Short Stories

Locked Memories

This is fun. For me, at least. And with this seventh story, we’ve reached the end of one whole day….after seven weeks. That is kind of weird…

April 22, 44 EoP. Monday 17:00

Feeling slightly harassed from the day’s events, Robert decided to politely decline Denise’s offer to show him around school in favor of hiding in his and Jovan’s shared dorm.

The room was a rather nice place—Nothing less for a high school for superheroes, Robert thought—with its own bathroom shoved to the right of the room’s entrance. To its left, the room sported a large shelf and a decent-sized wardrobe with enough drawers and hangers to accommodate the two brother’s clothes. There was a well-sized desk next to the shelf, two drawers acting as its supports, and another shelf hanging on the wall over the desk, probably just in case there was in need of more storage space.

Light from the late afternoon sun shone through the window directly facing opposite the entrance door. The bed, pushed to the innermost right, was a decent single bed with a hidden second bed in the parts where the drawers should have been. Granted, there were drawers on the lower bed – the one which Jovan usually took, as he woke up earlier – but they were just used for the suitcases.

Thus, Robert entered this room, where the said lower bed was already pushed open despite its lack of necessity.

Jovan was there, occupying the small space between the lower bed and the table. He somewho managed to swivel in his chair and flashed a bright grin towards Robert. “Welcome, brother!!” he enthusiastically greeted him.

Kicking his shoes off, Robert gave Jovan a morose look of disdain and purposefully flopped his sweaty self onto his brother’s place of slumber.

“Go away. I want to sleep,” he mumbled into the checkered black and white pillow.

Grunting when a presence decided to make itself known by sitting enthusiastically on the bed, Robert removed his face from the pillow to unleash a scowl at Jovan. His upcoming tirade against his brother was cut short when Jovan slapped a cold smoothie cup on his cheeks.

“Here’s your drink, Robby!”

Shooting straight up out of sheer shock, Robert screamed, “Really??” but took the cup anyway. Why waste something out of irritation, after all?

To his satisfaction and mild surprise, Jovan had really gotten him a soda and not just iced water. The satisfaction was crushed when, of course, Jovan demanded Robert tell him about today now that it was over in exchange for the drink.

And this was supposed to be payment for dragging me here…he owes me something more, Robert inwardly grumbled as he took large sips from the straw.

“Come on,” Jovan prompted, poking his brother and leaning against the bed frame. “You have to tell me all the details, Rob.”

With a sigh, Robert narrated the events of the day to Jovan, from the boring first hours of the four morning classes to his complaints about the three latter classes. Not to mention a professor invading his mind and reading it (and his revenge for that) during lunch.

The reaction of disapproval mixed in with laughter from Jovan at the telepathy story proved to cheer Robert a little. At least one of us is happy, he sighed, mildly relieved that his bad mood hadn’t dampened his brother’s.

Jovan shook his head, still shaking with laughter. “Of course you’d do that. But you don’t have to worry about that. Finn Eridos is instructed to read every student and teacher’s mind initially,” he assured, stretching his arms to remove his socks and toss them under the table. “I suppose he didn’t expect you to know.”

With a noncommital shake of his drink, Robert let his shoulders fall into a slouch. “Firstly, Mom and you taught me better. And he wasn’t really being subtle about it, which is weird because he seems like the subtle type.”

With a ruffle to his brother’s hair, Jovan laughed. “I think that’s because he hates reading someone’s mind, even if he’s instructed to do so. But anyway, you should at least know that after reading my own mind, he got Mr. Apoletan to erase it. He does so every time after he’s read someone’s mind.”

Raising both eyebrows, Robert hoped that he conveyed that Jovan’s gross misuse of pronouns had lost him.

As usual, Jovan only laughed. “I mean, Finn explained the situation to me because I’m a teacher. Then, he read my mind…and after reading it and finding nothing suspicious, he gave Mr. Apoletan those memories to erase,” he explained with a tap to his head. “Argyros Apoletan is a Science and Mental Powers teacher here, by the way. His power allows him to erase memories from someone’s mind if they give him permission to do so, which consequently erases the content of those memories from his own. His other power is less limited but it only lets him temporarily suppress memories.”

