A crossroads is reached as Trish responds to the cruelty of the cult.

                                                  Chapter 78

It was two days since the return of Jim Martin to the apartment. The men had welcomed the change from sandwiches and burgers, for Emma’s fried chicken and an assortment of pastries and snacks.  Even Simmon’s disposition had mellowed. He had offered some of the food to Trish who threw it against the wall. Cash hurriedly salvaged the larger pieces and set them aside for later. It was a sin to waste anything so delicious. At that point he started in on Trish again, hoping this could be the crossroads in her recovery.

“A few days ago I sat in the police chief’s office in Scranton. He had been sent some pictures of a deceased woman. They were trying to determine her identity and who it was that had neglected her health to the point she was discovered in a garbage dump. There was no indication she had been murdered, but it was obvious she was the victim of extreme neglect and cruelty.” He laid the morgue picture at Trish’s feet. “They are looking for anyone who can identify the body. I have a sneaking suspicion you may have come across her somewhere in your travels.”

She made a point of not looking at the picture, but instead broke into her chant.

“Trish, if you were this girl, wouldn’t you want someone to tell your loved ones you were dead, and give you a proper burial?”

He picked up the picture, studied it for a moment before he thrust it into her line of vision with a movement so swift she didn’t have time to close her eyes or look away.

She screamed and cried in a way she had never responded to anything he threw at her before. She grabbed the picture and fell to her knees, moaning and cradling it to herself. The pain on her face was so great that Cash was forced to look away. Tears filled his eyes in sympathy for the girl in the morgue and for Trish, who poured out her grief.

Her body quivered with sobs as she knelt over the picture. “Della, no, no, no,” she cried out in anguish. “She was supposed to be taken to the hospital.”

At that moment Cash was not proud of what he had produced, but it had the impact he knew it would. He gave her time for both of them to collect themselves.

“Trish, let me tell you. You are one of the lucky ones. Too many fall into this trap and are cast aside like yesterday’s garbage. No one ever learns what happened to them, but in your case it’s as though David in the Bible was pleading for you in the Psalms, when he asks God to ‘Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog. Save me from the mouth of the lion.’ Your guardian angel worked through your father and his love for you to save you ‘from the mouth of the lion’.”