Madigan Music

Standard

Because I suck at emotional responses unless there’s an epic soundtrack playing in the back of my head. And I need to get back into the knack of writing after having not updated for a year. 

Music For When I’m Not A Pathetic Lump For Once And Can Pass For Someone With A Spine

  • Bonfire—Warrant
  • Gangster’s Paradise—Coolio
  • Break The Rules—Charli XCX
  • Boogeyman—Black Casino And The Ghost
  • Wolf In Sheeps Clothing—Set It Off
  • Love Love—Take That
  • Kidz—Take That
  • Meglovania—Undertale OST
  • Burn My Dread—Persona 3 OST
  • Power—Kanye West
  • Inside—Warmer
  • Fallen Leaves
  • Mr Brightside—The Killers
  • My People—The Killers
  • Bad Reputation—Joan Jett
  • Beyond The Void—Arkana
  • Frag Out—DJ Assass1n
  • Get Jinxed!—League Of Legends

Music To Enhance Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl Mode

  • Listen You Little—Acid Usagi
  • Outside—Ellie Goulding + Calvin Harris
  • Booyah—Showtek feat. We Are Loud & Sonny Eilson
  • This Is Halloween—Marilyn Manson
  • Lolita—The Veronicas
  • Money—Mystery Skulls
  • The Scatman—Scatman John
  • N Battle Theme—Pokemon Black & White OST
  • Take Me Over—Peking Duk
  • Expand—Paris Blohm
  • Hello—OMFG
  • I’m A Pirate You Are A Princess—Nightcore 
  • Little Talks—Of Monsters And Men
  • Mt Eden—Sierra Leone
  • Monochrome No Kiss—Kuroshituji OST
  • Finale—Madeon
  • Outro—M83
  • Midnight City—M83
  • Limelight—Boy In A Band + Cryaotic
  • Lavender Town Remix
  • This Is Felicitas—K-391
  • The Bounds Of The Universe—Ivan Torrent
  • Get Jinxed!
  • Immortals—Fall Out Boy
  • Bonescuffle Remix—DM DOKURO

Music To Aid My Mental Breakdowns

  • In My Head It’s Like Hell—Warmer
  • The Diary of Jane—Breaking Benjamin
  • Breathe Me—Sia
  • TV—Eves The Behavior 
  • Fragments—An Unkindness
  • No Angels—Bastille ft. Ella Eyre
  • Where Butterflies Never Die—Broken Iris
  • Who’s That Girl—Hilary Duff
  • Aggravate—brandonsong
  • So Far—Ólafur Arnalds feat. Arnór Dan
  • Records—Paul Conrad
  • Chop Suey!—System Of A Down

Music To Help Me Cry When I Need To Cry

  • Silent Partner—Ether
  • Don’t You Worry Love—Warmer
  • Mountains—Message To Bears
  • Black Sun—Beyond: Two Souls OST
  • The Scientist—Coldplay
  • Everyone’s Waiting—Missy Higgins
  • Hello—Adele
  • Bittersweet Symphony—The Verve
  • Better Than Me—Hinder
  • Right Where It Belongs—Nine Inch Nails

Music For When I’m A Sex Goddess

  • Apoidea—Roman Remains
  • Closer—Nine Inch Nails
  • Drumming Song—Florence + The Machine
  • Do I Wanna Know?—Arctic Monkeys
  • Ultranumb—Blue Stahli
  • Fomenta—Antonio Castrignanò
  • Führe Mich (Nymphomaniac OST)—Rammstein
  • We Dance To A Different Disco—Short Stack
  • Bones—MsMr
  • Kitty Hawk—Ki:Theory
  • In Your Bed—Ariana & The Rose

Music When I Need Imagination Fuel

  • Attack On Titan OST
  • Toothless Hawkins And His Robot Jazz Band—Varien & Razihel
  • Building The Crate—Chicken Run
  • Right Here Right Now—Fatboy Slim
  • Dogstar—Hybrid
  • Cracks—Freestylers ft. Belle Humble
  • Dark Shadows—T.T.L
  • Paradise—Coldplay
  • Licht und Schatten—Yutaka Yamada
  • Unravel—Tokyo Ghoul OST
  • Diminuendo—Lawless feat. Britt Warner
  • Reborn—Dreamfall Chapters OST
  • Eyes Wide Open—Tony Anderson
  • Spanish Sahara—Foals

Music That Actual Helps Me Chill

  • Waiting For You—Unlike Pluto
  • Carry Me Away—Rootkit
  • 1955—Hilltop Hoods feat. Montaigne & Tom Thum
  • Ixode—Zola Jesus
  • Sucker For Pain—Suicide Squad OST
  • Breathe In—Amarante
  • I Love It—Hilltop Hoods feat. Sia
  • Silent Hill 2 Intro OST
  • Spectrum—Boy In A Band
  • All You Zombies—The Hooters
  • The Pain—Robbie Miller
  • Stressed Out—twenty one pilots
  • Money—Mystery Skulls

Better Than Me

Standard

I should really stop dreaming.

Also, there was a legitimate reason for me not posting. WordPress on my iPad wasn’t working. Not to mention Year 12 is crushing my soul. 

Anyway. Flashbacks fucking suck. The end. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 “Well? What do you think?”

I jump as the man behind me speaks suddenly. After quickly looking around for humans, I speak. “What do you mean?” 

 “I know you know,” he says flatly. 

 “About what?” 

 “About what just happened. Come on. What do you think?” 

 I turn around slowly. “Kaya…disappeared. After someone crashed into the palace, right?” 

 “…you know that someone, don’t you?” 

 “…” 

 “Who was it? Did you see them?” I can see that Daniel’s trying to keep his voice as non threatening as possible, but I can still feel the tension radiating from him. 

