Walking Away

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“The only thing determined”, my philosophy teacher told us, “is that we are all going to die.”

“Yeah…about that,” Daniel murmurs next to me. I just grimace, and try to ignore the memory of my head being smashed in.

Philosophy Club was spent discussing Liberalism and Determinism. The two basic beliefs relating to time travel. Liberalism believes in free will; our actions determine the future, reality is composed of what has happened and what is happening right now. In other words, it’s our own fault if the world blows up tomorrow. Determinism, on the other hand, messes with my head to the point that I slip into Delirium purely from the confusion. If everything is set out for us, then we don’t really have free will, meaning we don’t really think, we just follow a script which has already been written. And if that’s the case, what is the point of being a good person, if it’s in our destiny to have a happy ending? And how do we know these things? I’m now writing this in a place with red grass and trees with veins, so I’ll stop there before I slip permanently.

I didn’t have any questions during Philosophy Club. I saved them for after, when I was with Daniel.

“Are you from the future?” I asked him.

“No. Why do you ask?”

“You refuse to say anything about yourself, and everyone in Delirium has funny skin that glows in the dark.”

“I don’t have funny skin.”

“You’re…different. You don’t look like a shadow in Reality. They would though.” I thought for a moment. “Are you human?”

He laughed at that. “Seriously,” I said. “You are the only one in my head who looks normal. Ish. Why do you think I didn’t start smashing your head in when I met you?”

“I thought that was because your psychotic tendencies hadn’t surfaced yet?”

“Nah, I’ve always been this mad.” Daniel’s face is one of mock horror. “I didn’t smash anyone’s head in,” I amended. “But I thought about it. Believe me…” I crossed my arms. “We, my friend, are getting off topic.”

“Are we? Good. What’s for dinner?”

“Something gluten free and disgusting, you know that. Are you human?”

“I’m not sure…” he murmured. I frowned, waiting for him to go on. He looked up at me. “I liked the sausages,” he said. “You can’t tell them from the-”

WHACK!

“OW!”

“Give me something!”

“No!”

“Why can’t you tell me?” I yelled at him.

“Because I can’t!”

“I don’t-” I stop when I see him. His face was still, his mouth open slightly. “Daniel?”

Two hands grabbed my neck and jerked my head to the right. I heard the bones snap a second before the pain began.

My last thoughts? Not again…

I later returned to Delirium. When I woke up in Reality, I was taken to the sick bay to ‘recover’. No one was there, so I lay on the bed and dropped out. Daniel was sitting where I had died, his back to me. “Have you come up with a reason why?” I asked him.

He leapt up. “Yup. Still here.” I looked down at the ground. “Neck hurts a bit. Don’t die by breaking it. Actually, don’t die period.” I met his gaze. “You die, I die. And not just in Delirium. Not even Kaya would be able to stop me. Got it?”

Daniel just glares at me. “When was the last time you looked at me like that?” I pondered. I turned away from him and walked off.

Now, writing this, in the same space I ended up, I wonder if I meant that. Would I be able to live without Daniel?

I know if Delirium still existed, but Daniel was dead, the answer would be no. I wouldn’t be able to live on my own in a world full of monsters.

But if Delirium were to go away…

That’s something I’ve always thought about. If I had the opportunity to stop my hallucinations right then and there, would I? Would I be able to say goodbye to Daniel?

Saying goodbye, yes, I think. Maybe. I don’t know. If I were allowed one last moment with Daniel before my Delirium went away for ever…yeah. I’d be able to live with that.

What if it were more abrupt though? What if everything closed, and I never got to see Daniel again? What if this is the last time I’m in Delirium, and that’s the last I see of him, his face glaring at me as if he hated me? Maybe he does hate me. In that case, it would be okay.

I hear him coming, and I grab my books and hide. I’m high in the trees when Daniel comes into the clearing, looking for me. “Cat!” he yells. “Cat Madigan, come out here now!”

I don’t go, I just watch him. “Cat,” I flinch at his voice; he’s hurting. If I could go back in time, and change what happened; if I had killed him instead of trusting him, trusting him enough to be my closest friend, would it be easier than what I’m eventually going to have to do?

“Cat, I need to talk to you. Please, I…” His voice just trails off, and he keeps walking the other way. And I watch him go.

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