~~“Just one more step, it’ll all be better I promise,” my left foot began to twitch, her hold over me was too strong, she was going to make me jump.
“No! Katy please!” I pushed hard against her, but it was hard to get a hold on something that wasn’t real, “Don’t do this to me!” the desperation in my voice ran away from me in the strong wind. I felt Katy’s concentration twitch before I saw the world she had created fizzle before my eyes. Her break didn’t last long, she quickly regained her focus and the large bridge appeared again. I was losing track of what was real, I wasn’t really standing on the highest rail of this remarkable bridge, was I? No, I was home, in my room, where I always was, I wouldn’t let her win.
“Katy. Stop.” I tried to sound brave but my voice faltered as I heard her familiar cackle, she knew exactly what she was doing. I had nothing to go back to, so this was going to be easy for her, or so she thought. My mind began to race, coming up with endless possibilities as to how my newly written plan would turn out, “I’ll miss you,” I whispered to my only friend before taking the final step. The world Katy had created spun violently around me, I knew what the spinning represented: I was going to die, and yet all I could see in the tornado of dark red and black was the sadness of what Katy had put me through. I had known her merely a week, and since then she had become the single, most important thing in my life. She was my blessing, I had always known she wasn’t a good person, but I never thought her capable of this, I thought I was the one thing that she wouldn’t ruin, the point where her madness would stop. Her aim wasn’t to kill me; I knew that much; what she wanted was much, much worse. She wanted to drive me insane.
I had been living in this world with Katy for five days. In those five days she had given me everything I had ever wanted; I was rich beyond imagining, popular and adored by thousands of people, even though I was always aware that none of it was real, the longer I stayed, the more lost I became. Katy gave me the world, but it was by no means without charge. With each day that passed, she took something from me, they were things I thought I didn’t need, didn’t love, but as I began to unravel the web Katy had weaved before me, I became more aware of what she was doing to me. She was making sure, that when I returned to reality I would have nothing, no one. I can sit here and blame Katy for every problem in my life, but I know that I am more to blame than she is. Selfishness and the desire to be better than everyone else took over me, Katy tempted me with the offer of leaving this world and I jumped at the chance. Even when Katy set down her rules, I didn’t hesitate for a second. She had specifically told me,”I will take what you love, and you will never want to come back,” but still, my choice did not waver, her threat meant nothing to me; truthfully, I didn’t believe that she was capable of actually going through with it. My sole focus was myself, I didn’t care about my Mum, I didn’t care about my little sister, I made excuses for why I thought it was okay to leave them. You can always tell when you are making the wrong decision because you have to make excuses for your choices. If you truly believed that you were doing the right thing, you wouldn’t need to tell yourself why. Even while I was living here with Katy and she began to take the people I loved, I never once considered what that meant. Her ‘taking them’ didn’t make sense to me, she couldn’t kill them, she wasn’t real. However, whatever concern I briefly felt for my family was always forgotten when Katy began more of her games.
The twister of colour began to slow, by no means had it stopped, but the speed at which I was hurtling to the ground had significantly lessened. I began to wonder if I would after all, survive, what was happening to me wasn’t real, right? I weighed up my possible options: survive, and go back home, but with that there came the worry of discovering my family were gone; If I died here, would I wake up back home anyway? If I survived would Katy try and kill me again? As my options and questions darted through my mind I realised I had stopped spinning.
“Nice work, you didn’t die, but I have a feeling you will wish that you had soon enough,” Katy’s voice seemed to be coming for everywhere and nowhere all at once. I didn’t have the slightest idea where she was, never mind where I was and I couldn’t look because my body wouldn’t move. I tried to scream out to her but no noise escaped from my lips. Panic surged within me, was this my punishment? To be forever trapped, motionless, not knowing where I was.
