Larry Grant 6

THE SORCERER'S STONE!

 CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: LARRY LEARNS THE REST    

The next afternoon, a student knocked on the door to Larry’s room. “There’s someone on the phone for you. He’s an older person, not a student.”

“Hello, Larry, do not mention my name out loud as you speak to me just now. This has to be confidential. Come to my house alone this evening after supper. It is important.”

“How do I get there?” asked Larry, recognizing his voice.

“Take the road that goes up beyond the ad building to the main entrance to the campus. On the other side of the highway, that same road continues west. My home is the third mailbox on the right. I’ll be waiting for you. Don’t be late.”

“Well, I’ll see you later,” said Larry to his two friends.

“Hey, where you going?” asked Skip.

“You’ll probably find out later.”

“He’s on one of those secret errands of his,” commented Peter. “So much is happening so fast around here, we’ll probably find out later.”

By this time, it was dark, but Larry had a good flashlight. He would need it when he reached the outskirts of the campus, beyond the street lights.

Larry had never been to, what everyone called, the village. Those were the scattered homes to the west of the campus, beyond the north-south highway.

“Sit down, Larry,” Mr. Oliver said, after inviting him in. “This is Mrs. Oliver, Karen Oliver.”

“Glad to meet you, Mrs. Oliver,” said Larry, shaking her hand.

“So you’re the young man that’s kicking up an earthquake over on campus!” said Mrs. Oliver. “Really, you look just like a normal young man.”

At this, everyone laughed. Yet Larry could sense a tension below the surface.

“Sit right here on the couch and let me explain,” said Mr. Oliver, as he sat in an easy chair just across from Larry.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Mr. Oliver sat back and just looked absently into space for a moment. “Larry, you cannot know how glad we are that you are here. Somehow this thing seemed too big for any one of us to handle; and, yet, we didn’t know how to tackle it together. You put the pieces together. And I know how you did it.”

“How?” asked Larry.

“You just kept praying and God guided you step by step. I know, for I’ve watched you and what you have done at each step.”

Larry nodded. “But you have more than that to tell me.”

“Larry, I told you awhile back that I had more to tell you. Well, I’m going to tell you tonight.”

Then, as Mr. Oliver started explaining the situation, Larry sat back in his chair stunned.

“The president, Dr. Vandersleeve, and the treasurer, Mr. Silverton, are involved in a storage deal with criminals.”

“How do you know this?” asked Larry.

“I got it in bits and pieces over a period of time. I have contacts in the ad building, but they must be protected. A criminal syndicate sent one of their people over and offered to pay good money if the two men who ran things here—Vandersleeve and Silverton—would let them store some things in the warehouse behind the heating plant. Since I have keys to everything and my office is located just across from the warehouse entrance, I was in a good position to learn more than most.

“Although they had changed the locks on the warehouse, for some reason, they didn’t realize I also had a key by which I could get into that warehouse. They forgot to change one set of locks on that building. There is a small room, in the far back of it, through which I can enter the warehouse.”

Larry sat there astonished. “Are they involved in drug running?”

“No, it was just a storage deal. Trucks would arrive from somewhere north of here and unload into that warehouse. As you may have noticed, it’s pretty good-sized.”

“Why would the drug syndicate want to bother with a warehouse at a boarding school? They have enough money to build warehouses elsewhere,” queried Larry.

“Apparently, they figured that a warehouse on the campus of a boarding school would be the safest place they could hide drugs. The feds would never suspect it.”

“Where do the drugs come from and where do they go?” asked Larry.

“The best I can tell is they consistently arrive here from the north and unload. Later, another truck will come and load up; then head south. The warehouse has space for more than three large tractor trailers. Those are the largest over-the-road rigs you see on the highways.”

“Well, there’s more to this than what you’ve already told me,” said Larry.

“I know what you’re going to say,” replied Mr. Oliver.

“You said the other day,” added Larry, “that the two in village, the wizard and witch living together, have some kind of blackmail against Vandersleeve.”

“Are you beginning to see the connection?” asked Mr. Oliver.

“I think so.”

“It took me awhile to discover this one. The wizard and witch learned about the money-making storage scheme, and they threatened to tell the police unless they were permitted to teach witchcraft on campus.”

“How could they think they could get away with this?” exclaimed Larry.

“They figured they could present it so gradually that the students would not catch on, until they were so infatuated with demonology they would be helpless and could not escape.”

“The plan was for a third witch to be brought in as the main teacher of the new class; and, shortly afterward, they would enter as visiting instructors. And that is what they did.”

“What foiled their scheme?” asked Larry.

“Two things. One is you. The Lord moved on your heart to oppose it so strongly—when no one else dared to,—that it destabilized the whole situation.”

“What was the other factor?” wondered Larry.

With a laugh, Mr. Oliver said, “It was the devil himself. Have you ever noticed that Satan is not content with simple deviltry. He always has to overstep his bounds and go too far. It seems he cannot control himself. When he just about has a person in his clutches, he will frighten him with snakes in the corner of the room. Or he will cause another to go crazy and have to be committed to an insane asylum. The devil is so intent on hurting and destroying, that he loves to overdo it to those more fully in his own power. He does not protect his own.”

“I see what you mean!” said Larry. “That’s right. Satan may have far more power than humans,—but those of us who are dedicated to God have more self-control than He does!”

“So, because of this,” continued Mr. Oliver, “every time a student got the shakes or fell to the floor unconscious, it frightened the other students; and they wondered whether the new class was safe. For it was obvious that the students who were most willing to study and copy what they were taught in that class—were the very ones who lost the most control over their bodies.”

“But why did the wizard and witch want this class taught on campus?” asked Larry.

