After they searched the house for a couple minutes someone finally heard one of the kids crying under the house. They found the trap door and within a few minutes they had June and three screaming children in their hands. They took them over by Fred's body. June screamed when she saw Fred's bloody body. She bit Troy on the arm. Troy slapped her face.
"Calm down lady. He's going to be all right. Don, throw a bit of water on his face and shake him a bit. I'm going to make him suffer more than he ever thought he would." Troy held on to June so tight it hurt her. "This husband of yours loves you doesn't he?" said Troy.
June saw ice in his eyes and it frightened her. "Do what you want to me, but don't hurt Fred anymore--or the children!"
"We'll do what we want to you all right. We'll do what we want." Troy looked at his brothers. "You want to do something don't you? Isn't she pretty enough to do something to?"
His friends agreed. They wanted to do something.
"Looks like he's coming to," said Troy. "Wave one of his kids in front of his face. Maybe that will bring him to a bit more."
Don did as he was told and it seemed to do the trick. Fred quickly regained his awareness. "Troy! For heaven's sake! You're not going to hurt them. You can't."
"You'll see what I can't do. Don, I saw a saw in the garage. Go get it."
June screamed until Troy hit her in the face. Fred grabbed Troy's feet and cried: "Troy. Troy. You were a High Priest. How could you even think of doing something like this? You who always said you had great faith in the Lord--you who bore your testimony every month. How?"
"Damned if I know," said Troy, "but I'm going to do it and enjoy every minute of it."
"Troy! I'll take the oath. I'll do anything, I'll say anything, but don't hurt my family. Tell me what to say and I'll do it!"
Meanwhile Don returned with a saw and handed it to Troy. "I may not need this now," said Troy. It looks like Fred here decided to join us. Are you ready to take the oath now?"
"If you'll spare my family."
"Sure we'll spare them, but you've got to take the oath. Repeat after me: 'I, Fred Cole, swear by the throne of God the Father and in the name of Jesus Christ that I will serve the Brotherhood of the One.'"
"What in the world is the Brotherhood of the One?"
"You'll find out later--now take the oath!"
"I can't say that," said Fred.
"I was kind of hoping that you wouldn't be able to," said Troy.
"Don. Bring me one of those kids. I'm going to saw his head off."
June started screaming again and Fred said: "All right. I'll say it."
"Say it then," said Troy, and say it fast or I'll saw the boy's head clean off. I saw slow too. Real slow."
Fred repeated the oath.
"You didn't say that like you really believed it," said Troy. "Say it again like you really believe it and say it louder. Much louder."
Fred said it again louder.
"That's still not good enough. Put some guts into it. Shout it out."
"But Troy. I said what you wanted."
"Bring me that kid again," said Troy. "Unless this guy performs I start sawing."
This time Fred shouted out the oath.
"That's not bad," said Troy. "Now you must repeat the rest of the oath."
When Fred heard the rest of the oath he shook to the center of his soul and again Troy had to put the saw to his boy's head to get him to repeat it. After Fred repeated the second portion three times Troy finally grew bored and decided he needed some other excitement.
"Are you going to let us go now?" said Fred. "You have our food. What else do you want?"
"My finger still hurts like hell and some of my best boys are dead. I think I deserve a little more revenge than I've had."
"What kind of child of hell are you?" said Fred. "You promised me that you would spare my family."
"I'm going to spare your family all right," said Troy. "I'm going to do them a big favor and spare them all the miseries of this world. After all, if we let them go now they would only die, at best, a slow death of starvation. You don't want that do you Fred?"
"I want them to at least have a chance at life! Troy. You can't do this!"
"Who do you think you are to tell me what to do?" Troy started sawing his boys head off. The boy screamed for a while and then stopped.
Fred shouted, cried and tried to free himself incessantly. June screamed and made a great effort to free herself, but to no avail. Finally, she passed out.
"One kid down and two to go," said Troy. "They sure do bleed a lot don't they?"
"You fiend! You're possessed by' the devil himself!" cried Fred.
"Temper, temper," said Troy. "A good Mormon doesn't get irritated like this. I'm really enjoying seeing your anguish. It almost makes me feel happy to see you squirm and the more I can make you squirm the better. Nobody's going to do what you did to us and get away with it."
"Don't you realize you're possessed of the Devil!"
