Broken Cognizance

Author : Tiana Lexia

The screen flashed on, casting shadows off the cadaver’s body. The tube that ran from the base of her head to the computer slowly radiated light with each passing memory.

Her life started off normal, like any other person who passed through the Cognizance Center. Born to a rich family, raised in a part of town that allowed her opportunity, experience, and unending knowledge that could put her through life with more money than any street rat could even begin to imagine. She was the epitome of High Society, and watching her life being recorded in the Cognizance Center bored me to tears. A million times a day I would receive lives similar to this one; they all went through the same motions. They grew up, got money, got married, and died happily. There was no struggle in their lives.

My boredom began to turn me away once her teenage years began to roll through, but, before I could, a memory caught my eye. She was lying on her back, casting out fake moans for the pleasure of a man thirty years her senior. My stomach churned as I recognized him as her uncle, a prominent political figure in our city. For the next few memories, it continued on much like this. She’s sold and used for the pleasure and amusement of men her uncle knows, men that want to feel the touch of a young woman again. They introduce her to new things, horrible things, and the memories of the next few years are too clouded by the drugs poisoning her mind for anything to register on the screen. I watch her life become a mess before her own eyes.

Soon enough, she’s pregnant. There’s no way to tell who the father is, but she refuses to give the child up. Her parents don’t give her a choice, and, in a matter of weeks, the baby is gone. Her parents think that this will save her from the mess she’s making in her life, but they’re wrong. The girl turned back to the drugs, to the men, the alcohol. Memories continue to flow into the computer, but nothing is registering. If she were alive, I doubt the girl would ever be able to remember this part in her life. Every sense she has is poisoned.

Finally, a memory appeared on the screen. She’s leaning against a bathroom counter, naked, chunks of hair missing from her scalp. Her once beautiful face is mauled by scars from years of drug abuse. Every part of her has changed to mirror what she put in her body, but one thing remained as clear as the sky; her eyes. Brown and flat, they seemed to have a sense of innocence that the girl had lost long ago. They were knowing, worldly, but didn’t seem to understand.

Her hand reached over to her side, pulling a knife from the drawer. My hands are shaking, afraid as I become aware of what’s happening. She positions the knife at the base of her neck. I turn away, sickened, but look back as the memory clouds over and the screen flashes to black.

 

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows