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ON THE COVER
September Sacrifice (Excerpt)
By Mark Horner
June, 2005, 11:46

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A
ppearing to be straight out of medieval lore, the Banff Springs Hotel, built in 1888, still stood much like a fortress overlooking Canada's Bow Valley 107 years later.

The Scottish-style castle was still considered one of the finest hotels in the world.

In the winter, the thick forest surrounding the castle bent beneath the weight of snow in a storybook setting amidst the northern Rocky Mountains.

Inside the hotel were skating rinks, a theatre, a bowling alley, 15 restaurants, and a few haunted tales.

But a visit from Hossencofft yielded more than a simple ghost story.

***

In early 95, 28-year-old Naoko Sato was busy assisting an elderly woman at the Banff Springs Hotel's jewelry store when the specter of an interesting young man walked into the store.

Charismatic and well dressed, Dr. Hossencofft explained that he specialized in traveling with elderly people on trips so that they would always have a physician nearby.

In short, the good doctor made one glowing impression on the beautiful Japanese jewelry store worker. In the weeks that followed, Hossencofft often sent Sato cards and letters from all over the United States, and explained that he was traveling with his patients.

In April 95, Sato traveled to Albuquerque to spend time with Hossencofft.

They joined nearly 28,000 people inside The Pit at the University of New Mexico for the Gathering of Nations American Indian Pow Wow.

Hossencofft also brought Sato to his home, which she noted was but sparsely furnished; she saw a chair, a computer, a TV and not much else.

Although she didn't get to tour the entire house, Sato saw no sign of another woman.

Hossencofft explained that it would be wise for them to stay at a hotel because workers were coming and going at his home as they remodeled a bathroom.

Over the next three days at the hotel, Hossencofft and Sato became romantically involved.

Hossencofft returned to Banff to visit Sato on three occasions later that year. It was that final visit that would change her life -- and the life of a woman she would never know -- forever.

***

Dwayne Baker knew the deal. He wasn't supposed to say anything to anyone about the money in the safety deposit box, the far-away trips, anything to anyone about anything that he and Hossencofft did together.

Baker certainly knew the real objective of their trip to Banff in November 1995, and it had nothing to do with investing in any company.

The single mission was for Hossencofft to get Naoko Sato pregnant. "The doctor" had told Baker he wanted the mother of his child to be Japanese, not Malaysian. He wanted to have a "completely Japanese" child.

Hossencofft, Sato, and Baker enjoyed several days together in Banff that November. But Hossencofft and Sato spent the final day alone.

***

After returning to Japan in December 95, Naoko Sato learned that she was pregnant.

She informed Hossencofft that he was the father.

He responded with phone calls and letters over the next several months.

It was during this time that Hossencofft informed Sato that their child would be inheriting a rare genetic disorder that affects all members of his family. His child would require lifelong medical care.

Given the child's genetic problem and his ability to provide financially, Hossencofft argued that it would be necessary for Sato to bring him the child as soon as possible following its birth.

On August 8 of 96, in a hospital in Sakae-Cho, Sato gave birth to a son and named him Minoru Sato.

She wasted no time getting a passport for her infant.

Pursuant to Hossencofft's instructions, Sato flew with her newborn from Japan to Mexico City to Ciudad Juarez.

Her baby was only 24 or 25 days old.

For three days, Naoko Sato met with Hossencofft in a Juarez hotel.

For three days she cried.

Prior to this rendezvous, Hossencofft had promised that he'd finally explain why he'd been so secretive during their relationship and why he could not marry her.

But he wasn't revealing anything.

Still, Sato believed that her son might die from a rare medical condition if she kept him.

With tears and reluctance, Sato handed her child over to Hossencofft.

He told her not to try to contact him, because he would be leaving New Mexico soon.

Sato never spoke with Hossencofft again. And she never returned to Japan.

She was too ashamed.

***

Somehow, Hossencofft and little Minoru Sato crossed the border from Mexico and into the United States.

The father and son soon arrived at 3900 Moon Northeast where Hossencofft introduced the child to his wife.

He told Girly that they were adopting the baby and called the child Demetri.

He was so nonchalant, as if he'd merely come home with a bag of groceries and uttered, "Honey, I'm home."

Read Mark Honer's INside story on writing.

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For more information Mark Horner's web site can be found at http://www.markhorner.com/


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