The Terror Of Happiness

Standard

A while ago, I had to go see a counsellor on a bad day. What’s he told me stuck with me; damaged people tend to sabotage healthy relationships because they’re so unused to what it feels like to be happy. It’s easier for them to remain miserable, because they’ve learnt to trust unhappiness.

I can understand why, though unlike those people, I’ve learnt not to trust what my brain tells me.

Right now, I’m so happy that it hurts, and that scares me, because the idea of losing that small, overpowering piece of happiness feels like it could tear me in two. 

Advertisements

Speckle Eye

Standard

She was standing in the middle of the road, right outside my house. I froze the second I saw her. What was she doing here?

It was then that our eyes met. Even in daylight they seemed to glow. It was the first time that I’d seen the deep gash on the right side of her face instead of the left, I noted. Then she started walking directly towards me at approximately the pace of a charging cheetah and before I could run, she grabbed me. “Cat Madigan?” she demanded. I nodded my head rapidly. “Good.” She released me. She was only slightly taller than me, and even then she seemed to tower over me. “What do you know about me?” she continued, becoming more and more frightening by the minute. 

“Um…” I swallowed. “You’re…Kaya, right?”

“Indeed. Now, why have you been watching me?”

“Huh? Watching-ow!” She had grabbed me by the collar of my shirt. Oddly enough, this terrifying woman was less frightening to me than the shadows were. I had probably seen too much of her life to be afraid of her by this point.

“Answer me!” she snarled. 

At that point, I decided it would be a good idea to scream out for Daniel; if Kaya was here, then chances are, he was too. Before I could though, I heard a roaring sound, and I turned to Kaya. “Get off the road!” I yelled. I wrenched myself out of her grasp, grabbed her, and pulled us back onto the side path. The asshole in the sports car zoomed past seconds later, making no attempt to slow down not only for us, but for another car pulling out of the driveway. 

I looked back at Kaya and tried not to laugh. Her eyes were bugging out of her head, her jaw hung open. No, it was more than that, she was visibly shaking. “…you okay?” I asked tentatively.

“What the FUCK was that?” she screeched. That was it. I lost it. After failing to conceal the first snort of laughter, I just doubled over, giggling helplessly. 

She looked down at me, confused and irritated. “What are you doing?” she said suspiciously.

“Your face,” I crowed. “I’m sorry, I really am, but…” I just buckled over laughing. Kaya stared at me. “It’s okay,” I reassured her. “It was just a car, they come by all the time here. Don’t worry about it-”

Don’t worry about it?!” she shrieked. “That thing tried to maul us! Just because we were in its way! Didn’t you hear it growling at us? I knew you humans were murdering bastards, but…why are you still laughing?”

Tears were streaming down my face. I suddenly had a vision of a Hungry Hungry Hippo totting down the road like Pacman. Omnomnomnomnomnom… “Oh Christ, oh god…” My stomach was starting to hurt. 

Eventually, I managed to calm down. I looked up, and saw that the anger had faded from Kaya’s face. “Okay, I’m okay now,” I informed her. “Are you okay?”

She nodded. “You, on the other hand, are insane.” 

“Uh huh.” I grinned. “Well aware of that.” Kaya was quiet again. “Do you want to come inside?” I asked. She hesitated. “It’s okay,” I reassured her. “They…the humans can’t see you here.”

“That’s why-”

“No, I mean they literally can’t see you. You’re invisible.”

“…invisible?” I nodded. I held out my hand for her to take, but she just stared at it. “Okay…” I sighed, taking it away.

She stood there. “What…did that mean?” 

“What?”

“…you offered me your hand. What did you mean by that?”

“…it’s a gesture,” I said weakly.

“What kind of gesture?”

“…friends?” I didn’t know how that would go down with her. “Forget it, I didn’t mean anything by it. I’m sorry. Do you want to come inside?”

Silence. I took this moment to look at her face. There was no cruelty in her gaze, quite the opposite; she was scared. If you took away her scars, her mutant purple eyes, there was just a scared little girl.

Suddenly, she thrusted out her hand, holding it in front of me as I had done. She looked at me expectantly. 

Without question, I placed my hand over hers, and the claws closed around it.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“Why are they screaming at eachother?” Kaya asked, as my mother and father screamed at eachother while we quietly walked past them.

I shrugged. We ducked inside my room. “You’re lucky,” I told her. “It’s one of the cleaner days.”

Inside was Daniel. “There you are,” he said, walking over to Kaya. “Everyone at Helevia is having a heart attack right now, are you aware?”

“I’m fine,” she said. “Can you let them know I’m alright?” Daniel looked confused. “I’ll return soon. Unless you’d prefer to stay here with us.” She seemed oblivious to Daniel’s lack of interest or notice of me. I flushed and turned my head.

Daniel sighed. “I’ll go back. Will you be taking care of her from now on?” For the first time, he acknowledged my existence in this room.

“What do you mean?”

“Shadows follow her. That’s why Nereida sent me here to begin with. More often than not, I have to rescue her from them. But if she’s more comfortable with you…”

He can’t wait to be away from me. “If she wishes,” Kaya said mildly. “I cannot always be here however, and you seem more adept at this than I am.”

Daniel nodded. “I’ll see you then,” he said to her. He started walking towards my door.

“Goodbye,” I said softly after him.

