Drag You Down

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Still not dealing. And you really should know better by now.
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“You see?” I whispered, raising my hands in the air. “These are the kind of situations where I make awkward conversation in order to calm myself down.”

“Can’t you just throw fireballs at them?” Papa Willis hissed back, shuffling close to me.

“All in good time.”

“Preferably before they slit our throats?”

“Wait,” I ordered him.

“Why?” he asked, exasperated.

“Willis, why haven’t they attacked us yet?”

“I…” He shook his head. “Is that a rhetorical question?”

“Think about it,” I advised. “Espers would’ve attacked immediately, probably while we were still on the ice. And would ordinary ones come here?”

“So…who are they?”

A slow smile came to my face. “Let’s see.”

Willis frowned at my overly happy face, but kept quiet.

My suspicions were confirmed when they were within ten metres of us. There were three of them, both humans. “Oh wow!” I said cheerfully. “This is awesome.”

They hesitated for a moment. The woman, who had called out before, spoke first. “State your name and breed,” she ordered.

“Breed?” Willis asked, confused.

“Humans,” I called back to the woman. “I’m Cat. This is Willis.”

There was murmuring. “Not possible,” one of them growled. “The both of you came from the mainland. Monsters live there.”

“It’s the truth,” I replied.

More murmuring. Then the same man stepped towards us. He had tangled blonde hair and dark, flickering eyes. “Hold out your hand,” he told us.

I hesitated, but Willis sighed and held out his good arm. The man took out a knife and raised it. I flared up. “Don’t you dare-”

The man swiped the blade across Willis’s finger, and dark red blood spilled out immediately. “He’s fine,” he called back. They relaxed slightly.

I didn’t. They were looking for human blood, scarlet and salty. When they open my hand, and after that, my throat, all they’ll find is this poisoned, steaming concoction which screams out monster. I held my breath in as the man looked toward me.

If he had taken my right hand, it would’ve gone that way. Instead, the man chose the left, and before he could cut it, the five letters glowed, and he froze. “Altered human,” I breathed out. “They changed me long ago. I’m probably not human anymore, but I’m not one of them either.”

Freak…” he said softly, reading the carvings. His face hardened. “You’ve encountered them.”

I nodded.

“And yet you’re here to tell the story.” His voice took on a growl. “Explain that.”

“Deal with the devil,” I said simply.

“Oh really?” he snarled. “What, are you going to rat us out? Is that why you’re out here? Both of you?” He glared at Willis, whose face had gone white as snow.

I shook my head. “In exchange for my freedom, all they wanted was my mortality,” I said quietly. “The transfusion, I’ve been told, acts as a life support; it keeps my organs functioning as my body repairs itself from fatal injuries.”

“And who told you that?”

I hesitated. Noah had, after analysing my healing process from when we rescued Papa Willis from the Espers. He was fascinated by Esper technology; I suspected if he was lower born, then he would’ve become one himself. “They did,” I told them, knowing already that there was no way they were going to let themselves trust me now. Not when I shared the blood of monsters.

My suspicions were confirmed. “Out on the ice,” the man snarled at me. He held the knife to my throat, and snatched my arm. “You won’t be needing this, but we will.” His hand went to my jacket and started unclasping it. He rolled it off and tossed it to one of his companions. The icy air whistled through my head; my layer under the jacket was just as warm as another layer of skin. “Now walk,” he ordered, and I stepped tentatively backward, until I could feel the world moving beneath my feet.

“I can vouch for her!” Willis insisted, as the other two held him back. “She wouldn’t hurt a fly, I swear, she’s done nothing wrong!”

“She’s a monster,” the third stranger spoke up. “Even if she doesn’t mean us harm, there’s no telling what she’ll do. There’s only one place for her; frozen down there, where she can’t hurt us.”

“No!” I watched Willis struggle in their grasp. I could hear the ice cracking beneath me slightly, as I continued treading backwards. The man with the knife didn’t let up, forcing me further out onto the fragile lake.

“You don’t need to be afraid of her!” The woman probably thought she was being comforting. “You can come with us, you don’t need to be with her. We’ll keep you safe, we promise.”

I glimpsed over my shoulder, trying to see how far out he would make me go, and my stomach flipped. Jhaq’s frozen face, eyes widened in fear, stared at me from beneath the ice, and the snapping sound increased. My head snapped back toward the man wielding the knife. “No,” I gasped.

CRASH!

The knife brushed against my neck as I grabbed his hand. The last thing I saw before I fell backward into the waters of hell was Willis tearing himself away from the other two, who stood there gobsmacked as their companion was pulled into the water with me.

The screaming water forced its way down my throat as I clawed at the newly formed ice above me. I felt it soften slightly where my left hand touched it, but the ice, despite how thin it was when I walked on it, had suddenly gained a foot in width. I could vaguely make out through the dark stormy water the writhing form of the man beside me, as the water choked him from within, until his flailing slowed and eventually came to a stop. The shadows started moving for their next pray, and as they came closer and closer, I braced myself for death.

Suddenly, there was light. I didn’t hesitate; summoning my remaining strength, I surged towards the source. The shadows clung to my legs, dragging me down, but I couldn’t stop now that I could see the sky.

The air was bitter and cold when I thrust my arms out of the water. I clung desperately to the ice so that I could raise my head above the surface and cough out the evil water in my lungs. Already, I could feel the ice forming over me, as I tried to lift the rest of my freezing body out.

