Daniel Comes To School

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Daniel is not religious. In case you haven’t figured that out already by his behaviour in church.

Neither are my parents actually. Apparently Mum used to believe in God, but not anymore. And now it seems like she rejects religion completely, except for that one commandment where apparently we have to obey our parents. All that religion is in her eyes is a moneymaking industry preying on the vulnerability of the masses.

I’m not sure about my father, as I haven’t spent enough time with him to know this. Like me, he’s interested in the history part of this, but he doesn’t go to church. I know very little about my father, when I think about it.

Daniel summed up his beliefs to me in class. “I’ve never really believed in a God,” he told me. “And since…” His voice trailed off, indicating the Delirium we both lived in. “I can’t really fathom the idea of a man who simultaneously controls several worlds at the same time, each with their own set of ethics.” He grimaced. “It’s a bit two-faced when you think about it. Saying that you must be kind to one another to one set of people, and telling the other that it is your right to commit sin.”

“Maybe God’s got serious personality issues?”

“Or maybe there’s several Gods, and each is struggling to take control of the infinite worlds. Earth and Delirium are controlled by separate gods.”

“Interesting…does that mean that our god took us there so that we could dominate that world?” I wrinkled my nose.

“That would be a cruel god.”

“Silly Daniel…who said that gods had to be nice?” I returned.

Miss S is the most awesome teacher ever. Not only does she spoil us rotten, but she’s also probably the only teacher who I’ve been honest with about the true nature of my blackouts. She often misses lessons, and she confided in me why; she has epilepsy, and she’s always worrying about losing control during class.

One time, after a particularly bad episode, she came to me after class and asked me about my condition. And that was when Daniel, at that moment standing behind Miss S, told me to tell her.

Why? I frowned at him.

“You need to confide in at least one teacher,” he said. “In case something bad happens and Willis or Flash or anyone else aren’t there to help. And if Kaya loses it…”

I just closed my eyes. The problem with people is that they believe they’re doing the right thing, but ‘the right thing’ doesn’t mean the same to all people. And I did not know what ‘the right thing’ would be for Miss S. She was cool, don’t get me wrong. But would that prevent her from informing my parents?

“Okay…think of it this way,” Daniel said. “Say that Kaya does lose it. Would you want her to be near when that happens?”

No one’s safe, I thought.

“Doesn’t matter about that.” Daniel anticipated my train of thought. “If she knows, she can protect herself. And others, if may be.” He came to my side and put his arm around me. “I think that she might be able to understand at least a little bit.”

So I told her. And she didn’t tell anyone else. Or my parents. She asked what my blackouts were like, and I gave her the basics; essentially, I went into my own little world, and that during that time, I had no awareness of what happened in Reality. At one point, I accidentally slipped up and mentioned that I was often attacked by shadows, which lead me to talking about Daniel. I didn’t dwell too long on him, but Miss S seemed satisfied with the knowledge that he took care of me. I believe that she’s under the impression that Daniel’s my own age though, which I suppose is okay.

I do wonder occasionally what her reaction would be if she could see Daniel as he was; a grown man who, in any responsible adult’s eyes, had nothing more than an eyepatch, smooth words and an extremely bad record when it came to babysitting. Not to mention a potential alcohol problem.

“Don’t forget badassery.”

And a very, very large ego.

Anyway…Daniel was with me in Religion when we were discussing Natural Law, where both of us got to listen to how much less violent it was compared to the world we struggled to survive in.

Concerning Genetic Selection…

“I want my child to be attractive as possible,” Bell said. Instantly, the room was filled with boos, and in my case, laughter. “C’mon, if anyone says that ‘looks don’t matter’, you, are a liar,” she claimed. “That’s the way society is; success is largely contributed to good looks and charisma, and if that means that my kids would be happy, then that’s what I’d want for them.”

“Kind of got a point there,” Daniel said. When I looked at him, he went on. “Think of Delirium. You’ve seen Christan’s friends. What can you make of them other than the fact that they are, in their eyes, beautiful?”

