Liz and the Wolves of Shahala
By Rasputtin Szczepanski
I texted Ambrosia while I was at school, telling her about the new rules. She responded that since I failed to address her as “Mistress” in the original text that I would have to be punished first before she could let me go home.
I rolled my eyes and quickly deleted the text history, mortified that she had texted that to me and the possibility of someone reading it over my shoulder. For a moment I was offended and on the verge of cutting off all contact with her, but a growing slickness between my legs betrayed my body’s true feelings. I spent the day wondering what the punishment would be, and my wild imagination stoked my libido to the point where I couldn’t focus on anything else. My grades were barely hovering over the C and D range. Algebra I was flat out failing. So my glassy stare out the window was nothing new to my teachers.
Socially, I was still an outcast. Eric and I seldom talked anymore, after we lost the common bond of video games. He was kind enough though to say hi every now and then and ask how I was doing. He started dating Kris. After her successful humiliation of me with the photo, she viewed me less of threat and lumped me in with the other geeks and nerds. I had a few of them, young boys, seeing me as someone that they could “get.” It usually only took an icy threat to be uttered by me for them to retreat and become one of those that whispered things about me in the numerous huddles that happened between periods.
That photo was still out there. Its existence was enough to fuel my rage. I would look at Kris when she wasn’t looking and plot out my revenge. The same went for Craig. He kept away from me as well, afraid of the social stigma that would rub off on him. I could tell by his side glances at me when he thought I wasn’t looking, that despite his conquest of me and my pariah status, he still felt desire for me. Both of them met horrible ends numerous times in my imagination.
A long single beep on the intercom indicated the end of the day. I packed up my book bag, put on the jacket and headed straight to Ambrosia’s house. If I was quick, I could run home and be there in time not to arouse suspicion.
Ambrosia was waiting for me when I arrived. She had a stern look but her eyes were sparkling. I could always tell that she was delighted to see me. She closed the door behind me. “Put your bag and clothes on the table,” she ordered. I complied, taking off the jacket and laying it down. “All of them. Get naked!” I suspected that was coming. I glanced nervously at the uncovered window in the door. Ambrosia stood with arms crossed, tapping her foot and waiting while I removed the layers of my clothes until I was standing naked in her kitchen. She smiled and walked around me. “Good girl. Now get down on your knees.”
I obeyed. I was getting excited fast. Her power over me was intoxicating. I was pleasing her and that sent a ripple of pleasure through me. My eyes followed her as she grabbed a leather collar off the table. It was like a dog collar, black leather with a steel hook at the end. A small steel hoop hung at the front. She wrapped it around my neck and pulled the end through the hook, latching it shut. She ran her hand along it. “This is your collar. It is a symbol that you are my slave. You are to wear it at all times. Understood?” I looked up at her and nodded.
She attached a leash to the metal loop. “I can see that I have a lot of work with you. When I ask you something you are to respond, ‘yes, Mistress’ or ‘no, Mistress’. Understand?”
“Yes Mistress,” I managed to choke out.
“Good girl.” She grabbed the dog leash and pulled on it. “Crawl and follow me.” I got down on my hands and knees and she led me out of the room into the living room. I was grateful that at least there, the blinds were pulled down. She sat down on a large plush chair and pointed to the ground in front of her. “This is where you are to kneel.” I knelt next to her. “Whenever you are in my presence, you are to be kneeling unless told otherwise. If you are here in the home, you are to be naked. Understand?”
“Good girl. Now lay across my lap.” She pulled on my leash and pulled me over her lap, so that I hung over both legs with my ass sticking up. Her arm pinned me down tight against her legs and she said, “Now, you have failed to address me by my proper title three times. This is your first day, so I will be gentle but I want you to know that I take obedience very seriously. I’m going to spank you for each time you disrespected me and you are going to count them, understand.”
She swung down hard and the smack loudly shattered the peaceful quiet of the room. I jumped up and she held me down. It hurt, worse than I expected. She swung again and her hand hit so hard I knew there was going to be a big red handprint on me. “That’s for not counting.”
“One!” I yelled, still struggling to get up.
She slapped my ass again. “One what!”
“One Mistress!” Her hand slipped between my legs and found my slit. Her finger slid in and massaged it.
“Good girl. So that is one. Two more to go…well, how wet you are!” She removed her hand and struck again.
