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The Grove-Fiction by Kim Bonner
Sawed Off-Fiction by Allan Leverone
Buried Memory-Fiction by James Flynn
Laying Blame-Fiction by Julian Manthorne
Salmone Puttanesca-Fiction by A. F. Knott
Jedda Summons a Higher Power-Fiction by Robb White
Cherry-Orange-Grape-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Jingles and Mr. Hammer-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Shhh...Listen to the Ekko-Fiction by Brian Fugett
Serial-Fiction by Doug Hawley
Somnium Trivium-Fiction by Michael Steven
An Arms Deal-Fiction by Matthew Licht
The Decline of the Midnight Sadist-Fiction by Gary Clifton
Stormy Night at Pussycat Manor-Fiction by Michael D. Davis
Passengers-Fiction by Dan A. Cardoza
Storm_Flash Fiction by K. A. Williams
Becoming Made-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Feeling Like God-Flash Fiction by Luann Lewis
The Coyote, the Dog and the Woman-Flash Fiction by Phyllis Peterson Levine
Fried Zucchini Sticks-Flash Fiction by Cathi Stoler
A Woman of Good Hard Hands-Poem by Otto Burnwell
Abduction-Poem by Jimmy Broccoli
Jitterbug-Poem by Robert Beveridge
Abandoned House-Poem by John Short
The Beauty of Trees-Poem by Ann Marie Rhiel
Regrets-Poem by David Spicer
Hospital on the Hill-Poem by Stephen J. Golds
Panic Attack-Poem by Kevin Ribshman
The Dark-Poem by Kevin Ribshman
Empty-Poem by Connor Orrico
Endless-Poem by Connor Orrico
Effort-Poem By Connor Orrico
Corpulent Octave-Poem by Harris Coverley
Small Town Story-Poem by Harris Coverley
Dans le Bain-Poem by Harris Coverley
Many Surprises-Poem by Walter Ruhlmann
In Another Waiting Room-Poem by Walter Ruhlmann
Innocent Blood-Poem by Walter Ruhlmann
Ebola-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
I Am an Organ Donor-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Just Part of the Food Chain-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Today's Adventure-Poem by John Grey
Creating the Master race-Poem by John Grey
In the Old Mansion-Poem by John Grey
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

82_ym_buriedmemory_kcwalker.jpg
Art by Keith Coates Walker © 2020

Buried Memory

 

James Flynn

 

Justin put on his coat and shoes and stared at his reflection in the hallway mirror for a moment. A distraught, tired man looked back out at him from the reflective pane of glass, eyes full of pain and torment. He was ready now, though; ready to start a new chapter in his life. The day had come, this was it. Taking a deep breath, he walked out the front door and started walking.

He was on his way to Piece of Mind, a controversial new company thatd opened up across town a few months ago. Piece of Mind offered a unique service for its customers: for a certain price, people could replace their memories with a new set of memories. And there were two options available for people: a Partial Replacement, and a Complete Replacement. The former involved only replacing a set of selected memories, whereas the latter involved completely replacing a person’s entire memories.

There were various reasons why customers went to Piece of Mind. For some, it allowed them to move on in life after a traumatic event. For others, it was a way to live happily without regrets or a mediocre past nagging away at them. In both cases, however, the treatment was a revolutionary way to start a new life by replacing an old one, getting rid of unwanted mental baggage.

And Justin had plenty of regrets and mental baggage he wanted to get rid of. His young son had disappeared a few years ago, vanished without a trace, and shortly afterwards his wife had left him. Nobody knows what happened to his boy, he was out riding his bicycle one day and simply never returned. Abduction was the natural conclusion to take, but neither he nor the police knew for sure. The ordeal had weakened and crumbled the relationship between him and his wife shortly afterwards, and eventually she disappeared too, leaving him all alone in his anguish. But there was a limit to how much a person could take. He’d had enough heartache and misery, now he was ready to do something about it.

