Years [Michelle]

One day I sat down and tried to work out how long I had been in the hospital. I was fifteen years old. It had been six years, three months and two days. And how much longer would it take for them to cure me? They had tried everything, even resorting to the old shock treatments when modern therapy would not help.

"I must confess, Shelley," said Dr Waltham (I had let them use my nickname after about a year or so, seeing it to be pointless not to), "I think we are unlikely to succeed with this sort of medicine. It is not what you need."

"It won't work," I told him confidently, brushing my hair out of my eyes. "Because these medicines are for mad people, yes? People who imagine voices in their head when there is nothing really there. But the difference with me is that there really are voices in my head."

"These voices," said the doctor again. He was always interested to know what they are saying. One day I shared them with him, and although he did not react in the same way as Katrina, he begged me never to do so again. So I did not. "They are getting louder, you said. Do they say anything else?"

"They don't want just to be with me," I said. "I think they are planning to take over the world or something." But I laughed. I was much more laid back now than I had been. "The only problem is, nobody else's minds are open. They can't get in, except to my brain."

"And have they said why that is?"

I thought for a moment, replaying many conversations. "I think it's because I was lonely. As a child, I wanted friends, so they filled that desire. Now they're taking over and they're not worried about what I want."

"But they still do talk to you normally," argued the Doctor.

"How do you know that? Who told you that?" I thought nobody had seen me smiling as I replied to the internal dialogue.

"I can tell, Shelley. It's there in your eyes."

The End

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