Come On Out, Shadow

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Before I could move, Noah grabbed the blade of the knife in what I assumed was a panicked attempt to stop her. He hissed as it cut into his hand and black blood ran down his arm, but he didn’t let it go.

“Fool!” Emisair fumed, furiously trying to twist the knife out of his grasp. I finally came to my senses and swiped her with my foot, throwing her across the room, and the knife falling out of her hand.

Noah ran and grabbed the knife, where it was swiftly dropped into his pocket. He gave Jhaq a once-over to confirm she was alright before we both turned back to Emisair.

She was staggering towards us. “She’s not safe!” she hissed. “Either we kill her, or she’ll kill us.”

“There has to be another way!” I insisted. “It’s possible! It just happened for fucks sake!”

“You stupid bitch…lightning never strikes twice in the same place. You’re delaying what is inevitable!” Emisair’s eyes were filled with rage.

“We’re not killing her!” Noah snarled. “Not when we can still save her! That’s all there is to it.” He was more furious than I had ever seen him, and he completely ignored the blood gushing out of his hand from Emisair’s knife. I was about to offer a cloth to wrap it with when Emisair suddenly leapt at him and my focus changed.

I managed to push him away in time, but as a result, it was I who was being pushed against the back of the room by a frenzied Emisair, right next to where Jhaq lay. Her nails were clawing into me, as if she were trying to rip out my heart- maybe she was- and as she did, her eyes seemed to glow completely red and her teeth spread into a sinister smile. “Come on out, Shadow,” she said maniacally. “I know you’re there! Come out and plaaaaa-”

With that, I socked her in the face and kicked her away. “Stop it!” Noah yelled at the both of us.

I ignored him. I had no care in the world anymore. “What are you trying to do?” I asked Emisair, walking towards her. “If you want to kill me…” Everything around me sharpened, intensified, amplified. I could see and feel her heartbeat from where I stood, and it would be nothing to rip it out…”Go ahead,” I finished with a grin.

So she did.

Or rather…she tried to.

I dropped to the ground when she flew at me again. She came to a halt standing above where I lay. Still reeling from her charge, she couldn’t block my foot smashing into her chest, sending her flying into the ceiling. It was almost too perfect that a chandelier was dangling right where Emisair was about to fly into.

Killing was far easier sans a human body.

There was a loud crashing sound as the thing shattered and fell to the ground around me, a shower of glass and crystal. I watched Emisair drop before my feet, shaking with rage and pain. Blood ran down her back, mixing with the glass on the ground. She hissed at me and I could see her body becoming longer, her claws scraping against the ground. A feverish grin spread across her face, and Noah started yelling at both of us to stop. But that wasn’t going to happen.

I raised my claw, ready to strike.

It wasn’t Noah who stopped us. Or even Daniel. It was Christan who yelled out “STOP!” from the doorway, perhaps saving the life of Emisair in the process.

Both of us froze and looked at him. He looked terrified, not at all like a natural king, though the crowds behind him wouldn’t be able to see that. “Step away from eachother,” he commanded shakily.

I immediately obeyed, partially out of sympathy for Christan, but also because I was slowly coming out of my psychotic/demon mode and I wanted things to stop. I fell back into my body, the cold of the room reaching me even with Emisair’s cloak. Emisair merely glared at him. “Your human’s slut has physically assaulted me,” she informed him, her body changing back as she spoke. “I shall not stand for it! Either discipline her or I shall gather my men and leave. Now.

I slowly got up. My senses were still distorted by my rampage. Christan was looking at me, trying to seem stern. “Cat…”

“She was going to murder Jhaq!” I croaked. “That was the only reason why I-”

“It’s true,” Noah confirmed. “It was Emisair who attacked first. Not Cat.”

Emisair flared up. “I was going to kill the demon inside her,” she said. “These two would put their fellow people in danger due to sentiment. I wasn’t about to let her slaughter us all when we knew that she was a danger.” She turned to Jhaq, lying asleep on her bed. “The woman that she was is no more. She would mercilessly murder everyone from her king to her little daughter. And these two would risk that.”

“No…” I took a deep breath. “I had the same monster inside me,” I confessed the boy-king, and the people behind him inhaled. “But I managed to force them out before I could be taken over completely. I believe that Jhaq is capable of doing the same, if she’s given the chance.”

“I agree,” Noah spoke up. “I don’t see the need to take a life in order to destroy what is only a potential threat. We have the time to stop it, it is still-”

“What time is this?” Emisair retorted. “The longer we wait, the stronger that thing is. We’re putting everyone at risk here by waiting for what is inevitable.” She looked directly at Christan. “I will not stand by and wait to die. Either stop this threat…or I’ll leave, with my men behind me.”

Oh please, please do.

Unfortunately, Christan was reluctant to let that happen. “You can’t,” he said weakly. “You know that-”

“I do know. Your forces are far weaker than theirs. Our alliance is the only thing that keeps your people safe. But if you will put them in danger, I see no point in my presence here,” Emisair spoke coldly. “Take a side. Now.”

I knew what Christan would pick, but I tried to speak out. “Listen-”

“What is this?” A voice called out.

The crowds moved around to make way for Daniel who strode into the room. He immediately went to my side and put his hand on my arm. I immediately felt warmer, calmer. “What has happened?” he questioned Noah.

Noah spoke immediately. “The Lady Emisair tried to end Jhaq’s life. Cat managed to stop her, and now Emisair is claiming that she is in the right.”

“I am in the right,” Emisair spoke with utter conviction. “That thing inside her is a slaughtering machine. It nearly took your paramour, and now it is succeeding in taking your servant.”

“And now she’s blackmailing his Grace into submitting to her will,” I spat. “If Jhaq doesn’t die, she’ll leave.”

Daniel’s face didn’t show anything. “Daniel,” Christan spoke. “What do you see?”

He remained silent. I myself had no idea what Christan meant. Noah took Daniel’s silence as an opportunity to speak. “Cat Madigan was able to escape unharmed. I have no doubt that she can assist me in helping Jhaq recover. Just give us that chance, your Grace.”

Before Christan could speak, there was a voice. “Master…Nnnn…”

Jhaq was slowly rising from her bed. “Don’t let her move,” Christan ordered, and several guards dashed in and raised their blades to her.

Slowly, Jhaq backed down, and opened her eyes. Still black. “What is this?” she asked, and her voice made my stomach flip.

