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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
In this concluding chapter,George, Arianne and Larry learn most of the truth from Mrs.Dawson. The remains of the truth are still out there.

Submitted: March 22, 2016

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Submitted: March 22, 2016




A Short Story

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Seven




“Thirty years ago, just after your father and I had married, a female member of our particular  study group in the LDS began to work on us—your father and myself—to promote polygamy.

“You all know the history by now,” and she nodded toward Larry and Arianne, “but you also know that such arrangements were condemned by a majority of the church. Polygamy was formally stricken from the Church in 1890.

“However, over the years, several groups have practiced polygamy both in Mexico and here; even in Utah.

“Your father and I agreed with the Church’s position, even if others might interpret polygamy as part of gospel,” her eyes more animated, “but we all listened to her.

“We soon came to realize that there was more to it than just having a general agreement to some part of the church’s past.”

Both Arianne and Larry took up their Shiraz and waited. George remained completely still.

“As time went on, this woman continued to increase her fervor for the acceptance of this practice. It turned out that she had been pressuring other young members to join her in the practice.

“She told them, and us, that polygamy was  still being carried out by several small groups in a remote area of Utah.

“One day, she failed to show for a meeting.

“None of us thought anything of that in particular.

“When she missed five meetings in a row, we knew that there was something going on, something about which none of us knew anything.”

One of the twelve candles fizzled and went out.

“We checked with other members, as well as our other social societies—even the genealogical experts who maintain our Genealogical Library people.

“However, no one had seen her. She had vanished.”

Mrs. Dawson shifted and Arianne thought she saw a flicker of concern in Mrs. Dawson’s eyes.

‘ she’s a bit uncomfortable,’ thought Larry.

Arianne took a sip of wine and willed George’s mother to speak.

“A couple of years went by—or maybe close to three—when I received a frantic call from Jessie Trapp, one of our Thursday bible group. She was practically hysterical.

“Federal agents had found a renegade polygamy group not far from some remaining members of Ervil Lebaron’s group.”

George, as well as his guests, nodded with understanding.

“I couldn’t imagine what could possibly be so upsetting to Jessie about her discovery. We had been reading about LeBaron and his brothers from our earliest days. 

We also knew that pockets of his followers had continued their practices after Ervil’s death in 1981

“But then she told me.

“An elder that we had been told was dead, was alive and at the center of this group. He had twelve wives that he referred to as his ‘apostles’.

“They had each borne seven children by him that he referred to as the ‘seven deadly sins’. I won’t tell you any more about that part,” a moment, “of course, there would naturally be one child to represent the savior. A child to carry on his work. A leader of the twelve ‘apostles.’ The one.”

She stopped and slowly began to cry.

Suddenly Arianne lowered her head and began to weep, softly.

Larry, watching Arianne, quickly slid his chair closer to his wife, put his arm around her shoulder, and pulled her to him.

Then he looked across the table at George.

George’s face was a map of conflicting emotional patterns.

Larry felt every imaginable contradiction. His thinking was a jumbling mess of fact and emotion. Suppositions had been replaced with resolutions; answers were experienced as merely transitory possibilities; his emotions, unlike those felt by Arianne, were stuck in neutral. Any thought of making a comment froze in his gullet.

George then rose and went to ‘his mother,’ Mrs. Dawson.

She rose to meet him and they hugged; fiercely, as they would if one or both of them were about to meet certain death.

When they parted, Mrs. Dawson resumed her seat; while George balanced on the edge of his chair and presented a blank face.

Another candle was guttering.

No one moved.

They were all feeling some internal relaxation. Hours and days of subconscious tension were being released.

The only sound in the middle of both the room and their feelings was their soft breathing and the gentle whisper of the remaining candles.

Mrs. Dawson took a long drink of ice water and inhaled.

She turned to Larry. She had decided that Larry would be the person most aware of the broad spectrum of the situation because of his endless hours of talking with George about the  LDS church and its good features; as well as some bad.

“All the other children stayed with their mothers. However, Joel, the Mormon elder, insisted that George be given up for adoption. My husband, Joseph, had been Joel’s best friend through childhood and early manhood.

“He was the only person in the world who Joel thought worthy of his gift.”


A week later, the Buena Vista was its raucous self, packed with Marina gals, suits, a lot of denim shirts and a few goggle-eyed autumn tourists.

George, Larry and Arianne were enjoying several rounds of jokes and stories, as well as their most recent experiences. Between intermittent refills, the front door of the café opened.

