Let’s Raise Hell

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Cat Madigan is back, bitch!

Sorry. That was rude.

But I’m back. And I need to catch up on Delirium. Starting now.

__________________________________________

“Okay, we’re moving,” Daniel said.

“What? What’s going on?” I was dragged away from Daniel’s desk where I had been sketching.

“Papa Willis isn’t on the network,” he said.

“What? He was last time.”

“And now he’s not.” He pulled me out into the hall, nearly running down the stairs.

“Daniel, stop for a moment,” I told him. He slowed down, but only to a pace. “I have to tell him that we’re going.”

“Why?”

“In case he can help us!”

He groaned. “If he could, he would’ve-”

“Daniel, please, let me try.”

Daniel sighed. “Fine. Just wait till we reach the armoury. I’ll get us some backup so you can get back to Reality for a bit.”

“Agreed.” He then broke off into a sprint again, this time with me following closely, with the crowds of people watching us pass by.

Upon reaching the door, I immediately dropped. When I opened my eyes, I was in my room again. “Okay…” I grabbed my iPad and typed in my message for Papa Willis. Five minutes passed, and there was still no answer. “Crap!”

Then Mum came in. “I need you to set the table, dinner’s in ten. And fix your bloody room!” She popped out just as quickly as she came.

Double crap.

I had no choice. “Kaya!” I hissed. No answer. So I screamed internally, because actual screaming would alert the household, KAYAAAAAAA!

What? Her sudden appearance shocked me. She spoke as if she had been there all along.

“Gods sake…” I hissed. “Listen, can you take care of things here? We’re off to get Willis.”

About time. What am I allowed to do?

“Interact with the family only if they speak to you. Do not yell at anyone, do not kill anyone. And Mum wants the table set and my room clean.” I thought for a moment. “And I need to wash my hair too.”

I can have a shower? Kaya’s voice sounded happier.

“Yes, you may.” I listened for footsteps before sitting down on my bed.

I opened my eyes to see the last person I expected to encounter again. “What are you doing in the armoury? I would’ve thought that was beneath you.”

The woman rolled her eyes. “It is. It also happens to be where you are. So I am here.”

I sat up. “What do you want?”

“You’re going to save your little human friend. Why? Isn’t Daniel good enough for your bed?” she taunted.

“Are you here to spite me or do you have something to tell me which is actually useful?” I returned. I was tired of this so-called woman of fire. She kept trying to get a rise out of me, even in the most inappropriate circumstances. It was for that reason that I could never take her seriously. If she was capable of something other than mocking me, then I would probably have been hurt by her words. But alas, she wasn’t.

“I do,” she informed me, though it was clear to me that her words were just as likely to be bluster instead of actual advice. “I suggest that you prepare yourself for the worst.”

“Let me rephrase my previous remark…whatever the hell your name is. Do you have any information that can actually help me?”

“My name is Emisair of Fire, and that was it,” she told me. “You know what they’ve done. You of all people know what they’ve done. And you of all people can imagine what could’ve happened to that boy.”

“Of course I can imagine it. Why do you think I going after him?”

“That’s my point,” Emisair mused. “Why are you going after him when he’s already dead?”

“He’s not-”

“If he’s not, he’s a very lucky man. But you wouldn’t be rushing about the castle if you were so confident about his chance of survival.”

“Papa Willis is my dearest friend in the world,” I informed her. “I would probably do anything for him, and if I can save him, then I will, and nothing you say will stop me!”

She watched me as I got up off the ground and brushed myself off. I was walking away from her, towards the forgery, when she called after me. “Since when do you care about a lost life?”

“Since when don’t I?”

“Don’t you know?” Her voice became a purr. “You’re the hangwoman, Cat Madigan. How many people have you killed now? Can you even count that amount?”

I gritted my teeth, ready with my answer. “If I could change what I had done, I would,” I told her. “But I would never have touched them if-”

Emisair walked in front of me. “That’s why I’m not calling you a murderer,” she replied. “But you’re not far off that. It’s easy to justify whatever you’ve done wrong. But then you keep justifying it, until you no longer need a reason, you can just…” She ran her long nail across the flesh of her dark throat. “That is all I have to say.”

“…good.” We stood there, the two of us, until she sighed and turned on her foot, leaving the armoury. With that, I headed towards the hot furnace that was the forgery. I had never seen this place before, but I could see why Daniel might’ve kept me away. When the smiths looked up and saw me, my ears were suddenly filled with catcalls and whistles. One of them called out, “Oi Daniel! This ‘ere ‘yer little sweet’eart?” That was when all of them came over and surrounded me, and somehow, the leering and comments became worse.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t as uncomfortable as one would assume. Instead of shrinking away from them, I just laughed. The smiths were only teasing me, and if they knew about me and Daniel, then they knew that Daniel would crucify them if they laid a hand on me.

Which is why I didn’t recoil when two arms snaked around me and held me close. “Hello,” I said.

He just laughed and his hands gripped my waist. Suddenly, I was lifted into the air, and over Daniel’s shoulder. “Oi! Put me down!” I yelled, much to the entertainment of the men. He ignored me and walked out of the forgery, the laughter following us out.

Daniel closed the door behind us, and the laughter was muffled. “My dear sir,” I began.

He lifted my body and held me up in the air for a while. “Yes, I understand completely,” I told him. “You have muscles. You can lift Cat-Madigan-sized objects. You’re also not wearing a shirt. And your eyepatch makes you look badass.” He grinned and put me down on the ground. “Will that satisfy your vanity for one day?” I queried.

“Good enough.”

“How’d you get your strength back this fast by the way? Didn’t you lose enough blood to fill a Cat Madigan?”

He grimaced. “Lots of herbal stuff from Jhaq. I just get tired now and then.”

I frowned. “You going to be okay for this?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

“What’s the plan?” I questioned.

“First, this.” Daniel held out a thin, gleaming object. Tentatively, I took it. “Not your usual type of stiletto, but still.”

“Huh?”

“That’s what it’s called,” he explained. “You like it?”

It’s a knife, I realised. One perfect for a Cat Madigan. I grinned. “Cool. Much cooler than roses.”

“So you don’t want roses?”

“I’ve never been given roses before…”

“Back to the situation at hand…” Daniel began. “You know your way around, don’t you?”

