“Please tell me you know why you’re crying,” Daniel says to me.
“Okay then…what did one of your friends say now?”
I just sigh and show him. “Right.” Daniel cracks his knuckles and flexes his hands. “I’m going to kill him.”
“Why? I think Flash should apologise.”
“It’s my own fault Daniel, it’s fine.”
“NO IT IS NOT!” he yells suddenly. “It is not okay!”
“Calm down,” I plead.
“No, I will not. You know why?” He refuses to wait for an answer. “Tell me, when was the last time you spoke back to someone?”
“Precisely Cat Madigan. So…we should do something about it.”
I already feel a pit of dread growing in my stomach. “No…”
“Stop being a chicken.”
“I’m not a chicken! I just don’t want to lose a good friend.”
“You can do without him, you silly girl.”
“He’s my friend!”
“Cat, what is that falling down your face?”
“Evidence of severe emotional instability.”
“That reminds me….” With that, Daniel disappears.
“Daniel?” I look around my bedroom. “Daniel where are-”
And that’s when everything changed.
My arms hurt, but I couldn’t move them. They were held behind my head by chains attached to the ceiling. I hate them… Struggling hurts more. “LET ME OUT!” I scream. “LET. ME. OUT!”
I could feel him behind me. It wasn’t Daniel, Daniel was warm, you could feel the heat radiating from his body from a couple of steps away; this stranger was cold. Daniel smelt of rain and smoke. The stranger smelt of death.
And I knew him.
“It’s not her,” I tell him. “It’s Cat, my name is Cat, not Kaya, do you understand? Please.” I know what happens next, I’ve seen it happen, I’ve seen it happen to her. Then I realise. “It doesn’t make a difference does it? You would’ve known it wasn’t me, just like I immediately knew you weren’t Daniel…”
I hear him walking, and I finally see him out the corner of my eye. He’s only two steps away from me, but even then I can’t make him out clearly. I just see dark mangy hair.
Then he speaks. “Freak,” he growls.
My head is on fire, and my body slumps. I hang by my arms, only wanting it to stop. “Freakish girl, girl with two faces,” he hisses at me.
“I know what I am,” I croak out, and a wave of pain surges through. Don’t you scream, Cat.
“Do you really?” he muses. There’s silence, and I don’t know what he’s thinking, but the pain stops.
And the light vanishes.
Oh no… Focusing, I manage to keep my breathing steady, he will not see me afraid. Kaya might be proud, I think.
All that changes when his nails are digging into my stomach, his mouth snarling down my ear, his icy skin absorbing any heat from my body. I can’t help it, I scream. And his hands, with impossible fingernails as long as knives, dig deeper.
I see blood again. Red, not black, I note. How?
Just before he rips out my organs, I wake up, and I’m coughing and spluttering. More than that, I’m sobbing. I now know why I’m crying, I think, my internal words twisted and bitter. Happy now Daniel?
I can move my hands, and they touch where the monster’s claws were. It hurts when I touch it, but the skin is unbroken.
“Stay with me,” I whisper out loud, to no one.
I go to bed alone, and I pretend to be asleep when I hear him. He curses himself and he eventually climbs in after about ten minutes of panicking. “Forgive…” His voice pleads.
Mercy…the one act separating humanity from becoming monsters. I roll over and look at Daniel; for once, he needs comfort instead of me. “Shhhh,” I tell him, like he often tells me. “Shhhh.”