I sat down behind the desk. My desk, the one that I had handpicked. Every President gets to pick out the desk that they work behind. I liked mine, a sturdy oak desk. Plenty of drawers, a large working space for all the things that I wanted to do as the latest POTUS.
I breathed deep the smell of the freshly cleaned carpet and upholstery cleaner. Hmmm. Starting something new. Something fresh. Something powerful and life changing. That had been what I ran my whole campaign on and now it was time to start delivering.
I slid my chair back so I could grab a pen and legal pad. Time to prioritize the madness of the day. Who really needs my time and attention right now? I pulled the top drawer open, discovering no pen or paper. Instead there was an envelope, addressed to me.
To the New President
I didn’t touch it, only stared at it. Confused, I called to my assistant.
“Marilyn, did someone leave me a letter? Clinton or her husband, they didn’t drop something off?”
She poked her head through the door, glasses almost falling off. “No, Mr. President, nothing. Were you expecting something?”
“No, no. That’s alright. Thank you Marilyn.”
As she closed the door, my eyes darted back to the open drawer and the mystery envelope. Who left this for me? How did they get it into my desk, without anyone noticing? I hesitantly picked it up. Was it safe? Was this a terrorist attack? Was Anthrax still a threat? To my surprise, it was heavy. There was something in there, more than a letter for sure.
I opened it quickly, trying to end the suspense. I had stuff to do. I was responsible for so much now. I didn’t have time for this kind of foolishness. I was the President of the United States of America.
The content of the envelope slid out onto the desk. I was right, there was more than just a letter. A old brass key clunked against the wood, while a small note gently fell. I snatched the note up quickly.
Greetings Mr. President. Please report immediately to the lower basement for training by your superiors.
Superiors? What lower basement?
I dropped the note and picked up the key. It was old, not a modern key by any stretch. But there were markings on it as if it had been used recently.
I looked back at the note. Had this key been used by the former president? What about the one before that?
I almost gave Marilyn a heartache when I poked my head out of the Oval Office and into hers.
“Oh my, Mr. President, you frightened me.”
“Sorry about that. I just had a question. Umm, you’re sure no one left anything for me? They didn’t’ drop something off in Office for me?”
“No. Like I said Mr. President. No one has dropped off anything.”
This didn’t make sense. “Alright, thank you Marilyn….” I slowly started to slip back into the office, when I had another thought.
“One more thing Marilyn, how do I get to the lower basement?”
Marilyn had given me the strangest look when I asked that. She said that there was only the one, based on her knowledge. Unless there is something the Government doesn’t want me to know. She laughed about it, while I mustered a smirk for her. This note and strange key had me rattled.
Who were these superiors that were going to train me? Who could be superior to the Master and Chief to the largest army in the world? What would they want me to do?
The elevator dinged, announcing that I had arrived at the basement.
The door opened, and I cautiously stepped out. As soon as my foot hit the floor, the entire place light up. I was blinded momentarily, but it was nothing sinister. The lights were motion activated. Probably an energy saving move by the previous administration.
I started to walk around. There weren’t any Superiors that I could see. A lot of boxes from the move to the White House. A furnace and hot water tank in one corner. The Great White House Christmas Tree in another. I stopped when I reached the middle of the basement.
This was ridiculous. What was I even looking for? It wasn’t like there was a door somewhere here that would take me to the Superiors. And why did I care? I was the President. I could do whatever I wanted. I didn’t answer to anyone.
I pulled the note from my pocket, crumbled it up, and threw it into the old packing boxes. Screw the Superiors. I reached for the key. I began to pull it out, when it got stuck. I looked down. What had it gotten snagged on in my pocket.
There, in the floor, was a lock. An old, brass lock to a cement door.
I slowly made my way down the cold stone steps. The door to this lower basement may have been cement, but as I continued I realized that there was an older structure below the White House. How long ago was it built, I couldn’t even imagine. But I continued going down.
There was a strange blue light at the bottom fo the stairs. I continued towards it. As I set foot on the floor, i realized that the light didn’t shine out. It only shone in this one spot. Should I keep going? Should I see how far this basement goes? What if it doesn’t go anywhere?
Something inside me urged me to speak, so into the black I asked, “Are you there? You Superiors?”
I expected an echo, but my voice died as soon as it left my lips. I was starting to worry about what I had walked into. Sweat started to bead on my brow.
“Hello? Is anyone there? I got your message.”
Still silence from the black.
“Welcome, Mr. President. We were expecting you.”
Read Part Two here.