The woman ran at me and raised her foot to kick me back down, only to go flying past me, which made me realise what Noah must’ve given Papa Willis. The ice was now grazing under my arms, so I heaved myself up. I felt something sharp biting through my skin, through my remaining clothing, as I crawled out on top of the ice, but I didn’t care. I was already used to that kind of pain, and a few nicks in my thighs were a fair exchange for avoiding death once again.

I rolled over and faintly watched the ice grow even more, sealing under the water the drowned body of the man with the dark eyes. Something trickled down my throat, warm and thick. I didn’t need to touch it to know that it was my blood, my poisoned black blood. The same substance was flowing from my legs right now, and when I sat up, my muscles stung from the injuries the ice gave me.

Willis staggered over to me. “You’re okay,” he croaked.

I nodded softly. “Thanks for breaking it,” I whispered. “I didn’t want to die that way.”

“Would anyone?”

I shook my head. I looked past Willis, to the two behind him. They were scowling at me, as if their eyes could push me under the water again, so I could drown with their friend. “What do we do?” I whispered to Willis.

He turned to them. “Get out of here,” he said to them. “Look, when we get back, we won’t mention the both of you. We’ll say that Cat got attacked by this man, and this man only.” He indicated their frozen companion. “You can get away. We don’t want anyone else to die. Please…”

The two looked at eachother, but I knew where their minds were at. “You came on behalf of them,” the woman spat. “You would’ve seen us in chains, or dead.”

“No! Look, hear us out-”

“Please,” I spoke up. “Please, just get out of here. Save yourselves. He…he would’ve wanted you two to live. That’s why…” I let my voice trail off.

The wind screamed around us, nearly concealing them from sight. There was no response, no response except for a loud crack, and when I flashed back at them, their forms had disappeared with a splash, and I realised. “No!” I screamed.

Willis held my shoulder. “Get back,” he told me.

“But-”

“You can’t save them. We’re only a little bit from land, c’mon.”

“Open a hole! Let them swim out!”

“I will Cat, I promise. Just get back.”

Reluctantly, I crawled backward until the world beneath me stopped. “Stay there,” Willis ordered, and he walked back to where they were standing. His back to me, he knelt down to the ground, and I watched as the ice cracked and parted. He hurried back and sat beside me, waiting for something to happen.

There was no point. “They’re not coming up,” I said hollowly.

“They might,” he insisted.

“But they’re not.” The ice was closing again, their final gateway closing. Suddenly, something did appear out of the water, and I gasped. Was this a miracle?

But it just stayed there, like a buoy floating on top of the water. My sudden hope quickly deflated as I realised. “They didn’t sink,” I murmured. “It was too late.”

“Shit…don’t look.”

I rolled over. “I won’t,” I replied. I squeezed my eyes shut. “I’m not.” But it’s still firmly implanted in my mind, that body floating atop the lake. The sound of the ice growing over the body was as loud as thunder; when it stopped, I thought I had gone deaf. It was pure silence.

Until I heard Willis stand up beside me. I tiredly turned to look at him walk away, towards a dark mass on the ground a little bit away from us. He scooped it up and started coming back. “Your jacket,” he said, placing it on my shoulders.

“I should freeze,” I said bitterly.

“Well, you’re not,” he said stubbornly. “It wasn’t your fault. They attacked us.”

“Because of me. They were protecting themselves.”

“Were they? Isn’t that what the monsters were doing in that story?”

“I…”

“Exactly.”

I curled up on the ground, pulling the coat over my head, taking me away from the brightness, at least for a little while. I wanted to fall asleep and never wake up. Sleep was warm…even in a place like this.
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When I tried to remove the jacket even for a little bit, the wind smacks me in the face. “Ack!”

“Holy shit, you’re blue,” Daniel growled, pulling me toward him.

“Daniel…” I tried to sound annoyed, but I was too tired to pull it off.

“I take it your adventure was more eventful than mine then.” He looked at Papa Willis.

“Humans,” he replied. “Three of them.”

“Really?” His voice sounded interested. “What happened? Where are they?”

Before Willis could respond, I spoke up. “Under the ice,” I murmured. “I would’ve joined them if it weren’t for Willis.”

“I see…” Daniel’s voice was weary. “Thank you.”

“No problem,” he said. “She probably wishes she were there with them though.”

“Why?” Daniel wrapped a blanket around me. “Why you want that?”

“They died because of me.”

Daniel snorted. “Let me guess. They attacked her, and she sent them under,” he said to Willis.

I was silent. “It’s okay. Hey.” He cupped my cheek. “You look like hell.”

“I want to go back,” I said weakly.

“Right.” Daniel pulled out a strip of cloth and tied it over my eyes. “I’m just glad I didn’t have to dig you out of the ice.”

“I hate it here,” I growled to myself. “I really really hate it here.”

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Go Away Daniel…

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My only friend in the world was in my room when I came up from dinner. “I know what happened,” he told me. “It’s not your fault.”

“Oh really?” My voice was hollow.

“They kept yelling. What did you think was going to happen?”

“Something that didn’t involve me trying to smash a plate in front of them?” He tried to speak but I didn’t give him the chance. “Daniel, normal people don’t just…snap like that. There’s something…very, very wrong with me, you know there is.”

