The Strange Wills of Hearts

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“Ray?”

I see her when I get on the bus to go home, and I nearly run to reach her before someone else sits down next to her. “What is it?”

She has a bright smile on her face as she tells me. “He’s awake,” she says. “He wants to see you.”

“Thank god.” I nearly crush her in my arms, and I feel tears running down my face. I hadn’t realised how worried I had been. “It worked then?”

Ray nods. It’s as if she has lifted a giant weight which had been crushing my chest. I suddenly feel like I could sprint home to see him. Instead, I impatiently wait on the bus, praying that the traffic doesn’t slow it down.

I break out into a sprint when I get off the bus, though Ray still arrives at my house before me. I manage to slow myself down before my mother sees me running, but as soon as I enter the door, I head straight for my room.

He’s there, lying down on the bed when he sees me. He grins as he sees me. “What took you so long?” he asks in a faint voice.

I just throw my arms around him, and it’s a long time before I let go. “I thought you were going to die,” I whisper.

“It takes a lot to kill me,” Daniel says. “Though to be fair, that was pretty close.” He releases me and leans back to look at me. “You look like shit,” he concedes.

I grimace. “That’s generally what mass blood loss does, see.” He looks shocked. “Didn’t they tell you?”

“Tell me what?” Daniel asks. His eyes narrow and he glares over at Noah, who is standing by the door.

I look behind me. “I insisted on it,” I said. “You lost too much blood, and mine was the closest match.”

“Goddammit Cat Madigan,” Daniel groans. “You shouldn’t have done that.”

“Yeah well, you shouldn’t have attacked Christan either.” He growls at that. “Yes, the asshole deserved it, but you forgot who you’re dealing with.”

“Is he going to do it again though?” Daniel’s voice is hard as ice.

“I don’t know. My guess is not, though.”

He scoffs. “You would’ve killed him if I had died,” he states.

“Of course.” I smile at him, but it doesn’t reach my eyes. “In this world, that’s the only thing left after everything else that matters is gone.”

He’s not looking at me. Instead, he’s looking behind me, and the tired look on his face before becomes one of absolute loathing. I immediately know who it is. “You aren’t welcome here,” I inform the king behind me.

“Am I not to be forgiven ever?”

“No,” Daniel and I say in unison. “I’ve already given you my terms,” I remind him. “And I’m assuming you are not missing an eye, are you?”

I hear him walking towards me. “One more step and you’ll regret it,” Daniel says, shaking slightly.

“Get out,” I order him. Daniel begins to shake more violently. “Noah, get here now!” Jhaq pulled my arm. “I’m not leaving him!” I told her. “Daniel!”

Ten seconds later he stops, and he lies there, shivering. I sit beside him and stroke his forehead, measuring how hot he is. “How many of these have happened?” I ask.

“This is the third,” Noah tells me. “Don’t let his blood pressure rise.”

I think of how much the sight of Christan enrages Daniel, and how my mother and my brother could come in and start screaming. “Don’t let them in again,” I order. “At least not while he’s conscious. He needs to recover and he’s in no condition to work, especially not with his Grace.”

“Yes my lady.” He leaves, and Jhaq, Ray and I are left in the room with Daniel, who has gone silent.

“You are learning, Miss Madigan,” Jhaq observes.

“What do you mean?”

“Miss Madigan, you are a lady,” Jhaq insists. “And now you have the words of one.”

“I…no, I’m not.” I look down at Daniel, now sleeping with a peaceful expression on his face. “I’m not a lady, I’m just his friend. To them, I’m a pet human he keeps for company, no one would take me seriously.”

“No.” Jhaq’s voice is determined. “Master Noah takes you seriously. That is a certainty.”

She was right. Noah paid attention to me and didn’t treat me like a monster. He didn’t call me Freak. That was how Christan was before though…
_______________________________________________________________________________

Daniel woke up again later on, and when he went to sleep, it’s wasn’t the aftermath of a seizure. He was upset about his eye, but he calmed down after I reassured him how awesome guys with eyepatches were. His vanity satisfied, he soon drifted off to sleep, his head cradled in my lap. I didn’t try to move him, I just sat with him.

Noah came in and sat down by Daniel’s bedside. “His Grace has promised he won’t intrude when Daniel is awake,” he informed me. “He doesn’t want Daniel to die, so he won’t do anything that would do him harm.”

If Daniel dies, I will not hesitate to make every fibre of your being burst into flames. “What about Thommand though? I’m more worried about him than his Grace.”

“He’s not going to do anything either. I don’t know if you know this, but Daniel’s a valued member of the king’s peers. Christan doesn’t want him dead now anymore than he did when he held out that dagger,” Noah explained. “Besides, Daniel has a fever still. Thommand’s scared for his own skin, he won’t go near anyone who is sick.”

“True.”

He was quiet for a moment. “You…you and Kaya were close, weren’t you?”

“Of course we were.” And now we’re too close for comfort.

“She mentioned you,” he told me. “She told me how you needed help, with them.”

“The shadows? Yeah, I remember.” Those used to be what I was most afraid of. My Delirium was still being created, from Kaya’s memories, I hadn’t fallen down that rabbit hole yet. “She was going to help me, before…”

“I know.” He closed his eyes for a moment. “How much…do you know about her?”

I thought about it. “I…I know she was escaping from here when she got attacked. Then I saw everything after.”

His face went dark. “Oh.”

“Yeah…” I grinned a little. “There was that too,” I added.

“I…”

“I’m the last person to judge anyone,” I told him. “Your secret, and Kaya’s, is safe with me.”

“Thank you.” Noah went quiet, as if he was about to say something, but changed his mind.

“What is it? Ask whatever you want.”

“Did she…” He sighed. “All my life, I’ve never stopped wondering what went on in that girl’s head. And I can’t help but wonder…” He looked up at me. “You saw her memories. Did she…feel the same way that I did about her? Even a little bit?”

I tried remembering Kaya’s thoughts from long ago. It seems like a lifetime ago, in a way it was. There was so many emotions, so strong and vivid. Rage and fear are the most powerful ones. But there’s calm too, calm and care and trust.

“I’d say so,” I told him. “After what Kaya went through, she swore never to trust anyone again, but she came close to doing that.”

“Truly?” Noah doesn’t seem convinced.

I smiled at him. “I don’t know how much Kaya loved people. People who go through all pain can either abandon love entirely or depend on it even more. But she cared for you the most, I can assure you that.”

He gave me a tired grimace. “You loved her,” I said. “Even after she was changed. Why?”

“I…continue to ask myself that question.” Noah paused. “When I knew her, she was the brightest girl in the world, and she didn’t care less what people thought. She was beautiful. And after…I still saw her that way. Even with her purple eyes and her scars, she was still my friend.” He smiled at me. “You have friends in your world, friends who stay by you as well.”

“Yeah…but none of them felt the same way that you did about Kaya.”

“Not one?”

“No.” I hold out my left hand, showing him the scars. “No one wants to love a freak.”

“He does.” Noah looked down at Daniel. “He will not abandon you…Cat.”

“I hope not.” I touched Daniel”s forehead again. It’s warm, but not feverish. “Hearts are so strange, aren’t they?”

Cat Madigan Does Her Homework

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I can’t talk about Daniel right now, so I’m going to post something different. Here’s my creative writing task I wrote for Lit. It’s based on the story Cinderella Inc., which is about an woman who goes to Cinderella Inc. to change her looks completely, and she leaves a beautiful woman. So because I am twisted and psycho, I wrote a short story on what happened in between. If you want to read Cinderella Inc. beforehand, you can read it here.
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The room stank of antiseptic as she woke up. As her faculties gradually returned to her, she noted the various sensations in her body. Dry throat, hollow stomach, aching gums, a strange numbness in her limbs. She blinked her eyes open and stared blankly at the ceiling above her. How long had she been out?

Oh good, a husky, sensuous voice spoke. You’re awake.

She groaned, and held out her hand in front her face. It had flawless, porcelain skin, with nails polished and perfectly manicured. She felt a wave of excitement. Was the rest of her body as lovely as this?

Sitting up, she took in her surroundings. She was boxed in by pure white walls, and the only furniture appeared to be the bed she sat on. “Hello?” she called out, wincing as she heard how raspy her voice was. “Is anyone there?”

Just me, sweetheart, the voice spoke again, in that alluring tone.

“Who are you?” Her head flashed around, trying to look for any sign of life. “Where are you?”

