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Chapter Three: The Cave

NOVEMBER 1981

Amaryllis was lost in darkness for awhile.

It was the smell that awoke her. Iron, rock, and salt filled her nose. Her eyes fluttered open. The light was a tinge of her favorite shade of blue. The air was muggy.

She was in a cave. And she could hear waves. The ocean! She had never been to the ocean, but she knew instinctually what it was. The sound of waves softly echoed through the dark walls as she sat up and took in her surroundings.

A large ledge jutted far out above her. An adult would have had to crouch, but Amaryllis could stand easily. She got to her feet and took in a breath. Underneath her was a dirty thick checkered quilt and to her right were stones placed in a circle with charred wood in the middle. A stack of dry wood, tinder and starter stone lay next to it.

She heard dripping water echoing off cold walls, which seemed to be coming from a larger area of the cave around the corner. The sound of dripping made Amaryllis notice her mouth was very dry. She got up and walked towards the source in search of water.

Coming out from under the overhang, she gasped, “What on earth is that?” The large domed ceiling of the cave was filled with stars! Could it be she was actually outside?

But the sound of the dripping faded all questions from her mind. She wandered over to a steady flow of water running down the cave wall and stuck her lips to the wet stone, quenching her thirst. As the water caressed her throat, her stomach tightened painfully. She caved over her stomach and moaned, feeling like her insides were a washcloth being twisted, squeezing everything out. Going back to the spot she awoke, she searched around for a source of food. With a shock, she realized her mother was not here - nor was her brother. The last thing she remembered was that flash of green light - the same flash of green that had made her dad stiff when he had fallen in the hallway. Then that creature had grabbed her ankle and she couldn’t move her body.

She remembered everything then. The man with blood in his eyes suddenly consumed her vision. Overwhelmed by the memory of horrible pain, Amaryllis let out a small choking sob. She squatted down and held out her shaking left forearm. There was a scar. It was hard to see in the light, but somehow it felt old. Like it had been there for as long as she could remember.

She sank to the cave floor and curled into a ball, hugging her knees as her mind filled with anguish, feeling it consume her from the inside out. She pinched her eyes shut and opened her mouth as if to scream, but no sound came from her clenching lungs and shaking body. It was the first time she had ever felt despair. The light from the stars in the cave flickered and dimmed. The air grew heavy, clenching like a fist around the girl with hair that gradated from black roots to silvery white ends. The ringing grew louder in her ears and the taste in her mouth grew bitter. She no longer cared about food. All that consumed her was that man. The man who had attacked her family. The man who had hurt her.

Amaryllis was unaware of how much time passed while she mourned, but eventually her small body turned grief into exhaustion and the air in the cave returned to normal. The stars regained their light. She curled up under the heavy quilt and fell into a dreamless sleep.


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