My brother had died from a kidney stone. My parents and I were in this brightly lit attic full of paintings and things, sorting out little shrines for each of us of things each person really liked for when we died. This was to help each of us come back as a ghost. We reflected on fond memories, but it was also bittersweet — deep down we knew nobody ever really came back.

My mom brought me into a library. There was a book on a table, open to a page with a button on it. The button had a picture of a cat. I was instructed to press it and keep pressing it. Every time I pushed the button, the cat regressed further into something closer to death, until at last a picture of Nefertiti’s skeleton was smiling up at me, and not in a nice way. I turned to my mom, who had now become corpse identical the picture, was skeleton-smiling at me expectantly, and was much too close (I have different space bubbles depending on whether or not you are a skeleton).

Being the Queen of Death, who was also Nefertiti’s skeleton, was a time-honored role passed down to women in our family. This was Mom’s way of instructing me that she could finally die and I would now be inheriting the role. I did not want this role, however, because I did not want to scare away friends, strangers, or cute boys by being a skeleton.

Once I became Nefertiti, my voice became a harsh and shrill whisper, and I found myself running down the hallways screaming “DO NOT BE ARAID OF ME CHILDREN!!” as kids ran away from me screaming. I realized with tremendous effort I could speak in a “normal” voice again, and appear more like a normal girl. That way, people would like me… but I would have to live the lie. It was all a metaphor for being trans.

Then I was me again, alone in a hallway. I had to go down this flight of stairs, but I new someone scary would confront me there. I went into a small bathroom and looked in the mirror, glad to have my hair and face again, but sad because when I was Nefertiti I didn’t have to be afraid of anyone.