Teacher

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“You should really stop doing stuff like this, you know,” Daniel informs me.

“What can I say? I have a death wish. Ow!”

“Your body isn’t staying still Cat. Try to control yourself while I’m stitching.”

I just squeeze my eyes shut and try to ignore the feeling. It’s hard though. My neck and throat both sting like hell. You’d think I’d be used to this by now. But I guess you can never really get used to dying.

I do know one thing though.

I’m never going to get my head cut off again.

Not if I’m going to wake up afterwards.

And definitely not if Daniel has to sew my head back on without drugging me first.

Speaking of which…

“Daniel…”

He groans. “What is it Cat?”

“Daniel, where are my breasts?”

“I thought we’ve been over this, they’re non existent.”

“…Daniel.”

“I swear to god, what is it?”

“Daniel, when I look down, I see my bottom.”

“…oh.”

I would’ve shaken my head if it had still been attached to my neck. “How bad is it going to hurt?”

“…”

“…there’s no way you can knock me out first?”

“It’s your own fault, you shouldn’t have-” Daniel’s voice trails off when he sees my face. He shuts his eyes. “How bad does it hurt?”

I grimace, and tears fall out of my eyes. “Point taken,” he says. “Your brain isn’t strong enough for a blow to the head though.”

“It has to be to the brain,” I agree. “I’m assuming pills won’t work either.”

“Pills can’t be digested as is,” Daniel reminds me. He sighs. “I could give you a needle, but…”

“Do it. There’s worse things than needles.”

“You’ll be out for a long time. And you’ll need a few days to readjust.”

I frown. “How long in…”

“Your Reality? Not too long. I’d say about an hour or two.”

“Okay…” I watch him send a girl to fetch a needle, and he turns back to me. We sit in silence for a while.

“How weird does it look?” I ask.

“Pretty weird,” he admits. “It’s not every day you see a head talking without a body.” He has a sad smile on his face.

I chuckle slightly. “Guess what?”

“What?” Daniel looks at me.

“I’m not afraid of dying,” I tell him. “And I can take anything you give me.”

“Doesn’t mean it wouldn’t hurt.”

“I never said that.” I smile up at him. “But I can stand it. I’m strong enough to live with it. At least I think I can.”

Slowly, a genuine smile spreads across his face. “Good girl,” he praises me.

“Am not,” I retort.

He grins, but it quickly fades when the girl returns with the needle. “Stay still,” he whispers.

I hiss slightly when the needle enters my temple. But then everything goes numb, and I start floating…

It’s an ordinary thing to wake up once again. I simply blink open my eyes and roll over again.

Then I remember.

Then I look down, and I breathe a sigh of relief when I see my body’s attached the right way.

My body’s a bit slow when it comes to movement, but it follows my brain’s orders, albeit a second after it issues said order.

I stumble out of bed after 2 minutes of trying to get used to control. Then Daniel comes in, and he sits there watching me stumble about his room. “Like I said, it’ll be a while before you recoordinate yourself,” he says to me.

I merely grumble in response, not paying attention to my surroundings.

“Watch out for-”

I crash into the table, swearing as I fall to the ground. “FUCK!” I yell out.

Daniel quietly sniggers behind me. “Would you like some help?” he asks ever-so-politely.

“Fuck off.” My stomach grumbles.

“Will you be able to handle a spoon by yourself Lady Madigan?”

The answer, it turned out, was no. I ended up getting more soup on my dress than in my mouth. But I was adamant about doing it myself. Not that Daniel cared.

“Say ahhhh,” he told me, wielding the spoon in his hand.

I merely glared at him. He just sighed. “As much as I’m enjoying watching you throw your soup everywhere, I’d prefer it if you consumed some. Otherwise I’m going to be explaining to the chef that my companion has the manual dexterity of a three year old baby.”

I stick my tongue out at him. “At least three year olds are cute,” said Daniel. “Ray’s better behaved than you are.”

“Ray doesn’t have trouble moving her limbs,” I retort. “She climbs the trees outside my window.”

“Shut up and let me spoon you,” he orders me.

“I don’t want you to spoon me,” I reply.

“And I don’t want to deal with a hungry three year old. Their cuteness only goes so far.”

“Can’t I just drink out of a straw?”

“That would defeat the purpose of this exercise.”

“So would you feeding me,” I point out.

“Feed yourself then,” he groans.

“Thankyou,” I beam. And then I proceed to throw soup everywhere, while Daniel looks on, exasperated.

A few days in Delirium go by like this. I wonder how old I’d be if the days I spent here counted in Reality as well. I’m going to guess 17. A year sounds about right. Finally, after days of taunts from Daniel, I can move my body the way I did before my decapitation, although I am still not as strong.

When Daniel learns that I’m coordinated enough, he throws me a sword. I’m able to catch it, before dropping it to the floor. Daniel sighs and hands me one which is the size of a bread knife. “I’ll go find another one,” he tells me.

While he’s gone, I have a thought. I’m not strong. I’ve never been strong, not in that way at least. But as I dash around the room, pretending to fight the air, climbing random objects-bookcases, walls, the top of Daniel’s bed- I know that I’m slippery enough that it doesn’t matter.

I also know that my attention span is that of, well, a cat.

So I hide. I scale the wall and wait for Daniel to reenter the room. He does, and when his head is turned away from me, I leap.

I land on his shoulders, and put the knife at his throat. “How’s that?”

I hear him chuckle, and suddenly, he’s grabbing onto my ankles and he swings me off his shoulders. “Not bad,” he admits. “But…” He drops me onto the ground with a thud. “Never ever miss an opportunity.”

“I would never kill you Daniel,” I tell him.

He laughs. “You get the idea though.”

“Yeah. Don’t give them the chance to turn the tables.”

