Guilt

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The day before my birthday went like this. Still not dealing.
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Daniel frowns at me. “Cat?”

“Yes Daniel?”

He hesitates. “…what are you doing?”

“Yoga.”

“Oh good.” He pauses. “Why?”

“Because I’m unfit and depressed and this will hopefully make me fit and undepressed.”

“Is that even a word?”

“…I really don’t know. I nearly thought I said ‘undressed’ for a moment. No idea why.” I lift my legs into the air and place my feet behind my head, as Daniel watches on with wide eyes. “So what’s up?”

“…would it be inappropriate to say ‘dat ass’?”

“Yes. And please don’t say phrases like that, it really doesn’t suit you.”

“Thank Christ. Anyway, we’ve got a job to do.”

“Oh?”

“Do you remember Thommand going on about the Lake of Ghosts a few months back?”

It takes me a moment to respond, as the image of Kaya falling through the ice flashes across my eyes. “Go on.”

“There’s been more activity. It could just be someone wandering for kicks, but Thommand’s thinking humans. He wants us to check it out.”

“Us? I thought I was in the time out corner.”

“You’ve been allowed out for nearly a month now. It’s just, well, I’ve been keeping certain people off your back so that you could have time to heal a little bit. You needed it.”

This makes me smile. “Really? You did that for me?”

“Moving on…before you get mushy,” Daniel says dryly, though I know he’s secretly happy to see my reaction.

“Why, I’d never.” I slowly roll my back down so each vertebrae lies flat on the mat. I had made the mistake of going too fast the day before, and I was determined not to repeat it, for my back’s sake.

Daniel continues. “Do you want to bring Papa Willis along? Thommand will allow it, and Noah’s willing to let him come along.”

“Yeah, Papa Willis will love it. A day with an emotionally whacked semi-human and the worst babysitter ever in a supposedly haunted forest which has been frozen over.” I’m still lying on the ground as I speak. “Interesting why he didn’t recommend Noah like last time though.”

“Hmm?”

“I thought that Noah would’ve been recommended, not Willis, considering his condition,” I muse thoughtfully. “I’m wondering why he’d put him forward.”

Daniel sighs. “You know what the Lake of Ghosts means to them,” he reminds me. “They claim not to feel guilt, but…well, those rumours about it wouldn’t be there if that was true. And since Kaya’s death, it would be even more dangerous for them to go near.”

“So they’re sending us three instead. But why me?” I sit up and cross my legs. “Considering my amount of self hatred, is it really wise to send me to a ground that kills the guilty?”

“If you were normal,” Daniel says.

That’s when I remember. “Oh yeah…” It’s been so long since I’ve died in Delirium that I completely forgot. “Respawning. Right.” Something occurs to me. “Wait, so Thommand is perfectly fine to send you and Papa Willis out there as well?”

“Humans,” Daniel says simply. “And we’re not in danger of guilt. Or at least Willis isn’t. But I made it back across when Kaya died, so I’ll be able to manage. At the very least, Willis will be able to help me when we’re on there.”

“If you say so.” I make a face as the program playing on my iPad comes to a finish. “I don’t enjoy drowning though. It’s a horrible way to die. It’s cold…and the last thing you feel is desperation.”

“You’re still coming though.”

“Oh yes.”
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It was dawn when us three shivering humans reached it. I pointed it out to Papa Willis, who was sporting two of Daniel’s woollen coats. “Where the ice begins to form on the ground,” I told him. “You can see the bodies from here.”

“There’s bodies?” Papa Willis croaked.

“Yeah…under the ice…” It’s as if I’m looking into a window, into a frozen world. A horrible, grim picture. It’s almost too clear; maybe there isn’t any ice that will separate me from the freezing water.

“I…don’t see anything,” Papa Willis says uncertainly. “Sorry Cat, I’m trying.”

“It’s okay,” I told him. “It just means you’re luckier than me.” Something suddenly covered my eyes. “Hey!”

“Not taking any chances,” Daniel informed me. “It’s only for when we’re walking on the ice. When we’ve reached the ground, Willis will take it off.”

“Fine…” I grumbled. “Wait, why Willis?” The only response I received was the sound of Daniel treading onto the ice. “Daniel!”

“Willis, if there’s any danger, then take of the blindfold. Otherwise, keep guiding her towards that stretch of land there. Be careful of weak spots in the ice. When you’re done, meet at the ground there,” Daniel called, his voice becoming more distant.

“If Cat’s dead?”

“So confident in my abilities,” I murmured.

“Noah gave you a tool. Use that to keep them off you. If Cat’s still alive, she can teach you how to use it.” I could barely make out his last sentence, his words were faint, quieter than a whisper.

“Willis?”

“Yeah?”

“Tell me the truth. Does Daniel have a flask in his hand?”

Silence.

“Goddammit Daniel,” I sighed.

“He usually drinks on the job?” Willis asked.

“Yeah…and at feasts. I don’t know what to make of it.”

“It’s his choice, I guess,” he sighed. “But you haven’t said anything to him about it?”

I grimaced through my blindfold. “Well…I tried once. But he just said that he needed it. It’s his way of keeping sane, I suppose. Like mine is…” I went silent.

“What?”

“I don’t actually have one,” I admitted. “I’m too scared to use anything, in case I become dependant on it. I’ve got too many vices as it is.” I decided that was enough on the subject. “Can we move onto the ice now?”

“…okay. Do you want me to hold your arm?”

“Yes please.”

He took my arm and started to lead. I felt the slight tremor of the ice as I stepped onto it, and I gripped Willis’ arm reflexively. “Easy now,” he said.

“Sorry…” We kept walking, at the pace of a snail, as to leave the ice undisturbed. I wondered if Willis was feeling the same vibrations beneath our feet, or if he was starting to see the lifeless bodies frozen below us. How much did he carry with him?

“Cat?”

“Hmm?”

“Why is everyone scared of this place?”

I hesitated. “How much do you know?”

“That if a guilty person walks on the lake then the ice will break. That’s it really.”

I sighed. “Before I say anything, I need to know. Do you have anything you’re particularly guilty about?”

“Not really, no,” Willis said.

“…really?”

“Why don’t you believe me?”

“Don’t take it personally, I don’t believe anyone,” I said cheerfully. “But it’s not that I think you’re lying.”

“Right…”

“What if I phrase it differently? Is there anything you wish that you could undo?”

“…”

“Ring a bell? Ding ding?”

“It’s not going to drown me.”

“Yeah, well, which of us would know better?”

“It’s stupid.”

“Can I decide that?”

He sighed. “I was with two of my friends when we ended up…” His voice trailed off.

I realised. “Here? In Delirium?”

