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The Memory Thief

Chapter 28

Published Jul. 11th 2020

G. Sauvé: Author of Time Travel Adventures - The Memory Thief (Chapter 28)

What is The Memory Thief?

The Memory Thief is a collaborative book. Each week, I write one new chapter and provide three possible options for what could happen next. Readers vote for their favourite and watch as the story comes to life. Click Here to learn more.

Last week on The Memory Thief…

“So?” asked Lily expectantly. “Are you in, or are you out?”

Knowing that further deliberation would only make my decision more difficult, I spoke before my mind could stop my heart from speaking its truth.

Option 1: “I’m in,” I said.

Option 2: “I’m out,” I said.

Option 3: “I-I don’t know,” I said.

NOTE: Click Here to read the full chapter.

Results

Option 1: 17 votes (73.91%)

Option 2: 2 votes (8.70%)

Option 3: 4 votes (17.39%)

Chapter 28

 

This chapter is dedicated to John. Thanks for voting.

 

Knowing that further deliberation would only make my decision more difficult, I spoke before my mind could stop my heart from speaking its truth.

“I’m in,” I said.

Lily seemed surprised. She wasn’t alone. I hadn’t realized what I was going to say until the words left my mouth, but now that they had been uttered, I knew they were the truth. My qualms were with Lily, not the citizens of The Slums and The Virt. They didn’t deserve to live in squalor. No one did.

“What’s the plan?” asked Lily, a broad smile curling her lips.

“We’ll get to that,” I promised. “First, I have some questions.”

She nodded.

“How much of what you told me is true?” I asked.

“Most of it.”

“Is Titus really your father?”

She nodded.

“And your mother? Is she dead?”

She sighed and nodded.

“She was sick for a very long time,” she explained. “She fell ill shortly after coming to work for my father.”

I frowned.

“She actually worked for him?”

Another nod.

“I didn’t lie about her being his maid. I merely omitted the part about them falling in love and getting married.” She sighed. “I only wish I could have seen them before she fell ill, and their love for one another started to fade. All I remember are the arguments and insults.”

“Insults?”

“My mother disagreed with my father’s decision to use people’s memories—and later, their lifeforce—to bring peace to the world. She was convinced there was another way. He disagreed, and they often fought because of it. But, when my mother’s sickness grew more pronounced, he relinquished and swore to put an end to his experiment.”

She fell silent for a moment, lost in thought.

“I thought that was the end of it, but he secretly continued extracting people’s memories. It wasn’t until many years later—long after my mother passed away—that I learned the truth.” She sighed deeply. “I’ve been trying to stop him ever since.”

A heavy silence settled between us. Clearly, Lily had only done what she thought was required to put an end to her father’s inhumane actions, yet I couldn’t bring myself to forgive her for lying to me and manipulating my emotions.

“How much of what Titus told me is true?” I asked.

“I’m not sure what you and my father discussed, but I was the one who implanted the ‘vision’ in Artemis’s mind. I then travelled to The Slums in search of a prophetical saviour.”

“Why did you pick me?”

She smiled.

“I saw you save an innocent child from a group of drunken men,” she explained. “I instantly knew you were the perfect candidate for the job.”

“What was I like before all this?” I asked. “What kind of life did I live?”

“I don’t know,” admits Lily. “I wiped your memories before I could get to know you.”

I studied her face for signs of deception but found none.

“Then what?” I asked. “You burned the triangle into my arm and hid clues around the city?”

She nodded.

“That about sums it up.”

I sighed. Clearly, learning the truth was underrated, yet I still craved answers to the questions that swirled around my mind.

“What about the recording left by my former self?” I asked. “Was that also you?”

“Yes. I created it with the same program I used to fabricate Artemis’s vision.”

She fell silent, and I found myself staring deep into her eyes. Though she was as beautiful as the day I’d met her, she wasn’t the same girl I fell in love with. Speaking of which, I still had no idea why she had planted that idea in my head.

