The darkened figure of a man pulled her body along the dirt floor of the cavern, imbedded with sharp, protruding rocks. Her arms dragged behind her head, bound together at the wrists with a coarse rope. Blood from the back of her head mingled with the dirt as her body jerked behind him, matting her long hair. Her face was devoid of life and color but for her bright lips illuminated by the black bandana held tightly in place between them. The once simple floral sun-dress she wore was now tattered and torn and pulled high up under her breast line, exposing her bare skin to the jagged rocks beneath that ripped her open with each step that he took. Her ankles, too, were tied to each other, elevated behind his back as he gripped the attached rope slung over his shoulder. I followed, not more than a foot behind, through the mouth of the cave.
A solitary torch dimly lit our surroundings, held high in the crevices of the stone walls. He dragged her near a pile of long wooden planks and dropped the rope. Without so much as a glance at her, he went about his tasks, methodically. He hoisted up a large pail filled with metal stakes from behind the wood pile, tossing a few beside her. He lifted one of the longest planks from the pile and dropped it by her side. A shorter plank of wood he placed horizontally over the longer piece, forming a cross. Satisfied with his work, he squatted down beside her and lifted a bloodied strand of hair from across her face, smiling as he reached for one of the stakes.
He held the stake firmly in his left hand and a large rock in the other. The clang of the rock against the metal echoed violently throughout the cave as he hammered it through the pieces of wood. A small groan escaped his slowly rousing victim as he pounded the second stake into place, securing the crucifix. He straddled himself over her and took a drink from a canteen at his waist. He wiped his mouth and stared at her greedily as he took another. He tilted the canteen slightly over her and spilled the contents slowly over her face. She groaned again and her eyes flitted beneath their lids. “And God said, ‘Let there be light!’ “ He shouted the words, falling to his knees over her body. The force of his body on hers made her gasp and her eyes burst open. Frantically she looked around. I could see the panic enveloping her as she almost instantly realized her situation. She struggled beneath her captures’ weight and tried to call out. The bandana muffled her screams for help.
He leaned fully over her and held her arms behind her head with one arm and whispered in her ear… “Shhhhhhhhhhhh…be still.” With his free hand he produced a hunting knife from his belt and held it rigidly between their faces. She panted heavily and her eyes searched hurriedly from side to side for an escape or aid, trying to scream as he prayed out loud. She saw me there, and pleaded with her eyes for me to help her. As our gazes locked, I felt an immediate, intense draw towards her. A forceful power savagely ripped my soul from within and siphoned me into her terrified body. Lying inside of her I could feel everything she did…the pulsing pain in her head, the rocks pushing deeper into her back as she squirmed beneath him; the rapid pulses of adrenaline surging through her veins, her pounding heart ready to burst through her chest…. the fear that seized her overpowered me...her desperation was now my own.
Too petrified with fear to move, I closed my eyes as he slid the cool steel knife down my neck and across my chest. He was straddling me now, and lost some of his grip on my arms as he sat up. I knew I should be trying to do something…anything… but the look in his eyes was demonic and froze me in place… I did not struggle to free myself. I lay within her, an observer and partaker, helpless to do anything but be victim to her feelings. With a mere flick of his wrist he cut my breasts free from my dress. My heart raced and my body stiffened morbidly as the knife flicked over my nipples. My stomach churned and bile forced its way up my throat and into my mouth. Having no outlet, I had no choice but to gag it back down. Gasping for air and sobbing, I felt her spirit give in entirely to him…there was no way out…no hope. I struggled to fight for her, but was powerless to do so. I succumbed to her emotions as he cut away the rope from my ankles and slid the knife along the inside of my leg towards my panties.
He dug his knees into my calves to hold my legs down and wide apart. I trembled tremendously, waiting for him to violently rape me. “Thou shalt NOT commit adultery!” The angry words bounced off the walls. My neck and back involuntarily arched as my eyes rolled upwards and my arms flung towards my abdomen, hands furtively grasping the air in pain as the knife penetrated. I fought to breathe through the agony as blood gushed past my thighs and spilled over my lips beneath the edges of the bandana. He stood up slowly and hovered over me, letting the blood slide off the knife into the pool forming around my body. He grabbed my arm and yanked my body onto the cross. The temperature dropped as rapidly as the life flowed out of me while he cut my wrists free, and dragged my limbs into position on the crucifix.
My head slumped to the side, eyes wide and blank, rivulets of blood running down my cheek and neck when I saw them….nine women on crosses, hung like the Christ and mutilated against the far side of the cave. It looked like a scene from hell as the firelight bounced off the crudely hung signs on their bodies….each woman bore one of the Ten Commandments. My fingers trembled feebly as he held a stake over the wrist within my view. I meekly summoned all of the strength I could and braced feebly for my fate. The steel crashed through my bones and fire seared through my veins as the scene slowly faded before me. The ensuing thuds were no less painful as he hammered through my other wrist. Darkness enveloped me. I was unable to react as he crossed my feet and drove the spike through my ankles and into the cross. In spite of my injuries, life remained, however meagerly, to my slightly convulsing body as he draped the epitaph around my neck…
My breathing was frantic as my eyes opened to the blackness of my living room. I sprung to a seated position on my couch, still aching from the pain in the dream. Vomit coursed upwards through my body and I clasped my hand over my mouth as I jolted towards the bathroom. I heaved and spewed violently over the sink releasing the emotions raging inside me. I turned on the water and splashed the forgiving coolness over my face. Looking into the mirror I saw the terror still lingering in my eyes. Tears gushed forth and I slid to the floor, sobs of despair racking my body as the scenes reanimated in my mind. I was angry…angry with myself for having the dream….angry because in all the years that I had experienced them, never once had I been able to save a single soul…angry that she chose me, when I could do nothing for her. I tried to gather my wits and pulled myself up to make a cup of coffee and begin recording the event.