It doesn’t matter, it replied.

“I…” She frowned in confusion. “I can hear you perfectly.”

Don’t scowl like that, darling. It’ll ruin that pretty face.

“My face…” An image flashed across her mind, of a scrawny woman with thin lips and dull, emotionless eyes. “What do I look like now? I want to see.”

Ask for your reflection.

“What?” She stopped herself from frowning, instead, shaking her head. “If you say so.”

Just say it out loud, that’s all you have to do.

She cleared her throat. “I wish to see my reflection,” she called out, grimacing at how campy that sounded, as if she were on some crappy television show. But as soon as the words came out, the wall across from her bed seemed to fade, and suddenly, a face of an angel was staring back at her.

How lovely she was. Her hair seemed to be made out of spun gold, her perfect curls falling down to the start of her slender shoulders. She turned her body to see all the new curves that she had received, yes, that was definitely what she had been looking for.

But it was her face, her now perfect face that everyone would see, that everyone would gaze upon in wonder and envy. Her full lips were as pink as her cheeks, there was no trace of the colourless, sullen woman she used to be. For the first time in a long time, she smiled, and watched her sapphire eyes light up with happiness.

Suddenly, she felt a pain in her cheeks. “Ow!” she exclaimed, rubbing her face as if that would erase the pain. It must be from the treatment. Then she remembered the voice from before. “How long before I can smile?” she asked.

It won’t hurt for too long dear, the voice said soothingly. I’d give it about ten minutes tops.

“That’s good.” Ten minutes wasn’t long. It would be over in the blink of an eye. In the meantime, she focused on the rest of her features. She couldn’t wait to return to the world as she was, a truly beautiful woman.

So darling, the breathy voice said casually. What’s your name?

“My name?” It took longer than it should’ve to remember. “Mary,” she said.

Mary, the voice cooed. Oh no, you’re going to have to come up with something much prettier than that. Mary just sounds so plain! She could imagine the owner of the voice shuddering. So think. What can we call you instead?

“Um…”

Don’t say things like that, the voice scolded her again. It’s unladylike, you know.

I don’t care, she thought, but she didn’t say it aloud. “What about Maria? I like Maria,” she offered. She was starting to feel uncomfortable, talking to a voice that she couldn’t see. “What’s your name?” she asked, hoping to gain some insight into this mysterious woman.

Maria, hmm? That’ll have to do. The voice completely ignored her question. So you’ll now be known as Maria then. Do you understand?

“Yes.” My name is Maria, she told herself. “When can I leave this place?”

Like I said, ten minutes dear. Actually no, five now. Five minutes have passed.

“That’s good.” She looked down at herself and instantly felt embarrassed. “Um, are there any clothes here that I can put on?”

Darling, what did I tell you about saying that? The voice tutted. Think about what you are going to say before you open those beautiful lips of yours.

Maria grumbled to herself. And the answer is no, unfortunately, the voice informed her. You’ll have a robe brought to you by our staff, like I said, in ten minutes.

“Couldn’t they hurry?” Maria knew how rude she sounded, but she didn’t care. “I mean, you’re there, you know that I’m awake, can’t you tell them to come bring me a robe?”

Oh, I’m not with them, my dear. The voice chuckled in her low, seductive voice. For some reason, it made Maria uneasy, but she didn’t know why.

“Then where are you?”

In your head, of course.

Instinctively, Maria raised her perfectly manicured hand to her hair. “I don’t understand,” she said, her voice raising. What’s going on?

Sweetheart, you should relax, you just went through the treatment after all. The husky, breathy voice might have been reassuring if not for the edge to it. Stress shows over time, and I don’t want anything scarring my body, thank you very much.

“Wait, what?” Maria span around, desperately hunting for a door that wasn’t there. Frantically, she started knocking on the mirror, trying to find an escape. “What are you saying? This is my body! You’re not having it!”

On the contrary. The voice was calm, almost bored, as opposed to Maria, who was madly hammering the mirror. You paid for this, and you signed the agreement. One hundred thousand dollars for an entirely new you! she cooed. How about that?
Maria remembered that phrase. “I…that just meant…”

Oh, I know what you thought. Words are silly, aren’t they? The voice let out a peal of laughter. But unfortunately, that’s not the case, my dear. You see, Cinderella Inc. doesn’t do these treatments for just anyone, you know.

“Then why me?”

You have money darling, the voice reminded her. Lots of money, might I add. Money that can be put to better use than all those rich parties you’ll be wanting to hold. And no one’s going to miss you, not once beautiful Marilyn arrives in your place.

“Marilyn?!” Maria spat.

Yes, Marilyn. It’s quite nice isn’t it? The voice was smug. You see? I think I would suit this body a lot better than you ever would.

“Don’t you dare!”

Shh, it’s only two more minutes, the voice told her soothingly. Why don’t you just close your eyes…

“No!” Maria screamed. She was thrashing the mirror with all her might now, and she saw her reflection mimicking her, with tears streaming down her perfect cheeks and sweat dripping through her golden hair. “This is my body! I paid for it!”

You should’ve stayed a Mary, the voice said disdainfully. That would’ve suited you better, an ugly body for an ugly woman. You aren’t fit to be Marilyn, or even Maria.

“Please!” She collapsed against the mirror, in a sobbing heap. “I want to live!” she pleaded.

No you don’t, the voice disagreed. Well, not as Mary anyway. Which is pretty selfish. Why should you get two bodies, while I have to go without. No no, the voice sighed. It’s alright, you won’t feel anything. Think of it this way; right now, you are the most beautiful woman in the universe…

“GET OUT OF MY HEAD YOU BITCH!” Maria screamed, slamming her head against the mirror. Her perfect forehead went fire engine red, but she no longer cared. She threw herself at the mirror again, and again, as if that would’ve helped.

Now look what you’ve done! the voice snapped, her voice now shrill. This is completely out of line, Mary. And a shame too. I would’ve let you stay, you could’ve lived with me, in the back of my mind. There would’ve been plenty of room for you, but if you’re going to be like this…

“Shut up! SHUT. UP!”

There was silence. Then that voice, the one that was so seductive and alluring, let out another coo. Ten more seconds now, it said sweetly.

Suddenly, there was an opening in one of the walls, and the men came in, wielding syringes filled with god knows what. They won’t get me, Maria thought, as she sprinted towards the door, shoving the men aside with all the strength she could manage and making one desperate dive for freedom.

Then she froze. There was no sound in that little room, no one dared move a muscle. Then she looked up with a beaming smile. “Hello boys!” she greeted the gentlemen in her husky, sensual voice. That gleam of her sparkling white teeth detracted all attention from her scarlet forehead. “You can all call me Marilyn.”
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So that is what I’m submitting for my creative task for Literature. It had to be less than 1500 words and related to something we studied in Literature this year, so I decided to do it based off one of the short stories we studied. Please feel free to give feedback, as this goes towards my grades and I can use all the advise I can get.

I’ll talk about Daniel tomorrow hopefully, but now I’m tired.

Mad Cat

Confrontations

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I opened my eyes. “Pink.” I immediately hear gasps coming from above me. I roll over. “Was it pink you chose?” I ask Ray.

She hesitates and shakes her head. “Green.”

“Should’ve guessed that,” I grimace. I lie back down. “I feel disgusting, what time is it?”

“Eight morn,” the doctor says from somewhere.

“Hello Noah.”

“You shouldn’t call me Noah.”

“Kaya was allowed to call you Noah,” I say provocatively.

“Oh, she didn’t have permission.”

“Mmmmph.” I roll over and knock against Daniel. “Daniel?” I immediately straighten up. Then I collapse back down again. I’m too lethargic to lift myself up. “How is he?” I ask.

“No response yet,” Noah says. “Anything could be happening.”

“Jhaq, did you give him tea again?” I had gotten Daniel to swallow a couple spoonfuls of tea when he was barely conscious to help improve his colour, at the advice of the doctor. She nods. “That’s good.” Once again, I try sitting up, and I just lean against the head of Daniel’s bed. “Crap…I have to do things today,” I groan.

Noah frowns. “What do you mean?”

“In…” I’m not sure what to say to these people. “In…my own world, I have to go to an appointment,” I say. “Therapy.”

“For what? Your health is perfect.”

“Not exactly, it’s complicated.” I roll out of bed, onto the floor. I struggle to stand, and Jhaq helps me shrug into a robe which smells like Daniel. “If anything changes, you’ll let me know, won’t you?” I demand Noah.

