Chapter One


Filled with frustration and anger, she slammed the door to the house. Yanking open the door to the minivan, she felt a pain shoot through her right shoulder. Ignoring it, she climbed in and jammed the key into the ignition. The minivan shuddered, then died, so she pushed the key forward again. The minivan shuddered again, coughing, then roared to life. She jerked it into reverse, squealing the tires, threw it into drive, and took off. The rain began to fall, slowly at first, then pelting against the windshield with a force so great that even the highest setting of the wipers failed to clear the direction in which she drove. Or was that the tears in her eyes that was making it hard to see? She wasn't sure, but she knew she had to get out of there. The lightening sliced through the sky, temporarily blinding her, and the thunder echoed deep in her soul. Her heart ached, her soul screamed out, and the desperation that filled her was drowning out everything except the desire to flee, as fast as she could, as far as she could. As the miles flew by, her anger grew and the ugliness of her life enveloped her. Getting away was the only thing left. The pain and the fear chased her through the dark night. She approached the hills without any trepidation, knowing the curves challenged even the best of drivers on the clearest, driest evenings. She didn't care and she almost hoped the hills would win this time as she skidded around the corners, edging closer and closer to the drop-off points. The pain inside her grew as her speed increased, peeling around the sides of the mountains like a straight-edge razor. It bordered on hate, hate for her life, hate for her situation, hate for what could have been. To lose her life at this point would be a blessing, a relief, a freedom she had never even considered up to this point. The rain continued to cut through the sky and the night became darker with each turn. Without warning, there was a figure in the road. A tall, slender, figure that seemed to almost hover above the road. She screamed for him to get out of the way and she felt her foot press even harder on the accelerator as she pointed the minivan directly at him. As the tires hit a shallow pool of water, the minivan seemed to take flight. Suddenly, she felt herself airborne, as the vehicle charged off the roadway, momentarily angling upward as though it had hit a ramp, then comically stopping mid-air before plunging straight downward, for hundreds of yards before it came to an abrupt, violent stop.


The high-pitched noise of a cricket near her ear startled her awake. Dampness and darkness surrounded her and her clothes were stuck to her skin. She reached up to push wet hair from her face and a pain pierced through her back so sharply that she could hardly breathe. As she squinted to try to see anything around her in the darkness, she wondered where she was and what had happened to her. The smell of wet soil and rotting wet leaves reached her nose. Confusion filled her mind as she realized she was somewhere in the woods in the middle of the night. She tried desperately to remember something, anything at all. Suddenly out of the silence of the trees, a loud explosion rocked the ground where she lay. Less than a few feet away, flames shot up toward the night sky, momentarily lighting up the tall, bare trees of the wooded forest. Incredible fear gripped her, wrapping its bony fingers so tightly around her chest that she couldn’t even scream. Silently, painfully, slowly, she grabbed at the earth and tried to pull herself away from the scorching heat. Her useless legs dragged behind her and she sucked in her breath against each excruciating jolt of pain. She could feel the intense heat of the growing fire on the back of her neck and the horrifying thought of being burned alive somehow motivated her to keep moving. Suddenly a loud thunderclap echoed through the dark sky and a deluge of cold rain began to fall heavily on the woods and the fire. She collapsed forward onto her stomach and then turned to look back at a huge pile of smoldering junk, just barely glowing now in the darkness. A burst of cold wind pushed the thick, choking smoke into her lungs and she coughed violently as tears streamed from her eyes. Alone and broken, confused and scared, she felt a sense of helplessness and hopelessness envelope her. The heavy rain stung her face and she turned her face towards the ground to try to escape it. While she groped around in the darkness with her hands, her right hand struck the trunk a large tree. She thought the protection of the tree might free her from the pelting rain, so she gasped for air as she struggled again to drag herself to it. Finally reaching a somewhat dry spot, her body and her will gave out. Unconsciousness was the welcome relief she needed.


