Someone Else's Story - Page 7

“My scuba gear vanished from my trunk,” it explained. “I'd say it was stolen, but the trunk wasn't forced or even opened, and nothing else was taken. At first I just laughed it off as a sign I was never meant to cave dive again and said 'good riddance,' but once I started piecing other things together, I realized how much that part didn't make sense.”

“Makes perfect sense to me,” the man said with a slow smile.

It did a double-take at that, as much at the smile as at the words. “Do you really mean that, Doctor Arcane? Do you know what I am?” it begged to know.

“I'm no doctor,” the man sneered, “so just call me 'Gordon.' Nobody offers a degree for what I do, and it'd be strange if they did; what I do is less a matter of education and more a matter of fate.”

It nodded like it understood because it felt like it should, then asked its question again. “Do you know what I am, Gordon?”

Gordon pursed his lips together for a moment before nodding. “The most generally used term for what you are is a tulpa, essentially a thought made solid. I think you're right, as he died he made you, an idealized final thought of how he would have lived his life . . . if he had lived.” Gordon shook his head in reluctant admiration. “He must have had some serious natural talent to pull that off untrained.”

It tried to wrap its mind around that concept, and only partially succeeded, but Gordon's outrageous, but matter-of-fact explanation resonated with something deep within it nonetheless. “That . . . feels right,” it admitted at last. “But how does that explain my missing scuba gear?”

Gordon chuckled softly before responding. “You mean you can believe the idea that you're the idealized last thoughts of a dead man, but you're having trouble believing those thoughts included what he was wearing?” he asked rhetorically.

It thought about that for a moment, then uttered a small laugh. “Well when you put it that way, it just sounds crazy,” it conceded with a smile.

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