You’re Being Tortured In The Morning

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So because I am a lazy fuck who cannot spend more than ten minutes a day to finish writing up my memoirs from the imaginary world in my head, Daniel and I have found another way to keep my blog updated over the two weeks that we’ll be in Europe. Where it’s warm…. I’m sorry, I wanted to stress that fact to my friends who’ll be stuck in the Southern Hemisphere, where it’s cold and there’s not even snow to make it better. Anyway, I came across the website Philosophy Experiments during Religion, and Daniel and I got sucked in, and we went over god knows how many tests and quizzes which scrutinised our way of thinking.

And now I’m going to torture my nonexistent readers by describing every single quiz we went through. Starting with You’re Being Tortured In The Morning.
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“Here we go,” Daniel says. “You have fallen into the hands of Zach Coine, a mad and powerful scientist. He informs you he is going to torture you tomorrow morning. Not surprisingly, you find this idea rather terrifying.”

“Pfffffffffffft.”

“That’s not necessary Cat.”

“Sorry…this quiz doesn’t already take into account torture victims. Or mutants and imaginary paramours.”

“Cat…”

“Okay, I’ll shush.” I look up at him. “Really.”

“Good girl.” Daniel turns back to the iPad. “However, Professor Coine has some sort of barely functioning conscience so he’s decided to tell you a number of things about what’s going to happen in the hope that you’ll be reassured about your fate.”

“Awwww, that’s so sweet!” I said sarcastically.

“You promised you’d shush.”

“I am! I am shush-”

Daniel puts two fingers on my lips. “There. Better.” He scans the rest of the page. “Basically, each time you read something, you have to decide whether it calms you down a little bit.”

Unable to communicate verbally, I merely raise my eyebrows and snort. “Okay…let me rephrase that.” Daniel rolls his eyes. “You have to indicate whether or not what he says makes you more certain or uncertain of your fate. Whether it reassures you or not. Compri?

I nod. “Good girl. Now, there’s some things you should remember. One, everything Professor Coine tells you is the truth. Two, this test is only interested in how you find the prospect of being tortured. Basically whether you think you’d suffer or not during this event.” He frowns. “Whatever. Three, any wider moralistic or humanitarian worries you may have do not matter. Meaning, you can’t claim that you’ll never be safe because you’ll always know that there’s a violent psychopath out there. Four, you have to indicate how you feel about what the professor says in light of everything you know.”

I frown. “Mmm?”

“I think it means how what the professor says makes you feel about the current situation,” Daniel informs me. “Anyway, the last thing is that this is an online activity, so you’re not actually going to be fearful or reassured. There’s a thing called imagination….” He grins at me. “My, I have no idea where we would ever find that. Now let’s get started.”

“Mmm!”

“I’m not done talking though.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“Fine…” He removes his hand from my face. “Personally, I think you show more through your body language than your words.”

I flutter my eyelashes at him.

“I rest my case. You may start.”

“Professor Coine tells you that when the time comes to torture you, he’ll ensure you have no memory of having been told in advance you were going to be tortured, so it’ll be a surprise when the torture begins. Reassured or no?” I frown. “Wait, so…I’m being told what’s going to happen to me, only to forget immediately after?”

“I take it, not reassuring?”

“Nuh uh.” I read the next statement. “Professor Coine also tells you that at the moment of torture you won’t be able to remember anything at all that you now remember. So I have amnesia? I don’t remember who I am?”

“I don’t believe I’ve ever had amnesia,” Daniel muses. “I wouldn’t be able to tell you what it’s like.”

“I would probably be more frightened if I didn’t know anything,” I said. “If I had my memories, I might be able to think of something else.”

“If you say so.”

“Professor Coine now states that not only will you not be able to remember anything that you now remember, but you’ll have an entirely different set of thoughts and impressions of your past…well shit.”

“Not assured?”

“Well…no. If I’m a whole other person, I’m still going to feel pain, aren’t I?”

“Indeed.”

“The mad professor now tells you that the new set of thoughts and impressions of your past will exactly match those of somebody who is currently alive, and in fact that they will be copied into your brain from the other person’s brain. Again, not helpful.” I continue on. “So basically, this whole conversation makes me no less fearful of what is to come.”

