Fantasy
Sunshine Resort

Sunshine Resort

My name is Mylla, and today is the worst day of my life. I’ve said that before, but I’m really hoping that this time I’m right. 

Relentless fear has dogged me for the past days and weeks, and when the answers had finally come, they were the worst imaginable. Grief clenched my chest tight and my legs couldn’t hold me anymore. Strong arms held me up, and they were the only things tethering me to this world. It felt like this final blow was just too much to bear.

It’s time, I thought. With everything that had happened in the past, I never let it break me. I never decided to take the easy way out. But now, it’s time.

“Welcome to Sunshine Resort. My name is Alysia, and I will be your guide throughout your stay. Let me know any questions or needs you may have.” I was greeted by a tall poised woman with a wide smile. “First on the agenda is a meeting with an arcanist. He will explain the process to you.”

The woman led me into a modern room, all sharp angles and neutral colors. A man was seated behind a large desk of dark wood. He gestured for me to sit in a black leather chair in front of his desk. The women silently exited the room and closed the door.

I perched on the edge of the chair, tapping my fingers against my knees. 

“It’s perfectly normal to be nervous,” he said with a charming smile.

I huffed a laugh and settled back into the chair.

“I’ll get right to it,” he began. “You have a memory you wish to forget, and I can make that happen. It’s a simple and painless process. You will sleep here, and when you wake, you will be without the bother of your pervasive memory.”

“So what’s the catch?”

“There is a small trade off. That’s how all magic works.” He folded his hands atop his desk. “We can’t just make the memory vanish; it has to go somewhere. I will direct the magic to make it flow into your pillow, temporarily. The next person that has contact with the pillow will become a vessel for the memory, so to speak.”

I blinked. “Wait, so someone else will get stuck with my memory?”

“Willingly, of course. It’s the trade-off they agree to make, in exchange for removing their own memory. The same one you must agree to before we can begin.” He watched me with sharp eyes, as I processed what he said.

“But what if the memory I get is even worse than my own?”

“Ah, my dear, no memories are worse than our own.” His tone was lighthearted, but there was a flicker of pain behind his eyes, like he understood grief. It made me doubt. If this truly worked, why did he have any pain?

“If it makes you feel any better, you will know the new memory isn’t yours. You won’t have an emotional connection to the new memory. It’s like watching a movie, or maybe more aptly put, having a nightmare.”

What alternative did I have? I couldn’t live with this memory forever. Despite my concerns, I had to move forward.

“I agree.”

The plush room was lit only by candlelight. It flickered across the walls and cast the face of the arcanist in an eerie light. By contrast, the bed was soft and welcoming. 

“Let me know when you are comfortable, and I will begin. Remember, once I start the enchantment, you must relive the memory that you are trying to forget. I know it will be difficult, but when you are done, you will drift into sleep,” the arcanist whispered. 

I took a deep, steadying breath. “I’m ready.”

The arcanist began to chant in a language I didn’t understand. The candles flickered angrily, and a wind blew through my hair. I let it take me back. Bits of the memory were stronger than others, wrenched from my mind by that wind.

A small hand squeezing my own, waking in the night to wheezing breaths, fear taking my own breath, the long beeeeep of a hospital monitor, the endless quiet in a house that was once so full of laughter.

And then blessed darkness.

Feet pounded the pavement, and I followed the sound. When the steps began to slow, I stopped, listening. I could hear heavy breathing. I grinned. My prey was close. 

I stalked through the darkness, blood thrumming with excitement. There, to my left.

I sprang, catching the girl by the arm. She tried to pull away, and I chuckled. It was futile.

I flung her to the ground, and she cried out. She scrambled across the alleyway, but I kicked her back down. I was simply toying with her now. By her wide eyes, I could tell she knew it. 

I calmly knelt over her and placed my hands around her neck. It was the best way, I had discovered. I could look them right in the eyes and tell the exact moment I took them from this world. 

I squeezed tightly. She thrashed and scratched, but I just laughed as blood seeped from the wounds. I enjoyed it more when they fought. I held on, watching for that moment. At last it came.

I jolted awake, breathing heavily. It wasn’t me. It was just a nightmare. Someone else’s nightmare. Only it had been real.

What do you think of the story so far? Would you give up your worst memory in exchange for someone else’s? Check back next week for Part 2!

Thanks so much for reading!

-Clever & WTF

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