Dark Hearts and Eyes

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“Daniel, help me!”

“Get it out of her!”

“Don’t let her lose consciousness!”

“Is there anything we can give her?”

“Don’t you see it’s trying to kill her?!”

Those were the last things I heard before…
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I could tell from the pure white surrounding me that this was not Reality. But it didn’t feel like Delirium either.

It was warm. I could’ve lain there forever, basking in that glow. But then I heard her voice. Don’t you wonder why I’ve given up on you?

“Hey Kaya.” I coughed and sat up. When I looked around, she was there, standing in front of me clear as day. I couldn’t help it. I ran towards her, and she gave no resistance when I hugged her.

“I’m still annoyed at you,” she murmured, squeezing me back.

“I-I know. And you’re right.” I looked at her face. There were no scars or blood or bruises. The only anomaly were her purple eyes, and they didn’t seem to bulge like they did when she was alive. “I’m dead, aren’t I?”

“Actually, no.” Kaya’s expression became concerned. “What do you remember?”

I remembered, shamefully, what I had done. “I took the pills. I think sixteen? And then I heard voices. Daniel’s, Jhaq’s, Noah’s…” I thought I saw her flinch at Noah’s name. “I should be dead, shouldn’t I? Why am I not?”

“You…didn’t take any.”

“Huh?”

Kaya frowned. “I took over,” she reported. “Everything was spinning, and then I saw what you had been seeing. I got to the sink and I coughed it all up as fast as I could. By the way,” she grimaced, “your brother undoubtedly heard you. He’s going to tell your mother.”

“It’s fine. But what do you mean? I remember taking-”

“I know you do,” Kaya interrupted. “And I thought you had too. Why else would’ve I purged you, if I didn’t think you had consumed something dangerous? But there was no medication. No pills.”

“….huh?”

“Nothing,” she repeated.

“But…why then? Why would I imagine-” I stopped there. If any normal person asked this, it would be one thing. But I was a psycho. It was nothing for me to see things that weren’t there.

Still, this wasn’t the usual hallucination. While I can’t deny that Delirium is indeed not normal, I can say that I have a good idea how it works. And this was the first time that I have hallucinated about my actions in Reality.

“What’s happening in Delirium?” I asked. When she raised an eyebrow, I corrected my wording. “Your world.”

“I don’t know if I can…” she told me hesitantly. “Since your…capture, I’ve become more apprehensive about watching yourself there.”

“I need to go back,” I said. “I need to find out what happened.”

“Cat…”

Something in Kaya’s voice put me on edge. “What? What is it?”

“There’s something I want you to consider when you return. Just to mull over for a while.”

“…okay.”

“What happened to my body?” This wasn’t a question; she spoke as if it were an instruction.

And then Kaya vanished from sight.

“Kaya!” I ran over to where she was standing, only to find thin air. I was alone.

Suddenly, I heard rumbling, as if a herd of horses were approaching. I could see nothing though, only the large white expanse in front of me. “Ka-”

Then there was a flash.
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“RRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

“Hol-”

My eyes flew open, gazing at those before me; Daniel, Emisair- to my dismay-, Noah, even Papa Willis was there. And a shadow, being held down by Jhaq of all people, who was growling and hissing in a manner that reminded me of Kaya.

Then I realised that my feet weren’t touching the ground. Nor was any part of my body.

My head was touching the ceiling. Of Daniel’s bedroom.

Oh fuck me.

“Shiiiiiiiiii-” That was all I got out before gravity woke up and sent me falling to the ground below. Daniel dove to catch me, but narrowly missed. “Oof!” I landed on the ground, dazed and confused. Somewhere I could hear Emisair’s low chuckle.

Daniel caught me up in his arms. “Cat! Cat!”

The pain of being dropped from five metres into the air onto my ass finally kicked in. I rolled over in agony, out of Daniel’s grasp. “Ow….son of a bitch…..”

“Are you alright?” Noah asked tentatively.

“MY BUTTCHEEKS!” I howled. “Owwwwwwwww!”