Daniel reads the next part. “We’ll return to the mad professor in a little while, but right now we have a different scenario for you to think about. This one also involves torture, but happily this time you have more control over what’s going to happen to you.”

“Yayyyy.”

“Two people,” Daniel reads, “are about to undergo an odd experience.”

“Boys and girls of every age, would you like to see something strange?” I sing.

Ignoring me, Daniel goes on. “The thoughts and memories of persons A and B will be exchanged with eachother. In this scenario, you’re A. After the experiment is complete, one body-person will receive one million dollars. The other gets tortured. You want to get the reward, and avoid the torture.”

“Gee, I dunno…I’m kinda in the mood for getting my skin torn and my bones broken.” Daniel looks at me. “I’m into some fucked up shit.”

“Moving on…you get to choose which body-person is to be rewarded, and by doing so, also deciding who gets tortured. So what’s it gonna be?”

“So…I’m person A. But A’s memories are now in B. Does that make me B then?”

“You tell me.”

“…physically I am person A. Even with my memories have gone, I’m still A, and I’ll still feel the pain. I’d want to avoid that.”

“You’d be another person.”

“Is that meant to get me to change my mind?”

“This…” Daniel announces, “is deep shit.”

“Yeah…” I press the option which says Reward Body-Person A, Torture Body-Person B. I read the next part. “Good news. In common with 29% of the 43934 people who have completed this activity, you are showing no sign of Identity Confusion Syndrome. What even is that?”

“Let me read the rest.” Daniel scans the next few paragraphs. “I think they’re saying that you understand that even though your memories are gone, the person being tortured is still you.”

“So…cool?”

We continue to read the reasoning behind it. “I think I get it,” I say to Daniel. “If I chose B, it would be because I believe that I myself was now person B, and that I wouldn’t be tortured, because the person carrying my memories would be safe. But just because your memories are inside someone else doesn’t mean that they are you.”

“I…think I understand?”

I try explaining. “Imagine the idea that your memories are not your own, but someone else’s. It’s only now that you have become aware of this fact. So, who are who?”

“Well…I have Daniel’s thoughts and memories…and apart from what I used to see in Delirium those are the only ones I have…so I’m Daniel.”

“Bingo!” I kiss his cheek.

“Right answer?” He smiles shakily.

“Uhhuh. Even though your memories are in another person, you do not identify with that other person. You aren’t that person, as far as you’re concerned. Therefore, to choose B, just because your ‘true’ memories are inside them, would be silly. You’re person A still.”

“O…..kaaaaaay…”

“…did I make it more confusing?”

“Actually no. I’m starting to get a grip around it.”

“Good. Because it’s time for recess.” Fooooooooooooood, my inner voice growls.

“There’s one thing that interests me,” he says as we walk out.

“Do tell.”

“Imagine applying this to you and Kaya,” he says. “You’ve experienced her memories, and vice versa. You know her as well as you know yourself, and vice versa. Does that mean that you are Kaya?”

“No, of course not.”

“Why not?”

“…it’s not possible. I know her. She’s a separate entity to me. Isn’t she?”

Story time with Meow Meow

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Even though he was translucent, I could feel how freezing cold his hands were. I could’ve kicked myself for trusting this strange ghostly child, but it was too late now.

Argh….time to die again.

“What’s your name?” I asked him, trying to be friendly.

“Neekah,” he said cheerfully. “I’m five!” he added proudly.

A five year old…could a five year old kill me? “Hey Neekah. I’m Cat, Cat Madigan.”

He started giggling again. “Meow.”

I made myself smile. “Yeah, like that. Meow.”

“This way, Meow,” he pulled me around the corner.

“Where are we going?” I asked him, desperately hoping that Daniel would come around soon, and hopefully sober enough to get me away before Neekah went psycho and started to stab me.

“The nurs’ry,” he said. “I wan’ you to mee’ my friends, Meow!”

Oh…I’m going to be murdered by a GROUP of creepy ghost children. Yay! “Is my friend going to be there too?”

“She’s there summer-times,” he said. A look of unease came across his face. “Scary, she is, Meow. She scares me, Tooie too.”