“Drop your act,” Emisair ordered. “There’s no doubt of this now.”

“No doubt of what?” Daniel retorted. “Will you explain yourself?”

“Your servant is being taken by the same entity that nearly took Cat Madigan. And now that she speaks, there’s no doubt of it.”

Daniel looked at me in confusion. I bowed my head. “Her voice…it’s Axyl’s,” I admitted. “Not Jhaq’s.”

Emisair turned to Christan. “I believe we have more than enough to confirm this?” she enquired. There was a murmur of appreciation from the crowds, and Christan looked away from us. I knew he had made his decision.

“Cat…”

I flinched at the voice of the monster calling my name. I slowly looked at her, but I couldn’t keep my eyes on her terrified face for more than a second. Daniel watched me in silence.

“Now.” Emisair spoke as if the matter had been settled. “Onto the matter of the assault. I want the girl locked up, considering how she cannot be executed. I believe this is fair-”

“What on earth are you talking about?” Daniel spat.

“I kicked her into the chandelier,” I informed him.

Daniel raised an eyebrow, but Noah spoke before he could reply. “An attack which was initiated by Emisair’s own assault.” He raised his hand to show everyone the ugly knife wound that Emisair had given him.

Suddenly, the atmosphere changed. The crowds started murmuring again, but this time, they were discussing Emisair’s own behaviour. It occurred to me from what they said that while Emisair could outrank both Daniel and myself, she was still an outsider, a visitor in this world. And by wounding one of their own…

“He was stopping me.” Emisair replied, unfazed. “That cut was his own fault, not mine.”

That was her big mistake. The people bristled at her for dismissing what she had done, for making herself out to be higher than the likes of themselves. Emisair seemed to realise what she had done, but she couldn’t recant now.

“Put her under house arrest,” Noah interjected. When Christan looked at him, he went on. “Both of them.”

“What?” Emisair spat.

“Noah…” I was about to argue.

“I will not pretend that Cat Madigan is innocent,” Noah said, meeting my eye. I remembered the moment when I lost control, when I was ready to kill the red eyed woman. “But it was Emisair’s actions which triggered her behaviour. If they’re both placed under house arrest, they will not be within proximity of eachother. No more incidents of this kind shall occur.” Noah shifted his gaze to Emisair. “If that does not stop them, then the next course will be, of course, imprisonment in the cells.”

Emisair fumed. “I am not to be treated like her. I do not need to be punished.”

“By that logic, neither should Cat,” Noah replied. “Your actions are equivalent to hers. And one can go on to say that while Cat’s behaviour is expected of her, because of her humanity, you on the other hand should be able to control your actions.”

She bristled. Noah, as the victim in this, had the most influence over her fate, and she knew it. He may not be letting me off the hook for my behaviour- I was about to kill her for fucks sake- but Emisair would’ve murdered Jhaq in cold blood, and he wasn’t going to stop till she was punished for that.

“I believe this is fair,” Christan finally said. “Cat Madigan will be confined to her chamber for a moon, as will Emisair. Remove them now.”

“Wait,” Emisair said suddenly. “For Cat Madigan, this is not a long period of time. More often than not, she’s unconscious in her room. She could sleep for a moon, and wake up when she’s ready to be released.”

Even I had to admit she had a point. If our roles were reversed, I’d find it pretty unfair too. Of course, I wouldn’t be such a bitch and start a fight with her.

Well, maybe. I dunno.

“Then I’ll watch her,” Noah proposed. “I’ll account for when she’s awake and when she’s not. She can be released after thirty days and thirty nights of activity.”

“And separate her everyone?” Emisair interjected, a sudden gleam in her eye. “Including Daniel?”

Daniel put his hand on mine, covering the light that was about to be thrown in her fucking face. “Her chambers are my chambers,” he reminded her. “We can house Noah if he wishes. Either way, her punishment is identical to yours, my lady.”

She scowled. “Fine. But she is still confined.”

“As you are,” Daniel agreed.

She turned on her heel and stormed out, only to be grabbed by a guard. “I know my way,” she snapped.

Another guard approached me, and gestured for me to walk with him. I was surprised that he didn’t grab me. Perhaps he was afraid.

I followed him, but Daniel stayed behind. As the door closed, he raised a hand to me, as if to wave.

That’s when I remembered Jhaq.

And Axyl.

“What’s going to happen?” I asked the guard urgently. “Will she be alright?”

“What do you think?” There was no unkindness in his face, he even appeared sorry, if only a little bit.

I shook my head. I knew what I thought. I loved Jhaq…but I was even more afraid of Axyl. And if she attacked me, I knew what my first instinct would be. Still, Jhaq hadn’t hurt anyone. The only signs of Axyl she had shown us were her voice and her black eyes…

“Why can’t Daniel see her eyes?” I questioned.

Unexpectedly, the guard answered my question. “I wouldn’t know,” he said. “Perhaps it’s part of his humanity. That would explain it.”

“But I’m human too,” I reminded him.

“Are you?” he replied. “We all saw you.”

I grimaced. “I have no excuse for that,” I admitted. “But even if I’m not human, I’m still treated like one.”

“We cannot change the manner of our birth,” he pointed out. “We have no control of how our lives turn out.”

I thought of Kaya, one moment a promising politician, the next a deadly weapon. I remembered Nereida’s brutal death at the hands of the same one who killed Kaya, her old friend. Daniel himself had been thrown into this world the minute he left mine. And who would’ve thought I would’ve become this? A depressed paranoid schizophrenic with a growing detachment from Reality, no longer able to feel pain or death. “Believe me, I know.”

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Cuddle Cat

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It had all gone downhill. It hadn’t taken them long to find me, and when they did, the chase was on.

When the ones chasing me were dead, I braced myself for more. To my surprise, the backups I expected never came. Huh.

It wasn’t kind, or even justified. But I threw their bodies down to the rocks below. I only came up with a reason for it afterwards. The less mess I’d leave behind, the less they’d have to track me, which gave me more time.

My body was covered in their blood, and I was thankful I couldn’t smell it. But when I returned, I nearly retched. “Jesus, this is disgusting…” I muttered.

I quickly realised I had no idea where I was. “Okay…” I took out my new knife, just in case. “Willis or Daniel…who should I find?”

I wandered for a while before stumbling across something very familiar. “This is Kaya’s cell,” I murmured. There was no one there though, no corpses or anything. “Right. Let’s go upstairs.”

