It was the sound of a key turning in a lock.

She looked around.
A man had locked the shop door and was pulling down the blinds.

She could no longer see the outside world ~ and no-one could see in.
She had never felt so alone.
She was gripped with fear.

The woman behind the counter looked as terrified as she felt.
She had not helped this woman; she had only endangered herself.

Then she heard a welcome voice; a voice she recognised:
"I am still here, Highness. Even if you cannot see me, do not worry, for I shall not leave you. And remember, no-one from this world can see or hear me."

Of course, it was Delia.

Maia relaxed a little and tried to think as calmly as she possibly could, bearing in mind that the man with the key also had a gun ~ and it was aimed straight at her!

"The secret of success is constancy to purpose" - Benjamin Disraeli.