Papa Willis nodded. “We had been here for three days before the things started chasing us. If we had known that we’d be hunted upon being seen, we would’ve stayed hidden in the woods, but…yeah.”

“Go on.”

“After a day on the run, we ran into someone who offered to hide us. We stayed in the basement, and she brought us food every now and then. I’ve got a feeling she was a hooker…but she was nice.”

“She helped us run when her pimp found us. We just got out when the…” He fell silent.

“I know the ones you’re talking about,” I told him.

“Okay…” Willis inhaled. “She was left behind, to face them. And later…Slenderman tried to hold them back by cutting one of them down, and then…”

“You don’t need to finish it,” I told him. I already knew how the story ended, and I didn’t need to know the identity of his other companion, the one who managed to escape.

Papa Willis sighed. “Yeah…I guess that qualifies as guilt, huh.”

I thought for a moment. “Survivors guilt, yeah. I’m not sure if that’s enough to fall through the ice though.”

“Tell me the story anyway, Cat,” Willis insisted. “Daniel isn’t afraid, and he knows what’s going on. I’ll be fine. C’mon.”

I groaned at that. Men… “Fine!” I snapped, feeling him flinch next to me. “But only when we’re close to land. Got it?”

“Okay. It’s not too far now,” he said. “Never took you for a snappy person.”

“Oh, I’m not usually. If I’m snarky around you, it means I’m comfortable enough to speak my mind,” I advised him. “That’s a good thing.”

“Is it?”

“It means that I don’t need to awkwardly make conversation to calm myself down,” I explained. “Those conversations usually head toward philosophy or Creepy pasta.”

“Nice.”

A while later, I breathed a sigh of relief as the ground beneath me stopped surging and there was calm inside my mind. “We’re on ground?”

“Yup. Now tell me what happened.”

“Okee! It’s story time, Papa Willis,” I said cheerfully, taking off the blindfold.

“…I’m beginning to regret this.”

“You wanted me to tell.”

“Fine.”

“Well…first of all, I’d better explain. There used to be humans, see. But then something else happened and, well, people like Noah and Jhaq came to be. And humans hated them.”

“Really? Why?”

“I dunno. Humans are stupid, Willis. Anyway, it was then that humans decided to get rid of them all.”

“Seriously?” Willis looked appalled. “We started this?”

“Not too sure about that,” I admitted. “What’s the first rule of history?”

Willis thought for a moment. “It’s written by the victors?”

“Mmmhm.”

Willis smiled, if only for a moment. “That’s means that the humans lost, didn’t they?”

I smiled sadly. “How many humans have you seen here?” I reminded him. “And this is only a recent occurrence. Before Daniel, humans were nonexistent.”

“…how did they die?” Willis’ voice is quiet.

“…you really want me to finish?”

“…yeah. I do.”

I gestured towards the Lake. “Helevians. And Etheral. Helevians caused the world to flood, drown out the humans. After that, Etherals froze it all. Because apparently, drowning them wasn’t cruel enough.” My voice had become bitter and sardonic.

Willis’s face was frozen. “Right.” When I didn’t say anymore, he tried to smile. “It’s…okay. Go on.”

I sighed. I didn’t like this story, and my version had been dumbed down from an account full of glorified descriptions of their victory, as well as stories of ugly, monstrous humans who, and I quote “slit our children’s throats and cooked them”. Between the impossible self-righteousness of these people in Delirium and, as Papa Willis pointed out before, the fact that history is written in favour of the winners, it would be impossible to know exactly what happened. But I continued. “Anyway, after that, people started to see the bodies of humans who had been frozen underneath the ice. Some more clear than others. The rumour goes on to say that a guilty mind will be able to see the corpses more clearly, as if there’s nothing separating them, not even the ice. An even guiltier mind will look at the corpses and see the faces of people they’ve betrayed. And if they walk on the ice, the guiltiest minds get weighed down until the ice breaks beneath them and they fall through.”

Willis shakes his head. “Well, there goes any sense of assurance I may have had. We’re going to die.”

“Nah.” I gestured towards myself. “Video game immortality, remember? And I’ll never let you die.”

“Promise?”

“Mmhm.” I grinned at him cheerfully. “Cross my heart and hope to die, hope to stick a pin in my-” Something in the distance caught my attention at that moment. “Oh dear.”

“…is ‘oh dear’ a euphemism for something?”

“Nope…”

The blurry figures started to approach the both of us. One of them called out. “Drop everything, you two. We have you surrounded, and don’t think we aren’t afraid to kill.”

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Cuddle Cat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s just say there was an explosion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thommand?” Daniel enquired.

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

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

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

“If you say so…”

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

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

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

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

“Use you as a meat shield? No.”

“Or you could leave me,” Willis suggested.

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

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

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

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

“Because you’re alive.”

“…okay.”

“Willis?”

“…yeah?”

“You smell.”

“So do you.”

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

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

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

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

Willis just shook his head feebly. “Right…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Talk About It

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The first thing I have to say is that NO, I’m not going to write descriptions of my sexual encounters on this blog. Not looking at anyone in particular, Bad Dog.

The second thing I have to say is that people are weird about sex. Sex in itself is simple when you think about it.

Other factors make it so complicated though. The practise of sex is performed for different reasons. It can be done as commerce, a display of dominance, to create children, and even for love.

Morality makes sex complicated. Some parts of it are simple for people to understand, though there are some who don’t. You should never force people into it. You should be mature enough to do it, emotionally as well as physically. You should be careful to protect yourself. Then you get to more complex ethics. Some people say that you shouldn’t have sex until you are bound together by wedlock, others will give it away for a smile and a few pretty words. After that, there’s a matter of who you can or should have sex with. And that’s when you can get involved in a million issues involving race, gender, age, class; things that really don’t matter in the big picture when you consider it. Humans are silly that way.

There is very little humanity in Delirium, as you nonexistent readers have probably surmised by now. Though the people there maintain their illusion that they are of a higher class of beings, they are in fact worse than humans; they justify their sin as being their right, instead of feeling guilt. There is the occasionally exception, but I’ve found that those people usually had one thing in common; Daniel.

The reason I don’t regret spending the night with Daniel is because it’s one of the few moments in Delirium where I didn’t feel pain or fear or anger, which I had become so used to in this place. I felt more human than I had ever been, and that’s why I won’t ever forget it.

I did learn one thing though. It’s not necessarily a good idea to tell your friends about it. Even if they’re your dearest friends, they will not pass up the opportunity to embarrass you about it whenever possible about it.

Here’s how they found out. Starting with Kaya.

Kaya was pissed at me. Well, to be exact, she was pissed at Daniel, but she was taking it out on me, there’s a difference apparently. Originally, she was yelling at Daniel, as our dearest Papa Willis had been taken from his cell without him noticing.