 

*          *          *

 

The Piece of Mind facility looked pleasant enough from the outside. As Justin approached it from the other side of the road, he gazed up at its white façade and smiled. The tall building represented a new start for him, an end to his torment.

The doctor was expecting him, so he didn’t have to wait very long in the reception area. And that was good because the waiting area seemed to be full of other people just like himself: depressed, desperate, lonely souls who’s only positive quality was a disposable income large enough to pay for some kind of treatment. After a few minutes twiddling his thumbs, he was ushered through to a rear section of the premises.

The doctor was a well-spoken, amiable man who put Justin at ease straight away. ‘You won’t feel a thing, he said. We’ll put you to sleep, attach some special electrodes to your head, and then run our software program.

Justin nodded, pensively.

The only bad part is that we’ll have to shave off some of that nice hair.

They both laughed as Justin ran a hand through his dark, parted hair. It was an unfortunate inconvenience, but not enough to put him off the treatment. Nowhere near, in fact.

With the pleasantries and the explanation out of the way, it was time for the operation to commence. He’d already decided that he was going to have a Partial Replacement, and he’d also already chosen his new memory implants from a digital catalogue that was emailed to him shortly after registering.

Each set of memories came from another human being, another person who sold them to the company. Usually the seller would be someone on their deathbed, someone in their final days wanting to earn a bit of money to pass on to their bereaved families to cover funeral costs and what have you, but not always. Sometimes the seller would be healthy and well, but struggling with financial difficulties. In both cases the donor’s family, or the donor himself, would be advised to move to another city or district to avoid any awkward, unforeseen situations arising, such as accidentally bumping into the recipient on the street. The repercussions of such a thing happening were unknown, but it was agreed by all that it was probably worth avoiding.

Justins new memories came from a relatively young, healthy man who was now living in a different part of the city, but this was restricted information that he didn’t have access to.

Once he was comfortable on the bed in the surgical theatre, the doctor injected him with drugs and rendered him unconscious. As he was slipping away, his vision blurry and hazy, he knew that the next time he opened his eyes he would be a new man.

 

*          *          *

 

It was a bright, pleasant morning and Justin was pottering away in the kitchen, preparing his breakfast. It’d been several months since his operation and his life had certainly changed, although not as much as he’d hoped. The backdrop to his life had definitely altered in a radical way, with most of his past memories much easier to live with, but something still wasn’t quite right.

Since the operation he’d started to experience bad dreams. These dreams ripped him from his sleep quite frequently, leaving him in a state of panic, despair, and terror. They contained many things, but in each one there was a rural theme. He always saw fields, trees, and dirtalways lots of dirt. He would march across boggy fields in these sleepy visions, cold wind slapping his face, and the last thing he would see before waking would always be an ominous-looking mound of dirt by his feet.

Shrugging it off at first, he told himself it was nothing.

But the dream persisted.

After a while he began to take notes in a small pad by his bed, and before long he had lots of details written down. Some nights he’d see a well-trodden path, other nights an empty field, but there’d always be that large mound of dirt at the end.

Sat at the breakfast table with a plate of toast and a cup of tea in front of him, Justin thought about this dream once more. Could it be a real memory from my donor? he thought. Could it have been transferred to me by accident? The doctor had told him that this occasionally happened, but it was very rare. But, rare or not, he was becoming increasingly convinced that the dream visions constituted real memories set in a real place. And, on top of this, he was even beginning to suspect that he knew where the place was. All of his notes, everything that hed accumulated so far, told him that the dream took place over on the marshes to the north of the city. Even though the memory was not his he could still recognize the area, and it very much resembled the marshes.

He was considering going back to Piece of Mind to complain and get rid of his new memories. Most of them were pleasant enough, but this re-occurring dreamor nightmarewas ruining them.

