tagMind ControlThe Designer Pt. 02 Ch. 14

The Designer Pt. 02 Ch. 14

byHankDolworth©

Author's Note:

Thank you for continuing to read, vote and comment. I hope to enrich the main characters by showing their history through flashbacks and narratives.

The main story thread follows along the Past story line, switching between Jeremiah's family of four beautiful women, and Jenn and her captors. The Distant Past stories give the context of what Jeremiah and company are up against, how the main characters families were already fighting the corruption of the Priesthood. The Present timeline is resting for this installment, but will make a return in later chapters.

I hope you enjoy this chapter.


*****

Past: Deacon

Deacon slowly opened his eyes, then his mouth. He looked at Rebekah as he held the straw to his lips. Her eyes watching his throat as he swallowed a few sips. He pushed the straw out with his tongue, and looked at his companion.

"Jediah is back," she said with little emotion, "He brought that girl. He took her to Samuel. He said he would introduce you to her when she was done."

Deacon nodded at her report. She was always precise in what she said, and ready to serve his needs. She hardly ever smiled though, and the stiff way she moved her body was a bit off putting. Not that it mattered, he was too old and frail to enjoy her in other ways. He mostly enjoyed his own company. With a nod she left him with his thoughts.

The news of a possible Baraqiel had him in a reflective mood. He had spent the last couple days reliving the past, from the time Zedekiah was murdered to the present.

Zedekiah had been the mastermind behind their vice and prostitution business. Not only finding the most amazing talent for their brothels, but negotiating incredible terms with oriental drugs cartels for their heroin. He also negotiated the transport of the drugs from the ports in northern california via biker gang to their brothels in Nevada. The money that was laundered through other Priesthood fronts had kept this small compound well funded.

Zedekiah's sudden death, left the Priesthood scrambling. Deacon who had taken leadership of the cult compound after the disastrous awakening of the last Baraqiel, had allowed the younger Zedekiah to assume a great amount of control. The organization was running so well, he'd let Zedekiah have a very long leash. Zedekiah had moved with his wife and infant son away from the compound, moving frequently as he finalized the deals that made the Priesthood so profitable.

When Zedekiah came back to the compound with only his wife, Deacon should have taken control of the business back from him. Delegated the different businesses to other leaders, diversifying. However, Zedekiah was always very persuasive, and while agreeing that Deacon was right, assured him that it would happen soon, just a few more trips. Deacon cursed at himself for allowing it. The lack of a present Yeqon heir was a deadly strike to much of their organization.

Deacon had tried to pull together the pieces: traveling to the brothels, inviting the Chinese to taste their talents to bribe them with their greedy vices. He wasn't the same as Zedekiah, his line didn't have the same persuasive power. His self-imposed isolation at the compound had weakened his people skills. The people he needed to cooperate had their own agendas outside of Deacon's influence. The deals he did manage became less lucrative and the Priesthood organization shrunk.

The aftermath of Zedekiah's murder had another facet, thanks to the young girl that was found in his room. She was the granddaughter of an Idaho representative to Congress. While the murder was never solved, nor a killer found. The crime became a federal investigation. The congressman was convinced it was a foiled kidnapping attempt, and the bureau followed their leads. Tracking money associated with Zedekiah's name soon had them at the gates of the compound. The attention from the investigation brought in new federal agencies. Seems while mostly the government turned a blind eye to consensual plural marriages in some cult factions, the forced marriage of child brides was frowned upon.

Deacon cursed at that too, he'd never taken a wife. The fools that preyed on the cult's younger daughters and traded between themselves were few, but enough to draw the attention of the federal agencies. The scandal brought the blaring lights of television news, and soon there was footage of young children being taken away from their gates in State vans. Young mothers being taken to shelters, and elderly men shackled and frog marched across the screen. In the scandal and with less wealth the population of the cult plummeted. What was left were the hardened believers. Deacon drew the cult back into secrecy, and dialed back the vice outfits in Nevada.

