He was a shade, a mere shadow who spent every moment haunting the dark spaces between life and death. He called himself Nex. The name came from the Latin. Nex had no memories, no past. He simply pulled himself along through streets and corridors with no end. If a person noticed Nex, he-or-she would immediately forget. An encounter with Nex was too horrible to contain within one’s mind. Not that he was ugly or monstrous — no — it was just that Nex was so nondescript, so totally mundane. Nex appeared to be the absence of anything vital or passionate. To recall seeing Nex was to open a gateway to sub-zero boredom — a cold death. Nex was the reminder of what lay at the root of every person’s life. No one is strong enough to deal with that kind of reality, so no one remembered Nex. He was a force of nature, but he suffered terribly because he was partly human — created from the discarded shreds of failure and remorse. Nex met Mort in the cemetery on Hyacinth Street. Mort was a rock-n-roll kid, a punk with tattoos and body piercings. Mort did not hide from Nex. He wasn’t frightened — he pierced the boredom of existence without flinching. Nex was stunned by the encounter and he was revitalized. A seed of passion was born and grew in Nex… but he knew what he was… he could never be fully human. Mort was confused by the encounter. He was attracted to Nex in a way he never felt toward another person. For the first time, Mort was in love. Nex was aware of the attraction, but it was fruitless. Both souls were barren and only one could survive.