Posts tagged “Disguise

Sanctuary, Chapter 20

Posted on 20/07/2017

To Karen’s surprise, Petra shuttered her surprise and turned her placid expression to the supervisor, nodding in understanding. Karen snuck a look at Ashon who looked equally perturbed. He caught her gaze and gave her an imperceptible nod that did nothing to calm her frazzled nerves.

Then the supervisor turned to Ashon and spoke to him in her native tongue. Petra didn’t make eye contact with Karen, instead inspecting the children on the bed.

Ashon cleared his throat, seeking Karen’s attention once more. “I will step out for a bit. She needs my help elsewhere…” he looked apologetic for leaving her, but Karen nodded, grateful that he was leaving with the children. She’d find a way to manage Petra.

The moment he stepped out with the supervisor, Petra’s accusing glare fixed on her. Holding up both hands, Karen moved slowly toward her. “Escúchame, se lo puedo explicar.”

Shaking her head, Petra took a step back and another until her back brushed against the flap of the tent.

Karen gritted her teeth and reached for Petra’s hand. “Listen to me!”

Petra wrenched her arm from Karen’s hold and jolted from the tent, yelling out in Spanish. “Ladrona!

“I am not a thief—” Karen paused from exiting the tent, glancing once at the children who still sat unperturbed by the chaos erupting around them. She squatted in front of them. “Don’t worry. I’ll be right back. I prom—”

The flap of the tent whipped back and two women stepped inside the tent. One of them was the supervisor, and the other was Alice from HopeWell. Immediately recognizing the woman she’d abandoned to die, Alice gasped and pointed a finger at Karen. “Get her!”

Karen straightened and moved to the other edge of the tent just as a man stepped inside the tent. Ducking out through the other side, Karen limped past the adjoining tents on a twisted ankle.

The voices of Petra and Alice trailed her as she hurried as quickly as she could toward the bushes where she’d parked Ashon’s car. Stumbling over her own two feet, Karen landed on her sore knees and palms. Gritted her teeth to keep from crying out, she struggled to stand.

“Stop her!”

Ladrona!”

Karen pushed to her feet and started limping toward the bushes. Her injured ankle gave way and she dropped to the floor in pain.

Rushing feet thundered behind her, no doubt Alice’s army of bad guys pursing her. Karen attempted to stand, but the weight on her ankle would be too much. She lowered to her hands and keens and crawled to a nearby bush, hiding behind it.

The men hurried past the bush, a gasping Alice trailing slowly behind them while roaring directives to catch her or else!

Karen shifted her weight and a sharp pain shot up her right leg. She slapped a hand to her mouth to muffle the cry. Tears gathered in her eyes and she sagged against the bush, wishing it would all be over soon.

Then a hand dropped on her shoulder. Karen yelped, only to have the other hand clap over her mouth. Thinking it was Ashon who had come to rescue her, Karen’s gaze darted to the shadowed form over her shoulder.  Her eyes widened at the stranger that held her captive.

“Scream and we both get caught.”

The familiar yet unfamiliar tone made her freeze. The cry died in her throat as she sought out the shadowed features of the man who seemed familiar yet not.

He sighed at her silence. “Can you stand?”

Rushing footsteps thundered past them again and both she and the man stiffened. “Where is she?” Alice demanded angrily. “She can’t be too far from here. Find her now.”

Heartbeat racing violently, Karen swallowed in despair. Either way, she was done for.

The steps moved away as Alice and her henchmen searched the surrounding area. Alice sighed heavily. “What is it, Petra? Do you see something?”

Rustling sounded just a few feet away and alarm shot through Karen. That pesky girl was searching the bushes. The stranger gripped Karen’s shoulder. “On my mark,” he whispered near her ear. “Run toward the hut to the left.”

She nodded, not knowing what else to do. If Petra caught them, it would be the end. She’d rather take her chances with this unexpected savior.

“One,” he said in a whisper. The rustling stopped and Karen held her breath.

“Go!”

His firm command was said in a whisper and Karen didn’t hesitate; half-crawling, half-walking toward the hut he’d specified. She didn’t know if he was following or if Petra had caught on, she could only hear her racing pulse in her ears, eyes focused on the shadowed hut up ahead.

Within seconds, Karen stumbled inside the open portal and rolled onto her back, gasping for air.