That was when he'd taken Rebekah under his wing. She was one of the few wives that were old enough to not have been seen as abused, but her husband had five other wives, underage, in his household. She was left behind, and now childless. Deacon brought her into his house, and she had served him well. Keeping his house and schedule. She never shared his bed. With what had happened with the Baraqiel, Deacon had decided celibacy was the safest path for his leadership. He would approve of each new whore that Jediah's organization brought to his door, but he never touched them.

That thought reminded him that Jediah was back. His eyes scanned the compound through the windows in his room, and then closed his eyes. Rebekah would awaken him when Jediah was finished with his fun. He'd rest until then.

Past: Jeremiah

The more Benjamin told us about Jediah, the more angry Kelly became. Alyssa also was repulsed and angered by Benjamin's telling of Jediah's dark perversions. As descriptive as Benjamin's tale was, it soon became apparent that he was ignorant of the more supernatural side of Jediah. With a nod of Alyssa's head, Benjamin slumped back asleep. Kelly stood stiffly and walked to the bedroom in the back of the cab.

Alyssa and Lexi followed her and I checked with in with Carmen.

"Where are we headed?" I asked dropping into the pilot seat.

"Well I figure Missoula is the best place to head," Carmen said, "Can you take a look at the map and tell me what you think."

I looked at the route, and was a bit disappointed the route to Missoula ran north towards Spokane then heading southeast into the small valley of our destination. I looked for a more direct route, but the road was very twisty, carving between some significant mountain peaks. The elevation changes would take their toll on our heavy camper, and there was nothing in the way of services along that path.

"Yeah," I finally allowed, "I think that's the best way. We should probably stop someplace for the night, how far til Missoula?"

"About three hours," Carmen said, the skies darkening as the sun was setting to our left, "I've been keeping my eye out for camping grounds. We need to empty some tanks and fill some others."

She waved her hands at the console and the maze of gauges and buttons. I took her word for it. Like with most things, if Carmen knew about something, it was best to leave her to her work.

"The less populated the park, the better," I said, and she nodded, "I trust your intuition, Carmen."

I listened with my mind to the three girls in the back. Alyssa was talking with the pair. Benjamin's story was very troubling to them, Kelly especially. I pushed a question to Alyssa if I should come back. She sent back, she was handling it, but that she was hungry.

"I should make some food, we haven't eaten all day." I said to Carmen.

"No, Papi," she laughed, and smiled at me, "Swap out with me, and I'll make us something to eat. No offense."

"None taken," I said, truly I had no idea where anything was located in the kitchen, and the thought of Carmen's cooking made my mouth water.

We swapped out, and she headed to the kitchen. I drove down the road. I didn't scan the girls as they talked. I needed to concentrate on the road. I did enjoy watching Carmen make some sandwiches in the rear view mirror. Despite the foul mood everyone was in with the discovery of Benjamin, cooking seemed to be therapeutic to Carmen. Her graceful moves and soft singing voice soon soothed my mood.

Past: Kelly

I wanted to puke. I wanted to scratch Carl's eyes out. The shock of seeing him again, in that setting, in that room. It took me awhile to really put the pieces together. I was wearing the pendant, which probably was a good idea. The rage I felt was beyond what I'd felt before. I began to understand how my mother felt when she would get wound up and angry over something. This was more than something. I wanted Carl-Michael-Benjamin to stop breathing.

Even in my rage, I was glad that Alyssa and Jeremiah were there when he opened the hotel room door. Though they had never seen him before, they did not know him. They had the emotional distance, that I lacked, and that was a good thing. Lexi and Carmen had jumped to my defense, they knew about my time with him, though they too had never met him. He always wanted me to be alone, I thought it was romantic. Now I realized it was sick way of control. A wave of nausea washed over me. I focused on cleaning the room up with Lexi and Carmen, while Alyssa and Jeremiah focused on whateverhisnameis.

I had to steel my nerves as we cleaned. The evidence of Jenn's torture was everywhere. Sheets stained with her blood. Other stains made me want to take a shower as we gathered up all the bed linens and discarded them in the hall chute. The hotel probably was used to this routine, based on what Alyssa had leaked to us about that pervert desk clerk's activity.

