'It doesn't work. No matter what you do or what drugs you put me on, the voices always stay...'
'What do the voices sound like?'
I stared straight into the corner, holding my knees to my chest. The therapist sat on a cushy chair, near the door. Probably so that she can leave if I get too demonic. She was there and I was here, sitting on the floor, staring at a crack in the blue skirting board.
I snort a laugh. Stupid woman. It's not what they sound like, it's what they say.
'What did you say? Riley?'
'I didn't say a word.' Out loud at least.
'Can you answer my question? What do the-'
'I know what you asked. I'm trying to ignore the stupidity of it.'
'I can't help you if you don't talk to me.'
'Oh well. It's not like you'd be able to help any-'
That's when they began. The voices. All at once. I clapped my hands over my ears.
'Riley? Are you okay?' The therapist stood up.
'STOP!' I screamed, rocking forwards.
I moved onto my knees and pushed my head into the carpet. Useless. Under all the screaming in my head, I thought I heard the door open. Nothing can help you. I rocked back and forth as the voices got louder and louder. What can you do about it? I felt hands on my arms, but couldn't hear anything.
Suddenly the voices shut off and there was one left. A boy's. My older brother's voice. All he said was:
'You asked for this. You brought this upon yourself!'
It sounded like he was shouting through a megaphone in both of my ears. Tears were flooding my face.
'Joe!' I shook and reached for the hands holding me. Not Joe's. The voices died down entirely and I sat up, looking around. Mum was holding me against her as my tears soaked her blouse. Joe burst through the door and ran to me. I flinched back a bit as he touched my arm.
'Was it me?' He whispered, staring into my eyes.
His are so blue. When you look directly into them, it's like a spell is put on you and you have to tell the truth. I nodded. He pulled me away from Mum and into his shoulder.
Joe has always been there for me. Even when I had nightmares when I was younger; by the time Mum or Dad got to me, Joe would be rocking me back and forth in his arms.
My parents don't know what actually happens in my head, but Joe does. When I explain to Joe, I don't feel pathetic. It is as if a weight is lifted of my shoulders. He makes me happy.
'Wait.' Mum looks confused, 'What do you mean: "was it you"?'
I pulled away from Joe and quickly shook my head.
'Nothing. Don't worry about it. It was just a theory we're testing. It's probably nothing. I just feel useless otherwise.'
'Joseph.' Her voice was verging on aggressive. I grabbed her hand.
'Mum. Please. I will tell you. I just need to get in control of my own head first.'