Before she could catch her breath, two hands grabbed her by the shoulders and hauled her to stand. Adrenaline pumping, Karen kicked and punched at the darkness, fists meeting their target.

The man growled and Karen wasted no time, kicking the shadow before she hurried toward the exit. Except his arm swooped around her waist and lifted her off her feet. She didn’t have time to elbow him when he shoved her face forward against the wall, imprisoning her between the wall and his hard frame.

She wriggled, attempting with all her might to go free. His grip around her waist only tightened, cutting off circulation to her diaphragm.

“You’ll get us both killed!” the man whispered fiercely. “Stop it, Karen!”

She froze.

“I have half the mind to choke you,” he growled. “What are you doing here?!”

Karen’s pulse thumped loudly in her ears. That voice.

“If I knew you were gonna be involved in this mess, I would have never helped you. Never cared to.”

That voice. So familiar yet how could it be? Why would he be here?

“Do you have any idea how worried I was about you? I could just strangle you right now.”

Except the man behind that voice would never utter such horrid words. Karen balled her fists. “Let me go or I’ll kick you where the sun don’t shine.”

“Shut up,” he growled, shoving her against the wall. “You have some nerve acting like you’re in control.”

“Who are you?” Karen demanded, hoping against hope it wasn’t who she thought he was. There was no way he’d be in this God-forsaken place, with these horrible people. She drove her elbow against his gut and once his grip on her waist loosened, she swiveled about to see the face of her captor.

He grabbed her shoulders, pushing her against the wall to hold her in place. “I swear, Karen, I’m not joking. If you wanna die, die on your own. Don’t get me involved.”

He couldn’t be Ashon, who insisted on calling her Missi. And no one else knew her in this foreign land. Except…

The moonlight peeked in from a small window on the opposite end of the hut. Karen had to move him there first and confirm her fears. She raised her knee to him and he buckled, releasing her shoulders to shield himself from her attack. Karen shoved him toward the light, watching intently as he stumbled to the floor.

Breath baited, she squinted at the form of the man crouched under the moonlight beam. The salt-and-pepper wig lay askance on his head but his face was in plain view. Clement Teka crouched before her, anger and pain etched in his handsome features.

She dropped to the floor and gaped at him. “What… what are you doing here?”

“I could ask you the same thing.” He grimaced, lowering himself on the floor.

Karen shook her head in disbelief. There was no way he was here. “Why? Why are you here?”

He scowled darkly. “I asked you first.”

“No you didn’t—”

Someone called out in the distance and Karen stiffened. Clement’s gaze moved to the window and he shifted, grimacing in pain as he edged away from the light. Karen squinted at his form in the shadows, still unable to comprehend his presence here. He wore a suit a size too big, the shoulders a bit too saggy and the material bulking about his midsection.

It was then she realized that he was the man who offered a hand to help her stand just outside the Quarantine tent. Anger surged within and she glared at him. “I want an answer.”

“Yeah, when you give me yours first.” He shifted, his foot scraping the dirt floor. “Imagine my horror seeing you in this horrible place. Do you have any idea how dangerous, not to talk of how illegal this is?”

Karen scoffed. “You’re one to talk. Are you selling or buying?” His silence made her stomach turn and Karen shifted away from him. “You make me sick.”

“The feeling is mutual, Fraud. Do your folks know this is how you’re using your nursing degree?”

She scowled. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me. How can you go against your nurse’s oath and drug children for auction like they are property? Do you have no shame at all?”

Karen gasped incredulously. “I am not—you’re the one parading as a pastor while buying children. You’re the biggest fraud there is, you lying jerk!”

Voices and thundering footsteps sounded just outside the hut, and both froze.

“Come here.”

Karen scowled at the softly-spoken directive. “I rather not.”

“If you don’t want to get found out, come here now.”

“I said no—” she yelped when he reached out and grabbed her hand, yanking her into the shadows with him. She landed on his chest and immediately struggled to be let go, but to no avail. Clement’s arms tightened about her, holding her close to his chest.

“Did you see them?” Alice demanded just outside the tent. “I want her found now, you hear me? No one leaves the camp until she is found.” She huffed in frustration, her footsteps hurrying off into the distance.

As silence fell as the voices softened in the distance, and Karen wriggled in Clement’s arms.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Clement warned in a stiff voice. “I’m still hurting here…”

Karen’s face warmed and she pushed against his chest. “Serves you right.”

