Testing Faith Chapter Thirteen

Walking Among the Ghosts

It seemed like it took an eternity to arrive at Provo, Utah, but the plane finally landed. Angela and Bella walked off the jet, while the crew collected their luggage. As they were collecting their bags, a tall burly guy walked up to them.

“Hello, I am Eric and if you will come with me, I have your vehicle ready.”

“Vehicle?” Angela questioned.

“Yes, ma’am. Mr. Cullen has arranged for you to have a vehicle during your stay.”

“He didn’t have to do that, but thank you,” Angela said, her heart so full of gratitude for what Emmett had done for them.

Eric placed their luggage in the SUV and handed the keys and a card with his number on it to Angela. “When you are ready to return home, call me and I will make sure the plane is ready.”

“We will and thank you again.”

Angela got behind the wheel of the SUV and typed in the address to the police department into the navigation system. As Angela drove, Bella stared out the window trying to find something familiar that she had seen before, however, she knew that she wouldn’t. Before her father placed her on that bus that fateful night, she had never left the compound. Aro only allowed a select few people to venture out of the protective watch of the sect. Those who were deemed worthy and trustworthy went into town to pick up supplies for items  that couldn’t be grown or made by the sect members. 

After she began to enjoy her new life in the outside world, she realized that she had been imprisoned in a dark, evil nightmare. Her only regret was that her parents had not made their escape and come to share their lives with their only daughter. Why couldn’t they see the evil in Aro and the falsehood of his teachings? 

“Bella are you alright? You are awful quiet,” Angela asked as she glanced over at Bella who had been staring out the window.

“Just thinking about my life now compared to what it was like before,” Bella answered. “I just wished that they had loved me more than they did Aro.” 

Angela pulled off the road up ahead and turned towards Bella. She could see the tears that were flowing down her cheeks. “Bella, they loved you so much that they didn’t want you to marry Aro and they sacrificed they own freedom to keep you safe.”

“But it has been so long, they could have escaped as well. I would have protected them,” Bella cried. “But now I will never get to see them again. I will never be able to thank them or to tell them how much I loved them.”

Angela wrapped her arms around Bella, encasing her with the love she had for her. “I know that they knew that you loved them. Let us get the answers to our questions and maybe find some peace for you.”

“I love you too,” Bella murmured, as she pulled away from Angela’s embrace she gave her a small smile. “I am so glad I have you in my life.”

“I am too. Now let’s get back on the road and set these cops straight,” Angela grinned with an evil glint.

“Oh my, did you pack any of your toys?” Bella asked, giggling at the thought of Angela with one of her whips or even a cat-of-nines. 

“I’m not telling,” she said as she pulled back on the highway. The rest of the trip was spent singing to songs on the radio and laughing. The navigation system directed them to the Provo Police Department and they found a visitor parking space. Angela reached over and squeezed Bella’s hand. “Let’s go get some answers.”

Getting out of the vehicle, Bella made sure she had the envelope that held all the information about her parents. They walked through the front door and up to the information desk manned by a young woman in a uniform. 

“Hello, how can I help you today?”

“I am Isabella Swan and my parents were members of the Solar Temple,” Bella said. 

Maggie had received multiple phone calls today of people pretending to be relatives of people of the cult. “Do you have any ID and proof of relationship to the members?”

Bella opened her purse and got out her driver’s license and slid it towards the officer. Next, she opened the envelope and removed her birth certificate, her parent’s marriage license, and all their social security cards. When her father had sent her away that night he had placed all the documents in an envelope, along with the few photographs of him and Renee before they joined the Solar Temple. “As you can see I am the daughter of Charlie and Renee Swan.”

Maggie looked at each document and it seemed that this young lady was telling the truth. “Please have a seat and I will get you the detective in charge.”

Bella and Angela went over to hard plastic chairs and sat down. “Well at least they didn’t kick us out,” Angela whispered.

“Yeah, but the wait and all the red-tape is still so frustrating.”

Ten minutes later a tall brunette, wearing navy blue pants and a starched white button-down blouse came walking towards them. “Ms. Swan?”

