A/N: This took a while to finish because I am tired and i’m also struggling with school. Writing helps me unleash all my anger and stress. Hope you enjoyed this!
Chapter Two: Werin Prep
“Ms.Janat, your children have shown excellent intelligence on their ACE tests. They are well above their grade level.” My principal said to my mother.
“Are you...serious? Is this a good thing?”
He smiles, “Very good. You’re daughter is extremely refined in historical, literal, and artistic subjects while your son is refined in the same things. We believe that they do not have a place here.”
My mothers smile falters.
“What do you mean?”
He pushes a pamplhet in front of her.
“We contacted Werin Prepatory Academy. They are the number Prep academy in the world right now. ” His smile grows, “And they will gladly accept your children. Ms.janat, this is a once in a life time oppurtunity. Tuition paid. Books and fee’s paid. Uniform paid for. Board paid for. If you allow them to go, any university in the world will accept them.”
“What is board?”
“Oh well the cost for living on campus.”
My mother was over portective. After my father left us, my mother and I grew even closer than ever. Our bond was inseperable.
So sending us away to this school was her nightmare.
“Oh, and do not worry, Werin Prep is in DC. In fact I believe it is only 20 minutes away. You will see each other on weekends and holidays.”
This made her ease better.
“Well I suppose if this really good for their future...” She swallows, “I think I will send them there.”
“You won’t regret this Ms.janat. I promise.”
I wish she sent me anywhere but that school.
Werin Prep lived up to it’s name more than people thought it did.
The incident with the girl made me shiver as I thought about it.
It reminded me of the horrors they showed us at Werin Prep. All those young souls scarred for eternity.
"At Werin we strive for excellence. Yes, yo may feel down at times. There may be things one excels at while another doesn't. However, it's possible for you to reach that level. Don't tell me you can't do it. You can. " The Director walked around, intimidating us with her tall form.
"Today you will undergo a physical test. It will basically text what your physical limits are. We will then use those scores to determine how to break those limits." She stopped right in front of me, "Because only God knows what you are capable of, and only you can break the boundaries he set up for you.
“Ms.Shriki, I have a few questions I hope you don’t mind answering some questions.” A police officer asked me.
I was back home, sitting on my couch.
“Of course, Officer.”
“How did you first figure out what was going on? ”
“Well, I was going away to throw my hot cocoa when I heard...voices.” I take a deep breath.
It hurt me, mentally and physically to remember this.
" An olders mans voice talking harsly to a little girl. I heard him say that if she didn’t...” I coughed. The words didn’t want to come out of my mouth.
“It’s ok miss. Take your time.”
After regaining my thoughts I keep on going.
“Saying crude things. Concerning things. Things that indicated he was using her and those other girls. So I followed her into the bathroom, called my mother and told her to hide the girl when she came to the car, then the police. I gave the girl my scarf and jacket so she could sneak to my mothers car and hide. Then...yeah.”
The officer was taking detailed notes.
“Well thank you so much Ms.Shriki. You have done a lot. As I am sure someone has told you, you will be contacted by reporters and news outlets and such. We will assign you a publicist who will help you through this. Have a lovely afternoon.” The officer gets up to leave and I am relieved.
And then stops and turns, “By the way I would really like to know what program you used to learn russian. The guy can’t speak a single cent of proper English.”
I feel my body drain out of everything.
“Uhh…my cousin is Russian and well his Arabic isn’t that great so I had force myself to learn Arabic. “
“Ok, thank you again and have a lovely day.”
After he leaves I let out a sigh of relief.
“ Hbiba come and eat.” My mother comes from the kitchen, apron still on.
I get and go to eat, and find my uncles, aunts, brother, cousin and grandma all surrounding the table.
“Sit here love.” My grandmother pats the seat next to her. I sat down and felt her kiss my cheek.
“How are you doing hbiba?” My aunt asks, “Your poor baby.”
“Fine, I guess. Just tired.” I smile as I take a piece of bread and tear off a piece.
