55 - The Basement

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Melanie was sitting back against a plush recliner with her arms relaxed on each arm rest. The hypnotherapist had been working with her for over twenty minutes and had finally gotten her to relax and close her eyes. Melanie's skin had become quite pale and her breathing had slowed considerably as she slipped into the state the hypnotherapist needed her to be in.

All of the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Simon, Sam, Lucy, Officer Shaw, and a court official were in the room with them. A camera had been set up and was focused on Melanie to capture anything she might say that could be used in court. They hadn't fully disclosed to Melanie what information they were hoping to get from her, worried she might not have agreed to it if she'd known. Instead, they'd told her they were going to try to pull some memories from her that might help her memory come back. It wasn't a complete lie. They were genuinely hoping that if Melanie could face the memories from her abduction and overcome them, it might open the doors to the memories that were being repressed.

"You're in a safe place," the hypnotherapist assured her. "You're surrounded by people that love you and want to protect you. If at any time you want to come back, all you have to do is open your eyes and you'll be right back here with all of us."

She nodded to the court official who turned the camera on to start recording. "I want you to go back to that cupboard for a little while. You're just going to be visiting. Nothing can hurt you there. You're just a fly on the wall and you're only watching what's happening. Picture yourself in that dark space, feel the cool earth beneath you, smell the wooden cupboards. Are you there?"

"Yes," Melanie replied, her voice sounding distant and detached. Her body was still relaxed, her face expressionless.

"I want you to tell me what you see in that cupboard," the hypnotherapist instructed.

-0-0-

Melanie opened her eyes to find herself shrouded in darkness. Her head was throbbing, as was the left side of her torso. She had no idea where she was or how she'd gotten there and, as she became more conscious of the space around her, she also realized she had no idea who she was.

The sound of muffled chanting somewhere nearby became apparent, as well as desperate pleading and tormented screams. Light was emerging into the room from beneath a door just a few feet away from Melanie and through a few spaces between the wood panels of the wall.

Melanie slowly pushed herself off the dirt floor, quickly realizing her wrists were tightly bound together with rope. She was suddenly very aware that she was locked up in a small space.

Trying not to panic, she attempted to push the door open, only to find it locked shut from the outside. She didn't dare call for help. The sounds of the woman in distress outside informed her that she wasn't in a safe place and she thought it best she didn't bring any attention to herself.

She scooted herself over to the wall where the light was streaming in and she attempted to push on the panels, hoping one might give enough that she could crawl through and escape. As she looked through the space between two panels, she could see a room full of robed figures surrounding a large, stone altar. There was a woman tied to the altar, screaming as one of the robed figures slowly dragged a knife against the skin of her belly. He seemed deep in concentration, moving the knife along slowly to create a specific pattern.

The chanting stopped as the man with the knife straightened up and looked down at his work. The woman stopped screaming, but continued to cry as she watched the man fearfully.

"Please," the woman pleaded. "I don't want to die."

Otis looked at her angrily and moved to strangle her, but the man with the knife casually held up his hand to stop him. He looked down at her with a wicked grin and shook his head. "You're not going to die," he said, his voice gruff. "We're making you pure."

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