“Not that much,” I admitted. “Still, this is Reality.”

“Is it really that different?” he retorted. “People in the spotlight are beautiful, the rest are largely ignored until disaster strikes.”

“Like suicide?”

“That’s one example. There’s no need to think along those specific lines though…”

“Still…accident, murder, environmental disaster…they all have one thing in common.”

“Hmm…”

“I get what you’re saying though,” I continued. “Physical beauty is an advantage in worlds like ours. It gives you the influence you need to succeed, and from there…”

“The rest relies on your own skills though,” Daniel concluded. “Influence is fickle; it only lasts if you make it last.”

“Mmhm. But I still think it’s wrong to genetically alter your child…how different would I be if I was designed by my parents.”

“Very.” Daniel frowned. “I wonder how different I would be…”

I didn’t know what he meant.

Concerning materialism vs common ownership…

“Common ownership worked for the Helevians,” Daniel said.

“But they were the most beautiful civilisation in the world. And they weren’t corrupted with manipulative bastards or naive little boys who are encouraged to indulge themselves in anyway they want.”

“Oh, there were manipulative bastards,” Daniel confirmed. “It’s just Nereida and her father were wiser than Christan is.”

“I miss Nereida,” I told him.

“You two didn’t interact much though,” Daniel pointed out.

He was right about that. Whenever I encountered Nereida in Reality, she’d just watch me, before vanishing without a word. The rest of the time, I saw Nereida through Kaya’s eyes. “Still. It would be nice if Delirium had people like Nereida still,” I said wistfully.

“She once said we were alike.”

“How so?” I frowned.

He grimaced. “I have a feeling that she may have been referring to our…sense of humour.”

“Oh yeah…” Another reason why I wish Nereida was alive; she was an even bigger pervert than Daniel. And perverts are wonderful people.

“She was strong,” Daniel continued. “Everyone talks of how Kaya suffered the most. But Nereida suffered too. She lost her father. And then the espers killed her childhood friends one by one, and then…”

“Whatever must be done must be done with grace,” I quoted. “Till the end.”

“On one hand, people are more likely to cherish the objects that they have earned,” Miss S explained. “On the other, peace is more likely to be maintained if everyone owns the same thing.”

“The thing is, it’s human nature to always want more,” Bell argued.

“But isn’t peace more important?” Payne asked. “I’d rather everyone was able to get the same than own my own things.”

Daniel scoffed. Payne was one of those goody goody students, and she looked down on me for my occasional disinterest in class. She was, as my mother put it, one of those people who prayed for the poor loudly in church, and kicked them away on the way out the door. One day, she was the lucky one to discover me coming out of the bathroom with blood on my face. All I can really remember of that specific encounter is that she spent the whole time trying to get the truth out of me, while it was up to Daniel to make sure I washed my mouth out and rehydrated. At the end of it, I told Payne that she couldn’t help me and that she would immediately regret hearing the truth when I told it, much to her frustration.

Concerning Stealing…

“It’s wrong,” Payne-in-the-ass said automatically.

“But what if you really needed something but you couldn’t afford it?” I retorted.

“Like what?” she scoffed.

“Oh, I dunno. Food, medicine, clean water,” I proposed. “What if I were homeless and I had to get out of the cold or I’d die of hypothermia?”

“That’s what your parents are-”

I nearly laughed at that. “You’re missing the point. If you were stuck out in the cold, and the only option would be to squat in an empty store or house or something, that would be stealing. So is that wrong?”

Daniel was grinning. This argument went on until it was time to go to Maths, and he stayed behind with me to pick up my books. “You’d make a great lawyer,” he told me.

“God no.” I made a face. “I would be stammering non stop in front of a judge.”

“Not really. You can hold your own in an argument. And you can figure out the inconsistencies in what people say.”

“Not immediately though. I need time to think about things. Lawyers need to be on their feet all the time, processing everything immediately. If I did that, I’d go-” At that, I sigh. “Well, I guess I’m too late already.”