“…a little bit. I remember Willis’ cell, but I’m not sure how long it would take to find it.”

He nodded. “We need to find Noah, then we’ll be off. Plan of attack is to set off some distraction which they’ll chase after. Then it’s just a matter of silently making our way through the place, got it?”

“Yup. I can be quiet. Silent as a cat.”
_____________________________________________________

A couple hours later:

“FUCK, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!” I screamed as I sprinted through the halls, the monsters slowly gaining on me. This a good enough distraction, Daniel?

I then saw the dilapidated wall leading out toward the rocks and I jumped. Not my body though; my body dropped as I fell out of it, and my shadow stood in front of it at the ready. The monsters saw me as I was, and raised their blades.

I’m not afraid. I am the mad cat, and I will kill them too.

The Stuff That Has Gone Down In Reality

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Yes! I haven’t posted for ages. In my own defence, I’ve had very little time for writing, and I’ve got very good reasons why. It’s been nearly two weeks since I posted, and so much has happened, both in Reality and Delirium.

So let’s go! Starting with Reality. Because I’ve written a lotta stuff about Delirium, stuff which is not going to go to waste. And no Bad Dog, there’s no smut, so don’t even go there.

Okay…Reality.

Exams

Erghhhhh, I’m dying here. So far I’ve finished my Literature exam and my Religion exam. Literature was okay, however, I found myself doing the same thing I do for every essay, which is repeat the same thing over and over again to make sure my point gets across. Either way, I think I did okay. Hopefully it’s at least a C. And Religion was better than expected, though I really don’t know how well I did. I could’ve done awesomely (which would only happen if the one marking my exam was a bit tipsy) or I could’ve done absolutely shitty. But I answered all the questions. Just not sure if I answered them the right way.

Tomorrow is Human Bio and Maths. On the same day. And I regret not going to school today and studying. You see, when you don’t have an exam, you don’t have to turn up at school. Which is great. But I really need to study for Human Bio and Maths, because I’ve missed a lot of lessons due to Delirium. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve missed plenty of other subjects too. But unlike Lit and Religion, I can’t just conjure something out of my incredibly vivid imagination, I need to learn facts. And looking back now, had I been given a choice, I definitely would’ve gone to school to study.

Unless mum was there too. Fortunately that’s not allowed, otherwise mum would always turn up at school, screaming at me to clean my fucking room.

Mum has been refusing to let me study. Well, she goes through a process about it. Step 1, she asks “Can you clean your room if you have time?” Step 2, she comes in and yells at me because my room’s not clean. This happens usually ten minutes after Step 1. When I object to this, she can take two paths. Step 3A is to refuse to believe that I’m studying, because obviously, I’m on my iPad! Which happens to have my fucking textbooks on it. Or she can choose the other option, Step 3B, which is essentially a guilt trip. You can kind of visualise it, you know those arguments your parents give you that begin with “When I was your age”? It’s like that, only far less effective because it’s far from logical. Mum says something along the lines of “When I was your age, it didn’t matter if I finished exams or not.” Or something like that. Having another world in your head is extremely tempting at times like that…

Modelling

Had another photoshoot on Sunday. Theme was Apocalypse, but for once, I had had enough of zombies (gasp!). Instead, I was going as the Grim Reaper. Which was fricking awesome.

What was even more fricking awesome was the death scythe one of the Props guys made me. It wasn’t real, but it looked it. Best $55 I had ever spent. EVER. When I was carrying it around, I scared a few photographers and models. On the side, Daniel told me ‘Your Cat Madigan is showing’, which made me remember that I was still in Reality. It also reminded me that I shouldn’t stick my tongue out at what would look like an empty space to ordinary humans.

Highlight of the shoot was when I got together with one of the zombies and took him for a walk in the city. After locating a leash, the Grim Reaper went skipping down the alleyway with her pet zombie in tow, where they proceeded to traumatise many a childling. ‘Twas a wonderful day. Not so much for the little kids, but yeah.
The photos are looking pretty cool so far, I’m still waiting for the rest to be posted. There’s another photoshoot next Sunday, theme is Autumn. Still awaiting other photos from a test shoot I did and a glamour one. Why do photographers take so long….

Oh, and also, I did a fashion show where I got my hair coloured. The colour’s not that different, but it shows in the sunlight. It’s just a colour rinse. And I got to wear a wedding dress, though to be honest, I wouldn’t wear it to my own wedding, though I’d definitely want to wear it around the house. Liquid silk feels really nice… But anyway, it was 1920s themed, and though it was very pretty, it reminded me that I had no boobs and no waist when I looked at it in the mirror. Sure, I looked skinnier, but it gave me more of a boyish look.

Not that I’d ever get married anyway.

No, Daniel.

“What? You wish to live in sin for the rest of your life?”

“Pfffft. Sin, schmin. Besides, I promised Delamore not till 23.”

“I thought that was for virginity.”

“Hmm…you’re right. I should ask her about that. Actually, nah. She’d want to come to the wedding.”

“Let’s just agree that our relationship is fine the way it is and move on. Preferably before you start going on about wedding dresses.”

“I don’t go on about them, I just draw them.”

Moving. On.

“Fine.”

X

My second cousin Xenia came to stay for two weeks three weeks ago. I’d met her once at Christmas last year, but that was the only time if had met her before she stayed with us. She’s 19, three years older than my Reality self, but barely months older than my real age. There was enough resemblance between us that we could tell that we shared some genetic material, but that only extended to our hair and our tiny hands.

Mum said she was prettier than me, and she was probably right. She had nice brown eyes and light brown skin with no freckles or scars on it. Personally, I think mum liked Xenia because she wasn’t a kleptomaniac or a schizophrenic, not to mention she was an obedient daughter to her own parents, as an only child. Xenia grew close to mum when she first came, as Tig and I were always at school.

I never knew much of what she thought of me. I knew what she thought of my brother; Tig was always mouthing off about Mum, and she yelled at him, saying that she wanted to slap him. She and I barely interacted though, outside our family outings. The most we talked was when we went to an art exhibit in Rockingham on the beach, and I started using my artist/Literature skills to deduce the meanings behind the various sculptures before us.

