All a person needs to escape the bombed-out cities and tormenting thirst of NorCoast is a fifteen-minute Memory Visit. Seventeen-year-old Rain, however, is not looking for an escape—she needs answers. When flashbacks of her twin brother’s drowning start to overtake her life, she relives that horrible day via a laser probe straight to her brain’s hippocampus.
What she discovers in the Memory Visit is even worse than she thought. Her twin brother, Dal, was murdered, and she is a mark, one of the remarkable people who can alter the past through her memories. Using her newfound ability, Rain attempts to save her brother only to become a target of the assassins who killed him. Soon, she must decide whether rescuing a brother she barely knows in the past is worth risking her life and the lives of people she loves in the present.
14+ due to adult situations
I knocked twice on the door before stepping inside. “I want answers.”
His focus darted around the room like he was trying to find an escape route. “Look, I don’t know what to tell you. Dr. Strauss is the man with the answers.”
“You saw the scan. You were alarmed by what you saw. Tell me what it was.”
“I can’t…” He looked back at the computer screen and bit his lip.
“Imagine being in my place. I have a right to know what’s going on.”
He glanced from me to the computer screen and back again. I tried laying on a little guilt. “Come on, Rio, don’t send me out there wondering if I’m ripe for a stroke or something.”
Rio took a deep breath. “Look, I’m not supposed to be seeing this. I’m not even supposed to be in here.”
“What’s on that screen?” I quietly closed the door and stepped behind Rio who made no move to stop me.
It looked like medical records. Classified. I leaned in close to better see the picture of the patient at the top and gasped. Even though the few memories I had of this man’s face were fleeting and blurry, and even though this picture was taken when he was about my age, there was no denying the fact that this was my father. The name under the picture confirmed it, Hudson Shattuck.
“Do you know him?” Rio asked. He must have realized that Hudson Shattuck was related to me. First, we had the same last name. But even if that weren’t true, my father and I looked more like twins than Dal and I did, with the same olive complexion, high cheekbones, deep-set eyes, and frizzy, dark-brown hair. The only difference, which might have thrown Rio off, was that my eyes were pale blue while my father’s eyes were practically as dark as his pupils.
“I think I’ll do the questioning right now, thanks. Why are you looking at his file? Does it have something to do with me?”
He looked at the door like he was expecting someone to barge in at any moment. “I wanted to see if we had any records of what I just saw on your scan. This is the only one.”
“And what exactly did you see?”
“Something … amazing.”
“You’ve got to be more specific if you want me to leave here peacefully.”
He gazed at me like a child discovering the stars. “Your brain activity was unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. It was off the charts in amount, in intensity, in duration. Simply amazing.”
“Is that a bad thing? Am I going to die of cerebral hemorrhage or something?”
“No, no, it’s perfectly fine. If not, Dr. Strauss would have told you.”
“Then why did he ban me from Memory Visits?”
“I don’t know. And what’s more puzzling, is that this man did Visits. He did quite a few, actually.”
I scanned the document. Five Memory Visits were listed. By the dates, my father was young when he took them, not much older than I was. “So I can take a Memory Visit.”
Rio frowned. “No, you heard what Dr. Strauss said. You’re on the blacklist for all the clinics.”
“I know of other places that don’t have blacklists.” I tilted my head and grinned at him.
His eyes widened. “You’d go to a back alley brain probe?”
“Thanks for your help.” I turned to leave and felt a hand on my arm.
“Let me go with you.”
“Why not? What’s the worst that could happen besides losing my job and having to clean compost toilets for a living?” Rio’s smile was still as charming but not quite as persuasive as it was when I first arrived.
“I need a better answer than that.”
“All right. Seriously, I’ve been a tech here for five years, and I’ve never seen anything like what I saw today on the imaging screen. I have to see for myself what a Memory Visit would look like with your brain doing it.”
“Really? You just want to see what would happen? I’m not your science experiment.”
“Well, think of it this way, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have me there. I can check the equipment and keep you safe.”
Good point. It wouldn’t hurt to have an expert along for the ride. If he wanted to risk his career to satisfy some intellectual curiosity, then who was I to stop him? “All right, let’s go.”
“Right now?” Rio glanced nervously at the clock on his computer.
I would have loved to go right then, but I was scheduled to work in a couple of hours. “Tomorrow night. I’ll meet you at the Cadero Station around sunset. Eight o’clock.”
“Why so late?”
“The place I’m taking you to doesn’t operate during normal business hours.” I turned to leave. “And by the way, dress down for this. You don’t want to make yourself a target.”
This last comment was overly dramatic, but I really needed to see if this guy knew what he was getting himself into. Cadero was not for the faint of heart.