I hadn’t expected him to reply. “Good day, Miss Madigan,” he said absently. Then he was gone.

“You don’t like him?” Kaya questioned me.

“It’s not that,” I told her. “I’m just…well, he doesn’t really like me.”

Kaya thought for a moment. “He was glad to have saved you,” she said to me. “He just doesn’t enjoy being in this world.”

“Why?” 

“Because no one sees him.” Kaya sighed. “Everyone one in my world but Nereida sees him as an animal. And in your world, everyone treats him as though he doesn’t exist. You as well.”

Guilt swelled up in my stomach. “I don’t know what’s real anymore,” I said in a whisper. “I’m…I’m the only one who can see you; no one else can. I’m…” I looked pleadingly at Kaya. “Please tell him I’m sorry. If he wants to speak with me, I’ll come with him and talk privately. It’s just…”

“-you don’t want everyone looking at you strangely,” Kaya finished. I flushed. “No, I understand. It’s obvious how this would look to other humans. And you shouldn’t be discriminated for talking to us. I’ll advise him on this. And what you said.”

“…thanks.”

We sat there quietly. I looked up at her. “Why have I been seeing you?” I asked.

Kaya frowned. “I came to this world to ask you this as well. Nereida tells me nothing.”

“What did she tell Daniel?”

“That a special girl needed saving.” I snorted at being called ‘special’. “And if he saved her, then she’d help him find his home.”

“…what good is that going to do?”

“Why do you say that?” Kaya’s eyes narrowed.

I looked down, suddenly afraid. “No one can see you guys,” I reminded her. “Even if Nereida finds out who he is, he won’t be able to go back. Not if they can’t see him.”

“Worst case scenario, he finds out what happened to his loved ones, and gains closure,” Kaya returned.

“…what would he do then?” 

“That’s up to him.”

“…I cannot imagine a fate worse than being invisible and alone.” 

“He won’t be alone.” I looked up to find Kaya staring at me. “You and him have the same eyes, you know.”

“We do?”

“Yes.” She gazed intently, holding my chin with her hand, careful not to claw me. “Millions of little lines, multicoloured dots. Blue, green, grey, gold, brown, olive. Scattered like a cluster of stars. You both have galaxies for eyes.” She turn turned from me and stared at her reflection in the mirror. “We only have the one colour. We’re so…dead. You humans are so full of life, so dynamic. Me and my mind, we’re all monsters. Not just me. We’re not all aware of it, but we are.”

“…no. You’re really not.” I took her hand and pushed myself against her chest, wrapping my arms around her. She froze, then after a few seconds, returned the hug.

Alive

Standard

I mechanically slipped the loop over my head, and pulled in the buckle to make it fit my neck. I walked over to the hinge on the door, and tossed the strap through the gap and over. I held the other end and gulped. Pull. 

I hoisted myself up, and clipped the end of the strap to my noose in one fell swoop. I closed my eyes. Sleep.

I was floating in space again, in the universe that I created. Dust and rock floated past me, the shadows swarmed around me. It was warm, not like Reality, which was steadily becoming colder and colder. 

Then someone shouted my name.

I woke up, struggling to breath. Of course, that was my intention. The banging coming from the other side of the door jolted me, causing my body to swing. Instinctly, I tried to regain my footing; but I was two, maybe three feet off the ground, dangling from my bag strap. 

I knew at once that I couldn’t do this to him. I couldn’t hurt him like this. I tried to unclip myself, but tugging on the strap only swung me around more, choked me more. I looked down. The lock. I attempted to reach it with my hand; bad idea. Desperately, I moved my foot to it, and pushed the lock down, and there was a click. 

Daniel barged in, slamming me and the door against the wall. I would’ve cried out at the pain if I had air to do so. When he saw me, his face twisted into a horrified expression. Immediately, he grabbed me and hoisted my body up. “How do I untie you?” he demanded. It was then that he noticed the clip. He held me up against the door, lifting me with his left arm, as he unclasped the makeshift noose with his free hand. 

He lowered me to the ground and loosened the bag strap, sliding it off. I just closed my eyes, ignoring his yells. I was too numb. Far too numb. 

Until I’d heard sobbing. I opened my eyes. Daniel was huddled over, tears streaming down his face. No… I crawled over to him, reached out to touch him.

He flinched. 

“I’m so sorry,” I whispered. “Please don’t cry. Daniel…”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I spent the rest of the day in the hospital. Eventually they took me home, blaming it on the medication. And I locked myself in my cupboard, forbidding myself from seeing light.

I am a monster. 

I sobbed and screamed without letting out a sound. My parents knocked on the door occasionally to make sure that I was still alive, and I created a handy bulge in my bed to create the illusion that I was under the covers in case they came in.

How could I do that? Why would I even think about hurting Daniel in such a way? Not just him either. Willis, Flash, Bad Dog, Evil, Snugglepot. Fucking hell. I didn’t even deserve to be human.

Worthless, Inconsiderate, Selfish, Whore, Bitch.

Finally, I slept. It was cold, but I had slept in worse conditions than a closet. I should be back there, freezing to death. No, that’s not good enough. I need worse. I should have my head sliced off again, or get stabbed millions upon millions of times. Or I should be sent back to that brothel to be tortured. Neck snapped. Drowning, again. Throat slit. Something. Maybe all of those.

Suddenly, I was warm.  

