“Good morning visitors, welcome to Anderson Preparatory Academy…”
The Headmaster drones on with the usual platitudes, a litany of success stories, the highest this, the most accepted that. Apparently everyone who graduated from Anderson was a combo platter of Mother Theresa, Bill Gates and Rambo, compassionate, intelligent and fearless. (Somehow they never mention graduates who flunked their freshman year in college, are pasty-faced cubicle dwellers, insurance peddlers, incarcerated, or failed spectacularly as hedge fund managers.) You’ve heard the speeches, I won’t bore you with another.
Amaya raises her hand, without waiting to be called on says, “Any graduates in heavy metal bands? Prison? Something interesting?”
The college counselor pipes up, “Several students have gone on to musical careers and play with concert orchestras.”
Amaya, “First chair, or just filling a hole?”
The counselor fails to reply, and the Headmaster continues with an unhappy glance at Amaya. She stands hand cocked on her hip, staring at him.
“Where can I smoke?”
The assistant something or other said, “Our campus is smoke free.”
Amaya groans, “You don’t seem to mind blowing smoke.”
Several prospective students titter, harsh looks from mom and dad.
Headmaster, “Our school is not suited to your needs I see.”
Amaya, “If I decide to die of boredom, I’ll come running.”
Janah smiles at the Headmaster, “My daughter is bit of a free spirit. Not to worry, she’s not a candidate for this school. I’m here to help with translation for Mr. Li, whose son is considering Anderson. My daughter is along for the ride.”
Amaya mutters, “So start the fucking ride, maybe I can get to a cigarette sometime this century.”
Headmaster twitches, then, “Of course, I am delighted to meet Mr. Li. We have heard great things about his efforts to promote democracy in…uh, around the world.”
David translates, Chan, or Shen for now, nods, neither of them acknowledges the Headmaster.
A few other parents ask perfunctory questions, they want their kids in the school and don’t want to risk asking anything that might hurt little Jason or Annabelle’s chances.
Amaya leans to a girl her age, “You can’t really want to be trapped in this hell for four years of high school?”
The girl freezes, her mother wraps an arm over her shoulder defensively, “Come Delia, let’s begin our tour,” she gives Amaya a nose high look of distaste.
Amaya, “Stuffy bitch.”
Delia bows her head, grinning, desperate not to laugh out loud in front of her parents. The strange girl with purple hair had nailed mom.
She glances up at Amaya, who winks at her, Delia tries to keep a straight face. Amaya jerks her head out the door, then she mouths, “Bathroom,” and leaves for the restroom.
Delia tugs her mother’s hand, “I need to go to the ladies.”
Her mother sighs, “Don’t dawdle.”
Amaya is leaning against the far bathroom wall, a window open, blowing smoke outside, “Hey girl. Christ, you got to put up with some shit.”
Delia, “Tell me about it. She’s my step-mother. My mom died five years ago. She’s after my dad to park me here so I’m out of her hair. I don’t get it. I’m a good student, don’t do stupid stuff, don’t ask for crap. She just wants to pretend I don’t exist.”
“Sounds like dad needs to man up.”
Delia, “Big time. She lords it around the house like she earned it all. She never did jack her whole life but play tennis, go to Pilates and get massaged. I cut daddy some slack, my mom died of cancer. I thought getting a wife would help him forget. I didn’t want a new mother, I just wanted dad to have a life. I got the bimbo social climber.”
Amaya, “You caught her at anything?”
Delia, “She’s screwing her trainer, right in the house. She doesn’t know I know. I didn’t say anything because I thought it would hurt my dad all over again.”
Amaya, “What’s the guy’s name?”
Delia, “Even worse, Armando.”
They laugh together, “God that is so trashy. You better get back, I’ll be along later.”
Delia leaves, Amaya returns in five.
The tour is beginning, Delia’s step-mother, Lila, says, “Over here Delia, we don’t fraternize with riff raff.”
The Headmaster smirks in Janah’s direction.
Amaya, “You remind me of a bitch I know. She has a personal trainer, way personal, a Latin sleaze, and is screwing him right in the house she does nothing to pay for. Bet you know skuzzy sluts like that.”
Delia’s father suddenly develops an intense interest. He says nothing, but the beans have overflowed the burrito. Delia’s step-mother tries to take her hand, but Delia shakes it off and takes her father’s arm.