It didn’t reassure me that everything was brightly lit. In fact, it put me on edge. They didn’t do this, they never enjoyed light. The only reason they would do this would be to prevent me from hiding in the shadows. Which could only be a bad thing.

I decided to go right, but instead of more cells, I came across a giant door. Oh no…Cat Madigan, this is a bad idea, I thought to myself as I opened it. This is suicide, since when does anything good come out of this place? my inner voice screamed as I stepped through it and looked around, dazed for a moment by the intense lights.

I stared at the object in the glass cabinet. I say glass lightly, because I had a feeling that it would kill me if I so much as touched it. But I couldn’t help but wonder what it was doing in this world. I knew what these people were capable of, with machines that made freaks like Kaya and me. They ridiculed people like me and Daniel, and yet…

Just to make sure, I didn’t touch the cabinet immediately. Instead, I did what anyone else would’ve done. Or at least, what anyone who could throw fireballs would do.

Needless to say, this ended badly. Well…sorta.

Let’s just say there was an explosion.

I woke a moment later, coughing up smoke. “Oh boy…” I made out the fuzzy image of the weapon in front of me, and I reached out and took it. It was shaped like a wand, but the whirring sound coming from it indicated that it wasn’t magic that was inside it. There was nothing that gave me a clue as of what to do with it, but it had a pale glow to it that put me on edge.

I still had no idea when the first monster came it. She had bulging eyes and red pointy teeth which gleamed at me when she smiled. When she took a step towards me, I no longer cared what it did, I just pointed it at her.

Immediately, her body flew into the door behind her, crashing into several other monsters. I just stood there in a daze, when I heard shouting down the hall. I leapt over the monsters to reach them. “Sorry!” I called over my shoulder, running towards the sound.

It became simple. I aimed the thing at one of them and he was thrown in that direction. When any of the monsters approached, they could never get near me. When I felt one behind me, I span around, ready to fire, when I saw him. “Daniel!”

Before he could answer, I was suddenly grabbed and thrown to the ground, the weapon bouncing out of my reach. The monster’s eyes were glassy and unaware as he clawed into my throat with what seemed like giant, sharp fingers. I pushed him away, but even as my hand burnt into his face, it did nothing to stop him, and this fight between he and I was quickly finishing.

Then he howled, and I felt something cold splash over me. It was only when I saw the tip of a blade protruding the monster’s stomach that I realised what was going on. I scrambled out of the way of the dying monster before Daniel withdrew his sword and he fell to the ground. I stared at him as his cries became quieter. There was a large wound in his back, a dark shiny line exposing his insides, which were slowly spreading beneath him. “Where is he?” I asked Daniel hollowly.

He didn’t ask who I was referring to. “He’s not far,” he said. “Those were the men guarding him. Some left when they heard an explosion.” He raised an eyebrow at me.

“Don’t look at me like that,” I reproached.

“Have you looked in a mirror recently?” he replied. At the look on my face, he grimaced. “Fair point. Anyway…” He gestures towards the door. “After you, my lady.”

I didn’t go to the door though. First, I located the weapon I used before. “Do you know what this is?” I asked him.

He wrinkled his face. “No clue. I don’t like the look of it though.”

“Me neither…but I can think of some who would.”

“Thommand?” Daniel enquired.

“I was actually thinking of the monsters here,” I admitted. “But you’re right too. Should we take it or not?”

He grimaced. “We’re faced with two evils here,” he pointed out. “Which one is going to be more dangerous with this thing?”

I couldn’t imagine either using it to be honest. “Right now, we really don’t want this evil to get it,” I said. “We’ll figure what to do with it later.” I picked it up. “In the meantime, I’m going to use it.”

“If you say so…”

Papa Willis barely moved when he saw me. “Oh. Hi,” he said blankly.

“…Hello.” I stepped over one of the corpses. “Did you do this?” I asked Daniel, as I opened the cell door.

“Yeah,” Daniel admitted. “Though it was either me or them, if I do say so myself.”

“Not judging Daniel. I certainly don’t have any right to.” I knelt down next to Papa Willis. “Can you walk?” His grimace gave me the answer. “Okay…” I looked back at Daniel. “How about you carry him and I’ll keep them off you?”

“Use you as a meat shield? No.”

“Or you could leave me,” Willis suggested.

“Not a chance,” I said, lifting Willis up. “And what’s the worst that can happen? I die?”

“Cat…” Daniel knew that it wouldn’t matter if I died, as I’d resurrect anyway. But he still looked against the idea of me sacrificing myself.

“By the way.” I gave Willis a hug. “It’s good to see you alive.”

Willis didn’t move. “Why are you hugging me?” he asked awkwardly.

“Because you’re alive.”

“…okay.”

“Willis?”

“…yeah?”

“You smell.”

“So do you.”

I grinned at him, and he just looked back, confused as hell. “What’s with her?” he asked Daniel.

“She’s easily influenced,” Daniel replied. “She’s happy now, but she’ll be cutting off heads in a minute.”

I stuck my tongue out at him. “I’m a psychopath,” I confirmed.

“The sweetest psychopath you’ll ever meet,” Daniel added.

Willis just shook his head feebly. “Right…”

I remembered that he didn’t recognise me, so I backed away slightly. “Maybe we should do this later?”

“Good idea.” Daniel grudgingly took Willis when I reached the opening. “Noah’s meeting us at the crumbled wall,” he told me.

“Same place as before.” I remembered how Kaya shattered that wall during her escape. They thought the girl was useless, a dud. “Do you ever wonder why Kaya took you?” I asked Daniel.

“Now’s not the time for reminiscing,” Daniel replied.

I rolled my eyes and walked ahead of the two. It was like this for a while, and I grew wary of the disturbing quiet.

My suspicions were confirmed a split second before a sword sank in my belly and I was falling once again.

Beware of the Mad Cat

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Last time, on The Adventures of Cat Madigan…

I couldn’t remember what happened after I was caught with Daniel in the brothel.

And now I do. And now, I feel okay to write about it.

So here’s what happened. Please god, don’t read this if you think it’ll trigger any bad experiences, that’s the last thing I want. Thank you for your patience, this was a bitch.

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I awoke to a flood of sensations; my head ached, my arms cramped up and the burning between my legs was too much to focus on. Everything was black, but I could hear sobbing in the background.