“I was worried the promise of adventure and heroism wouldn’t be enough to lure you away from The Slums,” she explained. “so I fabricated a story of lost love and painted myself as a damsel in distress.” She dropped her gaze, momentarily embarrassed. “I regret all the lies, yet I stand by my decision. You may not be the prophesied hero I made you out to be, yet the fate of everyone in The Slums and The Virt rests in your hands.”

I gulped, now more nervous than ever.

“Is that why you did all this?” I asked. “You needed a symbol behind which the people could rally?”

She nodded.

“Deactivating the robots would have accomplished little without an army to reclaim control of The Slums and The Virt. And no army is complete without a symbol of the freedom for which they’re fighting.” She sighed. “But that all changed when Artemis died, and her replacement insisted on killing my father.” She fell silent for a while. “I hate my father for what he’s done, but he’s still my father. I couldn’t just let him die. That’s why I… I…”

I frowned.

“You what?”

She sighed deeply.

“That’s why I called in the robots.”

My eyes grew wide.

“That was you? I-I thought you said Titus sent them?”

She shook her head.

“I insinuated it, but I never actually said my father was the one who sent them.”

“So, you were the one who called them in?”

She nodded sadly.

“I didn’t want anyone to get hurt. I was just trying to distract them long enough for me to come up with a new plan that didn’t involve killing my father.”

It was my turn to sigh. I had no idea what had become of The Triangle of Justice, but I doubted their encounter with the ‘bots was a pleasant experience. Still, until proven otherwise, I retain the belief that every last one of them survived the robot attack.

“Is there anything else?” I asked.

Lily shook her head. Neither of us spoke for a while. When she finally shattered the silence, her voice was laced with regret.

“I’m sorry I manipulated you,” she said, “but I did it for the greater good. Do… Do you think you can ever forgive me?”

I stared at her long and hard, but I couldn’t bring myself to answer. My feelings for her were mixed and, though I believed she was speaking the truth, I couldn’t bring myself to forgive her. At least, not yet.

“We need a plan,” I said, ignoring the question. “The way I see it, we have a few different options. None of them are great, but with a little timing and a lot of luck, we may yet be able to overthrow Titus.”

Lily nodded, and pretending as though our past wasn’t filled with lies and deceit, we brainstormed different strategies. I thought it would be a quick process, but Lily kept finding reasons why my plans wouldn’t work. Finally, after hours of going back and forth, my brain stopped working entirely, and I was forced to suggest we retire for the night.

Finding a hotel was easy. Falling asleep wasn’t. I kept thinking of Lily and her countless betrayals. It wasn’t until well after midnight that the exhaustion of the day finally caught up with me, and I drifted off to sleep.

I awoke early the next morning, feeling groggy but ready to attack the day. After a hearty breakfast, Lily and I got back to work. We spent the entire day—and most of the following week—coming up with different strategies. Most failed the initial round of critical attacks, but two survived long enough to be considered viable. All that remained now was for one of us to pick a path.

“You should choose,” said Lily on the morning of the seventh day. “After all, you’re the hero.”

She smiled playfully, but I remained of stone. We’d grown quite close over the past few days, yet I stayed forever vigilant. I had been burned more than once, and I wasn’t about to risk everything just because she batted her pretty eyes at me.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Certain,” she said.

I nodded and took a moment to weigh the pros and cons of each option. Though there were only two, a third possibility was made available in the form of a combination. That meant I had three options to choose from. It wasn’t an easy decision, but deep down, I knew my mind was already made up.

“All right,” I said. “We’ll…

Option 1: …locate The Triangle of Justice and convince Apollo to help.”

Option 2: … return to The Slums and convince the citizens to rise up and fight.”

Option 3: …split up and do both.”

NEXT CHAPTER: Click Here to read Chapter 29.

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RELEASE SCHEDULE: New chapters are released on Saturday.

Thanks for reading.

—G. Sauvé

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