Chapter 1

            “She’s waking up.”
            Hands held down the shaking body as she flailed and jerked instinctively. Her head thrashed from side to side as she fought to see. A field of blurry white. Light. Ceiling. Walls. Coats. Words she used to know rushed through her head. A dark head with black strings and a shiny metal circle leaned closer as they rushed by the walls.
            She wrenched back onto the gurney, as far away as she could get, nearly flinging herself off, and screamed wordlessly. The high, thin sound shattered the white with the gentleness of a knife. She couldn’t stop. Couldn’t stop the screaming. Couldn’t stop the images. Couldn’t stop anything. Tears ran down her face. She didn’t know.
            “God have mercy.”
            “Code Grey!”
            She continued to scream as strong hands pushed her back into place and thick restraints were fastened.
            “Haloperidol – get a 0.4mg – no, a 0.5mg syringe. Now!”
            It was as if she didn’t need to breath. Only scream. She didn’t stop until the drug replaced the white with utter blackness.

            They kept talking about her like she wasn’t even there. Did they think she was deaf? Or just too stupid to know? Chloe grimaced with her back to the adults and pretended to be very interested in the magazines hanging on the boringly classy taupe wall. Though why anyone would care about celebrities’ sex lives, she didn’t know.
            “I fail to see the problem. After all, you recommended Doctor Manning personally.”
            “Yes, Elise is excellent. However, you should be aware-“
            “Good. It’s all settled then.”
            Hearing the crisp, final way Marilyn L. Kendrick, MD and PhD, dismissed the psychiatrist, Chloe rolled her eyes with an inaudible sigh and turned to go. No one argued with Dr. Kendrick.
            Silently, Chloe followed Marilyn’s perfect business suit out of the office and down the long hallway. A chic gray, the suit hugged a tiny waist and curves that looked like they belonged on a runway model. Even with her silky blonde hair in a prim bun, Dr. Kendrick drew glances with each click of her delicate heels.
            Chloe trudged behind in the shadow of that perfection. Her expensive black shoes made no noise on the fine wood floors, and she nervously plucked at the crisp button-up she’d been forced into until it hung as far from her body as possible. With each stare, her shoulders shrank until she was hunched in on herself, her eyes focused on the floor. Her droopy brown bangs hung limply over her face.
            Dr. Kendrick’s tone was mild and sweet. Still, the unexpected sound struck Chloe like a slap, and she flinched before quickly straightening her shoulders and raising her head. She swallowed against the knots in her stomach. Her hand closed compulsively in her pocket, and she relaxed slightly.
            “Sorry, Mother.”


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