“She scares me too,” I told him. “She’s nice though, she’s not a bad person.”

His face brightened up. “We’re heeeeeeeere!” he called cheerfully.

Bracing myself for my brutal death at the hands of evil demon ghost children, I watched him open the door, and I stepped through after him. “Hello,” I said uneasily.

“Hi!” The ghost children chorused. There was about twenty of them, girls and boys, with glowing white skin, and deep blue hair. “What’s your name?” One child yelled out.

“She’s Meow!” Neekah replied.

Before I could correct him, the children all sang out, “Meow Meow!” and giggled hysterically. A tiny little girl with a green eye and a blue eye took my hand. “Tell us a story!” she sang, and the children cried out in agreement.

“…okaaaaay, um, what story?” This was getting far too weird for words. The girl started pulling me over to a little reading nook with a window view of the outside. For a moment, I just stood there, and watched the silver spirits swimming outside, almost flying through the water surrounding the castle.

“A noo story!” Neekah exclaimed. The little girl gave a cry of delight and pushed me into the reading nook. The children then proceeded to crowd around me, Neekah and the little girl sitting next to me, and they looked up at me intently.

There was a moment where I considered whether death by demon children was preferable to whatever the hell was going on here. But I decided to go with it. “Okay,” I said, more to reassure myself. “This is the story…of a princess.”

“Boring!” The girl next to me practically yelled in my ear.

“I like princess stories!” Another girl whined.

“I don’t!” She crossed her arms and sulked. “And I’m the princess, and what I say goes!”

I knew that it was only a matter of seconds before the nursery broke out into outright war, so I called out “Okay, everyone shhhhhhh!”

Immediately, the children started going “Shhhhhhhhh” as loud as the could. “Alright,” I said, thankful for the distraction. “I’ll tell you about a cat instead.”

They quietened down. “Okay. There was once a little cat, who lived with her family. She was happy, and they were happy. Then one day, the little cat got lost.”

“Oh no…” The little princess’s face looked disheartened.

I continued. “She was lost in a forest. But rather than cry, she decided to look around for help. After a few hours, she came across a girl. She had white hair and purple eyes, and she looked very very scared.”

“Who was she?” Neekah asked.

“The little cat didn’t know,” I told him. “But she asked if she was alright. But the girl ran away without answering.

“So the little cat ran after her, trying to find her. But she managed to find herself even deeper in the forest, and she ended up getting caught. A tree got ahold of her with his long arm, and wouldn’t let her go.” The little girl gasped. “Now the little cat was scared. She wasn’t afraid before, she had been in forests before, but now she couldn’t move, and she was helpless.

“She cried out for help, for hours and hours, and but even though other people passed through the forest, passed the same tree that she was stuck in, they couldn’t see her. Eventually, she stopped calling out, and just cried.”

The expressions on their faces were all desolated, and the girl beside me was in tears. Neekah walked around me and took her hand. I could’ve slapped myself. Why do all my stories end up just….bad?

“Then a man was coming through the forest,” I continued. “A…a warrior, coming back from a fight. And the little cat was scared even more. He was carrying a large sword and had an angry expression on his face, and she just hoped he’d leave her alone.

“But he stopped in front of the tree, and looked at her. His face changed, and suddenly, with the swing of a sword, he cut off the branch which held her, and she fell to the ground. She landed on her toes, as all cats do, and the man knelt down beside her. ‘Are you alright?’ he asked.

“The little cat didn’t know what to say. She had been crying for hours and this man was the first one who had heard her. She didn’t know what to say to this man.

“He looked around. ‘Where is your family?’ he asked her. The little cat just shook her head. ‘Not here’, she said,” and as I said her words, I put on a high squeaky voice for the little cat, making the children giggle a bit.

“‘Would you like my help?’ the man asked. The little cat didn’t answer at first. She had just been trapped by a tree, and she was frightened of the strange things in the forest, and she was also afraid of this man, who had just come from battle. But she also wanted to get home, as fast as she could. ‘Yes please’, the little cat said. ‘Take me to the outside of the forest please, sir’.

“So the man picked up the little cat and put her on his shoulder, and he walked through the endless forests until the trees started disappearing, and she could see the light again. ‘Thankyou!’ the little cat squeaked, and the man lifted her off his shoulder.”