“What does Indulgence mean?” she asked, when we approached several giant cupcake sculptures.

“I think…” I tried to put it as simply as I could. “It means to…take pleasure in something. Like…eating cupcakes. You take pleasure in eating- HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!”

I had thought that the long things sticking out of the cupcakes were meant to be wafers, but upon closer inspection, the end of the ‘wafer’ was shaped like a foot, which meant… “Legs,” I gasped. Xenia watched me incredulously as I started laughing. “There’s legs in the cupcake!” I crowed. “Oh my god…”

“You are strange,” Xenia said.

“Thankyou,” I returned. “Do you want to hear what this means?”

She looked back at the statue and stared at in quiet unease. “I don’t really want to…” she announced. “I liked it better when it was just ordinary cupcakes.”

We got along okay, but we never really bonded much, not like she and Mum seemed to anyway. She liked my drawings, well, the ones which weren’t of psycho zombie dragons, and she came to my modelling events with mum, but we never had much of a private conversation about things. She was pretty solitary when it came to our family, and I was up in the clouds most of the time. I also found her a bit too much like my mother to trust her much, even though she was from my father’s side of the family.

There was one time though, at the bus stop in the city. She came with me, as she was going on a tour to see the pinnacles, and she had to catch the ferry in the city. We didn’t speak on the bus, but when I got off, I felt horrible suddenly and stumbled off, grabbing onto the fence to keep steady. Daniel was there in a heartbeat, and helped me calm down from my panic attack. I was nearly in tears, but I finally stopped shaking.

“Cat?” Xenia said, and that’s when I realised she was right there, watching me. I looked up. “Are you alright?” she enquired.

“I’m fine,” I said.

She frowned, but didn’t say anything for a while. I was walking her to the ferry when she asked again. “Was that your…” She searched for a word. “Episode?”

“…yeah, little bit.”

“What…is it is?”

After hesitating, I decided to tell her. It was a word that she would most likely forget later on anyway. “Schizophrenia,” I told her. “Or some form of it.”

“Oh. How bad?”

I took that as a sign that she didn’t know what it was. Good. “Pretty bad,” I told her. “I…I don’t have long.”

Xenia frowned. “I thought…it was because of your mother.” I was puzzled. “She hit you across the face last night,” she went on. When my eyes widened, she smiled. “Your cheek is a little red,” she said.

“Right.”

“Are you alright?”

I gave a bright smile. “No.”

I left her at the ferry. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tell her about it. It’s just that I didn’t think she’d understand. She seemed so positive about things, always talking about how thankful for life we should be, and she was so close to Mum that I didn’t think she’d believe half the things I had to say. Or maybe she would believe them, and take them straight to Mum, the last person I wanted to know.

We got along. That’s all I can say.

So that’s it from Reality. I’m trying to catch up on the things from Delirium as best as I can. It’s gotten quiet again, so hopefully I’ll be able to catch up.

Also, Mum found her phone and apologised for belting my across the face.

Till next time.

Let’s Talk About It

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The first thing I have to say is that NO, I’m not going to write descriptions of my sexual encounters on this blog. Not looking at anyone in particular, Bad Dog.

The second thing I have to say is that people are weird about sex. Sex in itself is simple when you think about it.

Other factors make it so complicated though. The practise of sex is performed for different reasons. It can be done as commerce, a display of dominance, to create children, and even for love.

Morality makes sex complicated. Some parts of it are simple for people to understand, though there are some who don’t. You should never force people into it. You should be mature enough to do it, emotionally as well as physically. You should be careful to protect yourself. Then you get to more complex ethics. Some people say that you shouldn’t have sex until you are bound together by wedlock, others will give it away for a smile and a few pretty words. After that, there’s a matter of who you can or should have sex with. And that’s when you can get involved in a million issues involving race, gender, age, class; things that really don’t matter in the big picture when you consider it. Humans are silly that way.

There is very little humanity in Delirium, as you nonexistent readers have probably surmised by now. Though the people there maintain their illusion that they are of a higher class of beings, they are in fact worse than humans; they justify their sin as being their right, instead of feeling guilt. There is the occasionally exception, but I’ve found that those people usually had one thing in common; Daniel.

The reason I don’t regret spending the night with Daniel is because it’s one of the few moments in Delirium where I didn’t feel pain or fear or anger, which I had become so used to in this place. I felt more human than I had ever been, and that’s why I won’t ever forget it.

I did learn one thing though. It’s not necessarily a good idea to tell your friends about it. Even if they’re your dearest friends, they will not pass up the opportunity to embarrass you about it whenever possible about it.

Here’s how they found out. Starting with Kaya.

Kaya was pissed at me. Well, to be exact, she was pissed at Daniel, but she was taking it out on me, there’s a difference apparently. Originally, she was yelling at Daniel, as our dearest Papa Willis had been taken from his cell without him noticing.

However, Daniel assumed that she was angry about another notable event, and he began apologising in his usual non-apologetic way. And when he finally came to his senses that she was talking about something else, it was far too late.

And then she became even more pissed. As if that were even possible.

Whether this was because of morality or jealousy, I’m not sure. Kaya’s motives would always be a mystery for me. What I could never doubt however was the extremity of her moods, so I braced myself for many a rant from my split personality.

Her nagging stayed with me at lunchtime, when I was with my friends in the library AV room. The Evil One, who I should really be calling ‘Captain Clumsy’, arrived on her crutches. “Evil! Perfect timing!” I started.

“No.”

“Please?”

“You used it on her at recess.”

“Aw, come on!”

I’m not entirely sure of how we got onto that subject from there. I think we started talking about chocolate, because I mentioned how Kaya stole chocolate from the house. But my friends are very talented people, see. And they proceeded to into a conversation about chocolate into one about activities unsuitable for catholic school girls.

Long story short, Lady Delamore ended up giving me a talking to.

“Delamore,” I groaned. Daniel beside me was cracking up. “I am not wearing a chastity belt.”

“Yes you are.”

Before I continue, it might be a good idea to explain Lady Delamore to you all. Lady Delamore is the female equivalent of Slenderman, the seediest man alive, whom she also happens to be dating. Well, almost the equivalent. Unlike Slenderman, she has an abhorrence of actual intercourse, and has made us all promise to her that none of us would get up to any mischief until marriage or our coming of age, which she had helpfully pushed up to 23.

