Without a flashlight, Melinda had a rough time navigating the narrow passageway. Twice her clothes caught on something and each time she had to fight back the tears, fearful someone would come from behind and pull her back into the cave. The first time, she was able to free herself by moving backwards and unhooking her jeans. The second time, she had to pull with all her might until her jeans ripped and she was able to move forward.
Melinda’s biggest fear came when she was nearing the opening because she had no way of knowing if they would be outside waiting to abduct her. Panic gripped her hard and she forced herself to muster all her strength and courage to expose herself to the unknown. She slowly stuck her head out from the tunnel and glanced around.
Thankfully, the moonlight glow was bright enough for her to see that no one was waiting for her. Maneuvering the rest of her body through the opening, however, proved to be much more difficult because she had to lift the branches on the bushes at the same time she worked her legs to completely extricate herself from the tunnel. By the time she was totally free, she was exhausted and had to take a few minutes to catch her breath.
She wished she had remembered to locate her jacket or at least her phone so she could call the police. It was imperative to get immediate help if she was to have any kind of a decent chance to save Angie. Inasmuch as the two of them were completely different, and somewhat estranged, Melinda loved her and knew she would have to do everything she could to get her back safe and sound.
Thoughts of the conversation back in the cave made her shudder. She pushed herself away from the rocks and began finding her way back to Angie’s house. The going was extra difficult because she had no inclination as to whether she was heading in the right direction or going entirely astray. Every time she heard a noise, she crouched as low as possible to keep from being seen. At one point, the noise was so close she actually got down on hands and knees and moved as quietly as she could away from the sound.
As it turned out, it was a blessing because she came upon the path. Not sure which way to turn, Melinda labored over the decision for only a moment. She would have to take her chances that her instincts would guide her in the right direction. She took a deep breath and turned right onto the path. When she felt it was safe, she stood up and hurriedly made her way, hoping beyond hope that she would recognize the path leading out of the woods.
She was doing well until her foot caught in a tree root and she fell into a thorn bush. The sharp pointy thorns punctured the skin on her hands, arms and face. Luckily, they missed her eyes and didn’t sink into her cheek too badly. The forceful momentum from the weight of her body, however, caused the barbs to pull backwards as she sunk deeper into the bush. She managed to stifle her moans as they cut and scratched her face and arms.
It took a few minutes before she could move and when she did, she had to do so carefully. It was a painstaking task moving the branches aside so she could free herself. Once free of the bush, Melinda sat down in the path. She was feeling even more exhausted than she had been earlier. Trickles of warm blood traced their way down her cheeks and neck and she didn’t bother to wipe them away. She would have been content to just lie down and go to sleep but she had to save Angie. The thought of Angie locked up inside the cage brought her back to the moment. Melinda struggled to her feet and continued on, hoping it wouldn’t be much longer before finding her way out.
May 1, 2014