I suspect the prenup will be exercised shortly, and Delia would be twice blessed, minus a step-mother and not enrolled in Anderson.
Nikko and I are in the hotel room, following the action.
Man, Night Rain rocks. She’s saved a kid from a stupid school and an evil step-mother in ten minutes. She’s made for this.
Janah, I was as amazed as you. I hope she doesn’t ask for a raise.
Nikko, From what to what? Getting everything to getting more everything.
Mother Nishiko is quite strict.
Janah, Mother Nishiko is a rock, Amaya’s rock.
Yeah. And I’m her ATM.
Janah giggles, gets a few perplexed looks from the parents standing nearest. Headmaster sloughs off the tour to an underling and a couple of students.
The group moves to dormitories, which are first rate. The rooms spotless, the kitchen and bathrooms as well. It looks like a model home, ready for inspection by prospective buyers.
There’s a boy of fifteen or sixteen leading the parade. Average height, five nine, dark hair, muddy brown eyes. He introduces himself as Darren.
Amaya, “Darren, this doesn’t look much like a place where teenagers live. Are you allowed dirt?”
The parents shift, not so much uncomfortable as curious. Now that she’d drawn attention to it, the place does seem obsessively neat.
Darren, “Anderson students take pride in their living environment. Orderliness is essential to efficient work habits.”
Headmaster’s assistant beams, the female student, Cory, adds, “I find it refreshing. Part of our education is learning self sufficiency. We clean the dorm daily, with help from a professional cleaning service on Fridays. They have almost no work to do. It is a source of pride for us.”
A parent asks, “All the students participate?”
Cory smiles mechanically, like a flight attendant thanking passengers for handing her trash, “Thank you for that excellent question. There are assigned details, so the work is rotated each day. We have a sort of competition to see who does the very best job.”
Amaya, “A gold star? Extra credit? A second dessert? Who takes out the garbage, boys or girls?”
Cory ignores her, Darren is more attentive, his eyes keep shifting from Amaya’s face to her long legs. Her black tights are, well, tight; a second skin, revealing sensual curves in thigh and calf.
She notices, gives him a wink, slips her thumb in her mouth and pulls it out slowly. She has his attention.
The tour ambles along predictably. Janah takes in every crevice of every room which auto-installs in her memory. Nikko and I are downloading, analyzing what Janah sees.
David Li is keeping Cory occupied with questions. She’s polite to a fault, remarkably articulate. She lacks any flicker of intensity or passion, yet her voice is not flat or monotone. The modulations appear rehearsed, not quite natural.
David translates for Chan, who offers no hint of what his thoughts are. He asks no questions.
There is a reception in the dining hall, a couple of students serve, more students join the group and are huddling around the prospects. Amaya sees her chance and walks out to a long porch, down the steps to the lawn. From there, she’s hidden by a row of hedges. She’s there under two minutes when Darren comes up.
“Seems you gave our Headmaster and his assistant a good going over earlier.”
“I get bored easily, one distraction is to annoy pretentious people.”
“You have a talent for it. I hope you don’t find me too pretentious.”
“Just a little, but not adult pretentious. Maybe you can be salvaged.”
She’s standing to one side, she shifts directly in front of him, then slips her arms around his neck and kisses him. He jerks in surprise, but just a bit, then follows her lead.
They make out for a minute, Darren says, “Not much for the getting to know you part.”
“I’m going to be here maybe another hour. I didn’t want to be entirely stupefied. This is better than listening to your buddies try and impress the newbies.”
“Kissing you is better than a lot of things. You are very beautiful, even in purple.”
Amaya takes his hand, walks him into a stand of trees alongside a manicured garden.
Darren, “Perhaps we shouldn’t go off.”
“You can tell your masters that I was copping attitude again and you thought it best if you got me out of there.”
Darren cocks his head, “Weren’t born yesterday were you? That’s pretty slick. Do you really see the administration people as my masters?”
Amaya, “I don’t get the sense that there’s a lot of independent thought happening. The students I’ve seen all carry the torch too high. So does the administrative staff. It seems fake.”
Amaya is in a role, contractions, not a part of her normal speech, are acceptable as part of her character.
Darren says nothing, she pulls him to her, his train of thought derails, his lower man-brain takes over. She ups the passion, feels him hard against her, she slips her leg between his, moves her hips gently.