However, Daniel assumed that she was angry about another notable event, and he began apologising in his usual non-apologetic way. And when he finally came to his senses that she was talking about something else, it was far too late.

And then she became even more pissed. As if that were even possible.

Whether this was because of morality or jealousy, I’m not sure. Kaya’s motives would always be a mystery for me. What I could never doubt however was the extremity of her moods, so I braced myself for many a rant from my split personality.

Her nagging stayed with me at lunchtime, when I was with my friends in the library AV room. The Evil One, who I should really be calling ‘Captain Clumsy’, arrived on her crutches. “Evil! Perfect timing!” I started.

“No.”

“Please?”

“You used it on her at recess.”

“Aw, come on!”

I’m not entirely sure of how we got onto that subject from there. I think we started talking about chocolate, because I mentioned how Kaya stole chocolate from the house. But my friends are very talented people, see. And they proceeded to into a conversation about chocolate into one about activities unsuitable for catholic school girls.

Long story short, Lady Delamore ended up giving me a talking to.

“Delamore,” I groaned. Daniel beside me was cracking up. “I am not wearing a chastity belt.”

“Yes you are.”

Before I continue, it might be a good idea to explain Lady Delamore to you all. Lady Delamore is the female equivalent of Slenderman, the seediest man alive, whom she also happens to be dating. Well, almost the equivalent. Unlike Slenderman, she has an abhorrence of actual intercourse, and has made us all promise to her that none of us would get up to any mischief until marriage or our coming of age, which she had helpfully pushed up to 23.

Of course, I had never taken it seriously, mainly because I had deemed myself ‘Forever Alone’. But it also had to do with my natural disdain for regulations and authority which is enforced on me. Which is why the promise which had been extracted from me by Delamore (who was holding my iPad hostage), had never crossed my mind that night.

“So why is Papa Willis allowed to throw away his virtue?” Daniel asks, obviously amused by Delamore’s stance, especially in light of recent events.

I repeat the question to Delamore. “You, my dear, are my baby girl,” she told me. “And you are very precious to me. If I had it my way, I’d lock you up in my basement, that’s how much I care about you!” The last part was obviously sarcastic, but the look on Daniel’s face was pure horror.

“Isn’t Papa Willis precious to you?”

“No.”

Daniel laughs at that. “Don’t you ever stop making fun of him?”

“Nope. We’re cruel people, Daniel.”

“I’m sorry, but when it comes to your virtue, I-”

I couldn’t help it, both Daniel and I crack up. Of course, they can only see me, but that’s beside the point. It was at that point that the truth began to come out.

Delamore stares at me. “Why are you laughing?”

Everyone turned towards me. I eventually calmed down. “Nothing,” I said, crossing my fingers.

Delamore’s eyes narrowed. “What. Is going. On.”

“I wanna tell her,” Daniel said.

“Don’t you dare.”

I looked over at my friends and went red. “What. Did. You. Do.

“…He says ‘Too Late’,” I admitted to them.

All hell went loose. Snugglepot and Teacup’s eyes went as wide as saucers, the Evil One and Bad Dog started laughing, Pinky and Ducky just went “What?!” and Delamore gave me The Look.

This look has been bestowed upon many a member in our group, mainly when we were discussing topics involving sex. And in a ‘family’ where having a seedy mind was a necessary trait for survival, this happened to come up a lot, and because our ‘family’ consists mainly of teenage boys, these topics were often quite graphic. And as a result, Lady Delamore issued her disapproving stare upon many.

She gave me this look now. “Explain!” she demanded.

“I’m going to leave you to it,” Daniel told me, kissing the top of my head.

“All alone?”

“You’ll be fine,” he said, chuckling as he left the room, abandoning me with all these emotional teenage girls.

They immediately started asking me what happened, and when the assumptions became more and more disgusting, I just yelled out “If you want to know, ask Papa Willis about it!”

“Why does he know and not me?” Delamore demanded.

“Because you don’t have Facebook!”

“We agreed twenty three! That was the agreement.”

“Yeah…about that.” I tried to come up with a suitable explanation, but I ended up just saying, “No.”

“Cat!”

“No.”

Delamore gave me that look. “It’s going to be a long time before I can forgive you.”

“Okay…”

“And you won’t do it again until you’re 23.”

I groaned. “Whatever.”

“In Reality, not Delirium.”

“Oh come on!”

Delamore eventually paused in her ranting to message Papa Willis to confirm this tale of woe. It was at this point that Teacup, innocent little Teacup, came up to me and gave me a hug. “I still love you Cat,” she said.

“Thankyou Teacup.”

“So…how was it?”

“…you’re like twelve!”

“Hey, I’m fourteen!”

“Does that really make it okay?”

“I’m just as innocent as the rest of you. Soooo, how was it?”

I closed my eyes, immediately regretting my decision to tell all. “Fuck.”

You started it.

Shaddup Kaya.

Back in Action

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Reality was the last place I wanted to be when I awoke, but to my dismay, when I opened my eyes, I saw the roof of my ceiling instead of the red velvet atop of Daniel’s canopied bed. Fuck.

Later on, after dinner, I decided to tell Papa Willis what had happened, as I couldn’t tell my real family, of course, and he was the one of the few who knew what was going on with Daniel. So I told him. Well, I gave him enough hints for him to figure it out.

“Shaddup,” I messaged him after he realised what I was saying. I was so grateful that I wasn’t telling him in person, I would’ve died on the spot if I did. And I was even happier that Daniel wasn’t there to see, or read, his reaction.

After some teasing and questioning, Papa Willis reassured me that it was okay, and that he could trust me not to judge. The subject turned to Delirium, and the monsters within. “Goddamn Delirium…” Willis said.

“It does have it’s moments though…”

“Cough, Daniel, cough.”

“…yeah.”

“Oh, and the fact that you’re pretty much the most powerful and dangerous person around now helps.”

Thanks Willis. I was about to reply, when he messaged me a couple more times. “Btw, if I’m in there still, you’ve got an ally,” he said. “Remember.”

That’s when something became apparent to me.

Noah had told me that I was the only human besides Daniel. At the time, I was too overwhelmed to question this. But he was wrong. For weeks prior, people were stirred up by the presence of three humans. One died, the other escaped and the third was taken in, and was marched through the castle grounds, and imprisoned.

“Be right back,” I messaged Papa Willis. “The most dangerous and powerful person in the world is now pissed off.” I didn’t need Daniel to send me to Delirium, within a blink of an eye, I was there.

I rolled out of Daniel’s bed and grabbed his long jacket and started buttoning. “Cat, what’s wrong?” Daniel murmured sleepily.