“Of course. We’ll send Jhaq or Ray.”

“Good.” I catch a glance of myself in the mirror. “How long was I unconcious?”

“I wouldn’t know how long it would be in your world,” he told me. “But you were…gone for two nights. We removed the rest of Daniel’s eye during that.”

“His blood levels?”

“His colour’s better, but like I said, there’s been no response yet.”

I look over at Daniel. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve said he were sleeping. “Be good,” I tell him, as if he could hear me perfectly well. I recoil at myself in the mirror. “I look like shit.” Then I saw Jhaq’s disapproval in the reflection. “Sorry, sorry,” I say hurriedly.

“Dying tends to do that to you,” Noah reminds me dryly.

“True, very true.” I stumble to the floor again. “No need,” I tell Jhaq as she rushes to help me up. “I’ll have you know that I fall at least three times a day, I can handle it.” I pull myself up onto my bed. “My dear doctor, what is recommended that I eat after mass blood loss?”

He frowns. “Anything that helps restore iron in your blood, that’s what Kaya once told me.”

“Wonderful. It looks like I’ll be having steak for breakfast.” Steaaaaaaaaaaaaak.

Then I remember I’d have to cook it in front of my family. “Or crappy gluten free cereal, that works too.”

“Maybe you should sit down again,” Noah suggests.

“No, I’m usually like this,” I tell him. “Just ask…yeah, I’m fine. Okay…” I open the door and a boy falls to the ground at my feet. Not knowing what to do, I look out into the hallway. It’s the same hallway as my house in Reality.

Then I look down. “Hello. Can you bring me a plate of steak?”

“I-I-I-I beg your p-p-p-pardon?” The boy was trembling, and slowly crawling back from me, it was clear he wasn’t meant to be there at the door, but my bloodless brain wasn’t aware of that, at least not immediately.

“Steak,” I repeat to him. “Something along the lines of beef, if you don’t have the genuine article. And make it medium rare, I need blood today.”

The boy begins to hurry away, only to be tackled by Noah. The sight of Noah holding the boy in a headlock brings me out of my hunger induced confusion. “Also,” I add, “you probably shouldn’t be listening to our conversation behind that door either. It looks uncomfortable.”

“What do you want?” Noah growls at the boy. He merely whimpers. “Answer me!”

“Don’t shout at the kid,” I tell Noah. “Bring him in here first anyway, so he can’t run.”

Noah proceeds to throw the kid into Daniel’s chambers, and he stumbles onto the ground. Noah slams the door behind him. “That’s not necessary,” I raised my voice. “You’re not to beat him, he can’t be more than seven.”

“A seven who records everything he hears and gives it to his master,” Noah replies.

“Even so, this is a hospital,” I tell him. “Or that is the case right now anyway. And no violence in the ward is allowed.”

He frowns at me. “Kaya told me you were kindhearted,” he says. “But I didn’t take you for someone who is soft.”

“I’m anything but. I’m simply tired,” I told him, and his face changed. “Kaya died a year ago. I’ve changed a lot since then, and I can assure you this has nothing to do with kindness or weak hearts. There’s a time and place for that sort of punishment, and it’s not now.” I sigh. “If you want to beat the boy, do it away from here, and away from me. I can’t stop you. But there’s been enough blood and death here today.”

“That’s a bit of an exaggeration,” Noah says, but he doesn’t move toward the boy.

“Question the boy and be done with it,” I said. I open the door and I see the glamorous hallways of the castle. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find my prey.” Steaaaaaaaaaak.

_____________________________________

When I told Lolly about Daniel, I didn’t mention how I was drained until I was dead. That’s not what she cares about though. She’s more concerned about on how Daniel’s death would affect me than what I would go through to save him. So I didn’t say anything.

I was told to take my mind off things, as if Daniel slowly dying alone in his bed was as insignificant as a patch of dust on a jacket. I had become depressed as the day went on, worrying about Daniel and life without him. Talking about it only made me realise how much he meant.

And then I saw the last person I wished to see.

“Lady Madigan,” Christan greeted me outside the adolescent centre.

“Save it.” I walked straight past him, and I heard him hurry after me. “Are you deaf?”

“I was told to come here by the physician. I bring news of Him, my lady.”

“He said Jhaq would be sent.”

“She was, before I intercepted her.”

I turned around to glare at the golden prince. “You think that’s clever?” I hiss. “Going after me again after you’ve broken me already?”

“Listen to what I have to say and I’ll be gone!”

“That had better be the case.” I continued walking, but I slowed down, so I walked behind him. “Speak.”

“Daniel awoke for a few minutes, before going into a seizure. That is all I got of the message from the girl.”

“What exactly made you think that it would be safe for you, of all people to tell me that?” I growled.

“Calm down, I-”

You stuck a dagger in the eye of the man I trust the most!” I screamed. “If he’s dead, it’s on your hands.”

“It wasn’t my intention-”

“Save it. I’ve had enough.”

“I’m not done speaking.” He continued to walk beside me, and I remained completely silent. “He came at me and knocked me to the ground. He was throttling me, I had no choice! But I didn’t kill him!”

I didn’t respond. For some reason, this gave him confidence. “I only wanted to get him across the face. A scar as a warning. But he moved.” His voice became frantic. “I had no intention to hurt him in the way that he was. I swear Lady Madigan.”

Both he and I were silent as we walked. I looked over to him. “You want my forgiveness,” I said.

“I do,” he said. “And I am willing to give you anything to have it. Whatever you desire, you can have it.”

“Very well.” My tone is pleasant, but I’m glaring at him. “Rip out your own eye, and have your guards beat you till you’re at the edge of your wits.”

“Wha- My Lady, be reasonab-”

“I’m being perfectly reasonable,” I said, in the same kind of voice I would use to explain something to a little child. “It’s an eye for an eye. So to speak. That’ll pay for my forgiveness. I think you can figure out what you would have to pay for Daniel’s.”

“I…”

“You must know.” I smiled sweetly at him, my eyes full of poison. “Take the one thing you care about the most and have your guards hold her down while she is-”

“Stop!”

“Should you really be saying that to me? Of all things?”

“I-”

“Don’t bother. Just understand this.” I was shouting then, but I didn’t care the slightest. “Daniel and I are not toys for you to enjoy and to throw away as you please. Neither is anyone else, no matter what you think of them. And if Daniel dies because of you…” I broke down sobbing on the pavement. I don’t know what it was; despair, anger, madness, one of those three. When I finally looked up, Christan held out his hand. I saw his face, full of pain and sympathy. But most of all, he looked frightened.

I took his hand, and I crushed it in my grip. “If Daniel dies because of you,” I repeated, ignoring his cries. “I will not hesitate to make every fibre of your being burst into flames. So I suggest that you stay a long distance away from me, if you want to live.”

“I don’t want him to die,” Christan said to me. “He’s the last person in this world I want dead, trust me my Lady, I wish him no harm.”

I gave him my poisonous smile again. “Then I think you understand my message,” I said sweetly. “Now go.”

Drained

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Jhaq returned not long after. She was carrying different glass jars with her, and in two was her little daughter. “Ray?”

She climbed onto the bed next to Daniel. “Should she be…” I asked Jhaq, but she ignored me.

“J- I shall remove the bandage,” she announced. “I…must clean it.” She was struggling not to speak in third person. I remembered that I had given her another book, another set of words for her to read, from my own shelf. I didn’t know what she would think of the Hunger Games, but the last time I asked Daniel, he said she was enjoying it. He had to stop her from reading them to Ray as a bedtime story though.

He looked so different then. Daniel was so full of life, it was hard to see how now, barely moving except when he was screaming or crying out.

I looked over at his goddaughter, with her little face screwed up in a frown. “Daniel,” she said. Just that single word; Daniel.

“Look away,” Jhaq told the both of us. She took off the bandage, revealing the inflamed skin underneath, and little bits of white that remained of his eye. Ray whimpered and Jhaq looked up exasperated. “Jhaq said, look away,” she scolded both of us. “Silly girls.”

“I’m fine,” I told her. “I want to help.”

“This is nothing,” she said.

“It’ll make me feel like I’m doing something,” I pointed out. “Please Jhaq.”

She shook her head, pouring a fluid onto a cloth. I knew the smell. “Tea tree oil?” I asked.

She looked up. “It’s a good antiseptic,” I said. “I use it sometimes.”

Jhaq nodded. “This will help Daniel fight off infection,” she told me, dabbing it on his broken eye.

