The Book of Zion Chapter 1: Darlene

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The Book of Zion Chapter 1: Darlene

Post by Mr Stepford on Fri Dec 11, 2015 1:44 am

The Book of Zion Chapter 1: Darlene

By D.T and Mr Stepford

Darlene 1
Darlene stared out of the bus window watching the scenery roll by. Summer had come to coastal Oregon and the world was green and alive but she couldn't really appreciate it.She'd been all set to go to the clinic yesterday. She had the cash, fake ID, only she hadn't counted on the crowd outside the building. Protesters and clinic staff and cops all going at it in a big noisy mob. She'd been trying to find another way into the building when a woman who looked like she'd wandered out of a Leave It to Beaver rerun approached her and pressed a pamphlet into her hands.

"You're not alone, dear," she'd said.Darlene had mumbled something and gotten out of there as fast as she could. She'd almost tossed the brochure into the trash but curiosity made her look at it. She pulled it out of her pocket and looked at it now. The front page showed a girl in distress clutching a baby bump with the caption. "Pregnant? Need help?" She opened it.

ZIONITE FELLOWSHIP was the title in big bold letters above a photo of some kind of church-type building. Darlene didn't recognize the style. It looked pretty though. Clean with lots of flowers.The rest of the pamphlet was devoted to how the Fellowship assisted "young women in difficult situations", including testimonials from women who'd supposedly had their lives turned around for the better.But none of that had really impressed Darlene until she'd turned it over to the back panel and saw him, or his picture rather. Even in a photograph, something about those eyes seemed to reach out and grab her and before she knew it she was calling for an appointment.
The Fellowship was headquartered outside the city in a little town called Covenant and as the bus headed down the main street Darlene wondered if she'd passed through some kind of time warp or something. Compared to the other women and girls in their dresses, skirts, perfectly done hair, and perfectly made up faces Darlene felt downright sloppy.She'd actually made an effort to look nice for her appointment putting on her nicest loose linen slacks and T-shirt. As she studied her reflection in the window she realized the dark pink lipstick she'd put on made her mouth seem clown-like. As for her hair, well, the nice thing about the pixie cut was its low maintenance.
None of that matters, she told herself as she got off the bus and headed to the address she'd been given, which was just across from City Hall. You agreed to meet with the guy, that's it, she reminded herself trying not to think about how his voice had made her feel on the phone, so warm almost like he was wrapping a blanket around her. Just hear him out and catch the next bus home, she told herself going up the steps. She stopped short in surprise when a man opened the door for her. She mumbled a thank you, oblivious to the man who'd been watching her from a window from the moment she stepped onto the pavement.

"Darlene?" Said the man  "Yes" reply Darlene "its so nice to meet you, I am Brother Randall it was my wife Sister Elaine who you meet at the clinic,come the prophet is waiting" . As they walked down the hall she couldn't help but think that if she replaced his tailored tan suit with a leather jacket and torn jeans and his perfectly comb hair with a Mohawk her guide would look just like the front man to punk band she use to see at a run down bar. But it couldn't possibly be him.

They arrived at the end of the hall in front of two giant doors ."The prophet is right thru those doors, I would come in but my duty as choir leaders call" Brother Randell put one hand on his heart and the other on Darlene shoulder "I hope we can be the family you have always wanted....Be Blessed". Brother Randall walked away leaving Darlene speechless "we can be the family you always wanted" rang inside her head and instead of disturbing her it comforted her

The only child of workaholic parents Darlene had often wondered why her mother had bothered to carry her to term. She couldn't remember the last time she'd seen or spoken to either of her parents. Oh, they sent plenty of money. At least she wasn't one of those horror-stories from the evening news shows, starving and wallowing in her own filth. This place didn't feel like a church, or at least not what she imagined a church would feel like, since she'd never actually been inside one. It didn't feel like an office either in that she couldn't detect an air of bureaucratic oppression. Everyone they'd passed seemed happy to be here.Takes all sorts, she told herself as she knocked at the door. Or rather she raised her hand to knock but the door opened and Darlene found herself face to face with the prophet.

Those eyes were even stronger in person. Darlene never real took much credence in the ridiculous concept of a soul but if she had one those eyes would be piercing it. "Darlene what a blessing it is to meet you" said the prophet as he took her hand. Darlene knees begin to buckle as though kneeling before him was that most natural thing to do. But she was able to conjure enough strength prevent that humiliation, but not enough to run which a part of her desperately wanted to do.

As they took their seats she was able to avert her eyes from his long enough to get a full view of the man before her. He was a handsome man in his late 30s early forty wearing a light grey pinstriped three piece suit with a flawless head of hair. He reminded her of one those televangelist she had seen on tv but unlike them she felt a since of genuineness to him. The conversation began with the usual pleasantries "how was your trip?""Would you like a glass of water?" All standard question Darlene could give a pat answer without letting her guard down. But that all came crashing down when prophet said "Darlene before we go any further I must ask....Do you believe in God?

For a moment she couldn't speak and she was in the process of raising her left hand to her mouth when a glance at it reminded her she'd already bitten her nails down to the quick.A memory rose to the surface of her mind of the time when she was in first grade and the teacher was asking kids about the different ways their families celebrated Christmas. Darlene had to admit she didn't know what Christmas was, and the entire class had laughed at her. While the teacher scolded them Darlene's table partner, a girl named Tanya Petrovich had leaned over to whisper, "Don't you believe in God?” "I guess not," had been Darlene's response then.

