By Scott Warner


My eyes were still shut when a loud and grating voice asked me a simple question. "Name?" it barked.

What is it? Blearily, mysteriously, I couldn't remember my own name. My mind was a complete blank, I had no memories of who or where I was. I began to panic, desperately panic.

What is my name? I opened my eyes but could see nothing, only inky blackness. What's my name!

Suddenly, something that felt like a giant hand with grotesquely swollen knuckles grabbed me around the throat, simply crushing my windpipe. Terror froze my brain and I began to thrash. "Name!" roared the disembodied voice viciously. "I dunno," I managed to squeak. Who am I!

The invisible hand let go and I gasped deeply. Immediately, a searing fire scorched my forehead and I screamed. Then a blinding brightness exploded in front of my face like a giant flashbulb. I flinched and clenched my eyes shut, waiting for the purple suns to fade. My head was screaming in pain, my forehead was burning so badly I was afraid to touch it. Suddenly, my feet flew up in the air until I hung head down. I began to ascend at an alarming rate and my eyes snapped open but I couldn't see anything, only featureless whiteness.

"Name?" inquired a new voice with icy, lugubrious indifference. I don't know. "I don't remember," I quickly shouted. Something, anything to avoid more pain. "Who are you? Where am I?" I pleaded.

Suddenly, the temperature plummeted to arctic zero. My body began to quake uncontrollably, my hands and feet grew numb. A feverish wave of nausea convulsed my body and I began to burn, suspended in a frigid nothingness. I fought the urge to vomit but it was too powerful and I retched repeatedly. Corrosively acrid fumes enveloped me and I began to choke and strangle. An army of fire ants marched across my body, stinging. My eardrums burst but I hardly noticed, I was so comatose from hunger and thirst.

"NAME!" bellowed the vengeful voice. Wait, that's it! "Wait, wait, I remember!" I cried. "It's Miller, Joe Miller," I sobbed gratefully. Yes, Joe Miller!

Whatever was holding me up let go and I began to plummet downwards. An ornate beveled mirror appeared before me and I could see numbers branded on my forehead: 7.941380253 x 1010. "Joseph... Miller," coolly noted the voice. "Address?"

Someone began to giggle.