I knew who it was. “Don’t Daniel,” I croaked. 

He ignored me. “What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?” I hissed. “Just leave me there, okay?”

He kept walking, with me in his arms. He dropped me on the bed and pulled the covers over me before walking out of my bedroom.

Promptly, I got out and walked back into the closet, closing the door behind me. Instantly, it opened, and he grabbed my arm. “Bed,” he growled.

“I’m sleeping here.”

“That’s mature of you.”

“Just leave me alone, okay?” I cried, wrenching myself free and slamming the closet door. 

It opened again. “Don’t be stupid,” he insisted. “You can sleep here.”

“You know that I can.”

“And you know that this is foolish,” he retorts.

I closed the door again. When it opened, I kicked him in the stomach, sending him flying. I immediately shut it, hearing his grunt and curse from the other side. He didn’t open the door again though.

Good.

The pain flooded through me, and I collapsed onto the closet floor, tears coming back again. I needed this. This was only a teaspoon of what Daniel must’ve been feeling like when he found me. Jesus, how many times has he found me in similar predicaments? Getting choked by a shadow. Beaten to a pulp by my mother. Lying on the bathroom floor coughing out water. Cutting my thighs with a razor. I deserve all this.

Then I heard him speak, from behind the door. “I know what you’re doing.” 

I remained silent. He sighed. “You’re feeling guilty.”

No shit Sherlock.

“And you’re trying to make me go away so that you can suffer by yourself,” Daniel continued. “Because you believe that you deserve to. But that’s wrong.”

Liar.

“Kicking me won’t make me think of you badly. Because that’s the only reason why you did it, so I’d hate you.”

I hit you in the beginning. When we first became friends.

“That’s the one thing about you. You’re so careful about everyone’s reactions that you calculate your every move. That’s why I know that you’re doing this to drive me away. Because you’re usually so deadly afraid of being violent towards someone you care about. And I know you do care. You let that slip today in the bathroom.”

I kept my mouth closed. I heard Daniel sigh. “I don’t hate you,” he told me. “I never would. I just want you to be safe…and I thought that was going to be possible without Delirium in your life. But…” His voice trailed off.

I curled into a ball on the ground, huddling under my clothes. Eventually, he spoke again. “Do you still need me?” he asked me. “Is there any reason for me to still be in your life?”

My heart lurched at the question. No was the right answer, the deadly logical side of me said. He’s part of Delirium, he doesn’t belong here. The longer you hold onto Daniel, the more you’ll be dragged away from the real world. And then you’ll never be normal. Say goodbye. NOW.

“I…” I found myself speaking for the first time since Daniel had began talking. I had to say it. Otherwise…. “I…” 

Send him away. Move on.

No.

So you’re going to be a freak that talks to herself for the rest of her life?

If he wants to leave, I’ll let him go. But he is the one person who has stood by me despite everything. And I’m not going to let pride get in the way, not this time.

“Of course I do,” I choked, sobbing again. “I…you’re….you’re the only person left that knows me for who I really am. And yet…you’re here.” I held onto the door handle and pulled myself up. “And I really don’t know why.”

The door opened and I was brought out into the light. Daniel stumbled backwards, as if he had been expecting me to be holding it back. His face was puffy and his eye was shining from tears. “But I love you,” I told him. “I know that. I know that I love you and I need you by my side, because…I want you to see me become a better person. I want you to see me be happy, and not post-breakdown-adrenaline-induced happy, but actually happy, and alive.” For the first time in what seemed like eternity, I smiled. It was an utterly broken smile, and the tears probably ruined it, but I didn’t care. “Is that…something you’d be interested in staying around for?”

Daniel stared at me before laughing weakly. “You and your moodswings,” he whispered. 

“Yours are worse.”

He laughed again. “And I’d love to. You being alive and happy sounds wonderful.”

Wonderful,” I mimicked him.

“Shush.”

I took his hand.

Insert Obligatory-Christmas-Post-Title Here

Standard

First of all, Merry Christmas. I know it’s a day late, but I don’t really care. When it comes to Christmas, we usually celebrate it on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. Christmas Day gets spent flying between cities.

Second of all, this is the first Christmas that I’m not spending with my cousins interstate, which has it’s ups and downs. Ups being that I don’t need to put up with jet lag or my paternal cousins who break everything I love. Downs being that I don’t get to see my other cousins in Sydney and watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

By the way, I like Capaldi. Not as much as I liked Matt Smith, but I like how they made a Doctor who questions himself and wonders if he’s ‘a good man’, now that he’s no longer charismatic and charming. What I don’t like now is Clara. I feel that as much as I like Twelve, he’s really not good for Clara. Or maybe Clara is just a worse person than they made her out to be when she was with Eleven. Either way, she just becomes so much more annoying this season; she lies to the Doctor and her boyfriend even after they realise eachother’s existence, and she just comes across as self righteous in everything that she does. Maybe that was their intention, but I found that no matter how capable Clara was, I just got tired of her being so ‘goody goody’ and preachy to the Doctor, who was having enough trouble figuring out his moral compass as it was, while being able to get away with her own bullshit because she’s Clara. It frustrated me how Danny was constantly fine with her lying to him and not even trying to be honest with him, which I guess made him more endearing to the audience, but I feel like Clara didn’t get any comeuppance for it, unless his death is somehow karma coming back to bite her in the ass.

