Part Twenty-EightMature

The next day, Seb collapses.

It's halfway through when I find out. Judo has asked me something about my thoughts which are hardest to explain, and I'm making a pretty unsuccessful attempt at simplifying them, when Evan taps my arm.

"The head teacher wants to see you," he says.

I pause in my explanation. "Why?"

"Don't know. And he only ever respects privacy when it's urgent. Dan's up there trying to find out."

My mind does what Daniel's probably did and surges through a list of all the bad things Seb could've done while I wasn't watching him.

Evan takes me up to the office, where Daniel's fuming. His jaw is clenched tightly.

I go into the head's office and try to remain calm as he offers me a seat.

"It seems your friend has a bit of a problem," he says.

"What do you mean?"

"He was requesting-"

The head sighs and makes a feeble attempt at looking sympathetic. "We've had a call from the hospital. Your brother was found, unconscious, in the park."


Just like that, I'm at the hospital.

It takes a lot of shouting and some words from an increasingly less relaxed Evan to allow Daniel to accompany me.

He's in there now, with Seb. They're talking and Daniel is holding Seb's hand, which can only be a good sign. Seb's crying and shaking his head.

The doctors are worried. They say that if someone hadn't seen him, he might not have woken up. They say he won't tell them anything.

"He's eaten, but he's severely malnourished. Does he usually eat a lot?"

"No, not really. He only eats three meals a day on weekends, and at school he tries everything he can not to eat lunch."

The doctor frowns. "Has he not been checked out?"

"He refuses to see medical staff."

"We found multiple lacerations on his arm. We're worried they may be self inflicted."

"The are self inflicted," I say, before realising that the doctor doesn't know about counts.

She doesn't understand (or believe, it seems) that the kids at school have this as a way of showing how much they get bullied. She thinks I'm in denial.

The End

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