Prologue 1: Dream

Bekkah sat up suddenly, with a strangled cry. She sat there shivering, tears beginning to form and sobs wracking her body. Her bed partner sat up sleepily.


She turned to him, and the pain in her face told him the answer to his unspoken question.

"Another nightmare?" She nodded mutely.

He got on his knees there on the bed and wrapped his arms around her from the back, squeezing gently. Then he turned her to look her in the face. Their eyes met, and she flung herself into his arms, her forehead resting against his neck. He reached a hand up to stroke her hair.

"Tell me about it?" he encouraged. With a poorly stifled sob, she began.

"It was Ivan again. Trying to rape me. But this time, he...he...," her voice trailed off into sobs again.

He held her close, trying to calm her, whispering words of comfort in her ear. Finally, she stopped shuddering and just lay still against his chest. They sat like that for a long time, long enough that he thought she had fallen asleep again. To wake her, he kissed her forehead, then her snub of a nose, and then gently touched her lips with his. She opened her eyes and responded, her lips returning the kiss. He kissed her again, with more passion, his hand moving to stroke her side. Again she responded, turning the heat of their ardor up a notch. Finally, they found themselves surrendering to an eager hunger for each other. And as they fully embraced the culmination of their passion...

Brains woke up.

He sat up, sweaty, trying to calm his ragged breathing and racing heart.

That was a vivid one, he thought, blowing out a pent-up breath. And the first time it went so far. The other night it was Tin-Tin, tonight it was Bekkah. Wish I knew how to stop dreaming like this.

He closed his eyes, savoring the images of his dream for a moment before an uncomfortable embarrassment took over. It's wrong for me to enjoy this, he thought, banishing the views from his mind.

He swung his legs over the side of his bed and reached for his glasses. He headed to his bathroom. Time for another cold shower, he thought as he closed the door behind him.

Prologue 2: Nightmare

It was close and dusty, the air was stale, nearly unbreathable. A dying flashlight dimly lit the tiny cavern made of concrete slabs. Her head throbbed with pain and a wave of weakness passed through her. There was a weight on her chest. She looked down, expecting to see the dust-covered head of John Tracy. But instead, a manic face grinned up at her, lanky gray hair spilling over a high forehead, a hawk's beak nose surrounded by lines and creases. His face drew close to hers, the smell of liquor on his breath almost overwhelming. She couldn't move, he had her pinned with the weight of his body. His hands began to rove all over her, while his mouth covered hers in a vile kiss.

"I have come to do what I told you I would. I'm going to finish what I started." he hissed at her. He ripped the blouse away, then the brassiere, then the skirt, then the underwear beneath, then he...He....HE....!

Bekkah sat up suddenly, with a strangled cry. She sat there shivering, tears beginning to form and sobs wracking her body. She drew her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around her legs, rocking back and forth. Her mind was awhirl with the images of her nightmare. After a few minutes, her heart and mind began to calm and she realized that it was only a dream.

That was a vivid one! she thought to herself, shuddering.

She listened to the silence of the house, letting its comfortable familiarity sink into her spirit. Her bedroom door opened slightly, and a ghost of a cat slithered in. The feline jumped on the bed, and walked slowly to Bekkah, looking at her as if to ask, are you all right? Then she daintily stepped over to the sweaty woman and began to rub her cheek on Bekkah's legs.

"Hey, Snowball." she whispered to the cat, reaching out to scritch the white kitty behind the ears and under the chin. The attention garnered a soft purr from the cat. Bekkah put her knees down and Snowball climbed into her lap for more petting. Bekkah's fright slowly diminished as she stroked the smooth fur.

She looked over at the digital clock on her nightstand.

Two a.m. It will be around eight in the evening on the Island, she calculated. I wonder if Mrs. Tracy has time to talk.

Bekkah picked up Snowball and placed her on the floor. She swung her legs over the edge of the bed and got up. Donning her dressing gown and slippers, she padded downstairs to the videophone. The rest of the house was asleep, sated to the gills with the holiday's feast. She sat in front of the unit, dialing a number that she drew from her memory. She waited patiently while the long-distance call went through.

The face of an Asian man appeared on the screen before her. "Good evening, Dr. Barnes." Kyrano said smoothly.

"Good morning, Kyrano. Is Mrs. Tracy available?" Bekkah asked.

"I will see." His face disappeared from the screen. After a few moments, the merry face of an older lady replaced it.

"Why, hello, Bekkah! My! It must be two in the morning where you are!" Grandma Tracy said.

"Yes, it is." Bekkah hesitated to say what she must.

"I've had another nightmare."