WASHINGTON, DC—Attorney General John Ashcroft's quest for a companion to ease the pain of his lonely and tormented existence was dealt a severe blow Monday, when he was rejected by the newly created "Bride Of Ashcroft."

Ashcroft introduces his would-be Bride to the press.

Unwrapped from bandages at a press conference, the ungodly Bride twitched grotesquely several times before turning to face her would-be mate. Reporters in attendance said the Bride recoiled upon setting her eyes on Ashcroft's horribly misshapen visage, letting out a blood-curdling scream.

"When the lovestruck Attorney General tried to embrace the Bride, she shunned him, just as the entire world has shunned him," CNN reporter William Hurlbut said. "It was truly tragic."

Despondent, Ashcroft roared with despair as all hope of finding a wife deserted his tortured brain.

"Love... death... hate... living..." Ashcroft said.

The heartbroken Attorney General, realizing he could never be loved, then told reporters, "We belong dead." At that point, he pulled a giant lever, setting off a fiery explosion that appeared to incinerate himself and his new Bride, with no trace of either remaining when the smoke finally cleared.

Confirmed dead in the blast was the Bride's maniacal creator, Dr. Pretorius, whose demise reporters called "a punishment that befell a mortal man who dared to emulate God."

Police investigators are working around the clock to determine whether Ashcroft and his unholy Bride are still alive.

"They may have burned up in the fire, but you have to remember that we're dealing with a creature so horrible that only a half-crazed mind could have devised it," D.C. Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey said. "My fear is that she and Ashcroft survived the flames and will return anew to stalk the land in darkness."

Ashcroft's quest to find fulfillment with a bride of his own kind first came to public attention in November 2002, when the Justice Department released a Yellow Alert announcement reading, "Warning! The Attorney General demands a mate!"

Most scientists were skeptical, explaining that the creation of such a being—a terrible nightmare from beyond the very pits of Hell itself—was scientifically impossible. Yet over the next two months, as Ashcroft found himself with increasing power in a steadily rightward-shifting political landscape, he used his growing clout to secure funding for the creation of a mate to call his own.

"Alone... bad," Ashcroft told reporters on Jan. 23. "Friend... good."

After a long search, on Feb. 9, Ashcroft announced that he had procured the services of Dr. Pretorius using $200 million in funding made available through the Homeland Security Act. For the next 10 weeks, Pretorius toiled in secrecy, cracking the secret of life itself by reanimating dead tissue created from cadavers out of opened graves. Enlisting the help of other scientists, Pretorius obsessively pursued the goal of creating a female companion to love the Attorney General as no mortal ever could.

Since becoming Attorney General in January 2001, Ashcroft has placed a number of limits on civil liberties, restrictions which have earned him the enmity of the ACLU and other such organizations. Recently, however, Ashcroft has also begun to draw criticism from another sector: angry peasant villagers. Chasing him with pitchforks, torches, and dogs through the foggy streets of the nation's capital, irate mobs have emerged in recent weeks as a substantial obstacle to Ashcroft's plans.

"Arrrrrrrrgh!" said Ashcroft as he fled one recent mob, before disappearing into the night.

Since the Bride incident, peasant-villager opposition to Ashcroft has only intensified. Said one villager, who insisted on picking through the smoking press-conference wreckage in search of Ashcroft's body: "When I see his blackened bones, then I can sleep at night."

"Ashcroft? I'd hate to find him under me bed at night," another villager remarked. "He's a nightmare in the daylight, he is."