• He gripped his chest, feeling his heart beat ten times faster than it should have, he gasped, trying to pull air into his empty lungs. He was burning, and the hand that rubbed his neck slid across skin slick with sweat, he wasn't going to live. He could feel his fingers losing feeling, could see the room spinning around him and moving in on him, he tried to stand, to get out of the tiny room, to get some air. His legs gave way and he fell to his knees, clutching at the bedside table for support, knocking things over in his panic to get away, he was going to die.

    The fog in his mind thinned a little, he wasn't going to die he knew what was happening. But a bigger part of him said this was a lie, an attempt to trick death. Slowly he fumbled around his room desperately looking for the pack of cigarettes, still gasping for air, sure the room was about to collapse on him and bury him alive. Clothes, books, CDs went flying and the room kept spinning, he collapsed, trying to take a breath, trying to stay alive.

    His outstretched hand brushed over something, something he almost didn't feel because his hands had become so numb, a cigarette pack. He pulled it to his chest, hoping to every god there was that his lighter was inside and the pack wasn't just empty. If he was going to die he'd at least die smoking.

    Impatiently he stuffed a cigarette in his mouth, hands shaking horribly and lips barely holding the cancer stick between them. He fumbled the small metal lighter open, trying to light the stick even as his hand shook, burning the side of his cheek and singeing his hair. He rolled on to his back, holding his hands together and finally lit the stick between his lips.

    The hot, smoky air filled his lungs, and the nicotine finally loosened his throat. He rolled back on to his stomach and tried to crawl to his feet, but a coughing fit ripped through his lungs, sending the cigarette flying to smoulder on the old wooden floor. He doubled over, feeling pain in the back of his throat as the coughs came stronger and faster, he was gasping for air again, steadying himself on the floor as his sides cramped and his head spun. And as soon as the coughing started, it stopped, leaving the boy curled up on the cold floor, reaching for the cigarette once more.

    He sat with his knees against his chest, waiting for the doctor he'd been forced to see to arrive. His mother had walked in on one of his attacks, and had seen the aftermath of chain smoking and coughing fits. And now he was sitting in some, all white, foul smelling, sterile hospital wing, clothed in the examination clothes, looking like a grade A schizo.

    Even the nurses looked at him as they walked by, clucking their tongues and whispering among themselves. He couldn't stand this treatment; he'd rather have another attack and a smoke than this. God he could go for a smoke, but that wasn't allowed in the hospital. His palms itched as he thought about the cigarette he'd left in the pocket of his jacket, his mouth began to go dry at the thought, and he really would have done anything for that small hit of nicotine.

    He stood and began to walk down the small hallway, he could remember where he'd put his clothes, he'd just go and ask them for the jacket and sit outside for a while. But before he could go very far people crowded around him.

    "Oh no dear! You're not allowed to leave just yet!" A short, fat nurse said, guiding him back to the uncomfortable waiting room chairs.

    "Just sit down and Doctor Izaak will be with you shortly." Another said, patting his head.
    "Come on now honey, I'll go get you a drink." Another said, hurrying off in the opposite direction.

    Everyone started to talk at the same time, making him bite his tongue in frustration. "I jus-"

    "Oh you see? Here comes the Doctor now!" The first nurse said, pushing him towards the tall, white jacket wearing man.

    "Sidney Frisch I assume?"

    He nodded, trying to shake the nurses off of him.

    "Come with me then, I'll just evaluate you today, and then we can start treatment tomorrow." He said, grabbing Sidney's shoulder and not so much guiding as pushing him down the hallway.

    The doctor's room was not much better than that of the waiting room, cold, white, sterile, except for the colourful measuring chart hung on the wall beside the doctor's desk.

    "I'm Doctor Izaak, please just call me Stephen."

    Sidney looked around the room and crossed his arms; he wasn't going to make this easy for Doctor Stephen Izaak.

    "Sidney. Please co-operate, I'm only trying to help."

    "Firstly, it's Sid. And second, I don't need help, I'm doing perfectly fine on my own." He scowled and began to play with a loose strand of dyed blonde hair.

    The doctor sighed. "Sid then. How old are you?"

    "Just look at the damned file, I know it's all there."

    The doctor rubbed his brow. "Alright, how old were you when you began having these attacks?"

    "I dunno."