"So what if I am? I'm enjoying myself a lot more than you are and what good is life if you can't be happy?"
Troy started sawing the oldest girl's head off. Fred was so numb he just quit screaming and closed his eyes. Troy stopped in the middle of the job and had Don pry Fred's eyes opened so he could see. As the second head dropped off Fred went into a crazy rage like a lion tied up with barbed wire, but fell back exhausted after several minutes. The third child had been screaming all the while and finally Troy grabbed her. He walked over to Fred with her under his arm.
"Sweet little thing isn't she? She reminds me of my little daughter before she died of that terrible disease. I don't think you ought to have a pretty little thing like this while I don't have one. I think we ought to send her to a better place."
June woke up and began screaming again and Fred joined her. They both continued until the third head fell off. Fred fell to the earth face down and cried like a baby. Troy grabbed him by the hair and jerked him up as hard as he could. "You think you can hide your face in the sand like an ostrich, but you can't. The show has just begun. Don and Jeff--tear the clothes off his wife. We're going to have some fun while we are at it here."
"No-no-no-no-no!" cried June. "Fred, don't let them do this to me! Please!"
They ripped all her clothes off and laid her on the ground. "Now," said Troy, "we want to make sure ole Fred here has a good seat for the live sex show." He laughed.
Fred protested, but they held him so he had to watch. Troy raped her first and he bit her whenever and where ever he felt like. She screamed and Fred cried. In his weakened condition he could not put up much of a struggle. For the next hour the other two raped her with no mercy.
Fred shouted: "Troy! You've done enough. Please let her go. Please!"
Troy walked over to Fred and slapped him on the face. "Are you trying to take away from my fun? Well, I'm not going to let you. Don. Go in the garage again and get some of those big spikes he has in there."
Troy and June cried and protested until Don came back with the spikes.
"We're going to have a little fun and crucify this lady," said Troy. " Let's nail her to the side of the house."
Fred swore and cursed at Troy as he never did before.
They began nailing June to the wall. "Damn," said Don. "I can't seem to find a stud for this arm." Troy pulled the spike out of her wrist and nailed it through again and finally fastened it securely to a stud in the building.
"Now, let's start this house on fire and really burn it down this time," said Troy.
As the house was burning down and June was screaming and Fred found his eyes gazing at the blood of his dead children he asked himself: Why? Why did this all have to happen? Why didn't he listen to Curtis? Why didn't he have the courage to vote for Curtis? Why didn't he follow Curtis to Ensign and somehow get his family to go? Ensign is a place of safety. No mob of people like Troy's group would come against an entire united city. Why didn't he have the courage to follow; His wife loved him and even though she may have protested he felt sure she would have followed him.
"Why?" he shouted out loud. "Why?"
June finally screamed her last. At last all was quiet as the men watched the house burn. Fred noticed that even Troy seemed somewhat sobered by the silence.
Finally, Fred's voice cut through the air: "Kill me! What are you waiting for? Do it to me! I have nothing to live for now. Nothing. Let's get it over with! Do it!"
Troy looked at Fred rather soberly and said, "The fun's gone out of it now. You're all washed up anyway. Why should I send you to Mormon heaven when the rest of us have to struggle here? It would be too easy on you to kill you. Besides, you have taken the oath of the One and being a brother I am not supposed to kill you until you betray us and you haven't done anything since the pledge. You're one of us now brother and now that you've made the pledge your soul is bound for hell whether you like it or not so you might as well make the best of being alive."
They left Fred there and walked off into the distance. Fred fell back exhausted and slept until sunrise. When he woke up he wept for several hours. When he could weep no longer he prayed. He prayed as he had never prayed before. One thing that really bothered him was the oath he had taken. Would this cause him to loose his salvation? He wondered and meditated on this and prayed for a long period of time. After much prayer he felt an answer come to him and the following words began to form in his mind: "The Lord looketh upon the heart." Then a great peace came upon Fred for he knew that he did not make any oath in his heart. Perhaps he committed some sin, but since the sin was outward he knew he could be forgiven. Then he prayed for a longer period of time and other words formed in his mind: "An Ensign to the nations a place of safety and a city of refuge for the Saints of the Most High God."
