Stand up and look at the thing carefully

You ignore the terrible noises, full of agony and torment, and concentrate on the thing.

You scrutinize the thing as best as you can. It seems to be very blurry, but you can make out some colours. Whatever it is, it seems to be staring right back at you. You flinch and it flinches too. You calm yourself and it calms itself as well. You focus your mind in hopes of seeing it more clearly. As the chaotic, confused and fearful thoughts subside in your mind the level of light in the room increases, but you maintain your focus. The blurry thing becomes more defined. You can make out a body and a head, two eyes now... a nose.... a face.

Your face.

The room is now flooded with a bright white light to the point where nothing is visible save your own body and the body of this... thing... this thing that looks exactly like you.

"Who are you?"

The question is not a demand, it is not laden with fear or anger, it is simply a request for information, a request between equals. And you're not sure who asked it, you or him?

Surely, he is simply a reflection of some sort. You spin around and he spins around. You jump and he jumps. You stand still in contemplation and he does the same. You realize that you must be hallucinating or else you have come into contact with some strange phenomenon...

One more test. You make a funny face. He doesn't make a funny face. He snickers.

"WHO ARE YOU?" You both ask one another with a little less patience than before.

Is it possible that this thing is in the same circumstance as you? It certainly seems that way. He seems no less confused, no less distraught, no less insane.

Perhaps you should answer him first.

"I am... me. Um..."

Oh dear. It's a question you can't answer! Who are you? And... how did you get in this house?

"Call me Jack," you finally say. He nods, and chuckles. "I was gonna ask you to call me the same thing... well, I guess you can call me Jim. Next best name I can think of."

You both nod in agreement. "So, neither of us know who we are or how we got here?" Jim asks. You shake your head.

"What were you doing before we were here looking at eachother?" You ask. He tells you his story, as far back as he can remember, and it is exactly like yours, including the encounter with the 'thing' and the decision to concentrate on it. When you made the funny face and when Jim laughed was the point of divergence between your two stories.

"So, what do we do now?" Jim asks.

Suddenly the light dims and you find yourselves back in the basement. "Let's go upstairs," you say "and see if anything has changed."

You both run upstairs and turn the corner, entering the kitchen. You find yourselves face to face with the screaming boy. But he is not screaming. He is sitting calmly on the floor, cross-legged and smiling pleasantly.

"Have you figured out where you are now?"

You and Jim look at one another. You see a loss for words in one another's eyes and look back towards the calm boy on the floor.

He sighs. "This is you. All of this." He motions around the room. "This environment is the creation of your mind, these strange situations you have encountered are all manifestations of problems that you have in real life. You have entered a self-induced trance in order to resolve these issues and, for purposes you will have to figure out, you have decided to whipe any knowledge of your own identity from your mind in order to ensure that you reach the proper solution."

"Who is he?" You and Jim point to one another, asking the same question.

"Just someone to talk to." The boy responds.

The boy stands up, drops a short piece of string on the ground and begins to scream again.

The End

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