Chapter 5: Tragedy Confirmed

Theora moved through the medical center like a juggernaut until she arrived at the emergency room pod where Bryce was being treated.

"Bryce," she said.

Bryce was so relieved to see her that he tried to stand up and nearly fell over with a cry of unexpected pain.

"You need to stay in this bed until the examination room is ready," Dr. Cooper told him as she and Theora helped him back into it. "Until the nurse has had a chance to examine you for tearing or other injuries you shouldn't be moving around so much."

A man in a doctor's coat walked up to the door. "Dr. Cooper. Examination room five is available."

"Thank you, Dr. Leonard," Dr. Cooper said. She left and returned a few minutes later with a nurse who was pushing a gurney.

As they moved Bryce onto the gurney, Dr. Cooper spoke to her patient.

"Do you want Theora in the room during the examination or do you want her to wait outside and just come in when you need her?"

"I want her in the room," Bryce told her. Looking at Theora with eyes that were brimming with the first tears he'd cried in ages he asked "You will stay with me, won't you?"

Theora looked at Bryce's eyes and realized for the first time that his glasses were also missing. She'd have to get a new pair for him as soon as possible. But right now there were more important things to deal with.

Once they were in the examination room, they moved Bryce from the gurney to the examination table, lying him carefully on his side.

"Dr. Mayall," Dr. Cooper said to the woman who entered shortly after, "this is Bryce Lynch and Theora Jones."

"What do I need to do?" Theora asked as the second doctor placed a new sheet over Bryce to give him some privacy during the examination despite Theora's presence.

"Nothing," Dr. Mayall replied. "Just be here for him. This is going to be very uncomfortable and embarrassing for him."

"Theora," Bryce whispered, "I'm scared."

"I know, Bryce," Theora told him. "I was scared, too."

"Somebody hurt you, too?"

Theora nodded. "Let's not talk about it right now," she said, not wishing to alarm or frighten him.

"Are you ready?" Dr. Mayall asked.

"I guess…" Bryce replied, shyly.

"My name is Dr. Lisa Mayall. I'm a member of the sexual assault response team at this hospital. Now I know this must be pretty scary for you. I'm going to talk you through what I'm doing and tell you each part of the procedure before I begin. Okay?"

"I suppose so…" Bryce hedged.

"Bryce," Theora asked. "What's wrong?"

"I'm just wondering why this happened, Theora. I mean what did I do?"

"Nothing," Theora said, firmly, taking his hand in her own. "You did nothing to deserve this."

Dr. Mayall unsealed the box on the table. Inside it were two smaller boxes one with a male symbol one with a female. Carefully, she selected the male box then closed up the larger box and set it aside.

"This is a rape kit for males," she explained, showing it to Bryce and Theora. "I'm going to examine you with this. It will be uncomfortable and extremely embarrassing."

"Can you put him under for the examination?" Theora suggested.

Dr. Mayall looked up at Dr. Cooper who shook her head.

"He was drugged for five days with an unknown sedative," Dr. Cooper explained. "It's too risky."

Bryce looked at each of the items in the rape kit. Theora watched him. He wasn't in the normally detached mode he examined curiosities in. Each of these items was something to be feared, a bringer of bad news that he didn't want to face.

"Now," Dr. Mayall told him, gently as Theora held his hand and stroked his forehead. "I'm going to spread your buttocks so that I can examine you. Okay?"

Bryce didn't reply at first.

"Bryce?" Theora asked.

"Okay," Bryce replied sounding very timid. He felt more than embarrassed. Truth be told, he felt completely humiliated.

Theora saw the shame in his eyes and squeezed his hand, knowing it would only get worse for him before it was over. She caught the doctor's eye and mouthed 'was he?'.

Dr. Mayall nodded.

Theora had to struggle to remain where she was. The only two things that kept her there were Bryce's need for her to be and the fact that she had no idea where his rapist was.

She held Bryce's hand and did all she could to comfort him as Dr. Mayall collected what little evidence she could.

"There's some tearing," Dr. Mayall said once the collection was finished. "It's scabbed over, that's why the bleeding stopped. However it does need stitches. I'm going to give you a local anaesthetic. You'll feel a pinch."

Bryce let out a pained yelp and squeezed Theora's hand so hard she thought it would break along with her heart.

When it was finally over, Bryce was admitted to the medical center.

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