Come On Out, Shadow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So she did.

Or rather…she tried to.

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

Killing was far easier sans a human body.

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

I raised my claw, ready to strike.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh please, please do.

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

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

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

“What is this?” A voice called out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Cat…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What?” Emisair spat.

“Noah…” I was about to argue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, maybe. I dunno.

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

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

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

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

“As you are,” Daniel agreed.

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

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

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

That’s when I remembered Jhaq.

And Axyl.

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

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

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

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

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

“But I’m human too,” I reminded him.

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

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

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

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

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Beware of the Mad Cat

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Last time, on The Adventures of Cat Madigan…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That is a matter of my choosing.”

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

“Don’t you dare!” I shrieked.

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

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

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

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

“NO! Don’t hurt him!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wanted to kill her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Good girl,” she purred.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gone…

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Monster…” I hear the Fury whisper.

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

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

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

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

“Don’t…”

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

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

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

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

“I…”

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

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

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

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

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

“No!”

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

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

CRUNCH.

The Rage of a Cat

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It’s another Weekly Writing Challenge! Yayyyy.

The picture is called Emptiness, but when I see it, I see a lonely building, which may be fun to play the How To Survive the Zombie Apocolypse Game. And I think of my most recent venture in Delirium, which turned out more…positive than normal. Do you want to hear about it? Of course you don’t. But I don’t care.

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Where am I this time? I don’t know this place. But since when have I ever known where I am going?

The building is dark and crumbling, and blue, plantlike objects cover the walls. I reckon I have about five minutes before Daniel pops up next to me, so I decide to explore further.

I wonder what all this used to be. Another time, another world. It would’ve been filled with people, alive and bright.

There have been many places I’ve visited in Delirium. I remember a temple under water, filled with light and colour, the sweet singing of sirens echoing throughout it. I look at my dilapidated surroundings and I find myself asking what is so wrong with this earth that they would build a temple underwater instead?

I walk along the hallway, looking for light. It is long and is barely illuminated by the holes in the ceiling. I finally come across a door and I struggle to pull it open.

What I see makes me turn around and vomit.

The girl has golden hair, and her eyes that stare dully at the window are a turquoise that would’ve been beautiful. She hangs by her arms and a single leg from the ceiling, her head and arms pulled back by cords attached to her body. What shocks me most are her lips. They’ve rotted, and are pulled into a twisted smile, is that meant to be beautiful? This girl was once a dancer, a girl on the brink of womanhood, a girl who loved to be free. This display, a bloody puppet dangling by several threads, is anything but.

There’s another smell in the room suddenly. “Don’t come near me,” I warn.

He chuckles. His body might as well be a corpse, its temperature is no different from the dead girl’s. “You shouldn’t be here.”

“There shouldn’t be a body hanging here either, when you think about it,” I reply. “Not exactly pleasant decoration.”

“I meant here.” He gestures to the world around him. “You aren’t from here.”

“Of course not.” I don’t look at his face, his dead, twisted face. “What had this girl done?”

He gives a high giggle. “Wrong place, very wrong time.”

I grimace. “Her skin…”

“So you understand.” This is no question he’s asking me.

“I’ve seen your prisons. I can say they’re the only thing worse than this place here. And more importantly, I’ve seen those in them.” I remember my temporary imprisonment, and the deal with the devil that set me free. “This girl is one of them. Well, was one of them. What happened to her?”

“The same that happens to them all, eventually. Afterwards, some of our dependants are left to deal with them.” He has not moved this whole time, but I feel his voice in my ear all the same. “There are more of these around this place, if you would like to look further.”

I shake my head. “Forgive me, I have had enough of corpses.” I pause, and I’m surprised that I feel calm, despite this psychopath standing behind me. “Kaya is not a puppet though.”

“No, she isn’t,” he concedes.

“And she didn’t die in your prisons either.”

“…no.”

A smirk appears on my face. “What happened there?” I ask, playing devil’s advocate.

“…they thought the girl was useless, a dud. Five years had gone with her, and nothing had happened. Well, nothing they could see; had someone stronger seen her, they would’ve known immediately what she could do.”

“So why didn’t they?”

“I believe that’s enough. Curiosity killed the cat, I believe?”

“I can’t die,” I tell him. “I’ve tried too many times, Delirium and Reality. And I’m still alive…somehow.”

“Well.” His voice takes on an edge I don’t detect until there’s only a split second to do something. “How about we try something new?”

And he rushes at me.

I dive out of the way, skidding across the ground. “Oh, are we running today?” he calls. “We can play tag, Ms Madigan.”

I’m less slow this time, and I crash against the wall. The two seconds I spend in stunned immobility are my undoing, and he catches my arm and twists it. I howl with the pain, and he gives me a laugh that turns my stomach. “You lose,” he informs me. “Don’t worry, we don’t have to play this game again.”

Then, all of a sudden, he is the one howling.

It’s not Daniel who attacked him. Or even Kaya.

My hands are burning with something akin to fire, or perhaps electricity. These thoughts don’t matter, as I throw back my arm and hurl a mass of light at him. It hits the wall behind him, and it crumples. I think I see the dancer’s corpse dissolve before me. “Do not,” I snarl. “Ever.” I launch another at him and this time, his arm turns to ash. “Think.”

He turns to run, but I throw myself through the air at him, and land on him. I start throwing punches, I want to hit him, to beat him senseless. “Call.” My voice got shriller every word I spoke. “Me…”

He manages to flip me onto my back, only to get singed by my hands. “WEAK!” I shriek, my voice echoing throughout the building.

The next few seconds are a blur, but the outcome still angers me. I let myself be distracted for a split second when Daniel dashes into the room, and the monster takes the opportunity to run from the building, fleeing through the wall, in which I completely destroyed.

I crumple to the ground. “Shit!” I cry.

Daniel runs up to me. “Don’t touch me!” I plead.

“Cat, what the hell happened?”

My hands are still glowing, but they begin to fade. “What do you think?” I croak, watching my hands return to normal, only my five letters retaining a glow to them.

“This…” Daniel shakes his head. “There is no way-”

“But it happened.”

“What are you Cat Madigan?”

“Something weird,” I whisper. Everything swims in my head; my hands of fire and lightning, the smell of charred flesh, but most of all, the desire to watch the man die, burning and screaming before me.

I am sickened by my thoughts, and before I say a word, I fall into Daniel’s arms as everything goes black.