The bulk of Darlene's religious education had come via public school history courses which had given her a dim view of religion since so many different ones seemed to spend a lot of time fighting about it. The concept of a "gracious, Heavenly Father" was a bit much for her to swallow. If God was anything like her own father, no wonder the world was so messed up.But the prophet was looking intently at her waiting for an answer. She had to say something. "I don't not believe in God, I guess. I've never really thought about it." Well he believes in you Darlene and he loves you very much . He loves you so much he led you to us why would you of come unless from Gods guiding hand?

"Surely God has more important things to worry about than me," Darlene said clapping a hand over her mouth cheeks turning bright red when she realized she'd said that out loud. "There is nothing more important to heavenly father then your salvation. The world has left you broken and alone the devil has whisper his lies in your ear manipulating you into believing that the only choice you have in life is compromise morals and carnal desire. You been down that path sister and it has twisted you into believing that you are not worthy enough to be a mother to that beautiful creation that is growing inside you"

Darlene felt her throat closing up as he spoke, her eyes stinging as she thought back to the night she'd told Bull, yes, that was his legal name, that she was carrying his child. She'd stood outside for hours in the rain waiting for him to get home. He'd told her it wasn't his problem, advised her to "just get rid of it", and then slammed the door in her face. She gasped for breath as a tear ran down her cheek and she jumped to her feet needing to escape. Wait sister....my words are not meant scorn nor judge they come from love....what we offer here is simple, we want what's best for the child if you here and carry you precious child to term we will pay for everything and if you decide not to keep your baby we will make sure it has a loving home. All we ask is that while you are here you live by our moral code and allow us the honor of teaching you"

"I, I need to sleep on it. Thank you." She rushed out of the room and then out of the building making it as far as a park bench before her knees gave out entirely. She took slow careful breaths blinking, furiously.Someone stepped in front of her and offered her a handkerchief, not a tissue, an actual handkerchief. Looking up Darlene found herself looking at a woman of about thirty, maybe. She looked an awful lot like Joan Allen had in the movie Pleasantville.

"Just go ahead and let it out, dear," she said sitting beside Darlene and putting a supportive arm around her shoulders. "I was the same way with each of mine. Hormones all over the place. I would weep at the drop of a hat. And I had the support of my husband and a whole family. I'm guessing that's not exactly true in your case? "Tears falling faster Darlene shook her head. She had nobody. Sure she still had a roof over her head and an eight figure trust fund. She'd been tempted to laugh at the prophet's offer to pay for her care. She could afford excellent health care, but the idea of becoming a single mom at 18 was more than she could handle right now. "My name is Annika by the way." "Darlene," she replied with a sniffle." Darlene, yes, I remember you were at the clinic that day. Sister Elaine spoke to you. I must say, dear, I'm glad you didn't go through with it. Children are much too precious to be tossed aside like so much garbage."
Unable to contain herself anymore since that was more or less what her own parents had done, Darlene broke down sobbing. Annika pulled her close rubbing her back lightly making soothing sounds. After a few moments Darlene felt a hand on the top of her head, a man's hand.

Darlene froze "did he follow me out here, is there no escaping him?" "Darlene are you okay?" The man said as a sense of relief fell over her when she recognized the voice "I'm okay thank you Randall" "She is any but okay the poor dear she has had a lot to take in " Annkia replied "I understand the gifts the prophet offer is a lot to take in" Randall said "But I hope you will not let emotion get the better of you and make a rash decision about this place" "I ..I said I would sleep on it" Darlene replied " A wise decision some of my best decision came after a good night's rest" said Annkia " I couldn't of said it better myself Sister Annkia, do you have a place to stay" asked Randall " Well she will stay with me of course" Annkia replied. Before she could raise her voice in any sort of protest Darlene was distracted by a sound was beginning to believe could not exist in Covenant, the sound of profanity.

"Where's my money you fucking piece of shit " screamed the girl. Her tirade was directed at a young couple mostly the male counterpart. He was dressed in standard male Covenant dress a suit tie a drastic contrast to girl yelling at him. She had on a pair of shorts that would of made daisy duke blush and a top that was way too small for her well endowed chest. She was covered in tattoos the most vulgar of which was the tramp stamp on her back. "Elizabeth this neither the time nor place to dis....." the young man was cut " My fucking name is Lizy, fucking Christ you have always been a pussy first you follow me around like a Goddamned puppy now little Miss Stepford here has suck out what little individuality you had in the first place" "Robert has simply choose a better path, one that this available to you" the young girl replied "Go fuck yourself polly anna! Bobby I want my money and I want it right fucking now!" Screamed Lizy " I have no money to give and if I did I love you too much to support you destructive habit" Robert replied. Enraged Lizy raised her hand to slap Robert but Randall grab it in time "Sister I don't believe this the solution" said Randall as Annkia and Darlene looked on. "get your fucking hands off me" screamed Lizy Randall let's go. "Violence is not the answer, the church will cover any past debt of its members if we all set down with the prophet I am certain this can get resolved" said Randall "So I will get my fucking money" ask Lizy " you will get exactly what you need" replied Randall. Darlene watched Lizy reluctantly followed Randall to the church

Darlene was feeling more freaked out than ever. "I don't understand what's going on. Who are you people?" she asked Annika.
"Why don't we discuss that over a nice cup of tea?" Annika suggested taking Darlene's arm and leading her across the street to a coffeeshop. They sat at a round table near the window. Nobody took their order but a waitress brought them two cups and a steaming pot along with a plate of iced oatmeal cookie Annika poured for both of them. "I'm sorry you had to witness that unpleasantness earlier. Now then, you asked about who we are." Darlene sipped at her tea and sat back to listen.