Of course, I had never taken it seriously, mainly because I had deemed myself ‘Forever Alone’. But it also had to do with my natural disdain for regulations and authority which is enforced on me. Which is why the promise which had been extracted from me by Delamore (who was holding my iPad hostage), had never crossed my mind that night.

“So why is Papa Willis allowed to throw away his virtue?” Daniel asks, obviously amused by Delamore’s stance, especially in light of recent events.

I repeat the question to Delamore. “You, my dear, are my baby girl,” she told me. “And you are very precious to me. If I had it my way, I’d lock you up in my basement, that’s how much I care about you!” The last part was obviously sarcastic, but the look on Daniel’s face was pure horror.

“Isn’t Papa Willis precious to you?”

“No.”

Daniel laughs at that. “Don’t you ever stop making fun of him?”

“Nope. We’re cruel people, Daniel.”

“I’m sorry, but when it comes to your virtue, I-”

I couldn’t help it, both Daniel and I crack up. Of course, they can only see me, but that’s beside the point. It was at that point that the truth began to come out.

Delamore stares at me. “Why are you laughing?”

Everyone turned towards me. I eventually calmed down. “Nothing,” I said, crossing my fingers.

Delamore’s eyes narrowed. “What. Is going. On.”

“I wanna tell her,” Daniel said.

“Don’t you dare.”

I looked over at my friends and went red. “What. Did. You. Do.

“…He says ‘Too Late’,” I admitted to them.

All hell went loose. Snugglepot and Teacup’s eyes went as wide as saucers, the Evil One and Bad Dog started laughing, Pinky and Ducky just went “What?!” and Delamore gave me The Look.

This look has been bestowed upon many a member in our group, mainly when we were discussing topics involving sex. And in a ‘family’ where having a seedy mind was a necessary trait for survival, this happened to come up a lot, and because our ‘family’ consists mainly of teenage boys, these topics were often quite graphic. And as a result, Lady Delamore issued her disapproving stare upon many.

She gave me this look now. “Explain!” she demanded.

“I’m going to leave you to it,” Daniel told me, kissing the top of my head.

“All alone?”

“You’ll be fine,” he said, chuckling as he left the room, abandoning me with all these emotional teenage girls.

They immediately started asking me what happened, and when the assumptions became more and more disgusting, I just yelled out “If you want to know, ask Papa Willis about it!”

“Why does he know and not me?” Delamore demanded.

“Because you don’t have Facebook!”

“We agreed twenty three! That was the agreement.”

“Yeah…about that.” I tried to come up with a suitable explanation, but I ended up just saying, “No.”

“Cat!”

“No.”

Delamore gave me that look. “It’s going to be a long time before I can forgive you.”

“Okay…”

“And you won’t do it again until you’re 23.”

I groaned. “Whatever.”

“In Reality, not Delirium.”

“Oh come on!”

Delamore eventually paused in her ranting to message Papa Willis to confirm this tale of woe. It was at this point that Teacup, innocent little Teacup, came up to me and gave me a hug. “I still love you Cat,” she said.

“Thankyou Teacup.”

“So…how was it?”

“…you’re like twelve!”

“Hey, I’m fourteen!”

“Does that really make it okay?”

“I’m just as innocent as the rest of you. Soooo, how was it?”

I closed my eyes, immediately regretting my decision to tell all. “Fuck.”

You started it.

Shaddup Kaya.

Back in Action

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Reality was the last place I wanted to be when I awoke, but to my dismay, when I opened my eyes, I saw the roof of my ceiling instead of the red velvet atop of Daniel’s canopied bed. Fuck.

Later on, after dinner, I decided to tell Papa Willis what had happened, as I couldn’t tell my real family, of course, and he was the one of the few who knew what was going on with Daniel. So I told him. Well, I gave him enough hints for him to figure it out.

“Shaddup,” I messaged him after he realised what I was saying. I was so grateful that I wasn’t telling him in person, I would’ve died on the spot if I did. And I was even happier that Daniel wasn’t there to see, or read, his reaction.

After some teasing and questioning, Papa Willis reassured me that it was okay, and that he could trust me not to judge. The subject turned to Delirium, and the monsters within. “Goddamn Delirium…” Willis said.

“It does have it’s moments though…”

“Cough, Daniel, cough.”

“…yeah.”

“Oh, and the fact that you’re pretty much the most powerful and dangerous person around now helps.”

Thanks Willis. I was about to reply, when he messaged me a couple more times. “Btw, if I’m in there still, you’ve got an ally,” he said. “Remember.”

That’s when something became apparent to me.

Noah had told me that I was the only human besides Daniel. At the time, I was too overwhelmed to question this. But he was wrong. For weeks prior, people were stirred up by the presence of three humans. One died, the other escaped and the third was taken in, and was marched through the castle grounds, and imprisoned.

“Be right back,” I messaged Papa Willis. “The most dangerous and powerful person in the world is now pissed off.” I didn’t need Daniel to send me to Delirium, within a blink of an eye, I was there.

I rolled out of Daniel’s bed and grabbed his long jacket and started buttoning. “Cat, what’s wrong?” Daniel murmured sleepily.

“Willis,” I told him, making sure that the buttons were completely done, in order to cover my lack of clothing underneath. I paused for a moment, then grabbed a long plum coloured skirt and shuffled into it. I didn’t have time for a corset, but I figured the better dressed I was, the more chance I had of getting what I needed.

“What have they done?” He was immediately awake. “Cat, what’s going on?”

“Human blood!” I had no time for shoes, I just bolted out the door, not waiting for Daniel.

He soon caught up with me though. My sense of direction in this place was severely limited, and I wasn’t bold enough to ask anyone for help. I later encountered him, fully clothed, walking towards me. “Christan’s chamber’s are that way,” he told me, pulling me in the opposite direction of where I was walking.

“So you understand.”

Daniel nodded. “Did you think I would be here if I thought otherwise?”

“They need you alive,” I stated, following him down the corridor. “And yet they went to me for blood. Why not Papa Willis? He’s probably a better match than I was, and they wouldn’t have had to purge you after you got better.”