I didn't like that Carl was coming with us, or Michael. I didn't know what to call him. That Jeremiah made him think we were all friends, made me sick to my stomach. He smiled and laughed with us, and I wanted to press my thumbs into his eye sockets. We all played the game, though. I understood why we needed to play the parts. In the van my cheeriness evaporated and I glared at him, my anger putting him back on his heels.

He avoided looking at me, and Alyssa sat beside me and held my hand. Carmen and Lexi had gone up front to drive us away from the hotel and leave this town. A town I used to love, but now I couldn't wait to be clear of it's borders. My emotions were frayed, but I stayed to listen to Benjamin, (I guess I'll call him that, as he was nothing like the boy that tried to seduce me).

The stories he told of Jediah, of the recruiting process, of the training they gave their new recruits to endure and even crave pain. It sickened me, and even Lexi, who had come back to sit with me, growled several times in disgust. She might like the more edgy things, but she was always in control. The thought of corrupting a girl in such a way made my friend tense and angry.

When Alyssa finally made him go to sleep, I was past my limit. I stood up and walked to the back, closing the door before I let myself cry. I sobbed into the sheets. Lexi came behind me, and laid beside me, and just stroked my back. Alyssa's comforting presence was next, also just staying silent and letting me cry. The soft touch of her fingers on my head soothed me.

Soon I was ready to sit up and talk it out. The few times we'd done that as a family had always helped work through the strong feeling. I sat up and turned towards the front, and Lexi and Alyssa sat at the foot of the bed, and we all smiled remembering happier family councils.

"Honestly," I admitted, "I'm scared more than anything. What might have happened to me. It frightens me."

"Me too," Lexi said, "I never liked what you told me about Carl, he sounded like a douche. But, I was just your roommate, I didn't think I had a place telling you which boy to like."

"I think they use that to their advantage," Alyssa said, shaking her head, "First semester in college many young people haven't formed close friendships. They use that to their advantage, and cull the pretty ones from the herd. You must have captivated him though, because you don't fit the model."

"Oh?" I asked, "how so?"

"You have a strong connection with your family," Alyssa said, "Carmen, or Lexi would be better targets. Jenn fits their mark also, being without family."

"Yeah," I said remembering, "He tried to get between me and my mother too. When I'd feel he was getting too handsy, he'd blame her. Tell me she was too controlling. Tell me she was going to ruin my life."

Alyssa nodded, and let me work through my thoughts, as Lexi sat thoughtfully.

"I guess that is why Jeremiah is so different," I reasoned, "He never has tried to separate me from my family or my friends. The opposite really, he has adopted my friends, and respects my family."

Alyssa nodded, "Jeremiah is very different, a very special man. I knew that about him before he had met either of you. For all the things that have happened, that Jeremiah came into your life is a blessing."

She looked odd as she heard that word slip from her mouth, and smiled at me to cover her own surprise, "A blessing, hmmm?" I teased.

"Well..., a fortunate coincidence," Alyssa laughed, modifying her words, then explaining, "I've changed too, with everything we're discovering, I have to admit there are things that have me thinking more spiritual thoughts."

"I feel frightened," Lexi said, looking at Alyssa, "You said I fit their model, and I do, not having any family. I could have been in danger, I could be in Jenn's place," she hung her head as she drifted into silence.

"I think it's important to not dwell too much on what could have been," Alyssa said, "It didn't happen to you, and for a good reason. We are together for some purpose, we've all felt that. We can make a difference, we can end the influence of the Priesthood. We can choose to make the right decisions, instead of the easy darker path."

I nodded, "You're right," I said, "What could have been, didn't happen. We need to focus on what's next. I worry about Jenn with what we now know of this Jediah character."

"Well we know where he is going," Alyssa said, "With sleeping beauty in our hands, we know where we're going, we don't have to hunt for the compound. I think we need to get what's out of Jeremiah's safety deposit box and then go right for the compound."

The door opened, and in came Carmen with a plate of sandwiches, and a bowl of chips, "Are you guys hungry?" she asked putting the plate on the bed.

Lexi's eyes got big and she smiled for the first time in a while. Snapping up a sandwich in one hand, and grabbing Carmen's hand with the other. She tugged Carmen closer and kissed her before taking a bite of the sandwich.

"Urghhf," she paused to chew and swallow, "You always take care of us Carmen, thank you."

