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Fossilized Remembrance: Chapter Seven

by Ari11


When Jonathan woke up he was extremely discombobulated. Everything was blurry and far too bright–the lights on the ceiling stung his eyeballs and he flinched away, covering his face with his hands.

“Your pupils were really big. I can see why the light would bother you; they need to adjust.”

He looked up, squinting around for the owner of the voice. There was someone sitting at the edge of his bed, peering at him with a face framed by two strawberry-blonde braids.

“Clara?” Jonathan croaked, blinking up at her like a confused meerkat. “Is that you?”

“Yup,” Clara’s blurry face formed something Jonathan assumed was a nervous smile. “How do you feel?”

“Like my head was run over by a semi,” he replied, sitting up slowly. As soon as he did so his vision began to swim and he flopped back on the bed, breathing heavily. “...Or maybe I’ve been severely concussed by a baseball bat. One of the two.”

“How ‘bout passing out due to an equipment malfunction?” Clara suggested. “Does that fall on your list?”

“Is that what happened?” Jonathan propped himself up on one elbow, still trying to focus on her face. Clara’s features remained blurry, along with the rest of his surroundings.

“That’s what The Lady told me,” she replied, flicking at the hem of her hospital gown with one finger. “Although…I’m not sure if I believe it. Do you?”

“I don’t know why she would lie to us,” Jonathan answered, rubbing his eyes in an effort to get them to work properly. No luck. “...But I don’t really trust her. She’s definitely hiding something–just yesterday I asked about the explosion that I supposedly died in before the Blip. She said it was ‘classified’ and ‘too distressing for my knowledge’. Bullshit, if you ask me.”

“You died in an explosion?” Clara’s expression was hard to read(it was still frustratingly blurry) but she seemed to have her eyebrows raised. “Metal. And also very suspicious. Why would she want to hide that from you?”

“I dunno,” Jonathan shrugged. “And I only supposedly died–obviously I didn’t, because I’m here right now.”

“Huh,” Clara scratched her neck, thinking. “I wonder if that has anything to do with you passing out today. Maybe…maybe they were trying to off you so the secret didn’t get out?”

“Why? Who’m I gonna tell?” Jonathan gestured to the very empty room. “The voices in my head? It’s not like I have access to a bunch of important friends I can spill the beans to.”

“Perhaps it has something to do with the Colony? If you got out there, you could tell people,” Clara pointed out. “Easier to kill you in the seclusion of this medical cell than out in the open where people can see.”

“Well, whatever they did it clearly didn’t work,” Jonathan finally sat up straight, staring at his hands on the blankets. They were slowly coming into focus, growing more and more defined as his eyes finally adjusted. “And besides, if they really wanted to kill me with no witnesses, why call you in? You’d have seen the whole thing.”

“You’re right, it doesn’t make any sense,” Clara shook her head, a deep frown creasing her mouth. “But one thing’s for certain–we’re not safe here. If a so-called ‘equipment malfunction’ can make you all loopy and pass out like that, I don’t want to know what could happen if something else goes wrong.”

“Yeah…” Jonathan rubbed his head, squeezing his eyes shut against the throbbing in his skull. All he remembered of that morning was a vague, untraceable joy seeping into his body, pulling all the thoughts from his brain and leaving him in a gentle, content state. He didn’t want to move, or talk, or do anything but stand there and be happy. It had been such a wonderful feeling…until he drifted off and the pain came. “What do we do now?”

“I don’t…know,” Clara pursed her lips, rubbing her thumb back and forth across a nick in the bedpost. Her golden-brown eyes were narrow and intense, fixed in place as her mind ran through all the potential possibilities. “Well, to start off, there’s no security in the hallways. At least, not that I’ve seen when I walked to and from here. So that’s something.”

“Really? No security?” Jonathan’s eyebrows drew close together, a motion he immediately stopped because it made the pain grow like a knife in his skull. “That seems…strange. I dunno, you’d think this would be, like, a high-security facility.”

“I know, right?” Clara nodded in agreement. “It doesn’t make sense, just like the supposed attempt on your life. Why is there nobody out there to stop people from running away?”

“Unless…” Jonathan wrapped his arms around himself, rubbing his shoulders uncomfortably as a freshly horrifying thought formed in his brain. “They have some other way of enforcing the rules. A way that’s invisible…a way that could come with us wherever we go, even if we enter someone else’s cell.”

He looked up at Clara, who was staring at him now, her almond eyes slowly growing wider as the realization dawned on her, too.

“Something that could malfunction and affect our brains…” she breathed. Jonathan nodded.

