"Why dont you believe me? I dont remember anything!" echoed his frantic voice in the tiny, dark room where he was being held. A drop of sweat mixed with blood slid down his gashed cheek onto his lap. The room was damp and suffocating due to the lack of ventilation and because three burly men were cramped in a fairly claustrophobic space, along with a chair and a suitcase containing something unknown to the man tied and seated in the chair. He drew a painful gasp and spit out blood along with some of his teeth. "You can try all sorts of lie detecting tests on me but I dont remember anything even remotely related to what you brutes want." The swinging bulb overhead cast deep shadows over his face which exaggerated all sorts of scars and signs on his face, courtesy of the men interrogating him. The captive lolled his head to one side and drew quick, short breaths. The other two men looked at each other, seemingly asking the same question as to what should be done with the captive. One of them tried the assault technique and caught hold of the captive's collar and shook him hard. Frustrated, he kicked the captive to the floor. He screamed and groaned as he rolled onto his side in the small puddle made by the leaky ceiling. The other man forced him up and made his chair upright again, while his partner went back and brought to light, the heavy-looking suitcase. It took a relatively long time to open it. It had some sort of security on it, apparently it contained something unique. The man opened the suitcase and took out, ironically, a small wooden box. That was all the suitcase contained. He dramatically brought the box in front of the captive's face and opened the lid of the case. It was quite elegant from the inside. It contained a black fountain pen resting in a red velvet bed. The sight of the pen gave the captive a jolt. "I...I still don't recall anything." "But..!!" shouted the man as he was going to be delivered another round of beating, "This wretched thing is the root of all troubles! I just...just somehow know it." There was a silence for a few moments as the interrogators looked at each other and nodded. It looked like they got what they were looking for. As the yellow light from the bulb shone off the brilliantly polished body of the pen, it was hard to imagine how it could be responsible for whatever it was being accused of.
Chapter 1: The beginning
Slugging through his life was not what he wanted when he decided to pursue a college degree in the noisy streets of Welton city. It was not very well known but had a moderate reputation for passing out its students in flying colors. Day after day went by but Aaron never found anything which excited him for long. He was of an average intelligence; at least it was what he thought. He failed to get into any premier institute and was forced to get admitted in a mediocre college.
Sitting alone in his dimly lit room, rented in a busy locality, he wondered what to do with his life. It was almost dinner time, and he had yet not started working on his assignment. A tall, thin boy with dark hair and high hopes, he was not looking forward to living in the city. Aaron was an introvert who never spoke to strangers, so basically he never had a thriving social circle. His parents lived about twelve hours away from him in a quiet and uneventful place called Hankus city. They were quite supportive of him and constantly motivated him through his so-called difficult time of his life. Living all alone in an unknown city, Aaron ocasionally witnessed the world's cruel ways. The fast paced city life contained all types of characters. Every other day, the evening paper fluttered with the news of violence, murder, robbery and the general malevolence to humanity.
Aaron was apprehensive following his admission into University of Welton. He had worked hard to try and give a shot at much more better universities but at the day of the entrance exam, he had a nervous breakdown. Things didn't go as he planned over the preparation years. It was partly due to the incompetent teachers in Hankus town where not many youngsters were inspired to aim at the stars.
He was considerably talented when it came to extracurricular activities. He had an active mind and his keen sense of logical interpretation made him nothing short of perspicacious. Only if he had learned to apply himself at the right moment in the right way, he would have been in a bit more desirable state. He incessantly told himself that he deserved better. Aaron was nearly in a state of minor depression after the first semester ended. He only got just above average grades.
During the course of the semester, he had not made much friends to hang out with in the many recreational spots strewn across the city, like a bar, a drug den or betting parlors.
