I remember staring at my real name in horror. It was a cruel reminder of my past, it was my birth name- a name I knew was mine, but recoiled from furiously.
That's when he introduced himself. "Hello, newbie aren't you?" he said reedily with gold round glasses, looking something like a less handsome and charming Gilderoy Lockheart from JK Rowling's Harry Potter.
I was scared and alone, hurt, somewhere I had never been before. I staggered away from him. "Who are you?"
"Ah, I can't tell you my real name, but I'm a historian," he choked eccentrically. His laugh jolted out of him like ferocious hiccups, and they scared me.
"Welcome to the Death Game."
I shuddered at the mere mention, without knowing why I did. "I don't understand."
He peered curiously at me. "Well, for one, you're dead. You're in the game now. The aim of the game is to kill your way to the top and if you do, you are granted three wishes."
"Ridiculous," I mumbled, the sound half muffled by the howling breeze. "Why? How?"
His glasses took on an odd sheen in the twilight. "Usually, people know this by instinct. Maybe I got to you too early. Why? I figure you died unfairly. That's how we're usually inducted. And then we go on a killing spree. Next, we realise how the rankings work, and we start searching. And then, we die, for real."
"Huh," I can't remember how I felt that night, talking to the historian. I remember feeling disconnected and more utterly alone than I have ever been on the sidewalks of my city.
"It all depends on who you are and how we die. Most people don't wake up at the Ancients, they have a place that binds them to somewhere special, often, it's where they died."
I felt as though he was trying to comfort me, but he was such a strange person and it was such a strange circumstance that I only felt more alienated. "I have no place."
He gave a half-smile, his eyed genuinely pitying. "Welcome to my home. I live here because you can't die at the Ancients and, I don't want to die."
"This is your place?"
"I share it."
"With the rest of the world."
"Like my city."