“I was living with my lazy older sister and her smarmy, scheming boyfriend. My parents’ deaths had driven a terrible wedge between us, and her boyfriend’s greed and two-faced ways made things worse. I watched as he viewed the child they had out of wedlock as a ticket to more money from the government, and I had to give him my obsolete computer, the only one I had, just to convince him to try and get me a job at the bank where he worked.”

“Tell me more.”

“All the while we were living in a run-down two-story apartment on the bad side of town. It opened onto a maze of city alleys and a small dilapidated green. I…you sure you want to hear the rest, doc? You’ve already practically got me in a straitjacket.”

“Yes, tell me everything. It’s the only way to begin the healing process.”

“Well…strange things began to happen. Choruses of whispers from the shadows. Strange rustlings. Noises I couldn’t hear but were the sort of thing that maae my loyal dog cower. And a strange mailman, not our usual guy, seemed to be standing in front of our house every time I opened the door. But he never delivered anything. I…no one else could see him, and he drew nearer each time I was at the door. He’d vanish before reaching me, a sight which always filled me with such terrible dread…”

“What happened next?”

“Finally, he made it all the way to the door before I could close it and began to speak. His voice was horrible, shocking…I slamemd the door in his face, but he simply passed through it in a flash of blue light. He began speaking to me, very strangely in that horrible voice, asking where things were (assuming that I knew what he was talking about) and cautioning me that ‘they’ were nearby and anxious to get their hands on ‘it,’ whatever ‘it is.’

“Interesting.”

“The…the conversation goes nowhere, until he barged past me into the long, thin storage and tool room at the back of the apartment. I heard him ransacking the place, looking for something. I followed him, and he was waving around a rusty screwdriver like a shiv. He shouted at me to shut the door, to be quiet (even though he was being pretty loud) for fear of attracting ‘them.’ There was a sound outside, and he nervously slid up to the door, ready to attack it. It was just my dog, doc, but…he just keeps rambling and ransacking the place. All the while it’s seeming more and more eerie, more and more familiar, then then…well…”

“Come on, don’t stop there.”

“I gradually realized, doc, that the guy was me years in the future. It was clear as day from the way he talked and the way he acted.”

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