I thought of something. “I’ll be back,” I told Jhaq, walking out of Daniel’s chambers, not entirely sure of where to go.

As I walked out, I came into the hallway to my bedroom though. “Wha-” I looked back, and Daniel’s room was there, not mine. I frowned. Was Daniel’s bedroom now part of my house?

At least it’s cleaner.

I went into the kitchen, and started boiling the kettle. “Do we have lemongrass?” I asked mum, scrambling for a tea bag.

Mum mumbled something in response, but I didn’t pay too much mind. Calling back a word of thanks, I grabbed a bottle of essential oil in the kitchen, and finished preparing my cup of tea.

Jhaq frowned as I walked in. “I need to clear the air,” I told her. “It’ll help me breathe. Him too.”

She hesitated, then nodded. “The scents will help Daniel breathe,” she told me. “Mayhaps calm Daniel.”

“Good.” She began to wrap a long strip of cloth around Daniel’s head, covering up the newly placed bandage. Once again, he was barely moving, and I had to feel his heartbeat myself before I could reassure myself that he was still alive.

Then the door opened and I sprang up, expecting my mother or brother. Instead, a young man with grey hair walked in, and looked at me. “You are the human girl?” he asked.

Well, that’s certainly better than freak. “Yes, that’s me,” I told him. Jhaq dropped in a deep curtsey on the ground, and he swept past her without a word.

Then he did something surprising. He knelt down in a bow before me. “My lady,” he spoke, rising up again. “I have heard much about you.”

Part of me is frozen in shock. “Then why on earth would you be bowing?”

He smiled at me wryly. “You’re still a lady,” he said. “And a strong one at that. You’ve terrified his Grace to no end.”

“As long as he’s not coming back,” I simply said. I didn’t trust myself to open up to this stranger, even though he seemed far different from everyone else.

Then he sighed. “I trust that you know what happened.” I nodded. “I’m sorry for what has happened to you both,” he said sorrowfully. “Neither of you deserved what happened.”

I frowned at the bitter tone in his voice. “Has something like this happened before?”

“No, but sooner or later it would’ve.” The doctor’s face is stony. “It’ll happen again as well.”

I don’t know what to say to this declaration. “I cannot control him,” I settled for saying. The doctor nodded.

Daniel yelled out and I turned back to him. I didn’t need to put my hand to his forehead to know that he had a fever, but I did anyway, and his eyes fluttered open, or at least the single one did. “I…”

“Daniel?”

He stares at me for a moment. “Cat Madigan,” he murmured, before his eye closed again.

I stayed by him. “What can be done?” I asked the doctor.

He then proceeded to relay to me a full description of how Daniel’s eye was sliced right down the middle, informing me of how the pupil was completely destroyed and how the rest of his eye would be removed as soon as his body was stabilised. By the end of it, I was feeling slightly ill.

“He is slowly coming out of shock,” the doctor told me. “But he’s got an infection, and he needs blood. My lady…” He inhaled. “You know as well as I do that our blood will not do the job.”

“Then use mine,” I told him.

“I’d have to get his permission,” he replied.

“He’s delirious, how can you get permission from him?”

“My lady, no offence…but using your blood may cause complications. You know why.”

“Oh.” Freak. “I know…but, where else can we get human blood?”

He shook his head. “His Grace told me himself that you are the one human besides Daniel in these grounds. But we don’t know the structure of your blood, it has been through many treatments now.”

I thought for a moment. “It’s…strange.”

“Believe me, I know.” The doctor smiles at me strangely. “I’ve heard of what’s happened. And I can see why you terrify the king, especially now.” He placed a hand on my shoulder. “It’s a frightening prospect; one who has suffered a million hells, and survives every one of them.”

“Not without scars.”

“That’s what makes you terrifying. Not the physical scars,” he added, “but all that suffering has made you strong as steel. You’re a girl forged by pain and rage, and you remember everything that’s ever happened to you. That’s why he’s afraid. He knows that you’ll get revenge, someday.”

I smiled up at him bitterly. “You make me sound like some warrior.”

“That’s what people consider you.”

“People?”

“Indeed.”

I suddenly felt uncomfortable. “Could I save Daniel with my blood? It’s closer than anything else available, and if it can bring me back to life, it can heal him.”

“If he accepts it. More precisely, if his body accepts it. That’s the main worry.”

“Is there a difference between injections and a transfusion?”

“Your blood is used to catering for your body. We don’t know how it’ll react to his. Best case scenario, he accepts it, and it heals his body without permanently impacting his system.”

“And then there’s an infinite amount of possibilities after that,” I concluded.

“Yes,” he said. “And there’s another issue.”

“What now?”

“A lot of blood is needed. He’s nearly comatose right now, but we’re not sure how much blood he’ll need. And we must think of your condition as well. If your bodies are like ours, then you won’t be able to reproduce enough blood to function, at least not in less than a day. You’d die from the blood loss.”

“…you forget who you’re talking to, sir.” Before he could interrupt me, I continued. “Take all the blood you can from me until I stop breathing. That’s how much you’d need for Daniel.”

He hesitated. “Resuscitate me if you want,” I told him. “But if you don’t, I’ll come back anyway.”

“My lady-”

“I’ve died from haemorrhaging more times than I am able to count, and I’m here to say this to you,” I said. “If there’s another option, think of one now.”

He thought for a moment before shaking his head in defeat. “I can’t,” he admitted. “He’s in no condition to consent,” he acknowledged. “But you do realise that this is a coin flip.”

“Of course I do.”
___________________________________________

The doctor lets me stay in Daniel’s room while this happens. Jhaq and Ray are asked to leave, but Ray refuses, and I don’t argue with her. “She can stay if she wants,” I say. “If her mother agrees,” I remedy, at the look on Jhaq’s face.

“You’ll come back,” Ray says firmly. She’s tiny, but she’s stubborn. I’ve forgotten how old she is.

“Of course. Think of a colour while I’m gone.”

“Why?”

“Just for a bit of fun.” Everything starts to go foggy once more. “How much has gone?” I asked the doctor.

“A litre,” he told me. “Shouldn’t be too much longer.”

“Doctor?”

He frowns at me. “What?”

“What’s your name?”

“I…” He looks away. “Noah.”

I smile. “I thought I knew you.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Him. He’s opening his eyes and looking over at me. “You’re going to live,” I said to him, as everything fades. “Stay alive for me.”

It’s like going asleep. “Promise me, Daniel.”

Don’t Go Now

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It’s all a matter of waiting. Which happens to be the thing I am worst at.

It’s like that time with Chase; the only thing I can do is sit there and watch on. There’s only helplessness.

And hate. That too.

Daniel’s shivering all the time, and his face is drained of any colour, except for a bright red near his right eye. Right now there’s a bandage wrapped around his head, covering the wound, but I still feel sick, knowing what’s underneath it…

“The eye must be removed,” Jhaq had told me. “It’s been too badly damaged, Daniel would no longer be able to use it.”

Later, someone I assumed to be the physician gave me a much more gory description. The eye had been sliced straight down the middle, whoever attacked him got him straight in the eyeball. His words made everything seem so much worse, I had already felt uneasy at the sight of Daniel; hearing the doctor’s words made my stomach churn.

“What else has been done?” I asked Jhaq.

She just shook her head. “Have you cleaned it?” I probed. “Have you given him water? Please, tell me!”

“We’ve cleaned it, Miss Madigan,” she reassured me hurriedly. “And he’s been given food and water, but…” Her voice trailed off.

I tried to understand. “He…can’t keep it down? Is that it?” She nodded. “Is it the shock?”

Jhaq sighed softly. “The weapon, Miss Madigan…” She stopped speaking suddenly.

I then saw the two figures at the door. One of them is Thommand, the other is his Grace.

“What do you want?” I said coldly.

Christan looked away. Thommand spoke. “We merely wanted to have knowledge of your wishes, Lady Madigan.”

“Wishes? What do you mean?”

He sighed. “Have you seen the condition of the weapon?” Without waiting for my response, he takes it out from behind him and tosses it toward the bed.

I caught it with my left hand and looked at it. I felt my anger rise as I saw it still had Daniel’s blood on it. “Just what am I meant to be looking at?”

“Wipe the blood aside if that helps,” Thommand suggested.

I ran the blade over the leg of my pants, and as the blood disappeared, I saw what he meant. I glared at Christan. “Why would someone carry a blade this rusty?”

