Protective Custody

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I was throwing the blowout party of the school year, over 200 people, all sons and daughters of the most rich and famous people were there.  People would be talking about me and my party for years to come.  I (Angie) was 16, and my sister (Ruby) was 14, and tonight the was all about us and the best party any of us had ever seen.

My mom and dad are both powerful lawyers, so we lived a luxurious lifestyle.  I was proudly showing off the new 3-Series BMW I had just got for my birthday, and making the rounds by the pool and hot tub.  Music flowed from the DJ my parents had paid for, only to be disturbed by 2 helicopters that seemed to fly right over the house repeatedly.

I had gone back into the house to make sure there was still plenty of food laid out, when one of my girlfriends called out to me…”Hey Angie…There’s like a hundred cops circling your house.” Frustrated, I reply…”Probably that old guy next door filed a noise complaint.” I walk towards the front door, and I see 4 rather large gentlemen.  I can read on their jackets “US Marshals Service”

“Mam, I’m Agent Reese with the Marshals Service.  Are you Angie Jenkins?”  Confused, I tell him that yes, I am Angie Jenkins.  “Mam, I’m here to take you, and your sister into protective custody.”  Just then 4 different agents walk in from the patio door, my sister along with them.  The agent spoke again…”I need the two of you to come with us right now.”  I try to protest…”Could I at least put some clothes on?  All I’m wearing is this bikini and wrap.”  He reaches out and grabbed my arm…”We’ll see what we can do, but I need the both of you in the van right away.”  We are both led to a windowless van, and quickly put in the back.  My sister and I just shrug our shoulders, still totally in the dark about what is going on.

Sitting in the van, we hear the agents yelling at everyone that they have to clear the premises.  Minutes later I am mortified as I here dozens of people filing out past the van, each one of them talking loudly about how completely lame this party was.  I start to cry, knowing my reputation is forever damaged, and trying to imagine what I’m going to say to everyone next Monday.

We sat in the van for what must have been an hour, or more.  The agents had taken our phones and smart watches, saying something about tracking us.  Just when I was about to start pounding on the doors, they opened.  Agent Reese handed us a bag of clothes to put on, well it was just a t-shirt and pair of sweat pants for each of us…””Put these on, then I have something for you to see”

It was now after midnight, and the air of the Pacific had gotten cold.  We both pulled the pants on over our bikini’s, more on the fact that we were cold than wanting to ever be seen in them.  Agent Reese, and a female agent sat in the van with us, handing us a tablet…”I have something for you to watch.  I know you’re confused, but this will explain everything.”

A video begins to play.  It’s our parents, sitting at a bench.  The only thing I really see is they are both dressed in some kind of orange jumpsuits, and wearing handcuffs…”Angie, Ruby, You both need to listen closely.  Your mother and I have done some bad things, and we are not going to be there for you for a while.”  Now both of them are crying…”We have been charged with over 100 counts of Conspiracy and Money Laundering.”  Now my sister and I begin to cry.

“We’re working on a deal to turn over evidence against some of our clients, in hopes that we can avoid going to prison.  The only problem is two of the clients run the some of the biggest drug cartels in the country.”  Now I start to feel shame as I find out our whole lifestyle has been bought with drug money.  “Your mother and I want you to know we love you both, and your safety is most important to us.”  I look at agent Reese…”The drug cartel will try to silence us once they find out we have been arrested, so, to keep the two of you safe,  I have asked them to put the two of you into hiding.”

My sister and I hold hands as the tears are flowing even harder now…”Mom and I will not be told where they are taking you, but, we have been assured that it’s someplace that the cartel’s will never find you.”  It’s the most important thing to us that you go where they tell you, and do exactly what they tell you to do, no matter what it is.  We will do our best to be with you real soon.  We love the two of you more than you could ever imagine.”

With that the video ends.  I ask the agent why we can’t go stay with relatives, and he quickly explains that we would not be safe at any one that our family knows.  The van starts and begins to pull away..”Can we at least pack some our stuff to have with us?  The van passes our front gate and agent Reese smiles at us…”Don’t worry.  I know the safest place for the two of you to stay.  They’ll have everything you’re ever going to need.”  My sister and I wipe the tears from our faces, feeling a little more safe as we ride for several more miles.

