Drained

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Jhaq returned not long after. She was carrying different glass jars with her, and in two was her little daughter. “Ray?”

She climbed onto the bed next to Daniel. “Should she be…” I asked Jhaq, but she ignored me.

“J- I shall remove the bandage,” she announced. “I…must clean it.” She was struggling not to speak in third person. I remembered that I had given her another book, another set of words for her to read, from my own shelf. I didn’t know what she would think of the Hunger Games, but the last time I asked Daniel, he said she was enjoying it. He had to stop her from reading them to Ray as a bedtime story though.

He looked so different then. Daniel was so full of life, it was hard to see how now, barely moving except when he was screaming or crying out.

I looked over at his goddaughter, with her little face screwed up in a frown. “Daniel,” she said. Just that single word; Daniel.

“Look away,” Jhaq told the both of us. She took off the bandage, revealing the inflamed skin underneath, and little bits of white that remained of his eye. Ray whimpered and Jhaq looked up exasperated. “Jhaq said, look away,” she scolded both of us. “Silly girls.”

“I’m fine,” I told her. “I want to help.”

“This is nothing,” she said.

“It’ll make me feel like I’m doing something,” I pointed out. “Please Jhaq.”

She shook her head, pouring a fluid onto a cloth. I knew the smell. “Tea tree oil?” I asked.

She looked up. “It’s a good antiseptic,” I said. “I use it sometimes.”

Jhaq nodded. “This will help Daniel fight off infection,” she told me, dabbing it on his broken eye.

I thought of something. “I’ll be back,” I told Jhaq, walking out of Daniel’s chambers, not entirely sure of where to go.

As I walked out, I came into the hallway to my bedroom though. “Wha-” I looked back, and Daniel’s room was there, not mine. I frowned. Was Daniel’s bedroom now part of my house?

At least it’s cleaner.

I went into the kitchen, and started boiling the kettle. “Do we have lemongrass?” I asked mum, scrambling for a tea bag.

Mum mumbled something in response, but I didn’t pay too much mind. Calling back a word of thanks, I grabbed a bottle of essential oil in the kitchen, and finished preparing my cup of tea.

Jhaq frowned as I walked in. “I need to clear the air,” I told her. “It’ll help me breathe. Him too.”

She hesitated, then nodded. “The scents will help Daniel breathe,” she told me. “Mayhaps calm Daniel.”

“Good.” She began to wrap a long strip of cloth around Daniel’s head, covering up the newly placed bandage. Once again, he was barely moving, and I had to feel his heartbeat myself before I could reassure myself that he was still alive.

Then the door opened and I sprang up, expecting my mother or brother. Instead, a young man with grey hair walked in, and looked at me. “You are the human girl?” he asked.

Well, that’s certainly better than freak. “Yes, that’s me,” I told him. Jhaq dropped in a deep curtsey on the ground, and he swept past her without a word.

Then he did something surprising. He knelt down in a bow before me. “My lady,” he spoke, rising up again. “I have heard much about you.”

Part of me is frozen in shock. “Then why on earth would you be bowing?”

He smiled at me wryly. “You’re still a lady,” he said. “And a strong one at that. You’ve terrified his Grace to no end.”

“As long as he’s not coming back,” I simply said. I didn’t trust myself to open up to this stranger, even though he seemed far different from everyone else.

Then he sighed. “I trust that you know what happened.” I nodded. “I’m sorry for what has happened to you both,” he said sorrowfully. “Neither of you deserved what happened.”

I frowned at the bitter tone in his voice. “Has something like this happened before?”

“No, but sooner or later it would’ve.” The doctor’s face is stony. “It’ll happen again as well.”

I don’t know what to say to this declaration. “I cannot control him,” I settled for saying. The doctor nodded.

Daniel yelled out and I turned back to him. I didn’t need to put my hand to his forehead to know that he had a fever, but I did anyway, and his eyes fluttered open, or at least the single one did. “I…”

“Daniel?”

He stares at me for a moment. “Cat Madigan,” he murmured, before his eye closed again.

I stayed by him. “What can be done?” I asked the doctor.

He then proceeded to relay to me a full description of how Daniel’s eye was sliced right down the middle, informing me of how the pupil was completely destroyed and how the rest of his eye would be removed as soon as his body was stabilised. By the end of it, I was feeling slightly ill.

“He is slowly coming out of shock,” the doctor told me. “But he’s got an infection, and he needs blood. My lady…” He inhaled. “You know as well as I do that our blood will not do the job.”

“Then use mine,” I told him.

“I’d have to get his permission,” he replied.

“He’s delirious, how can you get permission from him?”

“My lady, no offence…but using your blood may cause complications. You know why.”

“Oh.” Freak. “I know…but, where else can we get human blood?”

He shook his head. “His Grace told me himself that you are the one human besides Daniel in these grounds. But we don’t know the structure of your blood, it has been through many treatments now.”

I thought for a moment. “It’s…strange.”

“Believe me, I know.” The doctor smiles at me strangely. “I’ve heard of what’s happened. And I can see why you terrify the king, especially now.” He placed a hand on my shoulder. “It’s a frightening prospect; one who has suffered a million hells, and survives every one of them.”

“Not without scars.”

“That’s what makes you terrifying. Not the physical scars,” he added, “but all that suffering has made you strong as steel. You’re a girl forged by pain and rage, and you remember everything that’s ever happened to you. That’s why he’s afraid. He knows that you’ll get revenge, someday.”

I smiled up at him bitterly. “You make me sound like some warrior.”

“That’s what people consider you.”

“People?”

“Indeed.”

I suddenly felt uncomfortable. “Could I save Daniel with my blood? It’s closer than anything else available, and if it can bring me back to life, it can heal him.”