“Do not question him,” Thommand said sharply.

“I have every right to,” I growled. Christan’s eyes widened. “After everything that has happened, I certainly have that right.”

“The point at hand,” Thommand was changing the subject again. “Is that if he receives an infection, then he shall slowly rot.”

Christan flinched as my five letters lit up again. “And?” I snarled.

Thommand is completely unfazed. “In the case of that happening, I was wondering if, instead of letting him suffer, you would allow one to administer a quick d-”

A ball of light suddenly seared off the edge of his arm. “Get out now, before you lose the rest of your attire,” I hissed. “Now!”

Thommand turned around in a huff, but Christan remained. “And what do you want?” I enquired angrily.

He shook his head. “I am the king,” he said firmly. “I wish to stay with Daniel as he recovers.”

“I believe you lost that right when you put that bloody dagger in his eye!”

“I will not be ordered around by his wench, my la-”

I caught him by the collar and hissed in his ear. “Listen,” I growled. “I have killed people for far less than you have done, your Grace. I am definitely not below revenge, and no one would blame me for it now.” I looked up and met his frightened gaze. “If your life means anything to you, you’ll leave. Now.”

I let him go, and he turned away with whatever remained of his pride. I looked back at Jhaq, who had no expression on her face. “Are you alright?” I asked, my voice hoarse.

“Yes, Miss Madigan,” she said firmly. She came up to me and put her hand on my shoulder. “Is Miss Madigan?”

I looked away. “What do you think?”

She sighed. “Jhaq…no, I worry too.”

Suddenly, Daniel let out a scream. “Daniel?!” I ran over and gripped his hand. “What’s going on?”

She just stared at Daniel, who was shaking violently. “Jhaq, please, help!” I pleaded.

Jhaq looked up. “Daniel is…”

“What?” I put my hand on his chest and I can feel it pounding like a jackhammer. “What are you saying?”

Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Daniel is…not here.”

“…not here?”

“No. Daniel’s mind is…gone.”

I shook my head. “It’s the shock, that’s all. He’s just in shock.”

Jhaq raised an eyebrow at me, and I immediately understand what she means. Who would know better than me?

“He’ll…he’ll come back though,” I told her. “I always do. No matter how bad it gets, I always come back. Even if it’s against my will.”

Jhaq spoke up again. “Daniel is not like Miss Madigan,” she reminded me. “Miss Madigan…” At the sight of my confusion, she raised her left hand, and I realised what she meant. “Daniel has never…Daniel is not…” She is grasping for words she does not know.

So I speak for her. “Daniel is not a freak,” I concluded.

She nodded. “If he…he won’t…” I inhaled. “He wouldn’t come back. He wouldn’t…heal.”

I looked down at Daniel. His lips were forming words I couldn’t hear, or understand. “How…long?” I asked her.

She shook her head. “No.” She suddenly ran out of the room, leaving me with Daniel.

“Cat…” I heard a whimpering sound come from Daniel. I grasped his hand, and waited for him to say more. Instead, he cried out again, gasping in agony.

His hand tightened around mine, and I thought my bones would break. But I didn’t let go. If I did, he might too. Stay with me Daniel, I pleaded. Please.

Everything

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Please don’t die, I’m begging you. You’re still needed here, I don’t want to say goodbye yet.

Normally I’m the scared one, the one that’s in pain. But here you are, lying there, pale as a ghost, and you’re slowly slipping away.

How many times have you saved my life? How many times have you saved me from my own madness? I owe so much to you, I shouldn’t be asking you for more. You should be at peace, you should be allowed to rest easy.

But I can’t. I can’t make myself let you go. You’re the one I hold most dear in my whole miserable existence. You know what you are to me, and I to you. And I would die a million more times to stop you from dying this once.

You can still survive this, I know you can. You’re weak right now, but you’re the strongest person I know, and I know you’re fighting as much as I am. I promised you that one day I can do for you at least a tenth of what you’ve done for me. Maybe this is the day that for once, I can save you.

Do I have a Life?

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Obvious answer is yes. I have two, in fact. However, one is spent either getting murdered or being a murderer, and the other is…mostly Facebook. Oh, and writing and drawing.

So speaking of wasting one’s life, this is going to be my 100th post!

…so what should I do?

“I knooooooow!”

“No Daniel.”

“…I hadn’t said anything yet.”

“Yeah, well, I know you.”

“Fine.”

As I was saying…I have updated this blog 100 times since I first started it, and that’s a proud achievement. 100 times I’ve spoken up and whinged about my Reality and my Delirium to the world. And I now have 63 followers, which is pretty cool. I guess that means I’m technically not allowed to say that you guys are imaginary or nonexistent.

Stuff that, I’m still going to say it.

So what should I do to celebrate?

Well….I’ve got nothing. So I’m going to post a photo of Kaya.

20140421-134100.jpg

“For the love of Pete, it’s not Kaya, it’s you cosplaying as Kaya.”

“Yeah…same thing.”

So once again, thankyou to all of you imaginary humans who read the adventures of an emotionally unstable teenage girl, her imaginary best friend and her split personality, and I hope that you might continue reading said adventure, unless of course, they make you as emotionally unstable as I.

Anyway….thankyou.
>

Evil Twin

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I don’t see Kaya as often as some people think. She’s only in my head when A, I have a bad episode in Delirium and she comes in so people don’t hear me dying, or B, when she’s in a very bad mood.

Which is why, on Friday, I got to spend most of the day with the bitch. Because I had a very special photoshoot that day.

It doesn’t look like me, she informed me. If you’re going to impersonate me, you might at least try.

“You try talking to her,” I pleaded with Daniel. He just ignored me, and continued looking through my iPad. “Found anything yet?”

“Nothing you’d be looking for,” he replied. “Mostly brightly coloured stuff, none of them scream ‘grim reaper’ to be honest.”

“You’re in the wrong section then. Just scroll down till you reach the dark pictures.”

“There’s a lot of shit on this thing, Cat Madigan, you ever think of clearing it?”

“All the time. And every time I think, What if I need to refer to it? It’s a vicious cycle.”

Why do you even do this to yourself?

“I like modelling. It gives me self confidence, and I need self confidence.”

You have the eye of a king on you, she reminded me. What more do you want?

“He’s…” I nearly said not real, but I’m already on Kaya’s bad side. “I’m not interested,” I settled for saying.

Liar.

“Kaya…” Daniel said warningly.

“I’m genuinely not interested Kaya. He’s nice, but he’s got the attention span of a cat.”

Pot. Calling. Kettle. Kaya’s voice was as dry as a bone.

“You know what I mean,” I groaned. “I don’t think I’d be able to talk with him the way I’d want to talk to someone. Not to mention, he seems like the type that would only desire someone till he had her.”

In other words, you don’t want to get hurt.

“No, that’s not the issue. The issue is that he’s not the sort of person I’d be interested in as a…what word would you guys use?”

“Lover?” Daniel suggested.

“…really? Is your whole mind entirely focused on sex?”

“Hey, you wanted a word for it.”

Concubine?

Both Daniel and I widened our eyes. “Kaya…” I said. “Please tell me you know what that word means.”

Of course I do.

“No offence to Cat, but I think the term concubine would refer to her rather than our beloved king,” Daniel pointed out.

I grimaced. “Not happening. I’ve had enough of that sort of thing.”

“For now.”

Before I could ask what Daniel meant, Kaya spoke up. There’s not really a word for it, she mused. Normally there’s a contract to marry, and perhaps courtship after that, if the husband wishes. More often it’s not. I could hear the distaste in her voice. And after that, there is marriage….maybe you could be his sweetheart?

“I’m not his frigging sweetheart!” I hissed.

What’s gotten into her? Her tone is as if she has never snapped at me in the whole duration of her existence.

“Leave her, Kaya,” Daniel said wearily. “Both of us aren’t good with that sort of thing right now.”

“Thanks Daniel. Anything yet?”

“I think you’d have a better chance searching YouTube for makeup ideas,” he said. “There’s nothing here.”

“It can’t be, there has to be something.” I took the iPad out of his hands.

“No!”

“…well, I see why you haven’t been finding anything.” I hurled it back at his chest.

“Ow!”

Before I could say anything more, we hear shouting. “Not again…” I groaned.

What’s going on now?

“Do I ever know what’s on with them?” I retorted. “Tig’s not like me, Kaya, he talks back. He’s under the impression that he’s intelligent and that screaming back insults makes a difference.”

