Can't go back.

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"We think you should go back to live with your mother. You're not eighteen yet and we don't think this is the best environment for a young teenager."

I stare at her dumbfounded, my mouth hung open unattractively. For so long I always questioned whether the police would really help me or not and today I found out the answer. . . They wouldn't.

"Trevor beats her and you want her to go back to that hell hole?" Jake says, breaking the silence. I blink a few times, unable to believe her words.

This can not be happening. No way.

I sit there in silence, my body frozen as the sound of Jake's protests float around me. How can the system designed to keep me safe recommend that I go back to the abuse? I don't understand it. I feel my lungs tighten and it becomes difficult to breathe. A grey fog builds inside my mind and I stand to my feet, wavering a little.

"Excuse me," I mumble under my breath, my words shaky and barely audible. My feet begin to move involuntarily and I find myself storming up the stairs, wanting to get away from the officers as much as possible. My hands glide against the walls, keeping me standing upright as I stumble across the landing. My breathing hitches and I suck in harshly, desperately needing the tight hold on my lungs to loosen.

I see a open door and stumble inside, blinking to remove the fog from my vision. My back hits the wall and I inhale deeply, squeezing my eyes shut.

"What the hell are you doing in my room?"

I blink and catch eye contact with Tobias. He's lying on his bed, shirtless whilst propped up against his cushions. There's a questioning glare on his face and I open my mouth to respond but no sound comes out. The buzzing inside my ears intensifies and once Tobias notices the expression on my face, he stands up. I watch as he walks towards me, his dark eyes flashing with concern.

"What's going on? Are you okay?" He asks me. I nod my head even though I'm not okay. I can hear the officer shout my name up the stairs and I squeeze my eyes shut again, shaking my head.

"Please don't tell them I'm here." I whisper and Tobias nods, walking over to close his door. I take the chance to slide down onto the floor, pulling my knees towards my chest. Images of Trevor and Mum cloud my mind and I shake my head, tears rolling down my cheeks.

"I cant go back. I can't go back." I whisper, feeling the tears invade my mouth. It's growing increasingly harder to breathe and I feel myself grow light headed, desperate for oxygen.

"Emily?" Tobias asks, his voice full of unease. I'm aware of his presence but it does nothing to calm me down. Instead I'm embarrassed by Tobias seeing me like this, midway through a panic attack.

"Why does everything keep going wrong?" I whimper, my vision restricted from the tears in my eyes. Tobias leans down beside me and placed one hand on my knee.

"Talk to me, what did the police say?" He asks but the inability to breathe finally catches up with me. Black spots cover my vision and I groan as I feel myself lose control over my body. My eyes flutter shut and I know I'm seconds away from passing out. I vaguely hear a door slamming open and Jake's angry voice fill the air. Before I have the chance to make sense of his words, my eyes roll to the back of my head and finally the invisible fist squeezing my lungs finally lets go.

*****

My eyes flicker open and I automatically bring my hand up to shield them from the bright sun that's streaming through the window. The light bounces off the wall, directed straight at me.

Why must you be so bright Mother Nature?

My head throbs painfully and I tried lifting it, groaning louder from the sudden pain it was causing me.

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