“Good girl.” She swung again, this one hitting the hardest
Her hand went back down to my pussy, her fingers pulling apart my sex. “You are so wet.” She rubbed the wetness around. “I really think you enjoyed that. Did you enjoy your spanking, pet?”
I shook my head. Her hand quickly rose up and slapped my ass hard. Through the sting I could feel my wetness on her fingers. I shouted, “No Mistress!”
She put her fingers back into my slit. “That’s better.” She began to massage me. My excitement was already high, but when she pushed me tighter against her knees with her arm, it began to build. She sensed my proximity and shoved two fingers in me and held me tight. My pussy clenched down on her fingers as I came. She slowly pushed a third finger in and wiggled them. I bucked and cried out in ecstasy. When I finally came down, she wiped her fingers on my thigh and let me down. My legs were shaking and I bent down to kneel.
“No. Go get your clothes on. I don’t want your Aunt getting pissed at me.” She leaned down and pressed her lips against mine in a slow passionate kiss. I looked up and returned it, cherishing it.
My late return home was not noticed by Aunt Holly. Herb smiled and waved from the couch. I stopped by the fridge to pull out a soda. Aunt Holly was working the bread baker to make some banana bread. She smiled. “Before you start your homework, I want you to dust and sweep your room. I dropped off your clothes down there this morning and it’s a mess. Try to vacuum that rug or beat the dust out of it outside.”
I looked at the clock. It was only 4 P.M. Without the internet I felt like I was being given five hours of purgatory. I knew that every minute until I went to bed would be an exercise in combating boredom. I sighed and took my stuff down to the basement. I hunted through the house and found the broom, mop, bucket, and feather duster. I closed and locked my basement door, plugged in the iPod to the speakers and started the task of dusting the room. Aunt Holly was right. The room was covered in dust and looked more like a basement than a livable room. I started by brushing away cobwebs in the ceiling corners, sending small spiders scurrying along the wall to safety.
I got into my own zone, cleaning my room, grooving along to the music. I had dusted and vacuum around the rug around my bed. Then I moved to the broom and began to sweep around the room. As I got to the rug, I lifted it up to gather some of the dust under the rug. I worked my way around the oval, old and stained, Wal-Mart purchased rug until a section of the rug resisted being pulled up. I pulled up on it and saw that melted into the bottom was a nylon rope that was threaded through a hole in the floor. I stared at it. It didn’t make any sense. I knelt down and pulled at the rope. It pulled out of the hole and then stopped, as if there was a knot at the other end. I let some of the rope go back into the hole and I tried to peer down it around the slim space between the hole and the rope. There was a faint cool breeze coming out of the hole. I stood up and let the rug fall back down. The rope attached to the bottom fell back into the hole. I got up and turned off the music. I ran upstairs and looked around for a flashlight, finding it under the sink. Herb glanced curiously at me from the couch, eyes focusing on my bouncing breast. I returned to my room, locked the door and knelt down again to the rug. I lifted it and listened at the hole. I could feel the cool air on my ear. The area around the hole wasn’t the full cement of the rest of the room. It was something like plaster, painted almost the same color as the cement. I turned on the flashlight and shone it down the hole. I could see the rope and the knot and dirt, but the dirt was far below, a lot lower than I expected. I was having trouble lining my eye up to the hole and shining the light down, but there was something wooden, several feet below me. I knelt there, perplexed. “What the hell?” I muttered.
I shot up and pushed back my bed and threw the rug over. The rug flipped onto its back, still connected to the hole in the floor by that rope which was pulled taut at its maximum length. About three feet from the hole, there were vertical cuts into the cement, making a three foot by three foot square. I grabbed an old elementary school ruler from my desk and pushed it into the cracks of the square and lifted up. My suspicions were right. It came up. A lip attached to the floor kept it from falling down below. The square cover was made of wood. I lifted it up to reveal a hole in the floor. I put it aside and peered in with my flashlight. An aluminum ladder was against the dirt wall, leading down about eight feet. The bottom of the rope hung against the ladder. I could see the bottom of the ladder but not much into what the room below opened up to. Wooden boards were along the walls making a five foot by five foot opening down below. “Oh my God,” I whispered to myself. I stopped breathing and listened. At first I could just hear the TV upstairs, but then I heard it, the strange cave-like sound, and it was coming from below.
Suddenly, it all came together. The rope was to pull down the rug so that it covered the floor door. It was a secret door. A feeling of dread then enveloped me. Was my mom down there, dead from an accidental spelunking tour? Why the hell was she spelunking in the basement? Why the hell didn’t the cops find this when they were snooping around the house after she disappeared?