"We are simply humble servant of God brought forth on this earth spread his message of love a message this world desperately. We may seem strange but we come from the same sinful world you did and we carry the scares to prove it. But once we embraced the prophet message and humbly submitted to Gods will the veil was lifted from our eyes and we set forth to live our lives by the highest and holiest standard and to do everything in our power to restore the one true church" "And what exactly does that involve?" Darlene asked, a wary note in her voice. The tea was a lot better than she'd expected. She picked up one of the cookies and nibbled at it.

"Well thing like what we did at the clinic, going out and bringing lost sheep back to the flock. Church to us is not a place we go to for couple hours on Sunday it is something we comment our entire lives to. You see the church Jesus brought to earth has been corrupted and like his brother Christ the prophet has been sent to restore it to its former glory" Even someone who paid as little attention to the news as Darlene did was aware of the different scandals with the different churches. Most of them involved sex or money on some level. And the term "prophet" made her nervous. Most of the religious leaders she knew of who called themselves "prophets" tended to be serious wackjobs like that Warren Jeffs guy.

"So this prophet, what's he like? Or haven't you met him?""Well of course dear, he's my husband" For some inexplicable reason, Darlene felt a pang of disappointment that the incredible, charismatic man she'd meet with was already married. Then she told herself to stop being so silly. Of course he'd be married. A guy like that could have his pick of women, and even if he was available, why in the world would he ever be interested in a messed up kid like her? "So, is he, is he nice?" "He is the kindest man God has put on this earth" Annkia said while she poured some more tea in Darlene cup "I remember when I first meet him, he was preaching on a street corner. I had seen many of his kind in my old line of work, they would preach a good sermon and then immediately turn around and use whatever money was donated to them to pay for my services"

Darlene almost choked as the significance of Annika's words sunk in. She didn't think this woman, lady was trying to jerk her around, but she couldn't wrap her brain around the concept. And even if Annika did used to turn tricks for a living, she seemed more like the escort service type than someone walking the streets in a mini-dress and spike heel boots. At that moment a bus drove past and with horror Darlene looked at her watch. Shit! Where had the time gone? She jumped to her feet and was immediately hit with a wave of dizziness as the stresses of the day and the fact that she'd barely eaten a thing since last night plus the fact of being pregnant caught up with her. "I'm sorry, I have to-" Her words trailed off as her body shut down and the last thing she was aware of was a pair of arms stopping her drop to the floor.

Mr Stepford

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Re: The Book of Zion Chapter 1: Darlene

Post by Mr Stepford on Sat Dec 12, 2015 5:21 am

Darlene 2

The room was white with vaulted ceiling and Darlene had no idea how she got there. She was in the middle of a circle of people the men were wearing all white suits and the women were wearing white dresses with veil covering their faces. Darlene then noticed she was wearing a wedding dress. She had often thought of marriage as an arcane concept best left to others. But as she felt the embroider lace on her gown a sense of peace fell over her along with a assurance this was right. This is were she belong this is the true churc..." Darlene awoke unsure of what she just dreamed and unsure of where she is. The room looked like it was in a clinic of some sort, kind of like the nurse's office at her school. As she looked around she saw a young woman in an old fashioned nurse's outfit complete with cap sitting near the cot where she lay knitting something. "Oh, good, you're awake. How are you feeling?""Thirsty.""Well, that's easy to fix." The young woman set down her knitting and poured some water into a plastic cup and added a bendy straw. She brought it over to Darlene. "It's important to stay hydrated in your condition."

Darlene took a few sips and then lay back against the pillows. "What happened? How did I get here?" "You had a episode dear, but Sister Annkia was there to help you praise the lord. But your vital look good lord willing you will be out of here in no time" the nurse grab hold of Darlene at first she thought it was to take her pulse. But soon she realized it was for something different when the nurse closed her eyes and bowed her head " heavenly father we thank you for the healing you have bestowed over sister Darlene. We pray that you will continue to watch over her and her precious child and guide them on their path of physical and spiritual recovery we ask this in the name Jesus and the prophet amen"

Darlene mumbled something since it seemed like it would be rude not to. It felt weird to hear herself referred to as "beloved sister". She wasn't anybody's sister, though there had been times when she wished that wasn't the case. And what was that bit about spiritual recovery supposed to mean? Darlene suddenly became aware that she was wearing a hospital gown. "Um, where are my clothes?" "You torn your pants and shirt up during the fall. Beyond repair I am afraid. But Sister Annkia brought something for you to wear when you get out" the nurse said as she opens the closet door. The dress the nurse took out of the closet featured a full skirt that would probably hit Darlene at mid-knee, short sleeves and a high neckline. And it was pink, a very vivid, Pepto-Bismal, bubblegum pink. Darlene ran a hand through her hair, which seemed longer than she remembered. "That was very nice of her. Wait a minute, why can't I leave now?"

