Screams. People. Chaos. Sirens.
Aly had to get out of the square and fast. She knew how this ended. She had seen it too many times. The cops come in and arrest as many peaceful protestors as they dare. They take them to the tech centers where they experiment on them, placing tiny microchips into their brains and stealing their memories, hopes and dreams.
Three years ago, Aly’s life had changed forever. She had a memory, the saddest memory she owned, of a little boy walking through a set of glass doors. His curly brown hair caught the light of the setting sun and glowed gold for the fraction of a second. That was the last time Aly saw Ben. Watching him disappear through the doors of a tech center. It was reason she had joined the protestors and refused to get the latest brain implant.
Aly clung to the memory of Ben like it was the last thing keeping her alive. Their late night conversations. Ben understood her like no one else ever could. And now he was gone.
“Hey Space Girl,” that was what he used to call her,” I know it’s going to be very hard but try not to miss me too much, okay?” He had smirked.
“Okay. Try not to get too dumb, chiphead.”
“Not yet a chiphead, Space Girl, not yet” Ben turned around and walked through those doors and it was all so real. Aly reached out to though him but he was just beyond her reach.
Aly was running and crying and tripping and falling. A bruising pain shot through her right ankle and made her gasp. Now she was stumbling and crying, limping and sucking in short, rattling breaths.
Aly knew her ankle was sprained. It wouldn’t be the first time, she really was very clumsy. But she had no time to be slow now, she had to get away from the cops that were rounding everyone up at this very second. She limped into an alley and hid behind an overstuffed rubbish bin. This piece of plastic held her fate. Aly pressed herself against the hard brick wall, closed her eyes and held on to her memories. They were the one thing she hadn’t yet lost. A shadow passed across her vision. She sighed. Of course, with her luck, it was a wonder they hadn’t found her sooner. The bright green T-shirt with the protest slogan printed on the front wasn’t going to help her case.
The handcuffs were cold against her flesh. Restricting her movement. This couldn’t be happening! Aly wanted to scream and kick but she just felt so tired…
She woke to the sound of birds singing.’ Ben, find Ben,’ the words kept echoing around her mind but she didn’t know who Ben was or why she needed to find him. Her vision faded for a second then came back with a bright message printed across her eyelids. It wouldn’t go away no matter how hard she blinked. Welcome to your new brain. “No,” Aly shook her head in anger,”NO.”
There was no one around to hear her so she screamed. What felt like an eternity later the yelling stopped but the pain never quite went away. Little did Aly know that it was about to get so much worse. She sat on the edge of the bed feeling hollow. Show me Ben. Aly thought and crossed her fingers while the computer processed her request. I’m sorry Aly but that content has been deemed emotionally painful and has been removed from the database. If you would like to know more about your past, try consulting your file. Anger boiled through Aly as she crept out of the room and into the even grayer hallway. There were no windows or doors, just meters upon meters of gray. She asked the computer to locate her file. A section of wall to her right changed from its usual grayness to a pleasant shade of green. “That was easy,” she whispered to herself as she passed through the wall into a small room. It was also gray. There was one chair and a single TV screen. As soon as Aly hit the chair the screen lit up with a dazzling light.
The anger inside Aly grew as she navigated the menus and watched her erased memories until there was only sadness. Aly had found Ben. Her last memory of him played over and over on the TV. Days Aly spent in that room with him. Trying to recover what was lost. But a memory like that can never be relived, even if it is remembered.