The twists and turns of the maze were exasperating but I was determined to reach the source of the noise. Then all at once I turned into a small clearing and saw Maria, completely naked. Her skin was ghostly white in the green lights that lit the labyrinth. Even then she was beautiful. She kept digging a small hole, oblivious to my presence. I walked up to her and said,
“Maria,” and gently touched her elbow. I startled her. She jerked forward, towards me and tripped backwards into the hole she had been digging. I felt a deep chill and dark sense that I broken something I wasn’t supposed to touch. She squinted at me.
“Matt?” she murmured.
“No,” I said slowly.
She looked disappointed. “Why are you digging?” I asked.
She hesitated and looked around. “I don’t know,” she whispered. “Where am I?”
Suddenly she stood straight up in the shallow hole and began frantically wiping the palm of her hand as though she were looking for some kind of answer there. She stopped just as quickly and raised her hand slowly to allow the light to catch some kind of symbol drawn on the palm of her hand. I saw her eyes widen in abject terror as if she was watching her own shocking death on the palm of her hand. I think she stopped breathing. Her mouth was wide open like she wanted to scream. She looked down at her body. She began running her hands up her bare thighs to her vagina. I saw something odd there and Maria’s expression changed from horror to disgust, like she was about to vomit.
I tried to grasp what could possibly be protruding from between her legs. It slowly started oozing out covered in blood. It dropped to the ground. It was a bulbous vial full of what must have only been blood.
Her eyes looked like they would bulge out of the sockets. She collapsed in a hysterical fit and began to scream. I reached down to comfort her but she only screamed louder, transgressing into semi-coherent ranting in English and Spanish. “Rip the zipper, separate my flesh, she won’t be born… yellow, yellow, yellow teeth!” Over and over again convulsing wildly until all at once she passed out. I wrapped her in the red rain jacket I had come to The Lost and Found for. Suddenly Mike appeared out of the dark gloom and in a flurry of movement he scooped Maria up and whisked her into the passages of the labyrinth. A bizarre satyr carrying a limp maiden into the night best describes the unreal image etched into my eyes.
“Did Dr. Mike try to draw a symbol on your hand? Where was Matt? Was it a syringe?” Over and over I would be asked these same questions by my friends, the families, the Panamanian police, but most of all I questioned myself. Over and over again, while I tried to forget, while I literally washed the splattered blood to remove all signs of the sick horror at The Lost and Found. I want to put this to rest and move on with my life even if I can never return to a completely normal life. So once and for all I am going to plunge into the dark corners of the garden of my memories. In the following pages I use the words of those involved; the blogs, the emails and personal diaries and when I have to; my words. With these pages I take the shovel and I will bury this tragedy forever. This is what happened.
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