The room was silent, albeit the growling coming from Jhaq and the shadow. “She’s okay,” Willis confirmed.

“Owwww….oh….oh no I’m not….this is hell….” I groaned.

At that he raised an eyebrow, as if to remind me of his arm, which currently had something resembling white plaster encasing what remained of it. I made a mental note to apologise later. Right now, I had bigger concerns. “Shadow,” I croaked.

Immediately, all eyes turned back to Jhaq, who had her hands wrapped around what I presumed was the monster’s neck. “Jhaq!” Noah said warningly.

Had he not said anything, things may have been different. But that split second hesitation was all the shadow needed, and suddenly, Jhaq collapsed and the shadow vanished. “No!” I managed to get up and stagger toward Jhaq.

Daniel got there first. “Jhaq, say something,” he urged. “If you can hear me squeeze my hand.”

“Mom…” I looked and saw Ray, her eyes wide open. God knows what she saw before with me, this was probably the last thing she needed.

“Get the girl out.” The order came from Emisair, and when I looked over to her, there was something on her face I had never seen before, though it was unclear whether it was fear or merely uncertainty.

Then Jhaq opened her eyes. Instead of green, her irises were dark. “Where…where am I?” she asked us.

Uh oh.

“Noah…” I said slowly.

“I know.” He looked over at me and nodded slightly. He took Ray’s hand, and lead her out of the room. Her eyes were wide and frightened.

Daniel did not appear to notice anything. “You’re in my chambers,” he told her. “Cat is here, she’s alive and well, I promise.”

“Good,” she breathed. “May I sleep, my lord?”

“Of course,” he said, taking her hand. She smiled softly, before drifting off into a deep sleep.

I was uneasy. “Her eyes…”

“What about them?” Willis was confused.

So was Daniel. “There wasn’t anything wrong,” he said.

“What are you saying?” Emisair demanded. “Are you both blind?”

“You didn’t…see?”

“See what?” Daniel frowned at me.

“I…” I didn’t understand. Her eyes had gone black as coal. Didn’t they notice at all?

Daniel shook his head. “You need rest,” he told me. “Willis, go and find His Grace. Tell him to send people to collect Jhaq and take her to her rooms.”

He nodded, and ran off quickly. “Emisair, if you don’t mind, I want to speak with Cat in private.”

“You aren’t the only one.” Emisair’s red eyes bore into my face. “You saw what was wrong, did you not?”

I groaned. “How should I know?”

“I know you did,” she insisted. “The physic saw, as did I. Even her daughter noticed. You can’t tell me this is all coincidence.”

“I didn’t see anything strange,” Daniel argued.

“Emisair, I learnt a long time ago not to believe what my eyes tell me,” I said softly.

Daniel inclined his head at that, and Emisair scowled. “I see that you are all but useless,” she said. “Very well. I’ll leave you and your paramour to your own business. I have better things to do.”

So what the hell were you doing here then? “By all means, go.”

The minute the door closed behind her, Daniel turned to me. “You saw something,” he said flatly. I nodded. “What is it then?”

“I…” I closed my eyes. “I may have been seeing things.”

“But what was it?”

“I’m not right in the head right now Daniel!”

“Are you ever?” he replied. “Why can’t you say?”

“My head…I….” I took a deep breath and I told him everything about what I had experienced before I woke up in Delirium; the pills, the meeting with Kaya, and the realisation that my suicide attempt was a figment of my imagination; one that belonged to neither Reality or Delirium.

Daniel listened in silence. “I know what you’re thinking,” I told him. “And I hate myself for it, even more than you do. I know how you feel about it. It’s just…at that moment I could feel nothing except pain, and before I knew it, I had found a packet of pills and…” I cut off. “I’m sorry. It was the stupidest thing I could’ve done, and I know-”

“That shadow that Jhaq had caught,” Daniel interjected. “Was that the monster we met when we went to get Papa Willis?”

“I….wouldn’t know,” I said slowly, confused as to how we got on this topic. “What was that anyway?”

He paused for a moment. “The thing inside your head,” he confessed.

“…wait…what?”

