Five Minute Fiction – Memories

It wasn’t what it had said that silenced him and paused his anger, it was how it said it; “Simply a fact of my existence…” he repeated to himself, as if those were the only words he knew. After a moment, they wrapped around him in a cold, merciless way. “Is that all this is, that you are? Just something to mock my life and everything that was in it? If that’s it, then just send me to Hell now and get it over with.”

It shook its head at that notion, “That is not why you’re here, for if you were, I wouldn’t be.”

“So, why then? Where is this? Where am I? WHAT ARE YOU?!” It all came out in a rush of words, so fast he wasn’t even sure he said it. But when it was over, calm washed over him.

And for all that emotion and all those questions, its gaze didn’t waiver. All it did was tilt its head, which he hoped meant something at last. “I am everything to everyone, but nothing to someone. And you are where you are supposed to be, yet where you never were. Everything that you were, and everything you never would be, is here now.”

He stared stupefied at that response. He never liked blowhards, or people who talked to hear themselves talk. But wasn’t this…thing….supposed to be some kind of guide to the afterlife? Isn’t that why he was here at all, because he died?
“So, when you talk about ‘facts of my existence’, you mean my memories?”

Shaking its head, it stepped back to touch the far wall from him, “Memories are disjointed, tainted things. They mean only what they mean to you, therefore they are not facts.”

Giving a confused look, it went on to clarify, “Tell me, how many people are in the living world right now?”

“Ummmm, I dunno, six, seven billion?”

“Precisely,” was its response, and suddenly scene outside their rustic room changed as other small, one window house cubes sprung out of the fog as far as he could see. “This is a fact. With this number people living, combined with your lifespan and the average retention of what you perceive as ‘memories’, you are at best insignificant. Though, I suppose the more apt term would be…pointless. You exist to cease to exist.”

He wanted to object, to shut it up with all the great achievements of humanity. Yet the words wouldn’t come. After all, what does the discovery of electricity or spitting the atom even mean to this thing? Did it even bat an eye at all those who had come before him in swells thanks to diseases, disasters and war?

“Yet, this isn’t what you remember, is it?” It posed to him.

The whiplash made him think, probably harder than what he needed to. “I, I remember being a kid…having fun with my friends and getting in fights. I remember going to school, and getting car. I remember falling in love, and getting my heart smashed to shit! I remember the smiles on the faces of my children, who were the fucking world to me! And you’re gonna tell me all that was pointless?! No! I don’t buy it! I won’t!”

It waited until he paused for breath, “The evening of March 22nd, 2002.”

It was as if a great weight jumped into his throat mid-word. All his bluster and white-hot rage were stolen from his breath and almost pushed him over. “I…I…”

“This is why memories are imperfect. Because they are facts to you and you alone, and they change as you wish them to. Your facts are not fixed, thus you are not grounded in what was real. And so, you are insignificant.”


Wow, here’s a pair I haven’t touched on in a good solid while. They’re always there, to be sure, carrying on their debate somewhere on some level. Sometimes it’s all one sided, sometimes not. But this one has come up again and again, so I wonder what that says about certain things…

I hope you all enjoy.

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2 thoughts on “Five Minute Fiction – Memories

  1. Mayumi-H says:

    I am slowly making my way through your updates, shade – I hope you don’t mind me taking my time.

    There is a lot to grasp, here, a deep philosophy that works great not only as insight but also as a technique to weave mystery. I’m dying to know what happened on March 22nd, 2002! The demon/esper/ghost character’s detachment is a nice contrast to the growing frustration of the main character.

    One general suggestion I’d make is if the MC has a name, you might want to mention it at least once. The separation of pronouns – he versus it – keeps things clear enough, but, lacking a name, the MC feels as if he’s not quite within the scene as much as if he had a name. If he doesn’t, or doesn’t yet, ignore me. 🙂 Though – oh! – if he does have a name but can’t remember it, yet, that could be a really interesting take on the relativity of memories.

    I’ve mentioned that I very much enjoy this pair of characters, and this entry only piques my interest more. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Greetings, Mayumi!
    No worries, take all the time you need! This was in part, a challenge to myself as well as finally getting out some of what I’d keep saying I’d do.

    This story has been through some interesting turns, and I will admit that through all of it, I’ve never given the MC a name. Or the spirit, which I think is unusual for what I do. I do see what you mean though, about giving him more presence and connection with what’s going on. After all, it is his afterlife.And your idea about him forgetting his name, that’s quite an interesting idea! I might just steal it, 😀 !

    Happy to hear you enjoyed!

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