“…I didn’t need to,” I whisper. “There’s no one else it would be.” 

 “Who?” 

 “He killed her,” I say to him. “How could you not consider him?” 

 He’s silent for a moment. “You mean…” 

 “Yes.” 

 “But he’s in hiding. Why would he steal Kaya?” 

 “I don’t know. Because he can?” I feel drained from this conversation. Daniel’s eyes won’t leave my face, as if I’m hiding something. Which I am.

“You know what Kaya’s capable of,” I explain. “If he could control Kaya, imagine what he could do.”

It dawns on him. Even though this is more of an attempt to sway his attention away from the truth of her death, it is a genuine concern, not just for him, but for Kaya’s world. Not that I care. “You’ve got a point,” he says. “With Kaya’s body on life support, it wouldn’t take much for someone like him to reanimate her. She’d be a true weapon then.” My blood runs cold at the image of Kaya taking a step like a puppet dangling from a string, so much closer to reality than he realises. “I don’t understand why he’d leave her on the lake after killing her though,” he argues. “Why would he let the enemy take her back only to retrieve her again? As a result, we now have new information concerning Esper tech. Not to mention it would be a more effective strategy to leave us in the dark on Kaya’s status.”

“I don’t know. Maybe he’s just showing off. Showing us that he can infiltrate the castle. Putting us on edge.”

“Why not just kill us then?”

I frown. I didn’t take Daniel to be the type to not percieve this. “Obviously he wants to torture us before he kills us. It would be more fun for him that way.” I let my disgust of the monster show on my face.

Daniel just stares at me. “Since when do you know how psychos work?” he enquires.

I shake my head. “I’ve been watching monsters longer than you,” I told him. “Their insanity isn’t that hard to pick up on.”

Daniel accepts my excuse. “Still, it’s a big risk, letting us take her back. Would he really gamble the goals of the Espers for a quick thrill?” he contemplates.

“He’s not working for them,” I object too quickly. Immediately, Daniel’s face becomes suspicious again. I quickly clarify. “I think he hates them as much as he hates us,” I say. “He has no side but his own.” Just like Kaya.

Daniel watches me for a moment, and I worry that he’s picked up on what I didn’t say. For a moment, I feel guilty that I’m keeping this from him. If our roles were reversed, I’d want to know the truth. Then he speaks again. “He’s like you then,” he concludes. “No other concern except for himself. Maybe it’s not just Kaya’s viewpoint that makes you understand him.”

His words are cruel, and they sting as if he slapped me. Why was that necessary? I look away from him, gritting my teeth in silence. One thing was for certain; any pity or guilt I felt for him immediately vanished.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

That incident didn’t stay on my mind for long. Things at home were horrible, and though Daniel’s words stayed in my head long afterwards, I focused on other things.

Then he found out.

I didn’t speak to him when he appeared in my room. I never did. I always waited for him to start talking. And then he did. “Suicide,” he said flatly. 

My stomach leapt. 

“It was suicide,” he repeated. “Kaya knew she was going to die. And she did it anyway.” He stared at me, no set expression on his face. Then his eyes narrowed. “How long did you know?”

“…from the beginning,” I admitted, closing my eyes and shutting off my computer. I pushed it aside and sat up.

“Why?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“She didn’t want me to.”

“That’s not for her to decide,” he argued. “For gods sake, she was your friend too. How could you just accept this?”

I was shaking. “What could’ve I done?” I pleaded. “I couldn’t go into your world, remember? What could’ve I done to stop her?” Daniel continued to glare at me. “You don’t think I tried to stop her? After she told me, I begged her not to do this. But she ignored me, and then she was gone…” I took in a deep breath. “I knew her plan,” I admitted. “But there was only so much I could do. After she left, there was no way-“

“You could’ve told me!” he shouted. “I could’ve stopped her!”

“You would’ve. And then Kaya would been thrown in prison for conspiracy to high treason,” I retorted. 

“But that bastard would still be in jail. They would’ve released Kaya-“

“They killed her mother!” I blurted out. “And they wanted Kaya dead too, five years ago. Don’t you get it? This way, those men will die at the hands of the Espers. This is her revenge.”

“She wouldn’t give her life-“

“She would. You know that, don’t you?”

“I…” Daniel’s face was mixed with rage and despair. That’s when I figured it. He already knew that she’d give her life for this. That wasn’t the issue. It was that Kaya would throw him to the sharks too, despite everything they went through together. 

“Daniel…” The name was strange on my tongue. I had never called him by name before, and it was awkward. “I’m sorry,” I said at last. There wasn’t really anything else I could say.

Daniel quietly looked up at me. Immediately, I tensed up, already anticipating what was coming. And I was right. “Of course, it would be fine for you,” he spoke darkly. “None of this effects you. Even if Kaya’s dead. All you have to do is sit back and watch everyone die. That shouldn’t be too difficult.”

I had gotten up from my bed and had been pacing up and down my room for a while now, randomly picking up stuff from the floor, as if that would stop his words from hurting. He went on. “Nereida, Kaya, you’ve watched people die before. You’ll probably cheer when one of the Espers tears my fucking head off-“

That’s when I swung around, my fist smashing against his face. He stumbled back, caught off guard. Immediately, I backed away slightly, waiting for him to react. I just knew he’d get back at me. I knew that it was only a matter of seconds before I was lying on the ground getting the shit kicked out of me. I had no idea what possessed me to hit him.