"That is a very good question young lady" said the doctor as he enter the room "As you can see doctor the patient is up and quite ready to leave" said the nurse "yes I see" replied the doctor as look at her chart "Well judging from this I see no reason to keep you I will have Sister Annkia bring you in for a check up in a couple of days" "A couple of days? I was hoping to leave town today" said Darlene " Well I am afraid that would be impossible. Just because you are well enough to leave here doesn't mean you're well enough to travel. I will call Sister Annkia, nurse would you help our patient get dressed" " of course doctor" replied the nurse "Excellent don't worry about a thing Darlene we here in Covenant know how to treat our guest" said the doctor as he leaves the room

“Have I died and gone to the Twilight Zone”, Darlene wondered as the nurse, whose name she still didn't know, helped Darlene get dressed in clothes that fit more perfectly than anything she'd ever worn in her life. White bra and panties and a slip, knee socks and patent leather Mary Janes, and the incredibly pink dress.And if the dress wasn't weird enough the nurse insisted on putting a matching pink headband on her. “Just stick it out until tomorrow, and then you can catch the bus and you never have to come back here again”, she told herself as she followed the nurse out into the waiting room.
As they walked down the corridor Darlene noticed that the dress forced her to walk differently. Here strides were smaller and more demure and her hips had a feminine sway that made her feel both strange and admittedly good. Cloth were always an afterthought just throw on a pair jean and shirt and go on with her day. But this dress felt different it felt like a part of her. As they enter the waiting room Darlene saw Annkia waiting for her. "My dear sister you are looking so much better" said Annkia as she grab hold of both of Darlene hands " and I must say you look just lovely in that dress. I know you are not use this type of attire, but trust me when I say that great joy comes when you live by Gods standards of modesty and femininity"

Christ, what was it with everyone grabbing her? "Thank you," she said, again to be polite. "I'll have this stuff cleaned and make sure it's returned once I get home." Not that the apartment she lived in was the least homelike. Once she'd turned 16 her parents had fired the nanny saying she was old enough to look after herself. A cleaning service came in once a week, but beyond that it was just her since her parents were always traveling for work. "I won't hear of it, this is a gift " said Annkia "Beside what this talk about leaving us so soon" Annkia let go of one of Darlene hands but here hope for freedom was dashed when Annkia wrap her arm around Darlene's and begin to lead her out of the clinic arm to arm. "I have strict orders from the doctor that you cannot travel" Said Annkia the nurse walked ahead and open the door for them "God Bless" said the nurse "God bless you dear I will see you when you get home" replied Annkia

"I can't be away for too long," Darlene said. "People will notice I'm gone." Okay that wasn't quite entirely true, but Darlene decided the other woman didn't need to know that. She was all but certain she'd find herself locked in cell somewhere for the duration of her pregnancy. The last exchange between Annika and the nurse then registered. "Wait, you two live together?" That didn't fit. She was reasonably certain the nurse wasn't young enough to be Annika's daughter, "Now if your hearts set on leaving us I can't stop you" Annkia continue "but the earliest you could possibly leave is Monday. It is too late tonight and the buses do not run on Sunday. Beside how could know if this place isn't right for you until you attend one of our glorious church services" Church that word stunk to the pit of Darlene stomach and increased her desire to flee by ten folds. If it wasn't for fear of passing out again and her inability to even do a power walk in her Mary Jane she would flee this instance. No she knew she had to wait until the moment was right

Just then Darlene noticed the couple that was involved in dispute walking toward them. There was another lady with them as they got closer Darlene got a better look at the lady and a sense of disbelief fell over her "is that the girl that was fighting with them?" She thinks to herself . "Blessing Brother Roberts" Annkia said as they approached "Blessing to you Sister Annkia" said Robert "I don't believe you have been properly introduce to our friend Elizabeth" like Darlene Elizabeth look drastically different from their first encounter. Her tight tank top and short short are replaced by a white lapel blouse with sequin and a knee length skirt with black and red horizontal stripes. She was holding what look like a bible in her hands.

"Elizabeth it is such a pleasure to meet you" said Annkia "The pleasure is all mine mame, "replied Elizabeth " I must apologize for our last encounter I am afraid I wasn't at my best" "No need dear the Prophet told me that the two of you had a very constructive conversation" said Annkia "Yes, he really made everything so Crystal clear....and you sister" Elizabeth said as she looked over at Darlene "I glad to see that you too have decide to take the better path" "I haven't decided to take anything yet," Darlene said. Aside from the next bus out of there that was. Did everybody in this town know her business? If, IF she decided to have the kid, she definitely wasn't turning it over this bunch of freaks. 'Elizabeth's' rapid turnaround smelled way too fishy. People didn't change just like that. "I understand your dilemma....I was there too...but once I LET GO of my doubt SURRENDER my pride and SUBMITTED to GOD'S will. ...I felt a love that was undesirable and I knew where I belonged"

"That's nice for you," Darlene said trying very hard not to sound rude as well as trying to extricate her arm from Annika's grasp. "Well we must be off" said Robert "Yes it was a real pleasure to officially meet you. I look forward to seeing you at church, God Bless" said Elizabeth "God Bless you" said Annika as the trio walked away "Ah the enthusiasm of a new convert always touches my heart" Annkia said to Darlene. As they began to walk away Darlene looked back as the trio turned the corner and although so couldn't be a hundred percent sure she could swear she saw Robert and Elizabeth holding hands

"So where to now?" Darlene asked. Part of her was curious as to how they'd removed the other woman's tats so quickly. Having considered getting a tattoo herself, she'd done some research and laser removal sounded way too painful. And since she'd never found a design she wanted to keep forever, she'd invested in skin decals and henna treatments which would fade painlessly and naturally over time. At one time though she'd had up to six holes in each ear. Nose rings were just too disgusting and no way was she letting some stranger put what was essentially a nail gun anywhere near her eyes or any other sensitive body parts. Now she was down to the two holes in each earlobe. She'd let the ones in the shells of her ears close up when they'd failed to get her parents' attention.

