Rivers chatted away as she followed Atkinson down a hallway into the master bedroom. He scooted over a basket overflowing with clothes, took a few hangers off the doorknob and swung open the closet door.
“Hi, Lauren,” he said.
Rivers fell silent. She wasn’t sure if the creature huddling at her feet was human.
For whatever reason, I’ve always been drawn to these stories of unimaginable abuse (and survival), and this one may very well be the most heart wrenching I’ve ever read. It seemed that each “chapter” introduced something worse and more unbelievable than the last.
As you read through this piece, I encourage you to view all of the galleries and watch all of the videos along the way. You might also want to read just a chapter or two at a time and then step away for a bit, lest you become overwhelmed with emotion. It’s a tough, but essential read—I promise you’ll get something out of it.
Hang in there, Lauren—you’re an inspiration to humanity.