Black Cat’s Ugly Head

Standard

Mummy, I’m bleeding! the child shrieked as I landed with a thud.

Slowly, I staggered up, dusting myself off, ash and debris everywhere. “Was that really necessary?” I asked angrily.

Temper, temper.

Temper my ass. “What do you expect me to do?”

Why on earth would I give you directions? How boring!

“…of course,” I mumbled. “Well, it’ll be boring if I just stand here doing nothing, won’t it?”

Suddenly, a mass of light was launched at my face, and I stumbled backwards to avoid it. “Fuck!” I hissed. It was then that I was aware of him laughing. “Shut up Neekah,” I growled.

What do you know? I’m having fun! His voice was cheerful, though it still had that sinister undertone.

I got up. “So that’s your plan? Throw fireballs at me while I struggle to figure out what to do? From past experience, that stuff gets old over time.”

Didn’t stop you.

I just shook my head. “Movement…movement…” I got my legs to start walking in the darkness. Step one achieved, now to do stuff. I felt my hand prickle as a faint glow extended from it. The light didn’t touch anything, but it would hopefully stop me from walking into anything. Seek a way out, I told myself. So I began to walk forward, in the direction where the light came from previously.

Cold…cold…colder…. he said petulantly.

I rolled my eyes and nearly walked into a doorway. Hot! Hot now!

“You really don’t know how to play this game,” I informed him, trying the handle. Locked.

Why does it have to be by your own rules? he demanded. I’m the only one playing here, so why should it matter to you?

“Then what the hell am I doing?” I questioned.

Let your rules be your rules and my rules be mine, he sang.

He was becoming more and more unstable by the minute. But that wasn’t what I was worried about right then.

Because I could feel something approaching. It was slight, very slight. It would take one who had lived in pure silence for a very long time to notice it. I could physically feel the vibrations of the footsteps becoming more and more intense as they advanced towards me, hear the creature’s growl in the back of its throat, smell the hunger radiating from them. That door was a mousetrap, and I was the mouse.

I could sense every move they’d make. The second they leapt at me, I was already diving out of the way of the door, preparing myself to strike back. I swung around and raised my arm, fire ready.

I only saw its face when the light seared straight through it. Black scales and scarlet eyes. It didn’t look like Emisair though. Then again, she hadn’t finished changing the last time we fought.

It collapsed to the ground. Watch it, Miss Madigan, he sang. How many more friends are you going to kill?

“Not a friend,” I panted. “And it’s not real anyway. Everything you do is an illusion.”

Why so sure? And why so by the book? Hasn’t that been done enough already?

Shut up…I thought. I got up and inspected the door more closely. A keyhole? “I expected something more high tech,” I said.

Pfffffft. Keys are more entertaining. Now find one.

I suppressed a groan before starting in the other direction. Cold…colder… he murmured again.

Oh for fucks sake…I turned around. Hot…. His voice became excited. It finally hit me then, and I felt a wave of nausea rock my stomach. I reluctantly walked back toward the Emisair-like monstrosity. Hotter, hotter, hotter! he sang. Fouuuund iiiiiiiiit! he finally trilled as I stood above the thing.

“…please tell me that the key is just underneath her,” I grumbled.

The key is just underneath her, he said obediently.

“…why do you sound different?” I enquired. “You’ve been acting like a child all of a sudden.”

When he spoke again, his voice became quieter, more threatening somehow. Don’t mind me… he purred. There’s never been one so fickle as I. Do you know how dull it is to live with the same personality for the rest of your life? It’s…sickening. So I change. There’s nothing wrong with that. Is there?

“…I’m not allowed to judge. I’ve got Kaya,” I admitted.

That’s right…NOW OPEN THE BITCH AND TAKE THE FUCKEN KEY! he suddenly shrieked.

Open…oh god. I looked toward the corpse. She’s already dead, ya piss brain, he groaned. There’s no harm in it, surely?

“Forgive me, but I don’t usually dig around in people’s corpses after they die,” I said dryly.

Riiiiight. I mistook you for the cranky skeleton again. My bad, he replied snarkily.

I tentatively looked at the gaping hole in the beast’s belly. It had gone straight through, and I could see the charred flesh where the light pierced it. “Am I going to have to…”

I dunno. Up to you.