“Willis,” I told him, making sure that the buttons were completely done, in order to cover my lack of clothing underneath. I paused for a moment, then grabbed a long plum coloured skirt and shuffled into it. I didn’t have time for a corset, but I figured the better dressed I was, the more chance I had of getting what I needed.

“What have they done?” He was immediately awake. “Cat, what’s going on?”

“Human blood!” I had no time for shoes, I just bolted out the door, not waiting for Daniel.

He soon caught up with me though. My sense of direction in this place was severely limited, and I wasn’t bold enough to ask anyone for help. I later encountered him, fully clothed, walking towards me. “Christan’s chamber’s are that way,” he told me, pulling me in the opposite direction of where I was walking.

“So you understand.”

Daniel nodded. “Did you think I would be here if I thought otherwise?”

“They need you alive,” I stated, following him down the corridor. “And yet they went to me for blood. Why not Papa Willis? He’s probably a better match than I was, and they wouldn’t have had to purge you after you got better.”

“It was a lot of blood they needed…”

“Do you really think they would’ve cared about what happened to him?” I reminded him. “Noah said that Christan confirmed that I was the only possible donor, and believe me, he very much wanted you to survive. I think he would’ve put his ass above that of a human prisoner.”

“He couldn’t have forgotten Willis, could’ve he?” But I can tell by the look on Daniel’s face that he already knows that’s a negative.

I shook my head. “Christan himself granted me permission to see him. Not to mention he nearly escaped. There’s no way he could’ve forgotten that easily.”

“What are you going to do?” I could hear the apprehension in his voice.

“I’ll ask him nicely,” I assured Daniel.

“If you say so…you can catch more bugs with honey than vinegar after all.”

“Will manure do?” I replied.

He thought for a moment. “Yup.”

Christan was accompanied by about ten of his circle when we arrived. His face showed surprise, which was followed by a large grin as he saw our pleasant smiles. “Lady Madigan,” he greeted me, bowing to me and lifting my hand to his mouth for a kiss.

“Your Grace,” I replied, trying not to recoil at the touch of him. I still hadn’t forgotten.

“Daniel, it’s good to see you,” he said, his face going pale, though his expression remained friendly. “I would’ve thought that you would’ve remained in bed for a few more days.”

“The physic said he was healthy enough to walk around if he pleased,” I said.

“I believe his Grace was referring to something different,” a woman with sleek red hair and coal black skin informed me. The company behind us chuckled sycophantically, while Christan looked torn between laughing with his friends and the danger that was reflected in Daniel’s face. She approached the three of us, and curtseyed dramatically. Her eyes, when she looked up, were as red as her hair. “Emisair,” she announced herself. “I already know who both of you are.”

“Ah, so you’re the woman Thommand spoke of,” Daniel said. “According to him, you’re more flame than mortal.”

She beamed. “Well then,” Daniel said. He pushed me forward slightly. “I take it you will get along with my dear Cat Madigan then.” He smiled at my gaze of death. “I am off to speak to Thommand, so you stay here and be merry.”

I put on a complaint smile, and let him kiss my cheek, before whispering, “If you try negotiating things without me, you’re dead, sweetie.”

“Always a pleasure talking to you, my lady,” he replied, his eye glimmering, before walking out to the corner of the room to hunt for our least favourite fat man.

I turned back to my new aquaintance, with her red eyes bored and mouth sulky. “So,” she said. Her voice was deep and accented. “You’re the human’s whore.”

Charming lady. The whole room went silent, and took the two of us in. Emisair gazed at me as if she expected me to react.

I took a drink of cloud dew, knowing that I would need it. “Hmm?”

“A whore,” she repeated. “And a human whore to add to it.” She tutted. “He must look upon you in pity,” she said, gazing around the room to see all those who supported her. Only a brave few met her red gaze.

I smiled back calmly. “That’s a new name,” I told her. “But I do believe you have it wrong. I’m more commonly known as Freak, and that’s for a very good reason.”

“My lady…” Christan looked uncomfortable.

The lady gave him a look that could’ve burnt him alive. “I can see why,” she said rudely. “You have the look of the changed about you. You’re just like Kaya, only unlike her,” she took a step toward me, her eyes burning into my own. “You will never have any right to respect,” she finished with a sneer.

I smiled at her. “Thankyou,” I said sweetly. “I’m so glad to have made an impression. You, on the other hand, I’ll surely forget before the night is over…was it Emily?”

“Emisair!” she hissed.

“Right…forgive my forgetfulness, it’s just that I don’t particularly care for you,” I replied. I turned to Christan. “Your Grace, if you don’t mind, I’d I’d like to discuss more urgent matters than this snooty cow who is trying to insult me,” I said as I took another gulp of the sickly sweet drink. “Might we dance?” I knelt into a slow curtsey and lifted my head towards him, like Jhaq once taught me.

Shocked for only a second, he remembered himself and held out his hand. As I took it, he lifted me up and walked me to the centre of the room. The musician played and we began to dance. “I thought you wouldn’t have wanted to touch me,” Christan noted.

“Oh, I don’t,” I assured him cheerfully. “But I figure that if you try anything, then I can just set you on fire. We’re not in Reality right now, you know.”

His laugh was nervous. “I’m unsure whether you jest or not,” he said.

I shrugged. “Anyway, I need your assistance with something.”

“Anything.”

“My friend, the human. I wish to arrange another visit with him.”

He went quiet. “Your Grace?” I asked.

“…that may not be…”

“Why not?” I asked him. “I have a feeling he’d want to see me.”

“He’s…not in a good condition.”

I let my eyes narrow at him. “I thought he was being monitored.”

“He was…I mean-”

“There’s the word, was.” The fear was plain on his face, so I pressed him further. “What has happened to him?” I couldn’t control myself, I clenched my jaw. “Is he dead?”

“No! No!” Christan looks horrified. “No, he…he was alive…”

“Again with the term was, when was the last time you heard from him?”

“It…it was before T-”

“That’ll be all, your Grace,” Thommand’s harsh voice intruded. I turned, and saw him with Daniel beside him, looking grim.

“M’lord,” I curtseyed slightly, remembering the honey flavoured bullshit talk Daniel had with me. “Perhaps you can illuminate me? Where is my friend?”

“Gone,” he said simply.

My eyes trailed over to Daniel, who was glaring at the fat lord. “Let me rephrase that. Perhaps you can illuminate me…or I can illuminate you.” Literally.

“Threats will get you nowhere Lady Madigan, not here.”

“This is a reasonable request,” I said. “I want to know where he is. Now.”

He sighed. “You’ll listen to it from start to finish if you’re to hear it,” he ordered. “Though I imagine you’ll still remain angry.”