She went to shove her hands in her pockets but the dress didn't have any. "Hey," she said coming to a dead stop, "what happened to the stuff that was in my pockets?" "Oh I gathering those item up and along with a few essential every proper lady needs put them in a purse for you. It is at home which we will be arriving at shortly" "Thanks," Darlene said not bothering to point out she wasn't a "proper lady". She felt like she'd stepped into a verbal minefield. "So, um, where's home, your home, I mean?" "Well it right next to the church of course" said Annkia as she began to walk again gentle tugging Darlene along "dinner should be ready when we get there. Everyone is so excited to meet you" As they approached the building Darlene felt her jaw drop. The house was HUGE. She didn't recognize the style but it had at least three floors. Granted the church building had been huge enough to take up a whole block but that wasn't as much of a surprise. This house was almost as big. It seemed more like a mansion than a place where a clergyman should live.

I'm definitely taking the first bus out of here, she told herself as she and Annika went up the front steps which led to a giant wrap-around porch. As they stepped on the porch the door open and behind it was a lady who looked a couple of years younger than Annkia” that is a strange uniform for hired help” Darlene thinks to herself . The woman was wearing a short sleeve turtle next and a red skirt. "Welcome home first sister" said the lady "Thank you Sister Annabelle may I introduce you to Darlene" "it is a honor to have you in our humble home Sister" Annabelle said to Darlene "Um....thanks" replied Darlene . Just then a young girl around the age of 12 approached her hair was in a ponytail tied up with a little bow and she was wearing a floral printed dress "Mother Annkia Sister Darlene welcome" said the little girl she then turn attention to Annabelle "Mother I have assembly all the child in the living to meet Sister Darlene" "thank you dear" replied Annabelle

She had almost gotten used to everyone calling each other Brother This and Sister That. And it kinda sorta made sense that as the prophet's wife, Annika would be known as First Sister, and maybe it made sense that the children would call her Mother, but if this girl was Annabelle's daughter, why was she here?"I'm not actually a sister," Darlene felt compelled to point out. "I don't belong to the church ye-you know." She'd almost said 'yet'. What the hell was getting into her? The little girl grab hold of both of Darlene hands and looked at her with her baby blue eyes and said "We are all brothers and sister in the eyes of God" the child then wrap her arms around Darlene and gave her hug. Almost insync Annabelle and Annika put one hand on Darlene back and the other on the back of the child. "From the mouth of babes "said Annkia

Darlene felt herself tearing up again though she couldn't have said why. This was all so far outside her experience. And she felt something inside her, something that had long since gone numb from disuse start to stir to life. The longer the huge lasted plus the combination of both Annika and Annabelle softly rubbing her the harder it was to hold back the tears and for some reason that thing that Randall said to her when she first arrived "I hope we can be the family you always needed" was playing over and over in her head A tear dripped down her cheek. "I'm sorry," she said with a sniffle. "Oh, don't be," a voice she recognized as the nurse from the doctor's office said gently blotting Darlene's face. She had come up the steps behind them. "Tears are sometimes just Heavenly Father's way of washing out the hurt."
Normal a saying like that would made Darlene eye roll, but this time it made her feel happy and comforted. She even sensed a small hint of a smile come across her face. No longer wearing her nursing outfit the nurse had on a navy chiffon dress. The young child finally unhinged herself from Darlene waist and gave the nurse a curtsy. "Welcome home Mother Kelsey" said the little girl " It's good to be home my precious Sarah" replied Kelsey as she leaned forward and kissed Sarah on the forehead. "Well we can't be selfish and keep Darlene all to ourselves, it is time for her to meet the rest of the family" said Annkia "Of course first sister" Kelsey and Annabelle said in unison Sarah grab hold of Darlene hand "Come sister it is time to JOIN the rest of the family"

As she passed over the threshold for a moment Darlene felt a sense of homecoming, though it was so brief she almost missed it.The house was neat as a pin. The living room to which she was led was as large as the one in the penthouse she lived in although the furniture here seemed less posh and more, well, homey: soft chairs and sofas, tables with rounded corners. As they entered the room the other children stopped talking among themselves and lined up. Darlene thought her eyes must be playing tricks on her.

They were all girls as neatly dressed as Sarah from 14 to 1. They lined up in groups a group of 4 two groups of 3 and two groups of 2. "Hello children" said Annkia "Hello mother Annkia" said the children in uinson although Darlene could hear the set of four just say mother. " Say hello to Darlene" " Hello Sister Darlene" replied the children. Darlene was amazed how still the children stood not a fidged it was like the von trapp had come to life. From the kitchen emerged three women two were pregnant and the other was holding a baby . It didn't surprise Darlene that they look immaculate even though they were pregnant.

Kelsey walked over the lady holding the baby. "So how was my angel today" she asked "perfect as usual" replied the lady as she gave her the baby. All the ladies walk over to the line each taking the head of one of the group with Kelsey standing at the end holding her baby. It was only then that it sunk in to Darlene. She felt faintly dizzy. Fifteen kids and apparently two more on the way. No wonder the house was so big. She could hardly imagine how there could be room for all of them. Some of the girls closely resembled their mothers, but aside from the baby, whom she couldn't see, they all had the same eyes. His eyes.

She'd learned about polygamy in school when Warren Jeffs had been on trial. Her teacher had emphasized the horror stories of child-brides and lost boys. And yet, if the expressions on the faces of the women was anything to go by, maybe they did it differently. For a school report, Darlene had researched a group that practiced polygamy but in such a way that the men had basically no say in the matter. In that system God told each woman who she was supposed to marry, she then would tell her parents who told the priesthood council who would tell the groom. She'd read a few testimonials from women about how they'd received inspiration as they called it.
Realizing that she was just standing there staring, she lifted a hand and said, "Hello.""I know it is a lot to take in, it why we don't discuss it with non member outside of our home because of the stigma attached to it . We learned it was best for people to see the love and blessing this type of union can produce for themselves. " Annika said as she lifted her hand and summed Darlene to come to over to which Darlene dutifully oblige. "Let us introduce you properly this my oldest Jacqueline the girl took Darlene hand and cursty " Blessing to you" she said as she went down the line each child gave her name grab her hand curtsy and said "blessing to you". Darlene wasn't sure how she would remembers all these name but she paid close attention to the sister wives she hadn't formally meet Margaret Jennifer and Samantha.

