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Science Fiction Suspense Thriller

The ambience of their surroundings didn’t make their meeting any less uncomfortable. Jeffrey gazed at the woman who sat across from him. She smiled faintly, picked up her dark, steaming beverage and took a small sip. Even though Jeffrey had invited her here, he had no recollection of her. 

“Why did I invite her here?” he wondered to himself, questioning the outcome of this meeting. She seemed to sense his thoughts as she suddenly leaned forward, moving the small canister of sugar to the side, and said, “I’m so happy you called me, Jeffrey. I wasn’t sure I would ever see you again, not after what had happened.” Her words hung in the air like the mouthwatering aroma of caffeine and sweet delights. 

Jeffrey struggled to find the right words. Clearing his throat he asked the question that he hoped would lead him to some answers, “Why was your name and number on my wall?” Then he added with great uncertainty, “The note said your name is Lena. Is that correct?” The last traces of friendliness disappeared from her beautiful face as reality took its toll on her features.

She struggled to get her emotions under control, but finally she managed to say, “Oh, Jeffrey. You don’t remember, do you?” Her fingers played nervously with the napkin on the table. She shook her head as if fighting an internal battle that wanted to be heard. “I warned you not to get the procedure done. I begged you just to share your true memories with Charlotte. I tried, Jeffrey, but you didn’t listen,” she wiped a tear from her face. 

The steam that danced above his own drink taunted him. It seemed so free and careless. He watched it for a few seconds too long before picking up his cup and taking a big gulp of the dark, bitter liquid. Jeffrey felt his heart beating wildly, a reminder of the fear that grew inside of him. The truth was, he had no idea who he was. He didn’t know this woman who sat across from him. He didn’t even know if this was his usual order. He knew nothing and that was terrifying. 

His fingers traced the patterns on the tablecloth as he tried to buy himself some time. He tried to think about his options, even though he knew he didn’t have many. He had woken up in a strange bed this morning with no idea who he was. The only thing he had that he hoped could lead him to answers, was a small piece of paper that blew slightly above his head. It only read, “Call Lena. 098 773 6584.” Now, here, Lena sat and he was still no closer to finding the answers he so desperately hoped for. Something about her made him feel uneasy.

Silently he looked around him. Men in business suits laughed happily as future deals were being signed. Moms met other moms to share the latest progress of their babies. Teens sat on their devices while slurping from cups that looked like they were inspired by unicorns and buckets of glitter. Jeffrey noticed the music, soothing and sophisticated. He wondered if he used to like this kind of music. He wondered if he’d ever know. 

“Lena,” he began gently, “ I need to know what happened to me.” 

She looked at him as if she was reading a book full of puzzles and twists. The silence grew between them until Jeffrey felt his palms sweat with anticipation. Finally, she nodded. It was a nod so small that Jeffrey wondered if he had imagined it. 

“You were the love of my life, Jeffrey,” she said softly as if the words themselves carried a painful weight. “You never even knew, you know. I always believed we would end up together. Of course, Charlotte ruined our chances,” she chucked roughly as if she had told a joke that tortured her.

Jeffrey didn’t dare say anything. He didn’t want to risk upsetting her and not getting the answers he was so desperate for. He sat quietly, waiting for her to gather herself once more and continue. “I told you that if she loved you, truly loved you, she would not have asked to see your memories. But you didn’t listen. You never listened, Jeffrey,” she said again leaving the accusation hanging between them. 

“My memories,” Jeffrey repeated, rubbing his head. He felt another headache coming on. 

“When you choose the one, you don’t have to demand access to their memories,” she spat, suddenly angered. “I would never have asked you to share yours with me,” she whispered, forcing Jeffrey to lean in closer before adding, “But you were so hooked on her, your precious Charlotte. You started doubting whether your memories were good enough for someone like her,” she continued and Jeffrey could hear the hatred as she spoke of Charlotte. 

“Extracting your memories is a ludicrous idea, Jeffrey. I never understood how you didn’t see that! What are you without your memories? A mere skeleton of a man!” overcome with emotion yet again, Lena grabbed her cup, squeezed it hard, and brought it to her lips. 

Jeffrey hesitated before responding. A shiver took control of him as he thought back to the image that filled his mind when he woke up this morning. Even as he was sitting here, looking at this unfamiliar person, he fought images that threatened to cloud his subconscious, horrible images that he wished could be cast from his mind forever. 

“The thing is, Lena, I have memories. They might have extracted mine to show Charlotte, but they didn’t leave me without memories. I can assure you that would have been much better,” he felt his chip wobble as another vivid flashback overtook his mind. He swallowed, hoping for courage, and forced himself to continue, “Lena, I see the most horrific things. I think they have given me the memories of someone truly evil.”

Lena seemed to deflate in front of his eyes as she sat back in her chair. The nervous, emotional woman was overtaken by someone confident and relaxed. A smile spread across her gorgeous face as took a deep breath in and then exhaled. She closed her eyes, swept away by a memory of her own, Jeffrey supposed. 

Leaning over to touch his hand, Lena spoke in a velvety voice very different from the one she showcased before. “Oh, my darling,” she uttered, running her thumb over his hand. “I was filled with doubt when they said it could be done, but it appears they delivered,” she said, wiping again at tears that threatened to form. “Duplicating memories just seemed impossible, but I remained hopeful. I knew the only way to have you was for you to be like me, to share my most intimate belongings, my memories. No, baby, don’t take your hand away. You see, I did this for us. Now we are binded by my memories; memories that we’ll share till death do us part.” 

September 18, 2023 08:31

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1 comment

R W Mack
16:23 Sep 24, 2023

I wasn't sure where the story was going and that's always a huge plus for me. I had suspicions, but it was enough to keep me going the whole way through. It's also not too long and we'll paced sentences. This was good and I'm glad it set a decent bar for the rest of my day's judging since this was my first story in the queue.


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