There were two missed calls and a couple of messages on Nina's phone when she woke up and decided to turn it on. She still felt sluggish, the coffee she was in the process of drinking just starting to kick in and it was too early to check all of the calls and messages from her friends that she had missed while the device was powered down. Nina didn't want to deal with the guilt that came from cutting herself off from them.
She felt grateful that they hadn't decided to show up on her doorstep yet, but she supposed it was still too soon to feel relieved about that. A small quirk of her lips was the only hint of Nina's amused fondness toward her friends. That very fondness was one of the reasons why she was so glad to have decided not to involve them in the mess she was currently caught in.
"Research is still being conducted at the South East Institute of Neurology. . ." said the woman on the television, dark eyes staring straight ahead as she sat behind a gleaming desk, most likely reading off of a teleprompter. Despite knowing the woman's gaze wasn't fixed on her, Nina still found her stare unsettling. At the mention of the same place where both her and Fearnley had been treated—the place where Alice had worked and died—Nina ignored that and instead stared at the screen.
"Testing is set to continue until early next year. A spokesperson for SEIN commented on the positive results they've seen so far and the likelihood that this new treatment will be available soon. The FDA has yet to comment on the possibility of this controversial form of therapy being approved."
The report ended, Nina only managing to catch the last of it, and the anchor moved onto a reminder that it was flu season with a cheery voice that didn't quite match what she was talking about. Nina stopped paying attention at that point, instead recalling a conversation she'd had not so long ago. She remembered the smell of coffee and the way Ben had looked so tired as he sat across from her in a cozy little shop. Nina remembered him mentioning implanted memories being used in therapy and the protests he'd had to help control.
At the time, she hadn't thought much about it, despite the things she was dealing with. Maybe there had been too much going on, or maybe she just didn't want to believe that something like that had been done to her. Now though, Nina couldn't afford to dismiss things so easily. Not when she had memories she knew weren't hers—memories of a woman long dead—and a man sitting in prison thinking of people who he'd never known.
Someone must have implanted memories in us, but when? Nina asked herself as she stared blankly at the television screen. The coffee in her hand slowly cooled. And why doesn't Fearnley have the same memories as me?
That was something she was sure he would have mentioned. Fearnley had spoken about memories coming back to him, and then having two sets of memories about the same event. Perhaps, Nina thought, implanting memories hadn't worked as well as Alice—or whoever it was that had put those memories in Fearnley's head—had thought. There were still things that slipped through. Memories that should have been erased and others that never should have been placed in Fearnley's head in the first place.
"We don't have a daughter," Fearnley's ex wife had said. Nina believed her, she was a woman who had no reason to lie. Nina also believed Fearnley and the genuine heartbreak that had been present in his voice when he'd asked Nina to pass on a message to the daughter he remembered so fondly—so vividly.
He mentioned headaches.
Nina thought about the last conversation she'd had with the man, where he'd told her of the headaches he'd get when he thought of that day. The day Alice had died. Still, headaches were a common side effect to the procedure both Nina and Fearnley had gone through. She'd been told as much by the doctors, still got them at times. She recalled telling Nat as much, and felt a twinge of pain in her head at that very moment.
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The Persistence of Memory | ✔Science Fiction
In a near future where neuroprosthetics have evolved, Nina--a young journalist--receives a hippoccampal implant after losing the ability to create long term memories. All seems well until memories that don't seem to be her own begin to surface. Now...