Don't Know My Own Name
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Don't Know My Own Name


What happened last night?

That question had been in his head since he awoke, still as he was going through his routine.

With a headache burning a hole in his skull, he downed three pills of some name-brand migraine medicine, sitting at the table with a bowl of cereal in front of him.

The drinking, the partying, he remembered that. Before that? He had gotten the winning touchdown from seventy yards, four men twice his size chasing behind him.

Finishing his bowl, he went to his bathroom, standing in front of the sink. His team had carried him on their shoulders all the way to the locker room, the cheering of their fans barraging him almost as much as the headache he still had; the medicine wasn't working.

He looked in the mirror at nothing in particular, trying and failing to remember the rest.

He leaned down to the sink and splashed water on his face, the cold waking him easily from his drowsiness. As his vision cleared, he stared back into the mirror.

And what stared back at him was not himself.

It had gaunt features all covered up by a layer of skin, engulfing his eyes, nose, mouth. Its bedclothes were tattered with a thin layer of cobwebs over them, with the same skin enveloping his gaunt hands like webbing. He frantically grasped at his face, seeing that he had his own hands again; rough and calloused from all those years of practice.

That thing in the mirror was not him, he insisted.

He turned away from it and went to get dressed.

Had he looked back, he would have seen that the thing in the mirror went with him.


Fourth period, the worst of them all. He always had trouble with all the different formulas and how to use them. He put his paper on the ever-growing pile on the teacher’s desk, knowing that he was going to need to do it again.

“Remember to put your name on the paper,” the teacher muttered, without glancing away from her computer. He hoped that she was grading the papers, but knew that it was more likely she was on social media.

Wait—his name. He hadn’t put it on the paper. He scribbled an incomprehensible excuse for a name on the top of the paper and sat down again. The teacher’s words resonated in his head.

“Remember.” Remember what, exactly? He scraped the inside of his mind for something, anything to remember, only coming up with some statistic about concussions. That was irrelevant, no need to remember that. What else?

Nothing.

Nothing?

No memories, no thoughts, and yet he couldn’t stop thinking. Only him and the thing in the mirror.

The classroom faded away around him; the formulae were useless to him now. He raised his hand; the unnamed thing did too.

He stepped toward it, mirroring its own movements. It raised its hand, he did the same.

Another step forward, and—


He was walking through the trees, hand in hand with all those others going to the after-party for the after-party. His vision blurred as he tired. A step, trip, shout, and everything went black.

The others were gone. He was still in the forest, the dark leaves crunching under his fingers as he sat up. The only color he could see was coming from the bright red ring of mushrooms around him.

The ring around him and the thing from the mirror, sitting on a stump.

“Hello. What’s your name?” The thing’s coating of skin ripped as it opened its mouth to speak, coming back together when it had stopped speaking.

“My name? It’s—”

It blinked. It was above the strange intruder, sitting on the stump. He had given himself away to it, and it was no longer. He stood, fell again, and disappeared.

It stood and was in no more worry, for that thing would not bother anybody anymore. Not in the state he's about to be in. It rubbed its hands across its gaunt face, and went back to its own business.

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