They pull apart, Darren is flushed, his breathing rapid, Amaya runs her hand along his crotch. Darren is a happy puppy indeed.
Amaya, “Isn’t this more fun than canapés and punch?” She keeps working his erection through the pants.
“Uh, oh God, oh…..” she feels him go off, she rubs gently until he’s spent. Fortunately, he has on underwear and black pants. A little clean up in the restroom and he could fake it for the duration.
Amaya, “Follow me to the side door, I’ll make sure the coast is clear to the men’s. I’ll come back out here and wait for you. I think I deserve a kiss for helping you relax.”
He makes it to the restroom, only to run into the Headmaster’s assistant on the way back outside.
“Darren, where have you been? I looked around, you’re supposed to be entertaining. We don’t want extra treatment do we?”
Darren grimaces, thank goodness for Amaya’s story, “I took the purple haired smart mouth out on the lawn. She was starting in again with some of the visitors around. I don’t see why you can’t just toss those people out.”
Tossing the blame back on the administration works.
“Because Mr. Li is extremely well connected in China and in the US. He can be a tremendous resource for Anderson if he chooses. I don’t know why he felt it necessary to drag along the white trash, his son is perfectly capable of translating, but he did. The woman is probably his entertainment, her and her slut daughter.”
Darren, “I better find the slut and keep her occupied until we break up. We’ll just be on the lawn if you need me. I hope this is over soon, it’s rather trying talking to her as you can imagine.”
The assistant actually thanks him. He smiles as he goes rejoin the gorgeous, aggressive young girl.
Amaya, “You look fine, can’t tell a thing, unless…,” she let her fingers drift over the wet spot on his pants.
He pulls her to him and kisses her again, “Oh man, Echo, I wish there were some way to keep in touch, to even see you again.”
“You can text me.”
“We aren’t allowed mobiles, I can e-mail though.”
Amaya makes up a fake e-mail address with her stage name ‘Echo’ in it, simple enough to remember without writing it down, firstname.lastname@example.org. Amaya briefly wonders if it’s an actual address. Oh well, maybe he’d make a new friend named Echo.
They sit on a concrete bench, Amaya asks, “Do you really like this place? It seems rather remote, and those walls!”
“It’s not so bad. Yes, we’re cut off. It helps keep us focused on studies, and we do have a fair amount of athletics, and music. Still, it will be nice to have a friend outside.”
“You don’t have a girlfriend here? Cute guy like you, come on, tell me. I’m not the jealous type.”
Darren looks around, “There are no exclusive girlfriends. We aren’t interested in that.”
“Wow. So you just hook up under the trees, like us earlier?’
“No one would do that here.”
“Your parents know this?”
“There is nothing to tell them.”
“They don’t ask about girlfriends or boyfriends? Parents always ask about that stuff.”
“I don’t know what others say, I just tell mine, not right now, that I’m friends with everyone.”
Amaya notices him go from conversational to robotic. Clearly he’s been coached, or something more.
Amaya changes course, “The new buildings are kind of boxy, not like the rest of the school. Someone said it was a male medical facility and a female medical facility. Seems inefficient to have two.”
“There’s a tunnel connecting them.”
Amaya smiles, a tunnel, good to know, “Two buildings for, what, like a hospital?”
“One is for research, the other for medical treatment.”
Amaya doesn’t want to freak him, changes course, “Oh, okay, got it. So, how long have you been here?”
“High school, I came the same year the doctors did.”
She probes again, “So the buildings are for scientific research?”
“Medical treatment, and research by Dr. Jim and Dr. Jane. That’s all I know.”
“Have you been treated there?”
“Everyone gets the treatment they need,” he appears to be slipping to neutral.
She decides more questions might lead to problems, “Suppose we better head inside. I’ll go in the door I came out of, maybe you should go back through the side door.”
She kisses his cheek, it is cold, he stands, shakes her hand perfunctorily, “Thank you for visiting Anderson. It has been my pleasure to meet you, Echo.”
With that, he turns and walks away.
Amaya thinks, ‘Guess I don’t have to worry about breaking his heart.’
Reception over, they return to the hotel. I have snacks ready, none of our crew ate anything at the reception, probably overcautious, but Anderson is a strange place. They undisguise and change clothes, then gather around the table in our suite.