An unfamiliar sound hauled me from my despairing thoughts. It was a regular beeping, that suddenly became quickened as I became aware of my new surroundings. I was in a hospital. I heard various shouts and calls from around my but I couldn’t see any people. I heard my name several times before a man’s face appeared directly above me. I tried to sit up but felt a force holding my arms and legs to the bed. I pulled viciously at each of my bound limbs but was still strapped to the bed.
“Mina, calm down, you’ll only hurt yourself,” the man’s voice only added to my panic. I screamed and wailed various pleas and other unrecognisable words but the man left and I was alone.
After what seemed like a whole day had passed, my wrists and ankles were raw due to the amount of strain I had put them under. However, the pain wasn’t bothering me, I needed answers. I heard the door to the room open to my left and I quickly began to struggle again, determined to break free from my seemingly invincible binds.
“Mina, it really is no use, they aren’t going to let you go,” I recognised the smooth, menacing voice instantly.
“Katy what have you done!?” her only response was the loud cackle I was so used to.
“What have I done? Oh no my sweet, I’m afraid the question is what have you done!”
“Katy! Tell me, tell me what I did!”
“I’m afraid I would find it much more entertaining if you heard it from your new psychiatrist,”
I began to shout in protest but felt Katy’s presence melt away. Then I realised it hadn’t been her that had previously opened the door, what use would an imaginary body have for using a door? A tall, thin, red headed woman stood to the left hand side of my bed. The whole time that I had been merrily shouting and interrogating Katy, this woman had been there.
“Mina, who’s Katy?”
Anger roared within me, if this woman truly was my psychiatrist, then Katy had surely set this whole thing up. She had made me talk to her in front of this woman so that I would look crazy.
“Who are you?”
“You didn’t answer my question, but I am Dr. Knight, your psychiatrist,” Great, Katy was telling the truth, now the only question was: why was I in a hospital?
“Why am I here?”
“Now Mina, you know as well as I do why you’re here. Now tell me who is Katy and what were you talking to her about?”
“I can’t tell you that until you tell me why I’m here and where my Mum and sister are?” the look of disgust that shone through Dr. Knight’s eyes was shocking and sent shivers down my spine.
“Don't you dare! You - You killed them, that’s where they are!”
“No....that’s not funny! Where are they!?”
“You think I’m trying to be funny? You killed them. They’re dead. And now you’re going to pay!” the doctor lunged forward, hands spread, heading directly for my neck. I screamed loudly, hoping that I wasn’t completely alone with her, and then I heard an all too familiar laugh from behind the good doctor. My scream was cut off as her long fingers latched tightly around my throat, and there, standing behind her, was Katy.
I threw mental daggers at Katy with my eyes, I knew how she controlled people, I had been subjected to it many a time; and now, she was forcing this woman to kill me. However, I also knew that Katy only fed off emotions that the person was already harbouring. That’s why it had been so easy for her to get me to leave, and then jump from the bridge, she knew the fears and paranoia that raged inside me, she also knew that I was lonely; I guess that is why she latched onto me with such abandon. So, the fact that Katy had made this woman attack me only proved that she already felt a serious amount of hatred for me. Could she possibly have been telling the truth? Did I kill my family? My whole body went still, I stopped trying to fight the doctor’s grip, I just lay there, staring at my only friend. The murderous grin slowly slid from her face in time with the doctor’s hands sliding from my throat.
“Mina! It’s no fun when you give up!” Katy’s whine was muffled by the doctor’s scream.
“Oh my god! Mina I am so sorry, I don’t know what came over me, please I beg you, don’t report me -,”
“It’s okay,” my words felt like someone was rubbing the inside of my throat with sand paper. The doctor hastily left, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“Katy, did I kill them?”
“I’m afraid so Minny, I did warn you,” her hand rested on mine before she evaporated before my eyes. She did this, she took my family from me, and now she was going to pay.