Moments passed, and I realised that the blows I had been bracing myself for never came. Daniel just stood there, watching me, as if I was some strange beast that had escaped its cage. He once stared at Kaya the same way, in fact. “I deserved that,” he said finally. “I…shouldn’t have-“

“Shut the fuck up,” I hissed suddenly. His eyes widened. “How dare you. What do you take me for? I’m not…I’m not this twisted psycho who gets off on watching people die!” I was steadily losing control, but I didn’t give a crap. “Do you think I enjoy being able to do nothing? Do you think I’m happy to just sit there while people I care about die?! Why…” I tightened my hands into fists. “Why do you think I’d want you to die?!”

I could’ve slapped him for the incredulous look on his face. “You don’t?”

“No…” The anger quickly evaporated, and I was left trying to hold back what seemed like an endless supply of tears. “Don’t be stupid. If you died…” There’d be no one left to help me, I finished in my head. But I wouldn’t say them out loud to him. 

“…I spent the last few minutes verbally abusing you. You should hate me,” Daniel countered.

“I don’t.” I feel tired all of a sudden, and I sit down on the bed. “Kaya…was important to you too. I can understand how you feel.”

“….how do you do that?” he asked quietly. 

“…do what?” 

“Justify it. How can you allow people to do things to you that you can just sweep under the rug?”

I thought about that for a moment. It was just so…natural, that I never even questioned it until now. “It’s just…” I struggled to say, “it’s not like there aren’t more horrible people than them.”

“Like who?” Daniel retorted. “Is it even possible to hate someone who’s never done anything to you?”

“Yeah. It is.” If I looked at Daniel, I would burst into tears, so I kept my eyes firmly closed. “You were right, you know. About people who can’t do anything. Sometimes you can hate people so much just because they were involved and couldn’t, or didn’t, do anything to stop it.”

“…you mean…”

“…I’m sorry,” I said to him in a whisper. “I need to be alone.”

“You’re shaking…”

“I don’t care. Just go. Please,” I begged. 

For the first time since I had known him, Daniel did as I asked. I was finally left alone to shed the tears that I had locked in for the entire conversation. And for the rest of the night, I lay there, holding my knees and hating myself.

Next thing I knew, I was in Delirium.

Self Conversation

Standard

You’re being angsty and edgy again mate.

For some reason, you sound like Togami.

Whatever. Would you prefer me to sound like Kaya? Or Daniel?

Do whatever the fuck you want. You’re my head, after all.

So what are you doing out here?

Like you said, being angsty and edgy.

Why are you being angsty and edgy though?

Why the hell would you care?

I am you. And I’m not sure if you know yourself.

I do. Somewhat.

Then enlighten me.

I can’t finish my IT.

…that’s it?

No. Of course not, otherwise I wouldn’t be breaking down, would I?

Fine then. What else is there?

The fact that I can’t finish anything I start.

You finished one thing.

That doesn’t count and you know it.

I see. So we’re discounting anything involving mass destruction?

…yes.

Very well.

My point is, I can barely finish the things that interest me, let alone things that don’t even peak that interest.

And?

It makes me feel bad about myself. Because I want to be able to finish, but I just feel so…unmotivated.

In other words, your depression decides to add a few pounds so that you can’t do shit.

Precisely.

Then again, that could just be you making excuses.

That is another thing. I’m probably just lazy, and I just blame it on the mental illness.

Then get over it. Stop hating yourself. Give yourself proof that you’re not a bad person. Actually work.

Oh, I get it. You can’t. There is something physically weighing you down. You just can’t tell if it’s just mental illness or laziness.

…yeah.

Well you’ve got to get over it. Your future lies in the balance. This shit is year 12, make or break year.

I want to be able to…

…but you don’t think you can?

No.

Why not?

Because I can’t finish anything, even if I set my mind to it. I don’t know what I want to do with my life, fuck, I don’t even know what my morals are!

Ohhhh, I see. It’s not just self hate. It’s guilt.

For some part.

Togami? Ash?

Yup.

I don’t know what you see in them. Togami’s a self absorbed prick and you’ve seen your other suitor. If one can call him that.

Togami appears to believe that I can get better. It’s not a relationship anyway. As for Ash…yeah, I can’t make excuses. He’s a sleaze bag.

So it’s Ash that you’re guilty about, not Togami.

Yeah. Everyone hates him.

Except for you.

I hate him too. Just not enough to stop seeing him.

Are you going to sleep with him again?

No.

Good. Now stick to it. Don’t let him seduce you with Sword Art Online.

Shaddup.

But that’s not it.

Of course it’s not.

Jeezus. It never stops, does it? What is it with being seventeen? Does something change suddenly that lures in hot dudes? Hehee. Cat Madigan 101: How to pick up hot dudes.

Oi.

Okay. Togami I’ll let you off the hook for. Ash, you’re kinda a bad person for. So what about candidate number three?

…he’s insanely intelligent, sweet and not condescending. And probably isn’t at all interested in me in that way.

…he asked you to the fucking movies. On fucking VALENTINES DAY.

…it’s Valentines Day on Saturday?

Argh….yes. And you’ve got a fucking date.

…he’s probably called it off. I’m a nutcase, as he’s now well aware.

Whatever…I know where this is going. ‘Why would he be interested in me? I’m insane, I’m ugly, I’m retarded. He’s going to lose interest in me eventually.’

Of course.

So what? You’re going to let a potential relationship slide out of your grasp?

Look, if he’s not interested in me, he’s not interested in me. And chances are, even if he is, he’ll eventually decide that I’m not worth the trouble.

If that’s the case, then what are you alive for?

Hmm?

You’re insane, ugly and retarded, as you pointed out. You’re lazy, because you’re not finishing the work you need to. And you’ll never be desirable to anyone because of those things. So why are you still alive?

…because I don’t have the guts to kill myself.

Oh, I see. So you’re just a waste of space, taking up everyone’s time and oxygen. You’re disgusting.

I hate myself.

As you should.