Bella stood up. “Yes.”

“I am Detective Nancy Johnson and I am the lead detective on the Solar Temple investigation,” Nancy explained as she took a good look at the young woman standing before her. Maggie had brought her the documents that this Miss Swan had furnished and by all accounts they are authentic, however, she was still leary. “Would you please come with me so we can discuss this matter?”

“Certainly, but my cousin Angela is coming with me,” Bella said in a harsh tone. She was tired of being dicked around and she needed Angela for moral support.

“That will be fine,” Nancy said impressed by Miss Swan’s tenacity. Most people were afraid of her, but this little slip of a woman was different. Looking over to the cousin, she looked like someone that you didn’t want to mess with. It wasn’t because she was large or intimidating, but possessed an aura that seemed to project that she was in command. Nancy led them through a set of double doors and down the hallway to her office.  Once inside Bella and Angela took a chair across from a cluttered desk. “I have reviewed the documents that you have furnished and I believe that you are in fact one Isabella Marie Swan, daughter of Charles and Renee Swan, who have been listed as members of the Solar Temple.”

“Well, no shit Sherlock. This was what I was telling you earlier when I called, but you hung up on me,” Bella growled. “Now, tell me all the information you have about my parents.”

Angela couldn’t help but chuckle a little. When Bella first arrived after Charlie had snuck her away from the community, she was shy and timid; over time she has gained more confidence. However, it wasn’t until she became part of the BDSM community that she bloomed into the woman she was always supposed to be. Embracing that she submitted to her Master, but always knowing the fact that she was, in fact, the one who held all the power in the relationship. 

“The fire department was called to a structure fire at the compound of Solar Temple sect. Once they arrived they found the large building in the middle of the community was fully engulfed in flames. Their efforts to put out the fire were for naught, but what they found as they tried to gain entrance was that all the doors were chained with padlocks. When they were able to get inside, they found a horrific scene. Burnt bodies were everywhere and no one was alive,” Nancy explained. “Miss Swan I am sorry but if your parents were in that building, they did not survive.”

At this point, Bella was softly crying. When she saw the news, she knew in her heart that this was the case, but there was a little part of her that had hope that they might have made it through. Pulling herself together she wiped the tears that were running down her face and looked intently at Detective Johnson. “Was the building the largest one in the area?”

“Yes, how did you know?” Nancy asked.

“It was all part of the teachings. We were told time and time again that when the time comes, we would assemble in the holy temple and the fires from the heavens would come down and take our souls to our everlasting life in the stars,” Bella said.

“Who told them that?” Nancy quizzed, as she wrote down the information that Miss Swan was stating.


“Aro?” Nancy coaxed.

“Aro Volturi, the self-proclaimed prophet of the Solar Temple cult. He was very charismatic and convincing. My father was part of his upper inner circle and a leader among the others of the community, well, that was before he helped me escape over four years ago. Looking back, I can see how much Aro deceived all those people, including my parents. One of the first things you have to do to become part of the group was to convert all your wealth into cash and give it to Aro, so he could burn it as a sacrifice to the higher being in the stars. But I believe now that Aro didn’t destroy the cash, but kept it somewhere. He was a sham, a con artist, and I am glad he is dead,” Bella declared. 

“Miss Swan, no one has ever escaped from the sect and we really don’t know much about them, I know this would be difficult, but would you be willing to walk us through the community and tell us everything you know about it?” Nancy asked. 

Angela was shocked by what the detective was asking, but she knew that she was right. Bella was the lone survivor of a sect and any information she could tell them could provide them with invaluable insight into the minds of people who joined a radical sect. She reached out and took Bella’s hand into hers. “I will be right by your side the whole time.”

Bella turned to Angela, she was ghostly white and shaking. “I’m afraid.”

“Bella you are the strongest person I know and I know that you can do this,” Angela insisted. “This is a way for you to give a voice to parents and maybe help the next family to avoid falling into this nightmare.”

Bella knew that Angela was right, but she was frightened. Taking several deep cleansing breaths, a trick she had learned  being a submissive, she turned back to the detective. “I’ll do it.”

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