Chapter Forty Nine
The phone rings, it’s Mrs. Epstein, “Hi Daphne, I couldn’t raise Janah, I have more information.”
“Right now she’s in Tan’s hut, her phone’s off. She’s in deep, it could be a while.”
“We found the building. Some time ago a new road was built for expanded airport freight facilities. FedEx closed down the old place and relocated to the new. It was empty for a couple of years, then the building owner says he leased it a year ago to a charitable organization that stores medical supplies until they can be shipped overseas to refugees. He’s vague about the group, but he says he’s seen boxes marked medical supplies. After he verified that the business seemed legitimate, he left well enough alone, happy to have a tenant in a hard to lease spot off the new access roads.”
“So they are paying him? Doesn’t sound right.”
“He says they paid in cash, I doubt it, but he thinks so.”
“That sounds more like it. Shadows would give him a few bucks and make him believe it’s hundreds, I should think his accountants would catch on.”
“He does his own, always a stupid idea.”
“Surveillance is on the building. There is a car and a van. Since the kids provided no useful description of the van, we can’t know if it’s the abduction van. We do know that the warehouse is active, men come and go, as if on shifts. There is no way to see inside, the van has gone in the warehouse, but what they can see looks like a warehouse, boxes stacked around. When they use the side door, the inside that is visible is like a small lobby or office. No lighting for videos, no bed, no room with a kitchen. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t have them, it’s a pretty large space, must be at least five thousand square feet, anything could be happening in the interior. No sign of a child, but if they brought one in the van, we couldn’t have seen anyway, it’s a panel van, no side or rear windows.”
“Just in place today, we may have more by tomorrow. If we get evidence, the Society can just inform the authorities, they get a warrant and search the place and it’s over.”
“Except it’s not over. They may find the child and have a federal kidnapping charge, they may find video and photos of child porn. But they will also find themselves overwhelmed by Shadows. At the least distracted just long enough for them to escape. Cops don’t know what they’re dealing with. We can be there tomorrow, Surveillance will either have evidence or we will find it. We can determine if these are Shadows just by being around the building. And we won’t let them escape by subterfuge or distraction. If there’s a child in there, we need to get him or her out.”
“When do you want to leave?”
“As soon as Blue Sky can be ready, four hours or less, any hotel, I’ll round up the troops.”
Mrs. Epstein, “Transportation will call with the flight, car, hotel arrangements.”
“Any SUV, six passengers, no GPS or unplug it, we have our own and we don’t need the one in the car recording our whereabouts..”
We ring off, I mental Janah and Nikko, “Time to come home, we travel in three hours, going to see Mickey.”
I mental Amaya, “Wrap the photo shoot in time to be ready to travel in three hours. If they get pissed, tough.”
“Almost done anyway, we’re home in an hour.”
I go up to Dasha and Daria, “The family has to travel, do you want to go to Susan’s or to Mrs. Epstein. Not sure when we’ll be back, my guess is two days.”
Dasha looks at Daria, it’s clear they are mentaling, while I can mental with Dasha, I can’t connect to their mental conversations, Dasha says, “We go wiz Vesnushki and Dahfoney. Sister says we learn all fahmahley beezness now.”
“Then get packed, not a lot, three days, basics, jeans, pullovers or t-shirts, sneakers, one dress each. This isn’t a pleasure trip, but we may decide on a nice restaurant.”
I call Mrs. Epstein, “The girls want to go, there will be eight on the plane, not six, SUV too.”
“It could be dangerous, they are welcome here.”
“I didn’t get the vibe that they intend to be dissuaded. We could make them stay, but that’s not our style. Daria was the one who made the FedEx connection, if it wasn’t for her, we’d still be trying to figure out where these clowns are.”
“Let me update Transportation, back to you soon.”
Four hours later we’re on a private jet to Orlando Executive Airport, bypassing the Disney masses at Orlando International. A Tahoe is waiting, Amaya takes the wheel and we’re off to The Grand Bohemian Hotel, three suites, sitting room, king beds, nice place if a little garish. Bohemian apparently means velour in deep reds, and gold trim, it’s kind of like the Russian Tea Room.
