Today, Amy's mother and father find Pithole and the Dew-Drop Inn where Amy is being held captive.
Amy’s Mother: Through the Dust we Find Hope
Amy’s Mother: Through the Dust we Find Hope
The dust that rises from the slope is blinding. It's so thick I don't see how the horses see the track in front of them. We had to take the wagon up from the town down below because the stage would have taken more time we didn’t have to lose. I'm worn down and so is William by the looks of him, but neither one of us has said a word about it. Every second counts, I think as we head up the hill and my mind whirs with the idea of what will await us. What kind of place would trick a young girl to come to their door thinking she has a legitimate job and then imprison her? My guess is the people behind this aren’t god fearing. I can see the resolve that's settled into William's eyes. He's a peaceful man at his core. A man of God but what I see awakening in his face is a rage I didn’t even know he was capable of possessing.
When we arrive in town I'm shocked by the place. Every surface: the ground, the houses, the wooden sidewalks is covered in mud and oil. Men aren't shaven and by the smell of it bathing isn't a common practice in Pithole. As soon as our feet touch the ground William and I walk briskly to the post office to inquire where we might find the establishment Amy had told us she was joining. Who knows if those crooks were stupid enough to use the real name of their establishment, but it's the one lead we've got so we've got to follow it.
The post office is just a half block away and as we approach we see hundreds of people lined up around it waiting. The line curls around the building like an animal. What do you think all the fuss is about? I ask William and he just shrugs. When we get close, he asks a man who is waiting online.
“Why you just found yourself one of the busiest post offices in the nation!” he announces in a loud, proud voice. We see quickly that we aren’t going to make much headway here, so we walk to the first intersection.
“If we split up,” I say, “I’ll bet we can find the establishment in half a day.” I say. But William frowns and says he won’t allow it. It isn’t safe.
“There are drunken men everywhere,” he says, “and what would you do if you found the place?” I realize he is right but hesitate before I agree. And so our search of Pithole begins with the two of us walking the dusty planks side by side, looking into the dusty plate glass windows, searching aimlessly for our lost child.
It takes us about two hours to find the Dewdrop Inn, the address that Amy had placed on the letter she somehow sent. Funny thing is, it doesn’t even try to look like an inn. It’s a three-story house, with a wooden porch. We walk up to the fogged glass door and knock. Quickly, a man answers the door. He is commanding in his height, with raven black hair.
“What can I do for you folks,” he says, looking us over suspiciously.
“We are looking for our daughter, Amy.” My husband says, looking intensely at the man in the doorway.
Instantly, a wave of knowledge passes through the man’s face, as if he has realized who we are and why we’ve come to his establishment. “Ain’t no new girls around here,” he says, looking my husband up and down. “Looks like you got the wrong house. Why don’t you two head on down the road.”
Almost immediately, William’s face become lit with the fire of his anger as he opens his mouth and states his plain reply. “We received a letter from our daughter Amy. She says, she’s locked here in the attic of your establishment. We don’t mean you any harm. We only want to gather our daughter who wishes to leave your establishment. So, if you don’t mind, I’d appreciate it if you’d step aside and let us pass.”
With these words, I see a flash of recognition or surprise flash over the man’s face. It doesn’t last long, and he’s quick to correct it, but for one second I can see that what we’ve spoken is truth. With that hope, I lose control of myself and throw my whole weight against the door.
I scream, “Amy, Amy? Are you in there? We’re here darling! Come down and come away with us.”
The man sees me lunge and quickly places his arm in my way. “You ain’t coming in,” he says with the whole mass of his body. But I fight him hard. “Let me in!” I scream. “I know she’s in there. What kind of animal are you to keep a young girl trapped in your attic?!”
He just grins a crooked grin. That’s when I see the red marks climbing his arms. They are fresh. I think, oh Lord, at least she’s fighting back that means she’s alive.
William says loud and firm, “If this is how you receive us, we will return with the law!”
“Ain’t no law in this town,” the man laughs back. “You even know where you are you dumb fucks? You in Pithole. Only law here is oil. Other than that, you on your own.”
And with that he slams the door in our faces.
“No,” I scream, banging my arms on the closed wood door, “No, Noooooooo!”. William puts his arms around my sobbing shoulders and says softly in my ear, “we should go. Don’t worry. We will find another way to get her out of there. This isn’t over. I promise.”
But I can’t move. It’s as if my legs have gone wooden and grown into the very spot where I am standing. I’m not going. I’m not leaving until we get our daughter out of here. Who knows what that beast of a man will do once we leave this spot. I sob, “he’s going to go up the stairs and beat her, or worse!”
“You’re right,” he says and I see the truth of my words register in his face. “We’ve got to go in.” Our eyes lock in agreement. I grab the handle and feel immediately that it is locked. Before I can react, in one swift move William kicks in the glass door, leans his arm in and undoes the lock. When he pushes his whole weight against the wooden door, we rush in.
The man, who we realize has just been waiting for us to enter, is on us almost immediately. He swings and punches William hard in the face. Blood spurts from his nose.
“I said I didn’t want the likes of you around here,” he says taking another punch this time at William’s kidneys. But he’s half turned and engrossed in beating William and I see my chance. I run for the wooden stair case I see directly in front of me, my heart pounding in my throat. My feet fly across the room, then up the flight of stairs before the man notices me. I look back relieved to see I’d slipped by, but just as I turn back around I see her: a woman standing at the top of the stairs in tall heeled boots, a bodice and a long velvet skirt. She is smiling a wide, sick grin and patting a shot gun that is lying gently across her arms.
“I don’t think you are going anywhere Ma’am. This is my house and I don’t take well to uninvited guests.” With these words she grabs me hard by the arm and with one swift kick sends me tumbling down the stairs.
When I gather my senses at the bottom of the stairs I see the large man looking down at me. “I see you’ve met the lady of the house,” he says kicking me swiftly in the ribs. “NOW GET THE FUCK OUT!”
I am trembling with fear and then I see William, covered in blood. “Oh what monsters have our child?” I think. There is nothing left to do but to try and stand, to gather William up and shuffle out the door. We are beaten. We cannot get Amy out alone. “We must find help. We must find help.” I whisper again and again to myself as we are pushed out the door by our laughing assailants.
“And don’t come back!” They shout at our swooped forms as we shuffle away from the house bloody and defeated.