At 11 P.M. on October the lush, sprawling field of Joey High School was alive with sounds of Saturday night football. From scattered pockets of cheering, exuberant bursts of shouting, laughter, and the thump, thump, thump of the bleachers exploded from the field down the block to the nearest residential homes and the student population (and their families) unwound a week’s worth of stress, study and became one with football fever. The love affair with big-time sports was enjoying a resurgence at Joe High School, long known primarily as a bastion of academic excellence. But the school’s football team had ridden a dark horse out of nowhere to upset the Division A League on November 7th. Four years later, the pride still burned with the memory, and the fervor lingered yet on autumn Saturdays. And although it wa mid-October, Columbus Day—a time of smoldering dry leaves and ripening pumpkins in the northern reaches of the country—it was a clear, pleasant evening in F____. A light breeze gently rattled the gum trees and palms that studded the camps and bore the musical merriment from one distant corner of the sparkling complex to the other. There were many such night in the friendly climate of Northern Arizona, which nestled in the middle of the largest forest in the U.S. The forest, and the whole of Arizona, which enveloped it, spoke of tomorrow, progress and affluence. Seventeen year old Perry Patterson was a student of Joey High School. Around him, out of doors, the sounds of Saturday was faint in the wind, and only remotely tempting. Perry was dedicated to learning, and a weekend with Shakespeare was as normal to him as an evening with Led Zeppelin was to some of his classmates. Not that Perry was always serious; he did have his moments, but for the immediate future, they seemed as far away as the moon. Perry’s young, blonde girlfriend, and was immersed in religious causes, much like Perry was, was a middle school sweetheart. As Perry was busy that night, Mary busied herself with church-related activities. In addition to being a student, Mary volunteered to help the local church with sorting documents as an assistant. As it neared eleven-thirty, Mary gathered up some letters to the church and told Perry she was going out to mail them. Perry shrugged at his girlfriend, then decided to pack up his school work and get outside for a while himself. He realized that Mary was showing signs of restlessness and that he hadn’t done very much to liven up her evening. Perry was still adapting to the idea of living with Mary and her family. It was the closest thing to being married that Perry and Mary ever experienced and the ordeal at times is pulling their relationship too thin. Not that he didn’t love Mary; he was happy she was with him and they shared long hours of contentment and caring. In many respects, they complemented each other. But Perry regretted that he’d seen so little of his girlfriend the previous year. He had been dealing with personal family issues that ended with his parents getting a very ugly divorce and he pushed Mary away to not hurt her in the backlash of his feelings. At about 11:30 P.M., apparently in good spirits, the young couple strolled from Mary’s home. Engrossed in conversation, they ambled across the school grounds and suddenly began to argue. The subject was minor, ludicrous in fact, unless other matters were occupying one’s mind at the time. A tire on their car was slowly losing are, and each thought the other should have filled it. The bickering continued as they strode in the direction of the Memorial Church, which loomed before them in the distance. It was about 11:40 P.M. Ostensibly miffed at Perry, Mary halted abruptly, faced him and emphatically stated that she wanted to be alone. She told her boyfriend she intended to visit the church and would see him later at home, which was about half a mile away. Equally annoyed, Perry turned from his girlfriend and hastened back across the street, oblivious to the sounds of revelry wafting around him as he walked. He didn’t notice whether anyone was watching him.. At approximately 11:50 P.M. Merry pulled open the massive outer doors of Memorial Church and entered the foyer, where another set of portals offered access to te main body of the church. Memorial Church is ornate and somewhat imposing. It is a decorous, breathtaking edifice, and as Mary stepped inside she saw a veritable rainbow of scarlet and gold. There were rich velvet tapestries of red and purple; and montages, sculptures, and candelabra of immaculately polished, glistening gold. In front of Mary, and elevated several steps from the floor of the church, was the main alter. To either side were rounded alcoves which contained additional pews, all angled to face the altar. The church, as always, would be shuttered at midnight. And since it was nearly twelve, only two other worshippers sat in a silent vigil of prayer. These young people, who occupied a pew to the right of the center aisle in the rear of the church, noticed Mary in the subdued perimeter lighting as she softly padded down the main aisle, eased her way into one of the front rows on the left and knelt to pray. For her nocturnal visit, Mary dispensed with formality. She wore a ark brown jacket, a blouse, blue jeans, and a pair of beige wedge-heeled shoes. Perry, having returned home to Mary’s house, was still fidgety about Mary. He probably gave no thought to the futility of mailing letters on a late Saturday night—Mary’s stated reason for wanting to go out. With no Sunday mail collection, the letters would be processed until Monday morning. It is also unlikely he considered the possibility that Mary might have wished to go out alone and used the letters as an excuse for doing so. And he probably didn’t reflect on how their argument grew so out of control—resulting in Mary’s continuing to the church by herself. But there was no reason for Perry to have been analyzing such thoughts as he paced the home and worked out his irritation. Back in the church, as Mary meditated at midnight, the two worshippers behind her rose to leave. It was now closing time. Looking over their shoulders as they departed, they saw that Mary hadn’t moved from her pew. She was now alone in the cavernous house of worship. Outside, a passerby spotted a young man who was about to enter the building. He was casually dressed. He was of medium build and wore a royal blue short-sleeved shirt. He appeared to be in his mid- to late-teens. For some reason, the witness noted the man wasn’t wearing a watch. A policeman drove by a few minutes after the couple left the church. He noticed the church door was slightly ajar and peeked inside. he didn’t see Mary or the stranger. He then spoke aloud into the apparently empty, dimly lit church, “Is anyone in here?” No answer. “The church is being locked for the night now. If anyone is here, you’ll have to leave.” He was answered by his echo rebounding off the muted statues and shadows walls and rolling slowly back to him. Satisfied, the policeman shut the doors and locked them and walked away—leaving Mary alone with the devil. In the house of God. Almost certainly, she was already in Satan’s grasp when the police voiced his notification. From wherever she was being hidden, she would have heard him calling out, listened tot eh great portals clanging shut, and heard her heart pounding in the deathly stillness that followed. But she probably never believed she wouldn’t leave the church alive.