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The Seven Five Nothing: Tokyo

Continuing with my occasional series of hyper-short stories written in single sitting - The Seven Five Nothing - this was chalked up today, Tokyo.

You can see all the other stories so far on the page for the Kindle book itself.

Tokyo.
If somebody offered you the opportunity to erase seven years of your life, what would you say? What if the previous seven years had been pretty terrible? Would you say yes then?

Think about it. You get to go back to zero. You get to erase whatever it is that you can't deal with. Now, what if you had the chance to relearn everything you had deliberately forgotten. Would you say yes?

What if it was the only way to prove your innocence. Are you saying yes now? But what if you find out that you did do it. That actually, it was you that killed her.

Now what are you saying?

When you wake up in a strange place, spitting your own blood out onto the floor, the rich swill of an iron taste in your mouth, you start out thinking small.

Who am I?

I'm Richard.

Okay, I reassure myself.

Okay Richard. Why is your mouth bleeding? I tongue the inside of my cheek, looking for a reason. Nothing. Maybe its not my mouth after all. Maybe it is something more serious. Maybe it's my insides. I try to inch up, but the cramps stop me from getting very far. I feel scared. Internal bleeding rushes through my mind like words slamming into the back of my eyes. Am I dying? Have I woken up to die here?

I can't answer that yet.

Okay. So where am I? Where is this space. It's unfamiliar. Everything is unusual, and at this moment, I don't realise I've lost any time. To me, we're still together, Janice and I. I don't even consider it for a moment, don't even realise that she's dead. Not yet. Not for another few minutes. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I mustn't goose this. I must remember what happened.

Everything becomes precious when its a rarity. Your own memory is no exception. The blond man in the corner of the room. He watches me. He says nothing. And I don't recognise his face, but I know instinctively that he understands what's going on. So I ask him, 'Who are you?

''Good morning Richard.'

I hold my stomach as I ask him once more to tell me who he is. My insides are twisting in knots.

'You don't remember me at all, do you?'

'No...' is all I can mutter before I have to spit more tar blood from my mouth.

'Then this has all worked.' The man gets up from his chair and walks over. 'How are you feeling?'

'How do you think I'm feeling? I'm bringing up blood.'

'That's normal,' he continues. 'It's not much.'

I look at the puddle of my blood floor and then I ask, 'What's normal.'

'Richard, you've gone through a procedure. That's what this is. The after effects of it.'

'I don't understand.'

And that's when he told me. Told me what I had done. He said that I could ask any questions I liked, but that he would only be able to answer certain points within a specific framework.

And so I did.

He told me that the first thing I should try to understand is that it was not the year I thought it was. It was 2021, and that I had given up seven years on purpose. He told me that of all the things I might want to know, this was the most significant fact I had to establish, and that I should get used to it quickly as it would be 'vital' to making sense of anything else. And then he told me that she was dead.

And that's when everything collapsed.

I tried to get up, but I couldn't. The blond man told me that it would be a few hours for the pain to subside, but that eventually, it would. He told me that I had come to him, and that the procedure was less than legal.'Why?' I asked.

'Why? You want to know why you came to me?'

'Yes.'

He looked at me a moment, and I knew he was searching for a clue, a flicker that I might remember.

But nothing.

The blond man sighed. Sat back in his chair. 'Richard,' he continued. 'You came to me, because they're looking for you. You said you couldn't deal with it any longer. Being on the run. You said that your life was a living nightmare, and that you needed to forget everything.'

'I'm running?'

'Yes.'

'From who?'

'Who do you think? Everybody.'

'Why?'

'I can't tell you. Remember?'

'My wife?'

'This is what we agreed.'

I didn't know what to say. No words would form. The knots in my stomach twisted even more and I spat more blood out.

'I'm sorry,' the blond man said. 'But you can't stay.'

'What do you mean.'

'Whether you remember it or not, you're still on the run.'

'I don't understand.'

'That was sort of the point.' He stood up, walked across the room and picked up a marl bag. 'You brought this with you. All you told me was to make sure that you had this with you when you left.'

He handed it to me.

'Now you should leave.'

The blond man helped me up from the bed. My mind was a rocking motion. This was a fucked up dream. A strange nightmare. 'Tell me something,' I asked him. 'Did I kill her?'

'That, again, I can't answer.'

'Tell me.'

'No, you don't understand. I can't answer, because I didn't ask.'

'But you should have.'

'Really?' the blond man shrugged. 'Why? That's not what I do. I'm not a storage locker for your secrets. I'm just here to help you forget them.'

And then, suddenly, a loud knock at the door. The blond man was panicked.

'Shit... They're here.'