She smiled and kissed Lexi's head, "I will always, little one," she smiled and headed back to the front. She smacked Benjamin across the cheek as she passed his sleeping form, he didn't even move.

My mood lightened at that sight, and I ate Carmen's food hungrily. The three of us moving back up to the front. Carmen hauled the sleeping man back, then got out her bag of tricks. She hog tied him with cuffs and ropes. She shoved a ball-gag in his mouth. Then when she was done, she told Alyssa to wake him up.

"He needs a taste of his own medicine," she said, a dark look in her eyes, she closed the door to the back room. When we were all in the front, we could hardly hear his sounds.

Distant Past: Isaiah and Sammie

Isaiah had left his home intending to go to Nevada and find work near the brothels in his father's papers. He had left Katie and Jeremiah half of his savings, promising to send her more as he travelled. He knew what savings he had wouldn't last long, and he'd need to find work. Small towns in Nevada were not the best place to make some money. He decided to go back to Rexburg, it was large enough that he could find work. It was also one of the Priesthood's main recruiting grounds.

When they got there, Sammie started to get depressed. She had nothing to do since she was no longer caring for Jeremiah and Isaiah was working longer hours to make money. She was lonely. She started volunteering at women's shelters caring for victims of abuse, rape and unwanted pregnancy. Her caregiving tendencies made her a natural for that work. The situations the women had found themselves in made her sad. She spoke of it to Isaiah, and encouraged him to do what he could to stop the abuse of the Priesthood.

A few months later the news of polygamy at the Priesthood compound broke. The local news in Rexburg ran regular coverage of the scandal. At work Sammie heard they were looking for volunteers to help triage the children and women that had been abused by the elders of the cult. She prodded Isaiah, and they moved closer to the compound. They both volunteered to help with the effort to find the misplaced children appropriate homes.

"Can we apply to adopt one of the children?" Sammie had asked, missing Jeremiah's presence in her life.

"Sweetheart," Isaiah said, "We can't afford it, and I don't think we can do it, and fulfill our mission."

Sammie nodded, "I know, I just miss caring for Jeremiah."

Isaiah hadn't modified her, letting her feel that absence. Despite his modifications, she also had started to miss Katie too. He didn't want to keep fixing her, so they ended up having the same conversations often, as Sammie worked through her feelings of absence and withdrawals. It was good for Jeremiah too. He was hurting from his own guilt and shame. Talking about his feelings with Sammie was hard, but it brought them closer.

There were dozens of children misplaced. The federal agencies involved didn't think it was best to go to local area families. As they did more background checks, the families often had similar traits to the ones they were forced to leave. Too many young mothers and older fathers. Finally they decided after conferencing with neighboring state agencies to funnel the children into homes in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Isaiah worked in a section for sending children to Oregon families. It was largely administrative, he hardly had any contact with the children, seeing them for a brief moment before they were transported by bus. They were assigned a guide, and then transferred to their new family.

Part of his job was changing the children's names. The cult tended to name their children with names found in the bible, and the last names were often a mix of strange sounding aramaic or hebrew words. Foster organizations wanted easier names, so Isaiah took care in finding appropriate names.

He saw the girl outside his window, she was roughly Jeremiah's age. Brown hair, blue eyes, and a quiet demeanor. Her given name was Adaliah Penemue. He was familiar with many of the surnames from studying his father's papers, a few notebooks were dedicated to genealogy, and Penemue was one of the prominent lines of the cult. He assumed females rarely manifested powers, as his father's work mostly focused on the younger boys in the lines.

He looked at the child through his window, and wanted to think of a name that would capture her essence. He first thought of Alice, since she seemed curious and her blue eyes reminded him of the girl that followed the rabbit down the hole. He dismissed it because recently Alice had been associated with a housekeeper with a bunch of kids. He doodled on his scratch pad, trying variants of that name. Ally was too terse, Alicia didn't fit her. He wrote Alyssa on his pad, then said it aloud. The girl outside his window, waiting for her name turned and looked at him as he said it. She couldn't hear him, and the glass was one way. To the girl, she was looking in the mirror. But the coincidence and the sound of her name meshed.

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