I smiled. “I’m only human after all,” I reminded him.

“Not by much,” he said nastily. He turned on his foot and left the room. Daniel took my arm and dragged me after him. On the way out, I could feel the woman’s red eyes glaring after me.

When we reached Thommand’s rooms, Daniel closed the door behind me. “Why was I not informed of Willis’ departure?” he demanded.

“You were still recovering,” Thommand replied. “Technically you were, anyway.”

“He was able to work from bed,” I retorted. “Why was this not in his papers?”

He merely shrugged. “Maybe he didn’t remember,” he suggested.

“Oh, I would’ve remembered.” Daniel’s eye didn’t leave Thommand for a moment.

Another shrug. “It matters not,” Thommand said. “Your lady wishes to know what is going on, Daniel. Would you like to…illuminate her, or shall I?”

“I think I’d prefer to hear it from you, m’lord,” I replied. “You know the whole story anyway.”

The corners of his mouth turned down into a scowl. “They wanted blood,” he started.

They only meant one thing. The monsters. “Go on.”

He let out another sigh. “For years, we’ve been giving them the prisoners of our world,” he informed me. “Criminals who cannot reform, have no place in our world.”

“And that has to do with Willis how?”

“This is the part you won’t like, Lady Madigan,” Thommand advised me.

“Trust me, I’m not too happy with the parts leading up to this either.”

Thommand shook his head. “They’ve been attacking people in the towns below. They were threatening them unless the human be transferred to their cells.”

No…. “You believed them?” I spat.

“I had no choice. The people will remember if we do not rise to protect them, and if they remember that, what do you think the chance is that they’ll protect us? Think of the greater good, you stupid girl.”

“I am.” I wasn’t bluffing. Papa Willis’ transfer meant another thing, one that Thommand would’ve been concerned about. “We still don’t know how he or the other three humans ended up here.”

“Other three?” This immediately peaked Thommand’s interest, and he stared at me intently.

Even Daniel’s surprised. “There were four of them?”

“I don’t know if they were travelling together,” I confessed. “But there was another human. She was at that brothel that you sent me and Daniel to.” The memory of that place made me sick inside.

“You mention this now?” Thommand groaned.

“I thought Daniel would’ve mentioned it,” I admitted. “Then again, he wasn’t in any condition to remember.”

“You were though.”

“Was I?” I raised an eyebrow. I went on. “At any rate, you should’ve gotten the information from him before they did.”

“We were trying,” he informed me angrily. “Unfortunately, our methods had to be restrained, thanks to you. If it weren’t for you, we’d know what happened, and none of this would even matter!”

I was silent at that. “I hope you’re pleased with yourself,” Thommand continued nastily. “Do you know what this means?” When I didn’t answer, he went on. “They’ll torture him. He’ll give them the information. They’ll have the advantage, another one. And he’ll die anyway. All because someone didn’t want us to hurt a crazed lunatic.”

“What if I hadn’t been aware of it?” I asked after a while. “What if that human had been taken in quietly, and I hadn’t known about it? What would’ve you done?”

“We’d have the information,” Thommand answered simply.

I glared at him. “Then you’re no better than they.”

We stayed like that for a while. Suddenly, Daniel’s voice broke the stormy silence. “Can we get him out? It’s only been a few weeks, they wouldn’t be treating him yet.”

Thommand looked over to Daniel. “What makes you think they’d be treating him before torturing him?”

“It’s their…specialty.” Daniel’s voice is sickened slightly. “Giving him the treatment would kill two birds with one stone. Besides, they’re not in any hurry for the information. Like you said, they’re already ahead of us.”

“You don’t know that though,” Thommand pointed out.

“It’s likely.”

“We’re not letting him die,” I finally spoke up. “We can’t.”

Thommand looked at me, half amused. “Why are you so determined to save him? Really?”

“He’s my friend,” I said. “And I need to know why he ended up here in this world. This isn’t just about him, this is about why I’m here too, and Daniel and the others.”

Thommand shook his head at this. “Must I be cursed with this goddamn philosopher?” he growled suddenly. “There are more important things here, can’t you get that through your head?”

“You don’t understand,” I insisted.

“I don’t need to. You, on the other hand, are only concerned with yourself and your own. There is a fucking war going on, and you’re busy questioning your own existence here! You can think about these things when you’re dead. Understand?”

“Completely.” Asshole.

Daniel took my shoulder. “We save him,” he told both of us. “We can’t let them have another advantage to hold over our heads.”

“The people will know,” Thommand reminded us sullenly.

“Then we’ll send protectors,” Daniel said.

“We barely have enough as it is.”

“Then we’ll have to train others. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to start training the children. Start with self defence, then-”

“No.”

I looked at Thommand. His face was set. “Why not?” I asked. “We’re not going to stand a chance without forces.”

“This is only a last-”

“I think we’re already heading downhill,” Daniel informed him. “Training the children will give them a fighting chance against them. Or would you rather them die like at Helevia?”

Thommand clenched his jaw. “We have more allies than they-”

“Allies, you say,” Daniel scoffed. “I’ve seen that fire woman; she’s like to switch to save her own skin. Allies won’t be enough to save us.”

Thommand was silent for a while. Against my better judgement, I worried that he was overwhelmed. He finally looked up at Daniel. “Find the man who’ll protect the villagers,” he ordered. “Organise a group of young ones to train, maybe your concubine can be of some use there.”

I gritted my teeth. “So we can go save him?”

He looked at me in a way I couldn’t define. “If you can.”

Daniel and I nodded and left the room. “We can do this,” I said to him. “We have to.”

He nodded, less convinced than I was. “Are you alright?” I asked.

“You’re the one whose hands are shaking,” he said.

I looked down and realised he was right. “Shit.” I frowned. “I guess I am scared.”

“Better than stupid.”

“Hmm…”

Daniel took my hand. “I’ll take care of what Thommand requested quickly,” he said. “In the meantime, you need to prepare yourself.”

“I know.”

He smiled sadly. “You know…it might be too late to save him.”

“We have to try.”

“I just…don’t want to get your hopes up.” He put his arm around me as we walked back to our room. As we went along, I became aware of how tired I was. So did Daniel. “You’re pale,” he noted.

I nodded. “I just need a break.”

He opened the door to his chambers. “I’ll get you some tea,” he said.

“Please do.” I sat down on the bed and closed my eyes.

Daniel got my tea and sat down next to me. Tentatively, he took my hand. “Are you alright?”

I nodded. “Just…I’ve gotten used to things calming down again.”

“Yeah…me too.”

I took a gulp of the tea, the mint clearing my head. “…I think I can handle it though,” I told him.