Also, the Mistress. I called that shit.

Third (actual) topic on the agenda: The debate over whether 2014 was better than 2013. Let’s do that now.

Reasons why 2014 sucked

-Everybody DIED. And it fucking SUCKED.

-Two hospitalisations for suicidal ideation. One of which I don’t even remember.

-Delirium isn’t completely gone, even after I spent a year trying to stop it from coming back in my head. And yes, I’m working on writing about that, leave me alone.

-Still single, and have been so for a year. More if you count in Delirium time.

-Being forced to actually deal with my depression and anxiety instead of running away into the world in my head to kill monsters and be a badass. I miss being a badass. Even if it tore me out emotionally, it made me feel like there was something good about myself.

-Frigging. Humans. Stabbing. You. In. The. Back. Yes, I’m looking at you Delamore. And fuck you. If I’m not important enough to even say hello to, then you aren’t worth any more of my time. Also, sisters before misters. Remember that before you lose all your friends.

Okee, now that I’m done verbally abusing people, I’m going to list Everything that didn’t suck about 2014:

-I’ve been doing a lot more modelling than previous years, which is awesome. I’ve met so many people and done so many things that I would never have been able to do otherwise. And I’m in a place where I can organise my own projects with people I know, which is even more awesome.

-When I say that Delirium isn’t completely gone, I mean that my pesky imaginary friend/paramour still stays around to ‘protect’ me from myself. The actual world of Delirium, which I’ve spent the past few years falling into, hasn’t been apart of my life for the past few months. So now, there’s nothing holding me back from making a full recovery. This is a good thing.

-I’ve been getting more action this year than I did last year. Which is ironic considering how last year I was in two relationships and I’ve been single the whole of this year. As much as I enjoy being in a relationship, being single is surprisingly rewarding, despite how much I complain about it.

-A continuation on why it’s better now Delirium’s gone; I’m becoming more confident in my abilities. Things get a lot easier when you’re certain that everything around you is real. I’m confident enough that I’m now writing for a magazine as a volunteer writer. Some of my stuff has even been published. But I’m not going to post them up here in case my secret identity is revealed and it follows me for the rest of my life. Sawry.

So when all that is compared to 2013, where I had two relationships end, one suicide attempt, growing hallucinations and one stint at homelessness, things have gotten a lot better for me when you think about it.

Fourth item on the agenda; explaining shit.

Concerning the matter of Delamore and the reason surrounding my negative outlook on her. I suppose if I don’t explain it now, I probably never will, so I’ll give a brief explanation. If Delamore is reading this, I just want you to know that I read your messages to Bad Dog, and if you’re going to call me a self absorbed attention seeker behind my back, then I really don’t want to be your friend anymore, even if what I suspect about you isn’t true.

So what do I suspect you of? I think you’re a liar. I think you lied to Bad Dog, to Snugglepot, and to me. I think that you manipulate people to get your way and cut people out if they’re not important enough to you. I don’t care if you don’t want me in your life, but if you lie to me and go out of your way to hurt me, then I no longer have any reason to care about what happens to you. Just remember that. If you care enough to read about my life, that is.

So now I’ve finished talking to an imaginary Delamore, I’ll explain the situation. Snugglepot had a Halloween party and invited me at the last minute. Delamore, who was in charge of the guest list, hadn’t invited me, and didn’t even know that Snugglepot had added me at the last second till the day before the party. Later in the afternoon, Snugglepot informed me that Delamore said that at least ten people had threatened to not come to the party if I was coming, and so I shouldn’t come after all. So I spent the next few days depressed and humiliated. Until Papa Willis informed me that apparently this wasn’t the case at all. That people didn’t hate my guts and had refused to attend an event that I was going to. To be honest, I don’t know what to believe. Maybe Willis is wrong. But that’s the rundown of the situation.

Okay. Rant over. Goddammit, it’s Christmas. It’s not nice being pissed on Christmas.

Also, Togami. This is what happened. We’ve hung out a couple of times, and we disclosed to eachother that neither of us wanted to be in a relationship if we weren’t sure there was a chance of it being love. So we’re not going out.

We’re just fooling around instead.

Much to someone’s disapproval.

So that’s what’s happened. See? So much easier to explain. And with that, I believe it’s the end up this Christmas update.

“I don’t care. It’s your body. Do what you want.”

“Thankyou.”

“…don’t hurt yourself.”

“…I don’t plan to.”

“Does anyone?”

“I know…you’re saving me from myself.”

“Someone has to.”

“Shush.”

The Stuff That Has Gone Down In Reality

Standard

Yes! I haven’t posted for ages. In my own defence, I’ve had very little time for writing, and I’ve got very good reasons why. It’s been nearly two weeks since I posted, and so much has happened, both in Reality and Delirium.

So let’s go! Starting with Reality. Because I’ve written a lotta stuff about Delirium, stuff which is not going to go to waste. And no Bad Dog, there’s no smut, so don’t even go there.

Okay…Reality.

Exams

Erghhhhh, I’m dying here. So far I’ve finished my Literature exam and my Religion exam. Literature was okay, however, I found myself doing the same thing I do for every essay, which is repeat the same thing over and over again to make sure my point gets across. Either way, I think I did okay. Hopefully it’s at least a C. And Religion was better than expected, though I really don’t know how well I did. I could’ve done awesomely (which would only happen if the one marking my exam was a bit tipsy) or I could’ve done absolutely shitty. But I answered all the questions. Just not sure if I answered them the right way.