As she reached the end her smile widen as Kelsey baby reached out grab hold of her finger. "Whats her name" ask Darlene "Julia" replied Kelsey. Like all the others she had the prophet eyes "The prophet has arrived " Annkia proclaim Darlene look over and there he stands by the door in all his glory. Darlene fell into line behind Kelsey as the Prophet approached the family kneel down. Darlene stood there confused " should I kneel or is this a family thing....why I am even considering this" she thinks to herself.

The Prophet puts his hand on Annkia head and said a blessing over her. He then proceeded to go down the line and repeat this however Darlene noticed that each blessing was individualized for each person something that Darlene found touching. As he reach the end of the line Darlene couldn't help but look up into those blue eyes " why am I looking up" Darlene thinks, it was then that she notice that she was kneeling too. "My precious sister what a blessing it to have you in my home" said the Prophet as he laid his hand on the top of Darlene head. The family arrange themselves in a circle around Darlene as the Prophet prayed over her. "Heavenly Father I proclaim an anointed blessing over this child and the child shes carry for as long as she is under this roof she will be protected and loved as I love my wives and children. Family what say you to Darlene" said the prophet "God love you and We love you Darlene may we be the family you've always wanted" the family said in unision

Darlene felt a strange heat in her scalp and what was with the waterworks she wondered as she blinked rapidly. My nose must be beet red. And yet, what would it be like to be part of such a family. To grow up surrounded by love. "Mama, why is she crying?" one of the younger girls asked. "Heavenly Father is washing away the hurt my darling" Margaret said to her daughter Hormones, Darlene told herself, that's what it has to be. Somebody handed her a tissue and she wiped her eyes and face. She was also feeling a sudden wave of embarrassment for having run out of the Prophet's office earlier.

"Than-" she paused to clear her throat. "Thank you." She couldn't think of anything else to say."It is my honor sister" the prophet said as he take her hand and lead her to her feet. The family comes in around Darlene as the Prophet grabs hold of both of her hands. "As long you are here this your home" said the Prophet "this is your home" Annkia as she gently rubs Darlene back "and this your family" continue the Prophet "this is your family" said Annabelle as she too begins to rub Darlene back. "Praise God" said the Prophet which caused a chain reaction through out the family "Praise God" "Praise God" "Praise God"

As the touch of the two women Darlene felt a stiffness she'd all but forgotten about melting from her shoulders. She stopped hunching them which she had unconsciously done for most of her life. This caused her to stand straighter. At the same time she became aware of just how strong and powerful the prophet's hands were, and how delicate and fragile her own were by comparison. And yet she somehow knew that this strength would never be used to harm her. Whatever else was going on with these people they seemed genuinely glad to have her around, and for someone who'd been told that she'd been a mistake, it was as cold fresh water to someone who'd been lost in the desert.

Praise God Praise God Praise God Darlene eyes were locked on prophet eyes as each family member from child to adult said Praise God Darlene began to hear those words that Sister Elizabeth said to her "LET GO of your doubt" Praise God "SURRENDER your pride" Praise God "SUBMIT to GOD'S will" Praise God Praise God "YOU KNOW WHERE YOU BELONG" PRAISE GOD'S Annkia was last proclaim as she lean in a kiss Darlene on the top of her head.Her knees felt incredibly wobbly and as Annika kissed her she felt them give way, but the arms of the others supported her and she began to feel steady again. Could she belong here, as part of this family? But if so, in what capacity? Darlene's thoughts were jarred away as her nearly empty stomach growled rather loudly and she felt her face heat with embarrassment.

"Well I believe God is telling us that it is time to nourish our bodies as well as our spirit, let us go to the dining room" the Prophet said Darlene felt strange twinge of sadness as the Prophet let go of her hands. Samantha took hold of one his hand and one of his children grab hold of the other. Annika held on to Darlene arm while her other hand softly rub her shoulder unlike the walk over Darlene did not try to escape her grasp but leaned into it as one of the younger children Emily took hold of Darlene other hand and lead to the dining room"

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Re: The Book of Zion Chapter 1: Darlene

Post by Mr Stepford on Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:54 pm

Darlene 3
Naturally the table dominated the space in the dining room. Since it was covered with a tablecloth Darlene couldn't tell if it was all one piece or one of those expandable kinds. She hesitated, unsure of where she was supposed to sit. Everyone else knew where they belonged. She was the stranger here.

The Prophet set at the end of the table the rest of the family took their place according. Darlene looked at Annkia "where am suppose to set" she ask "Where the guest of honor always sets" replied Annkia as she points to empty chair at the end of the table.Darlene took her seat marveling at how well-behaved all the children were. There was no squirming, whining, or teasing like in all the sitcoms she'd ever seen. Maybe that was because they were all girls? Boys might be a bit more rambunctious.

