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The Multiversity: My Name Is Lian Nguyen

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Sanctuary, 2018

A nine year old girl with pale skin and green eyes, her black hair tied back in a ponytail, sits in front of the camera. She's wearing a red shirt with a black cat scratch mark design on it.

She speaks.

"My name is Lian Nguyen."

"My mother doesn't know I'm here, which doesn't surprise me."

"She doesn't know anything about me."

"And no matter how many times I've tried to tell her, she never listens."

"So I came here, because I needed to tell someone."

"Someone I was sure wasn't a figment of my imagination."

"I heard this place has total anonymity, which is good."

"I don't need to spend my last days trapped in a padded room before I die."

"I just…"

"It's hard."

"To keep pretending that I'm some happy, sweet little girl."

"The girl who gets doted on by the Justice League all the time."

"The girl who should be lucky to have Catwoman and Maxima and Silver Swan for her aunts."

"The girl with Deadshot for a father, instead of that druggy psycho my mom fucked once."

"The girl who keeps dying over and over and over again."

"And no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, I can't make it stop."

"Wait, why am I fucking talking like this? I sound like a robot, it's ridiculous. Ugh, let me start over."

"My name's Lian Nguyen. My mom is Cheshire, and the sperm donor she slept with goes by the name Arsenal. He's locked up somewhere alongside all the other idiots in masks who think just because they had a bad childhood they should try to take over the world, or blow up the Earth, or something equally stupid."

"Or maybe he's dead. I don't know. I stopped caring about him a long time ago."

"I have a stepfather named Deadshot, and he's okay, I guess. Well, whenever he's married to my mom."

"They're both on the Justice League, but they don't seem to do much these days. Mom was the chairwoman for a while, but the Big Three were always undermining her decisions so she quit."

"Oh, but that didn't happen in this timeline, so I guess it doesn't matter."

"See, that's my problem, trying to figure out what matters and what doesn't. I've gone through this so many times I'm beginning to lose the energy to keep track. Are my parents on the Justice League? Is there a Justice League? How old am I? In pre-school or high school? Am I drug addict again? Do I want to be one? Who is my best friend? Helena Kyle? Nessie Kapatelis? Mara Thawne? Mara Zolomon?"

"And who's going to kill me this time?"

"Last time our house fell down on top of me and I was crushed to death. It was still preferably to what Batman did to me that one time. The nightmares still bother me, which I guess is good because it means I'm still human."

"Or am I?"

"Because I'm reasonably sure this doesn't happen to anyone else. In fact I'm positive it doesn't. Because it's like I'm the only fucking person in this fucking world who can recognize when time screws us over."

"One morning I wake up and we have a radio in our living room. The next day I wake up and in the place where the radio should be is this giant box made of wood and glass with a thing on the top. Mom said it was a 'TV.' What bothered me the most that morning is when I saw she was wearing a pearl necklace."

"My mom hates pearls."

"At least she used to."

"It just reminded me that I'm not allowed to change like everyone else."

"Oh sure, I have to pretend to go along with it. I get my memories altered almost like everyone else, to keep me up to date to a degree."

"There was the war with Atlantis. Then Themyscira. Khandaq. Vietnam. And all the wars before them. I still remember when my stepdad fought for the North."

"But I'm still ME. And I still remember what came before. So I have to fake it to keep up before I can try and do something about all these other changes. I'm never allowed the blissful ignorance granted to the rest of the world."

"Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep acting like you're a happy 5 year old who's excited to see all of Mommy and Daddy's friends aboard their big satellite in space, when just the other day you were shooting up in your bathroom to forget this is like the 50th time someone's snapped your neck?"

"But why is it just me?"

"Why is it I'm the only person this is happening to?"

"Why am I the one whose death makes the world start over?"

"Why do I have to be the one to spot the threads and stop this bullshit from happening again and again?"

"And why the fuck do I have to keep asking these questions?!"

"I wasn't expecting an answer, so don't bother."

"The only other person I talk to about this, the only person who takes me seriously, is probably the reason why I'm in this mess."

"She's the one who lets me keep my memories when the reboots happen. But she only has the power to do it for me."

"And I'm like… why?"

"Why is it me she's singled out?"

"Why am I the only one who sees and hears her?"

"Apparently it's because she's stuck in the place in-between time. She tell me about how she came from the future, and was trying to use her time powers to stop the changes and that's how she got stuck. I tried to tell other people about her, but they only believed I'd invented an imaginary friend. Mom used to gush about how cute I was with my little gal pal, Lori Morning. Of course in the worlds where I was allowed to be in middle school, she thought there was something wrong with me."

"And I'm all 'Bitch I'm not the one who slept with the guy who blew up Qurac.'"

"At some point I decided I couldn't take listening to Lori anymore, but I wasn't sure how to shut her up. That's when I learned getting high somehow blanks her out. I'd already been experimenting because I just couldn't take the stress anymore. It was during my first time on heroin I realized I couldn't hear her anymore."

"So, you know, that was a bonus."

"I don't do it all the time, though. I need at least one person in my life to talk to like a normal person. You know I-I need someone I can be honest with."

"And I've tried. I've tried so many times to stop this shit with her. The Crisises, the Zero Hours, the Blackest Nights, the Millenniums, the Invasions, I still don't even know what that thing with the Millennium Giants was."

"But no one wants to listen to me, and whenever someone does take me seriously it's five seconds before they get their heads punched off."

"I'm tired of seeing people kill my Mom and Dad. I'm tired of them killing ME to hurt to my Mom and Dad."

"I don't want my friends to be unhappy."

"But now it's like, whatever I do is going to make them unhappy. So what does it matter if I'm honest with them, or if I swallow an entire bottle of pills just to drown it all out? What does it matter if I ignore Lori even if I'm the only person she can talk to?"

"I can't hear her now, though. I took a handful of something before I started talking, I dunno. I didn't want her interrupting me while I tried to vent."

"I can see a vague outline standing behind the camera, so I assume it's her."

"Oh no, wait."

"That's a gun."

"So that's what I was hearing in the background."

"Ugh, she's never going to let me hear the-"


Never Ending