Clement quickly loosened his hold on her. And as she quickly stepped out of his arms, he groaned and slowly raised himself to sit up. “Why are they chasing you?”

She adjusted the veil about her shoulders. “Because I can’t mind my business.”

“And what business are you minding?”

Karen frowned at his shadowed figure. She couldn’t reconcile the kind-hearted pastor who prayed for her weeks ago at the Houston International Airport with this stranger. But here he was within arm’s reach…

“Karen.”

She swallowed hard and averted her gaze. But if he was indeed evil, he just saved her from Alice and her henchmen. Why would he do that if he was working with them?

“Karen!”

His firm tone pulled back her attention and she sighed deeply. “I was attempting to steal children from here.”

“What…?”

She inched closer to the door, preparing to bolt in case he changed his mind about hiding. “You heard me.”

“I don’t think I did.” He shifted also, his feet scraping the floor. “You’re not here to sell children?”

Karen snorted in disgust. “God forbid. I wouldn’t have traveled fourteen hours and survived a near-death experience just to help these monsters sell innocent lives.”

“… You’re crazier than I thought.”

Karen frowned, not understanding the awe in his tone or the smile in his voice. “Excuse me?”

“Let me get this straight,” Clement said, raising himself to a crouching position. “You didn’t board your flight nor answer my million calls because you were on your way here to rescue some children?”

“Some children?” she echoed derisively. “I can’t sit back and watch these innocent kids get sold…”

Clement blew out a harsh breath. “Oh man.”

“What?” She frowned as he sat back down. “Did I just put a hitch in your despicable scheme?”

“Karen, be quiet for a second. Let me think.”

Karen scowled but remained silent, though disappointed Clement wasn’t the man she’d thought him to be.

He sighed. “If what you’re saying is true—”

“I don’t lie.”

“Hang on. If what you’re telling me is true, and I’m starting to believe it is, then we need to work together.”

“Yeah right.” She scoffed. “How do I know this isn’t a trap?”

“If it was a trap, Karen, you’d have been found out a long time ago. Listen, I’m here for the same reason as yours.” He scooted into the light, eyes fixed on her. And if there was any doubt that this man was Clement, he dragged the wig off his head and dragged a hand over his face, removing the smudges underneath his eyes and his forehead.

Karen’s jaw slackened, her gaze sweeping over the man before her. “You’re undercover?!”

<<Chapter 19 || Chapter 21>>

Sanctuary, Chapter 19

Posted on 19/07/2017

Although he was a pastor meant to love all mankind, Clement wished to wring the necks of those responsible for drugging these children. They were barely conscious, their heads hanging as they tried to stand upright.

“You’re on a roll today,” Mrs. Badri said excitedly. “Although I expected nothing less.”

He refrained from rolling his eyes at the fake applause and watched the worker escort the purchased child to the shadowed edge of the stage. He could afford a few more children before his cash ran out.

A gong sounded and a hush fell over the crowd.  Mahmoud glanced once at Mrs. Badri who nodded her silent consent. He then faced the bidders. “For our brief intercession, our hostess has graciously provided refreshments in the chapel. We will reconvene here in twenty minutes.”

Murmurs sounded around the room, and people started toward the door with Mahmoud leading the way.

“Good show! I’ve worked up an appetite!” exclaimed one of Mrs. Badri’s guests. He and the other three men who stuck close to Mrs. Badri’s side now trailed after him out to the chapel for food and drinks.

Instead of joining them, Clement turned to Mrs. Badri with a question. “Could I see the children?”

“Of course.” She flashed that annoying leering smile. “Anxious to inspect them yourself?”

He shrugged. “Gotta see what I bought.”

“My team has properly inspected each one before the auction, Mr. Legesse.”

“I meant no harm, Mrs. Badri. I am not questioning your thoroughness. Just curious to see them.”

Mrs. Badri waved off his attempt at an apology. “I understand. Let’s go out this way. It’ll be quicker than moving through the crowd. I imagine they’d want to interrogate you on your bank account.” She gestured to another door near the back of the stage.

Fluttering in his gut was the only sign of Clement’s anxiety. He maintained a placid expression and followed Mrs. Badri, aware of the silent giant that trailed behind them.