What’s he done?

Suddenly, I heard a loud slamming sound, and my brother sobbing. Mum screamed at him, and I could make out the words How dare you, and Little shit. “It’s sickening…” Daniel said stiffly, trying not to show anything.

Are you alright Cat?

“I’m used to it.” I took the clothes out of my cupboard and laid them on the bed for the afternoon.

That wasn’t answering my question, she observed.

“Would you answer honestly if you were me?”

Mum charged into the room suddenly, without warning. Daniel froze, even though he’d be able to move freely and not be seen by her. “Your brother,” she announced, “has stolen most of the Easter eggs.”

“Why am I not surprised?”

“And he’s not owning up to it.”

“Again. My astonishment is extremely lacking.”

“Hmm.” She frowned at me. “It wasn’t you, was it?”

“No.”

“How do I know it wasn’t?”

I groaned. “I don’t know how I’m meant to prove myself innocent.” I turned to Daniel as Mum went on a tangent, and I saw his face going red, even though he was barely moving.

After what seemed an eternity, she finally left my room. Is she always like this? Kaya questioned.

“Not always.” That makes it harder though, I add mentally.

Hmm…

“So your brother’s stealing again,” Daniel observed.

“Seems like. You’d think he’d learn by now.”

“I don’t agree with what your parents do, but your brother is truly a little-”

“Daniel…”

“Fine.” Daniel put his arm around my shoulder. “How are you?”

“Fine.” That’s all I say.

“Kaya…” Daniel said after a while. “You’ve been quiet.”

Oh?

“What do you think?”

Of what?

“Cat’s parents.”

He shouldn’t be punished that way, she said firmly. Not by being thrown against the wall. I grimaced at a similar memory. Sorry Cat.

“Don’t worry about it.”

“Kaya…” Daniel’s voice had an odd note to it. “Tell her.”

“What?” I looked at Daniel and frowned. “What aren’t you telling me now?

He groaned. But when he opened his mouth to say something, Kaya spoke up. It’s fine! She doesn’t need to know.

“Kaya…what did you do?” I asked, suddenly going cold all of a sudden.

…Well.

Daniel interrupted her. “Cat, you might want to check in your wardrobe.”

“…do I want to?” He gestured towards it. “Very well…” I walked over to it and slid the door open. That’s when I saw the tinfoil. “You’ve got to be kidding me…” I span around, as if I expected Kaya to be behind me. “This is what you do when you take over when I’m in Delirium? You steal chocolate?”

I was starving! she protested. You barely eat anything, how can you stand sitting there with an empty belly?

“I eat apples! Apples are good! The chocolates are off limits though!”

Well, I didn’t know that!

“Shit…” I knew my hands were shaking, but I didn’t care. “My brother just got beaten up because of that!”

Cat, I’m so sorry, if I had known that it wasn’t allowed, I never would’ve done it, I swear.

I just sighed. “Now what?”

“Discard evidence,” Daniel directed. “Put the wrappers in the bathroom, in the cupboard. No one knows who put them though, no one gets the blame.”

“Or we both get the blame and we both get walloped till one of us confesses,” I pointed out.

“Yeah, well, I don’t see any better choices. Unless you’d like to confess that your dead demon friend who possesses you took the chocolates.”

Kaya scoffed. Demons are pathetic.

“Exactly my point.”

“Oh don’t you two start,” I hissed. I took the wrappers and crumpled them up and put them in a plastic bag. As soon as they got put in the cupboard, I hurried back to my room. “There. Hopefully things will end there.”

“Well, you’d better get dressed,” Daniel said. “Kaya’s makeup will be here soon.”

Kaya hissed in my head. “Shut up Kaya,” I told her.
_____________________________________________________

It resembled Kaya a lot, but not precisely. But no one except us would know that.

Kaya’s hair covered her forehead entirely; whereas the wig I had gotten from Comic-con only had little bits covering my face.

Kaya’s skin was pale grey in colour, and I remember that covering the sides of her face and her arms were a number of random scales. What made it even more frightening was the black protruding veins which were so hard to ignore. The makeup, of course, wasn’t anything like that. She was still quite pale, but the makeup was for a natural skin tone. It was almost like Kaya had been humanised, somewhat.

The contact lenses I had were close to Kaya’s eyes. But they were only contacts, so of course, they weren’t an exact match. Kaya hated her eyes. Once, when she was younger, they were a pretty silver, but after her arrest and confinement, they became a bright, glowing violet to match the poison. They could’ve been lovely, but after what Kaya went through, it was rare for her to show any emotion other than emptiness or rage, and I don’t blame her.

You’re also fatter than me, Kaya informed me.

“Yeah, well, that’s because I haven’t been starved for eight or so years,” I retorted. That shut her up.

This is similar to what I wore when I escaped with Daniel, she mused, looking at my costume. But my hair was long then.

“I can barely remember you with long hair though,” I told her. “You cut it off not long after.”

I know…

I giggled. “I remember their faces when you did that.”

She laughed at the memory. It was as if I had slaughtered their children.

“In a way, it was. Those maids must’ve spent hours brushing the mats out of your hair.”

I don’t regret my decision. There’s a hint of mischief in her tone. Daniel was the funniest though. He was trying to comfort the poor women.

“Aww….Daniel used to be a gentleman!”

He still is. He just acts perverted to irritate you.

“Why?”

You’re funny when you’re irritated.

“Not always.” I showed her my memory of murdering that woman.

There’s a difference between irritated and infuriated, Kaya said. You need to forgive yourself.

“Then it will become easier. I don’t want to do that again.”

Who are you? she asked me suddenly.

“I’m…not entirely sure. Who am I? What am I? Am I a different species now?”

Look. Kaya cleared her throat. Your name is Cat Madigan. It’s not the name you were born with, but you’re not the same person from when you were born, are you? She went on before I could speak. You’ve changed a lot over the years. When I met you, you were a quiet, innocent young woman. A disaster waiting to happen.

And then I met you again, with Daniel. You were scared, terrified actually. What astounded me was that you trusted me over Daniel, who is obviously the less frightening article.

“Daniel used to be an asshole though.”

He’s changed a lot too. He didn’t like you because he thought you were some weak little snivelling thing.

“And I’m not?”

“Definitely not.” I jumped at the sound of Daniel’s voice. “Hey.” He waved at me.

“Hello Daniel. Can you tell me what I am? Daniel?”

He’s taking in the sight of me. “Right…sorry. We’re going to leave in ten minutes,” I told him. “Wanna come?”

Daniel smiled. “Would I go anywhere else?”

I’ll be off then. With that, the pain in my head vanished.

“Can you answer my question then?” I asked Daniel.

He sighed, and knelt down as if I were a child half my size. “My dear lady,” he said, looking up at me. “You are about to witness a remarkable event.” He inhaled. “I agree with Kaya.”

I managed to stop myself from laughing. “I see.”

“It’s true.”

“That…must’ve been hard on you.”

“…you can laugh now if you want.”

I grinned. “Thankyou.”

“Now. You wanted to know who you are? You are Cat Madigan. Not Freak or Kaya or Bitch, or anything else.”

“Aren’t I? Think about what I’ve done. I’m going down the same road as Kaya.” I remembered her last moment, on the Lake of Ghosts. “I’ll end up like her, one day. I can feel it.”

“No.” Daniel took my hand. “There’s a very big difference between the two of you.”

“Which is?”

“Remorse,” he answered. “Kaya killed men she didn’t know and brushed it aside. She wanted revenge on their kind, so she became one of them.”

“And I’m not? I’ve gone through ‘treatments’ too, Daniel. I’m a freak, and I can kill just as easily as she can.”

“No. You won’t.” Daniel stood up and drew me in for a hug. “Because you can see the good in people as well. Kaya’s disillusioned because of everything that’s happened, but you still have faith, no matter how little. And that guilt stops you, makes you pause before you do something you’ll regret.”

“No it doesn’t,” I argued. “I’ve killed before that woman. And now I’ve lost count.”

“I know that. Yes, you’ve killed people.” He grimaced. “But you’ve always been as guilty as hell afterwards. And that’s the difference. Kaya let herself become a monster. You’re more reluctant to let go of your humanity. And that’s who you are, Cat Madigan; human.”

“Freak,” I insisted.

“Freaks are human too,” he reminded me. “Sometimes more than most humans. And this world of mine needs some humanity left in it.”

“You and me, against the rest of the he world,” I laughed.

