Confrontations

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I opened my eyes. “Pink.” I immediately hear gasps coming from above me. I roll over. “Was it pink you chose?” I ask Ray.

She hesitates and shakes her head. “Green.”

“Should’ve guessed that,” I grimace. I lie back down. “I feel disgusting, what time is it?”

“Eight morn,” the doctor says from somewhere.

“Hello Noah.”

“You shouldn’t call me Noah.”

“Kaya was allowed to call you Noah,” I say provocatively.

“Oh, she didn’t have permission.”

“Mmmmph.” I roll over and knock against Daniel. “Daniel?” I immediately straighten up. Then I collapse back down again. I’m too lethargic to lift myself up. “How is he?” I ask.

“No response yet,” Noah says. “Anything could be happening.”

“Jhaq, did you give him tea again?” I had gotten Daniel to swallow a couple spoonfuls of tea when he was barely conscious to help improve his colour, at the advice of the doctor. She nods. “That’s good.” Once again, I try sitting up, and I just lean against the head of Daniel’s bed. “Crap…I have to do things today,” I groan.

Noah frowns. “What do you mean?”

“In…” I’m not sure what to say to these people. “In…my own world, I have to go to an appointment,” I say. “Therapy.”

“For what? Your health is perfect.”

“Not exactly, it’s complicated.” I roll out of bed, onto the floor. I struggle to stand, and Jhaq helps me shrug into a robe which smells like Daniel. “If anything changes, you’ll let me know, won’t you?” I demand Noah.

“Of course. We’ll send Jhaq or Ray.”

“Good.” I catch a glance of myself in the mirror. “How long was I unconcious?”

“I wouldn’t know how long it would be in your world,” he told me. “But you were…gone for two nights. We removed the rest of Daniel’s eye during that.”

“His blood levels?”

“His colour’s better, but like I said, there’s been no response yet.”

I look over at Daniel. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve said he were sleeping. “Be good,” I tell him, as if he could hear me perfectly well. I recoil at myself in the mirror. “I look like shit.” Then I saw Jhaq’s disapproval in the reflection. “Sorry, sorry,” I say hurriedly.

“Dying tends to do that to you,” Noah reminds me dryly.

“True, very true.” I stumble to the floor again. “No need,” I tell Jhaq as she rushes to help me up. “I’ll have you know that I fall at least three times a day, I can handle it.” I pull myself up onto my bed. “My dear doctor, what is recommended that I eat after mass blood loss?”

He frowns. “Anything that helps restore iron in your blood, that’s what Kaya once told me.”

“Wonderful. It looks like I’ll be having steak for breakfast.” Steaaaaaaaaaaaaak.

Then I remember I’d have to cook it in front of my family. “Or crappy gluten free cereal, that works too.”

“Maybe you should sit down again,” Noah suggests.

“No, I’m usually like this,” I tell him. “Just ask…yeah, I’m fine. Okay…” I open the door and a boy falls to the ground at my feet. Not knowing what to do, I look out into the hallway. It’s the same hallway as my house in Reality.

Then I look down. “Hello. Can you bring me a plate of steak?”

“I-I-I-I beg your p-p-p-pardon?” The boy was trembling, and slowly crawling back from me, it was clear he wasn’t meant to be there at the door, but my bloodless brain wasn’t aware of that, at least not immediately.

“Steak,” I repeat to him. “Something along the lines of beef, if you don’t have the genuine article. And make it medium rare, I need blood today.”

The boy begins to hurry away, only to be tackled by Noah. The sight of Noah holding the boy in a headlock brings me out of my hunger induced confusion. “Also,” I add, “you probably shouldn’t be listening to our conversation behind that door either. It looks uncomfortable.”

“What do you want?” Noah growls at the boy. He merely whimpers. “Answer me!”

“Don’t shout at the kid,” I tell Noah. “Bring him in here first anyway, so he can’t run.”

Noah proceeds to throw the kid into Daniel’s chambers, and he stumbles onto the ground. Noah slams the door behind him. “That’s not necessary,” I raised my voice. “You’re not to beat him, he can’t be more than seven.”

“A seven who records everything he hears and gives it to his master,” Noah replies.

“Even so, this is a hospital,” I tell him. “Or that is the case right now anyway. And no violence in the ward is allowed.”

He frowns at me. “Kaya told me you were kindhearted,” he says. “But I didn’t take you for someone who is soft.”

“I’m anything but. I’m simply tired,” I told him, and his face changed. “Kaya died a year ago. I’ve changed a lot since then, and I can assure you this has nothing to do with kindness or weak hearts. There’s a time and place for that sort of punishment, and it’s not now.” I sigh. “If you want to beat the boy, do it away from here, and away from me. I can’t stop you. But there’s been enough blood and death here today.”