But…

What?

…I hate you more.

I hate you, the voice in my head that reminds me how horrible I am. You’re the one thing standing in the way of me living a normal life. You’ve always been there, clinging to me like a chain around my neck. I know what you are…

You are that miserable illness that’s been eating away at me since I was six. You just sit there and whisper things to me and feast on the pain it produces. I hate you far more than I’ll ever hate myself.

So kill me.

I can’t.

Of course you can. All you need is a bullet in the brain to take away the pain. Heh, I should be a poet.

No. I’m going to live.

No you’re not.

I am. I’m going to live so that every day for the rest of my life, I can tell you to go fuck yourself.

Everything you said was true.

No. Everything you said was true. It could happen. But then again, it might not. But I think I’ll stay around and find out.

You’re not going to survive me.

I will. I’m stronger than you. Look at what I survived already.

Give it up. I’m the one you should fear.

Pessimist’s Dilemma

Standard

Today we’re going back to Reality. So shut up and listen.
______________________________________________________________________________

“Were there any problems on the way here?” Lolly asked.

I don’t pretend to misunderstand. “Nah, Mum and I didn’t talk much,” I said.

“Fair enough.” I walked into the office and barely stopped myself from flinching when I saw him in the chair.

“Hello.”

I grimaced at him before sitting down. “We’re not doing this again,” I said under my breath.

“What? I promise I’ll be good, every now and then.”

“So how was work?” Lolly questioned.

“It’s okay…” I said. “I’m not eating though.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah…I’ve just been stressing out about stuff the past week. I think that’s what’s been causing it.”

“How’d you figure that?”

“Well, my anxiety’s been acting up more recently, and that’s when I’ve had trouble eating. It’s probably connected.”

“Do you know how that works? Why people with anxiety start having trouble eating?”

“Actually no. How?”

“You know the ‘flight or fight response’?” Lolly questioned. “Well, when that happens, your body prepares itself to do one of those two. Meaning blood usually goes to the areas responsible for carrying out those actions.”

“Okay…so what?”

“When you’re anxious, your body automatically goes into ‘fight or flight mode’,” she explained. “And when that happens, hunger becomes less of a priority, so your body ignores and even repels that sensation, so that more focus goes into the ‘fight and flight response’.”

“I think I understand now,” I said. “It’s kind of like with exercising, how blood goes to the muscles which do the work. That’s also why your fingers are cold after running.”

“You see? It’s simple when you think about it,” Lolly explained. “Now, you’ve been stressing this past week. Why?”

Yayyy, the fun part. Daniel began making kissing sounds. Shush, you. “I’ve just been worried about work,” I told Lolly. “It’s just been me worrying about what’s going to happen if I screw up.”

“What exactly does ‘screw up’ mean?”

She always makes me explain this stuff. I elaborated. “If I don’t hand in stuff on time, it’s going to have more negative repercussions than if I don’t hand in stuff at school. It’s a magazine, deadlines have to be kept. See?”

“I understand. But that’s not going to happen if you think that that’s not going to happen.”

“Yeah, well, my mind doesn’t work that way.”

“Well, that’s one of the practises of CBT. You learn how to avoid thinking in such a way, and stop you from worrying.”

“I know…I want to think that way, but…”

“It doesn’t come easy, I know. Still.”

“…have you heard of the prisoners dilemma?” I asked Lolly.

“…no. What is it?”

“It’s just a philosophical exercise. Say there’s two prisoners. Apple and Banana.”

“Apple and Banana?” Daniel snorted.

“Roll with it,” I told him aloud. “They’ve committed a crime, and they’re both arrested and put into separate cells. There’s no way they can communicate with each other, so rule out that possibility. Anyway, a detective comes in and talks to both of them separately about their options.

“He says, ‘Listen here, even if neither of you confess, we’ve still got enough evidence to put you both away for two years. You’re going to jail no matter what. But we can make a deal. All we want is a confession, it doesn’t matter who from. If you rat out your partner, you’re only going to have to do one year in jail. Of course, that means that they’re going to have to serve fifteen years time. But if you don’t confess, and he does, then it’s you who is going to be stuck in jail for fifteen years, while he’s out after just one. Now, you’re probably thinking, what if we both confess? Well, I can knock some time off both your sentences for confessing, but you’ll still go to jail for confessing.’ Get all that?”

“…a little bit?” Lolly says weakly.

“I’ll draw a diagram,” I said. I took out some pens and made a little table on the whiteboard.

20141219-122747.jpg
“Easier now?”

“Yeah. So what’s that got to do with thinking positively?”

“Which solution would be the most optimistic outcome?”

“…that would be the one where you trust each other. You don’t have to live with the guilt of ratting out your partner, and you can spend two years in jail knowing that at least your trust in him wasn’t misplaced. Unless you’ve got no qualms about ratting out your partner.”

“Nah, you’re right. That’s the best situation, when you can trust eachother enough to stay silent. Now, which is the worst outcome?”

“…I’m starting to see what you’re getting at,” Lolly told me. “You’re saying that if you trust your partner, there’s a chance that they’ll rat you out, and you’ll have to be in jail for fifteen years. And that, for you at least, would be the worst outcome.”

“No, it’s the worst outcome period,” I insisted. “It’s fifteen years in a hellhole, and you’ll spend that time knowing that your partner was the one who sent you there.”

“You’re right. So what point are you trying to make?”

“I’ll adjust the graph a little bit.” I took the pens again and rubbed out a few words and added in new phrases.

20141219-125331.jpg
“When you look at the diagram, thinking negatively is a much safer option than thinking positively. Though it would be great to believe that everything is going to go right, when you look at the potential outcomes, it’s not the most rational choice,” I clarified. “Preparing yourself in case the bad luck does come about means that there’s fewer consequences.”