They walked down the narrow hallway onto a sloping ramp and out through the back of the church. People were everywhere, bustling about as if it was a common marketplace. Voices of mostly adults, barking orders and yelling across the pitched tents muffled the crickets’ refrain that usually accompanied the East night air.

The area was dimly lit, with only lanterns and torchlights for inspection and illumination.

Evil abounds in darkness, Clement thought ruefully as he followed Mrs. Badri down the ramp to the field.

The silent giant bumped Clement’s shoulder as he walked past him to stand before Mrs. Badri. She spoke in Arabic and he nodded before walking ahead of them toward one of the tents. Then Mrs. Badri turned to Clement with a roguish smile. “I sent him off to locate your wares while we talk privately.”

“Privately… about what?”

“What’s your angle, Austin Legesse? You are either starting a manufacturing facility with child workers or something more personal.” She tilted her head, studying him under the dim lighting. “What are you up to?”

Clement arched a brow. “I thought I mentioned this already but it seems you still won’t let it go. Must I disclose my plans for the… cargo?”

Her raised brow mirrored his. “Well you did but that was before we got close. Wasn’t your former translator privy to your plans? Won’t you at least humor me with some details?”

He held back a scoff and paused as if contemplating whether to divulge his intentions. Then Clement sighed. “You caught me.”

Both her brows lifted. “I did.”

“You did.” He forced a rueful expression. “It’s hard to meet the bottom line if I have to pay my workers fairly… Children don’t have that problem.”

Mrs. Badri chuckled low, the sound making Clement’s stomach turn. “You’re a bad man, Mr. Legesse.”

Takes one to know one. Clement rubbed his cheek. “It’s just business, Mrs. Badri.”

Her eyes followed the movement of his hands and her brow furrowed. “Mr. Legesse?”

“Hmm?”

Her gaze lifted to his own. “Did you perhaps have surgery since our last encounter?”

Clement stilled. “Pardon?”

She tapped the side of her cheek. “I remember you had a striking feature here but now it’s gone.”

The mole! Clement bit back a curse and placed a hand over the spot she’d pointed to. He let out a soft laugh. “I did… been meaning to get one for a while now—”

“Why did you?” Mrs. Badri interjected. “It was one of your many charming qualities.”

Her leery stare made every part of his body itch. Nonetheless, Clement forced a smirk. “Thanks, I guess.”

“You’re very welcome, I guess.” Mrs. Badri giggled and turned toward the path her bodyguard had taken.

Clement made a retching face behind her back and quickly rearranged his expression as Mrs. Badri turned to address him. “Hmm?”

“Why don’t we take a tour of the facility now that you’re here? You can see what your money is used for.”

He would rather just see to the children’s safety and return to the auction hall to finish the job. Instead, he nodded and followed Mrs. Badri down the ramp to the first table on their left.

“This is the receiving line,” Mrs. Badri began. “Here we receive the shipments. The organizations that partner with us receive a percentage for receipt of delivery. Then we send them the remainder once the auction sales are complete.” She accepted a clipboard from the worker and scanned it. “Hmm, looks like HopeWell from Nairobi has just arrived with the remainder of our inventory.”

Alarm rang in Clement’s head as she handed the clipboard back to the worker. He refrained from reaching for it and followed Mrs. Badri to the next station. “Did you say Nairobi?”

Mrs. Badri paused in step and glanced his way. “I did. Have you been there?”

Clement nodded. “Of course…” He frowned, immediately thinking of Karen.

“I predict you’ll want to bid on them too. That look in your eye is telling, Mr. Austin.” She laughed and continued her stroll to the next station.

Shoving down his concern for Karen, Clement followed her. “May I ask you a question?”

“Yes, of course.” Mrs. Badri passed the station where children were being stripped down from their old, dirty clothes and fitted with the auction uniform; a simple white t-shirt and shorts.

“Why do you do this? Isn’t it risky?”

Mrs. Badri paused again and looked back at him. “Isn’t it risky for you also, buying child labor?”

Clement shrugged. “It’s good for my bottom line.”

She regarded him for a brief moment and then smiled. “Then you should understand why I do it.” She continued walking. “I’m answering a need that no one wants to admit they have. For various reasons, parents can’t take care of their children and sell them off to orphanages who can’t function in overcapacity. Then there are people, like yourself Austin, who have needs and will pay whatever it takes to have it answered. For some like you, it’s as simple as cheap or free labor. For some, it’s companionship or the long-awaited desire for a child of their own. For some, it’s a darker kind of need… nonetheless, it’s a need that must be met at all costs.”