His curiosity wouldn’t let him do that, however; not yet, anyway. He was determined to find out the meaning of the dream, hell-bent to work out what it stood for, and while he was sipping his tea at the table he decided then and there that he was going to pay a visit to the marshes.

If he looked around, maybe he’d find something.

 

*          *          *

 

Ryan paced up and down his plain, unfurnished living room like a trapped zoo animal, running things over in his head for the millionth time. Was he overreacting? It happened years ago, after all. But if I remember, they might remember.

This was ridiculous. He should’ve been enjoying himself, not pulling his hair out like this. Twenty thousand big ones were sitting in his bank account, and he’d just moved into a new luxury pad. Piece of Mind had paid him generously, but he just couldn’t relax and enjoy his money. This is what happens when you read the small print afterwards, you fool.

Ryan had been in such a rush to sell his memories and earn some cash, he hadn’t looked into the details thoroughly enough beforehand. In one of the booklets he’d just finished reading, it was written that on rare occasions a loose, stray memory was sometimes transferred to the recipient, an accidental addition to the specified set. This was a big problem for him because of that horrendous, fateful night all those years ago—the worst night of his life.

He’d been driving home one night after visiting a friend, cruising along the winding road that runs adjacent to the marshes. Two cans of beer were in his system, that was all. Okay, so he might have technically been over the limit, but not by much. It was week beer, as well, for crying out loud! And it wasn’t even his fault. That kid on the bike had come screaming round the corner like a rocket, swerving this way and that way.

He could still see the boys face slapping against the windscreen, still hear the crunch of the bikes frame folding under his tyres.

Panic was too mild a word to describe what he’d felt that night. He’d been shaking like a leaf, gagging and blubbering behind the wheel after skidding to a stop. It wasn’t his fault, he knew it wasn’t, but he also knew that the police would smell the cheap lager on his breath as soon as they turned up, and then things would have gotten really bad.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, that’d been his mantra that night, anyway. The mantra that hed mumbled to himself whilst pulling the shovel out of the boot of the car and... No. He couldn’t have done that, he just couldn’t have. Could he? Could Ryan Torres, model citizen, have dragged a boys body into the forest by the marshes and buried it?

It’d been so out of character that hed convinced himself it’d never happened. After a few weeks, when the police failed to turn up at his door, he simply put the whole thing behind him and resumed his former lifestyle. He went to work, paid his bills, watched TV, and pushed the entire experience away to some dusty corner of his mind.

And it’d been so deeply buried (pun not intended) that he managed to pass Piece of Mind’s tests. They didn’t buy just anyone’s memories, you see, they only wanted suitable donors who could offer their customers nice, pleasant thoughts. Personality tests were conducted, psychological examinations, criminal background checks, etc, but Ryan had passed them all with flying colors. It was as if some inbuilt defense mechanism in his mind had concealed the memory for his sake, to preserve his mental health, to allow him to move on.

But now it was back.

The whole event was crystal clear in his mind once again, dislodged after reading the booklet, and he knew that somewhere out there, somewhere in the big city, there was another human being who could now be carrying the same incriminating memory in his or her head.

There was no way around ithe had to go back to the scene of the crime and remove the body in case the other person worked out where it was.

*          *          *

It was a windy day, and the trees lining the edge of the field swayed like tall, waving hands. Ryan retraced his steps from that fateful night all those years ago, trudging across the mud with a bag slung over his shoulder. He knew where he had to go, he could picture the exact area where the boys body lay below the ground. What he wasn’t entirely sure of, however, was what he was going to do once he got there. There was a shovel in his bag, and he planned on digging the corpse back up again, but after that he didn’t really know.

After around twenty minutes or so he was close. Thin trees surrounded him and wet, mushy leaves squelched underfoot. The burial site was just a little bit farther down, at the foot of the short slope in front of him, and he began to edge towards it.

One step, two steps... Stop!

