Beth had no idea whether or not Matthew had made it safely through the storm. He might have been stuck aboard a boat on the way to Fort Myers or Key West when the tempest struck. Her efforts to record the flora of the Big Cypress had been destroyed again. Her notes might have been the most detailed, accurate account of the Big Cypress Swamp ever made. But the swamp was not about to give up its secrets. She had no weapon, no matches, no food, nor anything to drink. The only clothes she had were those she was wearing. She was beyond crying. It seemed as if she might be the one person remaining alive in the entire world.


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