I inhaled. “Right. Okay.” I made myself reach down into the…gap. Ugh….it was still warm. I prayed that the key was just in there, that I didn’t have to…dig into the body.

Aaaaand it wasn’t.

Yay.

I could hear him laughing. “How long ago did you make her swallow the key?” I asked.

You’re assuming I made her?

“Fine. How long ago did she swallow it?”

Just when the game started, my dear. He had changed again; his voice had become soothing, calm, gentle. Like a father singing his child to sleep before he smothered her with a pillow. Why do you ask?

I thrusted my arm upward, tearing through flesh and bone. “Just checking where I should look,” I informed him.

It was at that moment that the monster’s mouth opened and the key dropped to the ground. I stared at it, my mouth agape, my arm still entrenched in the monster’s body. My apologies, he said sadly. I was under the impression that the key was swallowed. Apparently not.

Grimacing, I pulled my arm out, wiping the black guts onto my leg. I picked up the sticky key and angrily shoved it into the keyhole. “This is your fantasy,” I said. “Of course you knew what happened to the key.”

But I am merely a director, he said calmly. I gather the stages, the actors, the music. What happens from there is out of my control. I’m not controlling you, am I?

I turned the key and opened the door. Nothing but black. I tossed a little ball of light though the darkness, and it hit what appeared to be a door about ten metres away. Slowly, I walked. “That right there,” I replied, “is a whole new philosophical debate.”

He laughed jovially. But consider this. Everything and everyone you experience is real. Everything you considered an illusion is in fact, genuine. It is merely, how do you say….different.

“Stop playing with my thoughts,” I said, opening the next door.

Everything in front of me was sky. Cold, silver sky. I looked down to see the ocean below my feet. One drop and I’d be there, in Helevia. “What now?” I murmured.

I suggest you make your leave, he told me. It is clear that you are no longer wanted here…

I frowned, and slowly turned to see Espers with big wide smiles slowly walking towards me. “Can I kill them?” I found myself asking.

There’s more where that came from, he told me. I doubt they’ll follow you though.

“It’s the key all over again,” I shook my head. I took a step backward into the air and fell. “Dammitdammitdammitdammitdammitdammitdammit!” I hissed as the wind screamed in my ears. I inhaled a long breath and squeezed my eyes close as I hit the water with a smack.

I’d only seen this done through Kaya. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect to be honest. But after a minute of floating beneath the water, I realised that I was running out of air, and there wasn’t anywhere to go. My heart was racing and I just focused on swimming down, I didn’t care where. Helevia was what I hoped for, but hell would do just fine.

Then I was grabbed, and pulled further down, at a faster rate than I was swimming at. I froze and just let them, and when my head started getting foggy, when I was about to give out, there was air.

I opened my eyes. I remembered this room, though the logic behind how I got there was a mystery to me. “How does this work?” I questioned. “Why is there air under a layer of ocean? And gravity for that matter?”

Eh….I don’t feel like explaining, he said in a whiney voice.

“…fine. But I don’t reckon that the laws of physics give a fuck about an apocalypse. Just saying.”

Pffffffft. And you say my logic is fucked.

“Your logic is fucked,” I retorted. I thought for a moment and looked under the nearby mattress. Yup. The large pile of matted silver locks were still there. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeugh, he hissed. Grooooooooss.

“Shut up.”

Does she still have the fingerbones there too?

“That came later,” I informed him coldly. “Though I must say, you’re a fine one to talk.”

“Whatever are you talking about?” A voice suddenly asked.

I froze. I knew the voice, though we had never spoken together. When I turned to look at her, I found myself relieved that I wasn’t looking at a mutilated corpse. “And what’s the point of you?” I questioned. “Why do you exist here?”

One green eye and one blue eye gazed at me dreamily. “I could ask the same of you,” she murmured. “Why do you exist here of all places?”

“That question is going to take years to answer. You go first.”

“Of course I exist here. This is my world, my home. You don’t belong here.”

“But this is my head. My visualisation. Why is he making you appear in front of me?”

I took you here because you need to be here, he said in a serious voice. You must be here with the empress Nereida, just like you had to slaughter Emisair.

“This isn’t Nereida, this is you, pulling her strings behind a curtain. She died a long time ago, before I even came to Delirium.”

