The love she has for him washes over her like a tidal wave, and as he looms like an unlit lighthouse in a sea of mountains and darkness, she wishes to shower him with a kaleidoscope of kisses so as to snap him out of whatever trance has him in its midst. Squeezing tight his mighty thighs as if she were clinging onto the trunk of a tree for dear life, the tears stop falling from her eyes, and yet the dread in her belly remains. Looking up at him, he stands in silence. She expects to glimpse his warm smile beneath that grizzly beard of his, but there’s only absence. Other than the rising and sinking of his chest, there are no signs of life. No trace of his personality. It’s her father—she’s sure of it—but the magic he usually exudes is nowhere to be found. Giving him her biggest pleading eyes, she anticipates a favourable reaction but is instead met with indifference. It’s her father, and yet, it’s not. In later years she would recognise it as his shadow self, but such enlightenment at this moment in time is beyond her. With the light of the storm gone and the hallway again plunged into near-darkness, the dreadful smell coming from him is overwhelming. She knows it must be the reason for his change, and yet while she’s repulsed by it, she finds it intoxicating. Doused with each lungful of air her father breathes onto her, she reaches out a hand as if to grab a handful of the ambivalent scent, but as she does, he grabs her by the wrist. Digging his nails into her without making a sound, she winces and writhes, yet all he does in return is lurch forward to trap little Gretchen against the wall.