“How so? The bad luck has still happened. The same event has happened. How does already anticipating that it’s going to happen make it better?” Lolly questioned.

“Because you have time to prepare yourself,” I told her. “Things are easier to stand when you’re already anticipating them. In the Prisoners Dilemma, if you assume the worst case scenario, you’re at least going to have less negative repercussions than if you chose to believe in the best case scenario.”

“Do you really think that?”

“Yes,” I confirmed.

“Still, I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with thinking that the positive could happen.”

“I never said there was,” I said. “The Prisoner’s Dilemma isn’t about looking at just one side of the spectrum; you can assume that there’s an equal chance of something positive and something negative happening. It’s more about preparing yourself for the negative outcomes, not disregarding the chance of something positive coming about.”

“I’m curious about one thing,” Lolly said suddenly. “In the Prisoners Dilemma, you get the least amount of time if you think negatively and the positive happens. Does that relate to real life for you?”

“Yeah, I think so. I reckon good things are even better when you least expect them.”

“As opposed to expecting good things all the time?”

“Of course.”

“So that’s your outlook then,” Lolly fixed her glasses. “What are you really worried about here?”

“Huh?” This was such a change from the philosophical discussion we were just having that I had to rewind for a moment.

“I mean, what is this ‘bad luck’ that you are preparing yourself for?”

“Well, that I don’t hand in assignments on time.”

“Or are you afraid of what will happen if you don’t hand in assignments on time?”

“…yeah. That.”

“And what will happen?”

“…they’ll yell at me. Or fire me….mainly yelling.”

“What do you associate with yelling then?” Lolly questioned. “Why is it hard for you if someone yells?”

“…I don’t-”

“Because it means they’re angry,” Daniel interjected. “And you automatically think that it means that they’re angry with you.” I stared at him. “It’s true. You’re a people pleaser, Miss Madigan, and when people you care about to some degree are upset, you blame yourself.”

I looked up to see Lolly looking at me expectantly. “Sorry, I just blanked out a bit,” I said.

“Daniel’s there, isn’t he?” she said flatly.

“…yeah.”

“What was he saying?”

“…things considering my situation with yelling.”

“…which is?”

“…when people yell at me, it means they’re angry. Which means I’ve fucked up and made them that way,” I admitted. “It’s…completely stupid and I hate myself for it, but yeah. That’s what it feels like for me.”

Daniel smiled at me, and I was relieved to see no malice in his eyes. “Yeah…I learned that eventually. It’s not stupidity Cat. Personally I think it’s more of a habit you’ve developed.”

Doesn’t stop it from being ridiculous.

Lolly agreed with Daniel. “Cat, you’re only seventeen.”

“…yeah.” I cracked a smile. “Yet I’m meant to have my whole career mapped out by now, according to school.”

She laughed. “School is stupid.”

“Yeah. Little bit.”

“Will you be okay for the next two weeks?” she asked. “I mean, if something happens, you know what to do, right?”

“Yeah, we’ve been over this. Get backup and if that fails, call ART.”

“Also, I have something for you to look at,” Lolly added, handing me a document.

We talked for a bit longer before we all headed out to meet my mother. Daniel was quiet on the way home. He never talked in front of my mother. Finally, as we found the safety of my room, he broke his silence. “You lied.”

“…”

“Work isn’t what is worrying you. It’s him, isn’t it?” I looked at Daniel in silence. “You both agreed that you didn’t want to be in a relationship. Not unless you were sure it would work out.” I nodded once. “This, Cat Madigan, is not a good alternative. Especially for you.”

“Yeah, whereas it was perfectly fine with you.”

“I would’ve never hurt you. And you’re a liar if you say you believe otherwise.”

“I don’t expect anything from this,” I told him. “I’m not in the right place for a relationship, and I already know the negative repercussions of what might happen. I can take the risk.”

“You deserve better,” he said staunchly.

“Do you really believe that?”

“I do.”

Guilt

Standard

The day before my birthday went like this. Still not dealing.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Daniel frowns at me. “Cat?”

“Yes Daniel?”

He hesitates. “…what are you doing?”

“Yoga.”

“Oh good.” He pauses. “Why?”

“Because I’m unfit and depressed and this will hopefully make me fit and undepressed.”

“Is that even a word?”

“…I really don’t know. I nearly thought I said ‘undressed’ for a moment. No idea why.” I lift my legs into the air and place my feet behind my head, as Daniel watches on with wide eyes. “So what’s up?”

“…would it be inappropriate to say ‘dat ass’?”

“Yes. And please don’t say phrases like that, it really doesn’t suit you.”

“Thank Christ. Anyway, we’ve got a job to do.”

“Oh?”

“Do you remember Thommand going on about the Lake of Ghosts a few months back?”

It takes me a moment to respond, as the image of Kaya falling through the ice flashes across my eyes. “Go on.”

“There’s been more activity. It could just be someone wandering for kicks, but Thommand’s thinking humans. He wants us to check it out.”

“Us? I thought I was in the time out corner.”

“You’ve been allowed out for nearly a month now. It’s just, well, I’ve been keeping certain people off your back so that you could have time to heal a little bit. You needed it.”

This makes me smile. “Really? You did that for me?”

“Moving on…before you get mushy,” Daniel says dryly, though I know he’s secretly happy to see my reaction.

“Why, I’d never.” I slowly roll my back down so each vertebrae lies flat on the mat. I had made the mistake of going too fast the day before, and I was determined not to repeat it, for my back’s sake.

Daniel continues. “Do you want to bring Papa Willis along? Thommand will allow it, and Noah’s willing to let him come along.”