I looked at the faces of the children, now bright and intent. Slowly, I continued. “She looked up at the man, and asked him ‘Where is your home?’ in her squeaky voice.

“He just shook his head. ‘I live here,’ he told the little cat. ‘I don’t have a home’.

“The little cat thought for a moment. ‘If I…ever go into the forest again, can I go with you?’ she asked him.”

I’m tempted to give in to the immature streak inside me and say something along the lines of And the man said, ‘Fuck no!’ and ran away, but that’s not appropriate for little children. “And the man smiled at her, and he didn’t look scary at all. ‘If you want’, he said. ‘If you promise to be careful too’.

“And so from then on, the little cat would always go into the forest with the man, and even when she became a big cat, and didn’t need his help anymore, she’d always stay with him. Because even though he was a warrior, he needed help too, like she did. And the little cat knew that she always had a home in the forest with him.”

“Theeeeeeee Ennnnnnnnd,” the little girl sang, much more cheerful than at the beginning of my depressing story.

“Is not!” Neekah protested. “She diddin get to the bit where the little cat goes home to her family!”

“Of course she did,” the little girl rolled her eyes. “Don’t be stupid. She made it to the edge of the forest, and went home.”

Another child raised her hand. “Meow Meow, what happened to the girl the little cat met?” she asked.

“Did she ever get caught in the trees again? How do trees even do that?!”

“Weren’t her parents worried about her?”

“What was the man’s name?”

“Meow Meow, it’s time to go.”

I looked up, and Daniel was leaning against the wall, smiling. “Heya,” I said. At least you’re still sober.

“No!” The little girl flung her arms around me. “She’s ours! Ours, ours, ours!”

“Yeah!” All the children started crowding around me, as if to create a barricade to prevent Daniel from reaching me. It’s freezing cold, and I began to worry again at dying at their hands. One child even leaps on my shoulders and hugs my head, so I can’t see. Death by hugs wouldn’t be a bad way to go though. Well, actually…

“Come on guys, can I have my Meow back? She’s mine.” Daniel’s voice took on a petulant tone.

“No!” the twenty-something ghost children protested. “She’s ours!”

“Meow Meow has to go with her husband now, guys. She’ll come back another time, I promise!”

You had better not be talking about yourself, mister. But the children all sighed with disappointment, and released me from their icy cold grasps. As I walked over to Daniel, they all waved goodbye, and the little girl with the blue and green eyes came forward.

Daniel knelt to the ground and kissed her hand. He was the epitome of charming. Then she hugged me around my legs. “Goodbye Meow,” she said softly.

“We’ll come back again another time, ‘Reida,” Daniel told her, before leading me out of the room.

I was quiet as I followed him. “We’re not going back there, are we?” I whispered.

“No.” His voice was sad. “That’s just a memory of them. Neekah’s memory, actually. But they’re gone, those children.”

“Did they get…” Their faces flashed through my mind. “Not children surely…”

“No,” he reassured me. “That’s not them when they died, I promise.”

“You also promised them that we’d come back,” I retorted.

“We will come back,” he said. “Another time though. Another place. I don’t break my promises. Neekah will get to see you again, and you can meet him and his friends again.”

I was unsure how to feel about this. I wasn’t afraid or anything like that. But I was sad. The thought of Neekah wandering the castle, conjuring up memories of his little friends to keep him company, felt so…

“He’s trying to ignore it all,” I said aloud, more to myself than Daniel. “He’s trying to forget that he’s dead, and his friends are dead. It’s horrible.”

It wasn’t till Daniel touched my shoulder that I realised I had tears falling from my eyes. “I’m sorry,” he told me. “I shouldn’t have taken you here.”

Somewhere, within myself, I brought out a smile. “It’s okay though,” I said. “I’m glad I met them.”

When he was still frowning, I hugged him around the waist, like he’d do to me when I was saddened. “It’s only a memory, but they still exist,” I said. “These people are good, and they’re real to Neekah, so they are real.”

“I guess…”

I looked up at him, and kissed him on the cheek. “Thankyou Daniel,” I told him. “Thankyou for showing me the one place of pure good in this god forsaken world.”