For a dreadful second I thought that maybe I didn’t want to know what was down there. Maybe she was down there, hurt and now dead. I had to find out. I put the flashlight in my pocket and put a foot down the ladder. I tested the stability of it, slowing putting my weight on it and then put the other foot down. The ladder was stable. I slowly lowered the rest of myself in and climbed down the ladder. At the bottom, I took out the flashlight and turned it on. There was a passage leading down at a steep slope. The walls and ceilings were buttressed with wooden planks. The passage went down and turned a corner. I looked back up, marveling that I was looking up into my room…which was in the basement. I put the flashlight down on the ground and climbed back up the ladder. I grabbed the square door and noticed brass handles screwed into the bottom. I stepped down a few steps and put the door in place, darkening the tunnel. I pulled on the rope and could hear the rug sliding into place above me. I pulled it tight and saw the light disappear from the thin cracks between the planks. Anyone that then walked into my basement room wouldn’t see anything out of the ordinary except that I would be gone, just like my mom was.
The flashlight was the only light. I picked it up and slowly walked down the shaft. If I wasn’t careful, my feet would slide on the steep dirt floor. A cobweb touched my face and I brushed it away, stifling a scream. I swung the flashlight around, looking for the tarantula sized spider that I knew was in my hair or shoulders. Nothing. Just the strong smell of wet earth.
I reached the bend and the tunnel now opened up into a cave. The walls were rock but the passage was now wider. It still went down, curving, so I couldn’t see the end. I continued down, cautiously and scared. Finally it opened to a space that was wider than the rest. In the tunnel, something like water reflected light onto the wall. I could hear the noise now, the strange sound I’ve heard some nights. I turned off my flashlight. There was enough light to see into the cave. I crept forward and looked in. My tunnel had opened up to a large cave. I was about 15 feet above the floor. A large pile of rocks was pushed up to my opening, so that I could crawl down to the bottom if I wanted. The cave was about 30 feet long and 20 feet wide. A stream curved through the floor around stalagmites. Lighting the room was what looked like a waterfall. It was almost a cave opening that the stream ran into. The waterfall covered the opening but instead of water, it was a glowing blue light that seemed to fall like water but disappeared into the floor. It sparked bright blue lights and it made that hum that I heard once or twice late at night when I laid in my bed. I glanced around the room, making sure it was empty. I aimed my flashlight at the floor and could see footprints going from the rock pile to the waterfall.
I carefully scanned the room for other entrances or exits. There were a few but they looked too small for a human. Big enough for a scary, biting critters though. After carefully looking over the room for animals, especially bats, I carefully climbed down the rock pile, taking a closer look at the footprints. There were multiple ones and they looked like my Mom’s shoes and they all led to the blue light pouring down at the entrance of the cave. I slowly approached the waterfall. I didn’t dare to touch it but I could feel the cool air emitting from it. I shined my light down at the stream. It was only an inch or two deep and disappeared into the light.
I tried peering into the waterfall. It was semi-translucent. Behind it a tunnel seemed to go on a bit. The noise it emitted was unnatural but not deafening. It was a steady hum. I took my flashlight and cautiously took it and touched it to the light. The tip of the flashlight dipped into the blue light and vibrated in my hand while the tip melted and smoked. I pulled it out and it fell from my hand, then bounced along the floor into the water.
“Fuck!” I shouted as I jumped back. I picked the flashlight out of the water. The end was melted together into one big plastic mess. The on/off switch wouldn’t even move. I looked up at the dark passage way that I came and sighed. With the flashlight being ruined, I stepped a few stepped back and then tossed the flashlight into the blue light. I could see it land about four feet from where the blue waterfall started. The image was blurry but I could see the flashlight melt, smoke, and then when it looked like nothing more than a plastic pile poop, it caught fire and the smoke drifted out of the waterfall and into the cave. The smell was horrific and I cringed my nose. I stepped back to prevent myself from getting poisoned by the fumes.
I looked around and found a rock. I took the rock and tossed it into the waterfall. There was a little sparking but the rock landed, bounced, and then came to a standstill a couple feet past the beginning of the falls. No explosive fire but then again, rocks don’t catch fire. I stepped closer again and scooped up some water and threw it at the falls. The light sparked and lit up but the water just fell on the ground on the other side.
