heard her captors’ footsteps before she saw the light under the door. Then it opened and light flooded in, momentarily silhouetting two figures. A voice
floated in on the blinding brightness...a man’s voice.
Stone...I hope this hasn’t been too hard on you.” Macie struggled to sit up against the wall. The door shut, and the darkness exploded into thousands
of white starbursts, until it condensed into the soft candle flame. “We have a favor to ask of you.”
the darkness, she sensed the other person, sure it was Paige McKenzie, near her cot. Then the ties were undone, her hands
freed. The candle illuminated a man’s hand reaching out to her, offering her a cell phone. Macie‘s own hands were
numb. She took the phone and it dropped to the floor. There was a scraping as he scoured the cement. Then he had it, and he
placed it in her cold hand.
need to call your Doctor Sorkin. Have your eyes adjusted to the light yet? She nodded, and the man laid a piece of paper on
the table. Macie picked at the edge of the foul-tasting tape covering her mouth and yanked it off. Then she reached for the
you read it, Mrs. Stone?” The man waited for Macie’s affirmative answer before continuing. “You will tell him this. In these words. Do
Macie nodded once again, and took a deep breath, steadying her hands. She was frightened, but she sensed a power in the room. There was someone else
there. Macie figured it was God.
She dialed the doctor’s number.
“Hello, Doctor Sorkin...Yes, it’s me. Doctor, these people want me to say you know what they want. They
expect you to comply by tonight. Someone else will call you and give you details... I don’t know. They haven’t told
me what they intend doing with me. But they say I will be safe if you do as they ask. Do you understand?” Macie was
surprised by the strength in the doctor’s voice.
them I’ll wait for the next call. Don’t worry, Macie. We’ll get you out safely.”
Sorkin,” Mace added quickly before he hung up. “ Get in touch with Phil. Tell him I forgot to shut off the organ. I’m afraid it will get
too hot and ruin the wiring. Tell him I couldn’t find the cat. I think she’s in the furnace room in the basement,
but she has to be put outside.
And...tell him I love him.”
the door opened. Light stabbed at Macie’s eyes , blinding her with pain.The phone, slapped from her hand, fell again to the floor.
stupid woman.” The voice shook with anger. “You were told to stick to the script.”
was trembling. As her eyes became accustomed to the light, she saw the woman who‘d been her jailer. “I don’t understand,” Paige said .
“What did she do?”
gave them a pretty good idea of where she is.” A tall, graying man in a suit answered Paige’s question.
Macie’s head spun with the message she had delivered to the doctor for these people. It didn’t make sense. “What do you expect Doctor Sorkin
to do by that
will convince you he’s closing the clinic, abandoning his license? I mean, what are my chances of getting out of here by morning?”
that little performance of yours, I’d say your chances of getting out of here any time soon aren’t good. Period.” The man answered. “We’ll
have to relocate, and...”
her question, Deacon. What can Sorkin do tonight that will satisfy us?” The voice was mocking.
easy to satisfy,” said another of the men.” He just needs to give us those notes.”
notes? What are you talking about?” Panic was seeping into Paige’s voice.
dear, you don’t really think all this intrigue is being wasted on closing a small, insignificant abortion clinic? There is much more at stake here than
that. There are millions, maybe
billions riding on this thing.”
you said it was for the babies. If Brother Soudo knew...”
With him is wisdom and strength. He hath counsel and understanding. Brother Soudo does know, my dear.” The preacher entered the room, his gaze on Macie. “And
now that Mrs. Stone has inconvenienced
us, we will have to alter our plans slightly. They must now include you, dear faithful Sister McKenzie.
going on? Who are you?” Paige looked at two men who stood at the side of the room, obscured by shadows, watching.
business associates.” Brother Soudo wiped the chair seat with his hand, grimaced, and sat down, mopping his hand with
an embroidered white handkerchief. “It won’t do any harm to satisfy your curiosity now.” He turned to Macie
and smiled. “Leonard Fredrick, Mrs. Stone. Allow me to introduce Doctor Michael Austin, and Mr. George Doman. We’re
business associates of Abraham Sorkin.”
The men, who had been standing quietly, walked out of the shadows. Austin nodded to Macie. “It’s true, Mrs. Stone.”
But I thought you and the doctor were friends.”
my own friend, who did eat my bread, hath dealt deceitfully with me.” Soudo fanned the stale air with his handkerchief.
Brother Soudo, you were as pro-life as any of us.” Paige looked as if she might faint. “Why are you doing this? What has it got to do with our
cause? I’m not quite the saint you paint me, my dear. It’s true I don’t believe in abortion. But I’m not the zealot your friends are. I was approached
about this... investment some time ago, when I’d come into a bit of money. Then, when the good Doctor Sorkin began getting
cold feet, I decided we could put the radicals, the website, to good use. Camouflage, as it were. Itinerant preachers don’t
make enough money to afford cars and boats and jewelry, and ladies. Those are things I want. I deserve them. And I’m
going to have them. Once you put your hand to the plow, daughter, you must never look back. And now, you are going to do us
one last service.”
refuse to be a part of this any more.”
afraid you have no choice, Paige. Mrs. Stone, here, settled that issue for us.”
do you mean?”
got up, stood beside Paige, and looked down at the leering minister. “He means, Paige, that we can identify them. They can’t let us go.”
unfortunate, Sister Paige, that Mrs. Stone got so brave on the telephone. Otherwise, she would still think this all was a plot by those nasty pro-life people
to further their agenda. We would
never have revealed ourselves to her and she would remain...dare I say it...in the dark.”
Leonard sat at the metal table and surveyed the dingy room.
“So, Mrs. Stone. We
weren’t generous in our
housing arrangements. I suppose you were less than comfortable in these...shall
we say, Spartan surroundings?”
took a long, slow breath, concentrating on slowing her pulse. It’s okay, Weslie.
Whatever this creep does, we’ll be all right. God knows where we are. He’ll let Daddy know. You’ll see.
No answer? Well, it really doesn’t matter. It seems we must find other accommodations for you and your friend, here.” Soudo nodded in Paige’s direction.
stood, brushing off his coat tails. “Ah well. We must be going, ladies. We are constrained by time. Pre-service prayer, you know. The faithful are
probably already gathering above
our heads as we speak.”
preacher turned to his companions, talking softly. Macie strained to hear, catching only a few words: women , clinic, timer. As he stepped out of the room, Soudo
turned back to the men.