“It was a lot of blood they needed…”

“Do you really think they would’ve cared about what happened to him?” I reminded him. “Noah said that Christan confirmed that I was the only possible donor, and believe me, he very much wanted you to survive. I think he would’ve put his ass above that of a human prisoner.”

“He couldn’t have forgotten Willis, could’ve he?” But I can tell by the look on Daniel’s face that he already knows that’s a negative.

I shook my head. “Christan himself granted me permission to see him. Not to mention he nearly escaped. There’s no way he could’ve forgotten that easily.”

“What are you going to do?” I could hear the apprehension in his voice.

“I’ll ask him nicely,” I assured Daniel.

“If you say so…you can catch more bugs with honey than vinegar after all.”

“Will manure do?” I replied.

He thought for a moment. “Yup.”

Christan was accompanied by about ten of his circle when we arrived. His face showed surprise, which was followed by a large grin as he saw our pleasant smiles. “Lady Madigan,” he greeted me, bowing to me and lifting my hand to his mouth for a kiss.

“Your Grace,” I replied, trying not to recoil at the touch of him. I still hadn’t forgotten.

“Daniel, it’s good to see you,” he said, his face going pale, though his expression remained friendly. “I would’ve thought that you would’ve remained in bed for a few more days.”

“The physic said he was healthy enough to walk around if he pleased,” I said.

“I believe his Grace was referring to something different,” a woman with sleek red hair and coal black skin informed me. The company behind us chuckled sycophantically, while Christan looked torn between laughing with his friends and the danger that was reflected in Daniel’s face. She approached the three of us, and curtseyed dramatically. Her eyes, when she looked up, were as red as her hair. “Emisair,” she announced herself. “I already know who both of you are.”

“Ah, so you’re the woman Thommand spoke of,” Daniel said. “According to him, you’re more flame than mortal.”

She beamed. “Well then,” Daniel said. He pushed me forward slightly. “I take it you will get along with my dear Cat Madigan then.” He smiled at my gaze of death. “I am off to speak to Thommand, so you stay here and be merry.”

I put on a complaint smile, and let him kiss my cheek, before whispering, “If you try negotiating things without me, you’re dead, sweetie.”

“Always a pleasure talking to you, my lady,” he replied, his eye glimmering, before walking out to the corner of the room to hunt for our least favourite fat man.

I turned back to my new aquaintance, with her red eyes bored and mouth sulky. “So,” she said. Her voice was deep and accented. “You’re the human’s whore.”

Charming lady. The whole room went silent, and took the two of us in. Emisair gazed at me as if she expected me to react.

I took a drink of cloud dew, knowing that I would need it. “Hmm?”

“A whore,” she repeated. “And a human whore to add to it.” She tutted. “He must look upon you in pity,” she said, gazing around the room to see all those who supported her. Only a brave few met her red gaze.

I smiled back calmly. “That’s a new name,” I told her. “But I do believe you have it wrong. I’m more commonly known as Freak, and that’s for a very good reason.”

“My lady…” Christan looked uncomfortable.

The lady gave him a look that could’ve burnt him alive. “I can see why,” she said rudely. “You have the look of the changed about you. You’re just like Kaya, only unlike her,” she took a step toward me, her eyes burning into my own. “You will never have any right to respect,” she finished with a sneer.

I smiled at her. “Thankyou,” I said sweetly. “I’m so glad to have made an impression. You, on the other hand, I’ll surely forget before the night is over…was it Emily?”

“Emisair!” she hissed.

“Right…forgive my forgetfulness, it’s just that I don’t particularly care for you,” I replied. I turned to Christan. “Your Grace, if you don’t mind, I’d I’d like to discuss more urgent matters than this snooty cow who is trying to insult me,” I said as I took another gulp of the sickly sweet drink. “Might we dance?” I knelt into a slow curtsey and lifted my head towards him, like Jhaq once taught me.

Shocked for only a second, he remembered himself and held out his hand. As I took it, he lifted me up and walked me to the centre of the room. The musician played and we began to dance. “I thought you wouldn’t have wanted to touch me,” Christan noted.

“Oh, I don’t,” I assured him cheerfully. “But I figure that if you try anything, then I can just set you on fire. We’re not in Reality right now, you know.”

His laugh was nervous. “I’m unsure whether you jest or not,” he said.

I shrugged. “Anyway, I need your assistance with something.”

“Anything.”

“My friend, the human. I wish to arrange another visit with him.”

He went quiet. “Your Grace?” I asked.

“…that may not be…”

“Why not?” I asked him. “I have a feeling he’d want to see me.”

“He’s…not in a good condition.”

I let my eyes narrow at him. “I thought he was being monitored.”

“He was…I mean-”

“There’s the word, was.” The fear was plain on his face, so I pressed him further. “What has happened to him?” I couldn’t control myself, I clenched my jaw. “Is he dead?”

“No! No!” Christan looks horrified. “No, he…he was alive…”

“Again with the term was, when was the last time you heard from him?”

“It…it was before T-”

“That’ll be all, your Grace,” Thommand’s harsh voice intruded. I turned, and saw him with Daniel beside him, looking grim.

“M’lord,” I curtseyed slightly, remembering the honey flavoured bullshit talk Daniel had with me. “Perhaps you can illuminate me? Where is my friend?”

“Gone,” he said simply.

My eyes trailed over to Daniel, who was glaring at the fat lord. “Let me rephrase that. Perhaps you can illuminate me…or I can illuminate you.” Literally.

“Threats will get you nowhere Lady Madigan, not here.”

“This is a reasonable request,” I said. “I want to know where he is. Now.”

He sighed. “You’ll listen to it from start to finish if you’re to hear it,” he ordered. “Though I imagine you’ll still remain angry.”

I smiled. “I’m only human after all,” I reminded him.

“Not by much,” he said nastily. He turned on his foot and left the room. Daniel took my arm and dragged me after him. On the way out, I could feel the woman’s red eyes glaring after me.

When we reached Thommand’s rooms, Daniel closed the door behind me. “Why was I not informed of Willis’ departure?” he demanded.

“You were still recovering,” Thommand replied. “Technically you were, anyway.”

“He was able to work from bed,” I retorted. “Why was this not in his papers?”

He merely shrugged. “Maybe he didn’t remember,” he suggested.