We drive for miles, never seeing exactly where we are going, but I can tell by what I am hearing, we are going to an airport.  When we finally stop, we a taken from the van.  I can tell right away that this isn’t a regular airport, but a military base.  We were put onto a transport plane, and with agent Reese and the female agent, the plane is quickly rolling.

I try to ask where they are taking us, but agent Reese is tight lipped about where it is we’re heading…”We’ll be airborne for a few hours, so why don’t the two of you get some sleep.”  I thought he was being funny.  As amped up as I was, I didn’t think I would sleep for a week.  It was nearly three hours later when we touched down.

It was the middle of the night, but I could see we were at another military base.  To my surprise, all of the planes had Canadian flags painted on them.  I asked the agents…”Why are we in Canada?”  The only response was to not ask about where we’re going.  We were then led to another van, identical to the first one.  “Not another van ride.”  As the words came out of my mouth, agent Reese grabbed my arm, moving me quickly inside…”Get comfortable.  You’ve got another three hours before we get there.”

After about an hour of driving, I begin to notice that there is less and less light coming in from the front windows of the van.  I assume we are heading to a rural area.  My only thoughts are…’Oh God.  They better not put on some smelly farm.’  Then, after three and a half hours, we pull to a stop.  I can see a large iron gate, and walls along the front of the property.  Agent Reese steps from the van, and disappears from our view.  Returning to the van, he directs the van to pull into the compound when the gate opens.  He gives my sister and I a quick smile…”Sorry it took so long.  They had to wake up the people who will handle your intake.  They are usually not awake until 5 am.”

We are escorted from the van into the building.  My sister and I are sitting with the female agent, still not sure of where we were.  After about 10 minutes the doors open, and agent Reese comes out followed by an old woman in a nuns outfit.  Before they had a chance to speak to us I turned to my sister and sarcastically said “Oh great they sent us to Catholic school.”  The old nun moved swiftly in front of us…”Young lady.  You need to learn some manners., and no, this is not a Catholic School”  I started to ask where we were, but was stopped before I started to talk…”You will learn to speak only when spoken to.”

Agent Reese then told the female agent that they could head out…”The papers have all been signed.  The two of you are now officially wards of the church, Mother Mary William is your legal guardian now.”  Agent Reese smiled as they headed for the door…”I wish the two of you well.”  As soon as the door closed we were direct to move into another room…”Thru the next door, so the sisters can get you changed out.”  We were both still totally confused as to where we were, but once in the next room we were surrounded by a group of 5 other nuns.  “All right quickly now, off with those city clothes.”

Once we took the sweatshirts and pants, we were left standing in our skimpy bikinis.  The old nun saw this and commented…”That will be the last time in your life you dress like that.”  We were then pulled down onto a wooden chair, and one of the nuns begins hacking away at my sisters hair.  I start to open my mouth to complain, but was quickly silenced…” As postulants, you will keep your hair as short as needed, until the time comes for you to submit it to Christ.”  My sister’s hair is now cut straight across just below her ears, and she now has bangs barely an inch long.  Their attention turns to me and I start to ball my eyes out as it falls to the floor.  “You can say goodbye to your long hair for the last time”  I become very angry as the younger nuns were now pulling new clothes onto each of us, white underpants (You definitely couldn’t call them panties), black socks, and a long white tunic.  “You can’t keep us here…I want to call my family”  The old nun silenced my thoughts right there “We are a cloistered order, so there are no phones, or computers, or any contact with the outside world.”

Mother Mary William now has a more strict tone…”Young ladies.  I am your legal guardian now, so, as far as that is concerned, I am your only family.”  She directed the younger nuns to continue, and they started to pull a tight fitting item over our heads…”This will help you become more modest.”  I looked at my sister and was really feeling sorry for her.  She was still so young and couldn’t understand what was happening to us.  They then place another collar around our heads that hung down below our covered necks.  Finally a white cloth was placed on our heads, hanging down our backs

“Okay sisters, lets move.  Prayers start in 10 minutes.”  We were then led to a chapel with about 20 other nuns and for the next 3 hours they held prayers.  The only thing I could pray for was my parents coming thru the door to take us from here.  After prayers we were taken back to see Mother Mary William.  She started to tell us what our duties would be every day, besides the 12 hours of prayer that happened every day.  I had already heard enough of what she had to say and blurted out “I am nearly 18, so you can’t keep me here forever.”  “Someone needs to learn how we are expected to act.  There will be punishments if you continue to act like this.”  My sister sat quietly as the old woman spoke “Sister’s you will have completed the work towards your vows long before your eighteenth birthday’s, so you can both expect to be living here from now on.”