I looked down at the ground. My footprints were mixed about with the old footprints but there still was no mistaking the fact that the footprints led right through the waterfall and beyond.
Suddenly I was afraid of the light from the waterfall suddenly flickering out. If it did, I would be alone in the darkness. I endeavored to go back and come with a camping lantern I knew I had stored away somewhere. I climbed back up the rocks and headed back up the tunnel. As the tunnel turned around as it went upward, the glow from the room disappeared and I was left in darkness. I kept my hand along the wall, occasionally touching something cold and wet, and crept blindly up to the ladder.
It seemed to take me forever. It was dark… darker than I’ve ever experienced. I could close my eyes and see more light than when I kept them open. There was a silence only broken by the white noise of the waterfall. I paused and felt momentarily peaceful. My life had become so dark. That cocoon of darkness had enveloped me and through my sadness, it had excited me. Then there was this cave and my discovery. I knew that I had found something my mom had found and it was something special, something unlike anything ever seen before.
My eyes were so accustomed to the pitch darkness, I was able to see the ladder from the dim light provided from the crack above it. I stopped and said quiet thanks. A few times my mind raced to the conclusion that I was headed down some side tunnel that I had missed and would be trapped in darkness forever.
Returning to my room I reset the rug and moved my bed back to its original space. I noticed my shoes leaving dirt prints along the floor. I took them off and swept up the dirt I left. I grabbed my cleaning tools and headed upstairs in my socks. I unlocked and opened the door. Herb was standing there. He smiled at me. “How’s the cleaning doing?”
“What are you doing, spying on me?” I asked as I squeezed past him. He made sure not to move so my breast pushed along his chest.
“I was knocking hard. How come you didn’t come up?”
“I had my headphones on. What did you want?”
“You had your music blaring and the headphones?” he asked.
I put the broom and pan into a closet. “What did you want Herb?”
“I’m headed to Joe’s for some beer and pizza. You want anything.”
I headed into the kitchen. “No thank you.” I reached up and started opening cabinets, looking for that lantern. Suddenly Herb was pushed up behind me, pushing me into the counter, his arms around my waist. He leaned down and started kissing my neck. His dirty goatee felt like a cactus rubbing against my skin.
“What are you looking for?” He whispered into my ear. My hands went down to try and pry them off. He was strong, stronger than he looked. His hand simply moved up to cup a breast and he pushed harder against me. I could feel his cock, hard against his jeans, pushing against my ass. I pulled against his arms. Aunt Holly must have gone out. His hand unbuckled my belt. He moaned in my ear, and continued his whispering, sweet talking. “You are driving me wild.” My hands couldn’t pull his hand off and he successfully unbuckled my belt. His hand quickly unsnapped my pants. I knew he was serious. I wanted to drive my elbows back, hurt him bad but I felt like I was in danger. With his lust I didn’t know what sort of harm he was capable of doing to me. His hand pushed down my pants and down under my panties. His finger pushed into me. “Yesss,” he hissed. “See, that does feel good.”
I was wet. I couldn’t help it. The most vile creature on Earth was pressing me up against the kitchen counter and it was making me wet. I felt vile.
“Can I have some milk?” came a young, high pitched voice from behind us.
Herb spun around. The Aunt Holly’s four year old girl was standing next to the kitchen. Herb smiled, laughed, grabbed my wrist and said “Sure, just get some out of the fridge.” He pulled me past the wide eyed girl and pulled me down into my basement room. He nearly pushed me down the stairs and then turned around and locked the door. I stumbled down the stairs, leaning against the wall to prevent falling head over heels down. I stood dazed by my bed, now not only afraid of Herb but even more afraid that he might find my discovery.
He bounded down and laid me face down on the bed. I stopped struggling. If I gave him what he wanted, he wouldn’t notice the mud encrusted shoes or the tracks on the floor. He laid down next to me and pulled down my pants and panties in one swift motion so that they were around my ankles. Fear and revulsion kicked in. I tried pushing up, yelling “stop it!” I tried to pull my pants up. He had already pulled his pants down and was lying on top of me. He kicked my legs open and aimed his cock between my legs. Before I could do anything, he pushed forward hard and slid into me.
He pushed all the way in and then slowly pulled out so that just his tip was inside me. Then he slid in again. “See, it feels good, doesn’t it?” He was thrusting his cock in and out of me. His hand pushed up under my shirt and bra and cupped my breast. He was fucking me roughly, hard. The bed was bouncing, his weight pinning me against the mattress. I felt like I was caught in the grips of a python. He lunged deep and held me tighter, groaning, and then relaxing, his whole weight falling on top of me.