“Remember how that thing took over you that one time?” he asked me. “I have a feeling it didn’t really leave.”

“So that’s why…”

“Right.”

“Wait, so is it gone now?”

“I think so,” Daniel assured me. “There wasn’t a shadow there last time.”

“Okay…” I said uncertainly.

“You look confused,” Daniel acknowledged.

“I am. Very.”

“And I forgive you, by the way.”

I didn’t realise how worried I was until I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. “Really?”

He grimaced. “Think of it this way. I’m willing to forgive instances where there are evil demons in your brain.”

“You mean I don’t qualify as an evil demon?”

“I’m afraid you’re just a plain, ordinary demon,” Daniel told me in a serious voice.

“Awwww.”

“However,” Daniel said, “If you ever feel like this, you’re to tell me. I know you like to keep things to yourself. But you don’t need to do it alone. I…I want to help. If I can.”

“Okay,” I agreed, allowing his embarrassment to fade. “I can do that. But I don’t want to be watched like a hawk if I do. More often than not, these things mean nothing.”

“Not always though,” Daniel pointed out.

“No,” I acknowledged. “But if you make it seem like an emergency, then…”

“I get it.” Daniel’s hand encased mine. “So you promise?”

“I do. I won’t hurt you like I did again. No matter how bad it gets.”

I meant every word I said, but my mind kept wandering back to the blackness of Jhaq’s eyes. I looked at her, now fast asleep, and wondered how long it would be before she went down the same spiral I did.
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I awoke to a finger poking me in my shoulder. Immediately, I rolled around, five letters aglow, to see Emisair looking back at me. “Get up,” she hissed. “Noah wants to see you.”

I looked back at Daniel, sound asleep. “It cannot wait?”

“No.” She grabbed my arm and pulled me out of bed. “And your paramour would understand not.”

The eyes. But still…could I trust her? “Give me a moment,” I told her.

Emisair rolled her eyes and took off a velvet cloak she had been wearing. “Put this on then,” she ordered. “You’re already wearing more than an Infernal, but if you insist.”

I looked at Emisair. Cloak removed, she only wore a sheer black shift, which was cut so that her pelvic bones were exposed. Knowing Noah, he would be more than embarrassed to see her that way, but at least she wouldn’t be ashamed to show off her body. I, on the other hand, would never be able to handle both of their eyes on what was barely covered by Daniel’s shirt.

The halls were dark as Emisair lead me through. “I still don’t know why you were there,” I told her.

“I was curious,” she informed me.

“In other words, you wanted to see me in pain?”

“Don’t take me for a sadist,” she replied. “I am not the monster you take me for.”

“Neither am I.” She snorted at that. “Yes. You have every reason to think otherwise. But if you can take me for a monster at the sight of me, then I can do the same.”

“Stupid,” she said flatly.

“I’m going to get nowhere,” I said wearily. “Where is Noah?”

I didn’t recognise the place, but it reminded me of a dormitory. Noah was standing by a rickety bed where Jhaq lay. He smiled at me, trying not to look at the barely covered Emisair. “Don’t blame me,” she told him. “I brought her straight from Daniel’s bed, and she insisted on covering up.”

Noah still looked uncomfortable. “You can go back soon,” he told me. “I merely want you to confirm something for me.”

Jhaq looked so peaceful asleep. I really wished that this all meant nothing, that she would be fine. “Her eyes are black,” I told him. “And us three saw it. And maybe Ray, but I wouldn’t know what she’s said.”

“That shadow disappeared the moment before her eyes changed,” Emisair said. “This cannot be a coincidence.”

“It’s inside her now,” Noah confirmed. “She acts normal now, but who knows how long before it decides to take control and slit the first neck it sees?”

I couldn’t imagine Jhaq doing such a thing. “What should we do?” I asked. “We have to get it out.”

“Obviously.”

I ignored Emisair. “If we can get it out of me, we can get it out of her. We have to!”

“It’s not so simple,” Noah said weakly. He looked tireder than I had ever seen him.

I gave him a sad smile. “Never is, is it?”

