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Lydia lay on the bed with her eyes firmly sealed shut. When she heard his voice, her consciousness was momentarily ripped out of the darkness.

Mentally she ventured in the direction of the voice working diligently to pry her eyes open. Burning in her soul insisted she must confirm if it was who she thought it to be while fearing what she would find at the same time.

When Lydia found her mentor hovering above her, she broke down from the remorse of the shame she felt for allowing such a terrible tragedy to befall her life.

Through the despair that was deeply grooved into his brow, Dr. Hubert worked purposefully to examine and document every wound on a small notepad. His hands trembled with the resolve that was required in order for him to focus on remembering she was a patient. He was noticeably affected by what he’d already written on the pad.

The occasional low gasp shouted out his shock and intense displeasure.

Far too ashamed to look at him, Lydia pretended to comatose.

Dr. Hubert gained her respect many years prior to her current state. She respected the man like no other. He was a highly esteemed professional in the medical community. He trained her the right way to provide patients with more than just care. He insisted on the importance of showering them with love and concern.

For a doctor as renowned as Dr. Hubert to find another doctor in such a disgustingly alarming condition, how in the world would Lydia ever look him in the eyes again? The condemnation welling up in her mind was suffocating as she considered the future of her relationship with her mentor.

Why did he have to see her like this? Why was she such a pitiful and desperate woman that she allowed herself to be abused in the name of love and duty? Tears rolled down her cheeks as her situation confronted her in a way she had successfully avoided for a long time.

At work, she carried her shame hidden behind fine clothes and a lab coat. Lydia walked around the clinic every day as if nothing was wrong. There were instances when the pain would prick her sending fire throughout her body reminding her of what no one else had the ability to see.

When she was at work, no complaints escaped her lips. She simply placed it in a hidden spot in her mind and forgot about all of it. Lydia forced herself to focus solely on work. The pain she suffered was irrelevant in spite of the man who continued to pile more on her day after day. She resolved herself to the fact that no matter how she tried to meet his needs, Kemi’s desire was to punish her for who she was and who she was not.

Love, comfort, and warmth were luxuries reserved for anyone other than Lydia. He was as cruel to her as he could possibly be, yet she endured it all to please her family. Respect for her family compelled her to ignore every mean, hellish and hateful act he inflicted on her.

Lydia’s fight to focus on something else was shaken the moment Dr. Hubert unbuttoned the denim dress she was wearing. What covered her chest was a mixture of new and old bruises. The clicking sound as the old man dropped his stethoscope on the floor forced more tears from her eyes as he viewed the dark splotches of color crisscrossing and intertwining with one another from one side of her torso extending in every direction.

Though Lydia’s heart was bursting at the seams from the guilt she felt in all of this, she risked being caught when she forced her good eye to make out Dr. Hubert because of the way she heard him inhale a sharp breath, step back, and briefly pause before proceeding.

As she lay on the bed, her training came to mind convicting her for allowing the damage that was breaking down and destroying her body.

If a woman had come into her office presenting the same bruises and abrasions, she would have been forced by law to report it to the authorities.

Tears found a renewed source as they streamed from her with no end. Lydia already knew what he must be thinking.

During the examination, the sorrow in his voice touched her on a deeper more profound level. Lydia forced her eyes to remain closed in an effort to shield herself from the disgust she was sure to find in his.

To look at him was something she wasn’t strong enough to do. Lydia knew the sight of his displeasure at her condition would surely break her heart.


When his assessment took him further down her body, he stopped for a moment and stalked out of the room slamming the door behind him. In all his life, he had never witnessed anything more odious. Lydia Kensington was the victim of at least six to eight months of frequent abuse. In the back of his mind, he already knew who the culprit of this crime was and it made him furious.

He returned to the room after he regained control of his emotions. It was essential that he finish his assessment. Lydia’s body was a patchwork puzzle of shades ranging from black to purple, to green and brown bruising.

Once it was completed, the doctor stepped away to discuss his suspicions with Ryder.

Every resource in his mind was employed to make sure Lydia didn’t hear the tears in his voice as he explained how bad off she was and that moving her might be detrimental to her health.

The two men decided she wasn’t going anywhere.

Dr. Hubert knew her fiancé and her family. They were people who held a reckless disregard for anyone with the exception of themselves. Because Lydia had attempted to end her life, it was his professional determination that it would be unsafe to return her to the disastrous environment he was convinced held all the responsibility for the disgrace he had been forced to witness.