“Oh look,” a female voice cooed. “She’s awake.”

Someone touched my face and my sight returned. And I saw the smirk of someone very familiar. “You!” I exclaimed.

The Fury from before beamed at me in response. “Where’s Daniel?” I demanded.

She tilted her head to where he was lying. From what I could see, his chest was barely rising. “If you’ve hurt him you bitch…”

“Don’t worry darling,” she laughed in her husky voice. She leaned in till her nose was nuzzling mine. “He’ll be fine as long as you do as you’re told,” she informed me, before pressing her lips against mine.

I stayed perfectly still, and when she pulled away, I spat right in her eye. I chuckled when she yelled out; it was childish, completely childish. But I didn’t have a care in the world. I just wanted to get out of there, to take Daniel and run.

She struck me across the face, again and again, and still I didn’t care. “Harpy,” she hissed. “Give me one reason to release you from your chains.”

I just laughed. “I don’t see how that would help you, but feel free to go ahead.” But I could feel no heat in my hand now, and when I looked up, the whole mass where my left hand should’ve been was encased in iron.

This time, the slut laughed. “Surprised? Don’t worry, as long as you behave, we’ll take it off for you.”

“Behaving’s not really my thing, though,” I informed her. “Gets kinda boring. And when it comes to people whose heads I want to smash in, it’s pretty painful.”

“Is that so?” she replied. Then she smiled. “But you can behave.”

“That is a matter of my choosing.”

“Very well. You can choose whether to behave now.” She turned away from me and walked over to Daniel.

“Don’t you dare!” I shrieked.

She took out her whip. “Please!” I yelled. “No!”

She stopped, and turned around with a shit eating smile on her face. “That really wasn’t so hard, was it?” she purred.

I refused to speak. “Well thankyou, Cat Madigan,” she continued in that patronising tone of hers. “I’m sure that was very difficult for you to do.”

With that, she raised her whip and slashed Daniel across the chest.

“NO! Don’t hurt him!”

She called back to me, “He’s drugged, you see. It’s not good if Meeks try to murder their clientele, you know.” She proceeded to give him another lash, and another, and each time Daniel would hiss and curl up.

STOP IT!” I screamed. And suddenly, the heat in my hand returned, and my whole hand was on fire. The iron encasing my hand had heated up as well, and I couldn’t help but hiss as it scalded my hand.

The Fury just kept laughing, and I just kept getting angry. “I have a better idea,” she said suddenly. She came towards me and uncuffed my arms and legs. “Before you think of doing anything, just remember that whatever happens to him, it’ll be your fault.”

I hissed, but I stayed still. “What are you saying?” I watched as she walked away and went to a giant display of items at the other end of the room.

She chose two and came back. “Now this,” she purred. “Is for you…” She pulled Daniel up so I could see his face. His gaze was hazy and there were more bruises from before, ones which may not go away. The Fury then leant over and kissed him like she kissed me. I just closed my eyes. I felt sick and disgusted, but I didn’t do anything. I wasn’t even sure if I could do anything.

“Don’t worry, Cat Madigan,” she called over. “You can have a present too.” I could hear her coming towards me, and my eyes flashed open. I saw Daniel, dazed and confused, and I saw that his ‘gift’ was now decorating his neck. A collar.

I wanted to kill her.

I said nothing when her hands were on me. I didn’t even hiss. I did what I always did. I squeezed my eyes close and waited for it to be over, praying for this horrible horrible nightmare to stop right now.

A blow to my head made me stumble back, and I couldn’t stop myself from growling. When I looked at the Fury, I saw a long black cane in her hand. “This is for you,” she told me, her voice sweet as poison. “Now here’s how things are going to work. You’re going to do everything I tell you to. Five seconds, and you’ll get a lashing.” As if to prove her point, she raised her whip and as it cracked across the front of my body, I cried out. I wish I didn’t, but I did.

The Fury laughed in response. “You see? Pain isn’t fun when it’s you, is it darling?” she said pointedly. “I haven’t forgotten before.” She showed me the dark marks on her throat, now covered up with a black ribbon. “See? Not so pretty. Now.” She walked away, evidently bored with hurting me. “Here’s what happens when it takes ten seconds, when you keep being naughty.”

Suddenly Daniel let out a scream, and started spasming. “Daniel!” I shrieked, running over to him. But then that bitch’s whip slashed me across the back, and sent me falling to the ground.

I landed at Daniel’s feet. His face was screwed up in pain, and I could only watch helplessly. “What did you do?” I screamed at her.

“Oh come now,” she said exasperatedly. “Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a shock collar before.” I turn to her, horrified. “They may be old news, but sometimes, old news can be very…enlightening. So to speak.” She gestured towards Daniel now, and I noticed that there were slight sparks coming from that collar.

“I’ll kill you!” I screamed, the metal layer coating my hand bubbling and running down my arm.

“Give it a rest.” The Fury was completely unfazed. “I’m not the one controlling it. You’ve met Dimitri, of course. He made you do the reading.”

It’s simple. You take the one thing he cares about the most, and destroy it in front of him. And there she is. I looked around for the man. “Don’t bother,” she said. “He doesn’t want to be seen. But he can see us. That’s all that really matters. Now then, Cat Madigan,” she pulled me up by my corset. “Are you ready to behave?”

I just shut my eyes. “That’s not the right answer,” she hissed in my ear.

Another crack sent me to the floor. “Y-y-yes,” I sobbed. Don’t give him another shock.

“Good girl,” she purred.

I was nothing. Less than nothing. I was only an instrument, a new toy, to be used to play to her tune. Ready to be broken in.
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Everything’s slowed down. Voices echo through my head and I can’t see any more.

TEN! And Daniel’s crying out again, tears streaming down his face. But I can’t move anymore. It’s like there’s some narcotic paralysing my limbs and my senses.

Have you given up already?! I hear. Have you started to enjoy it yet? It’s a hungry voice, a mad voice. Do you understand now? How good that pain feels? Yours and his combined?

She’s already broken, another voice barked. You can stop now.

I’m not done yet. I want her to understand what I’m trying to tell her!

The job is done. Cat Madigan is broken. And he will be too, now that his play thing is gone.

Gone…

I can hear him though. Him and her. I’m not broken. Actually I am. My pieces are scattered across the floor. But they’re coming together now, like a jigsaw puzzle. I’m broken, but not without repair.