Someone was down there, a figure hunched over, digging away at the ground. Ryan was about to run, but the figure turned to face him. Two wide, maniacal eyes peered up at him through the tangle of trees and bushes, the frightened stare of someone caught in the middle of some despicable act. For a moment neither of them could do anything, they were both frozen still from shock, but the stand-off was broken when Ryan noticed the odd, uneven patches in the man’s hair.

He had dark hair in a rough center parting, but certain sections of it were shorter than others, like someone had attacked him with a set of hair clippers. That someone, Ryan guessed, mustve been a doctor at Piece of Mind. And with this realisation, he knew that he’d inadvertently bumped into the recipient of his memories.

This was not good.

And it got worse.

Looking down towards the mound of dirt by the man’s feet, Ryan could see small fragments of old bone jutting out here and there, thin white shards thatd been churned up by the edge of a pointy shovel. The man seemed to recognize who Ryan was, as well, putting two and two together.

You! he said, with a snarl. It’s you!

Caught up in a whirlwind of panic, the only thing Ryan could think of saying was: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Bullshit! It’s you! You’re the one who buried this body!

Hey! I’m just taking a walk. I have no idea what you’re saying.

After a brief, tense pause, the man said: ‘Deny it if you like. It doesn’t matter. Piece of Mind have got your details on file, and I’ll be reporting you as soon as I get out of here.

Shit! Shit, shit, shit! thought Ryan. This is exactly what I didn’t want.

He swiftly changed tact.

Well, what are you doing out here, anyway? You don’t look so innocent yourself.

What am I doing here? said the man. Im here to find out what this grave contains. I’m here to learn the truth about this dark memory you’ve given me. Or the dark memory I paid for, he added, shaking his head.

Ryan was stumped. He really couldn’t think of any words to talk his way out of this precarious situation. Instead he turned and started to backtrack across the muddy path, his heart racing in his chest like a thumping fist.

You’re not going to get away with this! shouted the man, still standing by the open grave. Do you hear me?

Staggering across the dirty terrain, Ryan thought hard about what he was going to do. The police would be knocking his door down within the next few days unless he could think of something, and he couldn’t go to prison, he just couldn’t.

Coming to a shaky halt, leaning against a pine tree for balance, he dipped his hand into his pocket and pulled out his phone. He had an idea.

*          *          *

Angry, thundering knocks echoed through the house, shaking the walls and doors. It’d been going on for a few minutes now, and the noise was growing louder and more ferocious with each second that passed. The letter box eventually opened on the front door, and a stern face peered in through the gap.

Police! Police! Open up!

There was movement upstairs, a gentle rustling as the owner panicked and stalled, trying to decide what to do.

Open the door!

Okay! Okay! I’m coming, he replied.

Putting a shaky hand on the latch, he pulled the door open and squinted at the officers through the bright morning light.

Justin Hickey, you’re under arrest for murder. Turn around and put your hands on your head.

What!? screamed Justin. You’ve got the wrong man! It wasn’t me, it was—’

Just do it! Now!

As Justin’s hands were being cuffed, he closed his eyes and silently wept. His new life was turning out to be a disaster, and now this. He didn’t bother protesting, didn’t bother asking why they were arresting him instead of the real killer, he simply didn’t have the energy. Sleep had evaded him for weeks, the macabre nightmare invading his senses every single night. Marched out the front of his house and pushed into the back of a waiting patrol car, his head hung low like a condemned man.

*          *          *

Detective Nolan stared at Justin incredulously from across the desk in the interview room. After a tense moment, he slid a photograph over to him.

Care to explain this? he said.

Justin looked down at the photo, and his jaw hung slack with disbelief. He saw himself standing in the woods, a pile of rotten bones by his feet. Look, I know who took this,’ he said, running a hand through his patchy hair. Hes trying to set me up. I can explain everything.’

I’m all ears, said the detective.

Justin told him everything, from Piece of Mind, to his dreams, to meeting the killer in the woods.

‘Piece of Mind, eh? I’ve heard of that place. Swapping memories? Whatever next?

