, surveying the Lake Barcroft site where a rabid beaver had attacked an 83-year-old-woman.  The dog whisperer had dealt with a lot of possessed animals over the years since he had returned from Iraq with the "gift", but this story had unduly unsettled him.  He noted the migrating warblers feasting on ragweed--too much ragweed.  "Climate change is a boon to ragweed," he remarked to his partner, Becky Hartley, but she just jotted down some notes without saying anything.  "I know that beaver had more than rabies, but I'm not sensing anything specific here, and neither is the dog."  The last time he had tried to talk about demons with Hartley, she had blathered on about Thetans, aliens, and suppressive personality types.  He had also overheard her arguing bitterly with her father on the phone about the evils of his prescribing doggie Prozac in his Dallas veterinary practice.  In some ways she was correct that he had no right to tell her he knew more about the mysteries of the world than she did; on the other hand, she had changed so radically that he was certain Scientology really was a cult.  "The Gipper is looking across the lake.  I guess we'd better walk all the way around it."

"OK," said Hartley, who had said little else since picking him up in her truck for the morning gigs.

L'Arche exchanged looks with the Gipper, then the two followed in her footsteps.

On the other side of the lake, a flock of starlings saw the Gipper approaching and took flight.  They headed back to the Potomac--where Ardua lay in the muck contemplating the day she would become Ardua of the Atlantic and see riots and massacres in her own name.


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