“I think we all can agree that we’re happy you’re at here with us.” Uncle Hakim smiled weakly at me. My heart broke seeing him. It’s been a year and a half since his children and my other cousins had died in a cruise ship accident. Or whatever story the government was trying to feed us. I only hoped his trip to DC would bring us all some closure.
Otherwise I was going to hunt some people down.
“Well come on, this food is going to get cold.” Aunt Seran says as she sits down with my mother.
In front of me is a plate of roasted chicken with mrka, fries, and green olives. I take my piece of bread and start to eat.
All of lunch was silent. No one talked and all you could hear was the slight movement of people chewing. I found comfort in this though. It’s been a long time since I had seen a lot of my family members, and a while since we ate together. Sure the circumstances weren't well but at least some of us were together.
After eating I tried helping my mother clean, but my aunts all insisted I just go up to my room. I agreed because fighting with Moroccan women was not going to end well. My cousin Leila and I go up to my room and watch whatever we could find on cable.
“I swear I need to give you my Netflix and Hulu account, you have literally nothing on your TV.” She sighs as kicks her leg up.
“This isn’t my TV. My mother just moved it here until she would finish redocrating her bedroom.” I lay my head on shoulders as I flip through the channels.
“OH! Girl!” She gasp as she gets up. Letting my head fall on the floor. “Sam Hennings tweeted about you! And William!”
I grab her phone faster than I’ve ever tried grabbing the last piece of dumplings on the table.
I screech, “OH MY GOD” It was true! Two of my favorite actors and singers had tweeted about me! I fall on my bed and stare at the tweet.
I felt like a teenager again.
Leila snatches her phone and starts to type quickly on her phone.
“This is huge!” She cries, “I mean you catching that bastard was huge but this is a close second!”
“There.” She grins, “ I tweeted back to them.
I’m still recovering from the news.
“Honestly girl you’re just on fire. Give me some of your luck.” Leila says as she flops on my bed. I wanted to laugh at her statement.
She did not want any of my luck. Any of it.
In this world there are things I love and things I hate.
I love reading books.
I hate annoying, tabloid, thirsty, “reporters” who were trying to get a juicy story out of me. It was like they had no dignity. No sense of the world. Only that the “people needed to be informed”.
I’m trying to go to the police station when a hoard of “reporters” come lounging at me.
“MS.SHRIKI! WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE RECENt ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY FOR THE TERRORIST ATTACK IN PARIS?”
“MS.SHRIKI, DID YOU REALLY SEDUCE THE GUY BEFORE TAKING HIM DOWN?”
My mouth is agape.
Where the hell did they get these kinds of stories? I mean honestly, it was like they pulled them out of some “Free Idea” box. That was just filled with the most uncecessary of horrendous gossip.
“Ms.Shriki will not be speaking to any of you. The case is still going on and she is not allowed to speak about it. Thank you.” I hear someone from behind yell at the reporters. A well-dressed woman was walking towards me, determination in her eyes, “Ms.Shriki come with me.”
Without a word I follow her into the station, while the press still talked on behind me.
“My name is Marie-Lee Jenkins. I’m a lawyer for the upcoming trial on Sali Samkov.” The woman who bailed me out spoke as I sat in the chiefs office.
“And I have to do with this because…?”
She sits on the desk, “Honey, you just captured a man who the FBI has been hunting down for the last 10 years. He’s the owner of the largest sex trafficking ring in the world along with multiple crimes you couldn’t possibly fathom.” And then she comes up right to my face, “You have everything to do with this.”
My body goes numb.
No matter how much I had been taught, there was still so much I didn’t learn. My entire life I’d been given scenario’s. If’s and And’s and But’s.
I just never knew it would reach me one day.
This was not a scenario it was real life.
“ Ms.Shriki, you must realize he is a powerful man. Extremely powerful. His supporters and very loyal and now that he’s down, they will try to get revenge. Do anything to get their leader back. And you will be in danger. “ The Chief of Police said, “Which is why instead of working with us now, you will be working alongside the FBI.”
Since when did I agree to work with the police? MUCH LESS THE FUCKING FBI?
“Uh….” My heard turns to the door, which flags open and in struts a man who’s face has been making headlines since the day Mason Hunt got elected President.
