Something is digging into my spine. A pebble? No. A piece of glass? Maybe, but it’s round and dull. And I’m wet. Just underneath my head, although I can feel water slowly making its way down my neck and onto my back, saturating my clothing. Shadows move in between rays of fading evening sun from a window just above my head. Someone is talking. It’s a man. Again, a voice I recognize. I must have passed out and I can feel Ben’s hands on my shoulders, gently shaking me. As soon as I hear his name in my head I’m relaxed and the cold wetness beneath me no longer matters. Nor does the object piercing my lower back. I’m lying on a wood floor, moving the tips of my fingers in and out of the deep grooves in the planks. My ring finger stops on a nail sticking out of one of the floorboards. The head of the nail is round, like the object making an indent in my skin.
“Elizabeth, can you hear me?” shouts a dark figure hovering over me.
I find myself in the same precarious situation in this black hole of time travel. I can’t speak, though I know in a few moments I will be able to sit up and assess the situation. I assume I went deeply into Cape May again, but oddly don’t remember a bit of it. Is it me they are calling? It can't be. I'm Caroline, not Elizabeth.
Everything looks different as I blink my eyes open and catch glimpses of the scenery around me. Sweat and a smell like the dark corners of a musty basement invade my nostrils, leaving the ocean air I expected to breath in absent from my senses. It’s dark and cigarette smoke has filled the room, creating a fog as the crowd around me assembles. Their clothing brushes against my face and tickles my bare arms.
These faces aren’t familiar. Where is Rebecca? Does she have Grace? I can feel my heart beat faster and faster, sending me into a shudder of anxiety. I keep my eyes open for a few more seconds, longer than I’ve been able to so far. Everything looks strange.
When am I?