“Because they are servants of the devil, and he urges them on to figure out ways to catch more people. Satan wants to capture the whole world. In addition, the people who serve him want to make money off those he captures.

“For some people Satan uses witchcraft, with others he uses wild music, for others he uses clothes and jewelry. Whatever Satan can do to get people to think only of themselves and live only for themselves, he is winning them to his side. Such people he can use to win still more.”

Larry sat back in his chair and let out a deep breath. “What a situation!” He was silent for a moment. “I’ve learned a lot tonight.”

“You are going to learn more. Please, if you will, take your coat and flashlight and we’ll be going. But we must be very quiet.”

Together they walked down the road, across the highway, and into the campus. Mr. Oliver quietly led him to a small door on the side of the warehouse, close to the southeast corner. Passing through it, they entered a small room, and Mr. Oliver opened a door on the opposite side.

Entering, Larry found himself in a large warehouse. As the two walked down the center aisle, Larry could see large pallets full of boxes, stacked on each side. Ahead of them, the flashlight shone on a large roll-up door on the north end, where a semi could unload its tractor trailer.

“This is it,” said Mr. Oliver.

“All the boxes say ‘detergent soap’ on them,” said Larry quizzically.

“Yes, but that’s not what’s in them.”

“You are sure?” asked Larry.

“I am sure. We should leave now. I don’t like to be here too long.”

Outside in the darkness, Mr. Oliver explained, “The agreement was that if Vandersleeve would let them teach the course for just one year, they wouldn’t ask for anything more. Apparently, they thought that one year would provide them with enough new followers.”

“Why do they want them?” asked Larry.

“It is a source of money.”

“Money?” said Larry.

“You see, when a witch attracts people to the dark arts, gradually the demons enter them too. Once they are hooked, not many fully escape. This enables the witch which ‘mothered them’ into demon possession to influence them to pay her money from time to time, even though at a distance. The same for a wizard who ‘fathers’ people into witchcraft. Getting the devils into people is how they make their money. They gain influence over them. 

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: GETTING MORE HELP

 

Separating, Larry started toward the dorm while Mr. Oliver headed home. “Heavenly Father, what should I do? What should I do?” Larry prayed as he walked. He pled for help.

Suddenly, Larry knew what should be done next. Turning around, he retraced his steps and was soon knocking on Mr. Oliver’s door again.

“Well, surprised to see you back so soon,” said Mr. Oliver as he opened the door.

“May I use your phone? I need a secure phone where I cannot be overheard by anyone on campus.”

Quickly, Larry told Mr. Oliver that he had a friend who could help them. “Would you be willing to talk to him if I asked you to?”

“Yes, Larry.”

Sitting by the phone, Larry reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. Sure enough, it was still there. Larry was happy to see the business card had both the office and home phone number. By this time, it was about 9:30 at night; so he would probably still be awake.

“Hello, is this Mr. Steger?”

“Yes, this is Mr. Steger. May I help you? Whom am I speaking with?”

“I don’t know if you remember me, but you said to phone you if I ever had a problem,” said Larry.

“Well, I don’t really know, uh—, what you are talking about.”

“I’m the young man who prayed with you on the jet coming into Logan last August.”

“Larry! Oh, yes, I count you as a close friend! What can I do to help you, my young friend!”

Larry started to go through the whole story of what had happened in the intervening months, but rather quickly Mr. Steger interrupted him.

“This long-distance phone call is going to cost someone some money. Give me your number and I’ll dial you right back.”

As soon Mr. Steger phoned back, Larry explained all that had happened. Eventually, he reached a point where he turned the phone over to Mr. Oliver, and he told what he knew.

Asking to speak with Larry again, Mr. Steger said this: “Larry, it seems you are the one coordinating what is happening there. So here is what you want to do to start with.”

“I’m listening,” said Larry.

“Have Mr. Oliver obtain written statements from contacts he might have. There may be a few you can obtain from the students. But, remember, witchcraft is not a crime in America, and the drug storage is not likely something that the students were involved in. But statements could be taken from students who may have been physically or psychologically injured by doing what the witches instructed them to do. It is possible that a secondary case could be built on that.”

“Can you tell me more about the written statements?” Larry inquired.

“The person writes what he knows of what has happened. At a later time, depositions may be taken. Those will be sworn, written statements given by witnesses out of court, intended later to be used as testimony in court. In some cases, affidavits may be taken. They are written declarations sworn to or affirmed, usually before a judge or other recognized authority,” explained Mr. Steger.

“Anything else?” asked Larry.

“We’ll start there. Work cautiously. Phone back any time. You have both my home and office number on that card. Keep it with you at all times. You may run into trouble from the other side, and need to phone me quick. Always call collect. Here is my cell phone,” said Mr. Steger.

After writing it on the back of the business card and ending the conversation, once again, Larry prayed with Mr. Oliver.

“I have a lot of evidence, and I’ll try to obtain more.” Mr. Oliver said. “I’ll also take photographs of certain things. I have several key folk I can contact for the written statements. I know people who have additional information.”

Larry had barely started down the road again and a thought flashed into his mind. Returning to Mr. Oliver’s home a third time that night, he told him what he had in mind; and, as Mr. Oliver agreed, he asked to once again call his friend.

When Mr. Steger answered the phone, Larry said, “I got to thinking about this. Things are happening so fast that I fear they may unload that warehouse. That would remove a lot of evidence,” said Larry.

“You’re right!” said Mr. Steger.

“It would probably be best if the police raid it as soon as possible.”

“We’ll take care of it.”

Hanging up the receiver, Larry turned to Mr. Oliver and explained the latest. “I really didn’t want to bring this to an end so quick,” said Larry. “But it seems best.”

“I agree,” said Mr. Oliver. 

GO TO CHAPTER 24

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