“Oh, I would’ve remembered.” Daniel’s eye didn’t leave Thommand for a moment.

Another shrug. “It matters not,” Thommand said. “Your lady wishes to know what is going on, Daniel. Would you like to…illuminate her, or shall I?”

“I think I’d prefer to hear it from you, m’lord,” I replied. “You know the whole story anyway.”

The corners of his mouth turned down into a scowl. “They wanted blood,” he started.

They only meant one thing. The monsters. “Go on.”

He let out another sigh. “For years, we’ve been giving them the prisoners of our world,” he informed me. “Criminals who cannot reform, have no place in our world.”

“And that has to do with Willis how?”

“This is the part you won’t like, Lady Madigan,” Thommand advised me.

“Trust me, I’m not too happy with the parts leading up to this either.”

Thommand shook his head. “They’ve been attacking people in the towns below. They were threatening them unless the human be transferred to their cells.”

No…. “You believed them?” I spat.

“I had no choice. The people will remember if we do not rise to protect them, and if they remember that, what do you think the chance is that they’ll protect us? Think of the greater good, you stupid girl.”

“I am.” I wasn’t bluffing. Papa Willis’ transfer meant another thing, one that Thommand would’ve been concerned about. “We still don’t know how he or the other three humans ended up here.”

“Other three?” This immediately peaked Thommand’s interest, and he stared at me intently.

Even Daniel’s surprised. “There were four of them?”

“I don’t know if they were travelling together,” I confessed. “But there was another human. She was at that brothel that you sent me and Daniel to.” The memory of that place made me sick inside.

“You mention this now?” Thommand groaned.

“I thought Daniel would’ve mentioned it,” I admitted. “Then again, he wasn’t in any condition to remember.”

“You were though.”

“Was I?” I raised an eyebrow. I went on. “At any rate, you should’ve gotten the information from him before they did.”

“We were trying,” he informed me angrily. “Unfortunately, our methods had to be restrained, thanks to you. If it weren’t for you, we’d know what happened, and none of this would even matter!”

I was silent at that. “I hope you’re pleased with yourself,” Thommand continued nastily. “Do you know what this means?” When I didn’t answer, he went on. “They’ll torture him. He’ll give them the information. They’ll have the advantage, another one. And he’ll die anyway. All because someone didn’t want us to hurt a crazed lunatic.”

“What if I hadn’t been aware of it?” I asked after a while. “What if that human had been taken in quietly, and I hadn’t known about it? What would’ve you done?”

“We’d have the information,” Thommand answered simply.

I glared at him. “Then you’re no better than they.”

We stayed like that for a while. Suddenly, Daniel’s voice broke the stormy silence. “Can we get him out? It’s only been a few weeks, they wouldn’t be treating him yet.”

Thommand looked over to Daniel. “What makes you think they’d be treating him before torturing him?”

“It’s their…specialty.” Daniel’s voice is sickened slightly. “Giving him the treatment would kill two birds with one stone. Besides, they’re not in any hurry for the information. Like you said, they’re already ahead of us.”

“You don’t know that though,” Thommand pointed out.

“It’s likely.”

“We’re not letting him die,” I finally spoke up. “We can’t.”

Thommand looked at me, half amused. “Why are you so determined to save him? Really?”

“He’s my friend,” I said. “And I need to know why he ended up here in this world. This isn’t just about him, this is about why I’m here too, and Daniel and the others.”

Thommand shook his head at this. “Must I be cursed with this goddamn philosopher?” he growled suddenly. “There are more important things here, can’t you get that through your head?”

“You don’t understand,” I insisted.

“I don’t need to. You, on the other hand, are only concerned with yourself and your own. There is a fucking war going on, and you’re busy questioning your own existence here! You can think about these things when you’re dead. Understand?”

“Completely.” Asshole.

Daniel took my shoulder. “We save him,” he told both of us. “We can’t let them have another advantage to hold over our heads.”

“The people will know,” Thommand reminded us sullenly.

“Then we’ll send protectors,” Daniel said.

“We barely have enough as it is.”

“Then we’ll have to train others. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to start training the children. Start with self defence, then-”

“No.”

I looked at Thommand. His face was set. “Why not?” I asked. “We’re not going to stand a chance without forces.”

“This is only a last-”

“I think we’re already heading downhill,” Daniel informed him. “Training the children will give them a fighting chance against them. Or would you rather them die like at Helevia?”

Thommand clenched his jaw. “We have more allies than they-”

“Allies, you say,” Daniel scoffed. “I’ve seen that fire woman; she’s like to switch to save her own skin. Allies won’t be enough to save us.”

Thommand was silent for a while. Against my better judgement, I worried that he was overwhelmed. He finally looked up at Daniel. “Find the man who’ll protect the villagers,” he ordered. “Organise a group of young ones to train, maybe your concubine can be of some use there.”

I gritted my teeth. “So we can go save him?”

He looked at me in a way I couldn’t define. “If you can.”

Daniel and I nodded and left the room. “We can do this,” I said to him. “We have to.”

He nodded, less convinced than I was. “Are you alright?” I asked.

“You’re the one whose hands are shaking,” he said.

I looked down and realised he was right. “Shit.” I frowned. “I guess I am scared.”

“Better than stupid.”

“Hmm…”

Daniel took my hand. “I’ll take care of what Thommand requested quickly,” he said. “In the meantime, you need to prepare yourself.”

“I know.”

He smiled sadly. “You know…it might be too late to save him.”

“We have to try.”

“I just…don’t want to get your hopes up.” He put his arm around me as we walked back to our room. As we went along, I became aware of how tired I was. So did Daniel. “You’re pale,” he noted.

I nodded. “I just need a break.”

He opened the door to his chambers. “I’ll get you some tea,” he said.

“Please do.” I sat down on the bed and closed my eyes.

Daniel got my tea and sat down next to me. Tentatively, he took my hand. “Are you alright?”

I nodded. “Just…I’ve gotten used to things calming down again.”

“Yeah…me too.”

I took a gulp of the tea, the mint clearing my head. “…I think I can handle it though,” I told him.

“Really?”

“Thanks,” I scoffed.

He shook his head. “You know what I mean. It’s just…well…”

“I’m not confident at all?” I finished.

“No! No…” Daniel grimaced. “Kinda.”