FBI Director Madison Henley.
Oh lord please save me! I’m glued to my chair, eyes on the man.
“Ms.Shriki it’s pleasure to meet you.”
Am I supposed to shake his hand? IS that what you do when someone with a lot of power comes up to you?
What was going on?
“Honey if you’re going to be shown in the press you have to do more than oogle at anyone you meet.” Marie takes my hand and clasps it with Madison Henley.
He laughs, “I thought all Werin Prep students were cold, hearted maniacs but I guess she’s the exception.”
At the mention of the torture chamber my eyes widen, “You’ve met Werin Prep students?” Maybe he did. I couldn’t remember. This was too much for me.
“Well considering that all their graduates get a job in the Political field, it would be a shame to not have met any.”
He was young.
Young for an FBI director anyways.
At age 34 he served in the US Air Force for 4 years right after graduating from MIT, he was a police officer for his and his mother’s hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and worked as an FBI agent up until the election of Mason Hunt.
I’m meeting a fucking National hero.
“Right. We all do.” Look at me. At age 21 I’m jobless and doing great!
I just need a few guys to ask for my hand and I’ll be complete.
“That’s why I’m here. To ask you about a job offer.” You’re joking, right?
A job offer?
“I have zero experience in the work field besides working at a Walmart and interning at a radio station. Are you sure?”
“Your self esteem is very low. Are you sure she went to Werin Prep?” The chief asked.
“Graduated top of her class. She’s their best.” Marie has an unbreakable look on her face, determined to turn me into whatever she was thinking.
“She sure does a good job of hiding it then.” He snorted.
“Anyways, I’m asking you to work alongside the FBI. Obviously we have to get you through training, but I’m positive you’ll be great for the job.”
“Why exactly?” I cross my arms, still not comprehending the madness.
“I’ve seen what you are capable of. I’ve seen your talents.”
“I’m muslim. I wear a hijab. Asking me to work with you is asking for a death sentence. Especially if our glorious emperor is Mason Hunt.” It wasn’t that I didn’t want to work with the FBI, but the world was so messed up that if I worked there things would erupt.
“So? You’re an American citizen. You grew up here in Washington D.C. You even spent two years in the US Navy but had to leave due to familial problems. You not only love your country but you care for your family. I’m sure any decent human will see that.”
This man knew way to much about me.
“How do you know about me being in the Navy?” I could see the Chief looking at me in admiration.
“My brother is in the Navy. And it made quite the news that a woman wearing a scarf was in the Navy. Not to mention outranked many other soldiers.” He looks straight into my eyes.
My god this was not good.
“This is good. This very good.” Marie says, “You’re a veteran. A US veteran. You graduated from the most prestigious and frankly hard to get into Werin Preparatory Academy. You went to Georgetown University and left with a degree in Computer Science. The people will love this!”
“Are you her lawyer or publicist?” The Chief looked a little lost.
“Both. The poor girl can barely stand on her own two feet.” Marie looks at me hard, “I have to help her.”
“Can we just stop for a second?” I yell, “I came here firstly to ask about the girl who I want to help. Can I please just get the address of her current foster home?”
“Oh, right.” The chief hands me a slip of paper, “He left this for you. She’s doing fine by the way. She;s now enrolled in school if that intrests you. Her cousin also came from Hong Kong today. He never knew she was alive and well…”
I felt a little relieved.
“Does she remember him?”
“She does. The two act like brother and sister. I think…he may want to take her back to Hong Kong. His mother, her aunt, was searching for her since the day she disappeared.”
“Is she happy?”
“She is. And we looked into the family, the Father/Uncle well,” The chief looks up, “Is the ambassador of the US to China.”
My jaw drops.
The ambassador was the president’s brother.
A few years back a story came out about a Senator’s daughter being kidnapped.
“You mean she’s…she’s….” I can barely form a sentence.
“That little girl is Mary Chang-Hunt. Daughter of President Mason Hunt.”
That poor girl. Holy shit that poor girl.
