Someone Else's Story - Page 2

What the man was thinking, it did not know, but when the man cast a jaundiced eye over what sat before him, it trembled at what it imagined it saw reflected in the dark pits that passed for the windows into this man's soul. “You look real enough to me,” the man observed, his voice annoyed, not friendly, “just another middle-aged man who's a bit too fit for his own good to have fully admitted his age to himself yet, and nothing more.” He seemed to feel the need to wash an unpleasant taste out of his mouth with a sip of tea before continuing. “Besides,” the man added in a tone both lecturing and patronizing, “'real' people forget the oddest things some times. In rare extreme cases it's called 'Amnesia,' and --”

“Don't toy with me!” it yelled before it could stop itself, all of its fears turning momentarily into anger. “I haven't forgotten anything because there's nothing to forget! I know all the details of when my . . .” It paused to correct itself. “His first time happened. It was with Bev Hansen on our . . their first and only date in tenth grade; it didn't . . . go well.” It grimaced at the understatement. “He wanted to try again, she didn't, and they both got mad and never talked to each other, not even once, after that, but it's not a memory to me, it's more like something I saw on television once! There's no sense of personal connection at all!” It took a deep breath and wondered if it had just killed itself with its outburst.

Apparently it hadn't, but now the man across from it was looking on with interest as he sipped his tea.

It found that it had preferred when he had only looked bored.

“Still . . . that seems like an odd jumping point to conclude that you aren't real, don't you think?” the man mused at last.

“I didn't . . . not at first,” it said miserably. “That was just the thread that started me pulling, the one that got me thinking about how I knew facts about who I was supposed to be, about my so-called family and friends and so on, but that I had absolutely no sense of real attachment to anyone or anything. I'm not trying to say that I felt nothing, but . . .” It sighed in frustration, realizing it was starting to babble again.

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