“That’s a bit of an exaggeration,” Noah says, but he doesn’t move toward the boy.

“Question the boy and be done with it,” I said. I open the door and I see the glamorous hallways of the castle. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find my prey.” Steaaaaaaaaaak.

_____________________________________

When I told Lolly about Daniel, I didn’t mention how I was drained until I was dead. That’s not what she cares about though. She’s more concerned about on how Daniel’s death would affect me than what I would go through to save him. So I didn’t say anything.

I was told to take my mind off things, as if Daniel slowly dying alone in his bed was as insignificant as a patch of dust on a jacket. I had become depressed as the day went on, worrying about Daniel and life without him. Talking about it only made me realise how much he meant.

And then I saw the last person I wished to see.

“Lady Madigan,” Christan greeted me outside the adolescent centre.

“Save it.” I walked straight past him, and I heard him hurry after me. “Are you deaf?”

“I was told to come here by the physician. I bring news of Him, my lady.”

“He said Jhaq would be sent.”

“She was, before I intercepted her.”

I turned around to glare at the golden prince. “You think that’s clever?” I hiss. “Going after me again after you’ve broken me already?”

“Listen to what I have to say and I’ll be gone!”

“That had better be the case.” I continued walking, but I slowed down, so I walked behind him. “Speak.”

“Daniel awoke for a few minutes, before going into a seizure. That is all I got of the message from the girl.”

“What exactly made you think that it would be safe for you, of all people to tell me that?” I growled.

“Calm down, I-”

You stuck a dagger in the eye of the man I trust the most!” I screamed. “If he’s dead, it’s on your hands.”

“It wasn’t my intention-”

“Save it. I’ve had enough.”

“I’m not done speaking.” He continued to walk beside me, and I remained completely silent. “He came at me and knocked me to the ground. He was throttling me, I had no choice! But I didn’t kill him!”

I didn’t respond. For some reason, this gave him confidence. “I only wanted to get him across the face. A scar as a warning. But he moved.” His voice became frantic. “I had no intention to hurt him in the way that he was. I swear Lady Madigan.”

Both he and I were silent as we walked. I looked over to him. “You want my forgiveness,” I said.

“I do,” he said. “And I am willing to give you anything to have it. Whatever you desire, you can have it.”

“Very well.” My tone is pleasant, but I’m glaring at him. “Rip out your own eye, and have your guards beat you till you’re at the edge of your wits.”

“Wha- My Lady, be reasonab-”

“I’m being perfectly reasonable,” I said, in the same kind of voice I would use to explain something to a little child. “It’s an eye for an eye. So to speak. That’ll pay for my forgiveness. I think you can figure out what you would have to pay for Daniel’s.”

“I…”

“You must know.” I smiled sweetly at him, my eyes full of poison. “Take the one thing you care about the most and have your guards hold her down while she is-”

“Stop!”

“Should you really be saying that to me? Of all things?”

“I-”

“Don’t bother. Just understand this.” I was shouting then, but I didn’t care the slightest. “Daniel and I are not toys for you to enjoy and to throw away as you please. Neither is anyone else, no matter what you think of them. And if Daniel dies because of you…” I broke down sobbing on the pavement. I don’t know what it was; despair, anger, madness, one of those three. When I finally looked up, Christan held out his hand. I saw his face, full of pain and sympathy. But most of all, he looked frightened.

I took his hand, and I crushed it in my grip. “If Daniel dies because of you,” I repeated, ignoring his cries. “I will not hesitate to make every fibre of your being burst into flames. So I suggest that you stay a long distance away from me, if you want to live.”

“I don’t want him to die,” Christan said to me. “He’s the last person in this world I want dead, trust me my Lady, I wish him no harm.”

I gave him my poisonous smile again. “Then I think you understand my message,” I said sweetly. “Now go.”

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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.”

Don’t Go Now

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It’s all a matter of waiting. Which happens to be the thing I am worst at.

It’s like that time with Chase; the only thing I can do is sit there and watch on. There’s only helplessness.

And hate. That too.

Daniel’s shivering all the time, and his face is drained of any colour, except for a bright red near his right eye. Right now there’s a bandage wrapped around his head, covering the wound, but I still feel sick, knowing what’s underneath it…

“The eye must be removed,” Jhaq had told me. “It’s been too badly damaged, Daniel would no longer be able to use it.”

Later, someone I assumed to be the physician gave me a much more gory description. The eye had been sliced straight down the middle, whoever attacked him got him straight in the eyeball. His words made everything seem so much worse, I had already felt uneasy at the sight of Daniel; hearing the doctor’s words made my stomach churn.

