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She led her entourage down the stark hallway. Her visage was that of an African queen. Stopping rigidly before the metal door, she waited for a follower to come forward.

Once inside she marched smartly to an orange X. Once there, she turned smartly toward the glass wall.

A portly middle-aged man stepped to her side. "Nadine, your trauma is still vivid, but this requires careful examination. Take all the time you need.

Slightly did she nod with agreement. In walked four men of slight build. With her eyes she escorted the first to his spot. A moment later, she affixed the second, the third, and the fourth. The last, she recognized as Moses Karn, an east side pimp. It was he who had prostituted her sister and many others too foolish to say "no" to his promises. So many lives had he ...

But he wasn't the one. Her eyes returned to the first. With audible sigh, she turned to the second. Her breathing quickened as she turned to the third. She lingered on his eyes; they were kind - too kind. Her bottom lip began to quiver as the painful memory of the assault returned. Opened once more, her eyes darted back to the first, the second, the third. Her composure now evaporated.

"Can you identify your attacker, Nadine?" asked the man.

Again composed, she slowly exited. Opening the cold metal door, she paused and without turning gave her answer - "Number 4."

Story by:

Maynard Strawser

9 September 2016