Someone Else's Story - Page 9

“You're kidding!” it exclaimed, but seeing the look on Gordon's face, it saved him the trouble of answering. “No, forget I asked that. You're not kidding!” It swore for a bit, but eventually regained enough coherence to ask (essentially), “What am I supposed to do now?”

“Finish your tea,” Gordon told him. “Then go home.”

“'Home?'” it asked incredulously. “I don't have a home! I'm not even real!”

“So what?” Gordon asked with a shrug. “You're 'real' enough for that thought to bother you, and that makes you real enough for me. If that's not good enough for you, then you're at least real enough to make yourself 'real,' and you don't need my help or my kitchen to do that, so . . .” Gordon paused to emphasize every word he said next. “Finish. Your. Tea. And. Go. Home.”

“But I don't want to live someone else's life, walk around in their skin!” it protested.

“It's your life now,” Gordon reminded it. “'He' left it to you. What you do with it is up to you, but it sounds like a good enough life to me. Make something of it, or go make a new life for yourself, your call.” Gordon paused there, but then, almost against his better judgment, added, “But whatever you decide, if I were you, I'd make sure to treat . . . kindly all the people who were a part of his life before you came along. You owe him that much, I think.”

“Well . . . yeah,” it agreed, “but even if I wanted to, I can't keep up this . . . this . . . charade. I just can't! I don't know how I got lucky with the doctor's tests, but a better doctor will surely--”

“Find nothing amiss,” Gordon finished for him. “'He' wouldn't have had to know everything about biology to make a copy of himself; that sort of information would be available to him, if only unconsciously. If he'd tried to make a thoughtform of anybody else, it wouldn't be flawless, but since it was him, since you are him, it was.”

“But I'm not him!” it protested. “I'm a 'thoughtform,' a 'tulpa,' I don't even have a soul!”

“Who says you don't?”

It did a double-take at Gordon's words. “Do I?”

“That's not for me to say,” Gordon said with a chuckle. “That's something you'll have to find out for yourself when your time comes . . . just like the rest of us.” He extended his hand in greeting. “Welcome to life.”

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