He slowly pulled out and stood up. I looked at him. He was squeezing his erect cock, the semen still coming out in a condom he was wearing. I also noticed that he was completely shaved. Not a single hair covered his cock or balls. He closed his eyes in pleasure as he squeezed his last drops off. He opened them, looked at me with a slimy grin and then sat down on the bed. His hand rubbed my back. “It doesn’t always have to be like that. It can be a lot nicer.” I looked up and a shot of fear flickered across his face. My face must have exposed my thoughts of hot pokers plowing into his eyes. “Don’t say anything because no one will believe you. I have needs Liz. You go flaunting this hot body of yours and don’t expect me to get riled up. I’m just a man. And I know you have needs too. You just have to trust me to help you.”
He pulled the condom off and tied it, then pulled up his pants and headed up the stairs. I laid there, my pants wadded up around my knees. I began to think the scenario through. I would go to the cops. I would go directly to Agent Mailhot who disliked Herb and trusted me. Herb would go to jail for a long time. Then I thought of the condom and it dawned on me that he wore it to try and keep evidence from pooling up inside of me. Then they would pull me out of the house. Make me leave before I figured out what the cave was all about and what it had to do with my mother’s disappearance.
I was on that bed for an hour, wallowing in my misery and my self-pity. Finally, I slowly got up and changed into my pajamas. I went back upstairs and continued my look for the lantern, finding it eventually in a shed in the back. The battery was still good but I found one more flashlight that I brought down to my room as well.
I waited until everyone went to bed and then I moved my bed back and lifted the rug so that I could go back into the cave. I also took a shovel, although I wasn’t sure why. Perhaps to ward off the giant rats that were bound to make the cave their home at night. Back in the cave, I was less nervous. It had an air of familiarity now that the initial shock had worn off. I sat on a rock and stared at the waterfall. It was beautiful but unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It seemed like something nature had created but the noise was what was so unnatural. I looked around for a button, a switch, a rope to pull on…anything that could possibly used to divert the flow or turn it off. I banged the shovel against the cave wall. I pulled out loose rocks.
I lifted the shovel and pushed the tip into the waterfall. The shovel vibrated but the metal did not melt. I pulled it out and felt it. It was a little warm but not hot. I tried again and pushed it in farther. The shovel seemed fine but after about a minute, the wood began to smoke. I pulled it out and gingerly touched the wood. The wood was hot but the metal was just warm.
Then I did what was possibly the dumbest thing I have ever done… or the bravest. Something in my gut told me I was missing something. I lifted my hand and pushed my finger forward so that it entered the blue, glowing waterfall. I expected to be blown across the room or to singe the tip of my finger so bad I would have to dunk it into the water on the ground. Instead, my finger went in. There was a strange tingling sensation but it wasn’t hot. I hoped it wasn’t radioactive but I thought, if it was, it’s too late for me now. I pushed more fingers in. Nothing. I pushed my hand in. I could see it through the blue light. I opened and closed my fingers. It didn’t feel like anything. I began to push my arm in. When the sleeve of my pajamas touched the blue, it began to smoke and by the time I pulled my arm out, threads were catching on fire. I patted it out. I check the burned cloth and my skin. I wasn’t burned but the sleeve looked like it just got tossed in a fire.
I stepped back, looking at the light and thinking about what to do. My sleeve was still smoking so I unbuttoned my top and took it off. I stepped forward again, my heart pounding so hard in my chest that it sounded like deafening drums, echoing through the cave. I raised my hand and slowly pushed my fingers in. I held my breath and then pushed forward with my hand. I followed with my arm. I pulled it out. My arm was fine. I stepped back again. I began to pace. I walked around the cave, looking anxiously at the light. Then I made my decision, I unhooked my belt and pulled down my pants, muttering my prayer, “This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy.”
It WAS crazy. What the fuck was I doing? I stood naked next to the falls, grabbed some strands of hair and jerked them out of my head. I held them in my hand and thrust them into the light. I held them there and then pulled them out. They were fine. Not even warm. I took my foot and slowly slid it forward into the falls. I could still feel the wet rock under my feet. I slowly put an arm through. It was just the tingling. I closed my eyes, held my breath and leaned forward and pushed my head into the light. The humming was loud now; I covered my ears to make it bearable. My head was not catching on fire. I slowly opened an eye. There was no pain. I opened it farther, then both eyes. My vision was blurry; streaks of light were swimming around me. I opened my mouth. I couldn’t taste anything. I breathed in…fresh air, just like the cave. I exhaled and then pulled my head back out. I checked myself. I was unharmed. All the hair on my head was still there. I could still see. Was I radiated? Was I going to die from cancer? Something inside of me told me that I wouldn’t be.