Robert nodded, blinking his interest at that, and fell back down on the bed, cradling the half-empty cup on his chest. “Okay, that’s actually nice of Finn—Mr. Eridos. And cool for this school to have a teacher like that to help keep privacy safe. But it’s a little paranoid to read student’s minds…”

As if irritated with his criticisms, the evening light shone brightly through the window and refracted off the plastic cup, cutting Robert’s muttered comment short with a temporary blinding. Robert internally sighed and noted Jovan rolling his eyes at him with a snort.

“Not paranoid…safe. It is a school of heroes-in-training. Perfect grounds for villainous infiltration or sleeper agents, Robby. Did you not do the reading I assigned?”

He had not, but Jovan already knew that.

“As for Finn,” Jovan blithely continued, propping his arms on he lower bed next to Robert’s head, “I think they got the memory eraser because he didn’t want to carry other people’s secrets or thoughts without their permission.”

Shutting his eyes, Robert nodded lazily. “Uh huh—wait.” Remembering something, Robert sat back up, crushing the pillow under his elbows, to frown down at his brother. “Hold on….then does Finn know about your locked memories? Or was the knowledge of that deleted as well?”

“Oh, he knows…” Jovan wriggled his eyebrows. At Robert’s glare, he just grinned. “Aw, come on, Rob. I’m joking. It was erased from his mind when he let Apoletan take it and erase it. But he was kind enough to tell me I had locked memories. Though since Mom and Dad already told us about that, I already knew of course. He even offered to try and unlock them, but I told him it was fine for now.”

Eyes lifted at the ceiling, Robert shook his head. “Okay, I actually have a viable reason to hate this school now. Trying to invade someone’s mind…Mom and Dad locked whatever memories you have to protect you from telepaths.”

Jovan laughed and ruffled his brother’s head again, then stood to stretch. “Don’t be overprotective, you little brat. It was deleted…”

“Stop that,” Robert deadpanned and smoothly pulled away. He blinked away the blinding light as he looked back at Jovan, who smirked at the equally blinding glare Robert gave him.

“It’s fine, Rob. We’re the only two who know about the locked memories now. Don’t make such a big deal out of nothing. Besides, you should know that Finn put some very nice mental shields in my head, as I’m sure he did to you…”

The smoothie cup’s straw found itself back into Robert’s mouth as he nodded and downed the rest of the drink. “Still,” he gurgled, his nose wrinkling at the thought. “Mind invasions. Superheroes…they’re fine but let’s go home.”

With a light kick at Robert, Jovan shook his head and chuffed. “Give them a chance, Rob. I mean, no one has mentioned your weirdly pale vampire skin tone.”

That was irrelevant, but Jovan would try anything.

And he didn’t shut up, spinning on his feet to sit back on the chair. “So they can’t be that bad!” Jovan’s grin shrunk into a wry, sad smile. “You probably don’t want my advice, but…just give them a chance. To the school and your teachers like Miss Harintan. You might be pleasantly surprised.”

Doubtful, Robert chewed on his straw in lieu of replying. “Mhmm,” he mumbled

Rob…”

Sighing, Robert reached sideways to place the now-empty cup on the table. He inclined his head at Jovan in begrudging acknowledgment. “Fine, fine…I promise to give the school and the teachers a chance. Even if they read people’s minds for secrets and burn permission slips.”

Jovan stood and shook his head, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “You really are difficult, you know?” Jovan laughed. “Locked memories are not secrets, and the secrets they want are dark ones.”

Fine, I’ll give him that, Robert sighed. Mostly because he couldn’t deny the truth.

