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Senator Kindle placed a baseball cap onto Violet’s head as they approached the safe house. “Violet, I need you to keep your head down. The blindfold is too obvious if you don’t. I’m going to help you out of the car. We’re going to go into a house. There is a tunnel. We’re going to go through it and get into another vehicle.”

Violet took a deep breath. “Okay.”

The car stopped, and Violet listened as the car doors began opening, including hers. She heard the trunk open as bags were pulled out. She bowed her head as low as she could as the Senator quickly guided her from the car to a house’s open door. She could hear people whispering and suitcases being wheeled over tile. She continued to walk as the opening to the tunnel slowly was pulled open. The Senator and another person helped her descent the metal rails and stairs. She moved slowly.

Violet heard people breathing as they quickly walked through the tunnel. She didn’t know how many people were assisting them, but there were more than two. She could smell the musty smell that brought back childhood memories of her and Delilah escaping danger. This brought her some anxiety. In through the nose, out through the mouth, Violet kept telling herself to breathe in a pattern. In through the nose, out through the mouth. She was the only one of her kind that she knew had panic attacks. She had her pills if she needed them, but she didn’t want to need them, so she breathed in sync as she hurried through the tunnel. It was taking a long time to walk through the tunnel, but they finally reached the end.

“Violet. There’s another set of stairs. We’re going to help you climb them. Just one step at a time.” Senator Kindle and one of the sympathizers helped her up the steps and into the open air. Violet could smell the country air and hear the birds singing. Tree branches were rustling in the breeze. A hand reached down to help lift her. She pulled herself up and put her head down as the hand that helped her out of the tunnel guided her to a waiting car.

Violet could hear Senator Kindle thanking the group that had just assisted them. She could hear the bags being loaded into the trunk. She felt the seats were different. They were fabric, unlike the leather seats in the prior vehicle. Senator Kindle sat in the seat next to her and buckled them both in. The car began to drive away. Violet could tell by the smell of this car that it was older. The engine rode rougher. The shifting of the gears grinded. They must be in an older vehicle, she concluded. The ride was extremely bumpy, and Violet guessed that they were taking back roads. The Senator sat in silence, but Violet could tell by her breathing that the Senator was experiencing some anxiety herself.

“In through your nose, out through your mouth.” Violet broke the silence.

Senator Kindle was now the one confused. “What?”

“Your breathing. It’s rapid. You need to calm your breathing. Take a long inhale through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth.” Violet responded. “Like this.” Violet began the process to show the Senator.

The Senator watched Violet in amazement that this was Violet’s focus. The Senator slowly mimicked Violet’s breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. It worked. They both sat in the back of what was seemingly an old beater as they both focused on their breathing. The remainder of the ride was coping skills and a bumpy ride through the countryside. The car slowed down and came to a stop. The process repeated. Doors opening, trunk opening, another house, another tunnel, another car.

This tunnel was much longer. In fact, it was so long that Violet assumed that they had walked at least a few miles. It was then that Violet realized the Senator must have changed clothes or shoes at some point because she no longer heard the click of her high heels. They took a few breaks along the way. They drank water on occasion. This was a much longer day than Violet had envisioned. She hadn’t been sure what to expect but at no time had she expected this kind of security. Most of the journey had been in silence with only instructions spoken. If Violet hadn’t known better, she might have just agreed to her own kidnapping. But that thought came and went quickly. Senator Kindle would never allow that. Or at least Violet hoped she wouldn’t.

As they entered the vehicle after a long journey through the tunnel, Violet noticed the unmistakable street traffic sounds in the distance. They were no longer in the rural countryside. She sat in the car and again noticed a change in the interior. This car smelled new, and she again felt the softness of the leather. The bags had been loaded in the trunk, the car doors had been shut, but Senator Kindle was not next to her. Violet’s anxiety rose as the car pulled away with her inside.

“Senator Kindle?” Violet said as she reached for her blindfold in panic.

“I’m right here, Violet.” Senator Kindle assured her from the driver’s seat.

Violet lowered her hand, not having moved the blindfold. “Why are you driving?”

“Because no one can know where we’re going. I need you to keep your head down, Okay?” The Senator asked.

“Okay.” Violet again lowered her head. “Are we almost there?”

“Yes. Thank you, Violet. I know I’ve asked a lot of you today. I appreciate your willingness. I really do. Like I said, this is very important to me. I could lose more than you know if we’re found out. And I can’t afford to lose this.” The Senator’s voice was somewhat remorseful.

Violet understood. “Okay. I trust you.”

Violet and Senator Kindle drove in silence. They were both nervous about what they were doing. Senator Kindle knew what they were about to do, and she was more nervous than Violet. Her heart raced as she tried desperately to use her new-found coping skill. She was a strong lady, but this was not like debating other senators or passing bills through the Senate. She could do that in her sleep. This was personal to her. She had protected this her whole life. But she knew that she had to do it. She just didn’t want to.

The car slowed and took a left. It drove slowly as it made its way up a long driveway surrounded by rows of well-established trees. As the car drove, a majestic mansion began to appear behind the acres of trees and foliage. Senator Kindle pulled up to an attached six-car garage and pulled the vehicle in, and shut the door. Violet sat in the darkness as the Senator explained that she would be right back.

Senator Kindle entered the house and was met by many people who were excited and nervous to see her. Senator Kindle explained that she would be keeping Violet blindfolded as they went through the house and into the room. Some were disappointed that they wouldn’t be able to see the violet eyes, but they knew why. Senator Kindle wanted to keep all involved safe. Violet didn’t need to know who these people were any more than she needed to know where they were.

Senator Kindle and a few others entered the garage. Violet could hear the bags being pulled from the trunk and taken into the house. Senator Kindle unbuckled the seatbelt. She knelt next to Violet and explained that she would be taken into the house and brought into a room where the blindfold would be removed. Violet was extremely nervous, and Senator Kindle was in no position to make her feel any better. They were both exceptionally vulnerable, and they both knew it.

As they entered the house, Violet could hear people moving about and whispering. As Senator Kindle guided Violet up the long staircase, she heard a man say to the Senator that the bags were in the room. The Senator continued guiding Violet up the stairs and then down a hallway. The Senator stopped as they approached a door. The Senator hesitated for a few minutes.

“Is everything okay?” Violet asked.

“Yeah.” The Senator responded as she took a deep breath and proceeded to open the door.

Senator Kindle walked Violet into a room and shut and locked the door. She approached Violet but did not reach out to her.

With a deep breath and a lot of courage, the Senator finally spoke as Violet stood in the center of the room with her baseball cap and blindfold. “Violet, you can take off the blindfold now.” Senator Kindles voice quivered.

Violet slowly reached up and removed the cap and then the blindfold. She opened her eyes and blinked quickly as her eyes adjusted to the light. She could tell she was standing in a large bedroom. She could make out a grand ornamental bed. She looked over at Senator Kindle and found that she had been right. Senator Kindle was in different clothes and shoes, but she too had on a baseball cap with a wig underneath. Violet stared at the Senator for a time while her vision came into focus. Violet looked around the room and noticed the grand furniture and magnificent décor.

The view from the large window was spectacular, but she noticed that the windows had a covering. She walked over to the window and touched it. She concluded that this was a film over the panes of glass that allowed them to see out, but no one could see in. As she stared out the window at the spectacular view, she realized that her anxiety was gone, just like that. She felt a sense of peace that she hadn’t felt in a long time. She had no worry or insecurity. No doubt was allowed into her heart or mind. Suddenly, she realized that there was only one reason for this type of calm and peace. There was a Prohibited in the room.

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