“Like a built-in way to monitor us,” he met her gaze. “Clara, they’ve put something in our heads.”


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Tue Aug 15, 2023 9:17 am
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hello hello! I'm back ahead of you posting chapter eight tomorrow, so I hope I've timed this one nicely. I'm hoping Jonathan is going to be ok, and that Dr. Dennison isn't going to cause too much trouble for the patients.

When Jonathan woke up he was extremely discombobulated. Everything was blurry and far too bright–the lights on the ceiling stung his eyeballs and he flinched away, covering his face with his hands.

I love this to bring us back to his perspective. I think you could probably lean into this a bit further, as there's a lot of potential with this description. I always find it hard to add description into my writing, so I like to point out places where there could be more of it!

“Yup,” Clara’s blurry face formed something Jonathan assumed was a nervous smile. “How do you feel?”

This seems too familiar to me, I'm not sure he would be predicting her facial expressions given that they don't know each other well at all.

“Is that what happened?” Jonathan propped himself up on one elbow, still trying to focus on her face. Clara’s features remained blurry, along with the rest of his surroundings.

“That’s what The Lady told me,” she replied, flicking at the hem of her hospital gown with one finger. “Although…I’m not sure if I believe it. Do you?”

Are they never worried someone's eavesdropping on them? Given that 'The Lady' can speak to them at any time, and they know she can see them, wouldn't they be more cautious? Would they perhaps whisper?

“You died in an explosion?” Clara’s expression was hard to read(it was still frustratingly blurry) but she seemed to have her eyebrows raised. “Metal. And also very suspicious. Why would she want to hide that from you?”

I like that they're starting to question things; the doctors might start to regret the fact that they've put the two of them together, they were far less trouble alone!

“Something that could malfunction and affect our brains…” she breathed. Jonathan nodded.

“Like a built-in way to monitor us,” he met her gaze. “Clara, they’ve put something in our heads.”

Dun dun duuuuuuuuuun! I always think it's difficult to get characters to realise things that you know as the author, or even that we as the reader kind of know. This part felt pretty realistic, like it made sense for them to come to the conclusion. I was less convinced by the part where they're talking about the Colony, just because I felt like they hadn't got enough information to be making the kind of inferences - but that might just be a tweak to make them sound more unsure?

I think we're building up to them trying to escape, and I'm definitely rooting for them! I hope they can get out and find patient A too!

See you tomorrow for chapter eight!

Icy




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Thu Aug 10, 2023 10:57 pm
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Phlonix wrote a review...



Whelp, they know. The questions are, what can they do about it; can they count on their friend on the outside/in the chair to help them get out if necessary; and how advanced IS this society?

A) Not much.

Depending on the power to the thing, if there's no absolute limit on the range of what's controlling them, they may be stuck with their controllers being able to do just about whatever they want.
On the other hand, if the field of control is just limited to wherever they are, then they can get out and try to find answers. This leads to,

B) The Lady is their friend, her colleague is not.

Depending on the amount of power/authority each of them have, The Lady should be able to help them escape with close to no difficulty.
The only troubles come with them getting outside and having no idea of the inner or even outer workings of human society. Which neatly leads to the last one,

C) How advanced is this society?

If it's closer to ours in the real world, then they should have a bit of, but not too much, trouble, escaping and finding answers.
However, the degree of control they have over the body's chemistry tells me they're pretty advanced, and the journey between escaping and finding answers will be a mixture of collapsing a brick wall with your average hammer and a piece of cake.




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Thu Aug 10, 2023 4:48 pm
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OrabellaAvenue wrote a review...



Hello! This is Orabella, here with a review.

Oooh, and now they know. This is getting more and more interesting by the minute. At this point, I'm guessing they want to leave somehow. But how are they going to do that when their thoughts are monitored? How are they going to even keep away the fact that they want to? Maybe they won't. Maybe because of that, something very bad will happening...

By the way, do you think... umm... how to say this... Do you think you could warn me when a chapter has a swear? I'm not very comfortable with them and I'd prefer to at least be notified. Yeah I don't know if I make sense...

Oh, what if they're even being monitored right now? Maybe they'll get lucky because the doctors are arguing again, or something. Maybe that's how they'll keep it secret.

I really do hope this situation will never happen to me, because it sounds downright scary. But I gotta say, amazing work on this! You keep me hooked and I am genuinely frightened for your characters. Don't forget to keep writing!!

Also, here's a bunny to help you with school when it starts:

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“A good book isn't written, it's rewritten.”
— Phyllis A. Whitney, Guide to Fiction Writing