Documenting his findings with the most careful attention to detail would support him as a medical practitioner. He even used his cellphone to take a few discrete pictures as proof.

Lydia failed to end her life but the doctor didn’t trust her family to provide her the care she needed to heal from the damage her body had endured. He was sure they might cause her to perish in some other way if he left her care up to them. Since he never much cared for the lot of them, there was no chance he would tell any of them a thing about Lydia or her whereabouts.

The bed seemed to swallow her making Lydia appear as if she were a small fragile girl.

Dr. Hubert glanced at her with knowledge of how extensive her recuperation would be. The damage to her body would most definitely take some time to heal requiring him to sedate her against the pain.

As the medicine did what it was created to do, Lydia’s eyes flew open as the burning sensation traveled from the injection sight up her arm. One lone tear made its way down her cheek about an inch and much like a twisting broken creek, it drastically curved to the left and rolled down her face onto her earlobe, and then drop in one big plop onto the pillow beneath her head.

Within a matter of minutes and with the fluttering of her eyelids... Lydia was out.


It was finally over.

Everything was documented

Lydia refused to open her eye and face the condemnation she was sure awaited her. As she put up a pretense of being asleep, a sharp prick nearly blew her cover. Struggling to maintain the farce, she lost the battle the moment the burning seized her arm.

Being pulled away into nothingness, the urge to let go assured her all was well.

A cool dismal blanket overpowered Lydia freeing her to blink and gaze up at the doctor just before the lights went out.

“Die you, stupid bitch. I hate you. I don’t know why I accepted yo ugly fat ass anyway. Die... die... die.” It was him.

The devil himself.

It was Kemi.

Her eyes flew open and Lydia jumped up terrified from the voice she heard. The thought of him finding her canceled everything out that had transpired over the last few weeks. She was so shocked, she hadn’t yet realized the swelling in her left eye was gone. She could see clearly in both eyes again.

Lydia threw her legs over the side of the bed in an attempt to run until sharp pains shot through her body in all directions so hard her stomach turned and flip and left her head spinning.

Pain strong-armed her as she struggled to crawl back onto the bed.

To her relief, Lydia glanced around the room to confirm that she was no longer in her home. To learn that it was just a nightmare, quieted her anxiety enough to calm her down.

Draped in a hospital gown with several IVs hanging from her arms, her training insisted she assesses what she was being given.

One was normal saline and the other one was a mild sedative coupled with a strong pain relief cocktail.

Not paying attention to the pain in her body, Lydia found it difficult to breathe as the pain at her side reminded her of the ribs that were broken.

“I see you’re finally awake.” An older woman with graying black hair walked in carrying a cup of water. Lydia peered at the cup as if it contained poison. How could the stranger expect her to just trust her? Her mind considered.

“Dr. Hubert said you might be disoriented when you first come to. He also instructed me to tell you that he wants you to focus on nothing but getting better.” Lydia was sure the message sounded very much like him.

She sat back on the pile of pillows and focused on the ceiling. The longer she stared at it, the more she wished for it to fall and crush her to death. Flashes of her life until now left her with an overwhelming sense of loss. Lydia had no aspirations to be a wife. She had lost her drive to be a good doctor. Her ties to her family were completely dissolved.

Lydia had nothing left.

She turned over on her side once again reminding herself of her wounds. It was the price she paid for her loyalty.

Pain and suffering were her only companions.

A hysterically fit ensued as every foul thing she had endured rushed through her mind at once.

Several women ran into the room when agonizing screams began rolling down the hall. Hands were placed on Lydia’s arms with the aim of soothing her. It only served to increase the screaming and the downward spiral into some type of mania.

One nurse walked over to the medicine station picking up a bottle to draw a clear liquid from it into a syringe. Returning to the patient’s bedside, she injected the IV with a very powerful sedative. A plastic syringe of saline was then used to flush the line once it was done.

Lydia screamed out her frustration as if she had gone mad. She continued the episode until the volume of her voice slowly tapered off. The sedative calmed her until it knocked her out. Dr. Hubert had given the nurses strict instructions to keep her in a constant state of sedation up to and including putting her to sleep if it was required.

It was determined that this was the best way to prevent her from re-injuring herself.

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