Dr. Logan Maxwell had a terrible habit when it came to his occupation.
He was an empathic individual with a heart of gold but he ended up caring a little too much about the people who came in and out of his office. He was a psychologist living in Upstate New York, a graduate of the State University Of New York circuit and he had exceptional recommendation. His small town of Wallace Hill, New York had a population of maybe twenty-thousand residents and he was part of a respected facility in his community.
Logan was born and raised in Wallace Hill, so a lot of the community knew him as the young, quiet boy who made his way through high school and moved on to college in a pretty 'under the radar' kind of method. He didn't play sports, he read a lot, and volunteered a lot during high school to pass the time when he wasn't caught up with his studies. He was always polite and kind, treated people respectfully and he had a reputation of being one of the kindest young men among the elderly community in his town. He was also smart as a whip and used his mind to do a lot of good things when the opportunities arose.
The elders were a part of the community that he spent a lot of time with. He was a young man who was always visiting and volunteering at the local senior homes, bringing them treats or simply spending afternoons with them. He would spend days in the lake view courtyard playing chess with aging men and having a conversations over tea with the older women. He would visit them on holidays when they didn't have any other visitors so they felt loved and appreciated. He'd listen to their stories for hours and genuinely enjoyed it. In other words, Logan was what every parent and grandparent hoped their children and grandchildren would become.
He wasn't a bad looking young man, either, which was another quality he had that drew people in. The ashen blonde hair was groomed but hung into his dark brown eyes. He was somewhat pale complected but he had great bone structure that defined his jaw and cheeks effortlessly. He mostly dressed in jeans and plain tee-shirts in his off-time or in black Chinos, black TOMS, and solid colored button ups during his work week. He was very simple when it came to his fashion choices but that was appealing to the simplistic people of his town. He had Wallace Hill figured out. It wasn't hard to have the town on lock when it came to the people when you worked so closely with the sick, the elderly, the mentally ill and the moderately deranged.
It sounded underhanded and cruel but it worked in his benefit.
wasn't sneaky or crooked by default. The worst trait that he had was
his attraction to the wrong type of people. He had random crushes on
his patients in the past but it never ended up moving toward anything
as the patients either moved on in their treatment from his specialty
or they no longer required his services for whatever reason. He never
went out of his way to cause his patient's discomfort and he never
attempted to force himself onto his clientele. He had a bleeding
heart for the sick, it seemed, and his empathic nature made him a
magnet toward the individuals he treated. It was the type of
situation that could have cost him his career but it was why he was
so tight lipped about his interests.
Unfortunately for his moral compass, he began treating a young woman named Lucy Harper. The woman walked into his office the first time and Logan momentarily thought she had the wrong room. It wasn't until her mannerisms shown through that he realized she was there for his services.
The redhead with sullen green eyes sat stiffly in the chair opposite of him; he immediately noticed how her routine of hygiene maintenance was... simple. Her red hair was clean but only brushed, not really styled, and wore in a basic ponytail to keep it out of her face. Her clothing style was also very simple. She wore jeans and a plain colored v-neck tee, a black zip-up sweatshirt that was half zipped on in the middle of July. She seemed to stay hidden from people by that and that was something that caught his curiosity.
He listened to her talk for the first hour, chewing over the pen he held. He barely made any notes. He merely observed. He read through her file as she talked with him, speaking barely above a whisper. She had no confidence in herself or conviction in her tone. That was a shame. By the time she left, he had read through her previous diagnosis and a frown crossed his lips. Panic Disorder, Anxiety paired off with Manic Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and previously unmediated Schizophrenia. That was quite a lot for a twenty-three year old to have on their plate. Mental illness was difficult for any person of any age, but suicidal tendencies ran higher with the under twenty-five demographic. That concerned him.
Due to his concerns, Logan tried to meet with Lucy twice a week. He arranged for Monday and Thursday appointments; it was no more than three days apart and it gave him a better opportunity to monitor her. The bi-weekly meetings continued months into therapy. After meeting eight times a month for eight months, he managed to get her to be a bit more confident in her voice. He also found himself interested a bit more and more every meeting as he learned new things about the girl with the soft, pretty green eyes. Among other things he noticed, though, was he noticed her appearance had begun to change and transform a bit. From the girl who first walked into his office, Lucy began wearing makeup. It was subtle at first; a little eyeliner or a little bit of lip gloss that was nude colored to eye shadows, liners, lipstick and her hair was styled differently every week. One week it'd be in a neat bun, the next it'd be wore down and straight, and it eventually morphed into more elaborate styles like fishtail braids or all over curls.
