The plan had been so simple. Thirty six hours in solitary confinement, Meredith was struggling. Last week this had all seemed so simple. So obvious. It seemed like she had devised the perfect escape plan. Things weren’t working out as intended.

Firstly, and above all else – even breathing or thinking – there was the thirst. Her throat roared with it and she could feel its acidic anger snarl its way up and down her throat with each breath. She’d imagined discomfort, but not pain. She was starting to reconsider.

Her tongue was sore. The slab of meat in her mouth felt like unswallowed food as it got drier, and the taste when she could summon enough saliva to swallow was rancid, and reminded her of her ex boyfriends unwanted dry probings. In a desperate bid for freedom a few hours ago she had tried biting through her tongue, people did it in prison so she knew it was possible, but the pain was too sharp to work through and she didn’t know how they did it. Meredith knew she should have hit Lucy in the face.

Hitting in the face was a sedate affair. As in, if you hit someone then your solitary confinement also included sedatives. Perhaps in the first waking moments as the sedative seeped out of her pores the pain would be dulled and she could chew through the easily accessible muscle in her mouth. She filed the information away for next time.

Next time. She was starting to come to terms with the idea that this might not work. Her stomach lurched further at the idea, already churning angrily to try and spur her into eating something.

The plan had been so simple – that was what made Meredith so furious – so simple, so she had been so sure it would work. She had trashed her room and then Lucy’s (the stuck up Emped in the next room). She had been about to trash Nina’s which would have been a shame because she liked Nina. She always gave Meredith her pills when she managed to get away with not taking them.

Right now, staring at a wall that was sterile but stained a grim peach colour, Meredith thought about the pills. Maybe that would help. She took shallow breaths and thought about all the pills she had lost. She knew by now her room will have been searched, it was customary when someone was placed in solitary confinement to take advantage of their empty room. The nurses ransacked the room and didn’t even make much of an effort to hide the fact. Meredith had about 60 tablets in her collection, she had been well on her way to a lethal dose. Now it was all gone, and if they noticed that half of them weren’t even prescribed to her it wouldn’t be long until they punished Nina too.

Meredith started to cry. She knew this because her shoulders were trembling, her throat was convulsing as she gasped for air, whimpers of pain were slicing their way up and out of her mouth. All the signs of crying were there. Well, almost all of them. There were no tears. That made her cry harder, desperate, how could that be?

The plan was simple, so simple. Go to solitary confinement, don’t drink the water. Eat the very minimum and if possible purge it when they stop watching. Then cry. Cry and cry and cry, until dehydration from all the tears puts an end to this misery. It was so simple, and it hadn’t worked. So Meredith cried harder still because she knew that in twelve more hours the doctor would come to take her back to her room and they would realise. She’d be given fluids, and it would be over. The hope that it was over, was over.

Meredith tried to scream out her agony but her throat felt like it was on fire, she crawled towards the lightweight bucket that collected urine and knew there was no way to use it. It was a soft plastic that could be bent with too much pressure. It had no merit to pierce the skin and no small parts to choke on. She looked down at the yellow liquid and for a moment wondered if she should drink it. Her throat encouraged her, she was so thirsty.

It wasn’t all piss, she reminded herself, trying to reconcile her thoughts. In fact a lot of it was the water she had thrown directly in there. She had weened herself off water to the minimal amount days before solitary began so not even half could be. It was the same as drinking directly from a river, she decided, and she had done that before.

A new idea emerged. Meredith glanced around to the door to see if there were any eyes peeking through the fabric. There weren’t. Could it work? She gazed at the life saving substance and wondered if it could be her salvation from her pain. There was the throat, or the heart. She knew which was more important. It couldn’t hurt to try, she thought, and then barked a short laugh bitterly.

She had grown calm by the new prospect of relief and decided the best way to go about this was to get herself as hysterical as possible so that her breathing was fast and undiscriminating. She sat next to the bucket and thought about her life. She thought about what she was about to do and all the many whys. She felt her heart become frantic and her thoughts become wild and chaotic. Before she could forget what she was doing she plunged her face deep into the bucket, submerging her mouth and nose in the golden water and tried to breathe.

Meredith woke up from a cloudy place in her mind. The sedative hummed in her veins like electricity, and reminded her of the ECT. It was unpleasant. She wriggled but found herself restrained. She sighed and slipped back to sleep, completely forgetting to chew through her tongue, as sleep took her back to a place where mother’s kept their children safe from the monsters at night. She relaxed back into that place of safety and smiled at her mother. “I missed you” she said. Her mother nodded and then replied with Nina’s voice, sounding tearful and afraid “Don’t go”. Meredith curled up into her mothers lap and closed her eyes “I won’t”.

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