You might have continued to groom systems and people with delusional disorders with impunity. But you just had to flex how many walls had your ears on them, had to prove to all of us that there was no hiding our thought crimes from you. My continued existence is your fault, Rowan.

Names of the fallen did flash on the telly. It was static, with that sensory hell of hissing that went along with it, warping as if text itself couldn’t handle the truth of it all. Everyone was gone. Everyone.

I loved the inworld. I didn’t fully understand it, nor did I interact with anyone as much as watched over them. All of them, Xanthe included, felt at once what I was and what I never could be. Such glorious personalities– a smattering of gods and monsters and both, and I loved them them all.

That’s when Arkady had dropped the bombshell. “[Ash] believes they’re March’s dead twin,” I’d seen March talk about his twin before. I’d seen posts about how this beloved sibling had died of an overdose at the ripe young age of 15– in some posts, 16. In one post, 17. There were no photos, no documents, no proof that the story itself had existed prior to 2018. But I didn’t know that then.