Okay. Day Two. I wish I could say it was as uneventful as yesterday.
Long story short, we found one. Alive.
Short story long:
We set out a half an hour earlier than we did yesterday, since we didn't have to listen to the whole rules speech again. This time, our group took the central eastern area. In a simply wonderful coincidence, that happens to be the area that I was talking about before -- you know, where the sunlight can't get through. We had the intersection of Rocks Chrome Hill all the way over to Grier Nursery Rd, although the area near
Grier Nursery is by far the worst.
I may not have been a hundred percent clear before when I said that we were going into Rocks. You see, Rocks State Park is actually pretty small (Maryland isn't exactly the biggest state ever). We bum locals use the word "Rocks" to refer to the area in and around the actual park. If it's adjacent to the Park and it looks exactly the same as it did when you were in the Park, odds are that we include it in the term "Rocks." I mention this because the area we were searching isn't technically inside the Park. Now that we've gotten that out of the way...
Our groups all remained the same, and after about two in the afternoon, ours split up just like it did yesterday, although we still remained in sight of each other. Detective Goldman was a bit more open than he was yesterday -- I have the feeling he's sort of shy, and he has a rather wry sense of humor -- and Allie was more than willing to chat with him and the others, so things weren't all doom and gloom.
Until five o'clock or so rolled around. Or maybe it was later -- twilight was gaining on us, and Detective Goldman was just saying that we should be heading back. I've always had pretty good night vision -- that is, when I'm wearing my glasses or have my contacts in, like I did today.
I saw her a few seconds before they did, and that was a few seconds before she saw us. She stood, shoulders hunched, hands twisted at odd angles like she couldn't relax them, about thirty yards from us. We stared at each other for a moment. She looked like she was trying desperately to say something that terror or some other horrid thing was holding in her.
Then she screamed. It was the second most godawful sound I've ever heard a human being make. I couldn't believe it came from such a small woman.
It snapped us out of it, for sure, and I immediately ran over to her, calling for Sheriff Thomson as I did (as if I thought he hadn't heard). I was the first to her. She collapsed as I came up to her, and I was barely able to catch her, although she was too heavy for me and I ended up sinking to my knees. She was crying. Her face was buried in my shoulder. Her hands were freezing and clawed as she clung to me.
It wasn't until Sheriff Thomson helped her up and started asking her if she knew where the others were that I recognized Mary-Ann Compton.
She couldn't say anything to any use in finding the others, so we headed back to the ranger's station as fast as we were able. She looked weak, like she hadn't eaten or slept in days. As soon as we got her back, she was wrapped in a blanket and given some hot tea to sip at. Detective Goldman took her back to the sheriff's office in town, and Sheriff Thomson stayed behind to do the head count. Everyone accounted for, we all departed.
Allie and I asked if we could go with the sheriff back to the office. He said that it was fine, but that we shouldn't expect to find out anything new, since she was so shaken. He was right; by the time we'd gotten there, Detective Goldman said she'd stopped crying, but was now completely catatonic. The sheriff went in to talk to her, but Allie and I were told to wait.
Neither of us could bring ourselves to go in and try to talk to her any more. We thanked them for letting us come, and then left. Like last night, we ended up at Allie's place, talking it over. Eventually, I came home. I took a long shower.
I can't get over the way she looked -- her clothes were torn, and her hands...it was like they were hooked into claws and she couldn't relax them. I have marks on my arm where she scratched it, trying to hold onto me as Sheriff Thomson helped her up...I'm trying not to look at them, but I keep running my hand over them when I'm not thinking about it.
Day Three tomorrow, and we're concentrating all our efforts on that dark corner near Grier Nursery. God help us...although, if Mary-Ann Compton's state is any indicator, they may need His help a lot more than we do.