“Really?”

“Thanks,” I scoffed.

He shook his head. “You know what I mean. It’s just…well…”

“I’m not confident at all?” I finished.

“No! No…” Daniel grimaced. “Kinda.”

I stuck my tongue out at him. “It’s okay though,” I told him. “Right now, I’ve forgotten how to be afraid.”

“Hopefully that lasts then,” Daniel said.

“Amen,” I replied.

Attack of the Robot Babies

Standard

Day One, 8:50am: “I did not sign up for this,” Daniel tells me.

“Yeah, well, I’m not really enthusiastic about it either.”

“Three days,” he groans.

“Uhhuh.”

He grimaces at the thing. “How does it work?”

I pick it up gingerly. “Basically, whenever it cries, I tag it on with this bracelet. And then I have to stop it crying.”

“By smashing it against the wall?”

I roll my eyes. “The basic three are changing, feeding and burping. If it doesn’t stop after you try those three, you pick it up and walk it around until she quietens.”

“…so they don’t shit?”

“Nope,” I say cheerfully.

“Still.” Daniel stretches his arms. “It’s gonna be hell.”

“I can handle hell.”

He grins. “Ten dollars says that you’re going to change your mind.”

3:45pm:

“I am officially a grandfather!” Papa Willis announced to our friends as I carried Mia into their view.

Their reactions were automatic. They immediately started to try and kill it.

“Go to sleeeeeeeep,” Smith growled, holding his hand over Mia’s face.

“Can I hold it up by it’s leg?” Blondie asked eagerly.

“What time does it start?” MJ questioned.

“It doesn’t turn on till 5:30.”

“…so I’d be allowed to snap it’s neck to the side?”

“They’re going to be awesome godparents,” Daniel said from his corner. “I can wait for you to get pregnant.”

“…wait, what?”

9:29pm

“I swear to fuck…” I growled.

The baby was crying. Again.

“What does it want this time?” Daniel stirred.

I put the ‘bottle’ to the baby’s mouth and the sucking sounds replaced the wailing. “How many times has it been fed?” I murmured.

“I dunno…three? Maybe four. I dunno,” said Daniel. “At least you got it before it started shrieking this time.”

Suddenly, Tig barged in. In his pompous voice, he proclaimed, “The uncle of the child is here to assist the bitchy mother,” already stepping into my room.

“PISS OFF!” I roared at him, causing him to dart away. Daniel started laughing, but he stopped when my mother came storming in afterward. He immediately darted into the ensuite.

She went on to tell me how she had been ‘abused’ by two of our friends, who apparently said that Tig and I were lazy, ungrateful little shits. “And they’re right!” she exclaimed. “When I had you, I didn’t have anyone to help me, your father was off flying everywhere and my parents were in another frigging state!”

“I don’t need your help,” I told her, trying to prevent my voice from becoming aggressive.

“You’re just going to sit there and be lazy the whole weekend!” she told me. “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t throw it out the window.”

“Because I actually care about getting a good mark,” I retorted. Deep down, I was deeply worried about her carrying out that threat. If I kept it in a death grip, she wouldn’t be able to take it, but if she started hitting me…

She just scoffed. “Lucky it’s not a real baby,” she said to me. “Otherwise it’s going to turn into a fucking schizophrenic from the way you’re handling her.”

Daniel’s cry of anger didn’t even echo what I was feeling. GET OUT!” I yelled. There was a pain at the back of my head and everything seemed as if it were fading; I was barely aware of her slamming the door on her way out.

“No!” Daniel caught me as I stumbled, and held me up. “Now is not the time, Cat, wake up!”

“I…can’t…” My sight was going and I was barely holding the baby in my arms. If I dropped it…

Daniel sat me down on my bed. “Focus Cat,” he ordered. “Hold onto something, anything, and focus on it.”

The warmth of unconsciousness was beckoning, but I tried to do as Daniel said, focusing on the robot baby and the bottle in my hands. I managed to pull the baby up so that it’s head didn’t fall back, even though my head throbbed when I did so. “That’s right,” Daniel said reassuringly. “Keep your eyes open, and focus on one thing in the room, whatever keeps you here now.”

Slowly, I managed to lift myself out of the blackness, and I collapsed backwards, exhausted. The baby was still sucking. “Shit,” I hissed. I was crying, but I didn’t care. I was too distracted by all the emotions bubbling around inside me. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” I growled.

Daniel charged out of the room. “I’ll be back in a moment,” he said quickly, leaving me alone with my thoughts.

As Mia was feeding, and I managed to pour out my anger to Papa Willis (round of applause for him, by the way), I realised that Daniel had stopped me from falling into Delirium. The fact that he could do that was astounding; I’ve never had control over my blackouts.

Soon after, Mia stopped drinking from the bottle and let out a happy coo. “Glad someone’s pleased,” I said, putting her in her pod. I lay back, hoping to get another hour of sleep before she awoke again.

I was dozing off when Daniel came back. “Willis okay here?” he asked.

“Think so. Why?”

“It’s nothing. It can wait till tomorrow.” Daniel dropped down on the bed with a groan. “What have you two been talking about?”

“Just that you’re a good husband,” I replied sleepily.

“…we’re married?”

“Not really. But you’ve been more helpful than anyone else,” I told him before drifting off.

10:47pm

“Okay…” I had just put the baby down for what I confirmed was the fourth time that night, and I sprinted back into bed, huddling under the blankets. “It’s cold!”

“Welcome to parenthood, dear wife,” Daniel replied.

“We are not married.”

“You started it, Cat Madigan.”

“Goodnight.”

“Night night sweetie.”

Argh…

Who Am I?

Standard

“Cat Maaaaaaaadigaaaaaan,” I hear you nonexistent readers cry. “We wanna know what happened to your friend in Deliiiiriuuuuuuuuum.”

FINE YOU NONEXISTENT LITTLE SHITS.

Nah, it’s alright. I do need to talk about it, at least if I want to make my bad mood seem more plausible.

As some of you nonexistent readers know, I had managed to get permission from Christan to see my friend from Reality who had ended up in Delirium. I’m guessing they thought it would help get him to talk more. I didn’t really care, I just wanted to see him.

It was Christan himself who escorted me, along with Daniel, who wouldn’t be left behind. When I objected, he rolled his eyes. “If things get out of control, someone needs to step in,” he said.

“I’d be fine,” I told him. “Even if he didn’t recognise me, he’d be chained up, wouldn’t he?”

“Your friend isn’t who I’m worried about,” he said.

I frowned. “I don’t follow.”

Daniel grinned. “You wouldn’t,” he admitted. “For a killer, you are far too innocent.” He doesn’t flinch when I slap him across the face. “I’m talking of that gift he gave you.”