The One You Should Fear

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Okay…so this is what happened.

After Taste the Whip, I couldn’t remember anything. I had just woken up in Daniel’s room like nothing had happened. And Daniel acted like nothing had happened too, so I had thought that maybe nothing had happened. Like, maybe it was just a dream.

Of course, I knew better than that. But there was another part of me, a larger part, which persuaded me that to not know might be the safer option. Because what could be so bad that my mind had blocked it completely?

I had finished my shift at volunteering when I was approached. I knew it was him, even though I didn’t dare look at him. The room just became colder, as it always did when he entered.

“I would sit down if I were you,” he informed me.

“Why?”

“Because it would shock your patrons less if you fell asleep on a chair than if you fall asleep mid step,” he said smoothly.

Cautiously, I did as he said. “Make it quick, I’m needed elsewhere.”

He just laughed. And when I closed my eyes and reopened them, I was in the empty college. The same in The Rage of a Cat. “Any significant meaning to this?” I asked. “Do you want me to try and kill you again?”

“I’m not going to bother anymore,” he told me cheerfully. “I know what you are and I know what you can do.”

“Are you a coward?”

“No. It’s just that I hate dying as much as you do. Especially when one has to do it over and over again.”

I grimaced. “As if I had any choice.”

“You always do.”

Don’t look him in the eye, Daniel had always told me. Not if you want to start your slow, painful demise.

So I looked.

The left of his face was falling to pieces, the skin speckled with green mold. His blue hair was falling out and his teeth were nothing more than chipped pieces. His eyes…

Well, in his case, eye. Daniel was literal when he said that. It had no pupil, it was just a white ball rolling around in his head. Disgusting, isn’t it? a voice said merrily, and I realised his voice was now in my head.

“Get out.”

As you wish. His broken mouth spread into a giant grin. “Impressed yet?”

My hands grew hot. “Is that why you brought me here? To show off?”

“I’m here to make an offer.”

Immediately I was wary. “An offer? And what would that entail?”

“How would you like to remember what happened?” he asked. “Would you like to know why everyone doesn’t mention it?”

“I can already guess,” I told him. “I did things I wasn’t proud of, and I’ve blocked them from my head. And everyone else has the decency not to bring it up.”

He scoffed. “And you’re fine with this.”

I thought of everything I have done, everyone whose lives I’ve ended, everything I’ve destroyed. “So you’re afraid then,” he concluded. “You don’t want to remember.”

“Exactly. I am unstable as it is. To bring up repressed memories now wouldn’t be the wisest option.” I glared at him. “I would like to go back.”

“This isn’t just about your memories, Cat Madigan,” he growled suddenly. “This is about everything you don’t know. So many secrets, so much hidden knowledge. This world has many things that you don’t know.”

“So?”

“One example; Daniel.” He grinned as I flinched at the mention of him. “How much does he keep from you, Cat Madigan? This isn’t the first time he’s kept something from you, is it? And yet you trust him inexplicably.”

“Not inexplicably,” I objected.

He just smiled. “Liar,” he hissed. “Despite all these secrets, you continue to trust him. But what if he was the one you should actually fear?”

“He’s not,” I insisted.

“And how do you know that?”

“Because I am!” I growled. “I am the only person I am afraid of, and I am the one you should be fearing right now!” My hands were red hot, ready to fry him.

He just laughed. “I underestimate you, Miss Madigan,” he said to me.

I woke up immediately the words came out of his mouth. I was on the couch, and no one had noticed, so I got up and quickly left the soup kitchen.

School was just across the road, so I went across and met up with my friends. Things were good. Bad Dog was talking about her ex boyfriend (who, by the way, is an asshole, just to let you know, Bad Dog, AGAIN,) and how he said something along the lines of how talking to me was like talking to two different people, (though I’m pretty sure he’s only talked to me once).

Either way, it was weird. But it was a nice weird. The familiar weird which you don’t really care about.

Then I felt him again. “What do you want now?” I whispered.

“I’ve decided something,” he told me, his voice right next to my ear.

“And what is that?”

Something sharp pierced my neck. “You are the dangerous one.”

It was a needle.

“No…”

Suddenly, I was in hell.