Janah, “Okay, recap. We learn anything? Nikko and Daph got the layout in real time, they’ve been matching up what I saw versus the plans from the original buildings.”
“There appear to be minor remodels, not any significant change. One room in the admin building has been split up for a computer server room with a separate air conditioner. That’s it.”
Janah, “Nothing mysterious about adding a server room. When the school was built, there weren’t computers. Oh, and the place has common brand name security, nothing custom. Windows and doors are wired, there’s no extra cameras or motion detectors. What else?”
David, “The kids who conducted the tour had been let off their leash. Not entirely, but they weren’t as locked down as the kids we saw on satellite video. I noticed we saw no faculty or much staff .”
David, “And Amaya is right, the place is overly clean, even for visitors. Every hallway, every room we saw looked as if it had been not just cleaned but sanitized.”
Chan shrugs, “Nothing else. Since I couldn’t speak English, I was only observing. I saw nothing beyond what has been mentioned.”
“Amaya? You got off for a while, and I guessed you got the boy to look for you, good job. Find out anything, or did he keep his cool too?”
Amaya tells her story, skips nothing.
“Jaysus…you have a gift for this my angel. I mean, we suspected, but this was direct firing line duty. You are my heroine.”
Janah, “You did splendidly. Sorry the boy has to be let down.”
“Well, like I said, he went zombie, I was just another visitor to be treated courteously. I have no personal feeling in it. It is a performance, I need to kiss a boy to convince him, or the audience, he gets kissed. There was no young love, nor even body heat.”
“You came up with the most valuable information we have. First, the two buildings have an unseen connection, and second, the kids are being used for so called research.”
Everyone chills for a couple of hours, it’s pressing dinner time, I call a takeout Chinese place, Nikko and Chan do pickup. We eat mostly in silence, plotting how to get our targets quickly and quietly to our bus.
The phone rings, a Society contact. The message is cryptic, but Janah decrypts it as a location of a site with further information.
She logs in and reads the coded material, “The Society found out who the mystery docs are. Get this, our two doctors are actually doctors. One a medical doctor, the other a PhD in psychology. A rather interesting thesis, Sexual Awakening in Pre-Adolescents. The female is the PhD. Apparently, on receiving her degree, she got into the subject more deeply than is socially approved, even in Sweden where she earned her doctorate. She was quietly removed from her position and her license to practice suspended indefinitely. The man, a medical doctor, has no record of questionable activity with children. He is not a gynecologist, or human reproductive specialist, he’s a cosmetic surgeon. He suddenly sold his practice and disappeared. A year later, the new buildings were built, and here he is with the perv PhD.”
Chan, “It’s fair to assume they both have an interest in sex with children, or watching children have sex.
Janah, “I think that’s where this is headed. Still, she must have really crossed the line, the age of consent in Sweden is fifteen. I suppose it’s immaterial how she and the doc got together, more interesting is, how did they coerce an entire school?”
“We can out Dr. Jane, at least cast enough doubt on her to raise parents’ concerns.”
Janah, “I suppose, but we don’t have solid evidence, only the Society’s digging. She was suspended, but no charges were filed.”
“Outing her doesn’t solve the mystery anyway. The physician gets off the hook and could, at least in theory, set up someplace else. No one would know how they made Stepford students. Nothing prevents him doing it someplace else if the heat gets too hot here.”
Nikko, “Why don’t we quit screwing around and put the plan in motion?”
“Good question. No more guessing.”
Janah calls the Society and tells them what she wants. They need a full day, so we can act on Wednesday or any day after.
“Do we have keys to the bus? We don’t want the driver in this.”
“I’ll get them. I think it’s best to let him move on. The Society can pick up the bus when we’re done. I can drive it if it needs driving.”
Someone will pick up the driver. He doesn’t know why we’re here, what the bus will be used for or if it will be used at all. He is well compensated not to know anything but how to drive a bus. He isn’t complaining.
The next day we lay low, revisit our plan, double check entrances and exits, spot places to leave the van. If things go decently, there are four of us and two unhappy doctors to get from Anderson to the bus.
While Nikko, Chan and I drive around, David and Amaya help Janah prepare the bus. They organize the tools of her trade, IV drips, syringes, water bottles, tape, picture wire, pinpoint halogen lights, and her strobe light set-up. It’s going to be quite a party.