I stuck my tongue out at him. “It’s okay though,” I told him. “Right now, I’ve forgotten how to be afraid.”

“Hopefully that lasts then,” Daniel said.

“Amen,” I replied.

Permission to Hate

Standard

I hate you. Every time you belt me across the face, I hate you. Every time you tell me I’m nothing, I hate you. Every time you scream at me and accuse me of hating you, I have to bite on my tongue and stop myself from agreeing with you. And it hurts, because I shouldn’t hate you. I’m not allowed to. And yet I do.

Whenever you strike me with a belt, whenever you thrash me blindly, screaming out what did you do to deserve someone like me, whenever you throw things at my face, I feel so relieved. How fucked is that? But it’s true. I am allowed to hate you the minute your hand crashes against my body, and not before. It doesn’t matter what you do after, if you leave me alone or if you pummel me until my body is bruised and bloody; when you leave me bleeding on the floor, I can feel some relief in knowing that no one would judge me from wanting you out of my life.

I know I make mistakes, believe me, I am well aware that I am the biggest fuck up the world has ever seen. Look at what I did just now. I wish that I wasn’t so fucking stupid to make that mistake. But you make mistakes too, the red mark on my cheek is now one of them. You won’t know this, I won’t even look at you tomorrow. But others will.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate myself for doing this as much as you will. I wish that I loved you like all daughters should. I wish that I didn’t ruin things like I do, I wish that I could trust you, I wish that I could tell you the things that happened. I never would’ve wanted things to be like this between us, I’m sorry….

.

Shush

Standard

“…I believe that I may be in trouble,” Daniel told me.

I looked down. “Little bit.”

“Ah.”

“Not with me though,” I told him. “Definitely not.”

“Good.” I felt him smile against my neck.

I paused. “Are you going to tell anyone?”

“Hmm….”

“Can I tell my friends?”

“Do you think they’ll approve?” he countered.

“Good point…” Then I shook my head. “Actually, I can tell Papa Willis. And probably a couple of girlfriends who know.”

“I thought those two were mutually inclusive.”

“True…very true.”

After a moment, he spoke again. “Am I allowed to tell anyone?”

“Well, if I am…who would you tell?” I asked.

His silence told me all. “You want to brag to Christan, don’t you?” I said flatly.

“…maybe.”

“Okay then.”

“…Really? You’re actually fine with that?”

“Oh, there’ll be conditions,” I told him.

“Ahh, here we are.”

“Rule one, details will be kept to a bare minimum.”

“What kind of details are we talking?”

“The…activity….habits, talents, which brings me to sounds-” he chuckled at that. “Shut it. ” I could feel myself going red. “And…that’s all I can think of.”

“Is that it?”

Something in his tone makes me nervous. “Wait, no.” I frowned. “I’m trying to eliminate any possible loophole that you can use to your advantage.” His resulting grin tickled the back of my neck again. “Let me think,” I insisted.

“How about what happens in the sanctity of the boudoir stays in the sanctity of the boudoir?” Daniel suggested.

“Immediate loophole right there,” I pointed out.

“What? It’s not like there’s anywhere else we’d…” He gives a gasp of mock horror. “My god, you utter whore.”

“Shush.” I looked over my shoulder at him and stuck my tongue out.

“Rule two?” he enquired.

“No making up things,” I said. “I don’t want to hear about some kinky shit that I apparently had done.”

“Understandable.”

“Three…well, just…no photos.”

“Rodger.”

Everything was so warm, and I quickly drifted off, into a world where my dreams weren’t going to hurt me.

It wasn’t perfect. Not like those crappy fanfictions where Bella/Ana have amazing sex on the first shot and feel zero pain whatsoever. Technically, Daniel had still been recovering from his near-death experience, so there were moments where he had to stop. And at times, I had to persuade myself to relax and to let go of my memories, so that I could replace them with, well…other memories. Better ones.

When I fell asleep in his arms, I felt safer than I had ever felt in my life. I would never claim that this moment, that this strange and wonderful thing, was a mistake.

Shot Me Down

Standard

I remember in primary school, I had a crush on Nate C, and I told all my friends about it. I would’ve been eight then, back when I was cute and innocent and the worst thing you could’ve called someone was a bullfrog. That’s what I called Gabby the Gab when she brought him over to where I was having lunch with Hannie and told him that I had a crush on him.

Later I got revenge and told her respective crush about her love for him. AND she was uninvited to my birthday party. I was a bitchy little kid.

The anger I felt when Gabby the Gab spilled my secret to Nate C was nothing compared to what I felt toward Jhaq when Daniel repeated word for word what she had said to him, though far more contained than then. Because Jhaq had meant no harm by saying anything, whereas Gabby the Gab was a scheming bitch.

When I confronted her about what she said, she flung herself at my feet and started shaking. I couldn’t be angry with her, no matter how much I wished to. “Jhaq…calm down now.” I helped her up and moved her onto the chair beside Daniel’s bed. “Take a deep breath, alright?” Slowly, she stopped shaking, as she realised that I wasn’t going to beat her. “Are you better?” I asked.

“Much,” whispered Jhaq.

“Good…” I inhaled. “When you told Daniel about…that, how did he react?”

She hesitated before starting. “His lord didn’t say anything, Miss Madigan,” she said.

“Was he…angry? Upset?” I don’t want to ask these questions, but I have to.

“His lord was…” Jhaq thought for a second. “Surprised.”

“Is that it?” I sat on the edge of the bed. “Nothing else?” She shook her head. “Great…”

Jhaq hesitated. “What…did his lord say to you?” she asked tentatively.

I took a deep breath. “He asked me if what you said was true.”

“And what did Miss…you say?”

“…I told him I didn’t know.”

She frowned, but continued. “And…he left?”

“Yes.”

“His lord will return,” she said decisively. “It means nothing.”

I nodded and went along with what she said. Meanwhile, I was praying that things would return to the way they were, before his Grace came along and fucked up my emotions. I didn’t have feelings for Daniel, it wasn’t like that, I insisted. I cared for him deeply, but nothing romantic would ever come out of it.

I waited for him to return, sitting before the large fireplace, gazing into the flames. Hours and hours I waited, but the castle had gone silent and still he hadn’t come back.

