Erase and Replace

Imagine a world where people could extract your memories and use them against you. They could find out anything about you and the events you have encountered. A dangerous thing to be able to do, yes? Especially when they're hunting you down for one crucial memory that could lead to power over the world if put in the wrong hands.

Forced on the run by memory thieves, Amber can't seem to forget everything she has to leave behind; her home, her identity and Jake. How long can she keep it all under control?


1. The First Memory

The dull clouds were smudged into the dimming sky so much so even the brightest sun would have struggled to have made an appearance. The cool wind danced through solemn trees, rattling the crisp leaves that remained on the stretched branches. It whistled with the recumbent birds as they glided on its tail to carry themselves home.


At that moment, walking through the breeze was a small body on a focused path but at the same time relishing the evening. Dirt ridden boots tiptoed over fallen leaves releasing their crunching sounds into existence. A bemused smile was fixed onto their face as light and innocent as a feather. Thin arms floated and swayed beside the petite body as dainty fingers touched ever so slightly upon damp bark of old trees familiarising them self as well as flicking back a sandy wave from their immersed gaze.


The night stalked the land, slowly consuming it. The winds pace began to pick up and its chill thickened. It flew through the brittle bushes that had long lost its green colour and soared around bird's nests now taunting them while they rested clustered together. It ran through the forest in a fluster not knowing where to go or what to do and bit with intense ferocity as its temper flared.


The wind was restless but never touched the little body as they began to hurry on their safe nature path down to the blue river but ominous black skies lurked at a scarce distance.


A carpet of reds, maroons and yellows spread itself at her feet revealing a tranquil turquoise river with a battered log that lay across it acting as a bridge from one world to another.


Soft trees arched over welcoming anyone or anything into its little corner of peace. The boulders, leaves and trees were set out so that it was as if it was Mother Nature's lounge. The hushed whoosh of the current was barely heard under the eerie storm that was just moments away.


She slid down next to a large rock just close enough to the river that she could dapple her finger tips in it. Her satin-like green eyes skimmed the peaceful wood on the other side of the river intensely as she tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. She wrapped her khaki jacket tighter around herself as the brisk wind started to crawl towards the little haven. The darkness was rapidly closing in.


Suddenly, from just across the river came heavy rustling. A vague silhouette fumbled over fallen branches in the dying light, "Bloody hell! It isn't half cold...and dark." they said through chattering teeth. A gentle laugh slipped out of the girls mouth as he brushed the grit of his dark, bedraggled jeans, "That's because it's autumn, Jake." 


He pushed his hand through his choppy, brown hair and unmasked a shy grin, “Yeah, it’s a shame really.”

“How do you mean?”

“Everything starts to come to an end around this time of year.”

The girl hugged her knees, “So, now it’s the end?” she gave a sad sigh, “I guess I knew they’d find us sooner or later.”


He knelt beside the river's edge as he fiddled about in his jacket pocket, gradually pulling out a rustic, beaded bracelet. "This is for you," he said disguising the growing sorrow in his voice, "So that you always have something that's from me, whether you know it or not."


As he threw the bracelet carefully across the river, her sorry eyes caught his and her smile managed to regain its place. She examined the bracelet feeling every part of it. Her fingers brushed across the carved wooden beads with Celtic patterns until she came across one shaped as a feather towards the knot.


"I'll always remember." she replied surely.  Jake looked down at his feet,

"So this is it then, Amber," he said, "The last time we'll ever see each other."


"Maybe and maybe not." she said cheerfully. However, Jake's face held an unsure expression. “Here comes the storm,” he breathed, “I hope you’re ready.”


At that point the tempestuous wind burst into their mists. It scraped at the trees, enclosing itself around the two bodies on either side of the sleek river. The girl shot up to her feet as he turned away, the wind racing through her hair. He faded back into the wood as the storm's violence grew. Her dismayed face had become red from the blows of wind that slapped against it.


Shadowy darkness devoured the evening turning it into the night as the girl made rushed back down the earthy trail from where she came.


My eyes flew open as the breaking day crept upon me. My frustration grew as I tried to forget it. I closed my eyes again and thought of box, a box with chains. I opened the box and threw the memory into it. I locked the box and put it into another but this one was made of steel. I imagined the box being thrown into the sea. I made it vanish.


An icy shiver ran down my back as I flicked my eyes open once again.  A dangerous memory had found its way back to me meaning one thing; my sub-conscious was fighting back and that meant trouble.


Bare trees tapped at my window. The light smell of pine cones surrounded me. The hushed chirp of the birds filled my ears. I could feel the rough touch of the wooden bed as I stretched out on it. It all felt serene and calm for a moment, “Get up, Amber,” Eli pushed past the door with an empty rucksack. He dumped it on the bed as he gave me an anxious look, “We have to move, now.”


The serenity vanished. Eli left with haste as soon as he had put the rucksack down. I leapt out of the bed, grabbing my clothes and putting other pieces in the bag. I kissed my only photograph of my parents before folding it away into my pocket.


Walking into the main room, an array of weapons splayed across the table provoked an awkward and uncomfortable feeling inside me. They were designed to destroy, to kill. It felt wrong to see them…and to use them.


It sickened me to the very core to know how to manipulate a gun or knife, but I did know how to.


Sighing slightly too loudly, Eli acknowledged my disgusted look, “Hunt or be hunted,” he grumbled, “We’ve gone over this.”

“It’s just words,” I replied sharply, “And actions speak louder than words.”


His fists clenched until they turned a milky white, “Actions are urged by words.” anger spread over his face with eyes glinting in the light. Tapping him on the shoulder, his past terrorised his mind. As heart wrenching as it was he could never tell me, he can’t confide in me.


Wrinkles by his eyes revealed a previous person, one that used to be happy. Worry lines covered his forehead and rubbing his hand across his salt and pepper hair I noticed a faded ring mark on his finger.  I could sense his pain and his frustration with me.

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