People came and left the waiting room, passing Tobias by without acknowledging him, without acknowledging anybody else in the room. Most of the people that had been there when Tobias arrived left to visit their doctors, or the relatives and friends they were here to visit. Tobias felt like the only constant in a room full of uncertainty.

Tobias begged for something to break the monotony. Maybe his parents would be back soon. Maybe a concerned receptionist or maybe even a fellow waiting room dweller would notice that a young boy was alone and approach with friendly intent. Some conversation would be nice. Tobias was beginning to think he was the only human being left on the planet that was capable of speech.

The aching silence continued, disturbed only by the occasional cough or sneeze that often accompanies a visit to the hospital.

They are talking about you. They are concerned.

Here they were. The Voices couldn’t resist talking through an uncomfortable silence. Granted, Tobias was thankful for some kind of speech, but the Voices were probably the last entity that Tobias wanted to hear from right now. They were the reason he was here. The least they could do was to leave him alone whilst he was here.

They are talking about you. They are concerned.

Repetition again. Tobias wanted to answer them, to break the repetition, but he could not where he was now. He needed somewhere to go where he wouldn’t be looked at like he was crazy.

Getting up from his seat, he judged the time he had been sitting down based on the ache in his legs. Obviously it had been a while.

Approaching the receptionist’s desk, he peered over the top, trying to get her attention. She was on the phone, but Tobias tried to mime to her anyway.

‘Toilets?’ he whispered quietly, more as an aid to himself than to expand on the mouth actions he was using.

The receptionist pointed to her left, then went back to her call. Tobias followed her hand signal, wandering down the corridor, until the clear toilet sign could be seen overhead. Off to the left again. There it was. Men and women’s, and the small room for baby-changing.

Once Tobias had locked himself in one of the cubicles, resting the lid down and sitting on it, he finally took the time to listen to the Voices, which had been repeating themselves all the way to the bathroom.

They are talking about you. They are concerned.

‘Who is talking about me? Who’s concerned?’ Tobias asked quietly, in case there were any other people in the cubicles. Realistically, Tobias could pretend he was on the phone, but how many nine-year-olds own mobile phones?

They are talking about you. They are concerned.

Not this again. No matter what questions he asked, Tobias knew that the answer would be the same as the answer to the previous question, and the next question would share that answer. It was very frustrating.

Without even saying anything, the Voices repeated themselves.

They are talking about you. They are concerned.

‘Who?’ Tobias quickly interjected with a question. A simple one, so as not to confuse the Voices, who didn’t seem to eager to answer questions.

They are talking about you. They think you are insane.

They thought Tobias was insane. He was getting the picture. Obviously this was his parents. And the doctor. Maybe it was a psychologist.

There was a horrible silence as Tobias tried to think of his parents. His mother was probably crying. His father was probably not comforting her, but probably just shaking his head, anger building in his mind, waiting to release it. On Tobias.

They want to see you.

The psychologist – if that’s who his parents were with – wanted to see Tobias… That couldn’t be good. That must mean that he thought there was a serious problem. If he had said something like:

‘Oh, it’s nothing. Just an overactive imagination, I presume!’

There wouldn’t be a problem. But now they wanted to see him. Most likely to… Tobias could barely even think the word. Analyse him. Like a psychologist would.

They want to see you.

‘My parents? The psychologist?’

Tobias knew he wouldn’t get a straight answer, but the nerves in his body were enough to throw experience to the wind and genuinely expect an answer. The silence frustrated him. He should have kept his mouth shut last night.

They want to see you.

‘I know they do! They think I’m crazy, you just said!’

They want to see you.

Tobias wanted to shout again, but he didn’t want to attract attention from outside the toilets.

They want to see you.

He risked it.

‘I know they want to see me. I’m going to…’

She needs to see you. You need to see her.

‘I know, she…’

Tobias took in what the Voices had just said.

She needs to see you.

‘Who? The psychologist?’

You need to see her.

‘I don’t want to see a psychologist!’

She needs to see you. You need to see her.

‘I’m not going to…’

She is dying. She needs to see you. You need to see her.

Tobias froze as he felt a shiver crawl up his back, all the way to his neck. Somebody was dying, and needed to see him. Who? His mother?

‘Who is dying?’

You need to see her. They want to see you.

‘I need to see who? The psychologist is coming to see me?’

Tobias was confused. People wanted to see him, he wanted to see people, needed to see people.

‘I don’t want to see the psychologist.’

She needs to see you. They want to see you. Turn left.


Tobias wanted to know more, but didn’t want anybody to die. He hoped it was not his mother that was dying. It was unlikely, because she was with the psychologist, and it was more likely that he’d take care of her than demand to see her son. But they were coming to see him. Tobias was scared.

Unlocking the door to the cubicle, he stepped out into the main toilet and exited through the door he had entered by. Taking a few steps too many, he found himself in the middle of the hallway, and as he looked to his right, to where the waiting room was, he saw two familiar figures and one that didn’t look familiar nor friendly. His parents were stood in the waiting room, the psychologist next to them, all three with their backs to Tobias. He quickly darted to the left, around a corner that he had previously not noticed. His heart was pounding, and yet he had done almost nothing adventurous.

Tobias was just so reluctant to be examined by any psychologist.

The End

2 comments about this story Feed