“I can’t say there isn’t,” he admitted. “It’s not your fault though-”

“That’s a lie,” I interrupted. “If I did the work my school wanted me to, I wouldn’t be falling apart like this. I wouldn’t be such a fucking nut-”

“You couldn’t do the work!” Daniel exploded. “Cat, you’re not well. You’ve never been well. But that’s the only reason why you’re not doing the work. And you can’t control that.”

“But what if I could?” I retorted. “What if this whole thing in my head is just an excuse? I always make excuses for myself. I’m not feeling well, or I’ve missed that lesson, or Things are bad at home. I’m always ready with them. There’s literally nothing stopping me from keeping up, only my stupid fucking excuses!”

“They’re not-”

“They are Daniel.” I was shaking, but there weren’t any tears this time.

He reached for me. “No,” I told him. “Don’t.”

“Cat, please-”

“No!” My chest felt like it was about to burst. “You can’t help me…”

“But I want to.”

“But you can’t,” I croaked. “I’m sorry. But you can’t save me. I’ve already destroyed myself, and there’s nothing left of me.”

“There is,” he insisted. “You can push through this, you’re strong enough to push through this.”

“I’m not. I don’t push through it. I lie there and let it consume me. That’s the only way I survive it, if I can really call it surviving.”

“You haven’t lost to it though.”

“I have.” I looked up at him. “You seem to think that ‘losing’ is when you kill yourself. The only reason I haven’t done that is because I’m too scared to die. And now look at me. It’s almost funny.” I smiled crookedly, my stomach aching with the effort. “All I can do is lie there. My emotions have eaten away at me, and I’m just this hollow shell. I’ve still lost, Daniel. I haven’t killed myself, but I’m still dead.”

“No…”

“Please go,” I begged him. “Leave me alone.”

“I can’t…”

“Go!” I gasped. “There’s nothing for you to do. I’m already dead, why the fuck do you think that I can be saved?!”

He looked away. “That’s right. There’s no reason for you to keep counting on me. I keep saying I’ll be fine, and then I change my mind and lie there, because I’m too lazy to try and make things better for myself. Just go already!”

Daniel’s eyes were bright green and shiny with tears when he looked back at me. Were my eyes the same? “If I go, will you kill yourself?”

“No.” I meant what I said. “I don’t have the energy. Nor the courage.”

“Never say that,” he told me fiercely. “Never say that suicide involves anything like courage!”

I said nothing. “Please…” he sobbed. “I don’t want to watch you die…I don’t want to lose anyone else…”

“Then go,” I whispered.

He stared back at me as if I just stabbed him. “I’m not going to do anything. I promise. But I’m dying, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. There’s nothing left of me to save.”

Daniel gulped. For a while, it looked as if he wasn’t going to do anything, but then he turned away and went for the door. He looked back with his hand on the handle. “I know what you want me to think,” he said softly. “And this would be so much easier if I did think that. But I don’t. You’re worthy of love, worthy of living. You deserve so much more than what’s in your head. And I’ll keep believing that, no matter what.” With that, he closed the door behind him.

I could finally cry again. Because I had hurt the person I loved the most. The one thing Daniel wanted was to redeem himself, to save me, and I had thrown that away. I didn’t care anymore, about living. Nothing was worth trying to survive.

I was the most despicable human in the world.

You Are Not Allowed To Kill Me

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It’s happened again.

Ironic isn’t it? After a couple of weeks of positive thinking and telling myself that I’ll be okay, I’m now in that dark pit again where I feel as if nothing is going to make me feel better and that I might as well die.

I’m going to blame Robin Williams. He’s the one who got me started on thinking about depression and mental illness after all.

Long story short, I’m in hospital.

But it’s okay. I haven’t hurt myself. And Daniel’s going to stop me from doing anything.

I wish he didn’t have to see me like this. That’s why I didn’t tell him how I was feeling to begin with. I didn’t want him to think I was weak; at the time, I thought it was nothing, just another burst of depression over absolutely nothing.

Except by the end of the day, I was sobbing uncontrollably, and whenever I looked around the room, I could easily imagine all the ways I could kill myself. Maybe I’d stab myself with a sewing needle, or instead, use it to cut through the fly screen on my window and leap out onto the ground below. I never did anything of those things, but I could see them so vividly, I may as well have been doing them.

On Tuesday, I met up with Flash and I told him how much I wanted to die. Little did I know that he was watching. The same one who killed Kaya was waiting for me to give him the order to finish me off too. And I must’ve given him that order at some point, because I soon felt that sinking feeling that I had become accustomed to so much in my other Reality. I apologised to Flash for doing this, and I remember him crying softly as I died once again.

I arrived in the bright white space that was Limbo. It wasn’t Kaya who met me here though. Just the man who murdered her. “Take me back,” I ordered him.

“Whatever do you mean?”

“Take me back!” I snarled. “How dare you try pull the same thing on me! Wasn’t Kaya and Nereida enough for you?”

He merely smiled. “You wanted this,” he reminded me. “I was there when were crying out ‘I want it to be over! I just want to die!‘ Don’t tell me you didn’t mean it.”

I lunged at him and grabbed his throat. He laughed as I clawed at his face, tried to beat him senseless. “You think that’s going to take you back? You can’t reverse death, stupid bitch. Don’t you know that?”

“I didn’t want you to kill me! It’s not fair!”