The dreams started coming to me when I was just eight years old. The first one I could remember was about me being trapped in darkness in my grandparent’s home. I was scared but did not know why. Being familiar with the house, I searched along the walls for a way outside. Each door I reached was locked and my attempts to open them were futile. I made my way to a large picture window hoping to break through it, but as I reached it, bright light poured into the house, blinding me and horns blared incessantly, deafening me. I fell down and crawled to the last door at the back of the house. The door flew open in front of me and a man reached out his hand. His countenance was brilliant and he reminded me of an angel. Instead of grabbing my hand, he held out three golden glowing keys and spoke to me, telling me they were a gift from God and I would have to use them to unlock many mysteries. Two months later, while sleeping at my grandparent’s house, a fire broke out. The smell of smoke woke me scared me immensely. I was alone in my bedroom on the opposite side of the house from my grandparent’s room. I knew I had to get out. The smoke was thick and black and I had to feel my way along the walls and hallways to the back door. Just before I reached it, it flew open and I screamed. I figure burst through the door, his silhouette illuminated behind him by emergency lights. Sirens filled the night air. He reached out and grabbed me, pulling me to safety minutes before the house became fully engulfed in flames. I was saved, but my grandparents died in their beds.
I also found myself to be emotionally and physically sensitive to catastrophic events. Standing on our porch as a child, I sensed an unusual calm in the air. It was just past dusk. Pigeons were fluttering about the grass and flying along the streets. Something felt “off”. My mother came to the door and told me to come inside for dinner. I turned around and excitedly proclaimed that we were going to have an earthquake…because, of course, we were overdue. The statement was matter-of-fact and I hugged my mom who stood there, looking puzzled. The next day, we encountered a 5.2 quake. I have learned over the years to listen to my body. Severe bouts of unexplained pain signaled that somewhere, someone would have havoc wreaked upon them by Mother Nature. Strange, but true. And to provide proof of my sanity if to no one but myself, I have recorded each event. For quite a few years I embraced these gifts….I thought I was somehow special for having them. In my early teens, I began checking out every book in the library I could find on the meaning and interpretation of dreams and psychic abilities. I poured over them hoping to find a purpose in what I experienced. But the more I learned, the more I began to realize that most of what I experienced was of little or no use to anyone. I was unable to recognize faces of people or places where the events took place in my dreams. It seemed as though the information given to me would benefit no one in advance and only manifested in reality as breaking news stories flooded the televisions and radio stations. Sure, I had the occasional stroke of luck. My intuitions had served me well on many occasions and I managed to avoid freeway pile ups, plane crashes and even keep a friend or two from moving into a home that was later found to have severe problems. I had some friends and family members who felt the need to consult with me before making any big decisions. But I knew I was not a psychic, in the true sense of the word, and by my early adulthood, resigned to helping those I could, when I could and I turned my educational focus to psychology, being intrigued by the mysteries the mind held.
The sun had risen over the mountains just east of my new Las Vegas home as I finished recording the last details of the terrifying dream. More calm and composed, I closed my laptop and went to shower before dressing for work. I grabbed my cell phone, laptop, purse and briefcase on the way out the door. I had planned to arrive at my office a little early to review the case files of eleven new clients I inherited from a neighboring therapist who closed his business suddenly. I pulled up to a Starbucks drive-thru and purchased a black coffee for the drive to work. As I exited the strip mall parking lot, I flipped on the radio and almost dropped the steaming cup of coffee as the words filtered into my car….
“...Again, a young woman was found ritualistically and brutally murdered early this morning by a group of Gypsum minors in East Las Vegas. We are not at liberty to disclose the full condition in which she was found but for one chilling fact; around the victim’s neck was a crudely made sign that read, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”. The body of Nona Flores was initially identified by police first arriving on the horrific scene who recognized her as the key witness in a highly publicized trial where Ms. Flores’ testimony was thought to be critical in the conviction of her former neighbor, Miguel Sanchez, who was sentenced to death in the Clark County Courthouse just two weeks ago for the murder of his wife Sonya and three year old son, Miguel, Jr. Ms. Flores’ body has been taken to the Coroner’s office for examination….”
The driver behind me honked his horn when I failed to move as the light turned green. I apologized through the rear view mirror and pulled forward into traffic, driving mechanically along the road to my office. I felt uneasiness settling into the pit of my stomach again as I drove on. I reached the UNLV Medical Campus and found my assigned parking space. I mulled the story over and over in my mind as I smiled perfunctorily at colleagues I passed along the corridors of the building. The plaque on my door shone bright… Adara Davis, Ph. D, it read. I took a deep breath before turning the handle.
Methra stood up at her desk as I entered the lobby of my practice, wide eyed and flushed.
“Are you alright, Methra?” I asked, forgetting momentarily about the events unfolding around me. I was actually finding myself anxious to get to the work of examining the new case files I knew were awaiting my attention, and continued walking past her in my haste.
“Doctor Davis….Didn’t you hear the news?” Her question stopped me cold. I opened my briefcase in an attempt to not look stunned and turned in her direction.
“What news, Methra?” I scanned her work area for the files I needed. I saw them and motioned for her to hand them to me.
Methra hesitantly picked up the files and continued. “About the woman who was killed at the mines…Nona Flores?” She did not let go of them even though I attempted to politely move on.
“I believe I did here something about that,” I managed to offer, “but I really do need to get busy reviewing these files. We can talk about it later, okay? I’m expecting my first client in thirty minutes….”
“I don’t think you have to worry about that…” She interrupted me and opened the top file. The picture of the woman I did not recognize, but the name jumped from the page as everything I held crashed to my feet…..……”Flores, Nona”.