In front of Alice was the Joseph doppelganger she had seen on the side of the road.

“Oh Jesus Christ, I died,” Alice whispered.

They looked off to the side, into the milky white nothingness. “Oh, don’t worry about it. He remembered he can’t drive, that’s all.

“What?” That didn’t comfort her in the slightest.

Alice,” they said, reaching one arm out – rather than following their pointing, she stared, transfixed, at the eye patterning on their robe – “Is that really how you perceive me?

The gears in her head were grinding the best they could. “Joseph?”

That’s not me. I’m not like that.

For a moment, her eyes focused, and instead of the bright void she could suddenly see the car their bodies were slumped in. Then the horror kicked back in and it all went away again. Her ears were ringing. She just wanted to sit down.

They put their hand on her shoulder.

When you do nothing but self-deprecate, it creates two people. Either I’m agreeing with you, and I’m a monster, or I’m disagreeing with you, which means I’m fighting with you. And I’m tired of fighting all the time.

And then they opened their arms and gave her a hug.