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He has been standing by the fire with his back to me while my mind spins.  The questions I have break apart.  I can almost hear them crack like the fire, and my words disperse, rising like the sporadic flames, slipping into the smoke, dissipating into the air around me.  I have no idea what to ask or where to begin.  My confusion and ignorance is rooted deeply in my psyche, so I try to determine what is most important for me to know, in order to save Fay.

“Am I able to save Fay?”

He turns, moving with ease and reflection, and sits across from me.  “Maybe for a little while.”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?  Look, clearly I know nothing.  It’s obvious to me that you’re caught between your expectations to kill me and your desire to help me.  You need to make a choice, because your vague answers are really beginning to piss me off.  I need to know more than you’re giving me, and I need to move on, with or without you.  So what is it, are you going to try and kill me, or give me what I need?”

“You’re right, I haven’t decided.”

“What’s preventing you from making a choice?”

“I know you don’t understand, which is why my answers have been vague.  I don’t know how much I should tell you.”

“Well, you have two choices.  One is to kill me, one is to help me save Fay, whether you help me with information or by taking me where she is.  So either way, you can pretty much tell me everything.”

He stands and gets himself a brandy.  I recall the things he said to me: brandy is like a drug for me and sedates me; I have the ability to not only heal myself, but to regenerate; and mercury kills me, especially mercury bullets.  The gunshot wound I received to my thigh was with a mercury bullet.  They, whoever they are, were trying to kill me.  This is absurd, and even though I have not learned much more about my personal reality, for some reason my head feels clearer.  Perhaps it is because he told me Fay is safe for now, and has not been abused.  From the relief of this information emerges a little freedom, and a little hope.

After shooting down a couple brandies, he returns to sit across from me.  “The society you were born into is not a true world, not like a community or a cult.  It is more like a laboratory.  You were an experiment, both a successful one and a failed one.  And Fay is your offspring.  This is not government, but a private group, hoping to create a special type of human being for purposes that even I’m not fully aware of.  Fay was never meant to be born.  We never expected you to procreate.”

“You told me some abilities I have, I’m assuming they are part of the experiment.”

“Yes, they were also accidental, unanticipated outcomes.  But fascinating.”

“So what am I, some kind of super hero or something?”

It’s a ridiculous question, I’m aware of that.  But when he laughs at me, an urge to kill him rises within me.  I envision myself grabbing his head, tearing it off from his body, and throwing it into the fire.  My vision ends with an adrenalized high of satisfaction.

Then he says, “No, no.  You are a monster.”

“So this is why you gave me a vasectomy.  So I won’t procreate anymore.”

“Well, it was something I decided to do to buy some time.”

“How does that buy time.”

“It gives me more time to think whether or not I should let you live.  Your inability to create more like you helps.  It’s against humanity what these people have done.  Humanity in all definitions of the word.  Also to buy time, I removed the microchip.”

“A microchip for tracking me?”


“Why didn’t you tell me these were your intentions?  And why did you allow me to be sexually assaulted?  That was pretty sick.  Do you get a cheap thrill from that?  What’s with the masquerade?”

“There’s no time to explain that right now, but it’s not what it may seem.”

It feels to me like I’ve torn out my mind and I am repeatedly throwing it against a brick wall.  The most pitiful and desperate part of me permits these words to slip from my tongue, “What am I?  What is real?”

“You are not human, essentially.  And your reality differs from true reality in many ways as a result of the mesh of mind and form and the regrowth of stem cells triggering overactivity in your brain.”

“But what am I?  What is Fay?”

“I think I’ve made my choice about what to do with you.  And after I kill you, I’ll kill Fay.  But I like you Doan, so I promise to kill you both humanely.”