THE ATONEMENT CHILD.

CHAPTER 12.

“The doctor needs to make sure you’re not injured internally, Miss Carey. And he’ll be able to collect a specimen. For evidence.”

“Evidence?” She said.

The doctor explained; revulsion filled her.

Oh, God. Oh, God. Why do I have to go through this? Haven’t I gone through enough already?

“I’m going to be sick.” She sat up quickly. The nurse held a small basin for her and stroked her back, murmuring words of sympathy. The doctor went out to give her a few minutes to recompose herself. After a while, the nurse calmed her down enough to continue, and the doctor came back.

The nurse’s eyes were filled with compassion. “It’ll be over soon, dear. Hold my hand. Squeeze if you want to.”

Dynah clutched it rightly, her body tensed.

“Breathe, Miss Carey. That’s it. Try to relax.”

The doctor explained everything he was doing to her and why, but it didn’t help. The physical examination was extensive, intrusive, and painful. When he finished, he apologized and then told the nurse to cut her fingernails. More evidence.

The clippings were put in another small plastic bag and labeled for the police lab. The nurse took pictures of the abrasions on her shoulder and right hip, the bruises on her thighs, her throat, and her battered face.

Spirit crushed, Dynah fell silent.

Dr. Kennon looked at her sadly and said again that he was sorry.

“You can sit up now,” the nurse said gently.

“I’ll have admissions get all the paperwork going,” Dr. Kennon said, turning toward the door.

“No!” Dynah said, heart jumping. “I want to go home!”

“I understand your feelings, but-!”

“No, you don’t! How could you?” For all his assurances of wanting to make sure she was all right, she felt degraded. She had wound down to a strip of black tape on his recorder, and that would be turned over to the policeman waiting outside the door. “You don’t understand!” She covered her face and cried.

“I’d like to keep you here overnight, for observation.”

“No.” It was all she could choke out.”

“We would start you immediately on estrogen therapy.” She raised her head. “Estrogen -? Why?”

“In case conception has taken place.”

Dynah felt all the warmth drain from her. She stared at him in horror as full comprehension struck. “I might….. I might be pregnant?”

“The chances of that are extremely small, but it’s better to take precautions.”

If she conceived, it was already too late.

“There may be some side effects of the estrogen. That’s why I’d like to keep you here for one night, possibly two.”

Dynah sat on the edge of the examining table, her eyes closed tightly. She had attended several pro-life rallies with Ethan. She knew he was talking about an abortifacient.

“No.” She shook her head. “I want to go home. Please.”

Dr. Kennon glanced at the nurse, and she moved to his side.

They talked in hushed tones for a moment; then the doctor left the room. The nurse put the blanket around her shoulders again. Dynah clutched it tightly.

“I’m sorry you had to go through this, Miss Carey. Dr. Kennon was only trying to make things easier on you.” She offered her a cup of cool water. “I know how difficult this is. If you’d rather not take the medication right now, that’s fine. You can take it tomorrow.”

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