“Yeah, Papa Willis will love it. A day with an emotionally whacked semi-human and the worst babysitter ever in a supposedly haunted forest which has been frozen over.” I’m still lying on the ground as I speak. “Interesting why he didn’t recommend Noah like last time though.”

“Hmm?”

“I thought that Noah would’ve been recommended, not Willis, considering his condition,” I muse thoughtfully. “I’m wondering why he’d put him forward.”

Daniel sighs. “You know what the Lake of Ghosts means to them,” he reminds me. “They claim not to feel guilt, but…well, those rumours about it wouldn’t be there if that was true. And since Kaya’s death, it would be even more dangerous for them to go near.”

“So they’re sending us three instead. But why me?” I sit up and cross my legs. “Considering my amount of self hatred, is it really wise to send me to a ground that kills the guilty?”

“If you were normal,” Daniel says.

That’s when I remember. “Oh yeah…” It’s been so long since I’ve died in Delirium that I completely forgot. “Respawning. Right.” Something occurs to me. “Wait, so Thommand is perfectly fine to send you and Papa Willis out there as well?”

“Humans,” Daniel says simply. “And we’re not in danger of guilt. Or at least Willis isn’t. But I made it back across when Kaya died, so I’ll be able to manage. At the very least, Willis will be able to help me when we’re on there.”

“If you say so.” I make a face as the program playing on my iPad comes to a finish. “I don’t enjoy drowning though. It’s a horrible way to die. It’s cold…and the last thing you feel is desperation.”

“You’re still coming though.”

“Oh yes.”
_______________________________________________________________________________

It was dawn when us three shivering humans reached it. I pointed it out to Papa Willis, who was sporting two of Daniel’s woollen coats. “Where the ice begins to form on the ground,” I told him. “You can see the bodies from here.”

“There’s bodies?” Papa Willis croaked.

“Yeah…under the ice…” It’s as if I’m looking into a window, into a frozen world. A horrible, grim picture. It’s almost too clear; maybe there isn’t any ice that will separate me from the freezing water.

“I…don’t see anything,” Papa Willis says uncertainly. “Sorry Cat, I’m trying.”

“It’s okay,” I told him. “It just means you’re luckier than me.” Something suddenly covered my eyes. “Hey!”

“Not taking any chances,” Daniel informed me. “It’s only for when we’re walking on the ice. When we’ve reached the ground, Willis will take it off.”

“Fine…” I grumbled. “Wait, why Willis?” The only response I received was the sound of Daniel treading onto the ice. “Daniel!”

“Willis, if there’s any danger, then take of the blindfold. Otherwise, keep guiding her towards that stretch of land there. Be careful of weak spots in the ice. When you’re done, meet at the ground there,” Daniel called, his voice becoming more distant.

“If Cat’s dead?”

“So confident in my abilities,” I murmured.

“Noah gave you a tool. Use that to keep them off you. If Cat’s still alive, she can teach you how to use it.” I could barely make out his last sentence, his words were faint, quieter than a whisper.

“Willis?”

“Yeah?”

“Tell me the truth. Does Daniel have a flask in his hand?”

Silence.

“Goddammit Daniel,” I sighed.

“He usually drinks on the job?” Willis asked.

“Yeah…and at feasts. I don’t know what to make of it.”

“It’s his choice, I guess,” he sighed. “But you haven’t said anything to him about it?”

I grimaced through my blindfold. “Well…I tried once. But he just said that he needed it. It’s his way of keeping sane, I suppose. Like mine is…” I went silent.

“What?”

“I don’t actually have one,” I admitted. “I’m too scared to use anything, in case I become dependant on it. I’ve got too many vices as it is.” I decided that was enough on the subject. “Can we move onto the ice now?”

“…okay. Do you want me to hold your arm?”

“Yes please.”

He took my arm and started to lead. I felt the slight tremor of the ice as I stepped onto it, and I gripped Willis’ arm reflexively. “Easy now,” he said.

“Sorry…” We kept walking, at the pace of a snail, as to leave the ice undisturbed. I wondered if Willis was feeling the same vibrations beneath our feet, or if he was starting to see the lifeless bodies frozen below us. How much did he carry with him?

“Cat?”

“Hmm?”

“Why is everyone scared of this place?”

I hesitated. “How much do you know?”

“That if a guilty person walks on the lake then the ice will break. That’s it really.”

I sighed. “Before I say anything, I need to know. Do you have anything you’re particularly guilty about?”

“Not really, no,” Willis said.

“…really?”

“Why don’t you believe me?”

“Don’t take it personally, I don’t believe anyone,” I said cheerfully. “But it’s not that I think you’re lying.”

“Right…”

“What if I phrase it differently? Is there anything you wish that you could undo?”

“…”

“Ring a bell? Ding ding?”

“It’s not going to drown me.”

“Yeah, well, which of us would know better?”

“It’s stupid.”

“Can I decide that?”

He sighed. “I was with two of my friends when we ended up…” His voice trailed off.

I realised. “Here? In Delirium?”

Papa Willis nodded. “We had been here for three days before the things started chasing us. If we had known that we’d be hunted upon being seen, we would’ve stayed hidden in the woods, but…yeah.”

“Go on.”

“After a day on the run, we ran into someone who offered to hide us. We stayed in the basement, and she brought us food every now and then. I’ve got a feeling she was a hooker…but she was nice.”

“She helped us run when her pimp found us. We just got out when the…” He fell silent.

“I know the ones you’re talking about,” I told him.

“Okay…” Willis inhaled. “She was left behind, to face them. And later…Slenderman tried to hold them back by cutting one of them down, and then…”

“You don’t need to finish it,” I told him. I already knew how the story ended, and I didn’t need to know the identity of his other companion, the one who managed to escape.

