Don’t Tell Him Your Name


Part One

Zoe, listen to me.

Don’t tell him your name.

I know you don’t recognise me, and you don’t understand why I’m telling you this, but he’s coming for you next, so you have to listen when I tell you this.

Don’t tell him your name.

You’ll meet him, and he will look like me, or… how you remember me, but that won’t last for long. He’ll ask for your name, and it might seem like a harmless question, maybe even a silly question, considering who you think is asking, but you have to understand, the second the answer leaves your lips, you are on borrowed time.

I am on borrowed time, and I don’t have a lot of it left.

I only have a few minutes a day before he finds me again, and soon, the days I have left will be spent, so you have to listen and even though it’s hard, try to remember as much as you can of what I tell you.

Write it down. We had this exact same conversation yesterday and you looked at me like I was crazy then too, so write what I’m saying down and keep that paper with you. There isn’t enough time for me to keep explaining.

You cannot tell him your name, or it’s over. Do you understand?

He’s heading this way, I can hear his whistle, so I don’t have much longer today. It’s getting closer and closer. Do you hear it too? I’d tell you not to listen when you hear it, but I know that you can’t help it. None of us can.

I don’t remember what he looked like when we first met. I suppose someone else had spent days trying to tell me this before, but it’s too late for them. It’s probably too late for me too, but it isn’t too late for you, if you do what I say.

Here, give me the paper, I’m going to write something down for you, but don’t look until tomorrow. Okay?

Don’t tell him your name. Keep your name to yourself, no matter who asks.

Do you understand?

Put the paper in your inside pocket, turn around and go home.

Try to remember, even though this will all feel like a strange dream, you have to keep your name to yourself.

Don’t tell him your name.


Part Two


I know you don’t recognise me. We don’t have time for this.

There is a piece of paper in your coat’s inside pocket. Get it out and look.

Hurry up. Quick! He’s already approaching.

Don’t gawp at me, woman, just get the paper out and look at it! There isn’t time for this.

Okay. I know you think it’s all unbelievable, and none of it makes sense, but we had this conversation yesterday, and the day before. Look at the bottom of the paper. Right at the bottom.

Your husband whispered that sentence to you on your wedding day. Do you remember? Nobody else could hear, it was just for you. You never told a single soul, did you? It isn’t written in your handwriting, is it Zoe? The handwriting looks familiar though, doesn’t it?

Now, listen. He’s already got you in his sights. You can hear his whistle now, can’t you?

I heard it too, for a few days before I met him. First, it was just every now and again, but as he got closer, I’d hear it everywhere, all the time. I’d hear it in my dreams. I’d see the man with a million faces walking closer, and I was frozen. His face seemed to change with every second, and all I could do was wait as he got closer. Do you remember? I stopped sleeping. I tried to avoid him, and those dreams, but by the time you dream, you’re already dead.

It was him. He gets in your head with that little song, and it’s all you hear. You can’t sleep, you can’t focus, it starts to take over your whole life, and just when you think you might be losing your mind, he’ll come along, wearing the face of someone you recognise, and he’ll ask that question.

Are you getting this down Zoe? As soon as I leave, you’ll forget, so you need to make notes.

Please don’t cry, love. We’re running out of time and you need to write this down so you remember, in case I can’t make it back to you tomorrow.

Don’t tell him your name. You’ll feel weak. You won’t be thinking clearly, so you might be about to answer, just because you’re tired and confused, but don’t tell him.

He wants us all. Every single person on this planet, but right now, he’s focused on you, and you have to protect yourself.

I love you, Zoe, and I promise, I’ll try and find you tomorrow.

Just promise me, on our vows, on our daughter’s life that you won’t tell him your name.


Part Three

Zoe. Get the paper out of your inside pocket and read it.

Right, good. You’re caught up. I know you can hear him but keep calm and just listen.

This will be the last day I can reach you, so I need you to make sure you listen, okay? Write it all down if you can.

He will be here soon, and he’ll ask you your name. He’s almost through with me. I’m so sorry I couldn’t keep him from you for longer.

You have to remember that no matter which face he shows you, you can’t trust him. Anyone who asks your name could be him, and once he’s stolen your name from your lips, everything that you are will become his. If he can’t get it from you with my face he might try another so be careful and keep your guard up.

I began to disappear after I told him. At night I’d have the dreams, but during the day, I watched myself vanish from the world around me.

If you dream of him, and the song he loves to whistle, then it’s too late, and you’ve told him. You might not remember, but once you dream, you’re already dead, and things will start to become clearer. You’ll start to remember, but it will be too late because you’ll start to disappear.

If you start to dream and disappear, you need to warn Charlie. She won’t understand. She might not even recognise you, but you have to get started right away. Tell her a secret, something only you and her share and she’ll remember you. She might not recognise you but she’ll know, somewhere in her heart that it’s you.

Someone had tried to warn me but it all faded away every time that we parted, just like it has for us. Every day, I seemed to slip further away. It was like I stopped existing. People didn’t notice me, didn’t hear me, didn’t see me. They saw him instead.

You see, that’s what he does. He steals your name, your face, your voice, your whole body and then he wears you. He walks around in your body, living your life, and he sets his sights on someone else that he’d like to steal.

He looked at you right away. It was like he couldn’t resist, and now, he’s so close. He’s going to be finished with me soon. Do you understand? The next time you see my face, it won’t be me, so you have to remember what to do.

You keep quiet. You don’t answer his question. Run, maybe? I don’t know. He’d probably find you, but if you can deny him your name, then you have a chance.

There’s nothing you can do for me. I just need you to hear what I’m saying. I need you to follow the directions on the paper.

I’ve only got a minute left. I can feel it. You have to keep the paper close and keep your name to yourself. Tell Charlie too if you can remember. He’ll want her face too if he can get it.

Zoe, you’ve been the love of my life. Do you remember on our wedding day, when you were so nervous at the altar, everyone looking at us, and I leaned over to you and I whispered…

What’s your name, sweetheart?


Part Four

Charlie. It’s me. It’s Mum. I know you don’t recognise me, I know you’re confused.

No! Don’t walk away. Just listen, please!

Something is coming. You won’t remember this conversation until it’s too late.

Oh God. I’m so confused. Your Dad was so much better at explaining this than me.

The man. The man with a million faces. I can’t stop seeing him, Charlie. His face is everywhere, changing all the time, and that damn tune he whistles again and again. Do you hear it? It feels familiar but you can’t remember why. That’s when you know he’s close.

I’ve started to see him in my dreams, that’s when I realised that I’d done it. It was over. I didn’t even remember giving him my name. I tried to remember when I saw him, I got a strange feeling, you know, deep down. I knew there was something I had to remember, something on the paper, but I dropped it.

I was upset but I couldn’t remember why, and as he put his arms around me, I dropped it.

Oh God. I dropped the paper. He looked so much like your Dad. You don’t understand. He’d already taken your Dad’s face, and he looked at me, ready to take mine too.

I couldn’t help it.

I started to have the dreams. You’ll have them too if you don’t listen. It’s all my fault.

I’m so sorry. I should have found you sooner. I’ve only got one day left. I started having the dreams days ago. I was so scared. Oh God, I’ve been so scared and your Dad is gone. I know you’ve seen him. I know you think it’s him, but he’s gone. My Jeremy is gone and now I don’t know if I can save you.

He’ll look like me. The man. The man with a million faces. He’ll ask you for your name, but if you give it to him, it’s over.

Whatever you do, don’t tell him your name.

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