It’s true, stammered Justin. I—’

I know it’s a real place. I’ve heard of it. The thing is, Justin, there are just too many things working against you.

What? What do you mean?

Well, firstly, I just don’t believe anyone would be stupid enough to sell their memories to Piece of Mind if they’d previously committed murder. That would just be plain stupid. Only a complete idiot would do such a thing.’

‘But—’

‘And,’ Nolan continued, ‘with the murder victim being your son, there’s a clear link between you and the body.’

As the words came out of the detective’s mouth, strange things happened to Justin. First his eyes grew wide, wider than theyd ever been before, then an icy feeling took over his blood, followed by the room spinning like he was sitting on some fairground ride.

What…What did you say?

‘There’s a link between you and the body, and you were caught red-handed at the scene. This is not looking good for you right now.

That... That was my son out there?

Don’t try and play smart with me. I’ve been doing this job for too many years now. I—’

Oh god! Oh god, no! This can’t be happening!

Nolan continued, taking no notice of what he perceived to be an emotional act. People go to this Piece of Mind place to feel better, right? To rid themselves of bad memories.

Justin groaned in response, his face down on the desk.

It doesn’t take Einstein to work out what happened here, Justin. You were the one who killed your son all those years ago, then you found it hard to live with the guilt. You went to Piece of Mind to get a new set of memories, to start again and forget, but you just couldn’t escape your past. For some reason you returned to the burial site, and you were unlucky enough to get caught there.

No! No! That’s just not true!

I think it is, Justin, said the detective, gazing down at the photograph with a knowing look on his face.

‘I inherited the memory from Piece of Mind!’

Can you prove it?’

‘Just go and speak to them! They’ll explain everything to you!’

‘I’ll be paying them a visit, sure,’ the detective said, albeit rather sceptically.

And anyway, the photograph proves what Im saying!’ screamed Justin. How would this other guy know where the grave was unless hed been there before?

‘You’re still trying to tell me that your memory donor took this photograph?

‘Yes!’

‘Can you prove that?’

Well, no, but…Look, who do you think took it?

It was sent in anonymously; we don’t know. We recognized you, though, due to the fiasco with your missing son a few years ago.

This is rubbish! The killer took it! The ass-hole who killed my son! And let me tell you, if I’d known at the time who he was…

The detective was watching Justin with a pitying look, the kind of look you’d give a child who was lying very unconvincingly.

G...Get in contact with Piece of Mind!’ he cried, trying to control his breathing. ‘They must have this guy’s information on file.

‘Yeah, okay, we’ll do that,replied Nolan, writing down a few details on a piece of paper. And in the meantime, you can get some rest down in the cells.

You’re locking me up? This is an injustice! You can’t—’

You’re a murder suspect, Justin. Unless some other kind of evidence springs up from somewhere, I’m afraid you’re not going anywhere.

And with that, the detective nodded to a guard standing outside the room, and Justin was escorted to a holding cell down in the basement section of the police station.

*          *          *

Detective Nolan parked outside the Piece of Mind building and walked into the reception area. Looking around, he noticed five or six people sat in the room, all looking glum and desperate in their own way.

Carrying the relevant warrant required to enter the premises and obtain the restricted information needed for the case, he approached the receptionist with an air of confidence and asked to speak to the manager. A few moments later, a doctor in a long white coat took him into a back office.

‘What can I do for you, Detective?’

‘I need to ask you a few questions about a customer of yours.’

‘Well, I’d be happy to oblige, Detective, but customer information is confidential and—’

‘Here,’ said Nolan, reaching into his pocket and handing over the stamped warrant. ‘Will this do?’

After a quick scan of the document, the doctor nodded humbly and passed it back. ‘Okay, what do you need to know?’

‘I need to know about a customer called Justin Hickey.’

The doctor repeated the name and scribbled it down. ‘I’ll search the database and see if it’s on there. Just give me a moment.’