“So, let me get this straight. He married a Filipina-Chinese woman and they had a daughter. They divorced but he kept in contact. Then the mother died. Of murder. So he sent her to the Philipines to live with her Grandmother because it was dangerous for her here. He paid for her school, clothing, anything she needed. Then she was kidnapped….oh my fuck. “This was revenge plot!”
“Most likely.” Madison shrugs.
“How come no one knows about this?”
“Oh, they will. It’s only a matter of time before reporters start to realize the similarities in the two stories.”
“She’s not at the police officer’s house, is she?” I really kept on thinking this was a dream.
“No. She is at the White House. Once we discovered who she was, it was ordered that she be put under special protection.” Madison sighed, “The poor girl looked overwhelmed.”
“That poor girl was tortured because someone hated her father. Ugh. Those assholes.” I plant my head into my hands.
Imagine your mother dying because someone murdered her, then out of love your father has to send you away to live with your grandmother in a different country, you live well until you’re kidnapped and forced to do sexual acts because someone hated your father.
Because your father angered people.
Because he was a freaking asshole.
“Can I see her, at least?”
“Oh you will. In fact you’re the only person she’s willing to talk to. She refuses to talk to anyone else.” I felt a little special.
She wanted to talk to me.
“So we will talk about the job offer later. I want to go see her. I can’t get of the sick feeling in my stomach.”
“That’s probably the medicine talking. You got quite the concussion.” Marie says as she starts to fix my clothing, “Ugh go you not have anything that screams dull?”
“No. I’m broke. I can only afford thrift shop clothes.”
She looks at me in horror, “Oh my god we need to get you clothes. These won’t do it.”
“Don’t worry about the money. I’ll handle it. “ She forces me up and fixes my scarf, “Now you can at least go out without being too horrendous.”
“Are you a fashion critic now?” I really can’t decide what she is.
“I graduated with a double degree in Fashion Design and went on to Law School, and picked up Communications along the way.” That's what I call...yeah I have nothing.
I look at the FBI director, “SO are we leaving or what?”
“Good question. I’m tired of being puddled up in here.” He claps his hands, “Let’s go.”
Secret Service was.
The Secret Service was here.
“Uhhh, I thought only the President and his family got you guys.” I look at them in awe.
“Well you have to be under protection for a few reason. You’re in danger. You saved the President’s daughter. He asked that they protect you. And it’s not just the president it’s members of his Cabinet. Technically, Marie is one. And she already has her own body guards so they have been assigned to you.” The Chief opened the door to the limo for me.
Did it really work this way?
“For how long?”
“Until the threat dies down.”
As we pile into the car, I’m met with two guards, both unfazed. The drive was very awkward.
But my knee could not stop moving up and down.
I was going to the White House.
Too many things were happening all at once I now believe I’m dreaming. I just hope whoever is taking care of me doesn’t try to kill me.
My phone rings.
While everyone stares at me, I answer her.
“Allo Mama. How are you?”
“Well hbiba. You? I just saw you coming out of the office on the news.”
“Tired. Hungry. But I’m going to the White House. I got a job offer. I’m-“
“Going to the White House.”
“OH LORD! Are you serious?”
“Dead. You wanna know why?’
“Yes you crazy girl! Going over to that republican son of a bitch!”
“The girl I rescued, the one in your car, is his long lost daughter.”
She stops. I can’t even hear her breath.
“She’s in shock sweetheart. Call her in a little bit. We have to calm her down.” I could hear Uncle Hakim’s voice now.
“Ok. Tell everyone I love them. Bislamah.”
I end the call and put the phone back into my pocket, only to find everyone still staring at me.
“What language was that?” The Chief asks.
“Derija. I’m Moroccan, if you hadn’t noticed.”
“But it also sounded like French at some points.”
“French is our second language. We mix it in with Derija. But the language already has many different origins so I mean…”
“I find it fascinating.” I raise my eyebrows at Madison.
“ Yes. As a native Spanish speaker myself I love hearing all sorts of languages and how they sound. “
“Wow. Inspiring.” Marie rolls her eyes, “Because all languages are so interesting.” I knew she was French.