“A long time ago? But everyone is still alive, don’t you know?” Nereida enquired.

“Not helping.” And then it hit me. I stared at Nereida, who responded with a slight smile. “Wait, what?”

He chuckled. Understand now?

“No…” I tried to process what she said. “Why would you-”

“Tell you that? Why not? You know it’s going to happen. You’ve seen it. Haven’t you?” Nereida responded.

“But…why would you make her like that?” I directed the question to him. “Why would you…what’s the point of making the empress…like this?”

Whatever do you mean? he murmured as if he didn’t already know.

“…her people are dead. She killed them all….if this is all in my head, then what reason would you have for creating a Nereida set before she slaughtered her people?”

Another dark laugh. Splendid…

“Consider this,” Nereida spoke again. Her gaze was calm and kind. More a mother than a murderer. “Everything around you is just as real as that world that you commonly reside in. But to that world, it is only a mere possibility, an idea born from imagination, not yet reality. Understand?”

“…no.”

Why so stubborn, the madman hissed. You know exactly what’s going on, you just don’t want to admit it. Because if that’s true, then that means that you have to accept something that you really don’t want to.

I stayed silent. Nereida spoke instead. “It’s still going to happen,” she said. “Nothing will change in that regard, I can promise you that. But…I assure you that if there were any other way around this, I would take that path.”

“….how can you do that? How can you make yourself do something like this?”

“Anyone can,” she said simply. “It is what has to be done. When you have nothing but your objective in mind, you can do anything. Kaya taught me that.”

I laughed then. A mad, maniacal laugh. “Did Kaya teach you to poison innocent people? To watch as they were strangled from the inside? No, don’t answer, I already know. Kaya would’ve never condoned something like this. And don’t say that she would’ve.”

She smiled back politely, and I felt my stomach swirl around in anger. “What does that make you then?” she asked. “Kaya allowed you to get thrown in here, didn’t she? She’s not the only one who sent lambs to the slaughter, you know.”

“Don’t compare me to innocent children.”

“But you are one. You’ve just forgotten it, that’s all. You think that you’re not one because you haven’t been allowed to be. But you are.”

I shook my head and charged out of the room, into the giant hallway. In front of me was the little ghost child. “How did this happen?” I asked him. “How did you become such a monster?”

“How did you?” Neekah replied, before lunging for my throat.

I found myself knocked to the ground, holding the little monster child away from my neck. I saw Nereida behind us, watching as if this was a performance. Desperately, I lifted him away from me and threw him back as hard as I could. For the next two seconds, I could only watch as he splattered against the wall, his eyes going wide and his mouth half opened as if to scream.

Nereida smiled smugly as I crawled back. “No…” I croaked.

“Are you alright?” she enquired, suddenly concerned. She reached for my hand.

“Don’t,” I hissed. “Just send me somewhere else. Hurry up and do it Neekah.”

Your wish is my command.

Genesis

Standard

There was a dream the other night. Or whatever you call memories that come back when you’re asleep.

I must’ve been fifteen then. Might not seem like much, but Daniel and I had done some math concerning my ‘actual’ age. The time that I’ve spent in Delirium probably amounted to almost two years. It’s just a matter of calculating the weeks. And then there was that last trip, where I ended up spending months or maybe even years running away. I’ll guesstimate that I spent three or four years there.

Now, from what people have told me about my blackouts, they only lasted for a few minutes. And from what my friends said about Kaya, she didn’t tend to hang around a lot. More often than not, she’d only stay an hour when I’d go to Delirium for a week or so. Either way, it’s really not that much time, which allows me to add those years in Delirium onto my actual age.

So mentally, I’ve lived for twenty years. Maybe twenty one, but I prefer twenty.

…yes. My head is fucked. Its productivity rate of sense is negative fifty thousand. Now shush up and read, nonexistent viewer.

Anyway, there was a dream/memory thing. It was back when I had begun to go to Delirium, when Daniel and I, and Delirium for that matter, were still reeling from Kaya’s death, and suddenly I came and fucked things up even more.

So let me tell you about it.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Blue.

I run my finger down a blade of grass. It’s the colour of the night sky, and when I bring my finger away, a soft powder is left behind on it. I gaze at it curiously before quickly wiping it away on my clothes.

