Daniel Comes To School

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Daniel is not religious. In case you haven’t figured that out already by his behaviour in church.

Neither are my parents actually. Apparently Mum used to believe in God, but not anymore. And now it seems like she rejects religion completely, except for that one commandment where apparently we have to obey our parents. All that religion is in her eyes is a moneymaking industry preying on the vulnerability of the masses.

I’m not sure about my father, as I haven’t spent enough time with him to know this. Like me, he’s interested in the history part of this, but he doesn’t go to church. I know very little about my father, when I think about it.

Daniel summed up his beliefs to me in class. “I’ve never really believed in a God,” he told me. “And since…” His voice trailed off, indicating the Delirium we both lived in. “I can’t really fathom the idea of a man who simultaneously controls several worlds at the same time, each with their own set of ethics.” He grimaced. “It’s a bit two-faced when you think about it. Saying that you must be kind to one another to one set of people, and telling the other that it is your right to commit sin.”

“Maybe God’s got serious personality issues?”

“Or maybe there’s several Gods, and each is struggling to take control of the infinite worlds. Earth and Delirium are controlled by separate gods.”

“Interesting…does that mean that our god took us there so that we could dominate that world?” I wrinkled my nose.

“That would be a cruel god.”

“Silly Daniel…who said that gods had to be nice?” I returned.

Miss S is the most awesome teacher ever. Not only does she spoil us rotten, but she’s also probably the only teacher who I’ve been honest with about the true nature of my blackouts. She often misses lessons, and she confided in me why; she has epilepsy, and she’s always worrying about losing control during class.

One time, after a particularly bad episode, she came to me after class and asked me about my condition. And that was when Daniel, at that moment standing behind Miss S, told me to tell her.

Why? I frowned at him.

“You need to confide in at least one teacher,” he said. “In case something bad happens and Willis or Flash or anyone else aren’t there to help. And if Kaya loses it…”

I just closed my eyes. The problem with people is that they believe they’re doing the right thing, but ‘the right thing’ doesn’t mean the same to all people. And I did not know what ‘the right thing’ would be for Miss S. She was cool, don’t get me wrong. But would that prevent her from informing my parents?

“Okay…think of it this way,” Daniel said. “Say that Kaya does lose it. Would you want her to be near when that happens?”

No one’s safe, I thought.

“Doesn’t matter about that.” Daniel anticipated my train of thought. “If she knows, she can protect herself. And others, if may be.” He came to my side and put his arm around me. “I think that she might be able to understand at least a little bit.”

So I told her. And she didn’t tell anyone else. Or my parents. She asked what my blackouts were like, and I gave her the basics; essentially, I went into my own little world, and that during that time, I had no awareness of what happened in Reality. At one point, I accidentally slipped up and mentioned that I was often attacked by shadows, which lead me to talking about Daniel. I didn’t dwell too long on him, but Miss S seemed satisfied with the knowledge that he took care of me. I believe that she’s under the impression that Daniel’s my own age though, which I suppose is okay.

I do wonder occasionally what her reaction would be if she could see Daniel as he was; a grown man who, in any responsible adult’s eyes, had nothing more than an eyepatch, smooth words and an extremely bad record when it came to babysitting. Not to mention a potential alcohol problem.

“Don’t forget badassery.”

And a very, very large ego.

Anyway…Daniel was with me in Religion when we were discussing Natural Law, where both of us got to listen to how much less violent it was compared to the world we struggled to survive in.

Concerning Genetic Selection…

“I want my child to be attractive as possible,” Bell said. Instantly, the room was filled with boos, and in my case, laughter. “C’mon, if anyone says that ‘looks don’t matter’, you, are a liar,” she claimed. “That’s the way society is; success is largely contributed to good looks and charisma, and if that means that my kids would be happy, then that’s what I’d want for them.”

“Kind of got a point there,” Daniel said. When I looked at him, he went on. “Think of Delirium. You’ve seen Christan’s friends. What can you make of them other than the fact that they are, in their eyes, beautiful?”

“Not that much,” I admitted. “Still, this is Reality.”