Once everyone was seated they all bowed their heads. Right, Darlene thought, time to say grace. Having never learned a formal prayer in her life, she hoped nobody would mind if she didn't join in in case this was one of those situations where everybody was expected say it together."Darlene would you do us the honor praying over this meal?" The prophet asked Oh, great. She felt like she was sitting in the middle of a giant searchlight beam. Everyone was waiting and soon they would start staring. She opened her mouth fully intending to decline only to hear her own voice say, "Heavenly Father, we ask that You bless the food upon this table and all those gathered around it. Amen." Where the hell had that come from she wondered as the others said Amen as well.

Annika who was sitting right next Darlene gently grab hold of Darlene hand "That was perfect my dear just perfect" she said Darlene saw something in Annkia eyes that she has never seen in her mother a look of approval "Yes the light of Christ really shined through you" said the Prophet "The light of Christ? " replied Darlene "The light of Christ is in all of us sadly the world has dull it to most it is the light guide us shows right from wrong" said the Prophet "The light of Christ is what brought you here and it has been growing inside you since have arrived molding into the women of God you are meant to be, you will be able to see difference between right and wrong more clearly " said the Prophet as Annkia softly rubs Darlene hand

Right and wrong weren't things Darlene was used to thinking about very much. Oh, yes, she'd tried acting out in the hopes of getting her parents' attention, but it simply hadn't worked so she'd basically given up and essentially cruised through life in an effort to distract herself from how lonely and miserable she actually was. Bull had been such a distraction. Darlene laid her free hand over her abdomen. And that distraction was what had led her here.

Now the other women and girls were passing platters and serving bowls around with the younger children's portions being served by their mothers or older sisters. The main dish seemed to be meatloaf with mashed potatoes, rolls, butter, gravy, peas and carrots. The only beverage she could see was milk. Well, at least they weren't trying to get her to drink Kool-Aid she thought as one of the girls placed a platter of meatloaf to Annika.

Annika served the meatloaf to Darlene the same way the mothers were doing for the younger children. It was no surprise that everyone table manners was exquisite. The dinner conversation turned to the children play coming up that Thursday. "I going to be a angel" said Emily to Darlene "That nice" replied Darlene " You're coming right" ask Emily "I am afraid I have to back to the city before then" said Darlene Emily gave Darlene a perplexed look and said "But what's in the city for you?"

That stark reminder of just how bleak her life in the city was jabbed at a sore spot in Darlene. She wanted to tell the kid it was none of her damn business, but the words wouldn't come out."Emily you are speaking out of place" the Prophet said as he turned his attention toward Darlene and looked deep into her eyes "Darlene must do what she thinks is best" "I'm sorry, Papa," Emily said. The girl turned to face Darlene. "I apologize."

Darlene had to force herself to look away from the prophet's penetrating gaze to face Emily. "Apology accepted," she said. Actually she'd intended to say something along the lines of, "no harm, no foul," but it was as though some other force had taken control of her voice. For the rest of the meal she mostly remained silent watching and listening especially to the women. She couldn't detect any hints of jealousy or rivalry among them, nor did any of them seem to play favorites among the children. There was such an atmosphere of, of, well she couldn't really say what, but it was definitely there. And it beckoned to her like a shady resting spot after a long hike in the hot sun.

Once dinner was through the wives and child began the process cleaning the table . They ran like a fine oiled machine Darlene tried to help but being a guest the sister wives would hear nothing of it so Darlene reluctantly went to the living room where the prophet had retired. Darlene sat across from him and despite her best intentions her eyes lock with his "I have someone for you" said the Prophet as he hands her a book "use it however you see fit, whether it reading or using it to balance a crooked dresser" as she took hold of it she notice it looked just like the book Elizabeth was holding then she looked at the title THE BOOK OF ZION

Reading was something Darlene considered a secret vice. Well, maybe not reading itself but her choice of reading material: historical romance novels had garnered nothing but contempt from her teachers. None of them had seemed to get it when she pointed out that Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte were the Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts of their day. Most of the other books she'd been assigned to read had bored her silly, except LITTLE WOMEN. It had stuck with her in a way few others had. But his gift reminded her of something she wanted to say.

"I," she had to pause to clear her throat. "I want to apologize for what happened this afternoon, running out on you like that. I don't usually have freak-outs like that, but the last few weeks have been really stressful. Anyway I'm sorry." "You have no need to apologise Sister, the truth of God's word is quite overwhelming when our eyes are closed. When he first gave me the vision for this book I ran from him too" the Prophet lean and gently touched Darlene knee his blue eyes look into her "but once I LET GO of my doubt SURRENDER my pride and SUBMITTED to God's will I knew what I had to do and where I BELONGED"

His voice felt like a warm caress along her nerve endings and she found herself straining toward him. She felt almost as though she were being wrapped in a warm blanket. The restlessness she'd come to think of as second nature had dialed down considerably since entering the house. As far back as she could remember she'd been aware of an emptiness inside her and in the last few years had become this almost gnawing hunger for something she couldn't put a name to. Now sitting here with this man, she was beginning to get an idea of what that something was. "You wrote this book?" she asked laying a hand on the cover.
"More like I allowed God to write through me to tell the gospel after Christ was in Israel. You see Christ visited all nation and all those stories will be revealed some day, these are the stories of the people that live on this land, Covenant" the prophet said as placed his hand on top of Darlene's"This book has answer you need to restore your Covenant with God and for you to see that this is the TRUE CHURCH"

Darlene tried to think of a way to phrase her next question without it sounding sarcastic and decided to simply opt for a tone of innocent curiosity. "How is your church any different from all the other churches out there?" "Why don't you ask God yourself.....in our meeting you said you never thought about God perhaps it time you do...I must retire for the evening and lady's will preparing the child for bed so you will have sometime to yourself .... all I ask is that you pray to God and ask him if this is the true church and if this is where you belong"

Darlene almost told him she didn't know how to pray, but realized that would probably sound silly after she'd said grace earlier in the evening. So she simply said, "I'll do my best." "That is all that God's ask" the Prophet said as he rose for his chair. He walked over to Darlene . In what seemed like instinct Darlene kneeled down both hands clutching the book. She tilted her head slightly so the prophet could place his hand on top of it. "May the lord bless you in this time of reflective" As the prophet exit the room Darlene thought to herself "what the hell am I doing ?" If you would of told her a couple of days ago that she would be in a dress kneeling on the floor and about to pray to a God that she never gave a second thought too let alone believe existed she would of laughed in your face.

