Someone Else's Story - Page 8

“My world and welcome to it,” Gordon said with a tight smile of his own, then his voice took on a lecturing tone. “Your average solidified thoughtform, particularly thoughtforms of items, are ephemeral without a constant maintenance of, for lack of a better term, belief. Once they're 'out of sight and out of mind,' as it were, they'll fade away pretty quickly, and that'll be what happened to your scuba gear. By now the same thing will have happened to everything you came into existence with - bathing suit, keys, wallet . . . whatever - unless it meant a lot to you.”

It looked stunned, like it had just found a missing piece to a puzzle it didn't know it was missing. “I . . . I thought I was just getting forgetful . . . or unlucky,” it stammered.

Gordon shook his head. “Actually you may be the luckiest tulpa alive, and not just because I figured out what you are, and more importantly, what you are not, before I did something . . . irrevocable.” It shivered at that word. “Because most spontaneous tulpas fade pretty quickly too,” Gordon continued, “but not you. His desire to live was what formed you, but it's been your desire to live that's kept you here.”

“'Here,'” it repeated bitterly, “going through the motions of another man's life, and to make matters worse, I'm not even human, just a lie parading around in a fake human-skin suit.”

“No,” Gordon said firmly. “I would have unmade you by now if that's all you were.” It looked up at Gordon in surprise as he continued. “You are what you are, the last thoughts of a man who not only wanted to live, but wanted to live his life better than he had ever managed to do it himself.” Gordon took a sip of his tea as he shrugged. “It could be a lot worse, particularly when you consider the alternatives.”

It took a deep breath. “I . . . understand what you're trying to say,” it said, sounding unconvinced.

“I hope you do,” Gordon said, looking serious. “Because right now the only thing maintaining your existence is your desire to keep existing, and if that fades too much . . .” He made a gesture with his hands like a popping soap bubble.

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