    "So you can't remember? Or are you trying to be difficult?"

    "I can't remember." Sid spat angrily, spinning in his chair a little.

    "I'm sorry, but you haven't given me much reason to trust your 'co-operation'." Doctor Stephen Izaak said pushing the thin rimmed glasses he wore up the bridge of his nose.

    Sid made a little huffing noise. He wasn't impressed by the doctor before him. Not only did he seem like the type of person who would never, ever give Sid a second look, what with his neat black hair and tidy clothes, but he was so full of s**t that it hurt. "Okay. I'll give you some co-operation. I've been having attacks since I was about twelve or fourteen, but I can't remember because I tried to forget, I wasn't going to go insane, guess it's too late now though. Also, I don't give a ******** if you're a doctor, the Prime Minister or the ******** King, I need a smoke, and if I don't get one I'm going to be even less co-operative." He sat back and crossed his arms, waiting for the doctor look surprised or scared, or something, but he did none of this, and whatever Sid was expecting, it wasn't the smug grin that was soon plastered across the psychiatrist's face.

    He cursed the man, cursed the cold room and the bright measuring chart on the wall which kept distracting him, making him wonder why a child sized measuring chart was in a psychiatrist's office, surely kids didn't need to be measured by a psychiatrist or even have to visit a psychiatrist. He knew the doctor was speaking, but he wasn't listening, why couldn't he have had one of those doctors from the movies, the blond haired, big breasted, lonely and divorced women looking for a relationship with a young patient? Maybe he'd been watching all the wrong movies.

    Where were the wisecracking, drug addicted doctors that always gave their patients a nice room with a view?

    Maybe they were all on holiday and he just had to be insane for a few more days before they came and fixed him.

    "-Sid. Are you listening?" Doctor Stephen Izaak asked, interrupting his date with the imaginary doctors and nurses.


    The doctor sighed and wrote something in his notebook.

    "Hey, why don't you just write 'free to go, no problems.'?" Sid asked, trying to take a look at the Doctor's notes.

    "How about we find out what's wrong with you instead?"

    "So show me some of those blobs and ask me what I see, or maybe watch me draw or something."

    "No, I think we should just talk instead."

    "Talk then."

    "Listen then."

    "Fine. Ask away."

    "Alright. What normally happens before one of your attacks?"

    "I don't know... Nothing?"

    The doctor shook his head. "You're going to have to remember more and be specific."

    "I'm trying as hard as I can." Sid replied angrily, "It's not like every time someone says a word I flip out, I dunno what it is! The only thing that happens before every single one is, I breathe."

    "Yes, and in ten years you'll be having difficulties doing that if you keep using cigarettes as a cure." The doctor sighed.

    "I don't give a flying ********."

    "You should."

    "Well I don't."

    The session was finally over and Sid was 'escorted' to a small room with a barred door. Not even a room with a view he thought, throwing the small bag of toiletries he'd been allowed on the bed. There wasn't much to see really, just a small brick room with a bed shoved into the corner and a sink and mirror beside it. No toilet though.

    He fell backwards onto the bed, realising the mattress was probably too thin for that kind of thing when his spine connected with the metal frame. He arched off the bed and rubbed his back, wishing the pain would stop spreading and just disappear. Today was not his day.

    Finally the pain subsided and he was left with nothing else to do but think. He wondered what the doctor had concluded about him, was he sane or not?

    He'd probably just been written down as an utterly unresponsive, uncooperative waste of time. But that suited him just fine, at least he would be left alone for the majority of the time. The only thing he needed to worry about was that he had to be found sane and not spend the rest of his life in a mental institute.

    Honestly he had to wonder whether the hospital was actually trying to help people become sane, the way his room was he'd probably go insane in an hour. He slowly paced around the room, 10 ½ steps wide and 26 steps long, soon he was wondering how high it was too, trying to measure the grimy walls with his hands, but he couldn't reach the roof. He took a deep breath and sighed, how much time had passed?

    The worst thing about the room was sleeping. He could hear other people yelling and some screaming, others just snored and every now and again there would be a large bang outside. He couldn't sleep, not that he normally found sleep easily, but tonight he found it even harder. The hospital was more of a gaol (jail), and if anybody had asked him (which they weren't going to) he'd have said it seemed haunted too. Probably just the wrong movies again.