Dasha, “Like Czar palace.
“Yes, it does, I was thinking Russian Tea Room.”
“They haf blini, caviar?”
“I doubt it, it’s Orlando, not St. Petersburg.”
“Ochenʹ zhalʹ.” (too bad)
Nikko, Janah and Zi take a suite, I go with the twins, Amaya and Chloe the third, we unpack, freshen up and go to Janah’s to see about dinner. It’s already eight thirty, but we got fed on the flight. I order sandwiches and chips, there’s a minibar with wine and sodas, Janah is on the phone with the Society.
The food comes, we spread around the room to eat, Janah says, “There is evidence of activity, one voice is a child’s, a girl, the expected kind of conversation if you are filming a porn movie. There’s no acting as such, just ‘I like this, do that again,’ use your imagination if you want to convey that the child is enjoying it.”
Nikko, “Why not go tonight?”
“Not all the players are there, they are only together at shift changes.”
“Don’t we know where the others are when they aren’t at the warehouse? Better to deal with them when they are broken up. There are six, four on site at any one time, two running errands for food, supplies, or at home in bed.”
Janah, “I’m thinking we do the warehouse an hour or two before shift change, then wait on the last two to show up. We also need to confirm who are Shadows and who is hired help.”
“Why? they all get the same treatment,” Nikko doesn’t mean therapy, unless you count terminal therapy.
“So we have an idea what we’re up against. I know you want to rescue the child, but whatever happened to her has already happened several times and it’s done for today. We aren’t preventing her degradation at this point, I don’t want us in any more danger than necessary.”
“When are shift changes?”
“Usually noon, it can vary from eleven to one, at least for the short time Surveillance has been watching, they don’t have but a couple of days on this. I figure we go tomorrow at eight, determine what we’re dealing with, then deal with it.”
Nikko nods, it will have to do, Janah makes sense, it wouldn’t be the best option to go screaming in blind tonight.
“Let’s rest girls.”
The twins and I go to our room, Chloe kisses Daria’s cheeks as we enter the room, she and Amaya continue on to theirs. We undress, the girls shower, then me, when I’m done they are already in bed watching a movie. I kiss Dasha, move to the sitting room to arrange the fold out couch.
Dasha catches up to me, takes my hand, “You slip wiz us, beeg bed, more comfortably.”
She has a point, and doesn’t appear to be asking. Dasha takes the middle, I lay on my back, give her room, Daria takes her normal head on Dasha’s shoulder position. I’m drifting off when I hear kissing, then a soft moan from Dasha, it’s not completely dark, I left the bathroom light on and the door cracked so if we had to get up during the night we wouldn’t stumble around an unfamiliar room. I can see the outline of Daria on top of Dasha, then kissing down her body, I feel Dasha’s foot slide against my calf, Daria is kneeling between Dasha’s legs. Her head is lowered, making ‘yes’ motions.
I see the outline of Dasha’s body, t-shirt pulled up, Daria’s hands on the outside of Dasha’s thighs. In a few minutes there’s a groan of release, then a final shudder.
She moves to Dasha’s side, slides up, they kiss for a bit, then Daria is back in her sleeping spot.
That answers that. I confess, it’s a turn on. My hand drifts between my legs, tingle me for a while, quietly climax and fall asleep.
I’m awake early, as I blink back into consciousness I realize Dasha is curled towards me, I’m on my side facing her, her leg is between mine, her hard-soft thigh scrunched up against my, you know. Daria is spooned behind her, face in Dasha’s hair, hand resting on her hip.
When I start to move, Dasha pops open and eye, a sly half grin, “Sister make Dasha feel gud before slip. I watch you touch, you feel gud too, in my head.”
“You know if we mental, there are no secrets.”
Dasha, “No secret, I do not care what you know of me and sister. You do not anyway mind.”
“It is not my business.”
Dasha, “I feel you like my leg on you, not a secret.”
“No, not a secret.”
She gives me a peck on the lips, blue eyes intense, “Today Dahfoney keel bad men, gud day.”