Tomorrow is Human Bio and Maths. On the same day. And I regret not going to school today and studying. You see, when you don’t have an exam, you don’t have to turn up at school. Which is great. But I really need to study for Human Bio and Maths, because I’ve missed a lot of lessons due to Delirium. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve missed plenty of other subjects too. But unlike Lit and Religion, I can’t just conjure something out of my incredibly vivid imagination, I need to learn facts. And looking back now, had I been given a choice, I definitely would’ve gone to school to study.

Unless mum was there too. Fortunately that’s not allowed, otherwise mum would always turn up at school, screaming at me to clean my fucking room.

Mum has been refusing to let me study. Well, she goes through a process about it. Step 1, she asks “Can you clean your room if you have time?” Step 2, she comes in and yells at me because my room’s not clean. This happens usually ten minutes after Step 1. When I object to this, she can take two paths. Step 3A is to refuse to believe that I’m studying, because obviously, I’m on my iPad! Which happens to have my fucking textbooks on it. Or she can choose the other option, Step 3B, which is essentially a guilt trip. You can kind of visualise it, you know those arguments your parents give you that begin with “When I was your age”? It’s like that, only far less effective because it’s far from logical. Mum says something along the lines of “When I was your age, it didn’t matter if I finished exams or not.” Or something like that. Having another world in your head is extremely tempting at times like that…

Modelling

Had another photoshoot on Sunday. Theme was Apocalypse, but for once, I had had enough of zombies (gasp!). Instead, I was going as the Grim Reaper. Which was fricking awesome.

What was even more fricking awesome was the death scythe one of the Props guys made me. It wasn’t real, but it looked it. Best $55 I had ever spent. EVER. When I was carrying it around, I scared a few photographers and models. On the side, Daniel told me ‘Your Cat Madigan is showing’, which made me remember that I was still in Reality. It also reminded me that I shouldn’t stick my tongue out at what would look like an empty space to ordinary humans.

Highlight of the shoot was when I got together with one of the zombies and took him for a walk in the city. After locating a leash, the Grim Reaper went skipping down the alleyway with her pet zombie in tow, where they proceeded to traumatise many a childling. ‘Twas a wonderful day. Not so much for the little kids, but yeah.
The photos are looking pretty cool so far, I’m still waiting for the rest to be posted. There’s another photoshoot next Sunday, theme is Autumn. Still awaiting other photos from a test shoot I did and a glamour one. Why do photographers take so long….

Oh, and also, I did a fashion show where I got my hair coloured. The colour’s not that different, but it shows in the sunlight. It’s just a colour rinse. And I got to wear a wedding dress, though to be honest, I wouldn’t wear it to my own wedding, though I’d definitely want to wear it around the house. Liquid silk feels really nice… But anyway, it was 1920s themed, and though it was very pretty, it reminded me that I had no boobs and no waist when I looked at it in the mirror. Sure, I looked skinnier, but it gave me more of a boyish look.

Not that I’d ever get married anyway.

No, Daniel.

“What? You wish to live in sin for the rest of your life?”

“Pfffft. Sin, schmin. Besides, I promised Delamore not till 23.”

“I thought that was for virginity.”

“Hmm…you’re right. I should ask her about that. Actually, nah. She’d want to come to the wedding.”

“Let’s just agree that our relationship is fine the way it is and move on. Preferably before you start going on about wedding dresses.”

“I don’t go on about them, I just draw them.”

Moving. On.

“Fine.”

X

My second cousin Xenia came to stay for two weeks three weeks ago. I’d met her once at Christmas last year, but that was the only time if had met her before she stayed with us. She’s 19, three years older than my Reality self, but barely months older than my real age. There was enough resemblance between us that we could tell that we shared some genetic material, but that only extended to our hair and our tiny hands.

Mum said she was prettier than me, and she was probably right. She had nice brown eyes and light brown skin with no freckles or scars on it. Personally, I think mum liked Xenia because she wasn’t a kleptomaniac or a schizophrenic, not to mention she was an obedient daughter to her own parents, as an only child. Xenia grew close to mum when she first came, as Tig and I were always at school.

I never knew much of what she thought of me. I knew what she thought of my brother; Tig was always mouthing off about Mum, and she yelled at him, saying that she wanted to slap him. She and I barely interacted though, outside our family outings. The most we talked was when we went to an art exhibit in Rockingham on the beach, and I started using my artist/Literature skills to deduce the meanings behind the various sculptures before us.

“What does Indulgence mean?” she asked, when we approached several giant cupcake sculptures.

“I think…” I tried to put it as simply as I could. “It means to…take pleasure in something. Like…eating cupcakes. You take pleasure in eating- HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!”

I had thought that the long things sticking out of the cupcakes were meant to be wafers, but upon closer inspection, the end of the ‘wafer’ was shaped like a foot, which meant… “Legs,” I gasped. Xenia watched me incredulously as I started laughing. “There’s legs in the cupcake!” I crowed. “Oh my god…”

“You are strange,” Xenia said.

“Thankyou,” I returned. “Do you want to hear what this means?”

She looked back at the statue and stared at in quiet unease. “I don’t really want to…” she announced. “I liked it better when it was just ordinary cupcakes.”