It was like watching a flower bloom in the early stages of spring. There was something so tantalizing and breathtaking about watching someone grow right before one's eyes.
Inevitably, it was hard for Logan to not think that her changes had some sort of... reasoning. Maybe she had met someone who made her feel beautiful? That would have possibly benefited the young girl. Usually, during treatment of Lucy's required caliber, he discouraged the idea of relationships if for nothing else, so the patient could focus on themselves and their individual needs. He was fond of Lucy, though, so he was hoping that it was something that would aid in her treatment. It wasn't until months into her changes that it became evident that it wasn't some man or woman she was interested in on the outside that made her change her appearance. It was her interest in him.
There was something so tragically ironic about that to Logan; he had made a promise to himself that he would no longer get too far in with his patients, only for one of his patients to have that sort of interest in him. How utterly strange. His means of finding out came when Lucy asked him one Friday after their appointment if he would be interested in grabbing a late lunch with her. The hopefulness in her eyes made it hard to say no to. Truthfully, Logan knew he should have said no, but he didn't want to damper or damage the progress she had made in the previous months. So against his better judgment, Logan accepted her offer.
The evening went swimmingly. They talked, they laughed, they got to know each other a bit better outside of the usual conversations they had within the confines of his office. He discovered that she had quite the affinity for art and was a very creative photographer. She was able to capture beauty in the most dynamic of ways in her photographs and her kindness in showing them to him during their quiet, intimate dinner was a pleasure. Logan discovered that maybe his switch hadn't been flipped completely, because by the end of the night, he found himself enamored in a tangle of lips. The kiss they shared was something that he enjoyed and something that he ached for. From dinner with a couple of drinks, they ended up going to Lucy's apartment and from there, he discovered more about her.
was a very neat person. Perhaps to an OCD level but it was refreshing
to see someone care so much about their home space. At least he
didn't have to worry about her being in an unsafe environment. That
was one of his biggest concerns with his patients; their safety at
home was crucial to their treatment plan and unfortunately, a lot of
mental health patients didn't understand how valuable it was to their
recovery and improvement. Lucy seemed to have a good grasp on that.
He had faith in her that she'd be able to continue her strides
forward. They moved into the apartment and their evening took a turn
into something unexpected to the both of them.
Kissing on the sofa turned into Lucy sliding her fingers through Logan's hair. The slight tease from her fingers caused goosebumps to formulate on his skin. It was a welcomed feeling and one that he engaged in fully. Kissing turned into him being on top of her and settled in between her legs. Her words and whimpers of encouragement caused Logan to get lost in the moment. Before either knew it, clothing was being removed and in a short span of time, Lucy was nude beneath Logan's touch. The passion that they shared with one another was something unlike Logan had ever experienced before and it made him wonder exactly what was there. Perhaps his feelings toward her were more than he anticipated to begin with. That wasn't necessarily a good thing considering his situation. For the time being, Logan allowed himself to get lost in the moment and lost in her. He never really understood how making love could feel so satisfying.
Weeks passed from that night with Lucy.
The feelings that Logan had for Lucy continued to grow with each appointment. They would close their appointments with a kiss and then she'd be off. Their relationship began to take a turn toward a bit more reckless when Lucy convinced Logan to discreetly have sex in his office. It was against a lot of what he knew and believed but with a click lock of the door, he cleared enough of his desk off so she could sit comfortably. He drew the blinds back of the window that overlooked the day center from his office and his hands began feeling up underneath the skirt she wore. She had no panties on. She clearly knew what she was doing that day when she showed up. He told her she had to stay quiet before he found his way in between her legs, bending her back just enough on his desk to make his efforts a bit easier for both of them.
Things began to take a strange turn. Part of Logan knew what he was feeling for the girl was no just lust or convenience. He actually had fallen for her somewhere amid their relationship. The biggest problem was watching Lucy begin reverting back from her progress. Nothing had happened to trigger it, that Logan knew of, but she began retracting from him. She clammed up, wouldn't speak to him fully, and she was as miserable as he could ever remember seeing her. He thought that maybe she needed further treatment beyond his expertise to help her get further. The real problem was, the girl was sick. The PTSD and Manic Depression/Anxiety/Panic Disorder was enough but her Schizophrenia was something he noticed was getting worse. Had she stopped taking her medication? He couldn't be sure. Perhaps the medication was no longer working for her? There were so many variables that concerned Logan greatly.
