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A single stream of light made its way through a crack in the villa door. My hips throbbed in an unbearable, stiffening pain, but I lay frozen not daring to move in what seemed like hours of excruciating silence. Two small figures lay near me, outlined by a sheet, delicate eye lashes and soft foreheads were highlighted by beads of sweat. Feigning sleep had become the norm but my body could no longer be still and trembled under the force of gravity. I quickly moved my leg in a heavy jerking motion and took the chance to roll over, freeing my hips from their locked and stationary position. A wave of relief and pain ran from my lower spine down to my thighs, cracking and popping with each adjustment. I surfaced from blankets and sheets to gasp for fresh air, still monitoring my intake, making sure it sounded like a sleeper’s light and steady pattern. A light switch flicked on and off casting small shadows on the door, cars could be heard speeding on the nearby highway and now footsteps made a click clack down the marble hallway. My heart seemed to stop and race alternately, leaving me in a new found state of panic. There were no tears, just sick silent sobs of desperation, praying to God that I would not be taken away from my children and cast out onto the streets of Al-Khobar. Each and every hour he returned and stood motionless over me, I could still hear the voice over my head, at first it beckoned and welcomed me and then it became louder and more agitated,” lynn lynn lynn LYNN ARE you awake?”  He had not been back for two hours and I had lulled myself into an uncomfortable and partial sleep, hoping that his rage had run the usual course. The clicking moved closer and with each movement a burning reality flashed before me. His threats might finally become intertwined with real life and I could be extricated from this villa, made to stand out in the streets of Al-Khobar and eventually shipped off to Riyadh, leaving my children behind.  I closed my eyes, prayed and practiced sleep.

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