Everything’s in focus now. And I can feel my limbs again. I’m back in reality, or at the very least, this reality. I can hear him. I can see him. I can smell him…

I rush towards him and fly at him. I grab him and throw him against the wall, and he crumples on the floor under it. I can smell his blood, but more than that, I smell how afraid he suddenly is. I can feel him shaking, even as I stand above him. And he suddenly shakes violently and coughs out something. It smells of vomit, but it’s black in colour.

Why do I stop to watch him? I pick him up easily, and I see his eyes widen. I hurl him across the room, and upon reaching the wall, his form suddenly turns into a mass of black viscera. I stop to marvel at my handiwork. How much power had that taken to cause him to splatter so?

“Dimitri?” A voice filled with fear enters my ears, and I turn towards the sound. The Fury is staring at the black mass on the wall in shock. I had nearly forgotten about her. No such luck though. She might have lived longer if she hadn’t done that.

But then I see something on the ground next to her. It’s a body. My body, actually. I know it’s mine because of the long brown hair and the liquid iron coating my left hand. My chest- which is naked and bloody from the whip- is barely rising.

“Monster…” I hear the Fury whisper.

I pause. Then I let my lips turn up into the same smile she wore, and I give a laugh with a touch of insanity, and watch her blanch. And I turn to her. “Freak,” I correct her. My voice is husky and deep. “I’m a Freak…my dear. But do you know what?”

I hold out my arm out in front of me. It’s as black as a shadow, but for the veins, which glow like the light from that evil collar. But I’m most interested in my claws; I grin with twisted excitement when I see them, with their long sharp nails, almost like knives. “I’m not like you though,” I tell her. “You…you hurt people because you get some…release from it. From breaking people down till they’re less than worms in the mud.”

She backs away from me. “Please…don’t kill me….”

“Please…don’t kill me!” I mimic. “Wow…that sounds familiar. Well, not those exact words. But kind of similar. I think you’d remember them.”

“Don’t…”

Please, don’t make me do this!” I scream out like I did before, buckling over in sobs. Then I stop my performance, and look up at her. “And now look what you’ve done. You’ve broken me. Although…I do have a feeling that this probably isn’t what’s meant to happen.”

I pause for a moment. Am I dead? I don’t know. This…thing isn’t me, but I’m oddly comfortable with it. I look over at my body once again, and I decide that I’m still alive. But I’m not ready to go back yet. I have one more thing to do.

If I was human before, I wasn’t now. But I didn’t care.

“How many hours did you torture me and Daniel?” I ask mildly, walking towards her slowly. “Actually, to put that another way, how much did you put into it?”

“I…”

“And before that. When I was blacked out. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.” She’s backed against the wall now, but I won’t let up. “I don’t remember what happened, so fill me in. How many times?” I place one hand on her throat, and tore through her ribbon.

“Please no!” she screams. “Cyrus! Cyrus!”

“Don’t worry,” I tell her, ignoring her cries.

My fingers clawed into her throat, looking for bones to snap. Her eyes were bulging, and she was screaming for her life, just like I was screaming for his.

“So I won’t hurt you that way,” I conclude, deaf to her pleas. “Not like you hurt me and Daniel. Because I’m not like you; I don’t enjoy taking or inflicting pain. I don’t want some perverse satisfaction from it. You see…what I do want is for you to feel the same way I had. And I think I’m doing a good job so far.” I look down at her, crying and screaming hysterically. “I think I’m done here though,” I say softly. “I’ve dragged it out enough.”

“No!”

“This’ll be quick. Oh, it’ll be painful,” I reassure her. “I will never forgive you for what you’ve done, and what you made me do. But this is going to end now.”

Cat’s gone. No more mercy. There’s just Freak.

CRUNCH.

How I Got My Superpowers

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I have a bit of explaining to do. Not just to my nonexistent readers, but probably to Daniel and Kaya and some of my friends as well.

As some of you have probably noted from some of my posts, I have become sort of immortal and sort of prone to setting things on fire. In my Delirium of course. It would be awesome to do that stuff in Reality, but unfortunately, that can’t happen. Dang.

Now I know the Daily Prompt Challenge is meant to be about how I became a writer. And I’ll do that. Tomorrow. I promise. But I got inspired by the superhero origin story stuff, and I really wanted to write a post about my own weird…hand…thingymaginky. Plus the immortality. But I prefer the flamethrowing stuff.

I think it probably started when I was discovering Kaya’s nasty habit of taking over whenever I went into Delirium. We were at the beach, and I fell into Delirium.

I remember vaguely what happened. Mainly, I remember Kaya screaming. I couldn’t see her, I don’t think anyone would be able to see her again. But she was screaming. The monsters had her surrounded. She was in pain.

Yeah…I’m not entirely sure why I did what I did. I have debates whether or not I regret it. But I had charged at them. I gave Kaya enough time to get back to Reality.

Then they cornered me.

I wonder if they had killed me, would I still be in Delirium? I’m uncertain. Before, I had always been afraid of dying. Originally, when my Delirium had been starting out, I didn’t have visions from my own point of view. I saw it from Kaya, Nereida, lots of people. Most of them died, with me feeling and seeing everything.

Then, somehow, I ended up there. With my own body. And now part of me is stuck there.

The prison they locked me in is one of the most terrifying places on Earth. I wasn’t sure who to fear more; the guards with swollen heads who liked to watch as their prisoners scream, or the captives, who would stare at me with a detached creepy expression on their face as they laughed at nothing and would scream out randomly.

I found out a couple of things. They wouldn’t kill me. I think at the time I was relieved to hear that. But they weren’t going to let me go. Let me explain to you what kind of ones these monsters are. In order to know what they know, they have suffered massive deformities in their bodies. Their eyes seem to bulge out of their giant heads, and a few of them are missing their senses in order to enhance others.

These people, with their impossible intelligence, they want to develop, they want to create new things. It had started with themselves, but then they found a better solution. Prisoners. Anyone guilty of a major crime would be ‘donated’ and they would come here. After that, what happened to them would be a secret to all except their torturers.

That was how things were before Kaya. Kaya and her refusal to stay dead. Kaya and her stubborn determination. Kaya and her bright purple eyes and shock of white hair…

When Kaya did what she did, she showed people what really happened. And now they’re thinking. Thinking is dangerous, you see. Before, people thought this was a good idea. But they didn’t really know. And now they do.