We got along okay, but we never really bonded much, not like she and Mum seemed to anyway. She liked my drawings, well, the ones which weren’t of psycho zombie dragons, and she came to my modelling events with mum, but we never had much of a private conversation about things. She was pretty solitary when it came to our family, and I was up in the clouds most of the time. I also found her a bit too much like my mother to trust her much, even though she was from my father’s side of the family.

There was one time though, at the bus stop in the city. She came with me, as she was going on a tour to see the pinnacles, and she had to catch the ferry in the city. We didn’t speak on the bus, but when I got off, I felt horrible suddenly and stumbled off, grabbing onto the fence to keep steady. Daniel was there in a heartbeat, and helped me calm down from my panic attack. I was nearly in tears, but I finally stopped shaking.

“Cat?” Xenia said, and that’s when I realised she was right there, watching me. I looked up. “Are you alright?” she enquired.

“I’m fine,” I said.

She frowned, but didn’t say anything for a while. I was walking her to the ferry when she asked again. “Was that your…” She searched for a word. “Episode?”

“…yeah, little bit.”

“What…is it is?”

After hesitating, I decided to tell her. It was a word that she would most likely forget later on anyway. “Schizophrenia,” I told her. “Or some form of it.”

“Oh. How bad?”

I took that as a sign that she didn’t know what it was. Good. “Pretty bad,” I told her. “I…I don’t have long.”

Xenia frowned. “I thought…it was because of your mother.” I was puzzled. “She hit you across the face last night,” she went on. When my eyes widened, she smiled. “Your cheek is a little red,” she said.

“Right.”

“Are you alright?”

I gave a bright smile. “No.”

I left her at the ferry. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tell her about it. It’s just that I didn’t think she’d understand. She seemed so positive about things, always talking about how thankful for life we should be, and she was so close to Mum that I didn’t think she’d believe half the things I had to say. Or maybe she would believe them, and take them straight to Mum, the last person I wanted to know.

We got along. That’s all I can say.

So that’s it from Reality. I’m trying to catch up on the things from Delirium as best as I can. It’s gotten quiet again, so hopefully I’ll be able to catch up.

Also, Mum found her phone and apologised for belting my across the face.

Till next time.

Shush

Standard

“…I believe that I may be in trouble,” Daniel told me.

I looked down. “Little bit.”

“Ah.”

“Not with me though,” I told him. “Definitely not.”

“Good.” I felt him smile against my neck.

I paused. “Are you going to tell anyone?”

“Hmm….”

“Can I tell my friends?”

“Do you think they’ll approve?” he countered.

“Good point…” Then I shook my head. “Actually, I can tell Papa Willis. And probably a couple of girlfriends who know.”

“I thought those two were mutually inclusive.”

“True…very true.”

After a moment, he spoke again. “Am I allowed to tell anyone?”

“Well, if I am…who would you tell?” I asked.

His silence told me all. “You want to brag to Christan, don’t you?” I said flatly.

“…maybe.”

“Okay then.”

“…Really? You’re actually fine with that?”

“Oh, there’ll be conditions,” I told him.

“Ahh, here we are.”

“Rule one, details will be kept to a bare minimum.”

“What kind of details are we talking?”

“The…activity….habits, talents, which brings me to sounds-” he chuckled at that. “Shut it. ” I could feel myself going red. “And…that’s all I can think of.”

“Is that it?”

Something in his tone makes me nervous. “Wait, no.” I frowned. “I’m trying to eliminate any possible loophole that you can use to your advantage.” His resulting grin tickled the back of my neck again. “Let me think,” I insisted.

“How about what happens in the sanctity of the boudoir stays in the sanctity of the boudoir?” Daniel suggested.

“Immediate loophole right there,” I pointed out.

“What? It’s not like there’s anywhere else we’d…” He gives a gasp of mock horror. “My god, you utter whore.”

“Shush.” I looked over my shoulder at him and stuck my tongue out.

“Rule two?” he enquired.

“No making up things,” I said. “I don’t want to hear about some kinky shit that I apparently had done.”

“Understandable.”

“Three…well, just…no photos.”

“Rodger.”

Everything was so warm, and I quickly drifted off, into a world where my dreams weren’t going to hurt me.

It wasn’t perfect. Not like those crappy fanfictions where Bella/Ana have amazing sex on the first shot and feel zero pain whatsoever. Technically, Daniel had still been recovering from his near-death experience, so there were moments where he had to stop. And at times, I had to persuade myself to relax and to let go of my memories, so that I could replace them with, well…other memories. Better ones.

When I fell asleep in his arms, I felt safer than I had ever felt in my life. I would never claim that this moment, that this strange and wonderful thing, was a mistake.

You Love Him

Standard

Daniel was no longer having seizures, but he was confined to bed rest until he could stand without falling back down. As I didn’t have anything to do on Friday, I decided to leave Reality to stay with him during his recovery, leaving Kaya to her own devices. For the past few days, Daniel’s room was occupying the space that was my room, another piece of Delirium occupying Reality. Only this one have me a large headache. It was helpful when I was busy and needed to check in on Daniel without blacking out, but now all it gave me was a giant pain in the neck.

On Friday, I woke up in Daniel’s chambers, and when I opened the door, I saw the ostentatious hallways that was the palace. Trusting that the time I spent in Delirium wouldn’t be too long in Reality, I spent ten days in Delirium with Daniel.