When he returned, he was holding Justin’s file. ‘Is there anything in particular that you’re looking for, Detective?’

‘Well, firstly, what kind of treatment did he have?’

‘He had a Partial Replacement, meaning only some of his memories were replaced.’

‘Can you show me the exact ones which were replaced? And what they were replaced with?’

After finding the relevant section of the file, the doctor handed it over to Nolan so that he could read through it himself. The room was silent for a few minutes as he read through the pages, scanning through the descriptions of deleted memories and replacement memories. Finding nothing particularly suspicious, the detective closed the entire folder and let out a thoughtful sigh.

‘Let me ask you something, Doctor. Is it true that stray, random memories sometimes get transferred by accident?’

‘Unfortunately, yes. It does happen sometimes.’

‘And can you see those memories? Do you have them stored on your system?’

‘I’m afraid not. Stray memories bypass our system, and slip straight into the recipient’s head unnoticed. The only person who sees them is the recipient himself. And, of course, the donor.’

‘Who was the donor? Who provided Justin’s new memories?’

The doctor went to say something, but then hesitated. Detective Nolan, having seen this gesture many times before whilst asking people for information, knew exactly what it meant.

‘This is covered by the warrant, Doctor. I’m entitled to any information I deem relevant for the case.’

‘Okay, well, I could find out the donor’s name if you’ll excuse me again for a moment. That information will be on a separate file.’

‘Sure, no problem. Take your time.’

When the doctor returned a second time, there was a very strange, apprehensive look on his face. ‘I’m not quite sure what’s going on here, Detective, but the man you’re looking for is actually here in the building right now.’

Nolan stiffened in his seat. ‘What?’

‘Erm, come this way and I’ll show you.’

The doctor led him out into some kind of recovery room.

‘That’s him?’

‘Yes. His name is Ryan Torres.’

The two of them were staring down at an unconscious man spread out on a bed. A pale green gown covered his body, of the type you usually see in hospitals, and parts of his hair had been shaven off.

‘He came in this morning,’ said the doctor. ‘We noticed that he had previously sold his memories to us, but that was no reason to refuse him treatment.’

Scratching his chin in contemplation, looking at the comatose patient lying before him, Nolan considered his options. ‘So,’ he said, after a while, ‘what kind of treatment has Ryan Torres just had?’

*          *          *

Justin sat in the corner of the cell, wallowing in the semi-darkness. Sleep was still a luxury he didn’t enjoy, and his face was tired, weary, and covered with several daysworth of stubble.

The various noises and bustle of the police station echoed down from above, providing a faint backdrop of muffled voices, jangling keys, and footsteps. Three times a day a set of these footsteps would grow louder as an officer brought him down a tray of food, pushing it through the bars opposite his bed, and judging by the noise thats what seemed to be happening right now. Something was wrong, though. It was mid-afternoon, and hed eaten lunch about an hour ago. Nobody came down to the cell at this time, so who could it be?

Staring over towards the steel bars, his bloodshot eyes straining to focus through the gloom, Justin was suddenly greeted by the sight of an immaculately-dressed man in a suit. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, he placed a leather briefcase down on the ground and peered into the cell.

Justin?

Y...Yes? he replied, his voice a croaky whisper.

Hi, Im George Mills. Your lawyer. Nice to meet you.

Climbing up to his feet, Justin traipsed over to the bars and shook the mans hand, taking in his sharp, pristine appearance. Whats going on, Mr Mills? When—’

‘George. Please call me George,’ he said, with a courteous smile.

When am I getting out of this place, George?’

The lawyer looked away from Justin then, avoiding eye contact. That, I dont know.

What? What do you mean?

The detective in charge of your case went over to Piece of Mind recently, Justin. And…

And what?

And it was established that any stray, accidental memory you mightve acquired cant be traced or proven.