Either way, the monsters never cared about what others thought. They went about as they always did, doing as they wished. And I would be their next victim.

Apparently Kaya was trying to get me out. Negotiate a deal. I didn’t know who at the time, but I’m guessing now it was the fat man, aka. Thommand. Either way, she didn’t go through with it. Why, she won’t tell me.

Later on, I think I described what I had done as a deal with the devil. It probably was, when you consider it. But it was the only thing I could do. I wanted to get out before I was reduced to the screaming wrecks which inhabited the prison.

So I made an agreement. With the monsters. I would be allowed out of that place, and in could live with Daniel and be free in my own Delirium.

In exchange, I would have to return occasionally. Every while and then for a check up.

And they would stick a needle in my arm that would make my blood burn.

I couldn’t speak to Daniel after. They let me out, and he found me wandering the outside world. I went back to Reality not long after in a similar predicament. I spent an hour searching, until I found Papa Willis and pretty much sprinted into him. I was so happy I was alive, but at the same time, I felt as guilty as hell.

I would still consider it a prison. Delirium itself is a prison. I can’t escape it, and I can’t avoid it. But I’m glad that I’m not staying in that hellhole of a cell forever.

Sometimes the monsters have other ideas. They go back on their agreement and chain me up when I try to leave. I never let Daniel come with me to these…checkups, because they would chain him too. Instead, he comes to break me out whenever I need help.

Not that I always need that help.

I think the first time I had found out about my hands would’ve been that time I had named The Rage of a Cat. When I consider it, I think that that was probably the aim of their injections. The immortality was just sort of a side effect. And when they found out about said immortality, they took it more as a challenge. They tried to kill me in as many ways possible.

The very first time I had died, I was stabbed.

I think the second time was when my guts were torn out. But there might have been another before that. Most of it’s a blur.

Later, they tried to kill me by hitting me over the head. That time was different. I managed to get revenge, or at least some animalistic satisfaction from murdering the man they same way he murdered me.

That’s another thing I’ve noticed. I’ve become…stronger. I can fight back for once. I feel like I am intimidating enough to have control of myself now.

But…I also feel worse about myself. That time I got revenge wasn’t the only death I have caused. The bad thing is that I’ve forgotten how many I’ve killed. And who. I never knew who I had killed. And reading back my words, I sound like an utter monster.

I suppose I’m frightened of what I’m becoming. Being in Delirium is slowly taking away my humanity, bit by bit. And because of that, I’m scared of myself in Reality as well. Because I know I’m capable of doing the same thing there.

But when you think about it, I’m not entirely a monster. If I were, Daniel would’ve abandoned me by now. But he hasn’t. He still cares about me even if I’m a murderer and psycho. So there has to be some bit of good in me somewhere.

I’m not a superhero. I’m too fucked up for that. But I’m not the bad guy either. I’m just a freak. And that’s fine with me.

Fear the Freak

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I have a new name to add to the many I listed in The Many Names Of Cat Madigan.

Mistress.

I was in class when it started. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a large black mass that could only mean that something was going to happen. I left class immediately, murmuring an excuse. I walked past, he started following me. I ignored him until we entered the bathrooms, empty because of class. “You have a lotta nerve,” I told him, in the most threatening voice I could muster.

“That’s no way to talk to me, Lady Madigan,” he replied. “Perhaps I should leave Daniel to die?”

“Now you’ve got my interest,” I said. “You see? If you had given me hint of that, we wouldn’t be here.”

“It matters not, right now.” He and I start walking away as a bunch of students start walking over to where we are.

“So where will I be going this time?”

“Somewhere new,” he said. “Daniel brought you in with him, but no one knows who you are, or where you are.”

“How did he do that?”

“You’ll find out. When you get there, I’m going to need you to find out information about our little intruders,” he told me. “Someone had sheltered them here, and I want to know who.”

I said nothing at that. “Any questions, Lady Madigan?” I shook my head. He nodded. “Start asking the women, they’ll tell you anything,” he informed me. “And go from there. If you get caught, they won’t kill you, but it won’t be pretty either.”

“Why is Daniel going to die?” I demanded.

“Oh, of course. Daniel is there as well, but unfortunately, he was asking too many questions and they’ve locked him up somewhere. That’s another thing you have to do, though honestly that’s more of an optional extra.” His voice was barely containing that smug undertone. “Will you go now?”

“After you,” I said to him. I didn’t trust him to be left alone with Kaya, especially when she’s in a bad mood. She had found out about the corset.

He vanished. I went to the disabled stall, the largest one in the bathroom and sat down.

When I woke up, things were remarkably familiar. It was dark and stuffy, and only a slight bit of air coming through. I was in a bag again. Great.

This one was easier to escape. All I had to do was untie a single strap and I could step out.

I felt around, looking for some indication of where I was. I touched soft fur and ran my fingers across lace, until I found one part of the wall which I could push away.

I stepped out, and looked at one of many closets I had just stepped out of. The euphemism didn’t escape me, but before I could chuckle, I realised I could hear other people.

I turned around. A large curtain separated me from them. If I had been more innocent than I was, I would’ve pulled back the curtain. But I soon recognised the sounds, and I recoiled.

I was in a brothel.

People were having sex within earshot of me.

Oh…..cock.

I looked down. My school uniform was probably the least appropriate attire for this place, but I didn’t have anything else.

Then I remembered the closet. I went back, looking at the contents. There was only one outfit in there, and it reminded me of a straitjacket. Great. Well, that had to do.

“You shouldn’t be here,” a female voice said behind me. Directly behind me.

I froze, and she chuckled. “I know what you are,” she murmured, her lips tracing the back of my neck. “And I know they’re hunting you and your little friends. Oh no, they’re not here,” she told me. “One of our Meeks let them go. Stupid girl. On the plus side, now that you’re here…” She gripped my shoulder. “Maybe I can get back into m’lord’s good books if I hand you over.”

“I’m not like them,” I told her. “I think I know who ‘m’lord’ is, and I think you’ll find that he knows me, and will not be pleased that you gave me away.”

Her seductive laugh was right next to my ear, her hot breath tickling my neck. “Oh, you are cute,” she whispered. “Those three were pathetic, but I could definitely have some fun with you…”

I turned around. “I think you don’t know who I am,” I said to her, raising my hand. The one that says F R E A K, the letters glowing with heat.

