Beware of the Mad Cat

Standard

20140413-053631.jpg

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.

_________________________________________________

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.
______________________________________

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 Prince Charming

Standard

“Come down from the tree Cat.”

“No.”

“Cat, you can’t stay up there forever.”

“Yes I can.”

“Cat…” Daniel’s voice takes on a sharp tone. “This is a social function. It might not be one from your Reality, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show the same etiquette.”

“Since when do you care about manners?” I retort.

“Since about now. Now get down!” he snarls.

“Fine.” I jump out of the tree and land on one leg on the blue grass. I walk past Daniel back to the castle without saying a word.

He follows me, equally silent. “Would you like to tell me why you’re in such a foul mood?” he asks, his voice quiet, even though there’s no one around.

I ignore him. He just sighs. “Just promise me you’ll behave,” he says, and leaves me at the door to his chambers.

I enter, and I slam the door behind me. When I turn, I’m startled to see someone there. She’s just as surprised as me, and she drops the large pile she’s holding when I open the door.

“Oh!” I exclaim. “Jhaq, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know-”

She nods hurriedly and resumes to pick up the ocean of fabrics at her feet. “Here, let me help,” I tell her, scooping up a couple of the items. “Who is this for?”

Jhaq looks down as she speaks. “Miss Madigan, certainly,” she says. “His lord sent them for Miss Madigan.”

I grimace. “He shouldn’t have…” It’s too pretty. I pick it up from the bodice, and I can see that it is embroidered with bronze coloured leaves. I run my hands over the fabric. Velvet. The softest, silkiest velvet I’ve ever touched. Fuck. “Jesus Christ…” I murmur.

“Who is Miss Madigan talking to?” Jhaq asks.

“No one. I…” I turn to her, and she flinches away. “What is happening tonight?” I ask her.

“It is the celebration of His Grace’s first day of age,” she informs me promptly. That’s what I could rely on from Jhaq. Unlike Daniel, she would tell me anything I asked, providing she was capable of understanding my question. Not about Daniel of course; whenever I so much as mentioned him she’d go black in the face. I figure that’s their own form of blushing, but when I first saw it happen I thought they were dying.

“I see…” She’s holding out the dress for me, so I reluctantly take off my clothes -my school dress and shoes- and step into it. She ties the laces for me and steps away with her head bowed.

I walk up to the mirror and look at myself. The dress is the colour of the grass I walked on earlier; deep navy blue. The leaves of bronze cover the bodice and short sleeves, and when I turn around, they fall down my back, like a train. This is not meant for a rude little girl, this is for a princess. “People will look at me,” I say aloud. “I don’t belong there. I won’t ever belong there.”

“People will look at Jhaq too,” Jhaq reminds me. Instantly, I feel horrible. Jhaq’s face has tattoos running from her eyes to the ends of her jaw, like tears, and her dark bruises scarring her cheek and collarbone are easy to see. Jhaq’s face shows nothing. Like me, she doesn’t show sadness easily.

“Should we go?” I ask softly.

She gives a sudden gasp. “Miss Madigan’s head firstly,” she says, and rushes off. She returns quickly with a box. “This is for Miss Madigan’s hair,” she tells me.

I open up the box, and Jhaq pins more bronze leaves in my hair. She lets my hair down so that it trails down my back, and Jhaq nods in approval. “You have been good,” she tells me, her eyes sparkling in a rare moment of amusement. “Other girls huff and scream at Jhaq when she does their hair.”

I shake my head. “They’re only pins, and they don’t hurt,” I told her. “How is your talking coming?”

“My…talking is good. A lot better.” She inclines her head and speaks in a whisper. “Thankyou for my words, Miss Madigan.”

“If you ever want another lot of words, let me know.” Daniel has many ‘words’ in his bookcase, and he won’t miss them. “Shall we go?”

“Miss Madigan shall go,” she confirms.

I frown. “Where do I go though?”

Jhaq sighs. “It is down these rooms,” she tells me. “Follow, if you would please.”

Jhaq leads me out, and we walk together down the long hallways. I find it cold and unwelcome here. Grand, certainly, but not beautiful.

We walk past a tall one and Jhaq turns her head away. He walks toward us suddenly, and I raise my arm across my face in a moment of habit. He walks past me however, and toward Jhaq.

And he hits her across the face.

“You’re not to be wandering these grounds at this time,” he fumes. “Foolish slut, get away from here!” He raises his hand again.

Before he can strike, I step between them. “She is guiding me by my own request,” I tell him. “She has done nothing wrong, and you have no reason to harm her.”

He glares at me. “Oh, it’s you, little freak,” he sneers. “What are you all dressed up for?”

“Daniel wants me by his side tonight.” Even though he knows that I hate the idea of a party with these people, and I’ll be in a bad mood the whole time. “I don’t want any trouble. And neither do you, if you know what I am.”

“I’d be a fool not to,” he retorts. “Freak.