Justin groaned and slumped, hanging on to the bars for balance. And what about—’

Your donor? Hes been identified as a Mr Ryan Torres. Police have searched his house, his car, his computer, and his phone, and theyve found no incriminating evidence.

Hes deleted the photo from his phone, the bastard! screamed Justin, now pacing up and down the cell in a state. Lets get Piece of Mind to scan his brain! Hes holding an incriminating memory in his head! The doctors over there can do that! They could find it—’

Im afraid that won’t be possible, Justin.’

Not possible! Not fucking possible! Why not?’

The lawyer took a very deep breath, then delivered the news as delicately as possible. ‘Because Mr Torres has had Complete Replacement surgery. All of his original memories are gone.

No! Nooo! This can’t be happening!

Try to stay calm, Justin. I highly recommend that you—’

Justin snapped. He’d reached a limit of tolerance and self composure. He threw his hands through the steel bars and grabbed the silky collar of the lawyers suit, pulling him and yelling in his face. After a few seconds of this crazed attack, with the two of them scuffling and wrestling through the divider like wild chimpanzees, a handful of officers came hurling down the stairs with handcuffs and mace. A huge cloud of mace hit Justin square in the face, setting his skin and eyes on fire, and he released his grip on the lawyers shirt and tumbled down to the floor. Once the lawyer was taken away to safety, Detective Nolan appeared among the group of officers and peered down at Justin as he rolled and thrashed around on the ground.

Youre really not doing yourself any favors, Mr Hickey. Youre really not.

Youve got the wrong man! Youve made a mistake!

Huh. If I had a pound for every time I heard that, he mused. Okay, boys, lets leave him to it. Just bring him down his dinner at six oclock.

Everyone turned and left, walking up the concrete staircase to the offices above. A few minutes later Justin was all alone once again, the gory details of his sons death replaying over and over in his head, the images and visions becoming more lucid and clear each time around. With the mace eating away at his eyes he didnt even have the comfort of distracting himself by looking around the room, all he could do was curl up in a ball and endure the never ending torment of his mind.

*          *          *

Ryan Torres leaned back in his seat as he drove along the winding lanes. The surgery had rendered him confused and disoriented for quite some time, but he was now adjusting to his new life. He still had plenty of money in the bankeven though he didnt really remember whyand so he was on his way to the coast to enjoy a weekend break.

An assortment of implanted memories swam around his brain as he navigated the car around the curved roads, all sweet and rosy, and things seemed very good indeed.

But then something odd happened.

A wide expanse of open land appeared over on the left-hand side of the road, a wet field with a thicket of trees further back, and for a split second it looked faintly familiar. Something about the layout of the place triggered his mind, some strange sense of deja vu, and he gazed over at the scene in mild bewilderment.

Had he been here before?

As he drove on the moment passed, however, and he shook his head and focused back on the road. The doctor had told him that his recovery would take time, and that thered be moments of confusion like this.

Raising the volume on the radio, he put his foot down and sped off into the distance, ready for the exciting times ahead of him.


James Flynn grew up in Sidcup, Kent, England.

A lot of his time is spent scribbling on bits of paper to create stories, and when he's not doing that, he likes to scribble on bits of paper to create drawings.

All of his accumulated books and drawings can be found at: www.jamesflynn.org


Keith C. Walker was born in Leeds in 1939. He studied Ceramics at Leeds College of Art and the Royal College of Art. In the late 1960s to early 1970s, he was Personal Assistant to Eduardo Paolozzi. Keith taught at Hull College of Art and Leicester Polytechnic, which is now De Montfort University. In 994 he retired from Academia.

Keith says, “Digital technology has made and continues to make big changes to all of our lives: the way we communicate, the way we are monitored, the way we entertain ourselves, and much, much more. 


We now leave a digital footprint wherever we go, and with whatever we do. 

Do we already have one foot in an Orwellian world?


 My collages are an investigation, with a small “I,” on the impact of digital technology and its possibilities.”















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