The next week was spent focusing on renovations. Deirdre helped any way she could, but Andrew preferred her to spend time with Hope. His tiny daughter didn’t do much during the day, but she needed someone to watch over her nonetheless. Gwen had not visited them in their dreams yet and it worried them both. They had begun speaking more to each other, opening up about things they had feared to speak of.
On one night, Deirdre had asked about the abuse her daughter had suffered, bile rising in her throat when she heard the extent of it. She thanked Andrew for being there to support Gwen, and excused herself to go vomit the rest of her breakfast. Andrew had followed her until the bathroom door, knowing full well why she was running away. The words had been so hard to speak, he felt his own resolve slip when he heard her heaving behind the door. He never thought about any of the times he found her with bruises, he preferred remembering the good moments.
Everything around me was blurred, my eyes tried to adjust, but failed. I curled into the fetal position and received yet another devastating blow to the stomach. I felt the air being sucked out of me, I was drifting in and out of consciousness. His strong hands grabbed my hair and yanked me up until I was standing. My legs wobbled under me, his hands grabbed me by the waist to stabilize my trembling. I felt his icy breath on my neck and then his slippery tongue sliding down. I screamed for someone to come rescue me. Anyone. But we were alone and I knew that it was far from over. He had found me, and he wouldn’t let me go.
Another week passed and still no new dreams or visions of Gwen. Deidre was determined to find her. She drove out of town, leaving Hope in the care of Andrew. He kept Hope close as he continued working on the house, time was of the essence. As Deirdre neared the address she was searching for, she parked the car and walked out. She made her way down a flight of stairs, found the right door and knocked. The door opened on its own, and she walked in wearily. The room was lit by hundreds of candles, their flames flickering in the darkness. A round table dressed with a black lace cloth sat in the center, two chairs facing each other. A young woman appeared behind the table, she narrowed her eyes at her visitor.
Deidre was frightened, but she nodded just the same. The woman with inky black hair and mystical grey eyes gestured for her to sit down. She complied and looked down at the table. A freshly baked apple pie sat in the middle. She lifted her eyes and stared at the peculiar woman. Her hands were placed on the table, she was staring at the apple pie.
″I felt an overwhelming need to bake this after you called.″
Deirdre nodded, trying to contain her true feelings. She was happy that this woman seemed to be the real deal, but scared to know where this exchange would lead them.
″Shall we begin?″
Deirdre nodded again, swallowing hard. She pulled out Gwen’s necklace and handed it to the woman. Deirdre had told Andrew what she was up to, they had run out of ideas. She knew it was a long shot, but she was willing to try anything to get back in touch with her. Andrew had handed her the necklace and wished her good luck. Now here she was, sitting on a chair, surrounded by candle light, praying that this medium could help her reach her daughter.
The woman’s eyes glossed over and her stare became intense. She seemed lost in her thoughts, chanting slowly in a foreign language.
″I see a younger woman, she looks like you. Your daughter. She is in pain. She needs help. She is trying to get away. She wants to come and visit you. She can’t. Something is holding her back. ″
The woman’s eyes rolled back and her head fell forward. The silence in the room was unnerving. Deirdre wanted to speak, ask her questions, but she wasn’t sure if she should. After a few minutes, the woman’s head shot up, and she frowned. She looked at Deirdre with her gray orbs and took her hands.
″I was able to send her your message. I felt her intense pain diminish considerably when she heard me. Don’t give up hope, she is strong. Whatever sinister being has her, she will fight until she gets away and back to you both.″
It had been such a relief to hear my mother’s voice, telling me to stay strong, telling me the house was almost done. I was so weak in body, yet strong in spirit. The pain I had felt began to disappear, it was replaced by increasing hope. I knew my soul would be at peace soon. I felt him stop kicking, he sounded frustrated because I wasn’t crying out anymore. I wouldn’t ever show him how much it hurt again, I would stay strong and fight through it. I wouldn’t let him dominate me anymore. I heard him walk away, his footsteps slowly vanishing This was it. I had my chance again. I took it.
As soon as his eyes closed, they opened anew to find Gwen sitting across from him on a chair. He screamed when she turned her face to let him see her. He ran to her, knelt down and wrapped his arms around her, being careful not to squeeze too tight.
″I’m so sorry my love. I am going as fast as I can for the house. How can this happen to you? Why is he doing this?″
Andrew rambled on and on until she brought her finger up to his lips to silence him. She stood up and watched as he did the same. She removed her blood stained dress and tossed it aside. Her naked body was badly bruised, leaving almost no surface untouched. She reached for his hand and brought it to her face. She kissed him gently, wincing in pain because of the open wound.
She needed him. More than ever. He could see it in her eyes. He didn’t want to take her this way, but he knew she needed it. She needed to forget about the pain and replace it with pleasure. She didn’t want to talk. She didn’t want to cry. She wanted to be tangled up in him and nothing else would do.