Author : Noah Katz
“Where were you when you first opened your eyes?”
“I don’t know. I can’t remember.”
“Ah, but you can,” Falero insisted. “The instant should be fresh, as near to you as the ground beneath your feet.”
Antigone slackened her pace, beginning to study the floor. Black tiles stretched to the end of a high row of shelves stocked with books and collected treasures. To her left, a trio of antique globes was flanked by sextants, boxed compasses, and sailing ships cast in miniature.
Falero’s voice pulled her from these considerations, asking again: “Where were you?”
“You want me to lie to you. I won’t do that.”
Falero hummed a note of appreciation. “I need to know and you are going to tell me.”
“No… I don’t know what you want. I can’t tell you where I am or how I got here, but I feel like I need to be here… with you. This fits.”
“Good. Now tell me where you were when the first images came to you. We must have this before we can proceed.”
Suddenly Antigone found herself speaking: “A field.” She could feel the force of the memory flowing through her, illuminating dark regions in her brain. “I was alone in a field surrounded by tall grass. There were flowers… fences… mountains in the distance.”
“A strong image,” Falero whispered. “The moment clings to you, as it should.”
“How do you know that what I’ve said is truthful?”
Her guide stopped abruptly. Antigone stumbled forward, caught herself, and turned to face him. “It was unexceptional,” he laughed. “A lie would excite the senses.”
“You can’t know that. I could just have easily described the streets of a city or the interior of a house.”
“But you didn’t. Your description was fragmented, incomplete. Authentic memories are never as clear as you’d want them to be. Lies, on the other hand, are designed as they are spoken. We make their construction obvious.”
Antigone was silent.
“I can teach you to remember.” Falero swiveled, reached blindly to a nearby shelf and extracted a book covered by a thick film of dust. “When you’ve mastered those parts of your mind which seem most inaccessible, all of our knowledge will open to you.”
“That’s what this place is; a knowledge bank. And you’re keeping records…”
Falero smiled and pried the book open, waving his free hand over the pages. Antigone focused on the hand, its soft paleness, the warmth trapped within. All at once she saw the hidden architecture: a fine mesh of wires running over the veins and into the shadow of his sleeve.
“This is just one beginning, Antigone… one of the billions of memories that we can unlock.” As he spoke, dust rose from the book and gathered above his hovering hand. Brightly-colored motes came into the dust and sculpted figures: a hooded soldier hunched behind his shield, archers raising bows, whole armies assembled on faint ground. Antigone watched as the warriors clashed in a noiseless war and began to dismantle one another.
The page turned beneath Falero’s hand and a new scene replaced the battle. A man and woman stood together on a footbridge overlooking a river where blue flower petals floated. Ripples stirred the water, pushing dust from the projection in small, slow circles.
“Why are you showing me this?” Antigone asked. “What does it mean?”
“We invest a part of ourselves in everything we create. The past has disappeared, but we can still kindle the lost light of those minds which are no longer with us. All we have of them is what they made.”
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