At that moment Fred was filled with an even greater peace and he knew that he must try and make it to the city Ensign. He remembered that he had buried a box of storage foods under the earth in his garden and he retrieved a shovel and dug it up. He got a hiking pack out of the garage and filled it up with some wheat and dried fruit, He also got a canteen and filled it with water. He thought he would pay a call on his Bishop first, but when he found that his house was also burned down he imagined the worst. He departed south to the city Ensign as fast as his legs would carry him.
It would be a long journey and Fred knew that the little food he did have would have to last a long time so he decided that the best way to make use of his wheat was to sprout it in a little container that he brought with him. Sprouting the wheat greatly increased its nutritional value and weight and this way he could survive about three times as long on the same amount of wheat. His big problem was avoiding the mobs, but the pistol and rifle he carried with him was hoped to give him the protection he needed. He also had some survival knowledge. He knew that certain weeds and plants had edible roots and foliage and perhaps he could survive on these if he had to.
Fred traveled for several weeks avoiding mobs and people the best that he could. Every town of any size seemed to have several organized mobs and many of them seemed to be at war with each other. He decided to travel through a mountainous area where he thought there would be few people, but after several days he was confronted from behind:
"Lay down your guns." said a voice.
Fred turned around slowly. "Lay them down now!" said the man impatiently. Fred threw his guns on the ground.
"What do you want from me?" said Fred. "I don't want to hurt anyone."
"What we want to know is what are you doing up here. You looking for someone or something?"
Fred looked at the man. He was about twenty-five with a long beard and long hair and looked a lot like a hippie from the Sixties. "I'm just traveling South. Look, I've just had my wife and kids tortured to death and if you want to kill me that's all right too. Just tell me what you want."
"Maybe you're telling the truth and maybe you're not," said the man. "Lots of people come through here who are scouts for mobs and robbers. You do look like you've taken a beaten though. What did they do to your wife and kids?"
"I'd rather not talk about it now. It was too horrible. I want to forget it."
"I feel that you're telling the truth feller. What's your name?"
The man offered to shake Fred's hand.
Fred returned the grip. "Fred. Fred Cole. What's your name?"
"My name's Jake Andrews. Would you like to come and rest a spell and meet the rest of our party?"
"I haven't had any hospitality for a long time. Thanks. How many in your group and what's the story behind it?" said Fred.
"We are Mormons," said Jake. "There's about twenty of us. Me and my friends saw that the day was not far off that we would be hunted by the mobs for our food so me and my friends who had a years supply decided to take off to the mountains with what provisions we could and seek a place of safety here. Even here we are not safe. Roving bands of robbers are a constant threat to us, but so far we have been able to hold our own. We have quite a few guns and ammunition here."
"I'm a Mormon too," said Fred. "We were sure caught with our pants down when this hit didn't we?"
"Things didn't turn out exactly the way we hoped all right. There's our camp over there." Jake shouted out to his friends: "It's all right! This guys a friend."
Fred found that they had a cozy little camp. They had numerous tents, a log cabin and a cave and they were doing what farming they could. They also did quite a bit of fishing and some hunting, but there was very little game left as most had been destroyed. That evening they sat around a campfire and talked.
"Does anyone know what happened to the General Authorities, or for that matter the city of Salt Lake?"
Larry spoke up. "I was curious about it and hiked over there a while back. There has been a literal war in Salt Lake and there has been some terrible destruction. As far as I could find out all the Authorities are dead and some apostate group made off with all the records of the church and has made a claim to leadership. They are the same ones who built the city called Ensign. You remember reading about Ensign in the paper a before the collapse don't you?"
"Yes, I do," said Fred. He felt that at present it would be wise not to mention his destination. "What do you guys know about the city Ensign? I have a friend that is supposed to be there."
A lady named Grace spoke up: "It's a whole city of apostates. It's like Jim Jones' group on a massive scale. They have brainwashed many people. One of them was my niece. She joined them against all my persuasion otherwise. They poisoned her mind with strange doctrines and beliefs which are straight from hell. They have set up their own dictatorship. It's worse than Hitler ever thought of being. Everyone there is a slave to the whims of one who they believe is Mighty and Strong."
"It sounds like they were at least wise enough to set up a place of refuge," said Fred.
"The devil takes care of his own," said Mike. "They would kill us on the spot if we tried to approach them. They say that the people there are in league with the devil and practice witchcraft and all kinds of satanic rites. A person has a lot more to fear by going there than loosing his life."