Miss S smiled at me as I walked out. “You did well,” she said. “I like the way you think.”

“Really?” Before I could continue, she had already vanished.

“Is it really too hard to believe you’re good at something?”

“I’m sorry, what am I good at again?”

“Thinking.”

“…maybe.”

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Evil Twin

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I don’t see Kaya as often as some people think. She’s only in my head when A, I have a bad episode in Delirium and she comes in so people don’t hear me dying, or B, when she’s in a very bad mood.

Which is why, on Friday, I got to spend most of the day with the bitch. Because I had a very special photoshoot that day.

It doesn’t look like me, she informed me. If you’re going to impersonate me, you might at least try.

“You try talking to her,” I pleaded with Daniel. He just ignored me, and continued looking through my iPad. “Found anything yet?”

“Nothing you’d be looking for,” he replied. “Mostly brightly coloured stuff, none of them scream ‘grim reaper’ to be honest.”

“You’re in the wrong section then. Just scroll down till you reach the dark pictures.”

“There’s a lot of shit on this thing, Cat Madigan, you ever think of clearing it?”

“All the time. And every time I think, What if I need to refer to it? It’s a vicious cycle.”

Why do you even do this to yourself?

“I like modelling. It gives me self confidence, and I need self confidence.”

You have the eye of a king on you, she reminded me. What more do you want?

“He’s…” I nearly said not real, but I’m already on Kaya’s bad side. “I’m not interested,” I settled for saying.

Liar.

“Kaya…” Daniel said warningly.

“I’m genuinely not interested Kaya. He’s nice, but he’s got the attention span of a cat.”

Pot. Calling. Kettle. Kaya’s voice was as dry as a bone.

“You know what I mean,” I groaned. “I don’t think I’d be able to talk with him the way I’d want to talk to someone. Not to mention, he seems like the type that would only desire someone till he had her.”

In other words, you don’t want to get hurt.

“No, that’s not the issue. The issue is that he’s not the sort of person I’d be interested in as a…what word would you guys use?”

“Lover?” Daniel suggested.

“…really? Is your whole mind entirely focused on sex?”

“Hey, you wanted a word for it.”

Concubine?

Both Daniel and I widened our eyes. “Kaya…” I said. “Please tell me you know what that word means.”

Of course I do.

“No offence to Cat, but I think the term concubine would refer to her rather than our beloved king,” Daniel pointed out.

I grimaced. “Not happening. I’ve had enough of that sort of thing.”

“For now.”

Before I could ask what Daniel meant, Kaya spoke up. There’s not really a word for it, she mused. Normally there’s a contract to marry, and perhaps courtship after that, if the husband wishes. More often it’s not. I could hear the distaste in her voice. And after that, there is marriage….maybe you could be his sweetheart?

“I’m not his frigging sweetheart!” I hissed.

What’s gotten into her? Her tone is as if she has never snapped at me in the whole duration of her existence.

“Leave her, Kaya,” Daniel said wearily. “Both of us aren’t good with that sort of thing right now.”

“Thanks Daniel. Anything yet?”

“I think you’d have a better chance searching YouTube for makeup ideas,” he said. “There’s nothing here.”

“It can’t be, there has to be something.” I took the iPad out of his hands.

“No!”

“…well, I see why you haven’t been finding anything.” I hurled it back at his chest.

“Ow!”

Before I could say anything more, we hear shouting. “Not again…” I groaned.

What’s going on now?

“Do I ever know what’s on with them?” I retorted. “Tig’s not like me, Kaya, he talks back. He’s under the impression that he’s intelligent and that screaming back insults makes a difference.”

What’s he done?

Suddenly, I heard a loud slamming sound, and my brother sobbing. Mum screamed at him, and I could make out the words How dare you, and Little shit. “It’s sickening…” Daniel said stiffly, trying not to show anything.

Are you alright Cat?