“That’s how it’s gonna be,” he grinned.
;

Story time with Meow Meow

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Even though he was translucent, I could feel how freezing cold his hands were. I could’ve kicked myself for trusting this strange ghostly child, but it was too late now.

Argh….time to die again.

“What’s your name?” I asked him, trying to be friendly.

“Neekah,” he said cheerfully. “I’m five!” he added proudly.

A five year old…could a five year old kill me? “Hey Neekah. I’m Cat, Cat Madigan.”

He started giggling again. “Meow.”

I made myself smile. “Yeah, like that. Meow.”

“This way, Meow,” he pulled me around the corner.

“Where are we going?” I asked him, desperately hoping that Daniel would come around soon, and hopefully sober enough to get me away before Neekah went psycho and started to stab me.

“The nurs’ry,” he said. “I wan’ you to mee’ my friends, Meow!”

Oh…I’m going to be murdered by a GROUP of creepy ghost children. Yay! “Is my friend going to be there too?”

“She’s there summer-times,” he said. A look of unease came across his face. “Scary, she is, Meow. She scares me, Tooie too.”

“She scares me too,” I told him. “She’s nice though, she’s not a bad person.”

His face brightened up. “We’re heeeeeeeere!” he called cheerfully.

Bracing myself for my brutal death at the hands of evil demon ghost children, I watched him open the door, and I stepped through after him. “Hello,” I said uneasily.

“Hi!” The ghost children chorused. There was about twenty of them, girls and boys, with glowing white skin, and deep blue hair. “What’s your name?” One child yelled out.

“She’s Meow!” Neekah replied.

Before I could correct him, the children all sang out, “Meow Meow!” and giggled hysterically. A tiny little girl with a green eye and a blue eye took my hand. “Tell us a story!” she sang, and the children cried out in agreement.

“…okaaaaay, um, what story?” This was getting far too weird for words. The girl started pulling me over to a little reading nook with a window view of the outside. For a moment, I just stood there, and watched the silver spirits swimming outside, almost flying through the water surrounding the castle.

“A noo story!” Neekah exclaimed. The little girl gave a cry of delight and pushed me into the reading nook. The children then proceeded to crowd around me, Neekah and the little girl sitting next to me, and they looked up at me intently.

There was a moment where I considered whether death by demon children was preferable to whatever the hell was going on here. But I decided to go with it. “Okay,” I said, more to reassure myself. “This is the story…of a princess.”

“Boring!” The girl next to me practically yelled in my ear.

“I like princess stories!” Another girl whined.

“I don’t!” She crossed her arms and sulked. “And I’m the princess, and what I say goes!”

I knew that it was only a matter of seconds before the nursery broke out into outright war, so I called out “Okay, everyone shhhhhhh!”

Immediately, the children started going “Shhhhhhhhh” as loud as the could. “Alright,” I said, thankful for the distraction. “I’ll tell you about a cat instead.”

They quietened down. “Okay. There was once a little cat, who lived with her family. She was happy, and they were happy. Then one day, the little cat got lost.”

“Oh no…” The little princess’s face looked disheartened.

I continued. “She was lost in a forest. But rather than cry, she decided to look around for help. After a few hours, she came across a girl. She had white hair and purple eyes, and she looked very very scared.”

“Who was she?” Neekah asked.

“The little cat didn’t know,” I told him. “But she asked if she was alright. But the girl ran away without answering.

“So the little cat ran after her, trying to find her. But she managed to find herself even deeper in the forest, and she ended up getting caught. A tree got ahold of her with his long arm, and wouldn’t let her go.” The little girl gasped. “Now the little cat was scared. She wasn’t afraid before, she had been in forests before, but now she couldn’t move, and she was helpless.

“She cried out for help, for hours and hours, and but even though other people passed through the forest, passed the same tree that she was stuck in, they couldn’t see her. Eventually, she stopped calling out, and just cried.”

The expressions on their faces were all desolated, and the girl beside me was in tears. Neekah walked around me and took her hand. I could’ve slapped myself. Why do all my stories end up just….bad?

“Then a man was coming through the forest,” I continued. “A…a warrior, coming back from a fight. And the little cat was scared even more. He was carrying a large sword and had an angry expression on his face, and she just hoped he’d leave her alone.

“But he stopped in front of the tree, and looked at her. His face changed, and suddenly, with the swing of a sword, he cut off the branch which held her, and she fell to the ground. She landed on her toes, as all cats do, and the man knelt down beside her. ‘Are you alright?’ he asked.

“The little cat didn’t know what to say. She had been crying for hours and this man was the first one who had heard her. She didn’t know what to say to this man.

“He looked around. ‘Where is your family?’ he asked her. The little cat just shook her head. ‘Not here’, she said,” and as I said her words, I put on a high squeaky voice for the little cat, making the children giggle a bit.

“‘Would you like my help?’ the man asked. The little cat didn’t answer at first. She had just been trapped by a tree, and she was frightened of the strange things in the forest, and she was also afraid of this man, who had just come from battle. But she also wanted to get home, as fast as she could. ‘Yes please’, the little cat said. ‘Take me to the outside of the forest please, sir’.

“So the man picked up the little cat and put her on his shoulder, and he walked through the endless forests until the trees started disappearing, and she could see the light again. ‘Thankyou!’ the little cat squeaked, and the man lifted her off his shoulder.”

I looked at the faces of the children, now bright and intent. Slowly, I continued. “She looked up at the man, and asked him ‘Where is your home?’ in her squeaky voice.

“He just shook his head. ‘I live here,’ he told the little cat. ‘I don’t have a home’.

“The little cat thought for a moment. ‘If I…ever go into the forest again, can I go with you?’ she asked him.”

I’m tempted to give in to the immature streak inside me and say something along the lines of And the man said, ‘Fuck no!’ and ran away, but that’s not appropriate for little children. “And the man smiled at her, and he didn’t look scary at all. ‘If you want’, he said. ‘If you promise to be careful too’.

“And so from then on, the little cat would always go into the forest with the man, and even when she became a big cat, and didn’t need his help anymore, she’d always stay with him. Because even though he was a warrior, he needed help too, like she did. And the little cat knew that she always had a home in the forest with him.”

“Theeeeeeee Ennnnnnnnd,” the little girl sang, much more cheerful than at the beginning of my depressing story.

“Is not!” Neekah protested. “She diddin get to the bit where the little cat goes home to her family!”

“Of course she did,” the little girl rolled her eyes. “Don’t be stupid. She made it to the edge of the forest, and went home.”

Another child raised her hand. “Meow Meow, what happened to the girl the little cat met?” she asked.

“Did she ever get caught in the trees again? How do trees even do that?!”

“Weren’t her parents worried about her?”

“What was the man’s name?”

“Meow Meow, it’s time to go.”

I looked up, and Daniel was leaning against the wall, smiling. “Heya,” I said. At least you’re still sober.

“No!” The little girl flung her arms around me. “She’s ours! Ours, ours, ours!”

“Yeah!” All the children started crowding around me, as if to create a barricade to prevent Daniel from reaching me. It’s freezing cold, and I began to worry again at dying at their hands. One child even leaps on my shoulders and hugs my head, so I can’t see. Death by hugs wouldn’t be a bad way to go though. Well, actually…

“Come on guys, can I have my Meow back? She’s mine.” Daniel’s voice took on a petulant tone.

“No!” the twenty-something ghost children protested. “She’s ours!”

“Meow Meow has to go with her husband now, guys. She’ll come back another time, I promise!”

You had better not be talking about yourself, mister. But the children all sighed with disappointment, and released me from their icy cold grasps. As I walked over to Daniel, they all waved goodbye, and the little girl with the blue and green eyes came forward.

Daniel knelt to the ground and kissed her hand. He was the epitome of charming. Then she hugged me around my legs. “Goodbye Meow,” she said softly.

“We’ll come back again another time, ‘Reida,” Daniel told her, before leading me out of the room.

I was quiet as I followed him. “We’re not going back there, are we?” I whispered.

“No.” His voice was sad. “That’s just a memory of them. Neekah’s memory, actually. But they’re gone, those children.”

“Did they get…” Their faces flashed through my mind. “Not children surely…”

“No,” he reassured me. “That’s not them when they died, I promise.”

“You also promised them that we’d come back,” I retorted.

“We will come back,” he said. “Another time though. Another place. I don’t break my promises. Neekah will get to see you again, and you can meet him and his friends again.”