I suddenly hear words that can’t pass through my brain.
“We’re here. Be careful, there are a lot of paparazzi. Don’t do anything stupid.” Marie whispers as we get out.
My anxiety then shoots up, wrapping me in fear.
I try to walk unfazed like the guards.
“Come with us Ms.Shriki.” One of them said, noticing my pale face and stumble. I’m escorted into the White House, while the camera’s flash behind me.
I loved seeing all the stars from the President’s staff. Just great.
Yeah, it was totally normall for these republicans to see a Muslim-Hijabi walking through the white house with the FBI director, a lawyer, and some guards.
“I assume you are Ms.Fatima Shriki?” An older man said as we approached another side of the wing.
“Follow me please.”
This part of the White House seemed more comfy and less stiff. Basically it looked more like a home.
I see Mary sitting on a couch, until she eyes me then starts running towards me.
“Ah, you came!” She hugs me tightly.
“Of course I came. Why wouldn’t I?” I hug her back.
“I don’t know.” She sniffles in a cry, “But you helped me get away from that monster. You helped me and those other girls.”
I hug her for a little bit before separating.
“Now I understand you don’t want to talk?” I say as we sit on the couch.
“It’s not that, it’s just, I can’t remember how to speak English. For so many years I’d only spoken Russian and my Grandmother raised me in a rural area of the Philippines so the only languages I know are Cantonese, Russian, and Tagalog. I know it, I just can’t form sentences.”
“And your cousin he knows Cantonese?”
“Well, his mother is from Hong Kong. And he lives there so I mean…”
“I understand.” I take in a breath, “Would you mind asking some questions if I translated? I promise nothing bad will happen to you.”
She looks at the floor for a bit, “Ok. But I don’t want you to leave my side, please. I’m…I’m…” I could see her tears form and again I pull her into a hug.
Though she was rescued, her soul wasn’t.
“He asked you what your full name is.”
“Mary Win-Hei Chang-Hunt.” She’s trembling, but able to keep composure.
“ Good. Now when did they kidnap you?”
For the rest of the hour, they ask her simple questions, not going into any details that could severely bring up bad memories.
“Thank you Ms.Hunt. I’m glad you’re safe now.” Madison steps in and smiles at Mary.
“Your welcome, Mr.Henley.” She grins.
“Since when did you become English all of a sudden?” I ask.
“I’m a weird person. I spent a few years in the outskirts of London. I picked up an accent because that was the only way of English I heard at the time. And as the kind gentlemen was asking me questions, I remembered how to speak.”
I did not believe it.
No way could she remember the entire English conversation from the guy asking questions
But I didn’t press it further.
“Well for now, the President wants to meet you. He’s been waiting for you all day.” The man who escorted us said.
“Holy shit. “ I blurt out as we walk to the Oval Office.
The Oval Office.
“Are you sure they’ll let me in?” I whimper as we walk through the halls. Already I was getting strange stares from the staff here.
“Yes, I am in charge of you so please don’t do anything stupid.” The man said as we reach a guarded door.
I had actually, literally, dreamt about this. All those moments watching TV shows, watching the news, and reading books; could not amount to the what I felt when the doors opened.
It was like the doors to heaven opened. (oK not that amazing.)
I don’t know why but I always had a fascination about the Oval Office. There was something so…amazing about it.
“Welcome, to the Oval Office.” Mary clung to me as we walked in. And at the desk, sat President Mason Hunt.
President Hunt was shorter than he appeared on TV.
That was the first thing I noticed when he got up to hug his daughter.
“I missed you so much Mary, so, so much.” I just couldn’t speak. She hugged him back, crying as well.
After an awkward 5 minutes, he releases Mary from the hug.
I could tell it was hard for him, but he said it to me anyways.
“Thank you. Thank you so much for reuniting me with my daughter Ms.Shriki.”
“No Problem Mr.President. I was only doing what I knew was right.”
He nods, unsure of what to say next.
“We would actually like to speak to you about a few things Ms.Shriki. Would you mind?” A man dressed in what looked like to be a General’s Uniform.
“Of course sir.”
