By Jillian Wolstromer
A few years ago, our planet spiraled into war. No one was safe. No one. There was no mercy. The line of loyalty wavered as greedy people sided with whoever seemed to stand a chance. It was every person for themselves.
Recently, a government found me. The countries have become so muddled that I don't even know where they were from. That doesn't matter. What matters is that they found me and they're stripping me from myself one memory at a time.
Let me explain.
Ever since I can remember, which is iffy as is, I've had a pesky trick. The universe gifted me with the ability to see future events, so long as I lost a memory important to me. As one can imagine, this has caused a few issues in my life.
For starters, I grew up dumb. My stupid baby mind didn't know what was going on, so I'd carelessly swap out vital information for a glimpse into the future. Not that I even knew what the future was. So I took forever to grow up, as half of the necessary human functions were forgotten in an instant. Yet, I've grown to be fully functional.
There are times where I get really greedy and sneak a peek into the future. For instance, seeing if I’ll get the job I’m going into an interview for, or if a girl will say yes to my asking her out. I've made a habit to write down my life in notebooks, like a backup hard drive in case I forget anything. I document almost everything, if I'm able to. There are always things that slip through, but I have piles of videos of all the personal important things. I don’t think I’d be able to forgive myself if I forgot the birth of either of my kids, or their first steps, or their first words, or their laughs. Their smiles. Them.
This is all slipping away from me. This government- whoever they are- they found me. They somehow knew my secret, and they’re forcing me to use it for ‘the greater good’. I’ve already lost a few memories, as I’ve given in a few times. Only a few.
I watch from where I’m bound as they pace back and forth, coming up with new ways to coax me into complying. They crave victory badly; it’s practically a tangible object to them. I won’t- I can’t- give in.
These people speak indistinctly. Even though I can’t hear them, I can see as they point to certain tools laying around the room. My body aches with exhaustion. I don’t know how much more I can take before I give in again.
Eventually, I can hardly keep my eyes open. My breathing is ragged and I just want to sleep. I allow myself to slip away from reality and sleep for as long as these cruel people will allow me to.
I don’t know how long I slept, but I’m woken up by multiple prods to the shoulder.
“Your family’s here,” one of government people says.
My body goes into panic. My family can't see me like this. How did these monsters even find them? I struggle in my bed, desperate to escape. My words come out garbled and distant. I hate that my family sees me this way.
“Honey, we're here for you,” my wife says. The government people allow her to come to my bed and hold my hand.
“Please don't forget me,” she begs, squeezing my hand.
I see my two kids, the loves of my life, walk up to my bed and peer at me. They don't say a word; they simply look at me. I feel like an animal on display.
I am allowed an hour or so with my family. It's hard to stay focused, but I try my best to take in every feature about them. This could very well be the last time I see them… or remember them.
It's not long until the government people usher them away and I'm left alone again. I try to stop from crying, but a few tears betray me. The government people rush to my side and wipe them away.
“They'll be back,” they tell me, almost menacingly. I say nothing. I keep my eyes forward and my jaw clenched.
I won't let them get to me.
I try my best to ignore the pain they inflict on me. They stab me with needles and inject their evil into me. I try so hard to stay strong, but before long, I can feel my resolve slipping away. I feel my mind falling into a dazed state, and all I want to do is tell them what I can see.
I close my eyes and submerge myself in the future. I pass by millions of images, but only stop at the ones I know they want to see. Before long, I'm blabbing my mouth off. I can't stop. I can't open my eyes. I don't stop telling them what will and won't work in the war until they remove the needles from my arm. At that moment, my eyes flash open. I try to jolt up in my bed, but I am held down by my restraints. My breathing is heavy and I'm drenched in sweat. I try desperately to realize what I forgot but it's no use. Those memories are gone.
This happens multiple times over the next month or so. It begins with these evil people bringing my family to me. I see them for an hour or so and desperately try to remember them before it all goes away. They leave and I am left alone with only the memories of them, which could very well slip away from me. Then, I am stabbed with needles and all my willpower is gone. I tell them everything they need to know until they stop their cruel punishment for the time being.
It keeps happening, over and over again. I am losing everything I knew and held dear.
My neighborhood and school. Gone.
My first kiss. Poof.
My parents and childhood home. Gone.
My profession. Forgotten.
Slowly, everything up until I met my wife is gone. Then, the truly horrible happens, and even that starts to slip away as well.
Where I met my wife. Gone.
Where I had my first date with my wife. Lost.
When I realized I loved her and wanted to marry her. Absent.
Where and when I proposed to her. Forgotten.
Our wedding. Vanished.
I have to question my wife and kids every time I see them. Eventually, I hardly recognize them or know anything about them.
My children's’ first steps and first words. Gone.
Their birthdays. Poof.
It’s not long before I forget their names, along with my wife. They have to remind me who they are every time I see them. Soon enough, I don’t know them at all. There is no love, only unwanted emotions. They don’t come anymore. I’m falling apart. I can hardly remember who I am.
What I’ve done in my life. Gone.
How old I am. Gone.
My name. Gone.
Once memories are gone, my mind starts to take away necessary human functions. It begins with my limbs. Slowly, my body forgets how to move at all. My jaw hardly moves, so my purpose is useless. Yet, I am so used to the routine that my body projects me into the future without my consent. Soon enough, it takes away my ability to swallow. The government people shove a tube in me and pump the food directly into me.
I’ve become nothing more than a puppet. I am useless and they still keep me here.
The next thing my body takes away is my ability to breathe. I’m hooked up to a machine that forces me to breathe. As time goes on, one by one, my functions for living disappear. I’m hooked up to so many things that it’s hardly me anymore.
I see some crying people one last time. A beautiful woman and two children who look like her. They are ushered away.
The last time I look into the future, my body takes away the last muscle I needed. As I feel my heart pump its last few beats, I see the government people drop their heads in defeat. I close my eyes and accept the cold embrace of death.
“Call it,” a nurse says somberly.
“Time of death: 8:43,” someone else says as they look at their watch.
A few medical staff lingers around the bed, only briefly glancing at the body before leaving. A sheet is placed over the deceased.
“We lost another one to Alzheimer’s.”
Lit. Mag. Staff
Table of Contents
~"Sonnet" by Pavan Dayal (Poetry)
~"The Five Performers" by Javier Flores (Poetry)
~"Don't Forget to Remember" by Jillian Wolstromer (Fiction)
~"Waterfall" by Tianna Perry (Poetry)
~"Bipliophile" by Ye Yee Mary Song (Artwork)
~"In the Dark?" by Maya Tisdale (Poetry)
~"Outcast" by Michaela Gathings (Poetry)
~"I am Woman" by Oluwajoba Ogun (Poetry)
~"Enigma" by Serena Wooten (Fiction)
~"Robbery on the Dusty Road" by Emily Guettler (Fiction)
~"Seasons and Relationships" by Kaylee Kalaf (Poetry)
~"Lullaby" by Caitlyn Doan (Poetry)
~"The Crown" by Olivia King (Fiction)
~"Skull" by Ye Yee Mary Song (Artwork)
~"Dying Ugly" by Maya Tisdale (Poetry)
~"The Haunts of Brynmor House" by Emily Guettler (Fiction)
~"Swamp Town" by Samuel Asabor (Fiction)