David Li already knows what the drugs do, he and Amaya discuss the purpose.
Amaya, “Wow. Something for everyone, any desired mood, any style of hallucination, paranoia, fever, chills and nausea.”
Janah, “And extremely dangerous. I know what I’m doing, and there’s still risk of an individual being allergic, or mentally unstable to begin with, bad heart, respiratory problems, lots of unknowns. I don’t do a medical workup before I start injecting.”
Amaya, “Ever had a problem, a terminal one?”
Janah, “Not yet. Mostly Daphne and Nikko use physical persuasion. I need more reliable data from these targets than just making them understand they can’t play their game anymore. We need to know how they control all those people.”
Amaya, “And interesting to know what the point is, if it is beyond a cheap thrill of sex with kids.”
Janah, “That too.”
It’s Wednesday night, Nikko, Chan and I outside the gate closest to the research buildings. When the lights go out, Chan is going to open the gate, then we get to the buildings, up on the roof and shut down the generators.
Drs. Jane and Jim are in the research buildings someplace, some of the kids in there as well. Nighttime is research time. Since we hadn’t been inside, we have no idea where they might be. If they fail to come out, we go bang on the door to ‘rescue’ them. It seems unreasonable that they would remain inside for a blackout and no generator backup. Curiosity should drive them to the door at the least.
Lights out, ten seconds later a crash as a delivery truck rams the front gate. Shouts, generators kick in, the administration building is partially lit, exterior lights flicker them glow, hallway and exit lights pop on in the dorms. The generators are for lighting in the event of an emergency, to get safely out of buildings, run refrigeration where necessary, not to run the entire power supply.
Dim light shows through the windows of the research buildings, there are lights over the doorway. Nikko and I throw grappling hooks over the sides and are soon on the respective roofs. Shortly after, the two generators shut down. In the confusion, and with other diesel generators making a racket, no one notices the absence of light in the research buildings. We rappel down and take our respective places at the exit doors.
Nikko, Both doctors coming out at this door.
I come from the right, she from the left, Chan’s flashlight motions to them, as if he’s an employee guiding them in the darkness.
I silence the man, Nikko the woman. Chan tosses Dr. Jim over his shoulder, I take Dr. Jane and we hustle to the gate. Janah pulls up in the panel van, side door open. We toss our baggage inside, climb in behind and off we go. As we exit to the road, I see police cars and a fire truck, lights blazing at the wreck of a delivery van at the front gate of Andersons. I can’t tell who’s who, people mill about, gawking at the mini accident. Janah hooks a left and we are gone.
A half hour later our targets are all strapped up, Dr. Jane in the back of the bus, lying on a foldout bed, Dr. Jim in a chair facing the front, both still unconscious. Dr. Jane will remain so until she takes her turn at Truth or Dare. ‘Pop’ goes my ammonia cap, I stick it under Dr. Jim’s nose. He stirs, his head jerks up. When I see him fully awake, I take off his blindfold, he blinks into the light. He tries turning away, no dice, lights left and right, otherwise blackness.
Everyone but Chan is in the bus with the targets, he's outside watching.
Janah, “Let’s do them both at the same time, I don’t want to prolong this. We’ll get them compliant, find out what’s going on at Anderson Prep and decide what to do about it. Daphne, hook up Dr. Jane. David can get her started. I’ll get the toys and refreshments.”
Refreshments means drugs, toys are the implements we use to administer them and the restraints necessary to insure smooth, accurate delivery. If you’re going to blow up and restructure someone’s mind, it needs to be done carefully or it gets messy and undignified. We prefer to leave the good doctors functional, not dribbling onto their Depends. Unfortunately, the inexact state of pharmacology renders it impossible to know exact dosages to get the job done without breaking the target’s mind. So far, with Janah’s skill and a bit of luck, we hadn’t reduced anyone to plant life, at least unintentionally.
Janah, “Amaya, sit here and watch, make a mental note of the drug, the dosage and what the effect is on the target.”
Janah takes the docs on a neural roller coaster. Dr Jane lasted longer than Dr. Jim. Not to credit women too much, as I said, pharmacological effects are not entirely predictable and Janah had differently dosed based on bodyweight guesstimates. After an injection of Ketamine, followed by a tab of LSD, they endure the rounds of sheer terror, hallucinations, exploding heart rate, sweats and chills. Janah brings Dr. Jim down, starts on sodium pentothal and a couple of shots of nasally administered oxytocin. She’s going to have two new very best friends. Chemical trust. I wonder if Bernie Madoff wore it as a cologne.