I became used to having Jhaq and Noah as companions for this duration. When Daniel was asleep, I sometimes helped Jhaq with reading. She practised often and was now able to understand some poems, though I usually had to read them first in case she decided to show them to little Ray.

I slowly learnt to trust Noah, against my better judgement. My reasoning was that he had loved Kaya and supported her after her death, and anyone who was sympathetic with a traitor must have a decent reason for doing so. Besides that, he was willing to talk of things at court, and talk about Kaya when she was a child. He was able to satisfy some of my curiosity, though he still had boundaries, just like anyone else did.

When Daniel was considered competent to work from bed, I became used to servants coming in and delivering messages to him. They no longer did double takes at the sight of me, one even bowed when they entered and encountered me sitting by Daniel’s side as he slept. I was responsible for taking messages when he was unconscious. Most of them were queries as to when he would recover, but there were some requests for him to look into something suspicious around the Lake of Ghosts after he was better. I kept that one in mind, just in case I felt like tagging along.

Daniel’s bandage was removed and replaced with a black eyepatch, like Noah had told me would happen. He complained of the strangeness of only having one eye on a regular basis, and how he wouldn’t be able to react properly now that his peripheral vision was disabled on his right. He was embarrassed about taking his eyepatch off, so he kept it on even when he was sleeping. He probably took it off when he was helped down to where the hot steam was to bathe, but according to Jhaq, he usually did that when I was catching up on rest.

I shouldn’t have been entirely surprised to see Christan raise his admittedly beautiful head again. Daniel was still bedridden, and he was asleep when Christan quietly came in.

“What are you doing here?” I demanded.

Christan put his finger to his lips as he closed the door behind him. “No one knows I’m here,” he explained.

“Should they?” My left hand started burning again, and I didn’t even care that Daniel was sleeping next to me. I would light this prick on fire if I had to, no questions asked.

“I don’t want to hurt either of you,” he told me. “I…may I sit down?”

I didn’t answer him. “As you wish,” he sighed. “I understand why you hate me so.”

I didn’t respond to that either. Daniel suddenly cried out, and I immediately grabbed his hand. “Cat,” he hissed.

“It’s alright,” I told him. “It was just a dream, that’s all Daniel.”

“Argh…” He let out a shudder and his left eye squeezed close. He was still wearing the eyepatch, the vain man.

“Relax now,” I told him. “Do you want to go back to sleep?”

“Sleep…yes…” he murmured. His eye blinked open and gazed up at me. He lifted the hand he was holding to his lips, and kissed the fingers. “You should sleep too, you know,” he told me. “You look drained.”

“I’m fine,” I insisted. “I’ll go to bed soon, I promise.”

“Good girl.” Even drowsy and exhausted, Daniel’s tone still managed to sound as dry as a bone. His hand slowly drifted down to his chest and he fell asleep once more.

I was gently removing my hand from his when Christan spoke. “Tell me about him,” Christan asked quietly.

“You’re lucky he didn’t see you,” I told him.

“Cat…I…” I turned to face him. “I want you to know that I am ashamed of what I had done. Not only what I had done to Daniel, but to you as well, most of all. You…” His face was scarlet, but he didn’t stop. “I called you a dear friend, and then I treated you like a dog. I know you can’t forgive me, but just know that I will never do anything like that again. To anyone.”

I hesitated before giving him a nod of acknowledgement. “Thankyou,” I said.

Christan tentatively walked to the end of Daniel’s bed. “Thommand would’ve banned me from coming here,” he confided in me. “He told me to act like the whole thing never happened. But that…wasn’t right. It did happen, and Daniel is proof of it.” We both watched Daniel’s sleeping face. “I’m curious,” he started.

“About what?”

“Mercy.” Christan was frowning. “Everyone knows who you are, Cat Madigan. What you’ve done hasn’t gone unnoticed.”

Here we go again. “I want to understand why some people die at your hand, while others are left alive,” he said. “Why you let me live.”

I hadn’t thought much over that, much to my surprise. I chose to spend more time considering why I killed at all, but I soon realised that he was right. “I…I don’t know.” I held my hand in front of me. The letters aren’t glowing right now, all that’s there are the dark scarlet carvings. “I…I suppose it has to do with loyalty. Of a sort,” I amended. “It has to do with my state of mind as well. In a blink of an eye, you don’t see that you have another option, you just focus on your instinct.”

“Instinct?”

I realised how awful that sounded. “It’s not always my instinct to kill,” I informed him. “But in that moment, when Daniel or I have been hurt by them…anger takes over, and I don’t see anything else.”

“What’s the difference between them and I though?”

“I think it’s the Cat Madigan,” I said. “You came to my world, remember?”

“I thought you two were the same.”

“No…” I told him sadly. “I’m weak in Reality. Daniel would tell you differently, but that’s the truth. When I’m in Reality, I can’t let many people know about your world, so I conceal my actions. So I can’t fight back in Reality, at least not with my physical body.” I remembered that day I murdered that Fury in the brothel, when I broke away completely and snapped every bone in her body. “Using…that though, is difficult. I can’t control her as easily.”

“The shadow,” he told me. “That’s your shadow.”

