I found you in a different place. You were all tendrils, mostly black with the occasional flash of colour. I focused on your heart, as I always used to, and it vibrated in perfect time with my watch. The ever-flowing water of the fountain beside you reminded me that time was passing. We didn’t have long.
I don’t think you realised you held the key. I don’t think you realised you were gone from my world, or that the only thing holding you together in that moment was the little piece of tech on my wrist. I don’t think you realised who I was.
I reached out with one tentative arm, though in that place it appeared only as a beam of light. It had to touch you gently enough that you wouldn’t disintegrate, but firmly enough to forge a tight connection. None of the information must be compromised during the transfer, or the key would be lost to the void.
You shuddered as my beam entered your heart, the vibration spreading to the tip of every tendril, travelling up my arm and into my own chest. You saw through my eyes then, I’m sure of it, and I through yours. Though the images were distorted and alien, searing and loud, I couldn’t let go. I almost had it.
I flew through your mind as though it was a dream, discarding your obsessions and fantasies as I went. Maybe at one time they kept me warm, but now there was no choice but to swipe left, swipe left. On past the building where you learned to read, learned to calculate, learned to solve complex problems, and on to the place where they installed the key in you. I forced us both through the revolving doors, bypassed security and burst into your memory.
You were unconscious, of course, but I illuminated the scene, and you remembered. You remembered what they put in you all those years before it was stolen and destroyed. With a simple tool I cut the code from you and pasted it into me. Then I remembered.
The key to reviving deleted files. The key to immortality.
I withdrew my light slowly, taking care to put your precious moments back where I found them. Swipe right, swipe right. Your tendrils were decaying by then, and the heart I once guarded but failed to save lasted only long enough for me to pull my arm out unscathed.
My watch stopped vibrating. The fountain stopped flowing. I urgently needed to return to the lab with my findings, but as I faded I gave you my word: someday I’d be back for you.
Emanations is an experiment in automatic fiction writing by C.R. Dudley. These surreal fragments come from states of meditation, excitation, or indifferent vacuity, and are subject only to the lightest touch of editing. She considers them to be little windows into the back rooms of the mind.
C.R. Dudley is the author of metaphysical sci-fi collections Fragments of Perception and Mind in the Gap. She is an artist, mind explorer, and founder of Orchid’s Lantern press and blog. You can find many of her reviews, articles and flash fiction pieces on this site, or sign up to her newsletter via www.crdudley.com.
If you would like to write for Orchid’s Lantern, please visit our submissions page.
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