Papa Willis sighed. “Yeah…I guess that qualifies as guilt, huh.”

I thought for a moment. “Survivors guilt, yeah. I’m not sure if that’s enough to fall through the ice though.”

“Tell me the story anyway, Cat,” Willis insisted. “Daniel isn’t afraid, and he knows what’s going on. I’ll be fine. C’mon.”

I groaned at that. Men… “Fine!” I snapped, feeling him flinch next to me. “But only when we’re close to land. Got it?”

“Okay. It’s not too far now,” he said. “Never took you for a snappy person.”

“Oh, I’m not usually. If I’m snarky around you, it means I’m comfortable enough to speak my mind,” I advised him. “That’s a good thing.”

“Is it?”

“It means that I don’t need to awkwardly make conversation to calm myself down,” I explained. “Those conversations usually head toward philosophy or Creepy pasta.”

“Nice.”

A while later, I breathed a sigh of relief as the ground beneath me stopped surging and there was calm inside my mind. “We’re on ground?”

“Yup. Now tell me what happened.”

“Okee! It’s story time, Papa Willis,” I said cheerfully, taking off the blindfold.

“…I’m beginning to regret this.”

“You wanted me to tell.”

“Fine.”

“Well…first of all, I’d better explain. There used to be humans, see. But then something else happened and, well, people like Noah and Jhaq came to be. And humans hated them.”

“Really? Why?”

“I dunno. Humans are stupid, Willis. Anyway, it was then that humans decided to get rid of them all.”

“Seriously?” Willis looked appalled. “We started this?”

“Not too sure about that,” I admitted. “What’s the first rule of history?”

Willis thought for a moment. “It’s written by the victors?”

“Mmmhm.”

Willis smiled, if only for a moment. “That’s means that the humans lost, didn’t they?”

I smiled sadly. “How many humans have you seen here?” I reminded him. “And this is only a recent occurrence. Before Daniel, humans were nonexistent.”

“…how did they die?” Willis’ voice is quiet.

“…you really want me to finish?”

“…yeah. I do.”

I gestured towards the Lake. “Helevians. And Etheral. Helevians caused the world to flood, drown out the humans. After that, Etherals froze it all. Because apparently, drowning them wasn’t cruel enough.” My voice had become bitter and sardonic.

Willis’s face was frozen. “Right.” When I didn’t say anymore, he tried to smile. “It’s…okay. Go on.”

I sighed. I didn’t like this story, and my version had been dumbed down from an account full of glorified descriptions of their victory, as well as stories of ugly, monstrous humans who, and I quote “slit our children’s throats and cooked them”. Between the impossible self-righteousness of these people in Delirium and, as Papa Willis pointed out before, the fact that history is written in favour of the winners, it would be impossible to know exactly what happened. But I continued. “Anyway, after that, people started to see the bodies of humans who had been frozen underneath the ice. Some more clear than others. The rumour goes on to say that a guilty mind will be able to see the corpses more clearly, as if there’s nothing separating them, not even the ice. An even guiltier mind will look at the corpses and see the faces of people they’ve betrayed. And if they walk on the ice, the guiltiest minds get weighed down until the ice breaks beneath them and they fall through.”

Willis shakes his head. “Well, there goes any sense of assurance I may have had. We’re going to die.”

“Nah.” I gestured towards myself. “Video game immortality, remember? And I’ll never let you die.”

“Promise?”

“Mmhm.” I grinned at him cheerfully. “Cross my heart and hope to die, hope to stick a pin in my-” Something in the distance caught my attention at that moment. “Oh dear.”

“…is ‘oh dear’ a euphemism for something?”

“Nope…”

The blurry figures started to approach the both of us. One of them called out. “Drop everything, you two. We have you surrounded, and don’t think we aren’t afraid to kill.”

Me, Myself And I All Hate You

Standard

Mum woke me up pounding at my door. “For fucks sake, stop locking the fucking door!” she screamed.

I wearily got up. “I’m sorry,” I said groggily. “I woke up in the middle of the night-”

“Shut up and get downstairs.” I heard her storm away, cursing under her breath.

Daniel pulled himself up. “What’s wrong with her?” He had given up on growling at her, as she never heard a word he said. Still, there was a familiar quiet anger radiating from him that I hadn’t seen in a while.

“Calm down,” I said to him. “I’ll just go down to breakfast, okay?”

That was probably the worst thing I could’ve done that day. You would’ve thought that after nearly seventeen years of this, I’d be used to it by now, or at least that’s what I thought. I entered the dining room bracing myself for another foul mood.

When I sat down, Mum began to speak. “I do too much for you,” she announced.

I held my tongue and started eating breakfast.

“That’s why you’re like this. Why you think you can get away with being a ratbag. You’re ruining your life with this, you know.”

Here we go.

“You’re a lazy, useless excuse. You never do anything for me.”

I pretend to be mentally stable, I hide my scars from people so that they don’t ask you about it, I keep quiet about the fact that I want to kill myself so that you don’t get even more stressed and hysterical…

“You’re so dramatic about everything,” she scoffs. “How it works is if I do anything that upsets Princess here, you have a tantrum and get sent to Helen, and I’m the bad guy again! That’s all they are, tantrums. It’s called attention seeking madam, and I’ve had enough of it.”

Bitch.

That’s not my voice though. Kaya?

“That medication would’ve helped you, but noooooo, you just had to keep up with the drama! No wonder you’re failing all your classes!”

One more push, and I’ll slit your throat, Kaya hisses in my head.

Kaya. No. “I’m not failing,” I murmur. “I’m keeping up with the work now.”

My mother scoffs. “Yeah, and how long is that going to last? You’re lazy. You’ll fall behind again, no doubt about that. And then I’m going to be the villain again because you’re a selfish, lying drama queen!”

