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, November 15, 2015

A United Front

Triple agent Charles Wu took a break from the difficult conversation at hand to look out the window at his young daughter, Delia, playing in the autumn leaves with her grandmother visiting from Hong Kong.  Wu had not intended to return from Asia with his mother, but here she was.  It had been a very productive trip:  the historic meeting between the leaders from Taiwan and Beijing, a stop in Indonesia for Liv Cigemeier to inspect hurricane recovery efforts there, then visits in Hong Kong with Camisole Silk, Apricot Lily, and his mother.  His request for some good luck charms before his return to Washington had somehow led to his mother learning that Wu could see ghosts, had a supernaturally gifted agent, and feared a giant demon living in the Potomac River.  Ha Ling had insisted on returning to the United States to protect her son and granddaughter from the demon herself.

He sat back down with Lynnette Wong and Angela de la Paz, who had both accompanied him on the trip to Asia, to discuss their next move.

"You know there's nothing your mother can do about Ardua," repeated Lynnette.  "I have tried every Chinese trick there is, and they only slow her down a little.  You have to keep your mother out of danger."

"I can keep her out of danger," repeated Angela, tired of the same argument.  "I'll know."

"Which is fine if you're near her, instead of God-knows-where on some spy mission."

"I'll stay in D.C."

"This is going to take a long time," insisted Lynnette.

Wu put up his hands to plead for mercy.  "My mother is not going to do anything crazy, but she's also not going to sit around doing nothing if we don't come up with a plan.  I don't understand why there's a prophecy about Angela killing Ardua, but she still doesn't know how to do it."

"I think I'm still growing in my powers," said Angela.  "I can do things now that I couldn't do a couple of years ago, but I also believe I'm not meant to do it alone.  Ardua gains strength from evil around her--she's like an echo chamber absorbing sounds, increasing them, and sending them back.  We need to reduce her food supply, so to speak, and that means attacking evil in all its forms.  I am trying to do that, but sometimes I wonder if we're all in agreement on that!"

"Why are you looking at me like that?" said Wu.  "I'm not the one blowing up Paris!"

"What makes you so sure that you never have blood on your hands?  You sell secrets to all kinds of people," said Angela.

"Don't start that again!" exclaimed Wu.  "I've been in this business a lot longer than you have!  I know what I'm doing!"

"We all have room for moral improvement," interrupted Lynnette.  "But Angela's right:  there's no magic bullet."

"So where does that leave us?" asked Wu.

Before anybody could answer, the doorbell rang.  Angela said she knew who it was, and got up to let them in.  A minute later, Golden Fawn and the Warrior were sitting in the breakfast nook with them, sipping tea.  "I've worked with them before," said Angela.  "I haven't talked to them much since I started working for you," she added, looking at Wu.

Wu exchanged glances with Lynnette, trying to ascertain if he was hallucinating Golden Fawn's braids and Cheyenne dress...or the fact that the Warrior smelled like the woods and had visible blood stains on his buckskin.  "Your name is 'the  Warrior?'"

"I don't remember my name," said the Warrior.  "It's been over 300 years since I've heard anyone say it."

"The Warrior used to watch over Angela, until she got strong enough to take care of herself," Golden Fawn said (ignoring the shocked looks on the faces of Lynnette and Wu).  "He still watches over me.  He has tremendous gifts.  My husband is a Coast Guard officer, out on the Potomac almost every day.  He is vigilant and careful, but we know we have done very little to stop Ardua.  I'm worried about the murder spree; I'm worried about the politicians; I'm worried about a lot of things in this town.  People compromise and compromise and compromise their ethics until they scarcely have an ethic still standing.  The souls in this town are really in danger."

A couple of blocks away from Wu's Cleveland Park home, the Dog Whisperer was completing a de-ratting session with the able assistance of The Gipper (Washington's premier rat terrier).  Sebastian L'Arche bagged up the vermin (which would make an excellent dinner for the mongoose currently boarded at his house), collected his fee from the happy homeowner (advised to get a cat to prevent future problems), and walked back outside.  Enjoying the crisp air and beauty of the neighborhood, L'Arche decided to stroll around a few blocks before heading out to pick up their evening dogwalking charges.

It was not long before The Gipper stopped in his tracks, staring at Wu's house.  And then L'Arche saw the same thing:  Gipper's deceased son, The Ghost Gopper, who turned to bark a greeting, then resumed watching the house intently with Ghost Anatoly  (the Samoyed) and the other members of their pack of ghost dogs.  Human ghosts were something that L'Arche had figured out a long time ago, but this canine ghost thing still freaked him out.  Then he noticed a flock of starlings were in a tree at the other end of the yard, staring silently down at the house, and the hair stood up on the back of L'Arche's neck.  This house was not haunted, but something was definitely happening.  His bag of vermin started to squirm, and L'Arche slammed the bag into the sidewalk several times to finish off whatever rat was trying to get out.

Inside the kitchen, a spirited debate was underway about the nature of true evil, true morality, and true ethics.  A lack of religious and spiritual agreement was making it very difficult for this newly formed coalition to come up with a strategy for defeating Ardua.  There was even disagreement about which was more evil:  Ardua of the Potomac or her minions running amok in the region.

Angela de la Paz took a break to enter the Dreamtime.  She saw her mother, abuela, Roddy, and Mia.  She helped the dead and distressed of Paris pass over to the other side.  She entered the dream of her young son, napping in the home of his adopted parents next door.  What is the answer?, she whispered to him, but he just smiled and kissed her.  The abrupt screeching of a catbird outside brought Angela back to her waking self, and she found everybody around the table staring at her.  "What the Hell was that?"

"You've been out of it awhile," said Lynnette, brushing the hair out of Angela's face.  "Were you in the Dreamtime again?"

"You didn't hear that?"  Everybody shook their heads no, with a couple of them looking out the window to make sure everything was still alright in the backyard.  Angela went outside, racing around the house until she found Sebastian L'Arche and The Gopper staring back at her.  "Who are you?"

"We were just walking--"

The Gopper lunged against his leash and ran happily over to Angela, who squatted to pet him.  "I guess he likes you," said the Dog Whisperer.

"That's not it," she said.  "I mean, he's terrific, but that's not it.  Something just happened, and he wants to tell me.  I don't understand--something about a bird?"

L'Arche quickly analyzed the situation.  "Well, he killed a bird--not a normal bird."  He watched to gauge her reaction.

"An evil bird," said Angela.  "He ate it, didn't he?"  L'Arche nodded.  "Does he do this a lot?"  L'Arche nodded again.  "There's something wrong here," said Angela, looking around the front yard.

"Do you believe in ghosts?" whispered L'Arche.

Angela smiled and nodded.  "You need to come inside and meet some people."

Across the river, a CIA operative at Langley ordered thirteen more drone strikes in Iraq, determined to kill anybody that didn't look innocent, while a cancer took hold of his lymph system.

Out on the Potomac, in the bridgemaster's quarters, Dubious McGinty shook his fist in manic delight at the demon below him.  "They're comin' for you now, sucka!  They're getting it all together now!  I feel it in my bones!"

On the shoreline of the Georgetown waterfront, Dizzy played "When the Saints Come Marching In" to an appreciate tourist crowd, though they all dispersed rapidly when he put the trumpet down to tell them The Prophecy had just changed!

Out in the water, Ardua listened to the report from the starlings, dismissed them with a shriek of fury, then ordered another batch of river rats into the city to gnaw and scratch and terrorize.

COMING UP:   Psychotic nightmares and other legal non-billables.


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