“I’m used to it.” I took the clothes out of my cupboard and laid them on the bed for the afternoon.

That wasn’t answering my question, she observed.

“Would you answer honestly if you were me?”

Mum charged into the room suddenly, without warning. Daniel froze, even though he’d be able to move freely and not be seen by her. “Your brother,” she announced, “has stolen most of the Easter eggs.”

“Why am I not surprised?”

“And he’s not owning up to it.”

“Again. My astonishment is extremely lacking.”

“Hmm.” She frowned at me. “It wasn’t you, was it?”

“No.”

“How do I know it wasn’t?”

I groaned. “I don’t know how I’m meant to prove myself innocent.” I turned to Daniel as Mum went on a tangent, and I saw his face going red, even though he was barely moving.

After what seemed an eternity, she finally left my room. Is she always like this? Kaya questioned.

“Not always.” That makes it harder though, I add mentally.

Hmm…

“So your brother’s stealing again,” Daniel observed.

“Seems like. You’d think he’d learn by now.”

“I don’t agree with what your parents do, but your brother is truly a little-”

“Daniel…”

“Fine.” Daniel put his arm around my shoulder. “How are you?”

“Fine.” That’s all I say.

“Kaya…” Daniel said after a while. “You’ve been quiet.”

Oh?

“What do you think?”

Of what?

“Cat’s parents.”

He shouldn’t be punished that way, she said firmly. Not by being thrown against the wall. I grimaced at a similar memory. Sorry Cat.

“Don’t worry about it.”

“Kaya…” Daniel’s voice had an odd note to it. “Tell her.”

“What?” I looked at Daniel and frowned. “What aren’t you telling me now?

He groaned. But when he opened his mouth to say something, Kaya spoke up. It’s fine! She doesn’t need to know.

“Kaya…what did you do?” I asked, suddenly going cold all of a sudden.

…Well.

Daniel interrupted her. “Cat, you might want to check in your wardrobe.”

“…do I want to?” He gestured towards it. “Very well…” I walked over to it and slid the door open. That’s when I saw the tinfoil. “You’ve got to be kidding me…” I span around, as if I expected Kaya to be behind me. “This is what you do when you take over when I’m in Delirium? You steal chocolate?”

I was starving! she protested. You barely eat anything, how can you stand sitting there with an empty belly?

“I eat apples! Apples are good! The chocolates are off limits though!”

Well, I didn’t know that!

“Shit…” I knew my hands were shaking, but I didn’t care. “My brother just got beaten up because of that!”

Cat, I’m so sorry, if I had known that it wasn’t allowed, I never would’ve done it, I swear.

I just sighed. “Now what?”

“Discard evidence,” Daniel directed. “Put the wrappers in the bathroom, in the cupboard. No one knows who put them though, no one gets the blame.”

“Or we both get the blame and we both get walloped till one of us confesses,” I pointed out.

“Yeah, well, I don’t see any better choices. Unless you’d like to confess that your dead demon friend who possesses you took the chocolates.”

Kaya scoffed. Demons are pathetic.

“Exactly my point.”

“Oh don’t you two start,” I hissed. I took the wrappers and crumpled them up and put them in a plastic bag. As soon as they got put in the cupboard, I hurried back to my room. “There. Hopefully things will end there.”

“Well, you’d better get dressed,” Daniel said. “Kaya’s makeup will be here soon.”

Kaya hissed in my head. “Shut up Kaya,” I told her.
_____________________________________________________

It resembled Kaya a lot, but not precisely. But no one except us would know that.

Kaya’s hair covered her forehead entirely; whereas the wig I had gotten from Comic-con only had little bits covering my face.

Kaya’s skin was pale grey in colour, and I remember that covering the sides of her face and her arms were a number of random scales. What made it even more frightening was the black protruding veins which were so hard to ignore. The makeup, of course, wasn’t anything like that. She was still quite pale, but the makeup was for a natural skin tone. It was almost like Kaya had been humanised, somewhat.