Another dark laugh, and he threw me off him. I landed on my back, willing myself not to dissolve into tears. “Why on earth would you think such I thing? After everything you’ve seen, what reason do you have to think that anyone would want to help you?

“Since the age of fifteen, you’ve been dragged into the pits of hell itself, for no reason other than to be kicked and beaten like a dog. Your dear friend ended her life in front of your eyes, and you could do nothing to stop it. How many times have you been betrayed by those you’ve trusted? I’m not only speaking of my world. Those you love in Reality have always failed you in the end, haven’t they?”

I didn’t let myself say anything. “Your parents were destroying you bit by bit by the way they treated you, your schoolmates whispered about you behind your back, just for being different. You didn’t deserve any of that. But like I pointed out, it happened.

“You have no right to beg me to return your future. For you have none, Cat Madigan.” He turned away from me. “I’ll leave you to your own madness.”

A ball of fire blocked his exit.

“No,” I said.

He turned at me with his evil white eye and I could feel his presence in the back of my mind. Oh don’t be like that, my dear, his voice sneered. It doesn’t have to be like this, you know. Isn’t it so much easier to give in?

For that moment, I felt a wave of peace and calm wash over me, and I stumbled slightly. There you go… he said in what was meant to be a soothing voice. Now just go down…deeper still…

I was aware of him coming up behind me, his hand resting on my head, pushing me down into oblivion. It’s alright…it’s alright to just give in…

No.

I swung around and bit into his upper arm like an animal. Surprise crossed his face, something that I had never seen of him before. I could taste the rotting flesh of his arm, but I willed myself not to let go of him. He tried to rip himself away, but by doing so, my teeth sunk even deeper into his body and with a single clench of my jaw, I managed to crush the bone completely in half.

I spat the bloody limb out, and I looked at the expression on his face in sadistic satisfaction. “No,” I repeated. “You’re not going to kill me. You’ve taken everything from me, and I owe you absolutely nothing. My life is not yours to take. Now Neekah….”

This time when I lunge at him, there’s fear in his eyes. “Yes, I know exactly who you are,” I told him. “And I know whatyou are too. And you no longer terrify me. Now. LET ME OUT!

I gasped for air when I woke up suddenly. Flash and the sickbay attendant were there, watching me. “Oh…”

“Cat!” Flash’s face had tears streaming down it, and I couldn’t help but break down in his arms, just relieved that I was alive, that I could stop my own mind from killing me. I apologised over and over that day. I was the most selfish human being in the world, and nothing would ever convince me otherwise.

Apparently after I blacked out, Kaya came out, and the two of them managed to get me to school before Kaya couldn’t carry me anymore. Flash joked that she had finally done something besides snapping at people, but the relief in his face was clearly there.

I felt better the next day. I had a minor breakdown in Literature, but I believe that the positives outweigh the negatives.

Then the next day, it happened again.

The coordinator for the youth reference group that I was apart of was attending my session with Lolly. She told me that because I was in the beginning of my ‘mental health journey’, I wouldn’t be as useful to the group as the others, who had apparently ‘finished’ theirs. In other words, they didn’t want me there.

I ran out of the room and bolted myself in the bathroom. I didn’t want her to see me cry. Crying was something only certain people were allowed to see. After about ten minutes of pleading, Lolly managed to convince me to come back, after said coordinator left.

“I’m sorry,” she said awkwardly. “But if it’s any consolation, she said that once you’re on the road to recovery, you can come back to the group.”

I just looked at her. “I’m not going to survive this though,” I told her hollowly. “So what good is it to tell me that?”

“What do you mean?”

“What do you think I mean?”

“Are you planning to kill yourself?”

“Not at the moment,” I said. “I’d give myself a year. But…” I inhaled, trying to hold back tears. “Everything is building up. How long do you think I’ll have before my luck runs out and I snap, and no one’s there to stop me?”

“By snap, you mean…”

I raised an eyebrow. I didn’t care how rude I was being. Lolly knew exactly what I meant by ‘snap’.

“Right…if you went home, what would you do?”

“I’d try and talk to friends,” I said. “Or I’d go to Delirium and stay there for a while.”

“I’d prefer that you not to go into Delirium,” she told me.

And I’d prefer that my life wasn’t a complete shit heap.

“But,” she said. “If you can’t get ahold of your friends, what do you think you could do to distract yourself from those sort of thoughts?”

“I don’t know,” I said honestly. “I guess I’d do what I did on Monday and Tuesday.”

“Which is?”

“Cry into a pillow.”

“On Monday…did you fantasise about killing yourself?”

I explained how on Monday, all I could see were death instruments all around me. “It’s not something I would act on. But I easily imagine it, and that scares me, to be honest.”

She was silent. “Would…would you be willing to go to hospital?”

I thought about it for a moment, but I already knew that I didn’t have a choice in the matter. “I can’t tell you what I would do,” I said. “I never know what I’m going to do. On Monday, I thought I was going to be fine, but then I broke down in the evening, unable to think of anything but wanting to die. I’d like to say that I wouldn’t hurt myself…but I can’t tell you that without lying.”

“Then you’re going to have to come in.”

“…okay.”

She went out, and Daniel came barging in then. He immediately grabbed me up in his arms and held me close to him. “It’s alright,” he repeated over and over. I think he was trying to convince himself, rather than me. “You’re getting help now. It’ll be okay.”

“Will I?” I croaked.

“Look…” Daniel stroked my hair softly. “I know it’s going to be tempting…but I want you to stay in Reality for your stay in hospital. I’ll bring Ray and Noah in to see you, but I want you to stay there until you’re better.”

“Thommand will want me there,” I said. “He’s going to want me to be on the frontline again. He won’t care about me getting better.”

“Well I do. He’s not going to send you out into war without my say so. And in your condition, you wouldn’t be strong enough anyway.”

“Do you think you can stop him?”

“He won’t have a choice,” he ensured me. “Christan is a lot of things, but he won’t force you to go out into battle when you’re in hospital. He’d want you healed, and he’ll command Thommand to let you recover.”

I could only nod. At this point, it hurt too much to try and feel anything.

Come On Out, Shadow

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Before I could move, Noah grabbed the blade of the knife in what I assumed was a panicked attempt to stop her. He hissed as it cut into his hand and black blood ran down his arm, but he didn’t let it go.

“Fool!” Emisair fumed, furiously trying to twist the knife out of his grasp. I finally came to my senses and swiped her with my foot, throwing her across the room, and the knife falling out of her hand.

Noah ran and grabbed the knife, where it was swiftly dropped into his pocket. He gave Jhaq a once-over to confirm she was alright before we both turned back to Emisair.

She was staggering towards us. “She’s not safe!” she hissed. “Either we kill her, or she’ll kill us.”

“There has to be another way!” I insisted. “It’s possible! It just happened for fucks sake!”

“You stupid bitch…lightning never strikes twice in the same place. You’re delaying what is inevitable!” Emisair’s eyes were filled with rage.

“We’re not killing her!” Noah snarled. “Not when we can still save her! That’s all there is to it.” He was more furious than I had ever seen him, and he completely ignored the blood gushing out of his hand from Emisair’s knife. I was about to offer a cloth to wrap it with when Emisair suddenly leapt at him and my focus changed.

I managed to push him away in time, but as a result, it was I who was being pushed against the back of the room by a frenzied Emisair, right next to where Jhaq lay. Her nails were clawing into me, as if she were trying to rip out my heart- maybe she was- and as she did, her eyes seemed to glow completely red and her teeth spread into a sinister smile. “Come on out, Shadow,” she said maniacally. “I know you’re there! Come out and plaaaaa-”

With that, I socked her in the face and kicked her away. “Stop it!” Noah yelled at the both of us.

I ignored him. I had no care in the world anymore. “What are you trying to do?” I asked Emisair, walking towards her. “If you want to kill me…” Everything around me sharpened, intensified, amplified. I could see and feel her heartbeat from where I stood, and it would be nothing to rip it out…”Go ahead,” I finished with a grin.

So she did.

Or rather…she tried to.

I dropped to the ground when she flew at me again. She came to a halt standing above where I lay. Still reeling from her charge, she couldn’t block my foot smashing into her chest, sending her flying into the ceiling. It was almost too perfect that a chandelier was dangling right where Emisair was about to fly into.

Killing was far easier sans a human body.

There was a loud crashing sound as the thing shattered and fell to the ground around me, a shower of glass and crystal. I watched Emisair drop before my feet, shaking with rage and pain. Blood ran down her back, mixing with the glass on the ground. She hissed at me and I could see her body becoming longer, her claws scraping against the ground. A feverish grin spread across her face, and Noah started yelling at both of us to stop. But that wasn’t going to happen.

I raised my claw, ready to strike.

It wasn’t Noah who stopped us. Or even Daniel. It was Christan who yelled out “STOP!” from the doorway, perhaps saving the life of Emisair in the process.

Both of us froze and looked at him. He looked terrified, not at all like a natural king, though the crowds behind him wouldn’t be able to see that. “Step away from eachother,” he commanded shakily.

I immediately obeyed, partially out of sympathy for Christan, but also because I was slowly coming out of my psychotic/demon mode and I wanted things to stop. I fell back into my body, the cold of the room reaching me even with Emisair’s cloak. Emisair merely glared at him. “Your human’s slut has physically assaulted me,” she informed him, her body changing back as she spoke. “I shall not stand for it! Either discipline her or I shall gather my men and leave. Now.

I slowly got up. My senses were still distorted by my rampage. Christan was looking at me, trying to seem stern. “Cat…”

“She was going to murder Jhaq!” I croaked. “That was the only reason why I-”

“It’s true,” Noah confirmed. “It was Emisair who attacked first. Not Cat.”

Emisair flared up. “I was going to kill the demon inside her,” she said. “These two would put their fellow people in danger due to sentiment. I wasn’t about to let her slaughter us all when we knew that she was a danger.” She turned to Jhaq, lying asleep on her bed. “The woman that she was is no more. She would mercilessly murder everyone from her king to her little daughter. And these two would risk that.”

“No…” I took a deep breath. “I had the same monster inside me,” I confessed the boy-king, and the people behind him inhaled. “But I managed to force them out before I could be taken over completely. I believe that Jhaq is capable of doing the same, if she’s given the chance.”

“I agree,” Noah spoke up. “I don’t see the need to take a life in order to destroy what is only a potential threat. We have the time to stop it, it is still-”

“What time is this?” Emisair retorted. “The longer we wait, the stronger that thing is. We’re putting everyone at risk here by waiting for what is inevitable.” She looked directly at Christan. “I will not stand by and wait to die. Either stop this threat…or I’ll leave, with my men behind me.”

