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IN PROGRESS....Lucy Speaks

The immediate and overpowering stench of excrement and sweat nearly made him vomit. He leaned back out the door for a quick breath. Covering his mouth, he hovered in the doorway, trying to gain his bearings in the oppressive space. The room had only one small window at ground level, and it was covered from the outside with two by fours nailed to the frame. Small slivers of the bright sun made their way inside, but not enough to light the room. Satch swept his flashlight past more padding on the walls.

“Over there,” Jenkins said. “To the right.” She flipped her flashlight on and illuminated the other side of the room.

Satch turned toward the light. Then he sucked in his breath, causing a wave of coughing from the forgotten stench. He covered his face with an arm and stared. “Jesus H. Christ.”

Jenkins’ light shone on the corner of a stained, moldy mattress, lying on the floor against the wall. Tufts of padding seeped from gashes in its side, dyed red and brown like little blood clots dotting the shreds of material. Cigarette butts and more needles stretched from the mattress to the wall. A broken bottle, encrusted with blood and hair, rested against a thick chain bolted into the floor. The chain ran up onto the makeshift bed, and Jenkins followed it with her light. Zip-tied to the end was an emaciated wrist and naked little girl.

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