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There’s nothing more humiliating that bursting into tears during class. For absolutely no fucking reason. Or at least, one that would make sense to anyone but you.

It’s not necessarily an explosion, per se. There’s no trembling in the earth, no sound to be heard. I’d consider myself more like a waterfall than a volcano. I’m absolutely motionless as my tears fall, so no one realises what’s going on until my teacher comes up to me and asks to see my work, and they all turn towards me and see my tears.

Payne looks at me in mock sympathy. I know she doesn’t mean it, because she immediately whispers something and laughs to the girl next to her. My face is still as stone, but underneath, the feelings boil and hiss.

I don’t speak to Mrs S on the way out; she’s talking to a student, and although I know she’d want to speak to me, I know that she doesn’t have enough time to actually help, so I quickly get out of the way and hurry off to Math. I only last half the lesson before I hurry out, just wanting to lock myself away and cry.

Then Shiny comes out, calling my name. My new math teacher, who’s only been vaguely informed of my blackouts, and has probably got no idea about my growing death wish. So now, not only is he going to see me crying for no reason, but people will know that I’m out here.

I’ve got no choice but to stop. He catches up to me and takes in the sight of my wet face and scarlet cheeks. “I’ll give you five minutes to calm down,” he says. “But next time, tell me when you’re going.”

I nod, and he lets me go. I don’t bother to argue with him, but while I walk away, all the reasons why I can’t keep this promise to him flow through my mind; if I did, they’d send someone with me. And there was no one in that class that I’d be willing to let them see my tears; he might send frigging Payne with me.

The bathroom is empty. I grab onto the sink for dear life and break down sobbing. At last, the bubbling inside stops, everything simmers down, and I feel calmer, even sleepy.

Suddenly I hear footsteps.

Self preservation kicks in, and I go onto one of the stalls, though the girl opens the door to the bathroom a second before I close the door to the cubicle. “Cat?”

It’s not Payne, thank god. It’s one of her friends though, albeit one far nicer than that stuck up cow. I take a moment to breathe in enough air so I can say “I’m fine” without letting my voice crack.

“No you’re not, you’re in here,” she replies. “What’s wrong?”

How should I know? “I’ll be fine,” I lie. “I just need to collect myself.”

“Okay…” Her voice is skeptical, but I hear her retreat from my hiding spot. I take a few more moments to sob silently, to get that rest of that stored up energy out, before I dry my face and head out of the stall.

She’s still waiting. “Is there anything I can do?” She doesn’t ask me what’s wrong, and for that I’m grateful.

“No,” I tell her. I wash my hands and we start heading back.

“Are you okay now?”

I grin brightly. “No.”

She frowns. “Why do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Contradict yourself.”

“Everyone does it, not just me,” I tell her, before I open the door and things go back to normal.

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Tears and Why I Shed Them

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“Please tell me you know why you’re crying,” Daniel says to me.

“….”

“Okay then…what did one of your friends say now?”

I just sigh and show him. “Right.” Daniel cracks his knuckles and flexes his hands. “I’m going to kill him.”

“Don’t.”

“Why? I think Flash should apologise.”

“It’s my own fault Daniel, it’s fine.”

“NO IT IS NOT!” he yells suddenly. “It is not okay!”

“Calm down,” I plead.

“No, I will not. You know why?” He refuses to wait for an answer. “Tell me, when was the last time you spoke back to someone?”

“…”

“Precisely Cat Madigan. So…we should do something about it.”

I already feel a pit of dread growing in my stomach. “No…”

“Stop being a chicken.”

“I’m not a chicken! I just don’t want to lose a good friend.”

“You can do without him, you silly girl.”

“He’s my friend!”

“Cat, what is that falling down your face?”

“Evidence of severe emotional instability.”

“That reminds me….” With that, Daniel disappears.

“Daniel?” I look around my bedroom. “Daniel where are-”

And that’s when everything changed.

My arms hurt, but I couldn’t move them. They were held behind my head by chains attached to the ceiling. I hate them… Struggling hurts more. “LET ME OUT!” I scream. “LET. ME. OUT!”

I could feel him behind me. It wasn’t Daniel, Daniel was warm, you could feel the heat radiating from his body from a couple of steps away; this stranger was cold. Daniel smelt of rain and smoke. The stranger smelt of death.

And I knew him.

“It’s not her,” I tell him. “It’s Cat, my name is Cat, not Kaya, do you understand? Please.” I know what happens next, I’ve seen it happen, I’ve seen it happen to her. Then I realise. “It doesn’t make a difference does it? You would’ve known it wasn’t me, just like I immediately knew you weren’t Daniel…”

I hear him walking, and I finally see him out the corner of my eye. He’s only two steps away from me, but even then I can’t make him out clearly. I just see dark mangy hair.

Then he speaks. “Freak,” he growls.