She was unsure how long she lay there, drifting in and out of consciousness. She recalled a parade of faces, with no names, but a flood of emotions that accompanied each face. Each time she awoke, the pain rushed back in to greet her with a vengeance. The woods around her were so thick that telling dusk from dawn was almost impossible. The searing heat of the afternoon sun finally fell upon her face and brought her back to a place of simple thought. She looked down at her legs, splayed in awkward directions, and realized she was indeed in real trouble. The hunger pangs in her stomach reminded her that she was most certainly alive, for the moment. Flies buzzed around her and the smell of her own sweat repulsed her. Breathing heavily, both from the heat and the pain, she waved unsuccessfully at the flies. In the near distance, the sound of running water beckoned her but even the smallest movement was difficult and painful. She looked at her surroundings and saw nothing but the thick of trees bare of life, overgrown weeds and rocky ground covered with the colors of autumn leaves. She shivered in spite of the sun on her face, for the air itself was crisp and breezy. Knowing that her legs were likely both broken, she knew she must, at the very least, lay them straight, even though she doubted she would live long enough for it to matter. Sucking in her breath, she grabbed her left leg and dragged it closer to the right leg, managing somehow to twist it around so her toes pointed upward. Then she did the same with her right leg, crying out only momentarily, then biting her lower lip against the pain. She gasped and leaned back against the tree trunk again and drifted off again, exhausted from the effort it took her. The sun set again and the relentless mosquitoes feasted on her hands on neck in the darkening woods.


In her dreams she heard tiny voices and the giggling of little girls. She heard whispers drifting among the trees that stretched upward around her. The sound of crackling leaves and little footprints created visions of children dancing through the forest in her mind. She longed to reach out and hold onto them, to smell their sweetness and delight in their enchantment of nature’s treasures among the trees. Her heart ached for the company of someone, anyone, as she felt her life slipping away. As her breathing slowed and her dreams faded, suddenly she felt herself lifted up, as though angels came to carry her away. For a moment, she felt joy and love. She remembered briefly the happiness of holding a baby, smelling its newness, and rejoicing in the miracle of birth. She recalled seeing electric blue eyes and touching jet black hair so soft and new under her fingertips. The memory of a perfect, tiny child in her arms came to her and she felt a man’s strong arms around her that promised comfort and protection. Then, instantly the deafening pain screamed through her legs and back, and her fear was so great she thought she must be headed towards hell in the grasp of the devil. She felt almost suffocated as blackness swallowed her and she flailed unsuccessfully against the death that tried to capture her. Finally succumbing, she allowed the darkness to carry her away in hopes that the incredible pain would cease.

Chapter Two


She struggled to open her eyes. Around the bed she could see three young girls peering at her with expectant eyes. A heavy quilt lay across her body, comforting and warm. She closed her eyes, then weakly opened them again.  Suddenly, the sweet young faces were gone and she was alone. She could see a concrete wall, gray and cold. A small table was across the room and on it a small candle burned on a dish. Her strength was gone and she couldn’t move. That in itself didn’t concern her, she was only glad she was no longer soaking wet and shivering beneath the large tree. There was nothing else in the tiny room, just the bed and the table. Not coherent enough to really consider her surroundings, she began to slip back into sleep. The scent of young children suddenly surrounded her again but she was too exhausted to even open her eyes. She felt tiny hands upon her hair and her face. It must be a dream, she thought. I must be dead, she mused. In the distance a door slammed and again the scent of innocence and curiosity disappeared. The thud of heavy footsteps was nearby. Squeezing her eyelids closed, she vowed not to open them for fear of what she might she see. Suddenly, she felt him above her, leaning over her and breathing heavily into her face. Her heart began to race and a deep fear settled into her heart. Seemingly satisfied she was still out of it, he left the room. As quietly as she could, she exhaled the fear that was in her body. She felt so alone. Not knowing where she was or why she was there, she tried unsuccessfully to move her legs. Nothing. It was though she was tied to the bed. Exhaustion overtook her and once again she fell fitfully into a sleep that only served to scare her more. In her dreams, demons chased her and bit at her legs, causing a pain so great she cried out. There were three little angelic faces that hovered near, in her dreams, but they could do nothing for her. Their little hands reached out to her but stayed out of reach. A large angry creature approached her again and though her heart shrank fearfully away from him, she felt a strange longing to connect with him. His hands were rough and uncaring, yet clumsily attempted to push away the demons who caused her pain. She was so far removed that she could barely feel anything except the slight movement of her lower limbs. Keeping her eyes tightly closed, she inhaled the smell of sweat and dirt. Too afraid to even peek, she simply waited until she felt she was alone again, not really knowing if she was awake or dreaming. She had never been so afraid and helpless in her life. A warm, wet cloth touched her lips for a moment and then was laid across her forehead. She heard someone blow out the candle and the darkness of night enveloped her again.