“That ribbon? What of it?”

He sighed. “I am here to protect your virtue,” he informed me.

“What virtue? Mines already ripped to shreds. Here, at least.”

“Then your reputation.”

“…again. What reputation?”

“Alright then. I am here to stop Christan from taking you in the dungeon.”

“Well that was blunt.” I groaned. “Does this mean you’re going to make me wear a belt too?”

“Hey, I have nothing against you having relationships with people,” Daniel corrected. “The only thing I object to is you doing stuff to make others happy.”

I frowned. “Don’t I do that anyway?”

“Not in that sense.” Daniel groaned and shook his head. “Look. His Grace is a nice kid, but he has….the potential to turn into a tyrant.”

“Like Joffrey?”

He smiled at that. “Yes, like that turd of a Game of Thrones character. It’s just a matter of letting him learn his power. Do you understand at all?”

I nodded. “Only let a king know what he should do, not what he can do.”

“Good girl. Basically what I’m trying to do is to make him remember his morals. Just because he wants something, doesn’t mean he should have it.” Before he could continue, the door opened and Christan walked in, with Thommand following behind him. Both greeted us warmly, and vice versa. An outsider would’ve considered us happy to see eachother.

This wasn’t necessarily the case. My view of Thommand was along the lines of a serpent whispering in Christan’s ear. Daniel wouldn’t take his eyes off Christan, who greeted me as a dear friend, even though this was but the second time we had met. Thommand watched everything too, and even I noticed how Christan continued to hold my hand after he raised it to kiss.

We travelled down the long staircases, everyone giving us lingering looks as we passed them. I was wearing something more appropriate than when I was first in public; a long grey gown, not unlike ones which Jhaq occasionally wore. Did they look at Kaya the same way? I’d have to ask her that.

The ostentatious castle grew less ostentatious the more stairs we travelled down. When we were growing close to the dungeons, I was starting to feel glad that I didn’t live here all the time. It would be a chore to walk around this place all the time, like Daniel did.

I had stayed mostly quiet this whole journey to the dungeons. When we entered the long passage which would lead us to them, however, I started hearing sounds of a commotion, growing louder and louder as we walked. “What’s going on?”

Suddenly someone charged past us, and sprinted towards the entranceway. More followed, a dozen guards stumbling after him. “Don’t let him get away!” Christan yelled out.

I don’t know why I did what I did, or how. But in a split second, my hands were shaking and I was hurling a ball of light where the prisoner was running.

He stopped before the entranceway burst into flames. His hesitation was what cost him his freedom, as at that moment, a guard caught him up and slammed him against the wall. “Quick work Cat,” Daniel whispered.

Christan’s eyes were wide, as if he’d never seen something like that before. Thommand merely looked curious. “You’ve been training,” he noted.

“I’ve had practise,” I replied. I didn’t tell him how I’d been throwing fireballs at Daniel’s ceiling whenever I had been annoyed at him. Which was a lot.

“Just as well.”

I turned away from the three of them and walked to the prisoner. “Don’t hurt him!” I told the guard holding him up against the wall. “I want to speak to him.”

“Why? So he can bite off someone else’s hand?” he growled. The prisoner gave a dark chuckle at that, only to get slapped around by the guard.

“Take him back to his cell, for gods sake,” I demanded. “Or another cell if you can’t use that.”

“Who are you to order me around?” The guard turned to leer in my face.

I refused to cower. “My name is Cat Madigan and I just burnt down a stone entranceway,” I replied. “I am Daniel’s ward and Kaya’s student and I know this man, and I demand to speak to him alive, or so help me, I will turn you into charcoal!”

“Get. The fuck. Out of my sight!” he screamed.

I’m close to raising my hand to strike when Christan interrupts. “Return the man to his cell,” he ordered. “And if I dare see you speaking that way to Lady Madigan once again, you’ll join him.”

The guard bristled, but did as Christan said. He turned to me. “You have no idea what he’s done, Freak,” he informs me. “You’re a fool to want anything to do with him.”

The prisoner’s hair hung over his eyes, but I could see the rest of his face. There was blood staining his teeth, and his mouth curled up in a snarl.

I decided to try. “Papa Willis?”

His mouth shut close. He said nothing. “He’ll escape the minute his door is opened again,” the guard called to the others. “Give him one of the darker cells.”

“I want to talk to him!” I objected.

Daniel put his hand on my shoulder. I shook it off and began following the guards, who were leading Willis away. “Please, it’s vital that I speak with him!”

“Look, lady-” A quick flash of anger across Christan’s face made the guard pause before continuing. “This is a madman. He broke through the chains and bit off Sid’s hand when he tried to stop him. This door now…”

We come to a halt in front of a giant silver door with several restraints. “He won’t be able to break through this,” he told me. “And he can get his meals through here. No one’s gonna get hurt because of him.”

“I need to talk to him,” I insisted.

He groaned. “Will someone else reason with this foolish woman?”

Thommand stepped up behind me. “No one wants to risk one of their own from interacting with him. This cell will give him everything he needs until it is decided what will be done with him. Meaning this cell is not going to be opened till then.” His words were probably meant to sound sympathetic, if not for that look in his eye. “No one will be able to speak to him once he’s locked up.”

I paused. “For how long will he be imprisoned?”

“How should I know?”

The door opens and Papa Willis is dragged inside. I looked back at my three companions, and I followed the guards in. “Cat!” Daniel hisses.

“Lady Madigan, it’s not right!” Christan called.

I ignored both of them and stood next to my friend. The guards hesitated when I didn’t leave. “She’s with him,” Thommand said. “Hurry out.”

One of the guards went to chain me up. “Touch her, and you’ll all lose your hands,” Daniel growled.

As they left the cell, I looked out at Papa Willis. He hadn’t said anything this whole time. Outside, Daniel raised a hand to me, almost as if he were waving. He looked as if he were going to say something, but then the angry guard from before closed the door behind me.

“Well aren’t you stupid?” Papa Willis jeered.

I turned to him. “I prefer Cat, to be honest,” I told him. “But I can live with Stupid. Do you want me to fix your hair?”

He just spat at me. “Well, too bad, because it’s annoying me, and you’re chained up.” I went over to him and pulled his hair away from his eyes. They just glared at me. “How long have you been here?”

He doesn’t answer. “Okay…” I sighed. “They said that there were three of you. Who else was there? Slenderman? Smith? Flash?”

Papa Willis looks up. “Don’t talk about them,” he fumed. “You don’t know them, you have no right to talk about them as if you do!”

It then hit me. “You don’t remember me, do you,” I said faintly.