After a nice chat up with the doc, it turns out oxytocin plays a role in the management of kids and faculty at Anderson. It’s used to create an atmosphere of trust, which then allows the doctors to hypnotize the lambs in small groups. The capper is that the worst fears of the chronically paranoid are realized. There is something in the water, and in the air. Drs. Jim and Jane took Jane’s earlier efforts to gain psychological control of children to a new, more efficient level. In conjunction with Ketamine, ecstasy and pure THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, are all part of the school’s water supply. Oxytocin floats through the air ducts in sleeping quarters.
“It appears the docs do on a large scale what we do to some targets.”
Janah, “It had to be something similar, there’s only so many drug combos. They have to use stuff that’s been field tested. I don’t think they’re credentialed enough to create new compounds. They don’t need kids dying of experimental chemicals.”
Daphne, “Pretty elaborate plan just to make kiddie porn.”
Yep, kiddie porn was low on our list going in, may not have been on the radar at all except for one odd question from one little girl. Sometimes you just get unlucky.
Janah, “I think when I go into it more with them, we’re going to find out the porn videos are mostly about financing the experiments. Getting these drugs on the scale they need is more than any doctor can write scripts for, and some of the drugs aren’t legal anywhere.”
Janah’s taking a break, we sit in the front of the bus, Nikko keeps an eye on the targets. They can’t go anyplace, she and Amaya are monitoring vitals, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration.
After an hour of stillness and tea, Janah says, “That’s better, now, let me get the details and get this nastiness wrapped up.”
She spends four more hours chatting individually with the doctors. She has them believing she is joining their experiment, and that she has excellent sources of high grade pharmaceuticals at her command. The docs are delusionally delighted.
Finished with Dr. Jim. Janah focuses on Jane.
“Jane, I’m so glad we’ll have a chance to work together. I don’t think Jim has the same appreciation for the, um, ancillary benefits our work provides. A wide variety of fresh young people, so anxious to be instructed and nurtured.”
Jane smiles, she can’t see Janah, but she believes she can, “Children are innately sexual creatures. Loving them was natural in more mature cultures. They find the explorations fun, and exciting, as do I. Their perfection can only be fully appreciated by a discerning adult.”
Janah, “Geez, this whack has swallowed a river of her own kool-aid. Are we getting this all down?”
“Cameras are rolling, drain her dry.”
Janah does, details of Jane’s dozens of sexual contacts with kids, how they made movies of children having sex with her, each other, displaying their bodies, masturbating, hetero and homosexual relations. Doc Jane’s hero is Caligula, and she is a wealth of information on his numerous perversions. When your role model is Caligula, you’ve wandered way off the morality reservation.
Faculty members and administrative staff aren’t in on the action. Just a necessary nuisance, it is a school after all. They were mind numbed just like the kids. Only the Headmaster is part of the conspiracy, he has the same interests, sexually, as Dr. Jane. For the extremely generous, there is an elite membership, who not only get copies of the videos, they get to sample the kids. It all takes place in the medical and research buildings. There aren’t plans because there had been significant alterations, for recording, beds, all the accoutrements of several hotel style rooms, including food, booze and recreational drugs. In sum, it’s a child brothel, right on the campus, hidden in plain sight. The sex rooms in an area labeled ‘storage’ with bolted metal doors. The very few visitors not part of the game were told that prescription drugs and medical supplies were kept there, thus the need for tight security. It is so good that if anyone had opened the door, they would have seen exactly what they expected. Shelves of emergency cots, blankets, potable water, locked cabinets of medicine, bandages, a hospital supply room. A door behind a sliding rack of shelving is the entrance to the kiddie fun house. There’s even a tunnel, not just the one between the two buildings, one that runs under the school’s walls. The ‘guests’ never had to walk through the school’s entrance, or anywhere on the grounds, only under the grounds. Janah has the encrypted site where kiddie vids are stored.