“What else has been done?” I asked Jhaq.

She just shook her head. “Have you cleaned it?” I probed. “Have you given him water? Please, tell me!”

“We’ve cleaned it, Miss Madigan,” she reassured me hurriedly. “And he’s been given food and water, but…” Her voice trailed off.

I tried to understand. “He…can’t keep it down? Is that it?” She nodded. “Is it the shock?”

Jhaq sighed softly. “The weapon, Miss Madigan…” She stopped speaking suddenly.

I then saw the two figures at the door. One of them is Thommand, the other is his Grace.

“What do you want?” I said coldly.

Christan looked away. Thommand spoke. “We merely wanted to have knowledge of your wishes, Lady Madigan.”

“Wishes? What do you mean?”

He sighed. “Have you seen the condition of the weapon?” Without waiting for my response, he takes it out from behind him and tosses it toward the bed.

I caught it with my left hand and looked at it. I felt my anger rise as I saw it still had Daniel’s blood on it. “Just what am I meant to be looking at?”

“Wipe the blood aside if that helps,” Thommand suggested.

I ran the blade over the leg of my pants, and as the blood disappeared, I saw what he meant. I glared at Christan. “Why would someone carry a blade this rusty?”

“Do not question him,” Thommand said sharply.

“I have every right to,” I growled. Christan’s eyes widened. “After everything that has happened, I certainly have that right.”

“The point at hand,” Thommand was changing the subject again. “Is that if he receives an infection, then he shall slowly rot.”

Christan flinched as my five letters lit up again. “And?” I snarled.

Thommand is completely unfazed. “In the case of that happening, I was wondering if, instead of letting him suffer, you would allow one to administer a quick d-”

A ball of light suddenly seared off the edge of his arm. “Get out now, before you lose the rest of your attire,” I hissed. “Now!”

Thommand turned around in a huff, but Christan remained. “And what do you want?” I enquired angrily.

He shook his head. “I am the king,” he said firmly. “I wish to stay with Daniel as he recovers.”

“I believe you lost that right when you put that bloody dagger in his eye!”

“I will not be ordered around by his wench, my la-”

I caught him by the collar and hissed in his ear. “Listen,” I growled. “I have killed people for far less than you have done, your Grace. I am definitely not below revenge, and no one would blame me for it now.” I looked up and met his frightened gaze. “If your life means anything to you, you’ll leave. Now.”

I let him go, and he turned away with whatever remained of his pride. I looked back at Jhaq, who had no expression on her face. “Are you alright?” I asked, my voice hoarse.

“Yes, Miss Madigan,” she said firmly. She came up to me and put her hand on my shoulder. “Is Miss Madigan?”

I looked away. “What do you think?”

She sighed. “Jhaq…no, I worry too.”

Suddenly, Daniel let out a scream. “Daniel?!” I ran over and gripped his hand. “What’s going on?”

She just stared at Daniel, who was shaking violently. “Jhaq, please, help!” I pleaded.

Jhaq looked up. “Daniel is…”

“What?” I put my hand on his chest and I can feel it pounding like a jackhammer. “What are you saying?”

Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Daniel is…not here.”

“…not here?”

“No. Daniel’s mind is…gone.”

I shook my head. “It’s the shock, that’s all. He’s just in shock.”

Jhaq raised an eyebrow at me, and I immediately understand what she means. Who would know better than me?

“He’ll…he’ll come back though,” I told her. “I always do. No matter how bad it gets, I always come back. Even if it’s against my will.”

Jhaq spoke up again. “Daniel is not like Miss Madigan,” she reminded me. “Miss Madigan…” At the sight of my confusion, she raised her left hand, and I realised what she meant. “Daniel has never…Daniel is not…” She is grasping for words she does not know.

So I speak for her. “Daniel is not a freak,” I concluded.

She nodded. “If he…he won’t…” I inhaled. “He wouldn’t come back. He wouldn’t…heal.”

I looked down at Daniel. His lips were forming words I couldn’t hear, or understand. “How…long?” I asked her.

She shook her head. “No.” She suddenly ran out of the room, leaving me with Daniel.

“Cat…” I heard a whimpering sound come from Daniel. I grasped his hand, and waited for him to say more. Instead, he cried out again, gasping in agony.

His hand tightened around mine, and I thought my bones would break. But I didn’t let go. If I did, he might too. Stay with me Daniel, I pleaded. Please.

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…based on the events of the past days, I think that my Delirium might be ending soon. If everything goes as I expect it, I will die one more death before going back to Reality permanently… I’m not sure how I feel about that.