This whole place is strange…but I know it. I’ve seen it, felt it, smelt it, all through her. But this isn’t her…my hand has ordinary nails, and is about half the size of hers. And my hair isn’t white and falling into my eyes; it’s dark and past my shoulders. But…I feel…disconnected…like merely raising my hand feels like I’m moving through water…

My eyes suddenly close, against my will, and I hear a voice. Lie back down, he says. Let your mind sleep for a while, before they come collect you.

Some part of me recognises him. Not mentally, but my body shivers slightly at the sound of his voice. But before I can connect the face to the voice, my mind slips into unconsciousness.

Something jolts me awake, and I gasp. My head throbs and pulses as I try to gain sense of what’s happening. I hear voices. “Human…childling…esper…Kaya…

At the mention of her, I make myself speak. “Kaya?” I croak out, before a sword is suddenly thrust at my face.

“Silence,” I’m told. I close my eyes, nodding my head slightly, praying I don’t make a wrong move.

“Shall we kill her?” One growls eagerly.

“Don’t be an idiot,” the sword wielder hisses. “Didn’t you see that? Didn’t you hear her speak? Kaya, she said.”

“Why would she know her?”

“Maybe Blackrim’s kidnapper got help from this one, before poisoning her and knocking her out.” I resist the urge to gasp as the sword grazes under my chin. “What is Kaya to you?” he demands.

I don’t know how to answer this question. What relation should I claim? Mentor, jailor, guardian, acquaintance, friend. But as more pressure is applied to the sword, I give an answer. “Sister,” I whisper. “Kaya Blackrim is my sister.”

They’re shocked. It’s hard to hide my disbelief at how stupid they are; Kaya’s whole political career was the result of her being her the only living offspring of her parents. The other speaks first. “Then we should kill her,” he said. “Blackrim’s sister? They’ll send for our heads if they find out we let her go free.”

“Are you a fool?” The sword is taken away from my neck, and I breathe a sigh of relief before I’m suddenly pulled up. “We’re bringing her to the court. High chance they’ll pay a high price for information. Huh?” He pulls me close to him, and I can smell how sickly sweet his breath is. “After that, we’ll split her. What you say?”

I resist the urge to vomit, and he starts binding my arms before throwing me over his shoulder. I close my eyes, squeezing out tears as I’m carried away from the sticky blue grass I’d never forget.

I don’t speak again, not for the whole length of the journey there, despite the both of them providing details of the things they’d do to me after I wasn’t needed any more. There isn’t anything I could do. I know what it’s like to die; Kaya’s death had prepared me for that at least. I swallow the acid that rises inside me at the memory of her dying, and try to think of other things.

It’s fine, I tell myself. Dying is fine. It’ll be okay, you won’t hurt anymore. You won’t have to go through anymore pain, and you won’t see them again. You’ll be free, free from everything. You can finally get away. These thoughts, despite how painful they were, numbed the fear inside me, as I came to terms with my imminent death. Because they were true. Absolutely true.

There’s new voices, and the sound of thunder rings in my ears, getting louder and louder, until the man stops and drops me at his feet. Then, silence.

“A human?” A man barks suddenly.

I open my eyes. The owner of the voice has silver hair, like Kaya did, and moonlike eyes which glower at me when I look at him. He towers over everyone that crowds around, intimidating in both body and voice. Some part of me knows him, though I can’t put a name to his face. “Is that what you have to show me? I am already aware of the plague, there’s no need to bring one of the rats to show me.”

“Human?! Impossible!” The crowd bristles at the stupidity of these two, who are now becoming very, very frightened now that they realise that I lied. “She claimed to be related to Kaya! Her sister, she said…” the man stammered, his voice losing confidence by the second. He glares towards me and raises his foot to kick me. I hiss as he belts me in the ribs again and again. “Lying little shit…” he growls. “I’ll kill you!”

“Cease.” The giant of a man sounds bored. “Is it just me, or are humans proving themselves more capable than ourselves lately? The both of you are letting our race down. You prove yourselves poor excuses for Etheral beings.”

The kicking doesn’t stop. Sighing, the man raises his hand and suddenly, two figures rush past him, heading for my captors. There’s a scream, and something wet splashes against my face, and I slowly look up to see the both of them slump to the ground next to me. For that moment, I can’t breathe. I scramble backward, away from the fresh corpses, only to back into the large man. “As for you,” he says, just as bored as before, “give me one reason to keep you alive.”