I was unsure how to feel about this. I wasn’t afraid or anything like that. But I was sad. The thought of Neekah wandering the castle, conjuring up memories of his little friends to keep him company, felt so…

“He’s trying to ignore it all,” I said aloud, more to myself than Daniel. “He’s trying to forget that he’s dead, and his friends are dead. It’s horrible.”

It wasn’t till Daniel touched my shoulder that I realised I had tears falling from my eyes. “I’m sorry,” he told me. “I shouldn’t have taken you here.”

Somewhere, within myself, I brought out a smile. “It’s okay though,” I said. “I’m glad I met them.”

When he was still frowning, I hugged him around the waist, like he’d do to me when I was saddened. “It’s only a memory, but they still exist,” I said. “These people are good, and they’re real to Neekah, so they are real.”

“I guess…”

I looked up at him, and kissed him on the cheek. “Thankyou Daniel,” I told him. “Thankyou for showing me the one place of pure good in this god forsaken world.”

Memory of the Dead

Standard

“Holy shit…”

“Don’t ask.”

“But-”

“Please Cat?”

“Argh…fine.” But I can’t take my eyes off his hair. It’ll take some getting used to. For as long as I had known him, his hair was always falling across his face, as he refused to put it in a ponytail except for classy occasions. It wasn’t too short though, and there was still that messy look to it, but it looked a whole lot…cleaner. “Can I touch it?” I asked.

“No.”

“But I wanna!”

“Are we really doing this now?”

“Well, what are we meant to be doing?”

“Well, I was going to show you around here,” Daniel told me. “But I suppose….”

“Bitchface,” I said cheerfully. “Where are we?”

I had just woken up here a couple of minutes ago, in the centre of a giant room. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was an endless landscape of colours and lights, and I was immediately dazzled by the beauty of it all.

Then I saw Daniel and his hair, and decided that that was the headliner.

Daniel took my hand and pulled me up. “Do you recognise this place?”

I do. It takes a while to register, but I do. “I thought this place was destroyed.”

“No. It very nearly was, but after they won, Christan sent guardians to drive them away.” There’s a hint of disgust in Daniel’s voice, and I don’t blame him.

After?” I enquired. Daniel nodded. I clenched my jaw. “Fashionably late, was he?”

Daniel groaned. “Thommand and Clarrent are his advisors,” he reminded me. “I wasn’t at their court when this happened, but I do know that saving these people wasn’t in their best interests.”

I was silent. “Will you be alright?” he asked.

“So what are we meant to do here?”

Daniel inhaled. “Thommand wants us to collect the memories of the people here. He’s looking for one person who died in this place to give us some information.”

“Slow down there, Daniel. I’m confused.”

He shook his head in exasperation, and it’s almost how it used to be- him getting annoyed at me, and me getting flustered and pissed. “Look,” he says. “You’ve got memories of this place, don’t you?”

I nodded. “From Kaya.”

“Well, all you need to do lure the people in this place out, and interact with them.”

Trying to take in all this, I decided on pretending that I knew what the hell was going on. “Then what?”

“Watch and learn.” Daniel took off his coat and handed it to me. “Now go ahead.”

“Wait. What. Huh?”

“I’m tired,” Daniel said as his way of explaining it. “You can handle this on your own.”

I just stared at him. “I am a fricking walking disaster,” I told him flatly.

“You could say the same for me.”

“I’m sorry, but there’s nothing in your record which says ‘accidentally demolished three houses’,” I retorted.

“This place is pretty fireproof,” he informed me. “Now go on. Explore to your heart’s content.” With that, he pulled out a little flask and took a gulp.

I stared at him. “Is that what I think it is?”

“Lucky potion,” Daniel replied. “Good for the nerves.”

I snatched it from him. “You’ve got a problem mister.”

“Oi! Get your own!” I walked away from him, and he hurried after me. “Cat, give me back my medicine.”

“One doesn’t drink medicine without measuring it first.”

“I did measure it! One flask full of medicine every time I have to go out on a job for Fat man.”

“No wonder you got caught last time,” I grumbled. When Daniel didn’t reply to that, I sighed. “I’m sorry.”

We slowed to a stop. “It wasn’t the first time we’ve gotten caught and tortured,” he reminded me.

“It was the worst though.”

Daniel smiled at me and gave me a quick hug. “Don’t blame yourself,” he told me. “I know how you feel about it, but you need to remember that you had no choice.”

“Didn’t I?”

“No.” He kept his arms around me, and then made a grab for my hand. When I held it out away from him, he growled and caught me around the waist.

“Oi! Let me go!” I yelled.

“Give it here before I tickle you.”

“Is that an actual- oh shit!” Torn between my dignity and my stubbornness, I flung the bottle in the air in an act of desperation.

Releasing me, Daniel calmly walked over to where the bottle was flying and caught it single-handed. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

I stuck out my tongue at him. “Now go on, then. Explore!” Daniel sat down and took another swig of his ‘medicine’.

I gave up. I left the grand room and decided to find where the entrance was, just in case we had to make a quick getaway. “Okay,” I told myself. “I’m going to keep track of the turns I make, so I can get back to Daniel easily. And hopefully he won’t be completely intoxicated.”

First, I turned left. Then I kept going straight ahead, and then there was a right, at a smashed statue. It was then that I heard yelling. Release me, now! a woman snarled, but the voice seemed to echo in my head.

I looked around quickly. “Where are you?” I called out, praying that hopefully the source of the voice didn’t have the same personality of the vengeful ghosts in Corpse Party.

There was silence. Then I heard the voice repeat down the hall. A more cautious person would’ve gone and found Daniel, or at least, a companion who probably wasn’t an alcoholic. But at that point, I had forgotten the directions I had taken, and it was more focused on finding the source of the voice.

I opened the door to a small, plainly furnished room. There was no bed, instead, there was a mattress on the floor, with a small woollen blanket which had been tossed to its side.

Let me go, the voice demanded, or I swear, I’ll rip that precious hair of yours from your skull.

That’s when I realised whose room this was.

Did Thommand want Kaya’s memories? Really?

I shook my head at that. If he wanted this so badly, he definitely wouldn’t have sent the two people who cared for her most. Especially not one who recently pulverised a brothel owner and shattered his whore.

And burned his own scarlet tunic. And that was completely intentional.

So where was the voice coming from? As I looked around the room, I tried my hardest to understand what was going on. I had never heard of ghosts in Delirium until today, and I wondered why I heard Kaya here, instead of her home in the sky.

I suddenly remember. I’ve heard her say that before. Right before she pulled out the knife…

I laughed at the memory. Many screamed, others fainted. Daniel just stood there confused as hell, while Nereida started giggling uncontrollably. But I believe it’s still here, the evidence of her attack.

I looked under the mattress, and there they were; long silver strands, almost as long as my whole arm. They were all matted together, I would have to use all my strength to tear them into separate fibres. No wonder Kaya cut them off.

With that mystery solved, I tried to remember what Daniel wanted me to do. I was to find ghosts…and then what? What did they even look like?

I returned to the hallway, and the realisation that I had completely forgotten the road I had taken. Dammit.

Then I heard a giggle behind me. Which all you nonexistent horror game enthusiasts know means one thing; I was about to be murdered by a psychotic ghost child. Lovely.

Actually, that’s not what happened. This isn’t Corpse Party, it’s just my fucked up imagination. But at the time, I thought that would be the case.

“Hello,” I said. Because that’s what you say to creepy ghost children that will murder you in a couple of seconds. And you also turn around to face them before they kill you, because it’s impolite for them to stab you or slit your throat from behind you.

He’s different from Daniel. His body is white, and I can just see through him. There’s a sort of glow about him, and he’s gazing at me intently. He looks about six…if that.

“Ano’er hooman,” he said in a high, clear voice. Then he sweeps me a bow. “May I help you?”

Umm….. “I’m…looking for my friend,” I tell him. “Can you help me?”

“What’s her name then?” There’s no malice or hate in his face, simply curiosity. But I’ve been hurt by friendlier people.

“Her name is Kaya,” I told him. “Do you know where she is?”

Why I decided to trust him, I’m not sure. I didn’t have anything to lose, I suppose. I could fight him off if necessary, or so I hoped. And I was so used to dying, it was almost routine. I’m guessing I followed him because I wanted some faith in the goodness of people left. I wanted to be proved right.

He gave me a giant, toothy smile. “Through here, m’lady,” he lisped. He held out his hand, and I took it. “Follow me.”