Those of Another
Written and translated by Ninefifteen
The only thing I can say is that this room is really small, bare, with white walls. The only piece of furniture lying around is a stiff bench where I do everything – sleep, eat… think.
There is a glass door – it is always locked – and behind it, a bare white corridor. My thoughts – or what is left of them – have nothing to hang on to, and there is nothing to give me a clue to understand my situation.
I was barely conscious the first time I entered this room. I had no reaction and didn’t understand anything about what was happening. I couldn’t resist the people surrounding me, taking me here and there, as they pleased. Then I slowly emerged from drowsiness and realized I knew nothing. Nothing about my surroundings. Nothing about the people I had caught a glimpse of earlier. And worse, I knew nothing about myself. I had an awful headache.
After a few moments of anxiety, when the headache disappeared, I started to examine myself. Slowly. Methodically. Under my white gown, my body was that of an adult, not that old and quite healthy, as far as I could see. There were scars I couldn’t recall, one on my right arm, another on my left knee. They were there, but didn’t ring a bell. They looked more like manufacturing defects, than like witnesses of the past. Even my face looked ordinary, not answering to any name.
I have no memory. No “previous life” I remember. I am the blank page of a creator who enjoys leaving mysteries unsolved.
I’ve been told there was a way for me to forget what I suffered. Something to help me forget what makes me so fragile, vulnerable. Why I became such a private person, when the previous version of me thrived in friendship, sharing, happiness. Why I can’t trust anyone and only go out if it is absolutely necessary. Why this back alley in a spring evening became my nights’ recurring nightmare.
I’ve been told I could forget every second of it and get back to my life as it was before. All I have to do is schedule a consultation in a specialized hospital. There I would let the doctors collect my memories. Finally, I would receive a small injection, et voilà! Everything would vanish. I would become who I really am.
This hospital is called the Clinic of Memories. They can also heal amnesia victims – memory issues work both ways. Other things are done there. On which I did not further inquire. I didn’t want to know.
Whatever. I cannot wait for these doctors to take the past few months away from me. And the months after that. I want my life counter to be set back to the day just before…
Alone in a white, almost empty room, I am waiting for the fateful moment of this injection that will give me back my life.
My memories have already been collected, twenty-eight years – I have spent three whole days with dozens of wires linking up my skull to a weird machine. How can they collect the memories up to a given date? Where do they store them and how can we get them back? I have no idea, and I don’t care as long as it works.
Today someone entered to give me an injection. A man dressed in white with a smug look on his face. He simply told me, “here my friend, some good fresh memories! Something you’ll like to think about.”
At first, I passed out. Then I woke up, drenched in sweat, as if I had just come out of a nightmare.
Suddenly the nightmare forced itself into my head… I was in a back alley. The weather was nice. Flowers were blossoming in a garden. They were filling the street with their fragrance. I was peaceful, heading to my place when suddenly someone jumped me. His weight crashed down onto me, choking me. His arms were pressing me and I couldn’t get away from his grasp. I was facing a giant. I had no chance to survive. A woody, earthy smell mixed with pungent sweat covered the flowers’ soft fragrance. I could feel his rough breath coursing against my ear. The man moved me away from the door I was heading to, drew me towards a darker corner. I was his puppet. He could move my body, as if I were just a weightless entity. I felt my back crashing against a wall and I ended up facing him, his hand sealing my mouth. In the darkness only his eyes were gleaming.
It was when his hands grabbed my hips that I finally realized my body was that of a woman. Those memories did not belong to me. They were clear though, so vivid that this torture was entirely mine to bear. I cannot believe someone could be willing to impose horrors like these on another human being.
At the end, as the memories unfolded, I fell on the ground, soaked in tears. I saw the man stepping back. I raised my eyes towards him. In the moon’s pale halo I finally discovered his face.
It was mine.
Daily Telegraph, October 15, 2156. Facing overpopulated prisons and increasing violence, yesterday, the Consortium approved a new type of punishment: admonishing memories, inflicting the victims’ pain on their attacker.