The relief Nina felt as she left the building was nearly overwhelming. She still kept her pace steady as she marched out of the front doors with the files tucked under her arm. Nerves still simmered within her, bubbling up with each gaze she caught on her way out, each whispered conversation that her paranoia insisted was about her. As soon as she was out, Nina let out a breath, closing her eyes as the cool wind hit her face.
Even then, she didn't stop. Instead, she walked quickly to her car, not daring to look back. The cool handle of her car's door felt comforting—felt like safety. Nina climbed inside, tossing the files onto the passenger seat. She stared at them for a moment, feeling some disbelief at having actually pulled it off.
Admittedly, it hadn't been easy, and she was just fortunate that the man who'd helped her hadn't bothered to ask many questions. She just worried about the look he'd given her when she named Fearnley. Clearly, he knew who he was—knew what he had done. He'd still helped Nina find the records she needed before leaving the room.
After that, the rest was a blur. Maybe because Nina had been so focused on getting out. On not getting caught. On the answers that modest folder in her hands could hold. Now, sitting inside of her car with the dim light from stormy skies washing over them, the records seemed so simple—so insignificant. It was difficult to think of how much Nina had gone through to get them.
After a moment, Nina turned her gaze away, started the car, and drove home.
It was as Nina reached her home that her phone buzzed inside her pocket, a silent notice of a call that played over and over until it became clear Nina wouldn't answer. For a moment, Nina considered picking up, but thought better of it as she knew her friends would want to more than a quick conversation to know she was fine. They would want time Nina wasn't able to give them at the moment.
The phone stilled just as Nina parked. She wondered who it was calling her, and just as she pulled out her phone, it bussed once more to notify her of a message.
"Nat," Nina read the name displayed on her screen. She ignored the message for the time being, grabbed the files next to her and headed to her apartment.
As soon as she entered, Nina noticed the unsettling silence that had become so stifling as of late. It was something that had never bothered her before but now seemed like a prominent and unfortunate part of her life. Nina sometimes found herself wondering when she had managed to isolate herself so much.
She was reminded of the unread message in her phone and of all the calls she'd missed. Guilt flashed through her, and Nina found her hand going to her pocket, fingers curling around the phone she kept there. A wide smile flashed through her mind as a twinge of pain shot through her head, her hand sliding out of her pocket and up to reflexively touch her head. The pain was gone in an instant, along with Nina's desire to speak to anyone.
Instead, Nina walked over to the coffee table in her living room and dropped Fearnley's records on top of it before walking off to get changed. The feel of the clothes she had on reminded her of the nerves that had filled her when she was looking for Fearnley's files. It was something Nina didn't want to recall. Not when it made her feel so different from who she had been before—someone who searched for the truth without fearing it.
For what was far from the first time, and would certainly not be the last, Nina was reminded of all that was taken from her on the night of the accident. It was a memory that seemed so distant but no less significant.
The sky was streaked with pinks and purples marking the setting of the sun by the time Nina sat down and opened the records, the television tuned onto a show she'd never watched—a thriller that didn't seem half as crazy as her life. Her notepad was next to her along with a pen as was her usual cup of coffee. Nina already anticipated it being another long night. It was nothing new.
YOU ARE READING
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...