The following month’s we were indoctrinated heavily into the order, but my mind was always on where our parent’s were now, and when they were going to come for us.  For my sister it was a little easier, she had barely reached puberty, so hadn’t yet experienced any type of sexual relationship, but I had had dated a couple of boys from school and was certainly missing everything that went with that.

The year dragged by as I never really agreed with what had happened to us, and I still watched the door every day, hoping that I would see my mother and father  I was going to turn 18 in just four month’s, and had begun to count down the days until I able to walk out the front gate as an adult.  I hadn’t at first thought about what I would do about my little sister, she was still just 16 now, so she couldn’t just leave when i did.

It was just two month’s before my birthday when my sister came to me and told me that she was going to take the first of her three vows.  I told her that I still intended to leave once I turned 18, and I could tell she felt like I was abandoning her.  This now put me in a difficult place.  I wanted to leave here as soon as I could, but I struggled with the thought of letting my sister down.

That week, I watched with pride as my young sister made the first of her vow’s.  I realized that she had become more mature about everything that had happened to us than I had.  She was still just a young girl, but was making a choice that would the rest of her life.  I, on the other hand, was still watching the door, always looking for a way out.

I soon agreed to take my first vow, still uncertain what I was going to do.  After I had taken my vow of poverty my sister came to me, and told me how much it would mean to her if we took our next vows together.  We both took our vows of  chastity soon after that, with me still thinking hard about what I was giving up as I spoke the vow.

It was now just five days before my 18th birthday, and I was still not sure of what I was going to do.  The next morning Mother Mary William came up to us after morning prayers and my sister and I were informed that our final vows would be given this Sunday.   I began to remind her that I was turning 18, but she didn’t seem to care.  “The two of you will take your final vows in a ceremony just after noon prayers.”

I knew that this was done purposely so it happened before I was 18.  She would be my legal guardian for two more days, and like she told us the day we arrived, we would finish our vows before I became an adult.  For some reason this almost made me feel like I had no other choice.  I finally realized that no one was coming for us, and even if I left on my birthday, I had no where to go, and no money.

It was just before three o’clock when the noon prayers were dismissed.  The vow ceremonies began, and I watched with tears in my eyes as my sister didn’t hesitate to take her final vow of obedience.  I began to realize that she would never experience all that is was to be a woman, never being with a man or the experience of childbirth.   Once the vow had been given her hair was then sacrificed in exchange for her commitment, allowing her to eliminate all ties to our former life.  As they ran the hand clippers over her head, leaving just the faintest bit of hair, I knew that that would also be the last time she would have even the least amount of femininity as the rules of the order would require it to be kept at that length.

It was then my turn to complete my vows.  It was the first time since we arrived that I felt like I was doing the right thing.  I thought about our parents as I said the vow, knowing that I would never know what happened to them, but at least my sister and I would be together here for the rest of our lives.  My hair was falling fast, and like my sister, I was saying goodbye to the last of my beauty for the rest of my life.

My sister and I were now dressed in our new black habits.  As we turned to walk out of the chapel I see Agent Reese in the last row.  It was the first time in 2 years that we have seen someone from outside the walls of the convent.  He congratulated us on taking our vows, and when I asked why he was there, I was not prepared for what he said…”I was sent by your parents…They have a new life now and have been aware of your progress for the last 8 month’s.”  I was suddenly excited, thinking that we would soon be reunited.  “Did they send you to take us to them?”  My sister then started to speak up…”I’ve taken my vows, and, I am committed to staying here.”  I was again at a crossroads, feeling obligated to stay with my sister, but, still feeling the pull of my old life.

I was about to tell Agent Reese that I wanted to go back to my parents, but as he realized what I was about to say, he stopped me.  “Your parents couldn’t be any more proud of you, and they specifically said if either of you had decided to give your vows, then I was not tell you where they were now.”  He then congratulated us and headed out the door.  That was 10 years ago, and the only thing that ever changed was that I haven’t looked at that gate ever since.

 

 

2 responses to “Protective Custody

  1. Very interesting plot. I like this, although i did find myself hoping that Angie at least might escape the convent. Her devotion to her sister and the brutal conditioning that these religious orders employ made sure that she stayed, and stayed celibate, humble and penitent.
    Claire

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