In the shadow of the doorway stood a gigantic man. When he took that first stride into the café, the low lighting was barely adequate to reveal an enormous gaunt male in his late fifties, wearing shoulder-length grey-spotted black hair and no hat.

He immediately began to gently push a path toward the bar.

When he was five feet or so from the packed area behind those sitting at the bar, he stopped and scanned the room with cold black eyes.

His eyes were the same raven black as his pants and vest. His shirt was of another age, also black, with cuffs and black cufflinks.


As Larry and Arianne would tell it over the ensuing years, George stopped talking, as though he had been yelled at; to shut up.

Larry was quite sure he heard those words. At least he thought he did; and he thought everyone else in the bar heard them too; or something like that. 

Nevertheless, Arianne swears—is as positive as any person could be—that not a single word was spoken to the fifty or sixty revelers crammed together in the BV.  Nothing.

Everyone just froze; guys and some gals had bottles or glasses near their mouths.



Yes, that was the next thing; the cold. Larry definitely agreed with his wife about that.

Freezing cold.

Some of the revelers would later say that it was just a normal freezing cold San Francisco night in late January; but they were the ones who were farthest from the door, or closest to the bar, being held tight by their companions.

However, all agreed that the silence that came through the door with that massive, mysterious man, was the not the silence of the dead.


It was the silence that surrounds the presence of a profound evil. A disgusting heartless entity from some other universe of worlds well beneath the lower net; even dimensions deeper below the black net; some unimaginable harbor for the eternally dammed.

This giant appeared to Arianne as a person possessed of a crushing evil; one that conquers all good and all defenses; even our primordial safe-guards of self-preservation.

The silence in the café was permeated with an evil so profound that no one could break it for minutes after the towering man in black left.

Time scraped to a soundless stop.

Arianne said that she had somehow broken through the miasma of paralyzing dread and remembered vividly what had happened next.

“After he had looked over the heads of everyone jammed in everywhere in the BV, the terrifying huge guy in black, pushed a path through the jam-packed people and edged closer to us.

“Like that, there was suddenly a clear path from him right up to our table. He began to glide directly toward us. I was terrified. Then he very slowly came right up, stopped, and looked down on us.

“And then, for some strange reason, I wasn’t afraid any more. I shot glances at Larry and George; they were just staring; absolutely still; completely somewhere else.

“This monster had on boots; not cowboy but more like black Fryes, and heel clips I guess, because I knew he had stopped when the clicking stopped.

I stared right at him in the most aggressive look I could muster and he looked right through me; as though he saw something behind me; or maybe in me. He completely dismissed me; I didn’t matter’; I didn’t exist. None of us did.

Just George.

“The voice from this bone-chilling creep sounded like it was coming from somewhere around Reno; his lips moved but they were uncoordinated with his speech; and there was this kind of hollow sound; like a tunnel, you know, like sounds bounce around in a tunnel. 

"Right away I felt as though he was standing in a tunnel to Hell. That’s what it sounded like; that we—all of us in the BV were right at the mouth, just inside the direct tunnel to Hell.  

“Right then I felt a shudder; and at that moment, I thought he had crushed every one of my bones; that he’d just squashed me like a bug. I felt like I was only a head; no body. Just my head dangling there in mid air gaping at this freak; this fiend; or whatever he was.

“Then he just said five words:

You are The One. Come.”

“Nothing happened for a few moments . . . then George stood like he was being pulled up by wires; his hands and arms and his head bobbled a bit. 

"Then his whole face relaxed. He stood to his very tallest, took off his glasses and walked right up to this whatever he was, in black,” gulping, her audience bug-eyed, “then the beast in black stepped aside and allowed George to precede him through the open door.

“And then they were gone. I took a deep breath and widened my eyes.

“I tagged Larry on the shoulder, pretty hard.

“But he didn’t move.


“Maybe two; three minutes; and then the noise of the BV just exploded.

“Everybody just jumped back into the timeline and picked up where they had left off.

“Nobody seemed to realize what had just happened. When they spoke about it at all, they only spoke about a part of it; like a frozen fragment of it. If you asked them in detail, about every second that had occurred after the monster in black had entered and before he left, they had no memory. Like I said; a bit here; a sound there. 

“Then some, a few, would try to put the pieces of what each had seen together and try to form a whole picture—or like a video—that more or less fitted what I had seen. They quickly gave up; and just remembered whatever they saw—if anything—and blew it off as nothing.

“After I had talked to about twenty or more people I knew who were there, not one of them was sure that they had even seen George at our table.

“And, nobody—not even Larry—remembers George leaving.

“But he did.

“And he’s never been seen again".


© Copyright 2018 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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