Suddenly, my hand reaches for my bowl and lifts it up, over Mum’s head. I can almost see it smashing down, ceramic shattering, blood spilling out…

“Stop it!” I scream out loud. By some miracle, I manage to gain a split second’s control, and I turn to the left so that the bowl hits the floor. “Just stop!” I shriek, not quite sure whom I’m actually speaking to. I’m sobbing, and Mum screams and pelts me with her fists, and I can’t do anything because I’m so fucking useless in Reality.

I sweep up the shards afterwards while my mother types an abusive email about me to whoever reads them, and at some point, I decide to not be entirely useless. “You don’t have to scream at me just because you’re dying of cancer,” I tell her.

“I’m not.”

Too bad. I throw the shards away in the bin and go upstairs and buckle over. But someone catches me.

“Come on,” Daniel breathes into my ear. He holds me up and drags me into my room. “Easy does it now.” He shuts the door behind us and pulls me close to him. “It’s okay now…it’s alright…”
_______________________________________________________________________________

Much later, I felt better. Probably because I spent the journey to school madly singing British pop songs. It’s even more effective than crying. If only people couldn’t hear you as much.

“I’ve had a think about it,” I said to Daniel. “And I’ve decided not to let her hurt me anymore. I mean, I’ll probably forget to do this later, when I’m depressed and suicidal, but this is what I’m thinking right now.”

Daniel nodded. “Go on.”

I inhaled. “I am starting to get in control of my life,” I started. “Or at least I’m feeling that way. I think that I’m now in a place where I can begin to smile and let myself be happy again. It probably won’t stay that way, knowing my luck. But there’s absolutely no reason why I should stop right now, just because of what my mother says.

“I think she’s like me. She has trouble being happy, and she can’t express that properly. I’m the same.”

Daniel shook his head. “You don’t accuse her of being an attention seeking liar.”

“I do call her other things though,” I pointed out. “Emotionally unstable, hysterical, selfish, close minded.”

“She is those things though.”

“And that’s true to me,” I continued. “Just like all those things are true to her. Our minds are determined to believe what they want to. Does that make sense?”

Daniel paused. “Maybe,” he admitted. “But I refuse to believe that you’d be cruel enough to tell a recently suicidal person that they’re lying, that they’re not really in pain.”

“Hush,” I hissed.

“Cat,” he sighed. “It’s not right. It’s as if you can’t be happy if she isn’t. She’s just going to keep hurting you.”

“Maybe,” I said. “But I only have to deal with it for two more years. Not even that, actually. Then I can move out and live my own life away from her. After I get a job and find a flat.”

“You’ve got to go through that bridging course though,” he reminded me.

“True…so less than three years.” I had met with my school a week ago to discuss my schoolwork, and they decided to put me onto an alternate pathway into uni. It basically means I’m now doing easier courses and I don’t have to take the big exam at the end of Year 12. It does mean that I have to complete a certificate course in IT in order to graduate, and take an enabling course the next year in order to get into uni, should I wish to go. “But I can still work, and get a job. That might be better actually. I can save up money for a year and once I have enough to actually start renting, I can move out.”

Daniel looked a little skeptical. “I know it’s a lot harder than that,” I admitted. “But I don’t need to get into detail right away, do I? One step at a time.”

He smiled. “Exactly.”

I hesitated for a moment. Very rarely did I ask Daniel about his past. It was something I had learnt very early not to enquire about, and later I realised how guilty he felt about it, for leaving it behind. But it was an innocent question. “What did you do when you finished school?” I asked.

“Me? Hmm.” He frowned. I waited for him to continue, and after an eternity, he sighed. “Promise you won’t laugh?”

“Oh god, what did you do?” My mind started going through all the ridiculous careers; professional clown, ballet dancer, porn star.

“Firefighter,” he said, going a bit red.

“No way…” My eyes were probably popping out of my head. “That is wicked.”

Daniel closed his eyes and shook his head. “Immediately regretting that decision.”

“That’s so cool!” I crowed. “And nothing like what I was expecting.”

He raised an eyebrow. “What were you expecting?”

“Porn star,” I replied.

Daniel stared at me. “You’re a looney,” he finally replied.

“Yeah.” I grinned at him. “Little bit.”

“So you’re going to go to uni,” he quickly continued our previous conversation. “You’re certain of that. What about your mother then? Are you going to see her after that?”

I didn’t know how to answer. “I’m undecided,” I said slowly.

“Really?”

“There are times where I love her and times where I hate her,” I reminded him. “I guess it depends whether or not I forgive her or not.”

“Do you?”

“I’m undecided,” I repeated. “All I know is that she’s not going to stop me from being happy. And if she’s going to belittle me for the rest of my life…well, I don’t see why I should stay around to hear it.” I pressed the button to stop the bus, leapt up and gathered up everything in a rush to get off in time. Daniel and I started to walk toward my house. “I don’t think of family the way everyone else does,” I said quietly. “I hope it’s different when I have one of my own. Well, if I have one of my own. But I’m never going to put myself before my child. I’m never going to torment them and tell them they’re horrible people. Because they’re not. No one is. Not even Mum when you think about it.” I made a face. “I’ll probably be one of those parents that just lets their kid run wild because they’re too afraid of their children hating them.”

“You’ll learn,” Daniel said encouragingly. “You’ll have help from the people around you, your partner, friends, whatever. But more importantly, your child would grow up knowing that they could come to you for support, no matter what.”

I smiled. “Silly. But thanks.”

We walked together in silence for a while. “Porn star, huh,” Daniel mused. “I had no idea you had such a high opinion of me.

I stuck my tongue out. “Shush.”

Hide

Standard

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.