I looked up at the clock. Only five minutes had passed. Tapping my fingers, I waited again and again. I couldn't focus, couldn't concentrate. Shelley was up there on her own, and who knew what might happen to her? I knew I shouldn't, but I felt so responsible.
There was no screaming, and I heard no shouts. That had to be a good thing, right? Michelle couldn't be in danger, and they couldn't be hurting her: she would shout for help, I knew. She was sensible enough.
But what if they've gagged her? I ignored the little voice and looked up at the clock again. Only two minutes. Something had to happen soon ... something had to happen ... come on, something had to change.
But nothing did, and I was left hanging. Waiting. "Come on, Shelley. You can do this." I whispered the words under my breath, hoping that she would somehow hear me and take heart. Then I heard a scream.
And suddenly, ominously, silence. Just nothing. Had they killed? Was this the end? I glanced one last time at the clock as though it could help me by telling me what I wanted to know, but its face was impenetrable. Making a decision, I threw down the notebook and pen I was holding and left the room, half-slamming the door behind me.
Unfortunately, I wasn't alone. One of the other nurses -- a young woman, friendly but tired because unlike me, she had charge of one of the most difficult of the inmates -- was nearby, and she stared at me in shock. "What's happend, Dr Waltham? Why are you so stressed?"
I wasn't known for slamming doors. "Shelley -- Michelle ... she's upstairs. With the Management. They asked to see her ..."
"The Management? Doctor, what were you thinking?"
"I had to! They threatened me ... Jenny, please, you have to understand." She was shocked and angry at me using her first name. "But I heard a scream. I have to go up there. I don't care if they don't want to be interrupted, Shelley is my patient and I won't let them hurt her."
"No." I stared at her, wide-eyed, as she gripped my arm with pincer-like fingers. "You can't go up there. You'll be killed."
"I don't care! I have to help her!"
And her normally blue eyes shone a bright, electric green.