In the depths of the crisis that struck her, she had embarked on a soul-searching quest.
Along winding paths and through countless introspections, she kept walking, alone, on the solitary road, until the signposts had nearly disappeared.
She walked even as the rising mist grew denser until, after a while, she could see nothing but a white curtain concealing the view around her. As the mist cleared, the walls of the old fort at Bekal appeared and she could clearly hear the sound of waves crashing below.
On her left, were the moss-covered stone walls that led to the entrance of the fort. On her right, all she could see was a flight of descending steps that seemed to lead to the underground.
An eerie glow emanated from the steps.
Curiosity tugged at her. A flash of lightning was followed by resounding thunder. The ground shook, and the heavens poured. She ran down the steps, drenched by the rain, looking for cover.
As she descended, a strange thing happened.
It seemed as if the wind had begun to echo tales of forgotten memories and untold secrets. She felt she had been here before.
The further she descended, the denser and cooler that air seemed to be, and the echoes grew louder. Like a reverie, memories began to unveil themselves one after another. She heard voices she had once known and saw faces she had once cherished.
In that subterranean world, she found fragments of herself buried in the past. She saw herself caught up in the storm, ready to be ripped apart.
While the rain lashed on, she sat crouched on the floor, resting her back against the damp walls, her little feet aching from all the running. Gradually, the voices began to fade away, and the faces blurred, until all she could hear nothing, but the gentle pitter-patter of rain.
It was time to climb up the steps, which she did!
Startled by the sudden ringing of the doorbell, she sprang up, her eyes blinded by the sunlight filtering through the window. For the life of her, she could not remember how long she had been lying there, slouched on the edge of the settee, her book held tight in one hand, while her fur baby tugged at the other, nudging her to open the door.
In a way, she sensed a relief! She recalled how she had climbed back up the steps to her escape. She felt safe now. Perhaps, the sense of closure that she had always sought had finally come.
She drew in a deep breath and walked up to open the door.