I stepped forward into the waterfall and was surrounded by the blue light. I laughed spontaneously and turned around. I was looking out into the cave. I felt ok. I looked down at myself and checked again for some adverse effects. My body looked like what it would look like under a black light, except for my tattoo. I bent my head as far down as I could to look at it. It seemed to be glowing red. I touched it and it felt warmer than the rest of my skin but it didn’t hurt. I’m definitely getting radiated, I thought. Was it too late to turn back?
I traced my tattoo for a moment with my finger, contemplating it and the meaning that this might have. Then I focused on where this tunnel filled with light went to. It had to go somewhere. My mother went this way and didn’t come back. What if I couldn’t go back? I slowly began to walk forward. If there was a chance of finding what happened to my mother, I had to take it. The tunnel was entirely consumed with the falling light, disappearing into the ground. It distorted the walls, made them look closer than what they were, like seeing something underwater. The tunnel narrowed so that there was only about two feet between the walls. I was beginning to get claustrophobic but I pushed forward. The tunnel went forward about twenty more feet then the blue falls ended. I stepped out of it and found myself in another cave. The song of the blue falls was overshadowed in this cave by the sound of a real waterfall, real water rushing down somewhere close. The air was cooler and the smell of pine hit me.
I took in a deep breath. It certainly didn’t have that brine smell of Portland. I could hardly believe what I was looking at. I was in a cave, smaller than on the other end. The flickering light illuminated cave paintings like I’ve seen in stories about cave men. Red outlines of hands, wolves, deer, and depictions of the sun. The cave was lived in. There were rocks that looked like they were arranged to contain a fire. Furs of rabbit were sewn together and lying in a pile next to some broken pottery. I looked back at the waterfall of light, suddenly anxious of the possibility that this was a one way tunnel. I held up my hands and walked back into the light.
I survived again. I stepped back out into the foreign cave. I cautiously stepped forward, walking over to examine the fire pit. If someone had lived there, it had been a long time ago. I kicked the fur with my bare foot, making a face and hoping that something wouldn’t jump out of it. The fur was barely holding together, the leather straps binding it falling apart as I turned it over with my toe.
I could feel a breeze coming from the opening of the cave and I moved towards it. The cave narrowed and inclined upward to an opening. It was there that I could hear and feel a waterfall covering the entrance of the cave. It was dark and the opening had a ledge that allowed an entry to the cave behind the waterfall. I kept close to the rock. I could feel and hear more than see the torrent of water falling in front of me. The ground was slippery with moss. I could smell the cool air outside. The danger of pushing out there at night was not lost on me, but I had to see where I was.
The cave entrance was hidden behind a waterfall was in some sort of a valley. I could see the dark outlines of pine trees. Above was the brilliance of a sky full of stars not filtered by the lights of civilization. It was only a patch of a sky I could see but the beauty of it and it took my breath away. It was dark. I was in the mountains somewhere. Nothing like this existed in Portland.
I tried to let my eyes adjust to peer into the woods in front of me but it was dark. There was no moon. I could see silhouettes and stars but little more. I thought that perhaps it was best I come back during the day. There was no knowing what creatures were stirring out there. I slowly worked my way back into the cave.
I sat down on a rock near the fire pit and thought about what I needed to do. I wondered if my mother sat down on this rock. She could be nearby. Maybe she needed help. This was some secret she had. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew it was something wonderful. I was grateful that whatever gut instinct told me to take the huge risk of walking into the light, butt naked, that it got through to me. It was the bravest thing I had ever done. I shivered. Both from the cool night air and from the acknowledgment of the incredible risk I took.
Walking back through the tunnel of light was much easier. I knew what lay at the other end. On the other side, I gathered my clothes and headed back to my basement. I closed the door and returned the carpet so that it covered it up. I threw my clothes in a pile and put on my PJs. I glanced at the clock. It was still relatively early. I went to sleep thinking about what to do next. I needed to get down there during the day. I would hide the carpet over the door; using the string, like my mother had done and I would explore. I would find my mother.