My head is on fire, and my body slumps. I hang by my arms, only wanting it to stop. “Freakish girl, girl with two faces,” he hisses at me.

“I know what I am,” I croak out, and a wave of pain surges through. Don’t you scream, Cat.

Do you really?” he muses. There’s silence, and I don’t know what he’s thinking, but the pain stops.

And the light vanishes.

Oh no… Focusing, I manage to keep my breathing steady, he will not see me afraid. Kaya might be proud, I think.

All that changes when his nails are digging into my stomach, his mouth snarling down my ear, his icy skin absorbing any heat from my body. I can’t help it, I scream. And his hands, with impossible fingernails as long as knives, dig deeper.

I see blood again. Red, not black, I note. How?

Just before he rips out my organs, I wake up, and I’m coughing and spluttering. More than that, I’m sobbing. I now know why I’m crying, I think, my internal words twisted and bitter. Happy now Daniel?

I can move my hands, and they touch where the monster’s claws were. It hurts when I touch it, but the skin is unbroken.

“Stay with me,” I whisper out loud, to no one.

I go to bed alone, and I pretend to be asleep when I hear him. He curses himself and he eventually climbs in after about ten minutes of panicking. “Forgive…” His voice pleads.

Mercy…the one act separating humanity from becoming monsters. I roll over and look at Daniel; for once, he needs comfort instead of me. “Shhhh,” I tell him, like he often tells me. “Shhhh.”

Tears and Why I Shed Them

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“Please tell me you know why you’re crying,” Daniel says to me.

“….”

“Okay then…what did one of your friends say now?”

I just sigh and show him. “Right.” Daniel cracks his knuckles and flexes his hands. “I’m going to kill him.”

“Don’t.”

“Why? I think Flash should apologise.”

“It’s my own fault Daniel, it’s fine.”

“NO IT IS NOT!” he yells suddenly. “It is not okay!”

“Calm down,” I plead.

“No, I will not. You know why?” He refuses to wait for an answer. “Tell me, when was the last time you spoke back to someone?”

“…”

“Precisely Cat Madigan. So…we should do something about it.”

I already feel a pit of dread growing in my stomach. “No…”

“Stop being a chicken.”

“I’m not a chicken! I just don’t want to lose a good friend.”

“You can do without him, you silly girl.”

“He’s my friend!”

“Cat, what is that falling down your face?”

“Evidence of severe emotional instability.”

“That reminds me….” With that, Daniel disappears.

“Daniel?” I look around my bedroom. “Daniel where are-”

And that’s when everything changed.

My arms hurt, but I couldn’t move them. They were held behind my head by chains attached to the ceiling. I hate them… Struggling hurts more. “LET ME OUT!” I scream. “LET. ME. OUT!”

I could feel him behind me. It wasn’t Daniel, Daniel was warm, you could feel the heat radiating from his body from a couple of steps away; this stranger was cold. Daniel smelt of rain and smoke. The stranger smelt of death.

And I knew him.

“It’s not her,” I tell him. “It’s Cat, my name is Cat, not Kaya, do you understand? Please.” I know what happens next, I’ve seen it happen, I’ve seen it happen to her. Then I realise. “It doesn’t make a difference does it? You would’ve known it wasn’t me, just like I immediately knew you weren’t Daniel…”

I hear him walking, and I finally see him out the corner of my eye. He’s only two steps away from me, but even then I can’t make him out clearly. I just see dark mangy hair.

Then he speaks. “Freak,” he growls.

My head is on fire, and my body slumps. I hang by my arms, only wanting it to stop. “Freakish girl, girl with two faces,” he hisses at me.

“I know what I am,” I croak out, and a wave of pain surges through. Don’t you scream, Cat.

Do you really?” he muses. There’s silence, and I don’t know what he’s thinking, but the pain stops.

And the light vanishes.

Oh no… Focusing, I manage to keep my breathing steady, he will not see me afraid. Kaya might be proud, I think.

All that changes when his nails are digging into my stomach, his mouth snarling down my ear, his icy skin absorbing any heat from my body. I can’t help it, I scream. And his hands, with impossible fingernails as long as knives, dig deeper.

I see blood again. Red, not black, I note. How?

Just before he rips out my organs, I wake up, and I’m coughing and spluttering. More than that, I’m sobbing. I now know why I’m crying, I think, my internal words twisted and bitter. Happy now Daniel?

I can move my hands, and they touch where the monster’s claws were. It hurts when I touch it, but the skin is unbroken.

“Stay with me,” I whisper out loud, to no one.

I go to bed alone, and I pretend to be asleep when I hear him. He curses himself and he eventually climbs in after about ten minutes of panicking. “Forgive…” His voice pleads.

Mercy…the one act separating humanity from becoming monsters. I roll over and look at Daniel; for once, he needs comfort instead of me. “Shhhh,” I tell him, like he often tells me. “Shhhh.”