It was as if she was unable to distinguish between reality and imagination anymore. She was struggling, withdrawn and unresponsive to a lot of his concerns. Perhaps she simply had stopped caring about him and what he wanted to do to help her. His biggest concern was how her symptoms and behaviors were becoming a bit more... erratic, as time went on. She was showcasing bizarre and rather inappropriate behavior while at the Center, coming on to him in public when she told him previously that was something she'd never do. Her indifference to those concerns made him feel uncomfortable. The way she would sit in the corner at the Day Center and talk to the wall made him worry but her overall change in personality was his biggest worry. She was far more critical than he anticipated and now he was in too deep to turn away from her. Damn it, what could he actually do without triggering her? The part of being in love with a patient the level of critical that Lucy was, was there was no sure set way of figuring out if she was safe to not just him, but herself. Schizophrenia was nothing to mess around with and Logan knew that first hand.
He didn't want to hurt her but he didn't know if she could continue the yo-yo effect that she was seemingly forever on. For such a young girl, she had a lot working against her growth and progress.
Part of him thought breaking it off with her would snap her out of the extreme apathy that she had been showcasing. Her emotional unresponsiveness to anything he tried to talk to her about was becoming a problem. She began showcasing paranoia, thinking that he was out to get her, where all the while he was trying to get Lucy the help she required to benefit her. He knew that he had to do something drastic. The love that he felt for her was something that drove him to the suggestions that came to mind.
Wouldn't it have been easier if she ended it all herself? Suicide was never an answer but watching the person you were beginning to feel actual love for suffer was almost harder than grieving with their death. It was against everything Logan believed in to even begin to suggest such a permanent fix to a temporary problem but the biggest concern for him was that Lucy's problems weren't temporary. She had been struggling and suffering since she was a child, and now as an adult, her ongoing problems were making it nearly impossible for her to have any sort of healthy, normal relationship.
By the time that Logan was prepared to approach Lucy with an alternative treatment, so to speak, he was already doubting himself. The option of “suicide” as treatment seemed so out of character and so out-of-left-field for any psychologist to suggest considering they were usually the first line of defense in suicide prevention. Suicide hotlines and crisis lines existed because of preventative methods and yet, there Logan was, thinking it was a way out for his beloved Lucy. Who could handle living when they were full of panic, paranoia, anxiety and depression all of the time for the majority of their lifetime?
It was something to contemplate.
He mulled over ideas of how to approach Lucy about his contemplation. He didn't want to do it during an appointment, as he could have been overheard, but he also didn't want to do it over the phone. Weeks had passed since the idea sprung into Logan's head and he finally decided that he was going to ask Lucy to meet him for a drink. She didn't answer her phone when he called. He sent her a text message but it never was read. Perhaps he didn't have to approach her with such a concept? Rather than waiting, Logan decided to drop by Lucy's place. Part of him was expecting to walk into a crime scene. He wondered if that would be all that bad, all things considered, as he made his way up to Lucy's apartment. He knocked twice and there was no answer.
Against his better judgment, he checked the door handle and noticed that it was unlocked. After giving another knock to the door, he decided that it was safe to enter the apartment. Part of him had a sick, overwhelmed feeling in the pit of his stomach. It would have been a cruel sort of irony had he walked in to the apartment to find the woman he was so hopelessly in love with dead from the very method of relief that he was going to prescribe as her therapist and caretaker. Was fate such a cruel mistress?
When he made his way into the main room of the apartment, he noticed that it was dark. He felt against the wall that he knew had a light switch and turned it upward to get some illumination into the apartment. He saw liquor bottles strung out throughout the room, some half empty, some empty completely. He knew that Lucy wasn't supposed to drink on her medication so he wondered if she had stopped taking it all together. There was an aroma of stagnant whiskey and vodka which caused his nostrils to flare in disapproval. He stepped over takeout boxes and containers that were left on the floor and walked through the apartment further. He had been to Lucy's a few dozen times over the months previous and had never seen her apartment in such a state of unkempt.