“W-what?”

He sighs. “Just as I thought.” He raises his hand again.

I feel them behind me, and it’s only a split second before my throat will be opened. “Miranda!” I blurt out suddenly. I don’t know what the point of that word was, but everything freezes. And for the first time, the large man shows something other than complete boredom on his face. His eyes are narrowed at me, and he lowers his hand.

“Miranda…” he muses. “Another sister of yours?”

Flashes of memory come to me, of a woman with long silver hair and wide gold eyes as her throat is spilled out. “No,” I say simply. “Kaya’s mother.”

He belts across my face, and I’m thrown back to the floor. “I don’t recall asking you to speak,” he retorts. “Shut up.”

I hate him. Everything floods back to me. Kaya’s memories fill my mind, I can see everything that this man is responsible for. I get past the pain, glaring at him. “Then kill me,” I growl. “I’m only here because of what I have to say. So if you’re done with listening, then get those shadow things to slit my throat already!”

The crowds are silent, and I’m now deeply afraid. I was all talk, and this dictator before me knows it. All that was a burst of anger, Kaya’s anger. I’m going to die now.

Then he grins, and takes out a knife himself. He’s going to kill me himself? “Maybe there’s more to this ‘human’ than she’s letting on,” he muses, coming towards me. The knife presses against my cheek, biting into my skin, and digging deeper even after scarlet starts trickling from the wound. “Hmm? What’s this?”

I look up, shaking. “Blood,” I whisper. “What do you think?”

He pauses. “So you’ve become one of your pets, have you?” he enquires. “You must be desperate…”

Blood is pooling inside my mouth. I don’t know what to say to this. Does he think I’m Kaya?

“Well? What do you have to say for yourself, Kaya Blackrim?” he hisses, so quiet that only I can hear.

Cat?!”

The crowd looks away from the both of us, as if a parent had scolded them for staring for too long. The knife never wavers as the man turns toward the source of the voice, irritation evident on his face. “What do you want?” he asks.

I know him. It’s not Kaya’s memory this time, I can immediately put a face to this voice. But can I trust it? I close my eyes, not willing to look at him.

“What is she doing here?” His voice is trying to remain level, though it’s not succeeding well.

She? You sound like you know her….” The knife finally moves away from my face, leaving behind a bitter sting.

“I…I do. Kaya and I know her.”

Knew her.” The man’s voice is smug as he delivers this reminder.

There’s quiet for a moment. “Knew her,” he amends. “Give her to me. I can talk to her.”

“Out of the question.” The large man’s voice is a growl. “I’m interrogating her.”

I hear footsteps approaching me. “About how she ended up here? With a knife? Why are you concerning yourself with these new humans when there’s Kaya’s disappearance to worry about?”

“That’s precisely why she’s being interrogated! Because she knows things only Kaya herself knew!”

I resist the urge to ask him how he knew about those things, in case he decides to stab me in the cheek again. Blood is starting to spill out of my mouth, and I feel like I’m going to faint, or vomit, or both.

“Kaya and Cat knew each other.” The voice is tired. “They were close. Kaya protected Cat when she started seeing shadows, and they began chasing her.”

There’s murmuring that this. “…So that’s the cause of your trips to that realm?” The man says softly. “I see.” I can feel footsteps retreating, and when he speaks again, his voice is fainter. “Question her. And you will tell me everything.”

I jerk as a hand touches my shoulder. “Stand up,” the voice tells me. I obey, and try to stop shaking as he takes my hand and leads me away. “You can open your eyes, you know.” Tentatively, I blink my them open. “Are you alright?”

I look at him and shrug. If I speak, more blood’s just gonna come out. He just sighs. “Here.” He pulls out a piece of cloth and dabs it across my mouth. I freeze. “Calm down. Only wiping away the blood.” He hands me the cloth. “Here. Spit out the blood.”

Hurriedly, I cough everything out, trying desperately not to vomit. “Come on, let’s get away from here,” Daniel says calmly, before pulling me along with him.

He leads me to a room and closes the door behind him. “What the hell did you do?” he hisses suddenly.