I went into a dream of sorts. It wasn’t a bad dream, not at all. I was on a cliff top when I leapt off, plummeting down. But in an instant, I was soaring high into the clouds, the world becoming smaller in the blink of an eye. Though I was up in the clouds, I wasn’t cold. Dragons don’t feel cold when their blood is always boiling.

I woke up when I felt myself leaving the ground. My eyes fluttered open and I saw Daniel. He froze when he saw me gazing up at him. “It’s okay,” I told him. “I’ll go back to sleep in a moment, I’ll forget that I’m seeing you now.”

“You can’t control your mind,” he pointed out.

“I can try.” I closed my eyes, and I felt myself drifting away. In the distance, I heard Daniel sigh, and I started floating again. At some point, I drifted down to the soft earth, and I felt something feather soft stroking my face.

I awoke to see Daniel watching me. “Don’t look at me like that,” I murmured.

“Like what?”

“Like you’re afraid of me. You’re the last person I want to do that.” I lifted myself up, and I found that I was on his bed again. “I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I just want you to know that it isn’t the way Jhaq may have described it.”

“Then what is it?”

“I…don’t know.” I look up at the ceiling, waiting for the answer to tumble out of the sky. When it didn’t, I tried to phrase it properly. “I…I care for you,” I said. “I…it’s not anything romantic, or…or anything like that. I’m just…I am…unused to this.”

“Unused to what?”

I took a deep breath. “Feeling safe, I suppose. I…can trust you, or at least I feel like I can. And I can’t say that for many others I know.”

“So why did you say to Jhaq that you had feelings for me?”

“I didn’t…I…” Daniel’s face is lost in the shadows, the right side of his face is full of darkness, where his eyepatch is. I can’t see what he’s thinking. “I…I told her that I was confused about my feelings. I didn’t say they were….”

“I understand.”

I shook my head. “If I don’t understand, how can you? Look…” I tried again. “As you know, I haven’t had the best record with romantic relationships.”

“Oh, I know.”

I stuck my tongue out at him, which made him grin slightly. “Shaddup.” I hesitated. “How I feel for you…is not like how I’ve felt in…courtship.”

“Just say dating.”

“Fine. The feelings I have now aren’t like those I had towards my boyfriends at the time, compri?”

Compri, he agreed.

“And recently, I’ve been questioning the nature of our relationship,” I said. “Mainly because….”

“Christan,” Daniel finished.

I frowned. “Be more specific.”

“I…may not have been completely asleep when he came to see you the other day,” he confessed. “I heard things.”

“…I see.”

“Don’t look at me like that,” he scolded. “You would’ve done the same. A lot is said when people can’t listen.”

“Hmmph…” I didn’t know how I felt about Daniel taking in all that information. Nothing bad had been said, but still…

“So what happens now?” I asked him quietly.

He looked over. “What do you want to do?”

If I had just said what I meant to say all along, that he was my dearest friend and the last thing I would want was to lose him, that my confusion was nothing, and meant nothing, the conversation would’ve stopped there, and most likely would not have ever come up again.

Instead I asked, “What are you thinking?”

“What do you mean?”

“Okay…can I ask you something now?”

“…go on.”

“When Jhaq told you, what were you thinking?”

He didn’t say anything, and I was immediately suspicious. “Daniel, what is it?”

He shook his head. “How I feel isn’t important.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Of course it is. It’s why you left after confronting me.”

“Cat, don’t be-”

“Daniel, what on earth were you thinking that was so bad that you can’t tell me about it?”

After a few seconds of completely breathless silence, he exhaled. “You don’t belong here,” he told me softly. “And I…I can’t be part of Reality any more. I lost that right years ago, I…”

“What?” I didn’t know what else to say. Daniel went silent and closed his eyes. Slowly, I took his hand. “What happened to you Daniel?” I whispered.

“I…” He looked at me strangely. “You won’t…hate me, for what I show you, will you?”

I frowned. “That…would depend on what you showed me. But I know that you wouldn’t.”

Daniel paused. Then slowly, he raised his hand to his head and pushed his hair aside, and showed me his temple. When I gasped, he dropped the hair and looked away.

I looked at Daniel, trying not to look as shocked as I felt. “May I?” I asked.

Daniel inclined his head, almost shyly. I reached out and I brushed his hair away to reveal the dark red wound, the size of a twenty cent piece. “I…I had no idea,” I croaked out. The shape of it, the way it concaves in the centre, it’s…it can only be one thing.

“The bullet didn’t leave my head,” he said hollowly. “When I arrived here, they had to open up my head and take it out.”

“Who shot you?” I asked. When he didn’t answer, I realised what he was talking about. “Oh Daniel…”

Tears were streaming out of his left eye. “Unlike you, I couldn’t be saved,” Daniel said emotionlessly. “Bullet in the brain…there’s no coming back from that. And then I woke up there…in the cells, where Kaya was. I…knew that place. I had seen it before, in my own visions.”

“Your…own…visions…” Oh no…Not Daniel…

He gazed up at me. “When I realised…I screamed at them to kill me then. Of course, they weren’t so kind. Unfortunately, before they could subject me to all the treatments, they put me in the path of Kaya…and you know the rest.”

I was stunned. “I…” I stammered. I had no idea what to say to him. All those times I had tried to take my own life…what did he feel?

Daniel smiled softly and touched my face. “In a way, I admire you,” he admitted. “You’re still alive, despite everything. Whereas at the first opportunity, I was selfish enough to take my life. Some said it would take a lot of courage, but…”

“I was just as selfish,” I reminded him. “I was just unlucky.”

“Or very lucky.”

“…yeah.”

We were quiet for moment. “I’m going to get you out of here,” he told me. “If I can do that one simple thing, then I’ll finally be able to see myself in a good light. Cat Madigan…” He gripped my hand. “You’re going to be my saviour.”

“I admire your faith in me,” I noted dryly. “But…you haven’t done anything wrong.”

“I haven’t done anything right either,” he said.

I thought for a moment. “You still haven’t answered my question,” I reminded him. “What did you feel when Jhaq told you?”

He hesitated. “Would you like me to answer?”

It didn’t take me long to choose. I wanted the truth, despite everything. I braced myself. “Go ahead Daniel.”