Daniel burst out laughing.
“Surely it’s not that funny,” I point out.
“Calm down Kaya, it’s not that bad.”
“Look, what am I supposed to say? No, I don’t want to do the photoshoot because my evil twin doesn’t want to?”
But did you have to accept it?
“Hey, it looks like fun! And I get to wear a wig and contacts.”
Doesn’t make it-
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Daniel speaks up. “But I believe you’re confusing your imaginary audience.”
“Right. Now shut up you two.”
So I was contacted by a photographer last night, and he was interested in doing a photoshoot with me as one of my drawings.
Why do you post your drawings on your modelling page anyway? That’s what your modelling photos are for.
Yeah, well, it shows that I’m more than a pretty face.
“Shut up Daniel.”
Okay, so this is the picture that he wanted to recreate:
It’s pretty cool, if I do say so myself. But guess who it’s of.
I believe they can already guess.
Now do you understand why I’m uncomfortable?
Calm down Kaya.
Why? You’re going to be pretending to be me!
I know. It’s like I’m cosplaying as my split personality!
Oh let’s not start this argument again.
Look, I don’t see what the big deal is. Can you explain it to me?
I find it insulting.
Oh boohoo. How is this insulting?
Can you really walk around in a dead person’s skin?
“I’m sorry, what do you think she was doing for the first few months we knew her?”
I wasn’t dead Daniel.
“It’s not making fun of you Kaya, I promise.”
Cat, I’m sorry, I don’t like it.
“Then don’t come near me! Just stay away, do the stuff you do when you’re not inside me.”
“Shut up Daniel.”
Why should I allow this?
“Because this is my body and I call the shots.”
Daniel growls suddenly. “Don’t even think about it.”
So you’re on her side?
…are you ever going to forgive me?
“I’m not like Cat,” he replies.
“I didn’t mean it as an insult,” he tells me. “I lost faith in this world a long time ago Kaya. I’m too tired to be forgiving. And it’s too late for me to forgive you, isn’t it?”
The headache goes away all of a sudden. “Kaya’s gone.”
“Thought she would.”
“Haven’t seen her so irritated since she found out I was planning to buy a corset,” I note.
Daniel smiles grimly. “She just takes everything personally,” he says. “When you’ve been hated for years, you tend to take everything that anyone says about you as an insult.”
I sigh. “I didn’t mean to piss her off.”
“I know you didn’t. She probably knows that too. I guess she just doesn’t want you to pretend to be her, make a fool out of her.”
“…that doesn’t make sense.”
“It only has to make sense to her,” he points out.
“What has she done that’s so horrible?”
Daniel groans. “Do we have to go into this?”
“Yup. Look, I know how she died. But I’ve almost done the same thing. Exactly the same, actually.”
He shakes his head.
“What do you mean Daniel?”
“Cat, she’s not dead, not really. She was in your head a few minutes ago.”
“That doesn’t mean anything.”
He places his hand on my shoulder. “That’s not what’s meant to happen. She’s still alive, she just doesn’t have a physical body.”
“There’s a difference?”
“Believe it or not, yes. If she were dead, she wouldn’t be here at all.”
“But she is here.” I frown. “That doesn’t explain why you hate her.”
“I wouldn’t call it hate,” he admits. “But the person she’s turned into…”
“What has she turned into?”
He groans. “It’s complicated…fine,” he says after seeing my face. “The way I see it, Kaya gave up on her world. She left all of us in a sinking ship.”
“And? So what? I am guilty of doing the same crime! What’s the difference between Kaya’s crime and mine?”
“I hadn’t finished. The difference between the two of you is that you had no desire to live. That was why you did what you did. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a selfish thing to do. Kaya’s is worse though. She…” His jaw clenches. “Don’t believe what she says Cat. Human bodies may have their faults, but they’re a lot better than being a ghost.”
“She wants my body?”
Daniel’s eyes widen and we start howling in laughter. “Oh god,” I gasp out. “Shit, I should’ve seen that. How did I miss that?”
Daniel just shakes his head. “Well that lightened the mood.”
“Seriously though.” We straighten up. “Kaya wants to take over?”
He nods. “But why? I thought she didn’t want to live?”
“She didn’t want to live the way she was living,” he corrects. “Suicide is one option, but there was another way.”
“And what would I do?”
“You’d go to Delirium,” Daniel explains. “From her eyes, it does sound fair.”
“But it’s not,” he finished. “Kaya has already lived one life, and that she threw away. To take over someone else’s, yes even with their consent,” he informs me, “isn’t right. She’d be hurting your friends, family…and that young man your friends were talking about on the ferry.”
“…not you too.”
“Hey, I can do whatever I please,” he says. “My point is, she has done…this, deliberately. It’s not that hard to die, well, there are exceptions,” he says pointedly. “But she’s done this so she has the potential to take on another body. And for that, I can’t forgive her.”
“Because she wants to live a life without pain?”
“Because she’s willing to hurt the people you love to do it,” he corrects.
I’m silent for a moment. “…if that’s the case, then who have I taken over?”
“I have a physical body Daniel,” I remind him. “Both in Reality and Delirium. How does that work?”
“Well….how about another time?”
“I’m tired Cat. Just…think over what I’ve said, alright?” He raises my hand to his lips. “You be good now,” he tells me. “I need to take care of something.”
“So I shouldn’t trust Kaya,” I say out loud.
Daniel sighs. “Kaya would never hurt you,” he says. “But she doesn’t harbour the same feelings about the people you care about.”
I nod. “But why should I trust you and not Kaya?”
He turns around and grins. “Maybe you shouldn’t trust either of us,” he tells me. “But then where would you be?”