I meet his gaze and smile. “You’ll have to come up with something better than that,” I tell him. “Freak is no longer an insult to me. Now…” I gesture to Jhaq. “If Jhaq isn’t allowed out here, perhaps you can show me where to go?”

His face is no longer angry. It is emotionless and cold as a statue. “Of course,” he says shortly. “If you will follow me.”

I turn to Jhaq and incline my head, like I’ve seen Daniel do. She curtseys slightly and hurries away. I trail after the rude man, and I don’t take my eyes off him for a moment. He is wearing a silver robe, as bright as his hair. His eyes, however, are black as ink. One of these things is not like the other… I mused.

It’s all too grand. Everything is done up in gold and bronze. Even servants are painted in gold. I stand next to the man, on top of glossy, golden stairs. I manage to stop myself from wrinkling my nose at the lack of taste, if only just.

“You like it not,” the man says.

I turn to him. “This is all new to me,” I inform him.

He nods. “Your name is short for Catherine, is it?”

“Why do you wish to know?”

“Daniel’s mentioned a Catherine.”

I shake my head. “That’s not me. I am Cat, simply Cat.”

“Lady Cat. It does not sound as easy on the ear as Catherine.”

“Then what about Lady Madigan?”

He sighs. “Very well then. Start down the stairs.”

“After you sir.”

He bows and starts down. When he reaches the bottom, I start walking too. I spot the back of Daniel’s head; his hair is tied back, and he is dressed all in black. When they call out my name, I see him start to turn around, but suddenly, everyone starts walking forward, and I can’t see him any more.

Someone walks up to me and takes me by the arm. I freeze, unsure what to do, and he laughs. It’s a loud, clear sound, and he smiles at me. “Peace,” he says. “You must be nervous.”

I don’t trust myself to speak, so I just incline my head. Keep it up Cat Madigan. “A shy young thing, aren’t you?” he enquires. He does not let go of my arm, and he walks me across the hall. “Contrary to everything I have heard about you.”

“One would hear many things in this place,” I say as clearly as I manage.

He laughs in response. “Is it true though, that you kicked over my advisor?”

“Do you mean…” I nearly say ‘Fat man’, but I correct myself at the last minute. “…Thommand,” I finish.

“Yes. He has a certain dislike for you,” he tells me merrily, stopping at the edge of the giant room.

“He should.”

When I say nothing else, he talks again. “This is the first I have seen of you,” he says. “Why do you not leave your chambers more often?”

“…I don’t get along with people well.” That’s as honest as I get.

“I disagree. You are conversing with me, and I believe, if I may dare say, that we are getting along at least somewhat well.”

“I suppose,” I admit. I look around the room and I catch people quickly glancing away from me. “Still, there are plenty here who would have nothing to do with me.”

“So why are you here today?” he enquires.

“Daniel,” I tell him.

“Ah…yes. How loyal of you,” he says. “I suppose that is another reason why you never leave your room.”

It takes me longer than it should’ve to understand his implication. “I do not know your name,” I say, changing the topic. “I know nobody here, and I should really remedy that, shouldn’t I?”

“Of course.” He sweeps a bow to me. “Christan, though, I think it would suit everyone else better to call me Your Grace.”

Oh….fuck. “Just as well, Your Grace,” I said, quickly recovering. That’s why people were looking before….Cat Madigan, you stupid bitch… “I know only one person called that, and he is a….” I struggle to come up with a ladylike word. “I do not enjoy him,” I say finally.

“As you wish.” He is handsome, in his own way, I observe. He has silver hair, like the man from before, but he has golden eyes, which shine like the sun, and a permanent smile on his face. He is the image of Prince Charming. If Prince Charming was lacking eyebrows.

I didn’t trust him.

Not a lot, anyway.

It wasn’t anything he did. I simply don’t trust handsome strangers who flirt with me for no reason.

He started talking again. “So, when can I expect your first day of age?” Christan asks me. “Of course, it doesn’t matter much, but if you allowed me, I’d be happy to bestow upon you a gift. Or Daniel perhaps.”

I start panicking in my head. What does Day of Age mean? I screamed inwardly.

I just said, “In two years.”

“I see. And how many moons?”

Moons? Wait, does he mean months? I restrain from laughing at the term. “Six.” If it means what I think it is.

“Very well then. Well, I believe I shan’t keep you from Daniel any longer. I wouldn’t want to cause a scandal here tonight,” he laughs, taking my hand.

Suddenly there is a loud bang. “What is that?” I ask, immediately on guard. I feel my hand burning, and I’m grateful that Christan is holding the other.

“The prisoner,” he says, a touch of exhaustion in his voice. “Do not worry, my lady, this isn’t the first time this has happened.”

I take the opportunity. “I was wondering, Your Grace,” I started.

“Go on.” He looks at me with his golden eyes.

“Might I have your permission to see him? The prisoner, I mean.”

Christan frowns. “He’s wild, my lady,” he tells me. “I wouldn’t want to compromise your safety. Besides, we are still trying for information from him.”

“I am human,” I remind him. “Like he is. Maybe I could help?”

