TITLE: City of Salem - summary
By Amy Davey
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Liz Taylor lives with her father in an old family farmstead in the south end of the Ottawa valley after her mother left them mysteriously one night. Feeling as though she caused it, Liz became obsessed with fixing it and finding her mother and her father becomes very worried about her sending her to psychiatrists and therapists. One night she is arguing with her Dad about seeing her mother visit the house one night while everyone was in bed and following her resulting in an accident. In the background during the argument they hear news reports come in of a mass murder plan by a terrorist group which has been leaked to the public. The news triggers pandemonium in Ottawa and the UN decides to implement a disarmament policy in response. As a high-ranking officer Liz’s father is sent to the headquarters of MAGOG (abbreviation for organization?) in Russia, for negotiations with the newly founded organization. Liz is brought along with him reluctantly because he is worried about her home alone. It is not UN policy to allow family to travel with the officials so Dad buys a separate civilian ticket for Liz so she can come with him. He asks Liz to contact him by texting his phone every hour so he knows she is safe in the hotel room. Liz is angry and so she rebels against his request refusing to text him as he had asked. The meeting is overtaken by the terrorists and her father is captured. While at the hotel room watching television and trying to figure out how to run away, Liz finds out from the media all the UN staff involved were killed when the building is bombed down by terrorists. Devastated and in shock she runs to the building where her father had been meeting and found it in ashes on the ground. She is found amongst the smoke by Russian officials and taken in for questioning. After finding out she is the daughter of one of the UN officials it is decided she should stay in the country while the investigation ensues. She is put into a temporary jail cell until the owner of a nearby orphanage could collect her. It is made clear to her that she would not be allowed to leave Russia and will be under house arrest in the orphanage facility until further notice.
When she got to the orphanage she was met by icy glares and cold attitudes by the headmistress and children alike. She was sent to live out in the run down Bunkie house at the back of the grounds with the servants and groundskeepers. The Bunkie house was a mile away from the orphanage and she lugs her baggage there on foot to unpack. The room she was given was smelly and dirty, with a small hard bed shoved in the corner for her to sleep on. Her roommate, a small (non-Russian decent) girl who seemed very shy and frightened, but she helped Liz get settled and they become friends. On the first morning she was denied breakfast for getting to the kitchen at 6:05am as breakfast was to start at 6:00am and anyone who was not on time was not allowed to eat. She was made to sit at the table and watch everyone else eat while her tummy rumbled longingly. Gustov was the son of the Russian leader for the region which made him the favorite in the eyes of the orphanage headmistress and he could do no wrong. Gustov was the leader of the pack of Russian orphans and treated Liz as horribly as he possibly could. Afterwards she cleaned the table and decided to sneak a few bites of the leftover scraps from the plates and was caught by Gustov who teased her severely for it. When she returned to her room she found a long list of chores to be done before bed that night. She worked from dawn till dusk with her list of chores and every day was treated like dirt by everyone except the servant staff. One day, Gustov framed Liz for stealing the headmistress prized family jewels. Liz didn’t do it, but she knew no one would believe her and already on thin ice, she was afraid her punishment would be severe. Her best friend, the servant girl she lived with, stepped in and told the headmistress that she had been the one to take the jewels rather than Liz. Unsure what to do, Liz stood there silently when this happened. The servant girl is sent to jail for her crime while Liz watched it happen. Liz felt awful, she had now failed someone else she loved and who knew what was going to happen to her. The servant girl was lower class citizen with very little political power and she would more than likely be made an example to other lower class citizens. With no hope left and seemingly nothing to live for she decided she did not deserve to live and that it would be better to end her life before anyone else got hurt. While cleaning the kitchen after dinner that night, Liz hid one of the sharp knives in her apron pocket and took it back to the Bunkie house. Nearly caught in the process, she narrowly escapes the prying eyes of the headmistress who would have surely thought she was planning on hurting Gustov for sending her friend to jail. When she gets back to the Bunkie house, she hides the knife until she is alone and can end her life once and for all.
