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Jude’s title, belongings and almost everything which she once possessed were all gone in the hollow. Somewhere in the pitch-black vacuum.

She was committed as a patient to the same mental institution where she has served as a nun for a decade and a half until she was being stripped off her clerical name and the former nun lost almost everything, or rather perhaps everything.

As her first days as an inmate weren’t the best ones, she was just mumbling to herself, rejecting to take the medicaments which were peculiar drugs, envenoming her body and destroying her brain cells, subsequently affecting her mental stability as well.

At last but not least, she spoke to no one with a handful of exceptions. They were Lana, Kit, Pepper and Frank.

She was wondering how her favorite ex-employer survived the possessed young nun’s attack as his throat was slit by her letter opener shortly after he locked up the murderous Santa Claus under the name Leigh Emerson. An unsolved question for her until nowadays as a madwoman.

The former nun was sitting on the edge of the tattered, filthy bed in her chilly, stanching ward. Ebony overally invaded her ward as she wasn’t capable of beholding the nearest objects, surrounding her. They seemed rather oblivious to her, in fact, the darkness concealed them under the shadow wings.

Jude had already dinner and the other inmates’ wails which were sufficiently audible for her ears, yielded her ears to bleed as they were vaguely louder than before, when she used to be a sister of the church. It was a common phenomenon the insane patients’ sorrowful and hysterical cries, overspreading from wall to room. Nonetheless, since Briarcliff’s downfall as Jude’s no longer in charge of running the facility, it was obvious the things won’t be sort and be the same ever again.

Suddenly she heard clicking keys, levitating in the long hallway of the women’s wing, approaching masculine footsteps whether Carl, Timothy or even Frank.

Once these footsteps halted, the sound of unlocking door promptly grabbed the blonde’s attention as well, daring her hazelish-brown eyes to the old, iron door of her ward until another sound of the keys, concluding with unlocking door opening askew as Frank, the former police officer offered a genial, heartfeeling smile to his former boss, who was currently patient.

When he stepped up inside her ward, shutting the mildly creaky door behind him, Jude’s palish face became sanguine as his presence was one of the fragments, granting her a heavenly hope.

At last but not least, the former holy woman couldn’t be more ashamed to being seen as a madwoman, dressed up in ragged, ordinary garments which weren’t enough to resist the cold climate that contacted her silken though sleeved in filth skin, losing its neatness.

In this moment, Jude bowed her head in shame, recognizing the masculine, velvety voice that exclaimed in the lurking darkness, timidly approaching her:

 

“J-Jude?”

 

Neither a response, nor a reaction was followed by her. Glacial tears betrayed to tumble down her soiled cheeks, as a result, she hasn’t even washed her face for days. On the contrary, her heavy eyelids with its built ounce approaching its apogee to close like blinds within minutes, were already pooled with dew of moistness, keeping her wits about the melancholy she experienced lately especially when the most loyal friend she has ever had in her life witnessed her gradual nemesis as her self-confidence significantly diminished.

The former promiscuous nightclub singer wasn’t the same woman she knew herself ever again.  Little did she know since the loss of everything which she once possessed how it affected her en bloc. Sandstorm razed to the ground the facades that balanced her. Shattering everything literally.

In the meanwhile, her elbows propped her hands that held her face, flipping backward her unkempt, nevertheless, unarguably stunning golden hair that once possessed its glossiness until the former member of the clergy lost everything and an access to decent, regular hygiene and beauty products which the blonde used to possess, although they were almost redundant.

 

“Jude, are you alright?” The security guard asked concerned by taking a seat next to her, averting her fatigued eyes, evading an eye contact with her friend. 

 

Jude omitted a sigh by taking a deep breath, sniffling soundly as the scenery of her Achilles’ Feet was heartbreaking for Frank, himself. The middle-aged man has never seen his favorite former nun in such vulnerable, forlorn condition. Condition, he has never seen, encircling her. Roller coaster that descended from the top where she peaked during her nunnery, as descend incarnated her drastic, remorseless nemesis.

 

“Frank, you have no idea how ashamed I am actually. Nevertheless, how do you can still interact to a woman, who’s nothing but a lunatic with past you don’t want even to hear and leave you speechless?” She enquired beyond pessimistically, presuming the worst as always as lucid, wry tears streamed down her face, incapable of abstaining herself from the melancholy that invaded her in the past days.