“I…yes…that’s what it is.” I closed my eyes. “I hate it when I come here. Every time, I feel like I’m becoming some sort of monster. I shouldn’t be able to kill like I do. But I can. I’m losing my humanity, and that means something to me.”

I knelt down on the floor beside Daniel’s bed. “He’s the only thing keeping me human,” I told Christan. “The only reason I can live with myself.”

“How did you two meet?” Christan asked. “When did this start?”

“I…was fourteen at the time. Or fifteen, I’m not sure actually. No, I was fifteen. I was being attacked. Strangled, to be exact. Then suddenly, it stopped. And he was there.”

“You must’ve been frightened.”

“Of course I was. But not of him.” I thought back. “He wasn’t like them. He didn’t make any move to touch me, and I decided he was safe.”

“He wasn’t your guardian though,” Christan pointed out.

“That was Kaya,” I confirmed. “I could see Kaya, so it made more sense that she take care of me instead of Daniel. I still saw him though, of course. He was often with Kaya. He was annoyed with me though. Like I said, I’m weak in Reality, and I had trouble fighting off the Shadows there. So he didn’t have time for me unless he needed something. He was an ass.”

He laughed at that. “He wasn’t that bad though,” I added. “A couple of times, after bad attacks, he’d stay with me and help me sleep. And then when he found out about my parents, he stayed with me all night.” I smiled slightly. “He insists that he didn’t cry, but I know that it wasn’t me. I didn’t cry in front of others, well, not when I wasn’t in physical agony.”

“Never?”

“Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration,” I admitted. “Still, I could count on one hand the number of people whom I trusted enough to cry in front of for no reason.”

“Then Kaya died,” I sighed. Well, not exactly, but I don’t tell him that. “He was devastated, you know that.” Christan nodded. “So was I. But I…” I changed my mind at the last second. “I…I managed to get past it,” I lied. “I made myself focus on helping Daniel recover. It was difficult, but I managed to do it, somehow.”

“But then, after he recovered, I started having nightmares. I kept dreaming about Kaya dying, again and again. I thought it was me though, and I knew that I was going to die.

“Then the dreams got really bad. I could feel everything she felt, from the ice beneath her feet to the sudden shock of her heart stopping. And I couldn’t take it anymore. So…” What I was confiding in him was more than I trusted to some of my close friends, but I continued anyway.

“One night, I tried to drown myself,” I said quietly. “I held my head underwater until I started dreaming. But then I realised something.”

“And that was?”

“I was the stupidest person alive,” I said. “I would let myself die because of my visions, because I was frightened of a figment of my imagination. So I got my head out of the water, somehow.”

“Daniel came immediately. He was furious at first, but I was too out of it to care, I just wanted the pain inside my head to stop. I didn’t speak to him for a few days, not really. I couldn’t speak about it to anyone. I tried to get help from my friend, and she had a panic attack. She made it clear after that incident that I shouldn’t tell her these things, even if they were killing me, because she would be hurt too. So I kept it inside, along with everything else.

“I don’t remember when I started self harming, but I hated myself for doing it. I just wanted some way to get my pain out, and that seemed like the only option. Soon after, Daniel caught me, and I expected him to be angry. Instead, he took the razor from me, and let me cry on his shoulder.” I paused. “It was good to cry,” I added. “Before, I felt so cold on the inside, and I couldn’t do anything to get rid of it.”

“Anyway, after that, Daniel changed. Before, he was saying that I was weak, though never to my face. But then he took me under his wing. He didn’t treat me like an invisible person, he explained things to me, and he took my opinions seriously. And he stopped discouraging me when it came to fighting off the shadows. In return, I stopped being timid about everything, and I warmed up to him more. And I developed more a thick skin when it came to…what happened to me.”

“He cares about you deeply,” Christan observed. “He’s devoted to you and your safety, I know he is.”

I smiled softly. “When I changed, so did Daniel,” I said. “When I opened up to him, he relaxed a lot around more around me, and he stopped being so serious.” I laughed a little. “He teased me a lot too. But it wasn’t mean hearted, like other people are. He just did it to get me to stop being a sulk.” I looked down at Daniel. “He’s not perfect. But he’s the best man I know.”

“You love him.”

That statement made my heart stop. “You do,” Christan told me. “I should’ve seen it before, but I was blind. Now I can see the truth. He has your heart.”

“No, we’re not like that!” I flashed around in horror. “No, I don’t.”

“You do,” he repeated. “If he hadn’t survived your blood, how would’ve you felt? Tell me that.”

“I believe you should leave now,” I told him coldly. “You’ve overstayed your welcome enough.”

“So you don’t deny it.”

Leave. Now.”

He closed the door behind him, and I realised I was shaking. It made no sense to me why I was shaking, and I felt anger at Christan for making me feel that way.

Romantic feelings would always be pushed to the back of my mind when it came to people. Because no one would want to love a depressive schizophrenic, particularly one who is a total fuck up. It didn’t stop me from growing attachments to people though, which may or may not contribute to my emotional instability.

My ideal ‘romance’ wasn’t the type involving mushiness and flowers and stuff. To me, it’s more simple than that. I haven’t ever fallen in love, but I think that it would happen when I finally let myself trust them inexplicably.

Hence why I have classified myself as Forever Alone. Because after everything’s that happened to me, I don’t think I can let myself trust anyone that much. Besides, they all leave in the end. People always do. The only person who has stuck by me this far has been-

Oh god no.