Sitting quietly with tears rolling down her face, Liz holds the knife to her wrist cutting deep lines and letting the pain and blood wash the agony of her life away. Thoughts of her mother and father fill her mind and the room starts to fade. Moments before the world turns completely black, Joshua the orphanage janitor enters the room. He scooped Liz up in his arms and ran. She woke up in the dirty hospital bed surrounded by patients which she noticed are all non-Russian decent and realizes she has been put in a special wing away from the Russian/MAGOG patients who are deemed higher class. Liz found Joshua sitting by her side and no one else so she asked him how she got there knowing he couldn’t have driven her. He told her he ran her there, the entire 10 miles to the hospital and begged them to help her. Joshua explains that ending her life is not the answer to her problems and tells her about his own thoughts of suicide and that the finding the hope of the pool of light saved him. After comforting her, he leaves back to the orphanage and just then she receives a suspicious call from her father’s cell phone. The call was fuzzy and broken up; she didn’t hear her father’s voice, only background noise of yelling and screams of pain in the distance. Liz is convinced her dad is still alive, but he is in trouble and needs her help. She calls the nurse but no one is willing help her. On a mission to save him, she escapes from the hospital only to be caught and admitted to the psychiatric ward.
Unable to leave the psychiatric ward of the hospital, Liz is frantic with worry. Being locked in a padded room with a straight jacket on is not going to help her save her father. Her mind instantly jumps back to a conversation that Joshua had with her during his visit. “Hope flows like a river and is waiting for you just around the corner, if you follow the light and trust the wisdom in your heart, you will find it” He was telling her something, something important. She sees a light coming from a crack in the closet; it’s an old door to the maintenance room for crews to access the needed supplies. The building was updated and the door remains forever locked, but somehow the light beckons to her. She listens at the door and hears water running as though a fountain flowed continually on the other side of the door. Liz realizes that the key to this hope that Joshua seemed to be talking about could be on the other side of this 3 inch thick wooden door. As she reviews the situation though, she begins to lose hope as she is in a strait jacket with no way to unlock the door. Unsure how to get the door open, she asks wisdom for an answer. When nothing comes, Liz begins to get depressed. After a week goes by, Liz has completely lost hope that she will be free. She becomes despondent and the staff begins to treat her with disrespect as though she were just some dog they had to keep in their kennel. Suddenly, a whirlwind of activity outside her door has Liz curious. While looking out the small window in the big metal door she sees bomb squads running through the hallways frantically. A nurse comes in and hurriedly unties the straight jacket intending to lock her in a wheel chair for transport. Before she is able to get Liz strapped into the chair, a large boom resonates through the building and everything is knocked loose and thrown everywhere. Liz and the nurse are flung against the far wall as the smoke from the blast begins to seep beneath the metal frame. The room is well built and withstands the blast the same as a bomb shelter would, but when Liz comes to she is free of the straight jacket with the nurse lying unconscious beside her. Liz crawls towards the locked door and finds it has been jarred loose and flung open wide.
She follows the uncanny source of light that still shone through the dark smoke. Inside the room a huge fountain made of gold flowed in a continuous stream into a large pool of water. The light was coming from the base of the pool, shining up from under the water. Liz couldn’t see the bottom of the pool but the light seemed to be so bright that Liz thought it had to be the light Joshua was talking about. Behind her Liz hears the sound of the firemen coming to rescue them and Wisdom tells her to climb into the pool so she quickly does so and hides under the surface until they carry the nurse out. While under the water Liz discovers she can breathe in this water without any problem. The light seems to get brighter and Liz swims down towards the light to investigate. The light gets larger and brighter the farther she swims until finally she uncovers the narrow passage hidden behind a gate. She knows when she opens the gate, there will be no turning back but she enters anyway. She finds herself in the secret world of Salem where she finds others like her and learns the ultimate key to fighting the dark forces of evil and reuniting with her family.
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