On Memory: New Job
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Not much happens in the world after the sun sets and the last of the centuries-old electric lights turn off for the night. In the town, nobody is outside, as they are asleep or preparing for the next day. After the archivists leave the library and retreat into their homes, the air is filled with nothing but the sound of the wind and waves.

Sometimes there are celebrations that last through the night. But they are uncommon. On uneventful days like today, the entire island turns into a quiet darkness, like an unmoving shadow under the night sky.

The boat has lights, but we turn them off when we want to see the stars.

The stars move. Throughout the day, the stars affixed to the globe of the sky move across the heavens even when they are not seen. And sometimes I think, even after we all die, and after everyone forgets, the sky will still be there, unchanging, but always moving.

The wind makes the waves flow and the windmills turn. It moves our ships, our machines, and our lives. And the sound of the wind overpowers all others. It hides the unimportant noise and collects all sounds into a greater whole.

Before the sun rises, there is nothing to see, nothing to feel or think about. Night is when all fears go away, when we no longer have to be bound by the things set upon us by ourselves and others.

When we stare into the sky, nothing stares back but the unmoving wall of stars. The stars have no meaning, and so when we see them, they do not give us pain.

And under the stars, the boat does not have to be the boat, the island does not have to be the island, and we do not have to be ourselves. Nothing matters under the stars.

The night is a wonderful thing.


- The personal logs of Captain Scranton Williams, September 14th, A428

“Before I open this, I want you to know this is your last chance to turn back.”

I feel a chill going down my spine. The woman standing in front of me no longer feels like the friendly archivist lady whose garden I used to pass by everyday walking to school. I avoid looking into her eyes.

“Once you come in, your life belongs inside the gates. By entering, you are consenting to the dedication of the rest of your life to our cause.”

I’ve prepared for this my whole life. But deep inside, I keep questioning myself. What if I regret it? What if, after I grow older, I want to leave and have a normal life? Do I truly want this?

“Tell me when you’re ready. To choose.”

I close my eyes. The white plastic coated door in front of me, looking out of place in the middle of the wooden boarded wall, disappears from my world. And when I open my eyes, the door is still there, waiting for me to make that choice I was planning to make for years.

So I do.

“I’m ready.”

The sound of these doors opening is unlike any other sound in the world. It’s quiet, but you can feel that it carries a lot of weight. Both figuratively and literally.

Behind the doors is a wide, dimly lit hallway. The woman silently enters, and I follow. It’s warm inside.

We walk for a while without talking. I can hear sounds of machines working from the other side of the hallway.

She starts talking again.

“I remember back when you lived near me in town.”

Her name was Kurie Jones. She lived alone in a small house painted bright yellow, and before the construction work forced us to move away, we used to be close.

“You were one of the kids back then. I never knew we would end up working together.”

I know she’s trying to get everything off my mind, but it’s not working.

“Yeah.” I reply, mindlessly. My thoughts are too occupied.

I’ve heard the stories. When the ocean was dry, there was more to this world than what we know of. Millions of people lived on dry land in many different towns, and the world was big and complex and beautiful. People built flying vehicles to travel long distances, complicated calculators to help them work, and buildings of steel and glass that reached into the sky.

But one day, a plague swept the lands. It took over people’s minds, and drove them to death. And to protect the survivors, rain came down from the sky nonstop for thirty nine years until the ocean filled up, and all that was left was our island.

When people die, their memories are left behind for others to remember. And apparently that happened to our ancestors too. On the other side of this tunnel is all the knowledge and memories of the people from that long-lost world, the world people remembered but never really did.

Every time a person dies, that door would open, and memories of their life would be documented and carried inside to join them forever. That is the purpose of the archivists. To keep knowledge and memories from fading into ignorance.

It’s overwhelming, I think to myself, but I would end up getting used to it.

The sounds are getting closer.

“Anora, at the end of this hallway are the Archives, where you will now work. Everything outside must come in, and everything, once in, must never be lost. Though I’m sure you’ve heard this before.”

She looks back, and I nod.

“After we take a look around the facility, you’ll have to meet Director Stallman, who will introduce you to your duties.”

“I’m the newest archivist here after three years, right?”

“Yep. And you probably will be for the next three.”

And as she says that, the tunnel opens up into a domed chamber more massive than anything I could have imagined. The walls are lined with strange machines with blinking lights, and bridges of metal cross the room many floors above. In the center of the chamber, taking up most of the floor, is a massive circular hole.

We walk onto a bridge, and soon we are walking across the hole. The sounds only get louder as we continue.

“Anora Mizushima,”

I look down. Millions of red and yellow blinking lights line its cylindrical walls, which appear to go down into the darkness forever. Metal bridges and staircases weave through each other, down until they become too small to even see. My heart skips a beat.

“Welcome to Deepwell Everest.”




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