The door creaked open and tiny footsteps approached the bed where she lay. She smelled food and opened her eyes to see a young girl, perhaps about eight years old, standing beside her with a small bowl and a spoon. The little girl kept her eyes cast downward as she set the bowl and spoon on the bed, then she was gone and the door closed again. Realizing how hungry she was, she wondered when she’d last had anything to eat. She tried to sit up and couldn’t. She pulled the bowl up towards her to see a bowl of what might be described as oatmeal. Managing to lean a bit to one side, she reached for the spoon and clumsily scraped a bit of the food onto it and lifted it towards her mouth. The bland mixture was barely moist enough to stick together and she choked on it, coughing and then grimacing at the resulting pain in her midsection. She knew she had to eat it, awful as it was, or she would likely die of starvation. Slowly she fed herself tiny bites until the bowl was half empty and then she collapsed back on the bed. Not knowing when she might get food again, she tucked the bowl and spoon under her arm on the side away from door, hoping to protect it from being taken from her. The mere act of eating sapped her of the little strength she had and she closed her eyes. Her mouth was very dry and she hoped the little girl might bring her something to drink. As the food settled into her stomach, a feeling of queasiness came over her and the room felt as though it was beginning to spin. She thought maybe the child had poisoned her, but the feeling suddenly stopped. She exhaled with relief and relaxed a bit. For now, she decided just to try to stay alive. A thought crossed her mind that perhaps she was already dead and this must be hell, a prison where she lay confined to a bed and where loneliness was broken only momentarily by the appearance of people she didn’t know. Without even the strength to cry, she could do nothing more than fall back to sleep.


Some hours later, she awoke again as her stomach growled. In the dark, she felt for the bowl and it was gone. She wished she had finished it. She tried to move her legs and couldn’t. She tried to sit up and couldn’t. She tried to call out and her voice muscles were so weak, she barely made a sound. She was so warm and pulled the quilt off to the side. Rolling a bit to her side, she reached down to feel her legs. They were there, just useless to her. Summoning up the strength to cry, she cupped her tears in her hands to drink them. Salty and unsatisfying, her tears soon dried up. She heard heavy footsteps in the distance and scrunched her eyes closed, hoping they didn’t approach her door. He strode into the room and she could smell him.

“Open your eyes,” he barked at her and she complied, shrinking away at his strong voice. “It’s about time you came home. Now that you are unable to walk, I guess you won’t be leaving any time soon.” She squinted at him but didn’t recognize him. Home? This was her home? Her mind strained to recall something from her past, but there was nothing. “From now on, the children will wait on you when I tell them to do so. Otherwise, you will simply lay here.” And with that he walked out of the room and slammed the door. She shivered with fear and desperately tried to scream out but only silence came from her throat.


This time she woke up mad. There was no way she was going to be a victim in this concrete jail. In her mind, she decided it was time to start formulating a plan. Unsure of how many children there actually were, she thought there were perhaps three. She reached down to see what condition her legs were in and discovered there were two primitive splints taped around her broken limbs. Knowing they would eventually heal, she hoped they had at least been set properly. The candle was burning across the room and she examined her surroundings. A simple concrete room, probably at least partially underground. A wooden door, probably locked from the outside. The table under the candle, old and barely standing. No windows at all. She strained to lean over the side of the bed and found a small plastic bottle of water. She grabbed it and drank it down, feeling much better afterwards. She struggled to sit up and still couldn’t. She wondered when she might see someone again. The room smelled musty, confirming she was likely underground, maybe in a cellar. If she was going to get out of here, she might be able to manipulate the children. That man was obviously controlling and abusive. She hoped he wouldn’t return any time soon. Yes, her only hope was the children.