We’re up, freshened, dressed, Daria makes no mention of last night, it doesn’t trouble her that Dasha teases me. Jealousy would not occur to her. She does as she wishes with Dasha, who makes no complaint. Either what Dasha does otherwise is irrelevant to her or, more likely, she is content if her twin is.
We breakfast on the move, reliable McDonalds, something for everyone. We’re two blocks from the warehouse. It’s a separate building, not part of a warehouse complex, a mostly empty box with a roll up metal door for trucks. A standard door on one side that once served as the entrance to the customer counter, a door behind the counter opening to the warehouse. The counter itself is gone, just discolored traces where it once contacted the floor. In the warehouse itself, a windowless metal rear exit door opens to a drive with a dumpster, the remaining side a blank concrete block wall.
It’s nine o’clock, only one car, Surveillance reports the panel van is in the warehouse. It can only have been intended as a temporary location for FedEx, it has neither a bay for big rigs nor a raised warehouse floor to make it simple for forklifts to drive directly into the cargo area.
There is minimal activity, other quiet industrial style complexes dot the area, none look more than half occupied, trucks moving here and there. Amaya parks alongside a vacant building, Zi and Chloe get out, walk to the front corner of the warehouse, Chloe walks down the wall with no door, around the corner, down the alley behind. Zi walks the front, reverses, and meets Chloe back at the starting point.
Zi, “Four Shadows, two almost black, two others enough to be trouble, a child.”
Janah, “How do you want to do this Daphne?”
“Nikko, Zi and I walk in or break in the only available door. They will sense us soon enough. Amaya backs the car close enough the big door enough to jam it. Don’t smash it Amaya, when you sense us entering, ease back against it. I don’t want it to look like an accident to somebody passing on the street. Enough to keep them from opening it. We have no choice but to start firing shuriken and take what comes.”
Janah, “They may be armed.”
“Assume they are as a precaution, but I also don’t see why, it’s just them and a kid, who would they need to shoot? Considering their skills, I doubt they see the point of weapons, they are weapons.”
Janah, “Chloe and I will be behind you, we’ll go in as far as the office, wait to see how we can help.”
“Good enough, let’s get moving.”
I’m on one knee, the door is locked, I’m under the glass, Chloe can tell if someone is in the small service area, there isn’t, they’re all in the main warehouse. I squirt graphite from a canister into the lock to loosen any stuck pins, slide the tension wrench into the lock as quietly as possible, insert the pick, start lifting pins. I have an electric pick, but they’re noisy, and if it goes longer than I’d like, we have a problem. A man appears at the inner door just as I turn the tension wrench and the door opens.
Immediately, there’s pressure on the door, he’s using qi to try and slam it shut, but I have my boot in between the door and jamb. He rushes to try and push shut it, as he gets within a step, Nikko kicks the hell out of it, slams it into him and we’re in. He reaches out a hand, I feel pressure on my chest pushing me away, he’s good, but before he can give me a real jolt, his wrist is introduced to Nikko’s katana and his hand is on the floor, blood spurts from the stump, I shove my serrated flick knife through his ribs into his heart, one down.
Nikko and Zi are already in the warehouse, a dark curtain hangs from the ceiling blocking any view from the office and prevents immediate use of shuriken, so much for plans. The roll up door creaks, Amaya is in place.
They move to either side of the curtain, I go to the center, grab it with owl claws, rip it from the ceiling. Light floods the warehouse, there are four movie spots focused on a bed in the center of the room, there’s no child, just preparing for the day’s filming, a couple of sex toys on the bed.
Shuriken fill the air, the three men, all Mongolian, one tall, the others more squat, all thick. They have nasty narrow eyes, one has a shuriken in his chest, which he stares at, then removes, flicks it back at Zi, she ducks and it clanks against the wall. It’s laced with sedative, but it isn’t having much effect. He blinks at her, expressionless, starts towards her.
She’s lifted up and back, thrown against the wall in an explosive blast.