Locking up early memories was a controversial thing, though, still. It was common but controversial, as most things were, really. Mostly because it was supposed to be used in extreme cases, such as trauma (as was Jovan’s case), since it was safer to lock memories rather than let the brain suppress them by itself. That usage of memory locks was perfectly acceptable (since the memories would return when the kid could actually deal with them), but in more than enough cases, parents had the tendency to fake mental health issues for their kids or make up traumatic experiences to…well, it wasn’t pretty.

Still, just because locked memories were no secrets (they showed in Jovan’s medical records, that is), it didn’t make mind-reading—specifically, mind reading his older brother’s head—to assuage some school’s caution less annoying to Robert, and he let Jovan know exactly that before climbing up to his own bed.

“Be nice,” Jovan chided as Robert watched him fish out a pair of fuzzy wolf slippers from the closet. “And now that I’m satisfied you’re not as hate-filled as you seemed this afternoon, I’m heading out to meet with our flatmates. You should join us once you feel more rested.”

“I resent that,” Robert muttered, interrupted by the sound of swishing curtains. And our flatmates are all teachers, he projected internally, flopping back down on the bed and lazily waving his hand as an external response.

The sound of the door locking interrupted any spoken words, and the room suddenly grew heavy with silence. Robert noted that the light from the setting sun still peeked through the closed curtains to shine on one of his eyes.

But it didn’t matter…as ten minutes later, he was dozing peacefully, temporarily forgetting the first day he’d had in this school of superheroes

And he hadn’t even needed video games to recharge.

I got bored of my bio. So instead I’ll just say that while the Intro Arc won’t have anything exciting (except a lot of set up, I think), I realize increasingly after those 25ish short stories, the future arcs will have more fun stuff.

And because I don’t have a hedgehog to physically shield the characters, I can kill whoever I want if it strikes my fancy.

Byeeee.

©Lemon Duck, 2021. All rights reserved.

5 thoughts on “Locked Memories

  1. oooh, locked memories! very interesting. and a little horrifying, with how easy it would be to abuse. what’s the process for getting a memory locked? would you need to take the child to a medical professional who would look at the memory, decide if it should be locked, and lock it? and does it automatically unlock once the child is a certain age/has enough mental and emotional stability? or does a medical professional unlock it at a certain time? does that ever go wrong when the child wasn’t ready for it?

    feel free not to answer any of these questions. i just think locked memories are neat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *stretches* I can easily do this.

      So yeah…part of this story was to just show how, despite the similarities the LAPH world has to ours…there are things like this that Exist that just don’t in our world. That said…..

      The process for getting a memory locked has a lot to do with the parents, actually…more than you think. The good parents will usually just take their child to therapy…and it’s the therapist who will suggest locking a memory up, especially if said memory has been supressed already. For children who’s trauma comes FROM parents, well….let’s hope someone saves them. But the protocol usually is…intense therapy first, then locking a memory. Sometimes, the memory can automatically unlock at a certain age. What usually happens, though, is that after some therapy (because even if your mind doesn’t remember, your body/emotions do…I think. I’m not a therapist and am so unqualified for these questions)…or a lot of therapy, the older child is told what that locked memory holds delicately. They’ll come to understand why their body or emotions react randomly to certain things and learn to deal with their trauma a little from a distance but close enough that….if safe…they can just ask for the memory to be unlocked and…yeah.

      If it goes wrong, well, you can lock the memory up again…but usually, what they’ll do is slowly unlock the memory…go through it gently.

      Of course, you have to realize that locking up memories itself could be a form of abuse, so there’s a lot of paperwork, counselling on the guardians, etc involved. (So these days, locking memories is common enough, but not so common that people right and left are doing it.) Jovan’s parents were already well-known doctors but even they would have had to have gone through all the legal things and stuff most abusers wouldn’t want to deal with.

      Also…the therapy/child-protective/counselling services in the LAPH world are…better than ours, I’ll say. Because of all the trauma supers have gone through, genuinely effective and uncruel psychology people were needed.

      And I’ve rambled SO much….but there you have it.

      Liked by 1 person

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