Clement bunched his fists. “And you sleep well at night, knowing you’d fulfilled that need.”

“Sleeping pills are a small price to pay for the returns.” Mrs. Badri paused once more and scanned the field. “It isn’t the mainstream way to do business, but I’m not operating a business… it’s a charity.”

He would give anything to shut her up, wishing he’d never asked. Her twisted way of thinking was beyond comprehension; not that evil made any sense. Clement turned his face to look anywhere but at her. His eyes fell on a tent labeled ‘Quarantine’.

“We have located your cargo. Would you like a peek before we head back inside?”

Clement nodded, unable to form a word. With a heavy heart, he silently followed Mrs. Badri to meet her bodyguard standing outside one of the many tents in the field.

Karen was a bundle of nervous energy. She couldn’t stop her hands from shaking and was thankful that Ashon currently occupied the supervisor’s attention with him acting as translator on Karen’s behalf. Once he’d received full instructions, he gave Karen a thumbs up sign when the supervisor turned to face her.

“You,” the supervisor said, gesturing at the children slouched on top of the medical cot. Then pointed to her eyes. “Look well.”

Karen held up a hand, pressing her thumb and index finger together. “Sure thing.”

The supervisor frowned and turned to Ashon who smiled. “She said yes.”

With a wary glance at Karen and the children, the supervisor finally exited the tent. Karen waited for Ashon to check that she’d left and once he returned, she hurried to his side. “What’d she say?”

“That you should just watch them and do nothing until the nurse comes.”

Karen’s shoulders sagged with relief. She would not be party to the drugging of these innocent children. Her eyes moved over their sleepy faces and then back at Ashon. “So what’s the plan?”

Ashon looked back at her. “We transport them to the cab.”

Although this is what they’d planned for, her heart skipped a beat. Karen bit her bottom lip. “How though? She’ll notice if they are missing…”

“Not if we constantly replenish the children here.” Ashon placed both hands on his hips. “I watched the flow of things. The children arrive and are inspected. There are some sent immediately to the auction, but some are sent here to Quarantine for closer inspection.”

Karen gasped. “So as we bring some in, we take some out.”

Ashon nodded. “We take turns leaving the tent so it is not obvious that we are entering and leaving the camp. As I go out to the cab with some, you will bring the new ones in.”

“That could work if we get the timing right.”

“One child at a time will be easier. They are small enough to transport.” Both Ashon and Karen regarded the small children, thin and worn from their ordeal. Then Ashon turned to Karen, brows raised. “Ready?”

She drew in a breath to calm her nerves and looking down at the children bereft of hope, she sighed deeply. “Let’s do this.”

Ashon nodded. “I’ll go first.” He moved slowly to the cot where the four children sat listelessly. Crouching down, he placed his hands on one of their knees. To Karen’s dismay, the child didn’t even flinch and stared over Ashon’s head.

Karen clucked her tongue. “I bet that drug is supposed to keep them docile throughout the auction.” She swallowed the bitterness in her mouth. “It might work for our benefit though.”

“You are right.” Ashon turned and presented his back to the child. “Missi, help me put him on my back.”

Once Karen secured the child’s thin arms about Ashon’s neck, she stepped back as Ashon stood to his full height and turned to face her. “Be careful,” she said, eying the child who leaned his cheek against Ashon’s ear. Heart aching, Karen smoothed a hand over the boy’s warm cheek.

Ashon nodded. “I will be back soon.”

Karen watched the flap of the tent drop back in place as Ashon exited stealthily. She moved to the other three boys and squatted in front of them. She gave them a smile they wouldn’t respond to. One of them was probably the same age as her nephew, and her eyes grew teary.

Sniffing the tears back, she placed a hand on his knee while her gaze moved over each one of them. “We’re gonna save every single one of you. I promise you that.”

The flap of the tent opened and Ashon emerged, breathless. Alarmed, Karen quickly rose to her feet.

“It’s fine. I found a shortcut to the cab.” He grinned and moved quickly to the bed. “You go now. I’ll wait here.”

She wanted to ask how he’d ensured the child would stay in the car but didn’t want to waste time. So she adjusted the veil around her face and moved to the edge of the tent.

“Missi,” Ashon stopped her and smiled when she turned about.