Nikko has fired a dozen shuriken, the remaining two dodge all of them, but it keeps them too busy to either go for the child, or fight back with their own qi. Then Nikko’s slammed, like a load of bricks dropped on her, blood runs from her forehead. I move straight towards one, I don’t have a katana, only my knives and shuriken. I use them to keep him busy, stepping closer with each throw, I fire three at once, he slides left but the left one catches his bicep and digs deep, he snarls and yanks it out, holds it up as if to throw it at me, I keep coming. He blinks, that I’m not stopping confuses him, he sneers and lets it loose. I watch it come like a slo-mo movie, turn my head as it zips past my ear, keep moving.
I feel Janah’s qi surge within me, he raises his hand, I feel a kick to the gut, ooofff!, fold a bit, let the energy pass through. He’s not used to resistance. I’m three feet from him when he tries again, I twist to the side and lean back, I hear a crunch like someone hit the wall behind me with a sledge hammer.
My knife in hand, he’s paying attention, his qi has failed him and he sees the knife in fighter’s position. He raises his hand, fingers spread to sock me with an energy shot, bad move, all four fingers fall to the floor, then I swipe down and his thumb joins them. He swings his good hand at my head, big fat fist, which I duck into. He stupidly uses his knuckles, which smash on my forehead. Never hit someone on the skull with your fist, particularly the forehead, you’ll just hurt yourself. I see stars for second, he hit me damn hard. As a reward, I insert my six inch blade just under his Adam’s apple halfway to the hilt and tear it sideways. Two down.
Zi’s boyfriend gives her several more shots, she rolls left and right, takes a few, dodges some, leaps high in the air and jams her heel into his round pie face. He staggers but doesn’t fall, she offers up a kicking onslaught, taking his qi punishment in return. She pulls off a high spinning kick, flashes her heel into his cheek, earns another trip up against the wall for her trouble. He moves in, Zi on the floor, trying to get up, held down by his energy, his foot comes up to crush her spine, a katana sings. Chloe removes his head, his foot still in the air, falls backward, bulky body smashes to the concrete floor. Chloe pulls Zi up to a sitting position, she’s staggered and needs to regroup. Chloe moves on to help Nikko stalk the last, and biggest, Shadow.
I feel Janah shift her qi to Nikko, the big man is holding both Chloe and Nikko at bay, I fire more shuriken to distract him while Nikko and Chloe circle closer. Chloe takes a hard shot on her right shoulder, she twists, rolls the katana in a circle alongside her. I nail the beast in the calf with one shuriken and drive one deep into the back of his knee. Nikko takes a sharp lick, her head twists to the side, blood runs from her mouth, Chloe is bleeding from her shoulder, I’m really annoyed.
“Katana , double buzz saw.”
Thwip, thwip, thwip, I set a line of three shuriken up the edge of his spinal column, the fourth deep in the back of his neck. The cumulative weight of the sedative starts to kick in, then the flashes of two spinning katana and he’s in ribbons. We leave him to bleed out on the floor.
Dasha and Daria appear, they survey the gore, neither changes expression, Daria goes to Chloe, left arm isn’t functioning well, the gash in her shoulder is deep. Daria sheathes the katana, helps Chloe out to the car.
I hear a child crying, Janah goes in, a minute passes, the child is settling. I douse the spotlights so the place isn’t so bright, there’s blood everywhere. Janah has the little girl in her arms, carries her outside. A car pulls up, Extraction personnel, an older man and woman. Before Janah hands off the six year old, she takes a few minutes to calm the girl’s mind. With the control of the Shadows lifted, she doesn’t want to the girl to panic. Whether she is fully aware of her recent abuse is unclear, we have no time to explore it. She will be taken by Extraction, the Society will deal with getting her home.
Janah returns to the warehouse, I ask, “Where are the other two?”
Janah, “Surveillance says en route.”
“Amaya, move the car, the others are on the way, wait a sec, we need to bring Zi and Chloe to you.”
Dasha, “Chloe ees in car, Vesnushki hurt.”
“We will be gone soon, see what you can learn from Amaya.”
Dasha actually hugs me, little cracks in the ice, gud.
Zi uses Dasha’s shoulder to steady herself, Dasha’s arm around her waist, letting Zi lean on her, I hear Zi say, “I never realized how strong you are, you’re practically carrying me.”