The abundant parties and joys of the teenage life never attracted him. He abstained from the habits that his peers thought was cool. This baffled him even more that teens with all sorts of habits and practices appeared more focused in terms of academic performances than he was. The pages of his reference textbook ruffled in the draft coming in from the window. Aaron sighed and got up to complete the assignment. As he sat down at his study table, his landlady called out for him. He lazily called out "Coming!" ,pushed his chair back and got up. "You have mail!" called out Mrs Smith. Martha Smith was a kind lady in her 50's. She was rather a simpleton who was specially given the job to watch over Aaron during his stay as her tenant. She was gentle but irksome at times by going overboard with her home-made rules. Aaron didn't receive many mails and wasn't expecting any at that moment. Mildly curious, he made his way down the creaky wooden stairs and found Mrs Smith waiting at the end, carefully examining a small package which was heavily wrapped, as though expecting to deduce its contents. Aaron said "I will take it from here." and held his hand out. Ignoring him, with her eyes fixed on it, she mumbled," What is it?" Aaron made a puzzled expression and said."I dont know." She said,"It has no sender's address on it, just your name on it." Mr Smith, who was engrossed in a soccer match on the TV, turned back and grumbled,"We are not going to have an unknown parcel in the house." "But you heard her, it has my name on it. Its mine, whatever it is." said Aaron didn't quite understand why he was so intent on claiming an anonymous parcel. Maybe because nothing new happened in his mundane routine, or maybe it was just his ego acting to take what was his. Mr Smith grunted and went back to his beer can and the game. Aaron took the parcel and walked up the stairs while Mrs Smith shrugged and went back to work in the kitchen. Holding in his hand, the parcel felt like a small box. He shook it but it made no discernable sound. As he entered his room, he placed the package on his desk and unwrapped it in an uncouth way. It revealed a small,polished wooden box with a lid. Aaron held the box in his hands and opened the lid. Inside it, resting in a red bed of velvet material, was a pen. It had a black body and was quite smooth and polished. It looked like an ordinary pen at first but as Aaron opened its cap, he noticed it was a fountain-tip pen which was shiny golden in appearance. He rolled it around in his palm and saw that it was a nice pen overall. But what made it strange was that there was no note attached to it mentioning the credentials of the sender. He was indubitably sure that he had no secret admirer and he had never made any sort of yearnful request for a pen to anyone. At that moment he saw a small piece of paper fall out from the cap of the pen as he was fiddling with it. Aaron picked out the crumpled bit of paper and carefully unfolded it. In it, in a loopy handwriting, was scribbled, 'Write your name'. This was the most absurd note Aaron ever came across in a gift. But as Aaron had nothing interesting to do, he picked up the shiny black pen and carefully started writing his name at the back of his notebook. It was quite smooth and comfortable to hold. As Aaron wrote his name in the notebook, he didn't feel anything happen really. He put the cap back on and stared at the gleaming navy blue ink in the form of his name. He held the pen out and looked at it. Of course he knew what it was. It was the memory pen. It had the ability to modify or delete a person's memory if their name was written by it. But how can it be. Just a minute ago Aaron had no idea about the pen or its origin. Now, he felt he knew all about it. Aaron nervously looked at the pen. "Yes, it's the very pen. I have no doubt about it. Its clear as glass. This pen can change the memories of people. But, heck I just got it a few minutes ago and I can swear I never saw it before in my life, ever!" mused he. Aaron swiftly dropped the pen on his desk and slowly sat on his bed. He was quite tense. Tiny drops of sweat appeared on his forehead. The pen lying on his desk was so familiar but in reality he had never seen it before. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Everything was clear. The pen could add new memories or erase the existing ones. The writer only had to know the target by face. The name would come to him as he wrote. Planting new memories in the target's mind could possibly mould their actions but there is always the possibility that they end up getting confused if the new memory is too far-fetched depending on the situation. The pen was not a hypnotic device. It only changed the target's memory of something or someone or erased some vital information from their mind. The pen cannot be used to make a person do its bidding. Aaron was bewildered. He recognised in his mind that the pen had some supernatural ability. "This is impossible," blurted out he. "I live in a modern society. I don't believe in these things! Yet, I have full faith in the pen's ability."