His name was Martin Thomas, and he used to be smart.
I’ve arrived outside Martin’s brownstone, but why? I’ve forgotten. I turn away, hiding my hands in my coat pockets.
Oh. His keys.
Inside, his landlady stops me. “What d’you want?” she asks.
“M-Martin Thomas,” I mumble. Then I try, “B-brother?”
My collar slips, and she sees my full face. She backs away quickly, pointing up the stairs and muttering, “Tell ‘Einstein’ to do something about that smell,” before slamming her door.
I clump upstairs and fumble with the lock. Although the smell is awful, everything seems familiar. The body on the floor is familiar, too.
So, it’s true.
I sit on his bed and think. I’m not good at thinking, but I know the universe is a hard place, with hard rules. It’s strict.
So when you invent a kind of… teleporter? the universe thinks you’re trying to trick it, and it doesn’t like that.
Sure, go anywhere! Sydney, Rio, Hawaii—all in one day. But it’s still against the rules to be in two places at once, even for a split second.
Each time you’re remade somewhere, the previous you must die.
“You d-didn’t know,” I say to Martin.
I almost forgive him for his unplanned suicide, but I touch my melted face and suddenly remember… transcription errors. Small errors that multiply with each teleport. Making you slower. Uglier.
I pull Martin’s device from my pocket. One more trip, and I’ll forget him. Forget everything.
Do I want that? Dammit, I can’t remember!
My name is Martin Thomas, and I used to be smart.