Dasha, “Easy, Eemaya and Janah make better now.”
I would have preferred Nikko to go with them, but I know there’s no point in trying to get her to stand down.
“Let’s do this quick and quiet. Lock the door, we wait in the warehouse, one of us in each dark corner. Janah can be in the room where the child was. Let’s collect any film while we have time, we can deal and get out.”
We take the video cameras, there’s a Mac on a table, no electronics in the girl’s room, just clothes, some of it little girl outfits, some of it kid size leather, dominatrix looking, panties, kid shoes, and patent leather boots. A short whip and riding crop are on the floor, geez, depressing.
Amaya, “You have visitors.”
“Nikko, they’re here.”
Our two final targets, grocery bags of food in both hands, minds occupied and unaware that this day is their last; child’s play for unforgiving children.
They unlock the door, come in the warehouse with bags of groceries hanging from their hands, stare at carnage. They simultaneously spin to leave, before they one eighty, one is headless, I cut the throat of the other. They’re in a messy pile on the concrete, still clutching the plastic bags. I briefly wonder what they planned for lunch, don’t stop to examine the contents.
Chapter Fifty One
I’m looking at the latest video, it’s graphic, ugly. There is nothing left out, nothing censored. A six year old naked in front of a man, also naked, she plays with his cock, kneels and kisses it, licks it like a popsicle, smiles at the camera. He plays with her intimately, she giggles and grins, kisses him, tongue swap. Then one leg propped on the side of the bed, his erection partially in her vagina, he eases it in halfway, in and out, the shot pans from her whole body to a close up. The man’s face is never visible. She kneels again sucks and licks, he jizzes in her mouth, she holds it open for the camera, swallows it, opens her mouth to show it’s gone. She licks the tip of his cock, kisses it and thanks him.
The two we wiped out last were the ‘actors.’ Not Mongolian, one appeared to be eastern European, the other Spanish, not blocky or stocky like the Mongols, average size men in their late twenties or early thirties. Chloe and Zi said they were not Shadows. In the video, only the lower half of their bodies is visible, no faces except the girl.
The laptop holds more footage, not the same girl, but the same men. The video isn’t any prettier. There’s an external hard drive with hours of the same, including the woman and a girl and the same woman and a little boy. We watch enough to know more than we want to know.
I’m sore in the gut and chest, Nikko’s face badly bruised, the inside of her cheek is cut, she has a painful knot in her abdomen. Zi’s back is purple, her elbow cracked, Chloe has a two inch gash across her upper arm I didn’t see earlier, and a deep cut two inches below her shoulder blade.
Janah clicks off the phone, “The Society sees no point in keeping the video. Nobody is going to trial, they’re all dead except the woman, we don’t know who she is. You have injuries. I don’t want to get on even a private jet with them in this condition. We’re going to lay low for a couple of days.”
“Rooms are booked, might as well chill.”
Amaya takes the girls to the pool, a rather splendid pool, she discovers they don’t know how to swim. She provides lessons and our twins are pleasantly exhausted by the end of the day. We do a lot of room service, nobody cares, between the pool, movies on TV and the fitness center, those of us uninjured are fully occupied, the injured need rest. Janah and I spend a lot of time on our warriors. The twins interested in how qi works.
They’d seen us use it around the apartment, but hadn’t seen it with injuries this serious. During down time, Janah and I demonstrate hot hand cold hand, we skip psychokinesis for now, I boil water with my hands, the ultra-taciturn Daria is intent.
Dasha, “You will show us chee, we will be gud, sister haf decide.”
Janah, “If Daria decides something, I’m pretty sure it gets done. We best get busy training them.”
So much for how to kill time in Orlando, Janah and I burn more energy healing our warriors than we did killing Shadows. Once Daria is satisfied that Chloe is on the mend, she lets Amaya takes them to the spa, they get facialed, manicured and pedicured. Afterwards, I sit with them while they try to hot hand, cold hand, I qi Nikko’s abdomen while Janah alternates between Chloe and Zi.