She waited for a child to appear. And she waited. And she waited. Her eyes grew heavy as she stared at the door, willing it to open. As she drifted off a bit, she began to dream. She saw a toddler, a boy, maybe as old as 3, with ice blue eyes and jet black hair, laughing from his belly as her hands tickled him. Her heart ached, reaching towards the dream, feeling a deep joy and longing. A deep creaking sound yanked her out of the dream and she turned her head towards the door. Standing there was the little girl who had visited her before, once for certain, maybe more. She had a bottle of water and a small burlap bag in her hands. Looking mostly at the floor, the child approached the bed and held out both hands to deliver the items as seemingly directed. From under the quilt came a feeling of hope inside her. She opened her mouth to speak to the girl. Not a sound came out. She grabbed the glass bottle and drank all of the water quickly, then tried to speak again. Again, her mouth merely opened and closed. The child dropped the little bag on the bed, grabbed the water bottle and turned toward the door. She grabbed the child’s arm in desperation, but the child wrenched out of her weak grasp and slipped out the door. She sank back into the bed, exhausted and a few tears slipped from her eyes. Suddenly the door opened again and the child came back in, thrust the refilled water bottle at her, and then left.


The little bag was full of some kind of nut and seed mix. As she nibbled on the mix, she slowly sipped at the water. After she finished eating and drinking, she started to doze off when the sound of the door surprised her. At the door was another little girl, perhaps three or four years old. After making sure no one was behind her, she slipped in the room and quietly closed the door.

“Mama, why did you leave?”  Her tiny voice sounded sad and scared at the same time. A big tear rolled down her cheek, streaking through the dirt. She wiped it away with the back of her hand, leaving a slightly muddy arc on her tanned face. Her green eyes glistened and her tiny mouth pouted. She came over the small bed and climbed up on the quilt, almost as though she’d done it hundreds of times before. Sitting cross-legged she tilted her head to the side as she studied her mama. Her blonde hair fell in messy ringlets and she smelled of being outdoors, a mix of fresh air with too many days without a bath. Her bare feet were rough and calloused, as though she’d never worn shoes.

Unable to speak, she shrugged at the child and wondered if she were truly her child. Examining the girl’s face in an attempt to remember her was almost painful. Her heart ached with desire for some kind of connection. There was nothing. Did she know the child? Was she a mother? Why couldn’t she remember her? Why couldn’t she remember anything?

Her thoughts were interrupted by the child, “Papa said you were dead but I knew you’d come back. Did you forget me?”

Chapter Three


The door flew open and fear burst into the room as the girl appeared. Another white face, a bit younger, appeared behind her.

“He’s dead. He’s dead. I shot him. He’s dead.” The older girl spit out the words as she dragged the younger girl into the room. “What do we do now mom?”

All three girls searched her face for the answer, with eager anticipation. Yet, she could also see terror in their faces and she reached out her arms, inviting them all into an embrace. They came immediately, desperately seeking comfort. “What will we do now?” she wondered silently.


They had to get out. And quickly. She tapped the arm of the oldest girl to meet her eyes, then made writing motions with her hands. The girl’s eyes lit up immediately and she got up off the bed and rushed out. In a few minutes, she came back with a pencil and a notepad, holding them out.

Furiously scribbling, she wrote, hoping the oldest girl could read. “Your name?” The girl looked at the notepad and frowned. “I am Olivia, mama, don’t you remember? Why have you forgotten us? And this is Lily and baby Rose,” she said as she pointed at the others.

“Phone?” she wrote, but Olivia looked at it and shook her head no. “I don’t know pa-hone, mom” she said.

She scribbled again, “My name?” Olivia giggled, “You are mom. You forgot you too?” Olivia’s face suddenly clouded over as she remembered what she had done. “He is dead. He hurt me and Lily and Rose. Can we go now? Can you walk?”

Her legs still wouldn’t move. There was no way she was getting up and walking out of that awful place. The despair grabbed her deep in her soul. She wrote again, “Need help.” Olivia’s little eyebrows drew together as she searched her mind for someone who could help them. Something came to her and she grabbed Lily’s hand and said, “We need to get Nonni! Rose, you stay with mom and we’ll be back.” Suddenly they were gone and Rose stared up at her as she lay next to her. 

“Mama, I missed you,” said the tiny girl, as she stuck her thumb in her mouth and drifted off to sleep.