“Not really. Were you part of that crowd that brought me in?” He snorted. “You’re the most normal looking so far, I’ll give you that.”

I was silent. His frown wasn’t with irritation this time. More confusion. “Am I meant to know you?” he asked.

“I…” I looked down. “We were friends.”

Were friends,” he repeated. “What did you do? Leave me for some cooler people? Left when things got tough?”

“No…I never left,” I said. I felt like I was about to cry. “And I won’t leave either.”

Papa Willis scoffed. “I dunno. You look like you’d be comfortable out there. Your boyfriend would miss you too much to let you stay in here with me.”

“You don’t understand, I-”

“I get it, don’t worry.” He rolled his eyes. “I’m not stupid, I know what they’re doing. And I’m not talking either. No matter what kinky shit you try to pull on me.”

I flicked him in the nose at that. “Hey!” he complained. “Who flicks someone in the nose? Surely you can do better than that.”

I shook my head. “Come on now. I saw you outside. Go on. Hit me.”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want to. You’ve been beaten up enough.”

“So you’re a coward then.”

“That’s the last thing I am.”

“Then who are you?”

I inhaled. “My name is Cat Madigan. I know you don’t recognise me, but I used to call myself something else.” And I tell him my real name.

Before he could talk, I continued. “I…didn’t think I had changed that much. I didn’t realise I was so different from Reality. But…” Tears were now falling out of my eyes, but I couldn’t help it. “Do you remember her at all? You were like a brother to her. She was sixteen, with long brown hair and weird eyes? She could laugh at anything, but at the same time, it only took one sentence to make her upset. She liked to draw. She…didn’t have it that good at home. But that was okay. Because she had you and her friends. Even when she got lonely and sad, she knew you were there.” Even though I was close to sobbing, I tried smiling at him. “And now she’s incredibly pissed at you because you’ve made her cry!”

Suddenly the door opened and the guards came in again. They made a beeline for me, and started pulling me out by the arms. “Let me go!” I demanded. “Please let me go!”

They paid no attention as I kicked and screamed, and they wouldn’t let me go until they cell door was slammed shut behind me.

Then they started running as I started hurling fireballs everywhere.

My hand was mid-strike when Daniel caught me. I punched at him and swore at him, but he wouldn’t let me go. Eventually I just broke down sobbing, and he let me sit there for as long as I needed.

Finally, I looked up. “He didn’t know me,” I whispered.

He nodded.

“He didn’t know me,” I repeated. “Daniel…have I…am I really so different here?”

When he didn’t answer, I just leaned back on him, and felt his arms wrap around me. “Who am I?” I was murmuring. “Who am I Daniel?”

Kaya and Cat?

Standard

Why does Reality hurt me more than Delirium?

It seems like a simple matter of logic. Delirium doesn’t actually hurt me in Reality, where I receive comfort from my friends and ‘family’. Whereas if I’m hurt in Reality, I receive little comfort in Delirium, if any at all. Daniel…for some reason Daniel doesn’t really count as something from Delirium. He’s closer to human than…them. But at the same time, he’s not from Reality either; I am the only one who sees him.

So yesterday, Flash broke up with me.

He said he was always worrying about me, and that left little room for romantic feelings.

In other words, he couldn’t handle my Delirium.

And I don’t blame him.

It’s just I feel like whatever hope that I had is now gone. Before, I had a firm idea of who I would hurt if I had gone. Now I’m not so sure.

But when he did so, it unintentionally brought to light something in myself that I had probably been aware of for some time, but had never put together the pieces.

There’s reasons why there are times I can’t remember things. Why there are sometimes blank places in my memory.

And yesterday, Papa Willis, Smith and Chase had the not so pleasurable experience of meeting her.

And when I say her, I mean her.

I may have another personality. I can feel her now, in the back of my mind. She’s not always there though, but I know when she is. She talks to me like Daniel does, only I can’t see her. Why I am only connecting the dots now is a mystery to me, but it makes sense. Somewhat.

Sometimes when I went into Delirium, I reawoke to find myself in a completely different place, and I had little memory of doing anything. Say school for example. Now I think about it, it happened whenever I was feeling scared or vulnerable or hurt. When something bad happened in Reality, I’d go into Delirium.

But someone had to protect my body.

And that’s Kaya.

Kaya had a talk to Chase yesterday. I don’t know everything they talked about, but I’m working on it. To respect him, I’m not going to say stuff on here. He’s a good person.

So I had gone into Delirium, and I was extremely reluctant to come back to Reality.

Of course, Delirium is not so much better than Reality. I did a lot of running. Fire hurts a lot.

Water is strange in Delirium. You can cup it in your hand and blow it away like a cloud of dust. It’s somewhat peaceful to do that.

Then I heard a voice. One I didn’t think I’d hear again.

And I yelled at her. She was meant to be dead, I saw her die. And she wanted me to come back to Reality.

After a big fight, she agreed to leave me alone.

When I calmed down, I didn’t come back completely. I just snoozed a little, and then I realised my body was still active.

“Kaya!” I yelled.

It feels weird, feeling your body move and yet have no control over what’s happening. It’s as if you’re in someone else’s head, wearing their skin.

Speaking of skin…there were bite marks on my hands, scratches too. “Kaya…”

So now you want to return. Make up your mind.

“Let me back. Now.”

She smiled. Well, I smiled. It’s weird, okay?! And I came back.

And Kaya had gone.

She later came back and explained to me little things, basics of the conversation with Chase. Essentially, I figured Kaya wasn’t always in my head, but whenever I was in pain/feeling vulnerable/hurt in any way/etc, she’d take control of my body should I choose to spend too much time in Delirium.

So in a way, Delirium is a safe zone, for a lack of a better term. Or a reflex mechanism or some shit. And Kaya protects me in Reality when I go to Delirium.

Only trouble is, Delirium doesn’t come with its own protection, or reflex. I can’t always escape the pain there.

Kaya has firmly stated that she only controls me in very rare cases, but I’m still very wary. Kaya, from what I’ve heard from Daniel, and the reluctant witnesses in Reality, is very angry. Well, she can get very angry. So I worry about when she does control me, and what she says.

It’s uncomfortable having her in my head. It’s like a dull ache, one which I can’t get out with Panadol, or binge drinking on tea.

For the record, it’s irritating for me as well. I feel like I’m wearing itchy clothing.

There’s clothing in Delirium?

Of course there is, silly girl.

She’s not there much though. Now I can conclude that whenever I get headaches that don’t go away, it’s simply her. Why she refused to say anything till now, I don’t know. While it’s still on my mind, I need to test a theory I have. Next time she’s in my head, I’ll hit it against a wall to see if she goes.

I wonder if Daniel knew about this…

….fuck you brain.