This change in temperament catches me off guard. “Wha-”

Daniel grabs my arm. “I swear to god, with everything that’s happening right now, this is not the time,” he growls. “I don’t know how you got away from the monsters, but please understand that-”

“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!” I shout at him, pulling away from him. His face is surprised at this and my mouth hurts from simply talking, but I’m not in the place to care. “I haven’t…I haven’t done anything! I just…” I’m shaking uncontrollably, but I’ll be damned if I start crying in front of Daniel. “Just tell me where I am. Please.”

After a moment of silence, he speaks, somewhat cold. “You’ve…probably seen it before. Through Kaya I mean. The palace of the Etherals. Remember?”

I think for a moment, and nod. I can now see the similarities between Kaya’s memory and the decor of this room I’m in. “Fine,” Daniel says, before grabbing my wrists and examining them. I freeze up, but let him do it. “Nothing…” he murmurs. “What did you do then? Drugs? Jumping? Gun?”

“What?” I croak, realising what he’s talking about. “I…I never…”

“You ended up here,” Daniel says stonily. “Look, right now, I could care less why. I can already guess myself. After Kaya’s death and you still having dreams and getting attacked, it would be enough to drive anyone over the edge.”

This chilling assumption makes me feel ill. “Daniel…”

“What?” His voice is still devoid of emotion, of caring.

“I did not, fucking, kill myself!” I hiss. “I get it, I’m weak. But that doesn’t mean…” The urge to start sobbing is hurting my head, and I turn away from him in case it overflows.

He’s quiet. “You didn’t…”

“No.” I focus on getting my breathing back to normal.

“I…I see.” His hand touches my shoulder and I flinch away. “I’m sorry,” he sighs. “I shouldn’t have…it’s just…” He goes quiet and stands up. “That man who…carved into your face. He’ll want information. Where did you wake up?”

“Um…” I remember the strange grass I was lying in when I first opened my eyes. “I’m not sure. It was just…a field. The people who found me would be able to tell you more, but…” I indicate the blood splashed over me. It’s dark, like tar.

“Right…” He thinks for a second. “I’ll tell him that. And…I’ll try to get him to let you stay here. I’ll assume responsibility for you, and you’ll stay in my room most of the time.”

“Wait…I…” It finally hits me. This is my home now. Kaya’s world. But…I see the faces of everyone I’m leaving behind. Batman, Papa Willis, Delamore, Slenderman, Snugglepot… “Never mind,” I whisper.

“Here.” He indicates a large bed sitting in the corner of the room. “Sleep there for now. Things are going to be okay, Cat.”

“What happened then?” I blurt out. “Why am I here?”

“…I really don’t know,” he sighs. “I wish I did. But if you didn’t…then…”

“…am I dead Daniel?” I whisper.

“I’ll find out…but I don’t know Cat. I really don’t know.”

Kaya’s Last Command

Standard

I guess if I should start anywhere, it better be here.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Get out.

“Leave me alone,” I whispered, though I knew it would never be that easy.

A dark chuckle filled my ears. Oh, don’t be so dull. I was looking forward to a good fight.

“You can go without-” Before I could continue, a scream filled my ears, and I felt all the blood rush from my face.

Another laugh. See? Not that simple this time, is it? he sneered.

“…where?”

Bathroom. The bloody one. You know exactly the one.

I did. I waited for everyone to focus on their work before quietly slipping away, and the minute I was out of the classroom, I sprinted to the meeting place.

There was no Daniel. Only him. “Should’ve guessed,” I murmured.

He merely laughed. “Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself. What if I was torturing your paramour, and you ignored it?”

“What do you want?” I snarled, wishing to god that I could burn him or tear him apart with my teeth.

“I grow weary of waiting,” he said simply. “How long has it been, three, four years? And Kaya owes me something.”

“You killed her.”

“At her own behest. Though…death isn’t really the correct way to put it, is it?” He raised an eyebrow.

I remained silent. “Oh, don’t worry, I’m not going to tattle on you,” he said cheerfully. “Besides, if they knew the truth, what could they do? Kill you again and again? Actually….”

“Your arm is back,” I interrupted.

“Ah, yes. I found a new one. Lovely girl. Very sweet, ’twas exactly what I needed,” he chuckled darkly.

