The Devil of Washington

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The Boy took three steps forward on the path of gravel and broken glass and kicked a rock in front of him, gazing over it as it skipped hurriedly over the ground as if with purpose, only to land among the flooding drains on the side of the road. The Boy looked up; the sky was an orange and red haze, thick and viscous enough to congeal the sun. The single-tone buildings in the distance blurred out against the Washington DC horizon. The Boy continued walking, his arms hanging dead beside him, the air weighing him down like a sack of bricks. As the Boy walked, he felt the sun beating down on him despite the impenetrable smog, trapping the heat on people of Washington like insects confined under a bowl of steam. The sun had been burning bright during all hours for one month, three weeks, and five days, making it impossible to differentiate night from day. With every step, the temperature seemed to rise by ten degrees, the heat becoming increasingly unbearable.
The Boy slowly trudged his way towards some abandoned gray buildings coated with graffiti. When he came closer to the buildings he realized the graffiti formed greasy, elaborate flames. The paint seemed to move across the building, furiously consuming the buildings and lapping at the empty walls like a rabid dog. He watched as the graffiti engulfed the buildings, traveling from one gray wall to another like a virus until it had swallowed the complex whole. The Boy kicked a nearby puddle, splattering the burning walls with dirt and water. The muck hit the graffiti and sizzled, steam rising to join the surrounding haze. Out of frustration, the Boy jumped in the puddle again and again, attempting to contain the blaze which only seemed to add heat to the air. Eventually, the Boy managed to clear a small section of wall, until seconds later the flames swathed the dry section once more in flames. Defeated, the Boy kept walking, averting his eyes from the burning buildings and moving forward towards the heart of the city.


As he got closer to the center of Washington DC, the Boy saw strange figures walking along the road, floating amongst the busy stragglers slogging from street to street. The figures had a dull, dismal gray aura that flickered every other second. The strange beings constantly shivered despite the raging sun. As they walked, ghastly blue footprints marked the ground where their feet had been, fading within seconds as they trudged along. He approached one as it walked to a nearby bench, and noticed its likeness to ghosts found in children’s fairy-tales and fantasies. The ghosts were all young and weirdly grotesque, marked by grisly injuries and gaping wounds. He got to the bench and watched as the ghost, a young African American boy, tried to sit on the bench, but fell right through the wood as if the bench didn’t exist. The boy kept trying again and again to sit on the bench despite knowing it was futile. The Boy stared closely at the ghost’s face, which seemed to have a melancholy and familiar. His face seemed void and lonely, like it had been robbed of its life and vitality. What emotion and life was once there left a husk of a being and a shadow of a future. The Boy had seen the same face on the news, on a million and one boys and girls. The Boy tried to touch the ghost’s arm, but his hand passed through it like a knife through warm butter. The Boy looked away and kept walking, leaving the ghost to wander around the city, aimless and forgotten once more.


At long last, the Boy reached the White House. The walls surrounding the great property were crowded with thousands of people clamoring and shouting incoherently, excited for what lay behind the gates. He approached the congested iron gates and grasped them, only to yelp and jump back. The iron gates, blisteringly hot after being in the sun for days, turned the Boy’s hands red. He attempted to look into the courtyard cautious of the iron gate, and saw within it a strange devil, walking merrily along the property. The devil was dense, lurid, and bright in a completely repulsive way; his face had the color and texture of molding cottage cheese, the likes of which could give indigestion to people who merely looked at it. He seemed to have the same qualities as the sun in the sky; he was massive, and to look at him was burned the eyes. The devil’s simple presence seemed to burn the Boy’s retinas and singe his nose hairs. As the devil grew closer, the crowd’s incomprehensible clamoring grew louder and louder until it became a deafening roar. From across the street came a dozen or so ghosts, drawn by the unintelligible shouting, leaving a trail of coral blue footprints behind them. The devil approached the crowds, smiling and waving as if he were a great celebrity. The crowds grabbed at the gates despite it burning their flesh, trying to grasp the devil’s petite, chubby hands and caress his oily, bright-red face.


The devil stayed near the wall, flitting from one raving, slobbering individual to the next, before vanishing in the courtyard once more. The crowds let out an audible sigh as he walked away, and then began moaning in chorus and harmony as rain suddenly began falling from the sky. It began as a light drizzle, but slowly became a torrent of stifling, water, driving everyone to clutch their belongings and loved ones and leave. Shortly after, the ghosts began to leave, their glowing silhouettes vanishing among the people fleeing, blue footprints waning behind them. Suddenly, the Boy saw a piercing flash from the corner of his eye. He looked up, watching as a bright flash of beautiful blues and whites and golds penetrated the haze. The light glistened in the haze and the rain like diamonds. The ethereal radiance illuminated the entire world for three seconds, and then vanished as quick as the ghosts’ footsteps. With the return of the haze, the Boy turned around and retreated into the streets to join the mess of ghosts and stragglers, walking until he became just a dot on the obscure horizon of Washington DC.






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