She flinched at the sight, and turned to run. She wasn’t fast enough though, and the second she turned around, I caught her around the neck, my burning letters searing her neck. She gasped. “Not a sound,” I warned. “You can handle the pain. I don’t want any trouble, and I’ve killed too many people already, and I really don’t want to get into the double digits. I just want to find my friend. Compri?”

She hissed. “Fine.”

I release her neck, but I have a death grip on her arm. “Where can I find the woman who helped the intruders?” I demanded.

She glared at me. “Try the cells. That’s where the Meeks usually go.”

“What exactly is a Meek?”

“Meek, submissive,” she told me.

“Oh…” I understood then. “And you would be…”

“I’m a Fury,” she said. “Dominant.”

“Thanks. One more thing.” I hadn’t entirely forgotten my school uniform. I needed something else.

And there wasn’t anything in that closet…

“Take off your clothes,” I told her.

“That costs extra,” she replied, not missing a beat.

I raised my hand again. “Fine,” she sighs. She takes off her own uniform, a red sheer lace corset and her tight black pants. Once she was stripped, I pulled on the pants and slipped off my school dress. When I struggled with the corset, she sighed, and hooked it for me. “Amateur,” she said, tightening the laces.

“Thank you. You’re quite cooperative,” I noted.

“I changed my mind,” she told me. “I’m happy to help now.”

“I thought you were a Fury, not a Meek.”

“You learn quickly.” She laughed again. “I like you Miss Madigan. Yes, I do know who you are now,” she informed me. “People tell you a lot of things here, and your name has slipped out a couple of times.”

I grimaced. “You would do well here,” she continued. “You’d be a wonderful Fury, if you weren’t so shy.”

“Who said I’m shy?”

Immediately her hand slid down between my legs. “Whoa!” I half-shrieked. I span around. “No! Not cool!”

She just smirked. “You were saying?”

I sighed, and I picked up a piece of red fabric in the closet. I started tying it around my face, leaving only my eyes uncovered. It fell down past my shoulders, so I wrapped the extra fabric around my neck. “Do I look the part?” I asked.

She nodded. She was still standing there, naked. I frowned. “Are those real?” She grinned in response. “…never mind.” I turned to the curtain. “Thankyou…whatever your name is.”

“You forgot something.” When I turned around, she handed me a long thin object. “Anyone asks, just whip them into shape.”

“Thanks.” Whip in one hand, and whatever courage I could muster in the other, I stepped through the curtain.

The Many Names Of Cat Madigan

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Today, we shall talk about names. Because I don’t feel like talking about my friend who inexplicably turned up in Delirium. So there.

Obviously my name is not actually Cat Madigan. Not in Reality anyway. That would be way too cool.

The reason I do use Cat Madigan is because that’s the name I was given in Delirium. I had been given the nickname ‘Cat’ when I was in primary school, so I kept that part of me. My last name though, is nothing like Madigan. It just came out of the blue, and I was stuck with it.

I don’t mind it though. I like Madigan. Whenever I get the opportunity, I don’t call myself by my real name, I say “My name is Cat Madigan.” I took on that identity when I ran away. Sometimes by reflex, I almost call myself Cat Madigan, even with my friends.

It’s partially habit as well. When you spend almost as much time in Delirium as Reality, it takes a toll on what you identify with. As a result, I respond to two names; my real one and my Delirium one.

I used my Delirium name because obviously, if I used my real name, my parents would most likely find this blog. I know, it’s not best for our already strained relationship if I keep secrets from them. But to explain a whole other universe that only exists in my head to one of the most judgemental people in the world would be too much to handle; they’d be angry at me for not telling them, and then they’d begin trying to stop it at every turn, until they eventually lock me up like an animal. And I really don’t want to run away again. What else is there to do if you’re locked in a cage?

Apparently, in Ireland, Madigan means ‘little dog’. That’s sort of ironic, isn’t it?

You have another name.

Eh?

Your hand, Cat.

…oh. Thankyou Kaya.

Yeah, there’s that one too. Five letters following, F R E A K. That’s my third name. It doesn’t hurt me though. Not like it once would’ve. Yes, I’m a freak. A complete anomaly. I’ve always known that though. And when you think about it, the freaks are the ones that are stronger, aren’t they?

Another thing about names; I wonder how I came up with all the ones from Delirium. Daniel and Kaya for example. Like, why would Daniel call himself Daniel as opposed to Mark or Lawrence or something. And I’ve never met anyone named Kaya before. Just like I’ve never met Thommand before, or Nereida, or pretty much anyone in Delirium with those names.

This is turning into me rambling about random things, so I am just going to look up those names and what they mean.

Daniel means: God is my judge. Apparently there was a prophet in the bible who rose to favour by interpreting visions that the king had. He also had four visions of the end of the world. Whoa….

Kaya means: Willow, wise child, yew tree, forgiveness (…really? Kaya?), home, stone. Well that tells us a lot. Not.

I couldn’t find Thommand, but I did find Thomas. It means ‘twin’, and probably ‘doubtful’, according to the bible story.

Nereida is a nymph or sea sprite. Well that part hasn’t changed.

Christan, I’m guessing, is a deviation on Christian.

I think I’ve rambled on enough about names for one post, so while I’m here, I’m going to give you a quick update on things. I have numerous assignments which require finishing, and I had my school social on Friday. Since then, my friends can’t stop singing a particular song involving me, another person and trees. Ugh…

Till next time.

Cat Madigan

The Definition of ‘It’

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After discussing my cancelled abandonment of Reality with Flash, I was tired. Exhausted actually. Being a depressive schizophrenic is hard work.

And then my head threw another bombshell at me.

I woke in Delirium being shaken awake by Daniel. “Argh…Daniel, I’m tired…” I complained.

“Yes, well, unfortunately for you, someone wants to speak to you,” he informed me, pulling me out of bed.

“For gods sakes, haven’t you noticed I’m wearing my nightdress?” I grumbled.

Daniel sighed and shoved me his jacket. I barely pulled it over one arm before he grabbed it and kept pulling me. “Who is so important that he can’t wait to see me in proper clothes?” I asked, somehow managing to get the rest of the jacket on.

“Remember Thommand?” I was dragged out of Daniel’s chambers, and down the long spiral stairs.

“Which one is Thommand?” I hissed.

“Fat man,” he replied. We came to a large door, and Daniel hammered his hand against it before barging in, pulling me behind him.