“Good girl. Next lesson…” Daniel picks me up and throws me over his shoulder.

“OI!” Instantly, I knee him in the face and drop to the ground. I snatch up my knife and hold it at the ready.

Daniel stumbles up and laughs, with a touch of pain in his voice. “I think you’re nearly back to normal,” he tells me.

“Normal?”

“You know what I mean.”

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The Rage of a Cat

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It’s another Weekly Writing Challenge! Yayyyy.

The picture is called Emptiness, but when I see it, I see a lonely building, which may be fun to play the How To Survive the Zombie Apocolypse Game. And I think of my most recent venture in Delirium, which turned out more…positive than normal. Do you want to hear about it? Of course you don’t. But I don’t care.

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Where am I this time? I don’t know this place. But since when have I ever known where I am going?

The building is dark and crumbling, and blue, plantlike objects cover the walls. I reckon I have about five minutes before Daniel pops up next to me, so I decide to explore further.

I wonder what all this used to be. Another time, another world. It would’ve been filled with people, alive and bright.

There have been many places I’ve visited in Delirium. I remember a temple under water, filled with light and colour, the sweet singing of sirens echoing throughout it. I look at my dilapidated surroundings and I find myself asking what is so wrong with this earth that they would build a temple underwater instead?

I walk along the hallway, looking for light. It is long and is barely illuminated by the holes in the ceiling. I finally come across a door and I struggle to pull it open.

What I see makes me turn around and vomit.

The girl has golden hair, and her eyes that stare dully at the window are a turquoise that would’ve been beautiful. She hangs by her arms and a single leg from the ceiling, her head and arms pulled back by cords attached to her body. What shocks me most are her lips. They’ve rotted, and are pulled into a twisted smile, is that meant to be beautiful? This girl was once a dancer, a girl on the brink of womanhood, a girl who loved to be free. This display, a bloody puppet dangling by several threads, is anything but.

There’s another smell in the room suddenly. “Don’t come near me,” I warn.

He chuckles. His body might as well be a corpse, its temperature is no different from the dead girl’s. “You shouldn’t be here.”

“There shouldn’t be a body hanging here either, when you think about it,” I reply. “Not exactly pleasant decoration.”

“I meant here.” He gestures to the world around him. “You aren’t from here.”

“Of course not.” I don’t look at his face, his dead, twisted face. “What had this girl done?”

He gives a high giggle. “Wrong place, very wrong time.”

I grimace. “Her skin…”

“So you understand.” This is no question he’s asking me.

“I’ve seen your prisons. I can say they’re the only thing worse than this place here. And more importantly, I’ve seen those in them.” I remember my temporary imprisonment, and the deal with the devil that set me free. “This girl is one of them. Well, was one of them. What happened to her?”

“The same that happens to them all, eventually. Afterwards, some of our dependants are left to deal with them.” He has not moved this whole time, but I feel his voice in my ear all the same. “There are more of these around this place, if you would like to look further.”

I shake my head. “Forgive me, I have had enough of corpses.” I pause, and I’m surprised that I feel calm, despite this psychopath standing behind me. “Kaya is not a puppet though.”

“No, she isn’t,” he concedes.

“And she didn’t die in your prisons either.”

“…no.”

A smirk appears on my face. “What happened there?” I ask, playing devil’s advocate.

“…they thought the girl was useless, a dud. Five years had gone with her, and nothing had happened. Well, nothing they could see; had someone stronger seen her, they would’ve known immediately what she could do.”

“So why didn’t they?”

“I believe that’s enough. Curiosity killed the cat, I believe?”

“I can’t die,” I tell him. “I’ve tried too many times, Delirium and Reality. And I’m still alive…somehow.”

“Well.” His voice takes on an edge I don’t detect until there’s only a split second to do something. “How about we try something new?”

And he rushes at me.

I dive out of the way, skidding across the ground. “Oh, are we running today?” he calls. “We can play tag, Ms Madigan.”

I’m less slow this time, and I crash against the wall. The two seconds I spend in stunned immobility are my undoing, and he catches my arm and twists it. I howl with the pain, and he gives me a laugh that turns my stomach. “You lose,” he informs me. “Don’t worry, we don’t have to play this game again.”

Then, all of a sudden, he is the one howling.

It’s not Daniel who attacked him. Or even Kaya.

My hands are burning with something akin to fire, or perhaps electricity. These thoughts don’t matter, as I throw back my arm and hurl a mass of light at him. It hits the wall behind him, and it crumples. I think I see the dancer’s corpse dissolve before me. “Do not,” I snarl. “Ever.” I launch another at him and this time, his arm turns to ash. “Think.”

He turns to run, but I throw myself through the air at him, and land on him. I start throwing punches, I want to hit him, to beat him senseless. “Call.” My voice got shriller every word I spoke. “Me…”

He manages to flip me onto my back, only to get singed by my hands. “WEAK!” I shriek, my voice echoing throughout the building.

The next few seconds are a blur, but the outcome still angers me. I let myself be distracted for a split second when Daniel dashes into the room, and the monster takes the opportunity to run from the building, fleeing through the wall, in which I completely destroyed.

I crumple to the ground. “Shit!” I cry.

Daniel runs up to me. “Don’t touch me!” I plead.

“Cat, what the hell happened?”

My hands are still glowing, but they begin to fade. “What do you think?” I croak, watching my hands return to normal, only my five letters retaining a glow to them.

“This…” Daniel shakes his head. “There is no way-”

“But it happened.”

“What are you Cat Madigan?”

“Something weird,” I whisper. Everything swims in my head; my hands of fire and lightning, the smell of charred flesh, but most of all, the desire to watch the man die, burning and screaming before me.

I am sickened by my thoughts, and before I say a word, I fall into Daniel’s arms as everything goes black.