End of Innocence Ch. 16


Chapter XVI, Tortured Lives

After Ashley’s brother was stabilized, the slashes and tears properly tended, the ribs set with surgical wiring he was transported to the Los Angeles County Jail’s infirmary for holding. Her brother was arrested but not formally charged, the evidence needed to be presented to the grand jury. No bail was offered as of yet because nothing had been presented to a judge or even a lawyer summoned to stand as defense. There he rested as the coroners, scientists, and detectives examined evidence in the case. The residence had once again been sealed up with yellow cordon tape indicative of a crime committed. No one had told him that his sister still lived and without this knowledge, he knew that he did not. He cried quietly, locked in a sterile prison facility, wondering how his end might come.

The county examiners sat staring at each other. They were utterly perplexed. If this evidence had not somehow been corrupted by the sometimes-inept police, then only one conclusion could be drawn. They ran their assumptions over and over again. They tested the hypotheses and retested with the proof that the detectives had provided. Unless this was some sort of sick joke or if there was a grave miscalculation there could be only one conclusion. When the staff had reached a consensus, that indeed there could be no other explanation, the chief medical officer beckoned the ADA responsible for the case to come to his office.

Ashley was in critical condition. It appeared that she would live but the damage to her was extensive and some of it permanent. The bruises and welts would heal on their own, the damage to her mouth looked bloodier and worse than it was and with the help of a highly skilled plastic surgeon her lips would regain their luxurious composure. Her musculature prevented more extensive damage, absorbing the brutal impacts of her assailant. Her blood was restored to previous levels by extensive gaziantep escort transfusions. Gentle and caring nurses washed away the visible reminders of the assault leaving her body black and purple from the ordeal. She had not gained consciousness and it was determined that leaving her in the state of an induced coma would aid in her recovery. At least, her body and mind would not have to contend with the pain. Her lungs cleared of the liquid that was threatening to drown her in her bodily fluids and her breathing became less labored. It appeared that Ashley would make a miraculous recovery in all respects except one.

The Assistant District Attorney of the County of Los Angeles arrived at the Chief Medical Officer’s office at little after two in the afternoon, a full two weeks after the tragic incident. Ashley’s brother had been confined to a hospital bed as an unwilling guest of the county and under constant supervision. There was a valid concern that he might harm himself before justice was served and a watch was established. He still had not been told of the condition of his sister nor had he demanded an attorney. There would be time enough for that; the detectives had been prevented from questioning him until he was better stabilized. In addition, the attending doctor had called in a consult with the hospital’s psychiatrist to discuss his current mental condition. The ADA arrived and was motioned to sit at a small conference table with the senior detective and few of the coroner’s staff along with various crime lab specialists.

Ashley’s brother kept quiet and surrounded himself with his own gloom. He remembered that his dear love being transported but no one would tell him of her condition. Not a single person volunteered any information and the only spoken words that he received was the occasional input directed at his own recovery from the health care personnel, otherwise, he was locked giresun escort into confinement with his thoughts haunting him of the worst possible scenarios. Surely, someone would have had said if Ashley was alive. Part of him kept the flame of hope alive but that was at odds with the vivid imagery of her apparent lifeless and bloodied body as they left the confines of the room through the window. The wracking of guilt and distress slowly consumed his will to live.

The ADA sat listening to the facts and conclusions of the experts in the room. He raised his eyebrows in disbelief. The Chief Coroner presented his conclusion, “We found blood of both the boy that died and her own blood on the girl. We found on the dead boy, the blood of the girl, himself, and the young man who you have locked up. On the suspect, we have the blood of the other boy and his own blood but not of the girl.” He patiently waited for the facts to sink in and when he determined the obvious connection that he had reached was apparent in the ADA’s expression, he continued, “We had a rape kit done on the young woman and it was determined that there was semen present and recent but the DNA evidence concluded it was not from the boy that died.”

The ADA stood up and leaned over the table, “Holy shit, you mean …”

“That is exactly what I am saying” the doctor stated plainly, “That young man, her brother, is not a killer but her lover.”

In a quick conference with the County District Attorney, the ADA, and the most respected judge of Los Angeles, a rapid conversation was held. The judge emphatically commanded the DA, “Hank, unless you want to charge this young boy with incest, you can always do it later; I believe that you need to release him to the hospital to be with his sister and the both of them get proper care. For Christ’s sake, he does not even know she is still alive.”

Ashley’s brother was immediately transported gümüşhane escort to the hospital. It is amazing when the government officials smell the prospect of a false arrest lawsuit potentially hanging over the city, just how fast the wheels of justice can move. In transit, he was told that his sister was alive and would live. He fell to his back and cried. Tears of relief mixed in guilt and self-hatred for what had transpired. Upon arrival, both he and Ashley shared the same room.

Ashley was mildly sedated against the pain. She awoke at times in a grimace only to have her body respond in mercy and slowly pushed her into sleep. Not a drug induced coma as before, but a drifting away so that her meticulously cared for body could honor her with a miracle of its own by healing. She had noticed another bed and a person in it before drifting away, “Who could this be,” she wondered?

Later that evening, Ashley came wide awake, she felt first the presence she was all too familiar with, and then her hopes were confirmed, her brother was lying next to her in his own bed looking into her eyes. Both flooded with tears and joy. Before the guilt-stricken voice came from her brother’s tongue she commanded, “My sweet love, you saved my life again, carry not the guilt, if it were not for you, I would already be dead.” With those words, her brother fell into a torrent of tears accompanied by his love’s own.

The next morning, the attending came into the room. With his words both hope in life was reestablished and a dream extinguished. He said that the two of them would make a fine recovery. They would be able to pursue their dreams without any limitations, but to Ashley directly, the blows and internal damage caused her ovaries to rupture and that she would never be able to bear children. The organs themselves were salvaged enough to maintain her hormonal equilibrium but the eggs were damaged, and her fallopian tubes scarred. A nauseating feeling spread through them both, a milestone and the prospect of an extended family robbed from them by the pitiful act of cruelty and evil that had been visited upon them. Their lives tortured forever because of their love for one another had demanded its final price.