“If he accepts it. More precisely, if his body accepts it. That’s the main worry.”

“Is there a difference between injections and a transfusion?”

“Your blood is used to catering for your body. We don’t know how it’ll react to his. Best case scenario, he accepts it, and it heals his body without permanently impacting his system.”

“And then there’s an infinite amount of possibilities after that,” I concluded.

“Yes,” he said. “And there’s another issue.”

“What now?”

“A lot of blood is needed. He’s nearly comatose right now, but we’re not sure how much blood he’ll need. And we must think of your condition as well. If your bodies are like ours, then you won’t be able to reproduce enough blood to function, at least not in less than a day. You’d die from the blood loss.”

“…you forget who you’re talking to, sir.” Before he could interrupt me, I continued. “Take all the blood you can from me until I stop breathing. That’s how much you’d need for Daniel.”

He hesitated. “Resuscitate me if you want,” I told him. “But if you don’t, I’ll come back anyway.”

“My lady-”

“I’ve died from haemorrhaging more times than I am able to count, and I’m here to say this to you,” I said. “If there’s another option, think of one now.”

He thought for a moment before shaking his head in defeat. “I can’t,” he admitted. “He’s in no condition to consent,” he acknowledged. “But you do realise that this is a coin flip.”

“Of course I do.”
___________________________________________

The doctor lets me stay in Daniel’s room while this happens. Jhaq and Ray are asked to leave, but Ray refuses, and I don’t argue with her. “She can stay if she wants,” I say. “If her mother agrees,” I remedy, at the look on Jhaq’s face.

“You’ll come back,” Ray says firmly. She’s tiny, but she’s stubborn. I’ve forgotten how old she is.

“Of course. Think of a colour while I’m gone.”

“Why?”

“Just for a bit of fun.” Everything starts to go foggy once more. “How much has gone?” I asked the doctor.

“A litre,” he told me. “Shouldn’t be too much longer.”

“Doctor?”

He frowns at me. “What?”

“What’s your name?”

“I…” He looks away. “Noah.”

I smile. “I thought I knew you.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Him. He’s opening his eyes and looking over at me. “You’re going to live,” I said to him, as everything fades. “Stay alive for me.”

It’s like going asleep. “Promise me, Daniel.”

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Don’t Feed The Cat Madigan.

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I think I mentioned once that I received my anxiety from my father and my depression from my mother. No clue where the hallucinations came from though. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

So my father’s anxiety has started acting up again, and according to my mother, he’s been having panic attacks. He went to the doctor, who told him something about anxiety. This may or may not turn out to be total crap, but who knows?

Anyway, Doctor Jeff told Dad that there is increasing evidence that gluten is linked to mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, and that perhaps going glucose free would be better for him.

Upon being told this by my father, my mother decided that the whole family needed to go on the diet, to support my father. It’s easy to understand what that means. Would you like a translation, nonexistent reader?

I think that if Cat Madigan goes on this diet, her problems will be magically solved, and we can go back to the world of children’s stories.

I’m interested in finding out how she plans to enforce this on my alleged brother, arguably the most deceitful person on Planet Earth. Chances are, Tig will resort to stealing from Mum in order to buy pizza, and other foods with wheat, instead of iTunes cards. And I wonder if Dad is actually going to stick to it too. It can go either two ways; he stays on the diet, or he ends up stashing pasta in his desk, along with chocolate bars and porn.

Hey! Don’t look at me that way! I was looking for chocolate, I had no idea about the porn, and I really wish that I was still oblivious to it.

No wonder I’m fucked up.

Personally, I think this is going to go the same way as the sugar free diet went. About two years ago, when my blackouts were simply blackouts, Mum attempted to make me go on the same diet she had been on for about fifteen years before we were born, in order to control my blood sugar. It’s got to do with highs and lows; sugar gives you a huge high before plummeting, which can cause faints. Now, of course, I’m aware that my blackouts are most likely brought on by my hallucinations. And what causes my hallucinations is probably not my mild chocolate addiction.

Here’s what I think will happen, step by step.

1- Mum will remove every trace of everything that has wheat in it.

2- Mum will replace everything with gluten free counterparts. Does it matter if it’s appetising? Nope. Will she expect us to eat it? Yup.

3- I will most likely refuse to eat said gluten free foods, partially because they’ll be disgusting, but mainly because my stomach is the size of an apricot and I’ll be full after a yogurt with psyllium. Which doesn’t contain gluten, thank Christ.

4- Mum shall try to guilt trip me into eating disgusting gluten free counterparts, saying “We’re all doing this for you!” even though deep down, we all know it’s not going to work.

5- I’ll probably learn to cook rice dishes. Which is awesome, I love Asian food.

6- Less awesome; Mum will be angry that I am showing some independence, and will probably yell at me for some reason she’ll make up in her head.

7- No junk food. I know that gluten isn’t in all junk food items, but knowing my mother, this diet is one step from gluten free to everything-considered-appetising-and-fattening free. This, will lead to disobedience on Tigger’s part, and, depending if the diet works for me or not, mine too.

8- Tigger will start stealing money for pizza.

9- Father will hide items full of gluten with his porn.

10- I will end up starving and run away to the streets, where there is at least food.

11- Mum will go on a murderous rampage after this culmination of events.

THE END.

On that note, I implore you all, if you are/know a doctor, dietician, nutritionist, psychologist, paediatrician, or essentially anyone who knows about gluten free diets or how gluten affects mental disorders like the ones I mentioned above, please let me know if the diet does in fact work. I’ll try it if it helps my problems, but if it’s trash, then let me know by commenting on this post. Preferably before my mother goes around killing people.

Mum is trying to pressure me into eating disgusting bread now. It begins…

Cat Madigan.