 

“Judy, do not talk like that! You aren’t a lunatic. These sons of the bitches imprisoned you intentionally as they believed this insane patient.” His larger, surprisingly smooth hands grabbed her petite, filthy ones, fitting perfectly. Moreover, Jude was flabbergasted by Frank’s caring and benevolent nature, demonstrating brilliant compassion towards his friend he used to collaborate, during her nunnery. Frank was offended once he heard how the middle-aged lady called herself and the razor-edged words she used. “You played in the wrong team and they betrayed you when you needed them the most especially the Monsignor.” When the former cop mentioned Timothy’s name, the heartaching sensation that she felt in her pulsating chest, reborned all over again.

 

The thought of the priest who she was doted on him, beget conflicting feelings and emotions, brewing and cooking inside her. On one hand, Jude couldn’t endure the severe heartbreak she experienced as soon as he believed Leigh Emerson instead of listening to her story. On other hand, she was blindly doted on Timothy again, despite the gut-wrenching heartbreak which she has the least expected from such man. Man, who was bashful and struck her first with his loving, caring, aspiring and strong-willed nature until this betrayal blocked her way to the light she seeked for a long time, longing for it.  

 

“I know, Frank! I just don’t know what I shall do from now on except to rot there, according to the destiny that retributed me.” She shrugged self-consciously shoulders as she was almost speechless to carry on with her monologue, her whimpers embodying her genuine misery, inked on her fragile soul. “Why you even care about me when I am just a damn, worthless piece of waste?” She bewailed desperately, resting her head on his shoulder.

 

“Shu, shu, shu, Judy!” He removed one of his hands from her trembling ones by managing up a hand to the left side of her head, pushing it as he ran his long, fine fingers through her wild honey tresses, combing them as he admired the softness of her yet dazzling hair. The thumb of his mammoth hand kneaded the back of her hands gently. Further, the middle-aged man opted to comfort one of his friends that abided loyal and genuine for years. “You are not going to die right here, right there. Trust me, sooner or later I will find a way to get you out of there and we can flee together.”

 

Silence arched between the both adults as he incessantly shushed softly to her, persuading her to stop cry and weep as he got her back as well.

 

In the interim, he pecked a kiss on her forehead, stroking her hair.

Jude couldn’t contain a blossoming, rare smile she wore on her still lovely face with its bewitching facial features though the passing years and the aging process were inevitable. Her heart melted as she listened attentively Frank’s soothing words as he guaranteed her they will flee along the nuthouse one day. What she additionally felt was a profound, spiritual connection with the man she had always platonic bond and being deeply touched by his solicitude. Furthermore, the former nun felt the warmness, encompassing her and contacting her sensitive, goosebumped skin, factly, the cold climate didn’t affect her skin beneficially at all.

In addition to Frank’s promise to release her from the madhouse, the blonde abstained from further blandly commenting whether if it’s a joke or a hopeful promise.

 

“As an answer to your question, why I still care about you is that you are a loyal friend and I know our friendship truly means to both of us. I cannot abandon you all alone in the limbo.” His hand lowered to her shoulder as he dangled his muscular, strong arm around her upper back, rubbing her back in reassuring manner as their bright smiles flourished in the darkest night, hence, lit up their faces. “You are a valuable, wonderful friend and woman. Never and ever forget these words, Judy!” When he advised her, he removed his other hand from hers, pulling her in a tight, warm embrace as she couldn’t help, but snaking her skinny arms around his back, burying her face in the crook of his neck, closing her eyes and relished momentarily the moment of their closeness. For what Jude hankered for was the moment to last not for a single second. Nor for a sole minute. The ethereal eternity should stop the time, in fact, to snuggle in the security guard, absorbing the warmness from his body.

Afterwards they broke off the hug, admiring one another’s facial features.

 

“Frank, I have a confession for you since our friendship sparkles.”

 

“Go for it, Jude!” He listened with immense enthusiasm what might be her impending words that are going to imprint in his mind for the rest of the somber, relentless night.

 

“I love you!”

 

“I love you even more!”