Mia leans against the steering wheel of the midnight blue 1967 Chevy impala. It’s old but reliable- mostly. It was about the only thing the gang could afford. Ah, the life of a super villain. She sighs, tapping her fingers. The dashboard clock flashes 1:38 a.m. To think this is taking so long. Mia isn’t going to wait around much longer, she's only waited this long because of the pay. She checks the time again. 1:39 a.m.

     Five minutes. And 30% more.

     Mia has to be honest, though, she’s waited this long out of curiosity. It’s not often someone is willing to pay so much for her... gift. Not that using it comes cheap in the first place. 

     Mia closes her eyes then sways her head from side to side, cracking it. Lights shine across the alley as a car, an orange Ford mustang, rumbles to a stop across from her.

     Neither party exit the vehicles. She yawns checking the time. 1:43 a.m. Thanks to the night vision contacts Scatter invented(Or stole. She wasn’t clear about that), she can see past his bright head lights and into the dark. 

     The car door opens and a tall, sharply dressed man steps out, his salt and pepper hair slicked back with too much grease. Mia rolls her eyes. He's trying to fit in with the 'in' crowd. He approaches her window. It squeaks as she rolls the window down. This. Car. Is. So. Old.

     "You're late."

      "I apologize, I couldn't get away." Mia taps her fingers against the wheel and looks out the front window.

     "You owe another 30% for making me wait." He hesitates.

     "You owe half whether or not I use my gift."

      "Half now half after." She ponders the offer, deciding if it’s fair.

     "Deal. Get in the backseat." He does as told and Mia doesn’t feel bad about the spilled ice cream on the seat from last week he's going to sit on.

     The door opens with a screech. She winces and opens her door to get in the back. The click from her yellow pumps echo softly down the alley. The back door opens, thankfully, soundless. Mia slips onto the old, leather seat, stuffing popping from the seams. She smoothes her black skirt over her knees.

     "Now, it'll help to know what you’re looking for."

     "There was an accident when I was ten. I want to remember what happened."

     "It'll cost more." Lost memories are harder to find, she has to dig deeper then to simply find a memory. He presses his lips into a line.

     "Fine," he snaps, pulling out an envelope from his breast pocket, counts the money and hands it to her. Mia takes it and flips through the bills before nodding and tucking it into her dress.

     "Take my hands- and try to relax." She takes his hands and closes her eyes. His hands are soft and warm; he's probably never seen a day of work in his life.

     "I said relax," she says, mentally rolling her eyes. They never relax.

     Mia runs her fingers over the lines. Images slowly fill her mind. Him as a little boy playing on a ship. Nope. His wedding. She's not giving him a free memory. Or maybe just a taste so he'll be a returning costumer. Pictures of a lovely dark skinned woman in a white dress flash before her eyes. Ooo, their kiss. Okay moving on. Eleventh birthday. That’s closer. A car accident. She shutters, a rush of pain snapping in her arms. He broke them. Ow. The scent of blood fills her nose and sirens ring in her ears. Mia concentrates. Around her the car pieces itself back together. Everything comes to a sudden stop, as if she ran into a wall.

     The car hums softly as it goes down the highway, headlights flashing as cars pass by.

     "Sweetie can’t you just give it a try?" a young woman says glancing at the mirror into the backseat where a ten-year-old boy sits with his arms crossed.

     "But Mommm," he whines. The woman sighs. Her brown hair is up in a crown braid with strands framing her face. She’s rather pretty.

     "It’s only for a day, and your grandparents will be so happy..."

Mia crosses her legs and cracks her neck. She’s only an observer in the memory, nothing she does can change it. The boy continues pouting.

     "Fine," he grumbles. The mother sighs in relief.

     "You really will have a goo-"

      For Mia, everything slows. She can see the pickup truck try to swerve out of the lane, but it’s too slow, ramming into the side of the little car she's hitched a ride in. The mother jerks against her seatbelt and back into the seat instead of the front window. The boy hits his head hard on the window, cracking it and blood streams from a cut on his head. Mia watches, fascinated as it all happens. As an observer, nothing can hurt her.

     The car spins down the highway and down an embankment, flipping onto it’s roof. Every sound is oddly amplified in the eerie silence. Glass tinkles as it falls to the roof. Sirens howl in the distance. The boy is unconscious, held only by the seatbelt. The mother groans softly.

     "David, sweetie, are you okay?" she gasps. Huh, this is odd, since the boy is unconscious he can’t remember this, yet the memory is still playing. Mia climbs into the front seat. 

     The mother shakily cups her hands and a soft yellow orb glows in them.

     "Remember I always love you," she whispers into it. Her eyes close and her hands slip from the orb. It floats there for a minute then goes to David. It envelops him in its glow then dims as rescuers arrive.

      The scene fades to black. Another memory manipulator. Different from her gift, though.  His mother could implant memories into someone. Fascinating.

     David’s memories once again swirl before her eyes before she lets her hold on him go. Mia blinks her eyes open and lets go of his hands. She turns to look out the front as he composes himself.

     "I hope you found what you were looking for," she says coolly.

     "Yes, of course," David answers, voice heavy with tears. He pulls out another envelop and gives it to her. Once she's satisfied it’s the agreed amount she tucks it away with the other. Silently he opens the door and starts to leave then pauses and looks at her. 

     "You saw none of my memory, right?"

     "Of course not, " she lies, an easy smile tugging on her lips.

March 12, 2020 21:32

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.