“Hmm?”

“Everything will be fine.”

Karen managed a nod though her stomach was in tangled knots.

“Go and come back.”

She drew in a breath and exited the tent into the open field. Releasing it slowly, her eyes scanned the camp and settled on a table a few feet away. A man-woman pair inspected boys and girls from head to toe. She straightened her shoulders and started across the path to the station.

The woman glanced up, frowning at the newcomer. Straightening, she regarded Karen in her garb and then over her shoulder. She asked something in the native tongue Karen didn’t understand.

Karen nodded, jerking a thumb in the direction of the tent.

The woman glanced over her shoulder and back at Karen, then nodded and nudged the girl into her arms. Without another glance, she gestured to the line of children awaiting inspection.

Karen gripped the girl’s shoulders and guided her around, her heart racing as they walked toward the tent.

Ashon was already piggybacking one of the boys, awaiting Karen’s return. He sighed with relief when Karen and the little girl entered the tent. “I was beginning to worry.”

“I’ll be quicker next time,” Karen promised, gulping air as she led the girl to perch on the bed. She noted the children barely registered their fellow mates, the drug overcoming all sense of their surroundings.

By the third time Ashon emerged from outside, Karen was ready. Tucking the loose ends of the veil under her chin, she hurried past Ashon. Outside she glanced around her and crossed the path toward the inspection station. The man-woman pair didn’t even give her a moment’s glance, passing her yet another mild-mannered child. She squeezed the boy’s shoulders and steered him toward the tent. So determined she was to get back in time and too distracted to see the three people walking right into her path. Grabbing the boy before he fell on his face, Karen landed wrongly on her right ankle and dropped to the floor, the boy toppling on her. She hissed in pain and frustration, having delayed Ashon for a time they couldn’t afford.

“Are you alright?”

Karen stiffened at the American male voice above her head and peered up. A man held out a hand to her. She squinted at the unfamiliar face of the man with salt-and-pepper hair. Hesitating only a moment, she ignored his hand and slowly helped herself up.

The man lifted the boy to stand and Karen seized the boy’s hand, tugging him toward the tent.

“Excuse me, your veil…”

Karen bit back a curse and slowly turned to retrieve the veil. “Thank you,” she mumbled, snatching it from his hand. Without looking up at the man, she ushered the boy toward the tent.

Clement felt like the wind was knocked out of him and he gaped at the fleeting figure of Karen Wells leading a young drugged boy toward the tent labeled “Quarantine”. He couldn’t breathe.

Mrs. Badri clucked her tongue. “Our twenty minutes are up, Austin. We should get back to the chapel.”

His feet wouldn’t move, his eyes fixed on the tent Karen had entered. Air swirled loudly in his ears and he couldn’t hear a word Mrs. Badri had spoken, questions swarming his mind.

Why would Karen be here, disguised as a local? And why would someone like her be part of this horrid operation? Could this be the real scheme behind her sabbatical?

Shock morphed to indignation. Anger fueled the energy to his feet and he started after her, except Mrs. Badri’s hand grabbed his arm, preventing his advance. “What?” He growled at her.

She blinked in surprise and her grip loosened. “I said it’s time to head back for the auction.”

Realizing he was still the abominable Mr. Austin Legesse, Clement’s scowl eased away. “Oh… right.”

Mrs. Badri eyed him askance. “Ready to go?”

“Yes.” Clement shrugged her hand away and pocketed his fists. “Let’s go.” He gestured with his chin for her to lead the way and once she turned toward the church, he turned a glare in the direction of the tent. One way or another, he was going to find Karen and demand an explanation for her presence here.

“I don’t think we can take any more,” Ashon finally said the dreaded words. A knot appeared between his brow and he looked down at the four children. “I have four already and that leaves no space for you.”

Karen shook her head. “Go without me for now.”

He looked at her as if she’d grown a second head. “Are you crazy? I can’t leave you here.”

“Just for now. I’ll find a way to hide the next five until you return…”

Voices sounded just outside the tent and both Ashon and Karen froze. The flap of the tent lifted and the supervisor returned with a woman in tow.

Karen gasped sharply, recognizing the woman instantly. It was Petra from HopeWell!

At the audible gasp, the young woman looked at Karen and squinted at her disguise. Then her eyes widened in recognition. They’d been found out!

<<Chapter 18 || Chapter 20>>

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