Memories – A Short Story

Note: I wrote this last year for a piece of IGCSE coursework. I have yet to touch it up, and may rewrite the themes and ideas as a longer and more elaborate piece of prose to publish later. As it is, this is just the rough product of a frantic night of pulling coursework together and of a strict 500-800 word limit of a story – which I still withhold was way too small of a limit for anybody to try to get even a slight sense of character and plot within, at least at the level that we were at. I hope that this can be helpful to anybody trying to get a feel for [I]GCSE coursework, and if not at the very least be slightly enjoyable.

So with that in mind, proceed as you will, but with an open mind.

Memories

“If you should walk down memory lane…” he muttered under his breath.

The monitor in front of him blinked, the fan whimpered and croaked, the clock ticked wildly away in the corner; each reminding him of the assignment he had yet to complete. Stupid topic for an essay, he thought, the contempt dripping off his forehead in beads of sweat. He couldn’t have asked for an essay based on unicorns, Facebook or Tumblr. No, it had to be “memories”.  Slowly his back slumped into the netting of the chair, his heavy eyelids slamming shut, the background noise whisking away as he tried to call back the past. Nothing but darkness.

Oblivion stretched on forever, no sign of movement. Great, another assignment failed, his mind sighed. Suddenly, a flicker. He turned. Another. A third, fourth, seventh, until all around him were lights in the darkness. Stars in the night sky, ancient spectres in a haunted house; all just beyond reach. His arm called out for the memories, bidding them closer. Though initially unnerved by his presence, the auras moved in, surrounding him in a snug cocoon until all he could see were these memories and his weak legs dragging him along.

Each light held a frame, an instance forever caught in his mind. He peeked through the windows, and saw images of beauty and strength; heard the enchanting voice of his mother as she read a bedtime story; smelt warm bread and mouth-watering chocolate chip cookies; tasted a million different dishes for the first time, each as tantalizing as the last; felt the fresh sea air rush through his auburn locks as his father held him aloft on his first visit to the bay. Each thought, each instant, brought back the joy of childhood to his eyes. If you should walk down memory lane, how happy you shall be.

In the dazzling whirlwind of light, came a single speck of deep purple. On this canvas of black came a colour darker still. His eyes became fixated. What was the instant? It was too shrouded to tell. A death. A parting. An argument. A failure. All these; yet none. It terrified him, yet drew him in. His legs moved into the memory, the darkness. He bade them to stop. To run. To drop to his knees so he could shield his face from the agony. The violet frame grew and grew, tentacles reaching out, touching every glowing memory he’d ever had, turning each one into a colourless grey. Anger. Pain. Attacks. Divorce. Terrible fear. At long last, when all light was gone, the final darkness consumed its own shade, until at last he could not tell the attacker from the victims. All was without colour. He moved now only because he had to. If you should walk down memory lane, such horrors will you see.

After what seemed like years of marching through the washed out wastelands, he came upon a split in his path. Each section then split again and again, as far as the eye could see. Only then did he stop to look. Each looked identical, yet led somewhere else. He stepped towards to left. A gate closed before him. Stepped to the right, another gate. Back, a third. The furious tempest caught up with him, only now the stills moved. His body was thrown aside, casting him into a corner. A room built itself around him, closing in on him. Faceless figures hissed and snarled as they gathered around, hungry for blood. He felt hopeless, any adrenalin seeping out of his body and into the famished earth beneath him. His body collapsed into the wall, preparing for the final blow. If you should walk down memory lane, will you ever return?

As he raised his head to the heavens, he noticed a flicker. A distant memory, like those he hadn’t seen since his childhood. A few at first, then many, just over the heads of his assailants. Perhaps they had always been there, but he’d been too depressed to see the good. All he had to do was look up.

A new energy pulsed through his veins. He leapt through the attackers, their hooded forms crumbling into nothing as he passed them. Had they ever existed? His legs propelled him forwards, the thumping of feet undulating through his very being. The crossroads was there, the choice was his. No gate, nothing to hold him back. Only now he could see the road, lit by a million joys. The auras guided him, but he was the ultimate master. It was only ever him.

If you should walk down memory lane, oh! the things you shall find.

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