Oh please, please do.

Unfortunately, Christan was reluctant to let that happen. “You can’t,” he said weakly. “You know that-”

“I do know. Your forces are far weaker than theirs. Our alliance is the only thing that keeps your people safe. But if you will put them in danger, I see no point in my presence here,” Emisair spoke coldly. “Take a side. Now.”

I knew what Christan would pick, but I tried to speak out. “Listen-”

“What is this?” A voice called out.

The crowds moved around to make way for Daniel who strode into the room. He immediately went to my side and put his hand on my arm. I immediately felt warmer, calmer. “What has happened?” he questioned Noah.

Noah spoke immediately. “The Lady Emisair tried to end Jhaq’s life. Cat managed to stop her, and now Emisair is claiming that she is in the right.”

“I am in the right,” Emisair spoke with utter conviction. “That thing inside her is a slaughtering machine. It nearly took your paramour, and now it is succeeding in taking your servant.”

“And now she’s blackmailing his Grace into submitting to her will,” I spat. “If Jhaq doesn’t die, she’ll leave.”

Daniel’s face didn’t show anything. “Daniel,” Christan spoke. “What do you see?”

He remained silent. I myself had no idea what Christan meant. Noah took Daniel’s silence as an opportunity to speak. “Cat Madigan was able to escape unharmed. I have no doubt that she can assist me in helping Jhaq recover. Just give us that chance, your Grace.”

Before Christan could speak, there was a voice. “Master…Nnnn…”

Jhaq was slowly rising from her bed. “Don’t let her move,” Christan ordered, and several guards dashed in and raised their blades to her.

Slowly, Jhaq backed down, and opened her eyes. Still black. “What is this?” she asked, and her voice made my stomach flip.

“Drop your act,” Emisair ordered. “There’s no doubt of this now.”

“No doubt of what?” Daniel retorted. “Will you explain yourself?”

“Your servant is being taken by the same entity that nearly took Cat Madigan. And now that she speaks, there’s no doubt of it.”

Daniel looked at me in confusion. I bowed my head. “Her voice…it’s Axyl’s,” I admitted. “Not Jhaq’s.”

Emisair turned to Christan. “I believe we have more than enough to confirm this?” she enquired. There was a murmur of appreciation from the crowds, and Christan looked away from us. I knew he had made his decision.

“Cat…”

I flinched at the voice of the monster calling my name. I slowly looked at her, but I couldn’t keep my eyes on her terrified face for more than a second. Daniel watched me in silence.

“Now.” Emisair spoke as if the matter had been settled. “Onto the matter of the assault. I want the girl locked up, considering how she cannot be executed. I believe this is fair-”

“What on earth are you talking about?” Daniel spat.

“I kicked her into the chandelier,” I informed him.

Daniel raised an eyebrow, but Noah spoke before he could reply. “An attack which was initiated by Emisair’s own assault.” He raised his hand to show everyone the ugly knife wound that Emisair had given him.

Suddenly, the atmosphere changed. The crowds started murmuring again, but this time, they were discussing Emisair’s own behaviour. It occurred to me from what they said that while Emisair could outrank both Daniel and myself, she was still an outsider, a visitor in this world. And by wounding one of their own…

“He was stopping me.” Emisair replied, unfazed. “That cut was his own fault, not mine.”

That was her big mistake. The people bristled at her for dismissing what she had done, for making herself out to be higher than the likes of themselves. Emisair seemed to realise what she had done, but she couldn’t recant now.

“Put her under house arrest,” Noah interjected. When Christan looked at him, he went on. “Both of them.”

“What?” Emisair spat.

“Noah…” I was about to argue.

“I will not pretend that Cat Madigan is innocent,” Noah said, meeting my eye. I remembered the moment when I lost control, when I was ready to kill the red eyed woman. “But it was Emisair’s actions which triggered her behaviour. If they’re both placed under house arrest, they will not be within proximity of eachother. No more incidents of this kind shall occur.” Noah shifted his gaze to Emisair. “If that does not stop them, then the next course will be, of course, imprisonment in the cells.”

Emisair fumed. “I am not to be treated like her. I do not need to be punished.”

“By that logic, neither should Cat,” Noah replied. “Your actions are equivalent to hers. And one can go on to say that while Cat’s behaviour is expected of her, because of her humanity, you on the other hand should be able to control your actions.”

She bristled. Noah, as the victim in this, had the most influence over her fate, and she knew it. He may not be letting me off the hook for my behaviour- I was about to kill her for fucks sake- but Emisair would’ve murdered Jhaq in cold blood, and he wasn’t going to stop till she was punished for that.

“I believe this is fair,” Christan finally said. “Cat Madigan will be confined to her chamber for a moon, as will Emisair. Remove them now.”

“Wait,” Emisair said suddenly. “For Cat Madigan, this is not a long period of time. More often than not, she’s unconscious in her room. She could sleep for a moon, and wake up when she’s ready to be released.”

Even I had to admit she had a point. If our roles were reversed, I’d find it pretty unfair too. Of course, I wouldn’t be such a bitch and start a fight with her.

Well, maybe. I dunno.

