The hands on the clock seemed to be frozen, as Katy continued to internally debate this decision. It had been two months since her ordeal began. 61 days trapped inside this bland hotel room waiting for the judge to call, waiting to face her demon. The thought of Charlie staring at her, no, looking through her was enough to send her into a panic. But, she knew that Charlie, and most of all, his family, must be stopped. It had been nearly three-years since she turned her back on the family and escaped the mental and physical torture on the ranch.
"How much longer do I have to wait?" Katy asked John, her court assigned protector.
"I couldn’t tell you Katy, they are still laying out the timeline of the murders," John said, "So, this could take a while."
"Damn, I need this to end. I don’t know what's worse, the thought facing Charlie again, or spending another month secluded away in this room," she said taking a sip of her lemonade.
For Katy, this nightmare was killing her. When she ran away in 1968, she thought she would be free; she never wanted to look Charlie in the eyes again, to have him stare into her soul. He was a master manipulator preying on the weak minded to satisfy his lust and desires. The women in his cult were nothing more than whores, used as pawns in nightly drug induced orgies.
At first she thought, these forays into sin were fun parts of the hippie culture back in 67. Free love, sex, LSD, and marijuana lined the tables and she could not get enough. But, Katy was naive and soon realized something more sinister was at work. A runaway, she met Charlie at a party in the desert. Almost immediately, she felt a spark.
18, broke and alone, she jumped at a chance to join the family and soon moved into the ranch. Soon she discovered that she was just another pretty face in this crowd, and not the special blossom Charlie convinced her she was that night when they met.
"You OK, Katy? You seem disconnected today." John said peering across the table.
"No, John, I will never be OK," she said, "Soon the world will know I was one of Manson’s whores!"
"Stop that. You left over a year before the horrific incident," he said.
"Maybe, but I knew something bad was going to happen; I knew someone was going to die. " she said.
Katy remembered the day she knew something was wrong. Charlie started preaching his own gospel, manipulating the word of God. More terrifying to the young daughter of a preacher was the fact that most of his followers believed his prophesy that a racial apocalypse was at hand. She watched as the craving for bloodshed was growing inside the ranch. She knew she had to escape.
On a cool 58-degree night, she slid out the window of her cabin, making sure not to disturb any other family members; she quietly made her way to the edge of the property. From there, she stumbled through to rough terrain. She remembered the rocks piercing her sandals and battering her feet; the cacti grabbing at her legs and slashing her flesh. She had to push through. She had to escape.
Even today, some three-years later, those scars from her ordeal are still visible lining her legs and feet. They marked her body on the outside the same way Charlie's touch stained her insides. Unfortunately, a harsh truth was setting in. The longer the prosecution made her wait in this bland hotel room, the more she felt like she was making a mistake. She knew that she could not face Charlie; she recognized that she still loved him. Indeed, she was still part of the family.
What could she do? She volunteered to testify, to talk about the early stages of Helter Skelter. Would she have to, or could the state win their case without her? Yes. Yes, they could, she thought. There is no way that the testimony of a Manson disciple, one that fled the ranch years before the massacre, could make a difference.
"John, I have a question. Be honest," she said.
"Yes, Katy, what's that?" He replied leaning toward her.
"Does the state need me to testify, or could they win without me," she said, "the longer I sit in this room the more I realize that I made a mistake coming forward. I want to go back into my own seclusion."
"Well, I can understand that, this has to be hard on you, digging up these terrifying memories, but there is nothing I can do. You have to testify," he said.
"John, you are basically my only contact with the outside world. Hell, my telephone does not even work. Do you understand that? Please, can you talk to the DA for me?" Katy asked.
"Katy, I'll think about it. Maybe when I turn over with the night shift tonight, I can make a call. “Relax,” he said, “nothing will happen to you here!”
Katy smiled as she continued to sip on her lemonade. Little did John realize his answer was not good enough for
her; that her internal strife was building. She knew that she could not face Charlie again. But, what was she to do?
What’s that, she thought as the chant of, "Kill him, slaughter the pig, kill," filled her mind. At last, the long dormant voice in her head erupted from the nether. Unfortunately, she knew there was only one way to silence them, one way she could be free. She would have to murder John, and escape this godforsaken tomb.
"John, come closer, I want to tell you a secret," she said.
John moved toward Katy as she closed in. The silence shattered when the glass of lemonade cracked his skull.
"Forgive me John, for we will always be Charlie's children."