Things are not always what they seem.
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Enoch Smith, a psychotic cult leader, uses more than his flock to execute God’s wrath on a sinful nation. Drake Elliot, US Marshal, returns to Arizona to find those responsible for injuring his son and maiming himself during a violent act to silence an informer. Micki Lewis, a journalist in Tucson, receives a tip regarding the origins of the latest drug to hit Alta Vista, home of Enoch’s Children of God community.
Drake and Micki join forces to uncover the cult’s secrets and its success helping children like Drake’s son recover normalcy. What they find is far worse than drugs coming across the border and provides answers to the shadows that haunt their dreams.
Enoch motioned to the two male guardians. “Disrobe her wickedness and present Abby to His test in the purity with which she came into His world.”
The guardians exposed her nude form. Tears raced down her face and converged between her tiny breasts. Her eyes darted around the room, pleading for a savior, someone brave enough to end this insane nightmare, but no one stepped forward. Her sisters of the flock covered their faces and wept; her brothers clenched their fists, struggled in their chairs, then squeezed their eyelids shut.
“Secure her in the pit as each of us prays for His hand, a sign that her spirit has been purged of its sins.”
Again, they submitted to his command. She tried to resist, but it was useless; she was too small, too weak. They dragged her trembling body across the floor as if it were something inanimate, of no consequence. While they tied Abby to the staked restraints in the floor of the foot-deep pit, muffled sounds—achingly pitiful screams of a child—emanated from the gag around her mouth.
“Bring the swords of the Lord.”
Another Elder reentered the room bearing a large roughly-woven gunny sack and extended it to Enoch. He held the cloth bag above his head and raised his eyes. “Lord, we beg you to show mercy for this child. Flush out the evil inside so she can once again return to our flock. We know Your will is hard, but it is just. Tell us Your intent. Give us a sign and provide her free passage from Your test, or take her soul into Your dominion now.”
He untied the bag and dumped its contents into the pit. The cries from the crowd deafened the hall. “Silence! Do not look away! Witness His hand.”
Even through the gag, the bloodcurdling whine of a frightened soul dominated the background hum of the flock. Finally, He issued His verdict and even Enoch began to whimper. “Your will be served, oh Lord. May you find peace with your maker, Abby. Goodbye, my child.”