Zi is banged up badly, her back a blotchy purple. If she hadn’t hit flat, her spine might have snapped. As it is, she was concussed when her head banged the wall. She lays mostly on her stomach, One of us helps her turn and walk a bit, enough mobility to keep her from stiffening up. Janah checks and rechecks the spine, nothing appears out of order or misaligned, there is no pain in the spinal column itself. We have twenty gel packs alternating, the mini bar freezers in three rooms work overtime. By day three, Nikko and Chloe are reasonably mobile, Amaya’s stitch job on Chloe is snug and tidy, Nikko’s mouth is no longer swollen and the knot has disappeared from her gut. Zi walks the corridor outside our rooms, sits for lunch, stands on her own. She isn’t ready for sparring, but she’s moving, can twist her torso left and right and bend over slowly.
Janah, “That was close, like the time a bullet took a sliver of Daphne’s ear, she could have been brain dead an inch further in, Zi could be paralyzed if she hadn’t broken some of the impact by spreading her arms.”
Nikko, “We train to break falls. Being thrown against the wall is like being knocked to the ground, arms out, keep chin tucked so your head doesn’t hit first. She must have been at a slight angle, her elbow got to the wall before her palm.”
“And the sheer force caused her head to snap against the wall. The elbow may have a small fracture, I don’t think so though, it’s a really hard bone and she didn’t hit concrete, just sheetrock. More a severe strain to the tendon. If it doesn’t self repair, it may have torn away she will have to have surgery to reattach it.”
“Another lesson in why we don’t need to screw around with these guys. If we get a chance to kill them sneaky, it’s more sensible than offering a fair fight.”
Janah, “They don’t do anything fair, let’s not be suckers.”
It’s our last night, we decide to go as far as the hotel restaurant, it’s called The Boheme, dark paneled, red and gold décor. We have Caesar salad, sea bass, baked salmon, filets, Janah a roasted pear and walnut salad, tempura tofu and vegetables.
The twins get their accustomed gushing favoritism from the staff and a couple of tables of other diners. They ignore whoever is doing the gushing.
Back in the room, Dasha mentals, “Dahfoney, Daria will slip with Chloe and Eemaya.”
I give Amaya a heads up that Daria is coming over, through Amaya’s eyes I see Chloe grin, then I watch as Daria heads down the hall, Chloe opens the door, waves to me, it clicks shut, I hear the deadbolt flip over, everyone is locked in tight.
Dasha and I are in bed, we watch a little TV, get drowsy, begin to settle in.
“Do you miss your sister here?”
Dasha, “Sister wants to be for Chloe, I haf Dahfoney.”
She scoots next to me, pulls off my t-shirt then hers, lays her leg over mine, one arm under my pillow, the other over my tummy.
I turn to see her blink at me, no smile, just the usual fierce intensity, she kisses my face several times, then my lips, tongues explore. We go on for a while, not a passionate make-out, just intimate kissing. Then she’s done, lays her head against me. I feel her leg shift off me and her hand drift down my thigh, she pulls my leg open so it’s cocked towards her, her fingers trace the inside of my thigh and her hand winds up resting gently between my legs, fingers touching me.
I hear, “You feel gud.”
I don’t know if she means I feel good to her, or if I feel good from her touch.
Amazing, and that’s it. We fall asleep that way.
Things shifted during the night, I wake up on my side with a smooth muscled leg between mine, pushed up against me, not jammed, resting comfortably. Dasha is still asleep, so I wait. Pretty easy duty, it feels lovely.
Ten minutes later she blinks awake, squishes into me. She begins to move her trapped leg, I think she wants to get up, so I separate the leg on top, she reaches over and pushes back down, rubs her thigh against me slowly.
I’m warm, then wet, she is sliding gently back and forth, then she pulls me over on her so I’m straddling her thigh, she stares at me while my hips rock. My eyes close, I bite my lip, God it feels good, I lean forward a bit, squeeze my legs on her and gasp, then groan in climax.
I look down at her, no change of expression, she blinks. I roll to the side.
Dasha takes me by the hair and pulls my head to the wetness on her leg, “Leek.”
