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