"I see," said Fred. "How do you think God is going to get us out of this mess,?"
"The Bible prophesies that they who are alive when Jesus comes will be taken up into the air to meet him. As long as we continue faithful the day will come that Christ will rescue us and all the wicked will be killed. Then the millennium will be here," said Jake.
Fred remembered Curtis once quoted to him from the Doctrine and Covenants that before Zion could be taken up to meet the Lord there had to be a gathering established. However, he decided not to bring this point up. "Do you have a place I can sleep tonight? I want to get an early start tomorrow."
"You never did tell us. Where are you going?" said Jake.
"I'm just trying to find a new place to call home."
"You can stay here," said Jake, "if you're willing to do lots of hard work."
"Thanks for the offer," said Fred, "but I feel I must move on for now. Maybe I'll see you people again in the future."
"Just stay away from the so-called Ensign if you know what's good for you." someone said.
Of course, Fred ignored the advice and continued on his way the next day. Fred traveled for two weeks and passed through many perils and attributed his deliverance to the power of God only, for he definitely felt some power assisting him. Finally, he arrived within several miles of the city Ensign. Near a stream he found a man who had been beaten quite badly. Fred got him some water and sat him up.
"What happened to you?" he said.
"My family did this to me," said the man. "I was an Elder in the Mormon Church and was the member of a very close knit and large family and as a unit we were about as prepared for the calamity as anyone. However, we were not as prepared as we thought. We were turning into animals and I knew that if the Lord were to come he would have nothing to do with us so I prayed about it day after day and finally I received an answer. The Lord told me to go to the city Ensign. When I told my family my decision they were very upset and tried to persuade me to stay. They said the people in Ensign were apostates and the Devil's people and if I should join them I will burn with the wicked when Christ comes. I tried to reason with them and tell them that if the people there are evil then I will leave, but they thought that I wouldn't be allowed to leave. I had second thoughts, but the Spirit continued to bear me witness and finally I made preparations in secret to leave my family. When they discovered I was gone the next day they trailed me to this location and when they found me and I refused to go back with them they were angry and fell upon me and beat me and left me for dead. In their crooked way they thought they were performing the Lord's will. I never thought they would do something like this to me. Never."
"You're going to be all right now," said Fred.
The man's eyes lit up. He looked toward Ensign. "Look over there!"
"Can you see it?"
"That cloud of smoke."
"Under that cloud is Ensign. The prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled: 'And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.'" (Isa 4:5)
"It will be dark in a few hours. Then you'll see the shining of a flaming fire instead of the cloud. I saw it last night from over yonder. Wait until you see it. It will fill your heart with hope. God yet reigns over his people and I was too blind to see it until now."
Fred nursed the man until dark the best he could. He found out his name was Larry Wilcox. As the night began to fall Larry said: "See there Fred! The cloud covering the city is beginning to glow. When it gets a bit darker it will look like a great fire. It puts fear in the heart of the wicked just like the prophecy says."
Fred watched the fire become greater and greater until the whole sky was lit up and he marveled greatly. "It gives me a warm burning just to look in the direction of Ensign," said Fred.
"I know what you mean," said Larry. "Let's go there tomorrow. I think I can make it."
"We'll go tomorrow," said Fred. They fell asleep a few minutes later. Fred had never slept so peacefully in his life. He dreamed of Curtis, that he put his arms around him and embraced him and was filled with great joy and that the memory of his horrible experiences no longer bothered him. They both woke up the next morning eager to go. Larry had a bad limp and was weak and had to lean heavily on Fred's strength.
It seemed to take forever to go those last few miles, but finally they made it to the entrance of the city. To Fred's surprise it was left totally unguarded, but they did notice that right at the edge of the city was a faint hue of golden light which seemed to surround the whole town. As Fred and Larry surveyed the city they noticed that it was laid out just as Joseph Smith had outlined years ago. As they approached the yellow hue they began to wonder whether or not they should pass through. They felt a strange tingling sensation as they approached it. They both decided to kneel and pray about what to do.
As they prayed they saw a light forming in front of them even though they had their eyes shut. They opened their eyes and they continued to see the light. Finally a personage appeared before their eyes.
The personage addressed them: "All hail brethren! I am sent in the name of the Father to admit you to the Kingdom of God. Your sins are forgiven you and, Brother Cole, the Oath you made is hereby nullified by the authority of God. You may both enter the city."