Janah, “We have more than enough. Their voices detail what, how and why. The names of the men and women who physically visited are surely fake. Too bad, I’d like to know who they are. I’m going to reboot these two. Then we’ll leave them in a motel. They will believe they went there as a result of the power outage. How they got there and why is immaterial. In twenty four hours everybody will be not talking through their lawyers to the Virginia State police and the FBI. Have you downloaded the sex tapes yet.”
“Almost done. I recognize the kid Amaya talked to, it’s the school alright. They didn’t disguise the children, it’s going to be nasty.”
Janah, “Send an altered video that clearly shows the rooms in the research buildings, any relevant adults that you have, and block out the kids’ faces. We aren’t handing them the children. If they can’t get a conviction with this, they have prosecution problems. That won’t be good news for our doctors and the headmaster.”
Janah means that if the targets slip the net, then we would deal with them directly. They would be better off in a Turkish prison than with Nikko.
Amaya, “A suggestion.”
Amaya, “There must be some kind of contact information, an underground internet, an encrypted site. Get that information from these two at the least. The Society, or Susan and Daphne, can likely uncover names.”
Porn hits the propeller the very next day, cops pick up the two docs and the Headmaster. The school closes. It’s done as quietly as feasible, given the inability to keep every cop or parent from babbling away to the press. The Society provided the drug insertion point that tapped into the water supply, and the feed into the air ducts. That alone was enough to stick the doctors, their fingerprints were everywhere, the insertion lines, the storage room and the bedrooms. A flipping tunnel to the clinic, you hardly needed Sherlock to explain.
Over the next weeks, subsequent difficulties start to unfold. The social system didn’t want to be tagged as not providing treatment for abused children. So they wanted to hand the problem off to psychologists and counselors and keep themselves distanced from any adverse developments in the children’s behavior. The school would be bankrupted regardless, the ten million dollar liability policy wasn’t going to make a dent in settlement demands. Property would be sold and the money distributed in the claims process, inevitably delayed as lawyers argued how much of the take belongs to them. Despite no demonstrated necessity, therapists are crawling out of the woodwork. And parents all too anxious to turn their children over to them.
Therapists don’t get paid to find nothing. They are handsomely rewarded to uncover trauma that requires long sessions of treatment. Guess what they would find, trauma or no trauma? The kid can’t win. If he or she says they aren’t freaked out, they are in ‘denial’ and must be repressing their true feelings.
The children were zoned out when the sexual abuse happened, the child underneath was, in effect, not there at all. Instead of observing the student, then deciding if there was a need, therapy begins first. Now that the kids is in therapy, they must need it, right? Notice the circularity.
Bucket-loads of therapy and drugs reinforce parent’s foregone conclusions. That flurry of mania won’t help the child, but it would make mommy feel better….and God knows, that’s what’s important.
“Do you think some of the parents will take a deep breath before rushing to therapists? ”
Janah, “Very few. There’s more money if there’s demonstrated injury. This is a chance to turn your kid into a money pump. I’m certain many of the children will become professional victims. Plus, they’ll have a handy excuse for all their future bad behavior. A victim’s get out of jail free card.”
Amaya, “I had a handy excuse, my own parents pimped me out. I should make more mileage out of it. Let’s see, what kind of personality disorder can I get?”
Nikko, “The kind that makes you study hard, be responsible for yourself and useful to your family.”
Amaya, “I’m a teenager. Personal responsibility is not normal behavior for a teenager, so I suppose it qualifies as a disorder.”
“My kind of logic.”
Amaya, “See, Red Queen understands me.”
Nikko, “Daphne’s personality disorder is her firm belief that both you and she are perfect in every way.”
“How can a fact be a personality disorder?”
Janah and Amaya giggle, Janah says, “Nishiko, I’m glad you are here to keep them in line. I can’t imagine the heights of self glorification they would ascend to without you.”
Nikko, “It was challenging enough with only Mistress, now there’s Miss Priss. Too bad for them, Japanese girl always rises to the challenge. Samurai has many secret tricks, and friends in high places. Nishiko does not recognize royalty.”
Amaya and I cry simultaneously, “Off with her head!!!”
Janah roars, even the implacable Nikko gets a hint of a smile. Amaya kisses me. I show her she can’t manipulate me so easily, I kiss her back.
Nikko, “She twists you around her little finger, Queen of manipulation.”
“I beg to differ. Manipulation is pointless. She already knows I’m going to give her whatever she wants. Her kisses aren’t manipulative, they’re, um… advance gratitude. Anyone can be thankful for what they’ve already got. It takes a complex insightful personality to demonstrate thankfulness before the gift.”