“Is it really that different?” he retorted. “People in the spotlight are beautiful, the rest are largely ignored until disaster strikes.”

“Like suicide?”

“That’s one example. There’s no need to think along those specific lines though…”

“Still…accident, murder, environmental disaster…they all have one thing in common.”

“Hmm…”

“I get what you’re saying though,” I continued. “Physical beauty is an advantage in worlds like ours. It gives you the influence you need to succeed, and from there…”

“The rest relies on your own skills though,” Daniel concluded. “Influence is fickle; it only lasts if you make it last.”

“Mmhm. But I still think it’s wrong to genetically alter your child…how different would I be if I was designed by my parents.”

“Very.” Daniel frowned. “I wonder how different I would be…”

I didn’t know what he meant.

Concerning materialism vs common ownership…

“Common ownership worked for the Helevians,” Daniel said.

“But they were the most beautiful civilisation in the world. And they weren’t corrupted with manipulative bastards or naive little boys who are encouraged to indulge themselves in anyway they want.”

“Oh, there were manipulative bastards,” Daniel confirmed. “It’s just Nereida and her father were wiser than Christan is.”

“I miss Nereida,” I told him.

“You two didn’t interact much though,” Daniel pointed out.

He was right about that. Whenever I encountered Nereida in Reality, she’d just watch me, before vanishing without a word. The rest of the time, I saw Nereida through Kaya’s eyes. “Still. It would be nice if Delirium had people like Nereida still,” I said wistfully.

“She once said we were alike.”

“How so?” I frowned.

He grimaced. “I have a feeling that she may have been referring to our…sense of humour.”

“Oh yeah…” Another reason why I wish Nereida was alive; she was an even bigger pervert than Daniel. And perverts are wonderful people.

“She was strong,” Daniel continued. “Everyone talks of how Kaya suffered the most. But Nereida suffered too. She lost her father. And then the espers killed her childhood friends one by one, and then…”

“Whatever must be done must be done with grace,” I quoted. “Till the end.”

“On one hand, people are more likely to cherish the objects that they have earned,” Miss S explained. “On the other, peace is more likely to be maintained if everyone owns the same thing.”

“The thing is, it’s human nature to always want more,” Bell argued.

“But isn’t peace more important?” Payne asked. “I’d rather everyone was able to get the same than own my own things.”

Daniel scoffed. Payne was one of those goody goody students, and she looked down on me for my occasional disinterest in class. She was, as my mother put it, one of those people who prayed for the poor loudly in church, and kicked them away on the way out the door. One day, she was the lucky one to discover me coming out of the bathroom with blood on my face. All I can really remember of that specific encounter is that she spent the whole time trying to get the truth out of me, while it was up to Daniel to make sure I washed my mouth out and rehydrated. At the end of it, I told Payne that she couldn’t help me and that she would immediately regret hearing the truth when I told it, much to her frustration.

Concerning Stealing…

“It’s wrong,” Payne-in-the-ass said automatically.

“But what if you really needed something but you couldn’t afford it?” I retorted.

“Like what?” she scoffed.

“Oh, I dunno. Food, medicine, clean water,” I proposed. “What if I were homeless and I had to get out of the cold or I’d die of hypothermia?”

“That’s what your parents are-”

I nearly laughed at that. “You’re missing the point. If you were stuck out in the cold, and the only option would be to squat in an empty store or house or something, that would be stealing. So is that wrong?”

Daniel was grinning. This argument went on until it was time to go to Maths, and he stayed behind with me to pick up my books. “You’d make a great lawyer,” he told me.

“God no.” I made a face. “I would be stammering non stop in front of a judge.”

“Not really. You can hold your own in an argument. And you can figure out the inconsistencies in what people say.”

“Not immediately though. I need time to think about things. Lawyers need to be on their feet all the time, processing everything immediately. If I did that, I’d go-” At that, I sigh. “Well, I guess I’m too late already.”

Miss S smiled at me as I walked out. “You did well,” she said. “I like the way you think.”

“Really?” Before I could continue, she had already vanished.

“Is it really too hard to believe you’re good at something?”

“I’m sorry, what am I good at again?”

“Thinking.”

“…maybe.”

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