“Then I’ll watch her,” Noah proposed. “I’ll account for when she’s awake and when she’s not. She can be released after thirty days and thirty nights of activity.”

“And separate her everyone?” Emisair interjected, a sudden gleam in her eye. “Including Daniel?”

Daniel put his hand on mine, covering the light that was about to be thrown in her fucking face. “Her chambers are my chambers,” he reminded her. “We can house Noah if he wishes. Either way, her punishment is identical to yours, my lady.”

She scowled. “Fine. But she is still confined.”

“As you are,” Daniel agreed.

She turned on her heel and stormed out, only to be grabbed by a guard. “I know my way,” she snapped.

Another guard approached me, and gestured for me to walk with him. I was surprised that he didn’t grab me. Perhaps he was afraid.

I followed him, but Daniel stayed behind. As the door closed, he raised a hand to me, as if to wave.

That’s when I remembered Jhaq.

And Axyl.

“What’s going to happen?” I asked the guard urgently. “Will she be alright?”

“What do you think?” There was no unkindness in his face, he even appeared sorry, if only a little bit.

I shook my head. I knew what I thought. I loved Jhaq…but I was even more afraid of Axyl. And if she attacked me, I knew what my first instinct would be. Still, Jhaq hadn’t hurt anyone. The only signs of Axyl she had shown us were her voice and her black eyes…

“Why can’t Daniel see her eyes?” I questioned.

Unexpectedly, the guard answered my question. “I wouldn’t know,” he said. “Perhaps it’s part of his humanity. That would explain it.”

“But I’m human too,” I reminded him.

“Are you?” he replied. “We all saw you.”

I grimaced. “I have no excuse for that,” I admitted. “But even if I’m not human, I’m still treated like one.”

“We cannot change the manner of our birth,” he pointed out. “We have no control of how our lives turn out.”

I thought of Kaya, one moment a promising politician, the next a deadly weapon. I remembered Nereida’s brutal death at the hands of the same one who killed Kaya, her old friend. Daniel himself had been thrown into this world the minute he left mine. And who would’ve thought I would’ve become this? A depressed paranoid schizophrenic with a growing detachment from Reality, no longer able to feel pain or death. “Believe me, I know.”

Beasts Inside

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“Shit!” The monster that stabbed me got a ball of heat to the face, causing them to scream out. “Get him out of here!” I yelled to Daniel. My sight blurred and I knew I had only seconds more to live. So I let go of my body once again.

The monsters crowded around me, stabbing my mangled body repeatedly, taking no notice of the shadow. I shrieked at them, grabbing them and flinging them at eachother so they’d all go flying towards the wall. “Run, you idiot!” I told Daniel, my voice more animalistic than human.

He hesitated before pulling Papa Willis with him as he ran. “What about her?” Willis protested.

“I’ll be fine!” I yelled, hurling away the monsters that attempted to follow. “Get both your asses out!” I ordered Daniel. He nodded, and pulled Willis away, till both were out of my sight.

I looked back at the monsters coming towards me. “We’re doing nothing!” I heard one yell. “We were lied to! This isn’t a human!”

It was easy to kill them all, too simple to break them in my hand. But then I realised that no more came. We were still on the run, and yet, I heard no more approaching my way.

Oh no…I was such a fool. How many were up the other end, hunting Daniel and Willis?

I didn’t know what to do with my body though. I couldn’t leave it there…but touching it would trap me inside, and I was still dead. Or at any rate, dying. I wasn’t entirely sure. What use could I like that? But they would no doubt take it the minute I abandoned it to go after the two men running for their lives.

So I chose the option I valued more. I flew down the halls, desperately trying to sense them. I couldn’t see or hear any other presence following or approaching me, the two of them were far ahead of me. It was only because I recognised Willis’ scent that I was able to follow it, and soon, I could not only smell him, but Daniel as well. I wasn’t far…but this didn’t reassure me.

Then I heard a scream that could only be human. That’s when I decided to charge, smashing through several walls in the process in an almost cartoon-like manner. I had less than a second to take in the scene; Willis was lying in a pool of blood, and Daniel was barely keeping the freaks-with mouths stretched out like a crocodile’s- off him, frantically striking against two swords. He caught sight of me and his eyes widened. When a monster swiped at him, and he barely missed the edge of the sword, I flew at him and crushed him against a wall. “You don’t-” I punched him in the nose, “Touch-” I grabbed his neck, my claws wrapping around his throat, “Daniel!” With that, I jerked it to the right and let him fall to the ground.

At the same moment, Daniel’s sword was entering the neck of the other one, black blood spraying everywhere. “That was close,” I said softly, as the monster crumpled below.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“Willis,” I reminded him.

Immediately he flashed around to my friend. Willis’ eyes were closed and he was barely moving. “I’ll be fine here,” Daniel told me. “Get your body back, now.”

“I’m probably dead…”

“Just go.” Something in his voice told me that I had to go now. So I went along the trail of rubble, when the whole mess hit me at last. It was far from a good time, but nothing stopped me as I crumpled to the ground in a quivering heap. I don’t know how long I was there, shaking, but when I finally looked up, someone was standing above me.

My face was smooth and emotionless. My eyes revealed nothing as they gazed down upon my shadow. Then my lips turned up into a sinister smile, as my hand was lifted to be inspected by my cool, silent stare. After a moment, Cat Madigan walked away, towards the pathway that my shadow had created.

