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Her mother gasped and her father looked at her like every terrible thing thought he’d ever had about her had been leading to this moment of ultimate disappointment.

Before she could think, her mouth was open.

“I can explain” she said.

“Go on then Florence” his tone was flat and dubious “Explain”

She took a deep breath, tried to start and failed. Heart pounding, she took another breath and mentally counted to ten. And then in her life of hidden truths, divided words, her secrets, her wrongness, the walls she’d constructed for so long tumbled around her.

Not one little excuse came to her mind, she had nothing at all to say and even if she had she wouldn’t have wanted to say it.

“I can’t explain” she finally said.

Her father nodded.

“Florence can you go to you’re room please your mother and I have alot to talk through”

She weighed it up, she would never have expected her father to take all of this so well, but he seemed to be actually formulating a plan, she still felt a gnawing unease but nevertheless walked to her room.

She wedged herself up against the door, straining to hear what her parents were saying. Beside a few loud sobs from her Mother and the occasional stern use of her name by her father, they kept to hushed tones. The phone rang a few times, but even then all she could hear was her father’s muffled voice, she reached up for the handle and slipped, her body weight crushing her wrist.

She shrieked in pain as pure agony made its way up her arm, she sat there curled up on the floor for what seemed like hours watching her wrist swell to a larger size by the second, she didn’t want to tell her parents, they’d just think she’d hurt herself again.

It was quiet, she’d run out of theories and practise speeches.

She heard a knock on the front door, a stern knock, three-life changing thuds.

She wasn’t exactly sure why but her stomach flipped and she started instinctively backing away from her bedroom door.

She hadn’t even made it to her window when her father opened the door, holding it open for a man and woman to walk in, their family doctor followed.

The bed was between them.

These people were not her friends.

They were her worst nightmare.

“Florence” her father said in a low commanding voice “Florence we are trying to help you, these nurses are her to help”

They held their hands in front of them.

She was trapped.

Her eyes darted to the door, to the bed, to the people trying to entrap her, to her window, but she was cornered.

“It’s okay” her father told the man and woman dressed in uniform.

She glared at her father, overcome with fury “How could you do this to me?” she screamed.

“Florence” the woman said in a deliberately calming tone. Her mouse-brown hair was tightly braided, she sent her a fake smile like the two of them had the potential to be great friends.

“You’re not well Florence” her father said

“Your mother is petrified with worry, she needs you to get help, Dr Meadows here is from Oakwood Clinic, he’s doing this as a special favour, they’re going to make you better, please, don’t make a scene”

What he didn’t add was that these people were going to take her anyway.

The man and woman took another step towards her, her heart was racing, her pulse thumping in her neck, she was up against the wall with nowhere to go.

They took another step.

“So you’re just going to lock me up?” she asked

Her father sighed “If thats what I have to do until you’re well, yes”

“You can’t, Im sixteen!”

“You are a threat to yourself” her father snapped, his words a mixture of embarrassment and disappointment. “The state has been awarded control of you’re health until you’re well again”

All those phone calls.

The woman dashed around to the side of the bed and went for her arms. But as she grappled she leveraged against the mattress, bucked her body and kicked the guy in the face.

He stumbled back, and the woman’s grip loosened as her attention focused on him. She used the advantage, ripping her arms from her hold and pushing her back a few steps. She bounded off the bed, past Dr Meadows, who didn’t try to stop her, and straight into her father, who instantly grabbed her upper arms, his right hand squeezing hard on the cut he knew was there. She couldn’t hold back the cry of pain. He ignored her and simply manoeuvred her into a reverse bear hug, pinning her arms to my sides.

It hurt in so many ways. She sagged in his arms.

Nurse guy staggered back to his feet, blood dripping down his face. She’d gotten her foot right in his nose. The woman had righted herself too.

“I warned you she might be violent” her father said, ignoring her attempts to struggle against his tight hold.

“Yes,” Nurse guy replied flatly. “I suggest we sedate her now.”

“But Dr Levi was going to see her immediately,” her father argued.

Nurse guy used the edge of his white jacket to wipe the blood off his face and stared at Dr Meadows, who took his cue and turned to her father.

“I think it would be best for all involved if we could get her safely to the clinic. It’s a fast-working sedative, but it won’t last too long.” He waited for her father’s approval.

“Mum!” she screamed.

“Sedate her,” her father said quickly.

She came into the hall, but stayed at the far end, leaning against the wall as if she needed the support. She was crying, covering her face with her hands.

“Why didn’t you tell us you were so unhappy?” she said in a broken tone. ‘How long, Florence? How long have you been having these thoughts?’

“Mom, I swear to you, I’m not crazy. Make them stop. I’ll explain I’ll ... I can prove it to you!”

“Hurry up,” her father pushed. She twisted her head and shot him a look of pure hate. Nurse guy moved in to help hold her still.

“You need to listen to me! God, just for once stop thinking about yourselves and listen!”

She jolted one last time against her father, trying more to hurt him than free herself and then glared at her mother.

“I should’ve just done it!”

No one missed the meaning. It even surprised her.

“Would you get on with it!” her father snapped at the woman. To her he simply said, “You’ll thank us for this one day.”

The woman moved towards her. Some of the earlier hate in her eyes had gone and was replaced by something much worse. Sympathy.

“Don’t feel left out,” Florence sneered at her. “I promise to give your face the same makeover as his.” she glanced at her colleague who was still dabbing at the blood coming from his nose.

Her eyes narrowed, her compassion quickly dissolving. The needle went into her arm and in seconds everything began to blur.

What had she done?

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