“Mr.President, if you don’t mind.”
“Oh right.” President Hunt looked at his daughter, “I’ll be back in a bit Mary, just stay here. Is that ok?” She nods.
Though I hated President Hunt and his morals, he seemed to really care for his daughter.
They take me to an even more guarded room, with chairs and a table. Yay.
“Please sit Ms.Shriki.” The press secretary said, motioning the chair in front of me. So I sit.
“Now, we ask you to keep this meeting quiet.” The general said.
“Of course.What is this about?” Shit. Don’t tell me they wanna label me as a terrorist or something!
“Well you know, we’ve looked into your history and were very impressed with what we have seen.” Another lady pulled out a file, “You attended Werin Prepatory Academy and graduated top of you class. I”ve heard about that school, and my god…” She looks aat me in awe, “You are an extremely talented and intelligent being Ms.Shriki. You even went on to serve in the US Navy after University.”
“Thank you Ms….” I was beyond flattered. Honestly when I got compliments like these it was like every bad things I had done flushed down the toilet.
“Thank you Ms.Jacobi. Really, it’s not that big of a deal.” Of course it was. To my mother anyways. Her dream was to always get me up there, and now it seemed like I had a chance. An actual chance.
“Of course it is. Generally, and not to be rude, but muslim women aren’t known to be very involved with American Politics.” I wonder why, “And so an Army Veteran like you who has immense experience in the Political field like you and graduated from the top Military-oriented Academy in the world, while going to Georgetown, it shows a lot about your patriotism.”
“So this meeting has to do with…?”
Madison speaks up, “As you know and experienced, Werin Prep was not a normal school by world-wide standards. I’m sure you’ve heard of BlueBird890.”
My lungs seemed to have closed up and my brain freezes.
“Yes.” What the hell.
Why did I say that? How does he know about BlueBird?
BlueBird890 was one of the most dangerous and highly classified mission in the history of man. Before today, only 7 people knew of it’s existence.
And I was one of them.
“What about it?”
Madison looks uncomfortably at me, “Well, firstly, do you know what happened on the case?”
I blink, “No, i’m not allowed to speak about the case.” I was starting to feel uncomfortable. The air in the room started to thin out.
How could he know? How?
My fingers curled around the armrest, turning white.
He shows me a piece of paper, “Director Jules told me about the case. It doesn’t just belong to Werin anymore, it belongs to the FBI.”
“Why?” Werin cases are mutually exclusive to only Werin.
The General looks at me, “Because we discovered that there is another copy of the item you retrieved that night.”
Something lodges in my throat. What was told about the item was that it had the potentially to destroy to world. It had secrets so dark that we would plunge into a war of chaos and not leave a trace of humanity behind. If that information was leaked, it was the end of it all.
“What!?” I scream. It echoed throughout the room.
President Hunt steps in, “Now we can all agree that this is dangerous-“
“Dangerous?” I laugh, “Dangerous? No, Mr.President. Dangerous can’t even begin to describe what is on that file. NO. That information is lethal. It is the cancer of all dark, compelling secrets.” I couldn’t believe I just talked back to the President.
On the other hand, I was freaking out. As he looked at me in disbelief.
“Do you know anything about the information?” Madison looks at me willingly.
I shake my head, “No. Nothing. But I saw enough to know that the item we retrieved, was too much of a hellhole to discover. It killed people. Made them go insane. My only job was to make sure no idiot got ahold of it and unleashed Pandora’s Box.”
“Well then, I see.”
“So tell me, how did you get word? Was it Jules?”
“No. I can’t discuss this any further right now.”
“Are you serious? Do you understand severity of this situation?” I get up and I could hear my voice getting louder.
“I do Ms.Shriki.And I was told to not discuss it until the entire team met up.”
“Team?” What the fuck.
He smiles at me, “This is the job offer I was talking to you about.”
“Wait…what are you talking about?”
President Hunt gets up, “Ms.Shriki, I’ve decided to open up a task force that would help find this item. One that would potentially save the world,” He hands me a badge, “Welcome to Medusa Task Force, agent.”