I grabbed her by the arm. In that moment, it felt insanely hot, as if she were made of metal than flesh. But I didn’t re-enter my body. “Who are you?” I demanded.

She looked at me. “I’m Cat Madigan,” she said. But her voice was like a toddler’s, giving her away completely.

I twisted her arm and slammed her to the ground. “Don’t give me that,” I growled. “Get out of my body now.”

She smiled again. “Make me,” she said in that toddler voice, as the five letters lit up. There was no way I was backing down.

I had no time to think as a ball of fire surged towards my face. I nearly flipped backwards to dodge it, and I swiped her leg, causing her to fall to the ground. But she wasn’t fazed. Giving another maniacal laugh, she suddenly launched into the air, hovering above me.

Okay, that’s new. “I know you’re not me,” I snarled. “So why don’t you just tell me what you’re trying here?”

Another smile. “Does it really matter?” she asked, still floating in the air. “Well…you’ll be dead soon anyway, I suppose.”

At that I laughed, and when I saw her flinch, I felt even more pleased with myself. “You can try,” I told her. “God knows I have. Now…your name?”

“Axyl,” she said. “Sigma former. Helevia.”

“Don’t give me your backstory,” I told Axyl. “Even if you were from Helevia, that’s not the side you were on when it fell.” She shrugged. “Anyway….” I jumped into the air below her and aimed my foot upwards.

My kick launched her down the hall, where she was knocked into the wall ten metres from her. “Always wanted to do that,” I murmured to myself.

Axyl looked up with another eerie smile. “You can’t get me out,” she informed me. “This is my body now.”

“Cat!”

Both the imposter and I flashed around to see Daniel. Immediately, Axyl flew to Daniel. “Don’t you frigging dare!” I screamed at her, grabbing her burning arms.

“Daniel, help me!” she called out.

Daniel froze. “Daniel, I need you!” I shouted. “I can’t get back in, she’s taken over!” Still he didn’t move. “Didn’t you hear me? She’s taken over my body, I have to get her out!”

“I can’t…” he said weakly.

What? “Why…” I asked, feeling uneasy.

Suddenly, Axyl leapt out of my grasp and leapt towards Daniel. “No!” I yelled.

She threw her arms around Daniel and sobbed. Daniel just stood there as she shook with tears. “I’m scared,” she whimpered. “Please…I want to go…”

“It’s alright,” he told her reassuringly. “We can leave now, I promise, Cat.” He met my gaze; there was no hate in his face, nor fear or disgust. Instead, there was an urgency reflected in his eye that made me realise what he was doing. I nodded once, and waited for his signal.

“Where did you get this?” he asked Axyl, gently removing the wand from her jacket-my jacket.

“I…” She only paused for half a second. “It was in one of the cells,” she continued confidently. “One of the freaks must’ve left it there by mistake.”

Heheh, gotcha.

“I thought you said you took it from a corpse,” he said to her.

For a moment she went pale. “It was. You’re right. There was a body there, a prisoner I think. Maybe the guards dropped it and they picked it-” She stopped talking a split second before Daniel raised the wand and sent her flying backwards.

I grabbed her before she could hit the wall, and closed my eyes, forcing my way into her head. Get out, I snarled.

She merely screamed. Fine then. Using all that remained of my strength, I struggled to regain control of my limbs, until finally, the force pushing against me suddenly disappeared, and I took the opportunity to enter completely.

The pain of the injuries my body had obtained made me cry out when I came to my senses. “It’s alright,” Daniel told me. “Only me.” He lifted me up and he began walking back through the debris.

I could finally speak. “That…was frightening,” I croaked.

He looked down at me, smiling crookedly. “That’s what tipped me off,” he informed me. “If you were the enemy, why would she stop fighting you, just because I was there?”

“Yeah…after that, she called the monsters freaks. That was stupid too…”

“I already figured it out though,” Daniel pointed out.

“Still. What if you hadn’t?”

“I suppose.”

We were getting closer to the room now. “It wasn’t a corpse,” I said aloud. “Or in a cell. I found it in a lab. That’s how I caused the explosion.” Then Papa Willis came into view. “Is he okay?” Then I noticed Noah.

“He will be,” he answered. “Lucky for him, Daniel knows how to make a tourniquet.”

“Why would he need a…” Then I saw Willis. His right arm was in tatters, and a piece of cloth was wound tightly around where the elbow should’ve been. “Holy….”

“Indeed…”

“Willis tried to hit them out of the way,” Daniel told me wearily. “One of those crocodile things was going to bite my head off. If Willis hadn’t blocked it, I would’ve lost my neck. But he lost his arm…”

“He’ll be okay though?”

“Yes,” Noah said. “Come along you two, we need to leave.”

____________________________________________________________

There’s no Delirium or Reality, both of the worlds in my head are real; though no one but I would consider this the case.
I killed too many in the end. I can’t make myself forget everything I’ve done. It’s better to stop now. I want to die before I end up destroying both of my worlds, because I know that will happen.
The room’s all fuzzy now. In a moment, I’ll stop breathing, and from there….I don’t know. Kaya didn’t die, god knows what’ll happen to me.
It didn’t matter in the end, what was real or not. Delirium taught me as much as Reality. Reality was just as painful as Delirium. No matter what anyone says, my actions did matter. And for that, I’m sorry.
May we meet again.

.

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.