Approaching the rusted metal door, John Abotts looked through the hatch keyhole before smiling and beckoning for the nineteen-year-old behind him to follow. John carelessly swung the hatch door open, causing an audible creaking noise.
“See, Benny? The place is completely deserted,” John stated in a snobbish tone as he glared at Benny.
Benny grumbled to himself about how annoying John could be, but John ignored it as he pulled out a small torch. Upon turning it on, he began to descend down the metal ladder.
Once John had arrived, he was glad to see that everything seemed to be the exact same way he had left it the previous time he was there. The chair was in the same spot, the papers on the wooden desk seemed to still be organized, and he noticed no changes at all.
“Alright, we’re good. Care to take a look?” John abruptly yelled up from inside the hatch as he plugged an old lamp into a nearby electrical outlet.
Benny noted the electrical wires that seemed to literally just be coming out of the ground for no reason. Benny thought that they were most likely used to make the door open by itself.
Putting that aside, Benny shuddered as he took a slow, careful step onto the ladder. Benny was sure that something would go wrong and that they would be caught.
John noticed this fear and chuckled. “Oh, come on, I haven’t seen anybody even go in the direction of this hatch ever. They are much more interested in that new Vernarben Resort than this place.”
Peeking up from the bottom of the hatch and seeing that Benny wasn’t reassured, John continued, “Honestly, I don’t think anybody even knows about this place anymore. Either that or this boring town made a vow not to come down here in fear that something interesting might happen.”
Benny sighed at the attempted humor as he began clumsily climbing down to the room at the bottom of the hatch. John had dragged him there already, so he supposed there was no going back now.
Upon reaching the bottom of the long ladder, he ducked under some hanging electrical wires (which he assumed were connected to the ones next to the hatch) and took a quick glance at his surroundings. The floor seemed to be metallic, and there were multiple empty bookcases against the walls, with the only object being a rather unique and old lamp sitting on the one closest to the ladder. It was incredibly dusty in the room except for the wood desk in the middle of the room and the chair behind it, upon which John was comfortably sitting and examining some papers.
Benny shifted his eyes to what John was looking at in his hands. The object was unlike anything Benny had ever seen in his life. Although it was in a rather dull and faded grey color, the object was shaped very interestingly. At first glance it appeared to be a cheap, fake gun that anyone could buy at a toy store, but the actual barrel was triangular and much bigger than the handle.
John chuckled at the way Benny viewed the object. “Like what you see?” he said as he continued his smirk.
“Wha... what is that?” Benny managed to stutter out.
John stood up from the seat and squeezed the object. “Well, I’ll go ahead and provide a demonstration.”
John caressed the gadget for a few seconds as though it was his most precious possession before quickly tapping multiple buttons. He then pointed the item to his head and uttered, “I’d like to forget the Vernarben Resort.”
Benny stared in confusion as well as nervous fear when he saw what appeared to be flashy blue beams of light coming from the item directly into John’s head. John screamed in agony, causing Benny to nearly fall over from being startled.
The lights suddenly disappeared as John put down the object. Benny stared at him, still confused. He then remembered that John previously said he wanted to forget the Vernarben Resort.
“Hey John, what do you know of the Vernarben Resort?” Benny questioned.
“Never heard of it,” John carelessly stated.
Benny stared at him, skeptical if John was actually telling the truth.
“The Vernarben Resort.”
“I said I had never heard of it, okay?” John stated once again.
Benny couldn’t believe what was going on. John seemed to have literally forgot an entire location that he had gone on about (how uninteresting it was) for weeks. How could that even be possible?
Before he could ponder or question John further, John asked, “Was this resort you speak of the thing I wanted to forget? If it was, then I assume the example was a success. Yes, this tiny little machine can literally make me forget anything I wish. Sometimes it does such a good job that I don’t even remember that I tried to forget something in the first place. I stumbled on the hatch during my morning jog a couple days ago and have used it ever since. I call it the Memory Machine.”
Benny took a few moments to process what he had just heard. He still had a huge amount of questions.
“Alright, so this machine can make you forget things. How did you even find out what it did and why did you even come back here?” Benny asked.
John decided to move back to the chair and sat down once more as he said, “Well, upon entering the hatch, I noticed the Memory Machine right off the bat. It was peculiar, I admit, but there was a piece of paper right beside it, describing how to work it. I went ahead and tried to forget… something, I can’t quite remember what.”
Upon hearing this, Benny muttered in a snarky tone, “No duh.”
John remained unfazed as he continued, stating, “Anyway, I ran out of there after that and have been using it, but I then remembered that there were even more papers around, and maybe those papers could help me achieve even more features on this Memory Machine. Sure enough, I’ve found something much greater than I could have ever suspected.”
Benny suddenly felt a chill go down his spine. He knew this couldn’t be good.
“Benny, the Memory Machine doesn’t even need to be pointed at the target. Apparently, if I can connect electrical wires to the back of the machine, the energy of the machine can spread into every person or animal that has some sort of electricity within a fifteen foot radius. The blue beams can easily reach somebody from far away and go directly to their brain after coming out of the nearest outlet. I press some buttons, say what needs to be forgotten or created, specify that my mind is not to be changed, and hundreds, even thousands of people, have their mind go through a bit of… modification, I’d call it.”
After saying this last line, Benny began to back away from John. The way John spoke about this machine, and the way he so carefully caressed it gave him an incredible amount of anxiety that John was no longer a fully sane person.
John noticed Benny’s fear, remarking, “Oh, come on, Benny, I want you to help me. Nobody will get in trouble. I read through these papers and the government abandoned this project years ago.”
“Yeah, and why do you think the government did that?”
John got slightly angrier as he loudly exclaimed, “Because they most likely knew they wouldn’t be able to control all of this power! I can, though! I know I can, and you’re going to help me figure out even more about it!”
Benny backed away right up to the room’s entrance at the ladder before John pulled out the Memory Machine. John harshly threatened, “I will make you forget everything you ever loved if you keep backing away.”
Benny stopped moving before John started to chuckle to himself, putting the Memory Machine against his side. His chuckle then became a complete laugh.
“You know, Benny, I think I’ve changed my mind. I can’t use you, even if I changed your mind to reflect my every wish. After all, it would only be a matter of time before you would try to use the machine yourself or somehow find some clumsy way to screw my plans up. Therefore, I think I’ll just make your brain forget how to make you breathe and watch as you suffocate.”
With that, John quickly lifted up the Memory Machine to aim it at Benny. Benny, knowing that he had to get out of there now, was quick enough to climb up the ladder. John ran towards the ladder before stumbling on the floor, falling over. By the time John went over and was able to aim the gun at Benny, Benny was already outside of the hatch.
Closing the hatch, Benny sighed of relief. Then, Benny noticed something that made him freeze in his tracks.
Blue light coming from the electrical wires next to the hatch, headed directly for his head.
Written by AGrimAuxiliatrix1