The contact lenses I had were close to Kaya’s eyes. But they were only contacts, so of course, they weren’t an exact match. Kaya hated her eyes. Once, when she was younger, they were a pretty silver, but after her arrest and confinement, they became a bright, glowing violet to match the poison. They could’ve been lovely, but after what Kaya went through, it was rare for her to show any emotion other than emptiness or rage, and I don’t blame her.

You’re also fatter than me, Kaya informed me.

“Yeah, well, that’s because I haven’t been starved for eight or so years,” I retorted. That shut her up.

This is similar to what I wore when I escaped with Daniel, she mused, looking at my costume. But my hair was long then.

“I can barely remember you with long hair though,” I told her. “You cut it off not long after.”

I know…

I giggled. “I remember their faces when you did that.”

She laughed at the memory. It was as if I had slaughtered their children.

“In a way, it was. Those maids must’ve spent hours brushing the mats out of your hair.”

I don’t regret my decision. There’s a hint of mischief in her tone. Daniel was the funniest though. He was trying to comfort the poor women.

“Aww….Daniel used to be a gentleman!”

He still is. He just acts perverted to irritate you.

“Why?”

You’re funny when you’re irritated.

“Not always.” I showed her my memory of murdering that woman.

There’s a difference between irritated and infuriated, Kaya said. You need to forgive yourself.

“Then it will become easier. I don’t want to do that again.”

Who are you? she asked me suddenly.

“I’m…not entirely sure. Who am I? What am I? Am I a different species now?”

Look. Kaya cleared her throat. Your name is Cat Madigan. It’s not the name you were born with, but you’re not the same person from when you were born, are you? She went on before I could speak. You’ve changed a lot over the years. When I met you, you were a quiet, innocent young woman. A disaster waiting to happen.

And then I met you again, with Daniel. You were scared, terrified actually. What astounded me was that you trusted me over Daniel, who is obviously the less frightening article.

“Daniel used to be an asshole though.”

He’s changed a lot too. He didn’t like you because he thought you were some weak little snivelling thing.

“And I’m not?”

“Definitely not.” I jumped at the sound of Daniel’s voice. “Hey.” He waved at me.

“Hello Daniel. Can you tell me what I am? Daniel?”

He’s taking in the sight of me. “Right…sorry. We’re going to leave in ten minutes,” I told him. “Wanna come?”

Daniel smiled. “Would I go anywhere else?”

I’ll be off then. With that, the pain in my head vanished.

“Can you answer my question then?” I asked Daniel.

He sighed, and knelt down as if I were a child half my size. “My dear lady,” he said, looking up at me. “You are about to witness a remarkable event.” He inhaled. “I agree with Kaya.”

I managed to stop myself from laughing. “I see.”

“It’s true.”

“That…must’ve been hard on you.”

“…you can laugh now if you want.”

I grinned. “Thankyou.”

“Now. You wanted to know who you are? You are Cat Madigan. Not Freak or Kaya or Bitch, or anything else.”

“Aren’t I? Think about what I’ve done. I’m going down the same road as Kaya.” I remembered her last moment, on the Lake of Ghosts. “I’ll end up like her, one day. I can feel it.”

“No.” Daniel took my hand. “There’s a very big difference between the two of you.”

“Which is?”

“Remorse,” he answered. “Kaya killed men she didn’t know and brushed it aside. She wanted revenge on their kind, so she became one of them.”

“And I’m not? I’ve gone through ‘treatments’ too, Daniel. I’m a freak, and I can kill just as easily as she can.”

“No. You won’t.” Daniel stood up and drew me in for a hug. “Because you can see the good in people as well. Kaya’s disillusioned because of everything that’s happened, but you still have faith, no matter how little. And that guilt stops you, makes you pause before you do something you’ll regret.”

“No it doesn’t,” I argued. “I’ve killed before that woman. And now I’ve lost count.”