“A pretty face might prompt him to tell us something,” he said thoughtfully.

I snort, not at the flattery, but at what would be said in Reality about that. I could almost hear Slenderman sniggering “Heheheh, incest.”

“I’ll consider it, my lady,” he tells me. “Now, if you’ll come with me.” He and I walk over to Daniel, sitting in a dark corner with a cone in his hand. “Daniel!” Christan calls jovially. “So this is the lovely lady you keep locked away from us all. I don’t blame you, my man.”

Ugh….

Daniel sees me flinch, and his lips turn up at the sides. “I thank you,” he tells Christan. “And I thank you for letting me bring her, Your Grace.”

“Ah, it is my pleasure.” Christan was distracted by another beauty passing by, wearing pink and gold and far too much face paint. “If you will excuse me, I must attend to other matters. I hope you enjoy tonight, my lady.” He raises my hand to his lips to kiss and bows, before turning to another girl.

I sit beside Daniel. “Thankyou,” I said.

He turns to me with his eyebrow raised. “I am allowed to see him,” I say. “It’s probably more for interrogation, but I can see him.”

He frowns. “Really?”

“What? You didn’t think of this?”

“Actually, no,” he admitted. “You asked His Majesty?”

I shrug. “He must like you,” he muses.

Another shrug. “Would you like him?” Daniel asks, eyebrow raised suggestively.

I shook my head. “I don’t go for the Knights in Shining Armour,” I told him.

“Oh, you’re more of the Heathcliff type, are you?”

I wrinkle my nose. “Heathcliff is pathetic. He’d probably marry me and ship me off to somewhere dark to die, while he pined over a married woman.”

“Fair enough.” He takes a sip out of his cone.

“Whiskey?” I ask.

He shakes his head. “Cloud dew,” he tells me. “Want some?”

“Doesn’t that mean rain?” I ask, but I take the drink.

He watches me as I take a sip. “You’re behaving quite well, Lady Madigan.”

The drink is sickly sweet. “Thankyou. But if you didn’t take me here to get permission, why did you?”

Daniel smiles. “You like parties.”

“…when I’m around people I enjoy,” I amend.

“Do you enjoy me?”

“Occasionally.” I narrow my eyes. “When you’re not drugging me. What was that for?”

“I was saving your life,” he said mildly, taking the cone back and having another gulp.

“How can you stand that drink, it’s horribly sweet.”

“How appropriate,” he says drily. “It’s alright, I have you, my sour tongued shrew.”

“That’s a rhyme,” I smile.

He grins back. “You forgive me?”

“I will eventually.”

“Good girl. Now.” He stands up. “May I have this dance, m’lady?”

“Do I have to?”

“Well, everyone else is. And the alternative is His Grace, who is coming this way now.”

I look up. “I’ll take His Grace.”

“Whatever. Just watch out for his hands.” He winks at me as Christan appears and holds out his arm before asking if I would accompany him in a dance.

Two dances is all I have with him. Daniel was right, throughout the dance, I’d slowly become closer and closer to His Grace, and by the end of the second, when I asked if I could go back, he pressed a ribbon into my palm before bowing to me and kissing my hand.

When I showed Daniel the ribbon, he sniggered, trying to conceal his face from the crowd. “Please don’t tell me what I think it means,” I said flatly.

When he looked up, his face was straight, but his eyes were gleaming. “It’s a scarlet ribbon, you whore,” he told me cheerfully. “Since when is scarlet ever innocent?”

I grimace. “You’ve had too much to drink.”

“On the contrary. I’ve been feeding on only sweets and secrets all evening,” he said. “Of course, though, I’d like something more savory now. Come dance with me.”

“I told His Grace I was sitting out this one.”

Daniel smiles slyly and turns to whisper in my ear. “Dance, or I’m going to have to make a scene.”

“That’s blackmail.”

“Hadn’t noticed,” he said dryly.

I stand up, and let him walk me over to where everyone is dancing. “I’m curious as to what sort of scene you’d make,” I start. “Would you care to divulge that little secret?”

“No dice,” he tells me. “If I start telling you all my secrets, how will I stop?”

“I have three I want to know. And you don’t know half of mine.”

He raises an eyebrow. “Trade for secrets, hmm? You’ve peaked my interest, Lady Madigan.”

“So what would’ve you done?” I ask.

“Something more public and more embarrassing than a scarlet ribbon.” He grins. “Number two?”

“Who is Catherine?”

He grimaces. “You don’t have to answer,” I tell him. “But I won’t judge.”

“Someone from a long time ago,” he says.

“Lover?”

“God no.”

“You’re not going to tell me any more, are you? Fine then, I’ll be just as discreet with my answers.”

“I wouldn’t expect any less of you. And third?”

“What is the beginning of the end?”

He stops smiling. “Do I want to know?” He shakes his head. “How do you even know? Are you psychic?”

“That is more than 3 questions, Lady Madigan. My turn now.”

I braced myself. This would be painful.