Amaya jumps on Nikko’s lap, nestles her head into Nikko’s neck, “And I am most grateful to my samurai mother, who watches over all of us.”
Nikko says nothing, but her eyes are moist. I feel Janah’s joy, her girls and her precious ward are so much more than common blood relatives. One might have an obligation to relatives, but obligation is neither compassion nor concern. Janah and I aren’t clear on exactly what love is, but we know what it isn’t. We steer away from the term except in the most superficial sense, ‘I love chocolate’ or “I love to shop with Amaya.’ Raising a chemical response in the brain to the level of overarching spiritual experience strikes us as an opportunity to emotionally manipulate. A Hallmark card of no substance or meaning.
We finish a forgettable movie, then make preparations for bed. Janah and Nikko are starting to cuddle and play, I come out of the bathroom, Amaya is at our door. She takes my hand and I follow her to her bedroom.
Amaya, “Janah is occupied with Nishiko. I want you with me tonight.”
I lay next to her and turn out the light, there is only the soft glow of a nightlight. She scoots in next to me, on her back. Lying on my side, I put my arm under her head so it can rest on my shoulder. I kiss her forehead, then her cheek. She pulls my leg over her like she’d seen me do with Janah at night.
Amaya, “Now I know why Janah feels so secure, wrapped up. Do you think she will mind me stealing you?”
“No, Janah and I are one no matter where we are. Besides, right at this moment, she’s fully absorbed in being Nishiko’s toy. I doubt I’ll be on the radar.”
Amaya doesn’t say anything, I feel her scrunch in closer and soon after feel her go slack in sleep.
We awake later than usual, hadn’t changed position all night. For some reason unexplained, we drop into unconscious motionless-ness when we sleep together. I feel her stir, I get up and do bathroom necessities, Amaya comes in while I’m brushing my teeth. After wake up needs, she brushes her teeth, and I run the shower. We climb in, wash each other’s hair and lather up, rinse and dry. Amaya chatters about her upcoming school performance. She tells me details, not so much to talk it over with me, rather to talk it out loud to herself. I’m the sounding board. I dry her hair, brush it to a nice sheen, then she does mine.
Amaya straddles me, “I suppose we ought to get dressed, but, first, you may kiss me,” I do, her lips soft, her tongue licks mine in the exchange.
“I have to get something from my closet. First, I’ll get a shirt for you.”
I take a nicely worn soft cotton t-shirt off a hanger and put it on her, it’s long enough to be a short skirt. She sits on the edge of the bed while I fetch a pair of clogs, kneel, and before I slip them on, she raises her foot and runs her toe along my lip, she giggles and pushes it in my mouth. I roll my tongue around it, make her laugh. I slip on her shoe, and we repeat with her other foot.
She pulls her toe from my mouth, “Feels good.”
She turns, I follow her to my bedroom to find something for me to put on. Janah and Nikko are still out. Must have been an interesting night, toys are scattered. Amaya picks up one that’s still humming and flips the switch off. Some snug short cotton shorts and a half t-shirt later, I’m in the kitchen making coffee and tea. Amaya is beside me, her arm around my waist. She’s five seven now, I see maybe another inch by next year. Slim, not skinny slim, her warm, hard thigh pressed against mine.
I pour coffee, we sit at the table, enjoying the silence of the morning and each other.
I feel Janah in me, You know she has you at her mercy?
It’s not a problem, I volunteered, I wasn’t conscripted.
Janah, She needs that. If she didn’t she wouldn’t have asserted herself. She adores you, but she has to adore you and be in charge at the same time. Lucky for her, you are you. Dealing with contradiction is second nature. You are contradiction. She likely understands that intuitively.
Well, enough heavy thought. This will unfold as it will, like everything else we do.
Janah and Nikko break off to shower, Amaya says, “You were talking us over with Janah and Nikko, yes?”
“Everyone is delighted. You must know by now dear one, whatever happens in our family is okay with the family. You can’t do it wrong.”
Amaya comes and sits straddled on my lap, her arms around me, face in my neck. I feel her silent tears. She holds me tight, I stroke her head, kiss her ear, then her soft cheeks, her smooth forehead, her perfect nose. I kiss her tears.