“I know that. Yes, you’ve killed people.” He grimaced. “But you’ve always been as guilty as hell afterwards. And that’s the difference. Kaya let herself become a monster. You’re more reluctant to let go of your humanity. And that’s who you are, Cat Madigan; human.”

“Freak,” I insisted.

“Freaks are human too,” he reminded me. “Sometimes more than most humans. And this world of mine needs some humanity left in it.”

“You and me, against the rest of the he world,” I laughed.

“That’s how it’s gonna be,” he grinned.
;

Don’t Feed The Cat Madigan.

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I think I mentioned once that I received my anxiety from my father and my depression from my mother. No clue where the hallucinations came from though. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

So my father’s anxiety has started acting up again, and according to my mother, he’s been having panic attacks. He went to the doctor, who told him something about anxiety. This may or may not turn out to be total crap, but who knows?

Anyway, Doctor Jeff told Dad that there is increasing evidence that gluten is linked to mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, and that perhaps going glucose free would be better for him.

Upon being told this by my father, my mother decided that the whole family needed to go on the diet, to support my father. It’s easy to understand what that means. Would you like a translation, nonexistent reader?

I think that if Cat Madigan goes on this diet, her problems will be magically solved, and we can go back to the world of children’s stories.

I’m interested in finding out how she plans to enforce this on my alleged brother, arguably the most deceitful person on Planet Earth. Chances are, Tig will resort to stealing from Mum in order to buy pizza, and other foods with wheat, instead of iTunes cards. And I wonder if Dad is actually going to stick to it too. It can go either two ways; he stays on the diet, or he ends up stashing pasta in his desk, along with chocolate bars and porn.

Hey! Don’t look at me that way! I was looking for chocolate, I had no idea about the porn, and I really wish that I was still oblivious to it.

No wonder I’m fucked up.

Personally, I think this is going to go the same way as the sugar free diet went. About two years ago, when my blackouts were simply blackouts, Mum attempted to make me go on the same diet she had been on for about fifteen years before we were born, in order to control my blood sugar. It’s got to do with highs and lows; sugar gives you a huge high before plummeting, which can cause faints. Now, of course, I’m aware that my blackouts are most likely brought on by my hallucinations. And what causes my hallucinations is probably not my mild chocolate addiction.

Here’s what I think will happen, step by step.

1- Mum will remove every trace of everything that has wheat in it.

2- Mum will replace everything with gluten free counterparts. Does it matter if it’s appetising? Nope. Will she expect us to eat it? Yup.

3- I will most likely refuse to eat said gluten free foods, partially because they’ll be disgusting, but mainly because my stomach is the size of an apricot and I’ll be full after a yogurt with psyllium. Which doesn’t contain gluten, thank Christ.

4- Mum shall try to guilt trip me into eating disgusting gluten free counterparts, saying “We’re all doing this for you!” even though deep down, we all know it’s not going to work.

5- I’ll probably learn to cook rice dishes. Which is awesome, I love Asian food.

6- Less awesome; Mum will be angry that I am showing some independence, and will probably yell at me for some reason she’ll make up in her head.

7- No junk food. I know that gluten isn’t in all junk food items, but knowing my mother, this diet is one step from gluten free to everything-considered-appetising-and-fattening free. This, will lead to disobedience on Tigger’s part, and, depending if the diet works for me or not, mine too.

8- Tigger will start stealing money for pizza.

9- Father will hide items full of gluten with his porn.

10- I will end up starving and run away to the streets, where there is at least food.

11- Mum will go on a murderous rampage after this culmination of events.

THE END.

On that note, I implore you all, if you are/know a doctor, dietician, nutritionist, psychologist, paediatrician, or essentially anyone who knows about gluten free diets or how gluten affects mental disorders like the ones I mentioned above, please let me know if the diet does in fact work. I’ll try it if it helps my problems, but if it’s trash, then let me know by commenting on this post. Preferably before my mother goes around killing people.

Mum is trying to pressure me into eating disgusting bread now. It begins…

Cat Madigan.