TWENTY-THREE – THE PIT
By the time they got back to the A-frame Glory didn’t resist any longer. She placidly let Tony lead her into the house. They stopped in the living room/studio.
“Tell me you’ll never leave again,” he said, putting his hands on her gown and tearing it in half.
“Never,” she replied, tilting back her chin and sobbing softly. She threw her arms around him. He kissed her neck.
They made savage, passionate love on the living room carpet. Then he drew her. Then he painted her. They made love again and the artistic cycle began anew.
As dawn approached, she looked at him forlornly. “I have to go,” she said.
Anger welled up inside Tony. A burning rage clenched at the pit of his stomach. “You promised you’d never leave.”
“I cannot stay. I have no place to rest. The sunlight is painful to me.”
“You can sleep in the basement. There’s a storage room in the back that has no windows. The sun never reaches there.”
“But without my bed, I won’t be able to rest. Without rest, I’ll wither and grow old.”
He held her with his violet eyes. “Tell me where your bed is, then. I’ll bring it here. You’ll never have to leave again.”
For a moment, a fearful, trapped look flashed across her face. She turned away from him and said, “In the ship. In the Titania.”
He looked puzzled. “But you told me the Titania sank.”
“The storm the night we met pushed it onto a sandbar. My bed is in the hold.”
“How will I find it? What does it look like?”
She took a deep breath. “It’s a rosewood box about three feet square with a small layer of earth and a long, white cloth in the bottom.”
He stood up from where they’d been laying.
“I’ll get it for you.”
She stood as well and wrapped one thin hand around his wrist. “Anthony, you’ll find three other boxes in the hold as well—larger boxes. Don’t touch them. Don’t go near them.”
He looked in her eyes and could see her desperation. “Why?” he asked.
“Never mind why. Just do it. And, please, if you love me, wait until well after dawn to get my box.”
She flung her body against him. “Take me to the cellar,” she said quietly. And then added, “And bring me a clean white sheet.”
He pulled a sheet off his bed upstairs and then led her into the basement. They passed through the downstairs den into the laundry room and then entered the dark storage room beyond.
Tony reached to turn on the light, but she put her hand on his and said, “Don’t.”
He cleared a spot for her in the back corner of the room. She wrapped the sheet around her nude body until she looked almost mummy-like—then she curled up in a fetal position in the corner.
Before she pulled the last corner of the sheet over her face, she smiled sadly at him. “Remember,” she said, “I won’t be able to rest until you bring the box. But don’t open the door while the sun is in the sky. I can’t bear the sunlight.”
He nodded. “I’ll remember.”
“And stay away from the other boxes.”
He shut the door to the storage room and twisted the combination padlock shut.