But here she was and a part of her was screaming at her to get up and take advantage of her first real opportunity to escape. While hitchhiking at night was not the safest choice it still seemed safer than this. She began to get up when she heard the voice of Emily in her head "but what is in the city for you?" This brought Darlene back down to her knee and allow that part of her that she so desperately did not want to believe exist to take hold and it was this part that spoke when she began to pray."Heavenly Father I humbly kneel before you and ask that you reveal yourself to me if you are truly there and that you show me path that I am suppose take.”

After sitting there for goodness knows how long, the door opened and Annabelle walked in. "Darlene, I'm sure you must be tired after the day you've had. If you'll come with me I'll show you to your room. "Still holding the book, Darlene got up and walked over to her. Annabelle casually wrapped an arm around her shoulders and steered her upstairs to the second floor. As they went down the hall they neared an open door where most of the women and girls seemed to have gathered. At that moment Kelsey came down the stairs from the third floor holding a hairbrush. She smiled when she saw them. "Ah, Darlene, have you come to join us in our little nighttime ritual?"

Confused Darlene looked inside the room and saw the other sister-wives and the above pre-school age girls sitting in lines and brushing each other's hair. "Um," "You really should let Annabelle do it," Kelsey said. "She has an incredible knack for it." "All right."

Once again this new voice of hers spoke before she had the time to process what was going on . As she enter the room she notice that all of them were wearing the same white night gown. Annabelle and Kelsey walked Darlene over to corner of the room and began to undress her. Kelsey removed her Mary Jane's and stocking while Annabelle help with her headband and dress. As she stood there in her bra and panties one of the older children walked up holding a folded nightgown in her hand. "Lift you arms up sister" Annabelle said .Darlene lifted her arms and watched as the white fabric flowed over her face and on to her body. As she slipped into a pair of slipper a part of her was comforted by the fact that she looked like everyone else well all most as she touch her hair. While she was still puzzled as it seem to have grown it was nowhere close to the flowing lock the rest of the sister had. "Well at least this won't take long" she thinks to herself

There was such a relaxed atmosphere in the room that it never occurred to Darlene to be weirded out by the fact that she had just been undressed by two women she'd met only a few hours ago. The nightgown felt incredibly soft against her skin and the slippers seemed to somehow be soothing any aches from her feet. She let Annabelle steer her over to a low hassock while the other woman took a seat behind her.

At the first stroke of the brush Darlene felt a prickling like feeling her scalp, kind of the way a limb feels after going to sleep and then blood flow is restored. It wasn't painful, just strange, actually it was a little relaxing she thought feeling some more of the tension she'd always carried melting away.

With each stroke of the brush the more relaxed she became a blissful smile came across her face as she saw the loving eyes of her.....the sister staring back at her in the mirror "You do this every night?" she asked setting the mirror down. "Sure do," Kelsey said moving around to brush Annabelle's hair. "We've found it helps us to wind down at the end of the day, and caring for each other brings us closer together."

The reasons Darlene chopped her hair off was because she used to envy girls who had moms or sisters to brush and braid their hair and if hers was so short she could fool herself that she wasn't missing out. But she could not deceive herself anymore one of her most longing desire was being filled in the last place she would has ever looked. As Jacqueline began to comb Kelsey hair the rest of the daughters and wives follow suit and without any prompting they all began to sing

"As sisters in Zion, we'll all work together;
The blessings of God on our labors we'll seek."

Darlene felt the brush stroke move to the song

"We'll build up his kingdom with earnest endeavor;
We'll comfort the weary and strengthen the weak."

At first Darlene noticed the that the stroke would take longer with each turn but the rhythm of the strokes begin to hinder her ability to concentrate on something so tangible

"The errand of angels is given to women;
And this is a gift that, as sisters, we claim:"

the lyric swam in her head as the gentle brush caressed her hair

"To do whatsoever is gentle and human,
To cheer and to bless in humanity's name."

Annkia enter the room and handed Darlene a brush and sat down in front of her. Her arms as if they were caught in the rhythm of the song rose up and began to brush the First Sisters hair.

"How vast is our purpose, how broad is our mission,

If we but fulfill it in spirit and deed."
Darlene was now engulfed in the sisters siren call. Time and space was gone as if the world outside this room never existed.

"Oh, naught but the Spirit's divinest tuition
Can give us the wisdom to truly succeed."

When the song came to an end she blinked, disoriented. Still feeling the effects of nurturing and unity, it never occurred to her to protest as the girls lined up to hug her good night along with their mothers.Kelsey showed Darlene to where she would sleep and actually tucked her into bed. "Sleep well, sister," she said kissing Darlene's forehead.

Normally Darlene couldn't get to sleep without popping at least one Benedryl, but tonight she drifted off easily with the words of the song and and the prophet's words: LET GO of my doubt SURRENDER my pride and SUBMITTED to Gods will I knew what I had to do and were I BELONGED echoing through her mind.

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