I didn’t let up. “I destroyed your arm before as well.” I remembered the scent of burning flesh of that day. “How does that work?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” he said temptingly. “Now, are you coming with me?”

“Wh-” He lunged at me suddenly, pinning me against the wall. I drove my foot upward and pushed him away. “No,” I snarled. “Leave me!”

“Cat?”

Delamore’s voice came from outside the door, and my involuntary glance towards it was enough. In less than a second, I felt my head smash onto the ground, his foot crushing my back. “Enough,” he purred. “Now, I’ll give you a minute.”

Fuck you… “Cat, I need you to open the door,” Delamore told me, as if it were that simple.

I inhaled a painful breath. “Delamore…” I croaked. “You need to get out of here.”

“Well, I’m not going anywhere,” she said stubbornly. “What’s going on?”

A bolt of pain shot through my brain. “Get out!” I shouted.

“I’m not going anywhere. I want you to open the door now,” she repeated.

“Stupid bitch,” he sneered. “Honestly, why do you keep them around?”

I was too agonised to speak now. They remind me that assholes like you aren’t real. Plus they keep me away from knives.

He laughed at that. “Oh really? How sweet.”

“Cat!”

Now come along dear, his voice an echo in my brain. The pain followed shortly after, tearing me from the inside out, screaming not even beginning to numb this agony.

Death followed not long after.
_______________________________________________________________________________

This was not Delirium.

The grass was green and sweet smelling, and cool against my cheek. Not blue and likely to stain your skin. And there was sun. Was this heaven?

….heaven? Me?

Not a chance.

I sat up. Yup. This was a human setting. But the question was, why was it a human setting? How did I end up here? Did Kaya walk me here? No, there’s no way that she’d go anywhere other the where she was meant to….unless someone else made her. Are you there Kaya?

No answer. No mistake about it; she had nothing to do with this. She’d be screaming at me for following him, for falling into that trap. And nothing had happened yet. Had it?

Immediately, I started checking for aches and pains. No, nothing. Whatever he had in store for me hadn’t come yet. My clothes were still intact, but it wasn’t the school uniform I had been wearing when I died. It was familiar though; it was Kaya’s skin suit. So what did that make this place? Reality? Delirium? Limbo? Neither?

There was a crack like a whip, and everything was black, as if that entire scene before me could be switched off like a light. “Where are you?” I murmured.

He simply laughed. I would’ve thought you’d want to know where you were, he purred.

“Yeah, well, you’re not gonna tell me that, are you?” I retorted. Anger was a distraction from how dreadfully afraid I was becoming; if I could cling to that, I’d be able to refrain from giving him what he wanted.

Well, no. But don’t you already know?

I flashed my head around. “No.”

Hmm….maybe if I switch on the light again…

Another crack, and I saw the grass sticking against my hip. Poison blue. This I recognised. “Why?”

You need to be here.

“No, I don’t.”

You do. I need you to start here.

“‘Need?’ I never knew you needed anything.”

In order for both of us to fulfil all the requirements of the bargain, I need you to start here.

Bargain? In my mind, Kaya falls beneath the ice again. “That deal was with you and Kaya only. It has nothing to do with me.”

Maybe so. But Kaya is no longer capable of carrying out her part. So you must do it.

“Oh really? Do tell me why I’m going to do it. Actually, tell me how you’re going to try to make me do it. That’s what I’m interested in.”

Flies are more attracted to sweet honey than with vinegar, my dear.

“You can get the same result with bullshit. Your point?”

I have no intention of forcing you to do anything. This is your decision.

My immediate instinct was to refuse flat out. This was a madman, a sadistic killer. I couldn’t trust his word. Didn’t Kaya make that mistake?

…no, she didn’t.

Everything was part of that deal with the devil, and Neekah had done nothing contrary to what was promised. Her life wasn’t as much stolen as…donated; he needed a body to shape, to mutate into something that would be able to carry out what Kaya couldn’t do, in exchange for his own freedom behind the scenes.

I had no words for how utterly pissed I was at Kaya Blackrim in that moment. But that wasn’t the issue right now.

“No matter what my choice, I still have to go through…this?” I murmured.

Well how else are you going to get out of here? he replied gleefully.

Next thing I knew, the floor had caved, and I was on my way down. It was about to begin.

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.