The Five Hundred – Untitled
I am sharing a piece I wrote for The Five Hundred for my latest blog post. A monthly writing Prompt group. If you have not tried it before, check out The Five Hundred and submit an entry of your own. This is the first piece of creative writing I have attempted since just after college. I hope you enjoy.
Deep within his neural cortex laid the secret. Decades of willful ignorance kept it out of the light. He was sure it was safe. He was after all, the only one left who could bring it back, if he tried. So there it lay; nestled between cells, nuclei and fatty tissue. Unaware of it’s own importance. A memory fading with time.
Then came the Reflect project and the unearthing of everything in every mind ever. The Government campaign called it a social safety net of remembrance. It was a key to every mind on the planet and the full end of privacy.
Many opened the door to their full experiences without resistance. Some didn’t. For them, came the crack down and the white boots. Door-to-door, demanding, “Show Me What You Got.” A phrase only associated with the henchmen of the Government.
David, knew his turn was coming one day. But before that, he searched for the technique long beloved to be an urban myth. But he had found it. The Transitive Associative Memory Procedure. Or TAMP amongst the underground circles. They would say, if you master it, you can TAMP down the memories you don’t want them to have, and keep them hidden.
Any day now, the boots would arrive at his door. He worked tirelessly to rewrite every key memory that could reveal what he knew. TAMP works by swapping out elements of a memory, a name, a face, a location with other non-facts. It’s like a cryptograph for your memories. Only you had the key to the cipher, but the trick was, you could not remember the cipher itself.
The only thing you had to remember was the transitive process to find where you had written down the key. Then use it to reset the memories back to their original state. If done wrong, you could rewire your mind into a whole new history for yourself and go mad in the process.
David started with small memories. Like the day at the neighborhood playground where Jennie had pushed him off the slide. It became Tommy and off of a swing and at the cross-town park instead. Blue Sky, was the key that would reset that revision. He hid it in a photo book in the attic. The memory, “UP,” was there to remind to look up somewhere to find the key.
In time he graduated to the key memory itself. The act of remembering it made him want to lose it forever more than redefine it. But it was important to preserve the memory because it would change the tide. It tied to his father. A man who had worked at the highest levels of Government and knew everything they did not want the public to know.
His father had chronicled the truth and the mechanism for disseminating it everywhere. Only David knew where it was. A memory of a conversation with his father as he was dying. That memory, had to stay secure…