Fred felt for sure that this was a messenger from God but he wanted to make sure so he offered him his hand. The angel did not shake it and departed. However, a light hovered around where he had stood for several seconds afterwards.
"What are we waiting for?" said Larry. "Let's go!"
Together they hobbled into the city. They caught the attention of several individuals who were peacefully working in their yards. These people came to their aid and put them in some kind of electric car and drove them to a strange hospital. There they gave Larry the attention that he needed and Fred was surprised that the hospital seemed to have modern equipment. In fact they had equipment he had never seen before.
Fred talked to the nurse: "Is there a guy living in this town named Curtis Hartell?"
"Do you know Brother Hartell? He's one of the leading men in Zion. Everyone knows him."
"He was a good friend of mine. Is there some way to contact him?"
"If he is free I can contact him right now. I must warn you, however, he is a busy man. Right now he's helping to plan five new cities or stakes of Zion."
The nurse pressed a button on what appeared to be a wristwatch and spoke into it. In a few minutes Fred heard Curtis' voice respond over it.
"A Fred Cole wishes an audience with you President Hartell."
"Did you say Fred Cole?"
"Don't let him get away. I'll be right there."
Curtis arrived a few minutes later and when they met they embraced each other just as Fred saw in the dream and he felt a wonderful feeling just as he felt in the dream.
"Fred, my beloved friend," said Curtis. "My but you look like you have been through a lot. Are your wife and children still alive?"
"I'm afraid not," said Fred sadly. "You were right. I should have listened to you."
"I'm not going to say I told you so or even ask you what happened. The Spirit bears witness to me that you have paid for any sin that you have committed. When I saw you last the Spirit told me we would meet again, but I didn't have the same feeling about the rest of your family. I felt a sad feeling when I left you. You must have had a terrible experience. On the other hand, the tribulation you have been through will make you a much stronger man than you ever were before. Now you can set your mind with an eye single to the glory of God and you understand through your own experience how important it is for man not to lean on the arm of flesh, but that each man has to receive revelation for himself."
"You're right Curtis. I've learned my lesson in a way that I'll never forget. Never. Tell me what is that gold light that surrounds the city?"
"It would take a while to explain it to you in full, but the power to create that light was revealed to us from heaven. That is part of the endowment of power the Priesthood receives when it is in order and only a person whose heart is pure can walk through the light. Those with evil intent or lacking faith just cannot come through it. By natural principles fear overcomes the unjust so most of them have no desire to come here. You have probably heard many stories of how evil we are and how everyone is kept here as a prisoner or slave, but as you can see everyone is free to come and go. There is freedom here the likes of the world has not seen since the city of Enoch. Tell me Fred. Do you have any desire to leave?"
"No more than I want to go to hell," said Fred.
"I'm glad you are here Fred. You are a capable man and we have a great work to do. Thousands of the pure in heart are fleeing to the Stakes of Zion every day and we have to prepare for them. We have to feed, clothe and house them and it's a monumental undertaking. Let me show you around this city Fred. It's a city like you have never seen before and we've got to build lots more like it. Preparations are now under way to establish the center stake at Jackson County and there we will build the glorious temple, Fred. We are really going to do it."
Fred felt so good inside he almost cried.
"There is a group of White Nephites down in Central America who has been hidden from the world who have fashioned many of the stones for the temple over a period of many years. Many Indian leaders want to cooperate with us."
"All this sounds too wonderful to be true," said Fred, "But I now know it is true. How's your family doing? I'd like to meet them again."
Curtis smiled: "I can honestly say that they are doing just great. Kathy and the kids will be thrilled to see you again." Curtis put his arm around Fred: "Come with me. I'll introduce you to my friends and we'll show you how the cities of Zion are to be built."
"Is this the beginning of the millennium then?" said Fred.
"Not yet," said Curtis. "First the this country and then the world has to achieve some stability. Then there will be a major conflict between the cities of Zion and the armies of the world itself. When the time is right Christ will come and personally assist us. As it is his presence is assisting us now. This is not the end of your journey Fred. It is the beginning."
Fred followed after Curtis and somehow he felt that he was right. This was just the beginning.
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Copyright © 2007 by JJ Dewey, All Rights Reserved