I look up at her while I lick the soft skin, taste myself on her. I feel her enjoying it, but from her expression you might think I was just a mildly interesting science experiment.
She sits up, “We shower now, Dahfoney.”
We brush teeth, she pees while I start up the shower, then she gets in, I take my turn then join her, wash her hair, “You will bath me Dahfoney.”
I soap her up, she stares again while I wash between her legs, leans against the wall, “Bath more.”
I get the idea, touch gently, get further instructions, “Bath inside.”
I follow instructions, clear on what she’s after, do some of my best work. Her shoulders rest on the wall, hips thrust forward, palms against the wall. I’m taller than she is, she isn’t looking at me, she studies my hand on her for a bit, then her eyes close, her breathing quickens, then climax. I hold my finger against her clit, it’s hypersensitive at this point, no motion, just hold and let her thrust against my hand until she shudders for the third, then fourth time and sinks back against the wall.
She’s not much for elaboration.
Janah, “You’re having an interesting morning.”
“I’ll say, had an interesting night.”
Janah, “I was dead asleep, did you…?”
“Nope. More her teasing, she likes that. This morning, beats me, she was clear on what she wanted, I was happy to oblige, she has seriously silken tight legs, reminds me of someone.”
“They’re fourteen, near as we can calculate. I think the trade off is acceptable, they have a limited emotional range, near zero, at least they show a bit of physical affection.”
“I have a weird life. I just killed guys for having sex with children, and three days later have sex with an adolescent girl.”
“You know it’s not that simple. Dasha was not coerced or manipulated, nor is she a prepubescent child. I doubt those two can be manipulated, if they don’t want to do something, they don’t do it.”
“Embrace rationalization, that’s my motto.”
Janah giggles, “Let’s get breakfast ordered and pack up. We fly home at eleven.”
Chapter Fifty Two
Two and a half hour flight, same time zone, private jet, easy duty. We had a light breakfast at the hotel, they fed us decently on the plane, a car picks us up at Teterboro, home for two thirty. Zoom.
Chloe, “I was so happy that Daria wanted to be with me, she didn’t say anything, but her aura was, not so much affection, more concern for me. It’s not compassion, or even sympathy, they don’t do either. I still thought it touching.”
Amaya, “I was compassionate, I let her sleep clinging to you, which is my rightful spot. Of course, I am all about personal sacrifice, so long as she does not make a habit of it.”
Chloe, “She even kissed me, very snuggly.”
Amaya, “And not a stitch on her. She took off her t-shirt and climbed right over me.”
Chloe, “You didn’t have anything on either.”
Amaya does a McKayla Maroney lip crunch “Granted.”
Dasha comes down from her room, she’s in a leotard, “Dahfoney, Daria ees study money and property, we go to roof.”
Pretty simple, the laundry can wait, we go to roof, Janah says, “I’ll do the laundry, be sure to bring me the leotard when she’s done.”
Amaya, “I have writing to do, do NOT disturb me until tea.”
Chloe, “I want to watch Dasha, I can’t move my arm or shoulder much, may as well enjoy her acrobatics.”
“I’ll work on you while Dasha bounces around, take our minds off the recent nastiness.”
And it’s a plan, Dasha stretches, balance beams, parkours and tumbles, I attend to Chloe’s injuries, not hot or cold, I let energy flow around the wounds, stimulate her own internal repair system. Our experience is that we’ve been able to cut healing on serious injuries in half, simple stuff is a few minutes to hours, Chloe’s is not simple.
Nikko and Zi are at dad’s hospital getting her an elbow X-ray, Nikko mentals me on the way home, “Janah had it right, the tendon appears pulled but not torn, a few days of rest and she’ll be fine. Really happy she doesn’t need surgery.”
“How’s the spine?”
“Fine, much of the bruising is gone, the doc was mystified that she took such a pounding over her entire back but didn’t damage her spine. He was mostly interested in her tiger and dragon brands and how she endured it.”
“What did she say?”
