“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…


He groans. “What is it Cat?”

“Daniel, where are my breasts?”

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


“I swear to god, what is it?”

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


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.


“You know what I mean.”

Mister Madigan, I presume


“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t.”

“It’s illegal.”

“So’s downloading illegal music.”

“But murder causes you to go to jail, you see.”

“Only if I’m caught.”

“Yes, well, this conversation would therefore be proof of intent.”


“So,” said Daniel. “How long do we have to wait?”


Very soon though, my makeup artist, Willow, turned up in the taxi.

I got in. “I’m so sorry, I had a fight with mum and she didn’t want to take me.”

“It’s ok, we’ve still got about an hour before the assignment starts, just let me pin back your hair…”

On the drive there, she explained to me what was going on. “This isn’t a photoshoot, what’ll be happening is I’ll be putting on your makeup, and my supervisor is going to judge it, not just how it looks, but how I put it on, how I treat you, because it’s also about how I treat you as a client.

“Now, there’s three looks, as you know. Day makeup, photoshoot makeup and theatre makeup, which is where you wear the beard.”

I grinned. “Yeah, beards aren’t usually suitable for day makeup.”

We got there with about half an hour to spare. Because taxis are incredibly expensive, Willow and I agreed to take the money out of my pay. Thankyou mother…

We soon got started. I actually enjoyed the first two looks, though Willow was under just as much pressure to do well. It was relaxing for me, just to sit back. I also got to see what sort of stuff they did at the academy. It’s not just makeup, they also focus on skin care and beauty therapy, which was shown in the assignment. The supervisor would come around and check out what we were doing and ask Willow questions about me.

Finally, it was time for the theatre makeup. And it was a lot harder than it looked on America’s Next Top Model.

One word of advice, nonexistent fans. Adhesive hurts. Don’t put it on your face unless you have to.

That’s what Willow used to stick the beard on my face. After shading in the stubble on my face, the adhesive went on. It wasn’t until it had been on for ten minutes that it started hurting. It wasn’t too much though. Well, I wasn’t screaming.

My favourite part, of course, was the wig. I love wigs. I wore one when I snuck out of the house one time, and I try them on whenever I can. And I definitely would’ve worn the wig Willow put on me, though the only reason it fit was because my hair was pinned up and stuffed under a cap.

Also part of my makeup was a series of bruises and one large scar, as the students needed to demonstrate two techniques. My story was that I was a professor who had given someone a bad grade, and he was beaten up by that student. When my makeup was done, I started cracking up, because I looked like my former Homeroom teacher, Meester Swinney. I was also given a shirt and a tie, which only emphasised the resemblance.

Once we had finished, Willow went to talk with her teacher, and I stayed behind with the other freak shows. In the room with me was a corpse prom queen, a burn victim, Alice in Wonderland’s Red Queen-who had her throat slit, Link- much to the delight of every nerd in the room, a Na’vi/A blue guy from Avatar for those of you who don’t remember what they’re called, a werewolf, some sort of alien, and…

“Daniel!” I hissed.

He turned from admiring one of the makeup artists, who had a disturbingly low top, and turned to me. Two seconds passed in complete silence. Then he started cracking up.

I just shook my head and started chatting to my friend from Avatar. He nearly jumped when I opened my mouth and I started talking. “I thought you were a guy!” he exclaimed.

Everyone thought the same. One of the teachers had to ask. I just laughed, and preyed that we’d get the mother fudging adhesive stuff off soon.

After I had taken my selfies (and let Daniel laugh at me until he couldn’t breathe), Willow took the stuff off my face and the pins out of my hair. I got $40 for all that, which was just fine with me.

While waiting for my bus, I started drawing Mister Madigan from my photo, when Mister Avatar turned up. (Yes, I’m calling him Mister Avatar for the benefit of you silly imaginary readers who don’t understand Na’vi.) “Hey!” he said. “You don’t have a beard!”

“Hey,” I greeted him. “You’re not blue either!”

“And you look like a girl!” he exclaimed. “How about that?”

I stuck my tongue out at him. “My bus is here,” I indicated the bus pulling in.

“You never gave me your name.”

“Why d’you want it?”

“So I can tell my friends about the girl who became a man.”

I stuck my tongue out at him again. “Cat. Cat Madigan.”

He waved as I got on the bus. “Bye Mister Madigan!”

“Bye Mister Avatar!”