Logan's voice called out through the apartment, looking in the various rooms that she had. The kitchen, the living room, the bathroom, the spare bedroom, and finally made his way to her bedroom. Lucy's bedroom was a room that Logan had become very in tune with and very familiar with and when he walked in, it was like a completely different place. It wasn't neat and tidy like he was used to and it smelled terrible. It was a complex blend of stale alcohol, body odor and spoiled food. He couldn't recollect ever smelling anything so rancid.
What he found in the bedroom amid the mess and stench was Lucy.
She was sitting in one of the corners of the bedroom, dressed in clothes he saw her in a week previous at their last appointment. She looked ragged and detached, unclean and intoxicated. She was propped up against the wall in the corner with a tipped over bottle of Jim Beam near her legs that was almost empty. He seemed taken aback to see the girl so broken. What could have triggered such a terrible turn for her? Was there other problems that she refused to tell him about in their appointments? It could have been anything given her history of mental illness but he tried not to be obnoxious and pushy all of the time with her. Part of him felt like he should have been to get her to talk. Maybe she would have been moving forward instead of taking terrible strides backwards like what he saw in front of him. It was a dilemma that he wasn't sure was rectifiable, much less rectifiable in a reasonable time frame for her.
need to have a conversation, Lucy.” Logan sat down beside her,
moving an arm around her shoulder to bring her closer to him. Her
leaning on him was better than her being propped up against the wall.
“We need to figure out something to help with your treatment. This
isn't good for you.”
“Stop shrinking me, Logan. You're not helping at all.”
The bitterness in Lucy's voice when she spoke caught Logan off guard. He couldn't remember her ever being like that with him because from the beginning, they had a very unique sort of relationship. They were always friendly. What changed? It wasn't uncommon that Logan was irritated by the sudden changes in his Lucy and his change in disposition showed that irritation.
“I'm not shrinking you. In fact, I think I'm going to do the exact opposite. What are you living for? I mean as a whole... what is your life's purpose?”
“What...?” Lucy's confused tone showed that she was caught off guard by the inquiry but Logan didn't just relent.
“What are you living for? What's your purpose? Do you think you're here for a reason or are you just existing? Because if you're just existing, that's not any way to live. I don't know why you continue to do so.”
There was silence after Logan's declaration. Her facial expression showed that it looked like he physically slapped her across the face. Part of him felt awful when he saw how she looked but he knew that he was already in too deep to apologize. He was making strides toward the subject he had been meaning to discuss with her anyway. Suicide as an answer to end all of the suffering and pain. It was the only permanent solution that Lucy could have to all of the problems that plagued her for so long. She didn't even say anything to him because it seemed like Lucy couldn't fathom how to respond.
“Lucy. I know it's unheard of and a little backward for me to even suggest things like this but have you ever thought of just.... I don't know, ending it?”
“Like... ending it in the terms of suicidal thoughts?”
“Exactly.” Logan's tone was soft when he spoke again. His hand found the side of her face and he began to caress her skin lightly. “You suffer so much from things you can't seem to change. Look around you. It's an ugly truth that you're stuck in this hole. Aren't you worth more than that?”
“Don't touch me.” Lucy snapped, slapping his hand away from her. “You're talking about me committing suicide and you want to act like this suggestion is doing me a favor!” She moved from where she was, standing up in a huff and fury. “How dare you! How can you think that is an option!”
“Lucy, I just...”
“NO.” She cut Logan off. “No. NO. You least of all should be telling me that it is an option. You're my THERAPIST. What is your job if it's not helping me to overcome these things!”
“My job doesn't come close to dealing with your bag of problems,” He spat back almost bitterly. “But I love you, so I deal with it!” He got up, grabbing her by the arm when she went to walk away from him. “Don't turn away from me! I'm trying to HELP you!”
“You're trying to help me....” Lucy repeated, scoffing as she jolted her arm back. “Help me by leaving. Get OUT.”
“I'm not leaving until we resolve this.”
“There's nothing to resolve! Get out! OUT. GET. OUT.”