Days passed as I slowly withered away in that dingy hospital room. Various doctors and nurses visited me; some spoke to me and asked questions, while others stayed as far from me as possible or practically spat on me with the looks they drove my way. I didn’t speak to any of them, but I learned a lot just from listening. I had been admitted to the psychiatric ward after I murdered my sister, my mother, and then attempted to kill myself. I had then been diagnosed with a serious case of schizophrenia that was causing me to experience extreme hallucinations and lack of emotion. However, after the episode with Dr. Knight, they were starting to believe that I was capable of showing emotions after all. Many of the people who spoke to me told me I was going to be okay and I should talk to them, little did they know, I was far from being okay. Katy’s presence came and went throughout every day, she showed me images of what I had done, flashing them brightly behind my eyes. My little Lily, my Mum, both lying together. I feared Katy was going to cause me to have the mental breakdown I had supposedly already experienced.
One night, I was lying motionless on the bed as I had been doing for nearly a week, the door opened and a young girl came in. She couldn’t have been more than eight, with tight blonde curls reaching just past her shoulders, she swiftly got to my bedside and began to talk,
“Mina, don’t say anything, and please try and control how you feel, she will return if you get scared or show emotions,” Without need of an explanation, I knew the child was talking about Katy and I fully believed that she would return if any of my emotions soared.
“Who are you?” my voice was hoarse and raspy due to the fact it hadn’t been used in any recent times.
“You won’t believe me!” the young girl giggled as she spoke, she reminded me of Lily which drew tears to my eyes, “No! Don’t cry!” the child was instantly on the bed and straddling my stomach. The fear that Katy would return removed any emotion that was bubbling inside me.
“Tell me who you are!”
“My name is Florence, and I’m your imaginary friend.”
“No, Katy’s my imaginary friend –“
“I suppose you are right, but Katy represents the fear and sadness in your life, whereas I... well I guess you could call me your guardian angel!” Florence grinned and it was as though she was so proud to be so significant to me, it was beautiful to see such a young child show such deep emotion laced with pure innocence.
“So, are you here to save me?”
“I suppose I am, but really you’re going to save yourself.”
“And how do I do that?”
“Well, as I’m sure you already know, your imagination is strong, you were able to create a whole world for yourself and have no idea what you were doing in reality.”
“No! That was Katy, she made everything!”
“Oh no child, it was all you, you created Katy after all, so everything she did was really you. Now I must say you did give her a bit more power than I would have recommended, and that is why you have ended up here, but all can be fixed, don’t fret.” I was amazed by the elegance with which this young child spoke, wise beyond her years was an understatement.
“So, how do I get rid of Katy?”
“Well, I’m afraid the only way to rid yourself of your imagination is to pass on to the next world. I tell you now; it will be extremely difficult, Katy will not want you to go, but I will help you all of the way. Now I’m afraid she is returning, be brave Mina.” I wanted to protest to ask so many questions, but Florence was right, Katy was back.
“Well, well, well, I see you’ve brought in reinforcements, leaving so soon are we?”
“Katy, Mina knows what she wants, and any attempts to stop her will be in vain,” it was verging on comical to watch these two girls, who were polar opposites in every way, argue with each other.
“I don’t think so,” Katy made her way towards me and my body froze up, “How does she expect to die when she is all tied up?” the humour in Katy’s voice drove me over the edge, she had made a mistake messing with me. I made her, I controlled her, and now I was going to take away everything she needed.
“Goodbye Katy,” anger flared behind her deep, brown eyes,
“No! You can’t! You’re weak, you wouldn’t know how!” Fortunately, Katy was wrong, I did know how. It was just like Florence had said, my imagination was strong, and now, I could do anything that I wanted. I briefly caught Katy’s stare and smiled; in some strange way, I would miss her. Then Florence appeared in front of me, eyes alight with pride,
“Be brave,” She whispered. Then it began, the hospital disappeared, I was on top of a high building now, and with five steps I was at the edge. I guess when you have a strong imagination, the only thing you have to know, is how to control it.