He finds himself in the woods, alive but unresponsive. He thinks he is asleep, dreaming. But the signs of life are present in both versions of himself, and he feels things too sharply to be sleeping.
Thus begins his journey of self discovery as a copy, as a copy of a copy. Not understanding his own power, he struggles to protect himself from himself. In both an internal and external battle, he learns to harness his own power as well as his heart.
At first, I thought I was dead.
My body lay motionless: eyes closed, lips tight, chest still. The color in my cheeks remained, but my presence was absent.
I was looking at myself from outside of myself. I was having an out-of-body experience, yet I could see my hand in front of my face and feel the dirt beneath my feet. It was as if two of me were present, but that was a physical impossibility.
I could not be both asleep and awake, or, in my case, dead and alive. There could only be one me, and I was looking at myself, lying on the ground, deceased.
Heart beating in ears, I knelt down next to myself and poked one of my pink cheeks: nothing, no movement. I placed a palm on my forehead; it was still warm. With my cheek pressed to my chest, I listened for a heartbeat. After a few seconds of searching, I found the rhythm hidden deep beneath my sternum: a faint flicker of life.
I was not dead. Was I dreaming?
Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath, felt the sharp air enter my lungs. I held my breath. My lungs begged for relief, but I refused to take a fresh drag of air. After several minutes of painful resolution, I gasped and sucked in lungfuls of oxygen. The bitter winter stung my throat, and I coughed.
Do you feel pain in a dream?
I was aware of the brisk wind on my bare body. Because I was nude, I thought I could still be dreaming. I did not make a habit of running around naked, and I would never leave the house without a jacket in this weather.
I had to be dreaming.