“That part of gung fu is mental and physical preparation to accept pain, not fight it. The orthopedic doc understood actually, he’s treated other martial artists, said what most people consider debilitating, they consider minor annoyances.”
“We’ll have tea at five, Dasha is almost finished, Ning is sending over dinner later.”
Dasha goes off to shower, I bring her leotard to the laundry and throw it on the pile of colors Janah is preparing to wash. Chloe has tea underway, I organize shortbread and ginger cookies to accompany.
At five, we’re around the low table, Amaya and Nikko play shamisen and flute, Amaya sings a poem she wrote about abandoned and abused children, saved by fearless samurai and Shaolin. A splendid interlude, the twins are quiet, hardly unusual for them, but Daria is leaned into Chloe, Dasha holds her sister’s hand.
Susan, Taylor and Lacy join us for dinner, Ning delivered a splendid Chinese banquet, wine flows, champagne, a Daria and Dasha favorite. Our extended family has accepted the girls’ distance.
Susan, “They don’t try to impress, they don’t lie, they say exactly what’s on their minds. One of the things that drove C-mom up the wall was women who thought partners should be completely focused on them and mystically pick up every nuance of mood. They could never just say what they wanted, you were supposed to interpret it, and God forbid you missed a signal or got it wrong.”
“Not a problem with the twins.”
As if to confirm my comment, Dasha appears, “Dahfoney, you will make us for bed, and Vesnushki.”
Sis, “I assume you have that interpreted.”
“Simple Sis, Chloe and I will help get them ready for bed, and when they are tucked in, we will sit with them until they drift off.”
Susan, “Amazing, by the way, what is Vesnushki?”
I laugh, “That popped up a while back. Amaya wanted to know how to say freckles in Russian, she liked vesnushki better than freckles, Chloe became sometimes Vesnushki sometimes Chloe.”
“And what does Chloe think?”
“Come on Sis, Chloe thinks everything is wonderful, particularly if Amaya likes it.”
“They are too cute together. Explaining this family is like explaining quantum physics, better go, the twins are waiting.”
“Hang around until we come back down, it’s usually only a few minutes.”
The girls are teens and are perfectly capable of going to bed on their own, they sometimes want us around when they do. We supply kisses and stroke their brows until they relax into slumber, Chloe says they find it comforting.
Lacy, “I’ve spent my professional career with strange and unusual girls, Daria and Dasha are beyond my experience.”
Janah, “They aren’t so hard when you live with them every day. You know the lead character on Bones, the TV show?”
“Sure, based on an actual forensic expert I read.”
“Yes. The TV character plays a woman strictly fact based, literal, little emotional smarminess. Joan Wayne is much the same. The girls are several magnitudes beyond. Besides Daphne and Chloe, Joan Wayne is one of the very few people they will talk to at any length. She speaks fact, not bias or opinion.”
“Joan Wayne was never one for subtlety or nuance.”
“Nor are Dasha and Daria. Never be offended by what they say or do. They don’t mean to offend, they see taking offense as irrational.”
Susan, “How does that work?”
Janah, “If someone says something about you personally, it’s either true or it’s not. If it’s true, it’s true, why be offended? If you weren’t aware of it, you found out something you needed to know. If it’s not true, what difference does it make?”
Taylor, “Maybe other people will believe it.”
Janah, “And most of us want to maintain as favorable an image as possible, I understand. The girls, however, don’t care what people think. One might conclude they’re just pretending indifference, but they aren’t. The Indian philosopher Krishnamurti said one must be indifferent, to health, to authority, to what people say or do not say. They are the embodiment of that.”
“How can you be indifferent to authority? The cop stops you, you best not just drive off.”
“He wasn’t talking about respecting sensible rules, ignoring the traffic cop or the math teacher. He was talking about psychological, religious or so-called spiritual authority. His fundamental premise is to see what is, for ourselves, without the filter of religious or cultural bias. It is far easier to say than do. Most people don’t think they are conditioned, biased or brainwashed, they believe they have thought things out for themselves. That’s nonsense of course, but try and get people to acknowledge it.”
Susan, “Ladies, my bias for the moment is to head home. I have projects on and a full day tomorrow.”