Her heart ached and she wondered how long it would be before the girls came back with Nonni. Who was Nonni? Was she a family member? A neighbor? Rose sighed as deep as a little girl can sigh, making thumb-sucking noises and snuggling in closer. She stroked the girl’s blonde curls, trying to ignore the pain shooting through her shoulder.


Suddenly he was standing over her. He had a gash across the left side of his face and the blood was already drying out. He wrenched the half-asleep child from her by the arm and Rose cried out in pain, then fear when she realized her father was indeed still alive. He dragged her out of the room and slammed the door. She could hear him yelling at Rose, asking where the other two girls went. Rose must have told him because after some rustling around, everything went silent. She decided they must have gone looking for them.

She was alone and she realized it might be her one chance to escape. She pulled herself to a sitting position and realized she was going to have to physically drag herself out of that prison. After several painful attempts, she finally threw herself off the bed onto the floor. She gasped at the pain and sucked in her breath. She landed on her stomach and the palms of her hands, but her legs had somehow become crossed in the fall and the wood from the makeshift splints were lodged against each other. She rolled over onto her back and they miraculously separated. Rolling back to her stomach, she pulled herself toward the door, an arm’s length at a time.

Although it only took minutes for her to reach the doorway, it seemed like hours. She stopped and listened carefully, hoping no one would return. She pulled herself up to a sitting position on the wall next to the door. Her arms ached from pulling her body across the floor, but she knew this was only the beginning of her escape. And she could be discovered at any moment.

When he slammed the door in his anger at the girls, he failed to latch it and it swung open easily at her touch. Amazed at this wonderful discovery, she renewed her strength and pulled her body out of the room. She stared down a short hallway at a staircase made of large stone rocks. She could smell the outdoors and thought perhaps she might be in a cellar.

She pulled herself down the hallway to the staircase. The floor was made of gravel and she was glad her legs were so numb that she couldn’t feel the sharp rocks scratching her legs. Up the steps was the only way out. As she peered upward, she could see another door laying flat over the steps, confirming her suspicion of her location. One step at a time, she hoisted herself up, going backwards on her bottom while her legs dangled over the steps below.

Halfway up, one of the rocks under her hand came loose and went crashing to the bottom of the stairs. She hoped no one was around to hear it, then wished someone was. Someone other than that evil man who imprisoned her. She kept going, one step at a time. The sweat ran down her face and mingled with her tears of desperation. Her eyes burned and her arms ached. The top of her head finally reached the horizontal door and she rested for a minute while she gathered her strength to push it upward. When she had finally mustered the strength to push, it was useless as the door would not budge. She dissolved into hysterical sobbing. She was crying so hard that she didn’t even realize the door above her had been opened.


  1. You are such a tease!!! More!!! More!!! <3

  2. Dramatic opening but you are leaving us hanging!

    I am wondering if the story continues or if you will take us back to events leading up to this point and finish this scene in a later chapter. In other words - you have me interested.

  3. Hurry up and write more! :-)

  4. What happened? Can't wait to read more!!!!

  5. I agree, what a way to stop !!

  6. Ready to read more Lisa!!

  7. I can't wait for the next installment!!! Interest piqued!

  8. and.......tune in next

  9. Very cool approach to publishing. I like it. I have always enjoyed your blog so this is fabulous. Thanks!

  10. oh i knew you would do this ..i will come up with a title if you finish an send me the will kill me if i dont know if i never win a kindle i would still buy your books swear
    NOW SEND IT lololol i love it YOUR great!!!

    1. Watch for the next installment here soon!

    2. Thank you I will and apologies for not stopping in more but depression can grab you and you really just have to figure,Do not wish that on no one.Looking for reader contests too ;) Bless ya

  11. More, more, more...the suspense is killing me!

  12. Lisa, you are one heck of a good writer!! I want to read MORE!!!!


  13. OMG I am so glad I am just coming out of my own personal depression (i lost all family Nov 10 2012 hubby of 20 yrs mom and brother all 3 wks apart))) to find I am just having another bout ..reading this ....if you don't finish this ..I wont buy it lololol :D Jesus will see me thru this and I had to move.He said ''I love you'' and was gone..poof.. I should write one .it's been a wild ride. Bless ya sweetie your doing a fine job..can't wait..<3

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. It is my goal this coming year to get back to this. Your comment is my sign! Thank YOU!


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