Lucy shoved Logan away from her, stumbling a bit from the intoxication that she was still feeling. She had sobered up quite considerably since his off the wall and terrible suggestion but she still was suffering from some of the side effects of the alcohol she had consumed. Logan didn't let her get too far though and he grabbed her again. Only when he grabbed her that time, he grabbed her around the neck. With his hands wrapped securely around her neck, he didn't hold back and squeezed as hard as his fingertips would allow him to.
love you, Lucy. I love you far too much to watch you suffer anymore.
I can't watch you do this... I love you...I love you, so much...”
Logan's words were spoken in a sad tone as he watched her struggle. He told her that he loved her repeatedly as his hands held tightly around her neck, feeling her body becoming heavier from the lack of oxygen to her brain. She was on the verge of passing out within moments of his hands being there and once her eyes fluttered closed and her body became heavy, he knew he had to get to work. She wasn't dead yet but she had lacked oxygen intake to her brain for a good three to four minutes before she fell limp. He walked into the other room to look for something sturdy enough for what he wanted and eventually found a longer, leather belt. There was a fixture that he could rig the belt to and hang her from the ceiling so it looked like a suicide and the leather would cause marks around her neck.
Getting her rigged up was difficult with her dead weight. When he tightened the belt as far as the contraption would allow, he pulled it taut to his liking. As soon as he let go of her, her body swung from the fixture on the ceiling, the leather of the belt cutting into her skin around her throat. He wasn't sure how long she'd be able to hang from there with the belt and the fixture since he couldn't be sure it was strong enough to hold dead weight of a normal human being. For the time being, it worked. He grabbed a small packet from his pocket of a mango-flavored cigar, knowing that it wouldn't have his DNA on it. It was clean out of the wrapper and his hands only had her DNA on it from the gloves so when he lit it with his lighter, he made sure that the cherry on the end of it was burning red.
He put the cigar down on on the edge of the chair he put underneath where she was dangling, then poured some of the liquor that was on the floor in the half drank bottle on the floor. He dropped the bottle so it looked like it was knocked over and then with his right hand, he knocked over the chair to look like she kicked it out from under her when she hung herself. The cigar fell onto the carpet that was soaked in whiskey, watching as it began to catch. He waited until there was enough fire to spread to leave the apartment. As he walked out, he grabbed the framed photo that Lucy kept on the counter of the two of them and put it under his arm. He walked out of the apartment, leaving it unlocked as he found it, but he was quick in his haste to get out of there. Especially knowing that within minutes, that apartment was going to be engulfed in flames and he wanted no part of it.
On the drive back to his own home, Logan had the framed photo in the front seat with the gloves that he used. He had everything he went there with, so there would be nothing to discover. Rather than feeling upset, Logan felt accomplished. He knew that regardless of how the last few minutes of her life was and how traumatic it was, he did her a favor. Or at least he felt he did her a favor. She deserved better than the terrible pain and suffering she went through daily. Lucy Harper was someone he loved enough to hurt but in hurting her, he freed her.
Rather than keeping the framed photo, Logan drove to the bridge at the town line. He put the gloves back on only briefly, to take the photo out of the frame. He ripped the photo to shreds, so there wasn't any possible way of reconstructing it and went the step further to burn the pieces. He blew the ashes of the photo into the wind, further freeing Lucy from her confines of mortal life. He then threw the photo frame into the water below. The gloves were taken off one by one and put on the railing of the bridge. Since the railing was made of iron, he put his lighter to them individually and let them burn up. It smelled atrocious but it was worth it to remove any evidence of what had transpired at Lucy's apartment. He knew by the time he got home, her place would have been up in flames, and the Wallace Hill Fire Department would be busy for the night.
Upon getting home, Logan felt like he could breathe again. He felt no guilt, no agony, no remorse, like he thought he would in a situation like that. It was strange. Perhaps he believed that he was doing her the ultimate favor by killing her and making it look like she did it by her own hands. He even went the steps of doctoring her physical files, since he hadn't put them into the computer systems yet at work, jotting in various notes about suicidal tendencies and suicidal thoughts. He even made the specific note of her talking about suicide in the way that she would be found. It felt underhanded but in the same vein, it was something that had to be done.
He wanted Lucy Harper to be remembered at the suffering victim. He'd incorporate her into his teachings. The suicide prevention methods he used would make her a victim of circumstance and an example of how to heal. He'd never love another like he loved Lucy, so he would keep her alive in any way that he possibly could. To keep her alive in a positive, aiding manner would be nice.
After all, it's what Lucy would have wanted...