The fat man, or Thommand, who had my throat slit a month ago, gave as much courtesy as Daniel did. “You,” he pointed to me. He walked up to me and slapped me across the face.

Instantly, I struck my foot at his legs, tripping him over. My foot ached when it came away, and the ground seemed to shake as he fell, but I didn’t care. “How dare you,” I snarled.

“Control her Daniel!” Thommand barked.

“She’s under control,” Daniel replied, making no move to restrain me whatsoever.

I watched him get up. “You have no right to hit me, and the next time you do, I’ll do more than kick you to the ground!” I told him. “Are we clear, Thommand?”

“It’s m’lord to you,” he informed me frostily.

“Then act like one,” I retort. “Now what do you want?”

I heard the words ‘wretch’ and ‘she-cat’ under his breath. “I want to know how you arrived here,” he told me. “How you first came to this world.”

“So do I. But this is just as strange to you as it is to me.”

His hand twitched beside him. “If you’re lying to me-”

“I have nothing to gain by lying.”

“Yes you do,” he insisted. “There are humans here, just like you when you arrived. That would be something to gain.”

I froze. “What?”

“So you didn’t know?” Thommand shook his head. “Caught in the next village. Three of them. One is dead and the other is being brought here.”

“What are their names?” Daniel asked.

“The captive won’t say.”

“You said there were three,” I interrupted. “What happened to the one who wasn’t killed or captured?”

His eyes narrowed. “Gone,” he said shortly. “We’ll find him though. We found Daniel.” He started out the door. “The captive is coming now. Follow me.”

Shaking off Daniel’s hand, he and I strode out behind the fat man, who was surprisingly quick. “So why did you strike me?” I demanded.

“Shock value,” he replied. “I wanted the truth, and fast.”

“I wouldn’t say anything else,” I objected.

Daniel stopped me. “Cat, go back to my chamber, now.”

“Why-”

“Court business,” he said. “This is no place for you.”

At the same time that I was saying “I will not be left behind!”, Thommand had stopped and said “The girl stays.”

“I forbid it.”

“Don’t command me, Daniel.” I returned his angry look. “I am not weak.”

He paused. “You’re not,” he admitted. “Come along then. Knowing our men though, the man’s probably nastily wounded.”

I could see Thommand bristle as we continued walking. “Is he getting treatment?” I asked Daniel.

There was no reply from him at that. I wondered where I could find a nurse in this place, and hopefully one who might be able to help with what I needed.

We arrived in the courtyard to find a crowd gathering. It was the first time I had seen so many of them. And as soon as I came into view, they all turned to me.

My first thought was that I really wished that I was wearing something less inappropriate than a scarlet silk nightdress and Daniel’s jacket.

The second thought was how different from Daniel they were.

I hadn’t really noticed the contrasts between Thommand and Daniel, but I became aware of them once I saw the others.

I had thought that Thommand had a fringe- and I had thought how stupid it looked. But as I looked more closely, I realised that it wasn’t the case. His hair line started from where his brow would be; it wasn’t a fringe at all.

That explained Daniel’s absurdly long hair. These people would probably want their hair to grow pretty long…but I had seen people with ordinary fringes. Not to mention eyebrows. I’d have to ask Daniel about that.

The people in the fanciest dress- by fanciest I mean most ridiculous- all had clear, grey eyes. They were beautiful, I suppose. In a way. But it was too over the top. They were the ones who stared at me the most. No one paid attention to Daniel. They treated him as if he weren’t there, sort of like a bad smell. But they kept giving me looks and whispering as they turned away.

I heard shouting, and people walking by. “Daniel, can we get closer?”

“This is fine, Cat.” Daniel was unnaturally still, as if he were afraid to breathe.

Slowly, I started walking away, dodging the strange people as I tried to get through the entrance of the building. It was no use; even though there were guards pushing everyone back, I still couldn’t see.

Then I spotted a window. It wouldn’t be dignified, but I would never be admired by these strangers, only seen as an animal.

I could reach it, so I lifted myself up onto the ledge. It was one of those windows without glass, so I clung to the edge, praying I didn’t fall back.

I could see everything from where I was. There were two lines of people, surrounding one attraction in the centre. A young man was walking towards a group of people, who stepped aside, leaving one man alone. He had long sandy hair that covered his face, and his arms hang by his side, in shackles.

“Hello Cat Madigan,” a voice suddenly whispered into my ear.

It was him. The man that’s more corpse than living flesh. “Can’t they see you?” I whispered.

“Of course.” I could feel him beside me. “They won’t remember I was here though. I’ll vanish from their memories.”

“What are you?”

“Something weird,” he told me.

I knew that phrase, it’s mine. “Are you like me?”

“Whatever do you mean?”

“You know what I mean. But we’re different. Like two members of the same species.”

He chuckled. “We are definitely not the same species.”

“I didn’t mean it in a literal sense.” I look down at my hand. My five letters are glowing again. “This is…what I can do. And you….mess with people’s heads.”

“You are clever,” he said approvingly, and he kissed me on the cheek. He laughed as I grimaced; he’s so cold, it’s like a fish kissing me.

I would not let him get to me. “You messed with Kaya’s head too,” I told him.

“Not like them,” he objected.

“Doesn’t matter, you’re the one who killed her.”

“Ms Madigan,” he whispered. “Instead of accusing me of such trivia, you may want to watch what’s happening before you.”

“What do you mean?” But he was gone.

I glanced down, and looked at the scene. The prisoner was kneeling on the ground, his hair held back by one of the guards behind him. He had no expression, no emotion on his face.

But I knew him.

This person was one of the few things that kept me in Reality.

What was he doing here?

I leapt down from the window, only to be tackled by Daniel. He lifted me and carried me into the shadows, despite my struggling. He held my hands and feet behind my back, ignoring my growling.

When we were away from everything, he put me down. “I’m going back!” I yelled.

“You’re not,” he told me. “Believe it or not, I’m saving your life.”

“Believe it or not, it’s not something I treasure,” I retorted. “His, however-”

“Don’t even think about it. Not now,” he pleaded.

“I’m going.”

It happened in an instant. His arm was wrapped around my neck, a sharp object touching the skin of my temple. “Don’t make me do this,” he growled.

Go ahead, I thought. “This is my friend. I would do the same for you,” I told him.

“And I would respond the same way.”

The needle pierced my head and I started feeling drowsy. “I hate you,” I grumbled, as I faded out.