He simply exhaled. “I think you were able to force it out, which is why you’re alright. If Jhaq were able to….well, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

“Maybe she hasn’t realised that it’s inside her? If she knew, she could try-”

“Do that, and that thing will realise that we know.” Emisair’s voice was hard. “There’s really only one thing we can do.”

That’s when I saw what she was holding in her claw. Jhaq stirred in her sleep at that moment, and Emisair brought the knife out of the shadows, ready to strike. “No!”

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.

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.

The Truth about HER

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I’ve mentioned her once on this thing, vaguely.

I knew I would have to mention her eventually. It’s just that I had always thought it wouldn’t have to be until later. A LOT later.

Say…maybe on my deathbed.

Alright then…

I’ve talked about Daniel a lot. He was the first Delusion which I sort of trusted. And now, he’s almost the equivalent of a guardian angel, in a way. He protects me from my own mind.

The thing is, he wasn’t always my guardian angel.

The one who was, I met a while after I met Daniel, but I had known her before that. She was more monster than angel though. She was a freak of nature, just like me.

She was once ordinary, she lived in the world of Delirium, I’ve seen her as a child. Then she was taken, I saw that happen too. It was worse than anything I had ever seen at that time.

I’ve seen her life. I watched how people ripped into her, poisoned her. She was changed after that, completely. Her eyes were a bright, violent purple, and her hair had gone silver. And she couldn’t cry, because her tears scorched her skin, and left burns.

She managed to stand it somehow though. I watch this happen, even feel it happen, and I’m slowly losing it. It hurts, and I don’t know how the hell she stood it. She stood it long enough to escape; when they were finally going to put her out of her misery, she decided to defy them.

She ran. Or rather, flew. And she had taken Daniel with her.

And then I met her myself.

Kaya was the one who stopped them from killing me, the ones who would choke me during the night. She couldn’t feel anything anymore, so she took the bullet, sometimes literally. She never died, whatever they did to her, it made her just about indestructible.

She wasn’t always there though. I saw her in my Delirium, enduring everything that came her way. She rarely cried, because the scars on her face attracted even more attention. It was difficult though. When we saw her friend die, her face was on fire once again. Towards the end, I always saw her with tears streaming down her face. Kaya no longer cared about scars.

Around the time she died, she had been helping me cope with the things I saw. I told Kaya how I could see her in Delirium, and how I had unwanted visitors come to me at night, when she couldn’t be there. She wouldn’t tell me who they were though, or what my Delirium was. She and Daniel were strict on that, Daniel still is. But she made up for it. Kaya was teaching me to protect my mind from them, and for practise, she made Daniel attack me.

I hated him for it. I was horrible at it, and I always ended up in tears. Daniel, for a lack of a better term, was pissed at me. He kept calling me a baby, and I probably was. When Kaya was around, he held his tongue though. Kaya later told me when he wasn’t there that his philosophy was that only pain can make you stronger, and truth be told, it was hers too. I understood, but it didn’t mean I liked it.

The only time I saw Daniel cry was when Kaya died. And I, the baby, was the only one there to help him after it happened.

Neither of us know truly how it happened. But I’ve seen it happen over and over in my head, it makes no sense why I don’t know what happened. Daniel has one theory. When someone goes through all that pain, it has to go somewhere, so what happens when expressing it leaves burns on your face? It would build up.

Kaya would have all that pain inside her, and no way to express it.

But I disagree. There are more ways to express pain than crying. Anger is one example. And physical pain becomes durable over time. Burning her face as many times as she did, she wouldn’t be able to feel anything anymore. She’d express pain without enduring it again. When you think of it that way, Daniel’s theory makes no sense.

Kaya is the reason I choose to endure this…whatever this is. I want to stay alive, no matter the cost. Daniel no longer calls me a baby; he’s my protector, like she was. He even appears to care for me. I don’t know why he does it, but I’m glad he does. I wouldn’t be able to deal with this without him, just like I couldn’t live without Kaya.

Neither of us know what happened, but we will someday. I trust of her that much.