I thought I could sense the nameless girl in my head considering. I don’t know. It’s a big deal.
“I could just call you Girl.”
Really? How thoughtful.
“I mean, if you didn’t want a real name yet.” She didn’t have to get mad at me. I was trying to help. “It could just be a nickname. ‘Hey, Girl!’ I’ll say. And you’ll say, ‘What, you big lug?’ See what I mean?”
Big lug? Seriously? Never mind about a name.
The cabin was drawing closer, and I could see a faint light in the window. “I’ve got to call you something. How about Amnesia? It’s like calling someone April because they were born in April, or Sonny, because they’re a boy–”
Or calling someone Ditzy because they’re blond. How about not naming me after the gigantic hole in my brain? She huffed, a long, distinct sound of irritation. Why’d I have to get stuck with such a dork?
The ground here was not as sandy as before. My feet were unused to being bare, and the sharp grass was irritating them. Just ahead was a dilapidated fence that hemmed in a patchy yard and the small, dimly lit cabin. I stopped. I couldn’t work up the nerve to go forward while arguing with the voice in my head. I needed all my wits about me, and this girl was far too distracting.
“Do you want a name or not?”
I want my name.
“We don’t have that. I need to call you something, though. Give me a second.” A second wasn’t going to be enough. When I started to think, I immediately went back to earlier, when the old man had come to me. I should have known. I should have asked questions. I should have protested or broken the pad he gave me or packed a suitcase or something. At least worn something more suitable than a ragged T-shirt and pajama pants. What I wanted to do, above all, was to curl up in a ball in some nice crevice and revel in all the things I had failed to do. How was I supposed to ignore all these pressing thoughts and name a girl I could not see, a girl I did not know?
Then I had it.
“Did you ever read comics?” The old man had pointed out the comics. He had known I’d need to look at things from a less-than-realistic point of view.
“Let’s give you a cool superhero name. You know, like a nickname, but it shows how cool you are. You can keep a secret identity, I don’t need to know your real name. Sound good?”
I don’t know. Depends on the name.
And with a moment’s thought, I had one. “How about Aura?”
Aura. She was trying it out on her non-existent lips. It’s not too bad.
“Aura, it is, then. Not too shabby, if I say so myself.”
“So, into the cabin, I guess?”
What are you, chicken?
“I’m properly hesitant. You ever read a story where a lone cabin in the middle of nowhere was a good thing?”
Sure. Now get going. I won’t be stuck inside a coward. So speaks Aura the Great!
I entered through the broken gate.