Contents - This Great Society - Issue 5, Mythology - December 2009/January 2010
Creative Writing
Illustration by Linnea McNally Jenkins
D. A. Weiss
Illustration by Linnea McNally Jenkins

As soon as the latch was turned on the latrine door, I closed my eyes and concentrated on putting together what I knew about myself so far. My consciousness was in a body that was not mine, the body of Deren Fisher, a low-life living in the dock quarter of a town that was a mishmash of styles and technology of varying eras. I knew I had a mission of some kind, given to me by guys in suits who could somehow “drop” me into other people's bodies, and this was confirmed by a foppish aristocrat named Muckbuckle who claimed to be another agent. He said my mission was to kill the Mayor and his son. And, most pressingly, I had been able to smuggle something onto my host before dropping into him, something that I thought was very important at the time I smuggled it.

I reached for my wallet and began hunting through it, but it was empty but for one small pocket mirror. I turned it over in my hand, then stared at my reflection in it for a moment, and I knew what I needed to. As I looked into the dark eyes of the man I possessed, I could see a flicker of something beyond, a sense of soul in the blackness.

When I returned, Muckbuckle was stoking a fire with an elbow leaning against the mantle. He didn't turn to look at me as I came in, and I returned to the chair, dropping my huge frame into it and studying his small, seemingly frail build.

“So what happens if I don't do it?” I asked, only a hint of challenge in my voice. Muckbuckle didn't turn around, and chuckled to himself. “Didn't do what? Knock them off? Complete your mission? Your sworn responsibility? Your veritable duty?” He turned and looked to me, firelight dancing in his eyes, and there was no joy in his smile. “Nothing, my man. Nothing would happen.” All mockery was gone from his voice as he slowly crossed the room toward me. “You would remain just as you are. They wouldn't send anyone to kill you. They wouldn't do anything at all. You would be dead to them, and they would simply forget you existed. And soon, with enough time between your drop into that clumsy lug of a body and your ever-expanding conscious moment, you would forget as well. You would become the man your consciousness inhabits. You would become Deren Fisher. And you would be lost to yourself forever. Even if you could hold on, you'd eventually die, and when your host dies, you die too.”

He was standing over me now, in my space like a bad used car salesman.

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