Brief History of a Machine

Photo by Bhushan Sadani on Unsplash

Dr. Oman specialized in erasing memories. The first part of the process included a careful evaluation of the patient’s condition and how bad the trauma was that they faced or if the event disrupts their daily life. The key in forgetting all the bad while keeping the good was targeting the right parts of the brain, and leaving the rest untouched. Points light up the areas where the memories are held to eradicate them. But there’s one caveat to the Erasorum: you must complete the whole process, never stopping. Even after embarking on one step of the process, stopping will cause paramount destruction. Either get rid of the memory completely or see it transform into a monster.

Melvin Lauforcade, the doctor that apprenticed Dave Oman, was one of the first to make significant improvement in the practice and one of the leaders in the invention of the first Erasorum patent. Oman was under him for 20 years, then succeeded his place a few months ago in May when Lauforcade passed away. He has been committed to his teacher’s practice ever since.

One day Oman was walking through the corridors of his facilities, he saw wild lavender moving against the wind. The thought of Stacy came back. Stacy Apollo, the woman who ran away after two rounds of the 10 step process in eradicating memories. She suffered the loss of her husband six months prior to her coming in, and with all other therapies having failed, Oman’s method was sure to completely cure her of her anguish.

After her disappearance, Dr. Oman heard about Stacy through the news. Somehow, despite her disappearance, Stacy diligently wrote a report of her remaining memories to Oman each week, sending an email of nothing longer than a page. Of course, she left out her whereabouts. Missing for months, everyone in her community was happy to see her once found. But she was not the same. She mumbled as if she was talking to someone not there, each night she had nightmares of her husband coming back and dying again in front of her eyes, she recalled the cake he made for her birthday that she recalled time and time again in her entries but this time it would only leave a bitter, poisonous, taste in her mouth. She was told to go back to Dr. Oman, but she refused to erase any more of the memories she had with her husband, despite it already changing into horrific illusions.

Finally, she came into Oman’s office one day.

“Get it out of my head Doctor”

When she entered the last invasive removal of her memories of her husband, Oman never heard of her since. She left with a depleted stare in her face. She hugged him, he noted her scent of lavender, and he never saw her since.

When she used to recall the memories of her husband to Oman, she had a glow to her face that attracted the Doctor that would last until she remembered then would start to sobbing. For two months afterwards, his patients are required to check in every week through the portals that they first reported their memories in, she completely stopped writing to him. Oman kept checking every day to hear a response from her. Nothing came up. Makes sense, he thought, she must be off somewhere continuing her life.

After passing in his office, he wondered just why she wanted to stop herself in the first place and why she let the nightmares go on and become worse. There must have been something wrong in the way he adjusted the settings of the Erasorum or perhaps he underestimated the condition in which she was in. Stacy stayed in the mind of Oman for weeks once again, perplexing him on what sort of mistake he could have made in those first few trials. He looked back at all of his other files and reports that people made in order to find discrepancies, to compare and analyze to find out just what went wrong in this hiccup of an event. A man of numerous awards and praise in his field, how could he have messed up?

Once going through his cabinets and online files he found no difference in the way he ran his procedure. Then, he remembered Melvin’s files. Maybe there was something that was wrong with the deeper mechanics of this machine. Oman never went in because of how much the thought of his dead superior haunted him, but he had to know.

Unlocking the dusty cabinets that beheld the forgotten memories of people going far back as half a century ago, as well as designs, plans and trials of new Erasorum patents. He looked through the files one by one. Fervently searching in order to get quickly out of the musty old space, he then came across a file that caught his attention: DAVE OMAN. Along with his own name, there were those that were on the team.

When he opened the yellowing pages in his hands. He turned to pages of his own writing going as far back as when he was in his twenties, when he started his apprenticeship and years of learning with Melvin. Oman’s blood turned cold when he couldn’t remember writing any of these check-ins. His own patients write their memories, or what they can recall from them, once a week after a procedure. Dave and the team under Melvin wrote every single day for five year, information was erased from his mind almost every single day and they had to recall each of those days what happened in their past. He looked at the earliest entry:

After one week of being with Melvin, I am learning so much on the mechanics of the Erasorum already. We are on the precipice of finding new ways of perfecting the instrument. To think that we’ll go down in History! I want to tell Gina everything going on here, but I can’t contact anyone now outside of the office until after trials are done. Her bright red hair, how she smelled of lavender….

Going through the pages, he finds out that him and his team were Melvin’s test subjects for these trials. After each improvement in the machine, he would erase his team’s memories in case his patent would not get stolen by some mole — all while conveniently seeing if his new machine worked. In this process, the memories of working on the machines were lost to Dave Oman but it seems that others got erased in the process as well. Who was Gina?

He went deeper into his folder.

We’re thinking about formulating our writing responses a little bit differently this time around. The patient will record a particular traumatic day in their life and then as they go through the process, they will write down the same day until we start seeing more of the memory fade completely. Okay, well here goes…

A year ago, Gina forgot who I was. It wasn’t the Erasorum , it wasn’t her own doing that she forgot me. Pure chance, an accident. Brain damage. A car crash, to be more exact. I stayed with her after her recovery for months while she was in a coma. But, what am I left to do when the love of your life, your fiance destined to live your life with, unexpectedly loses her identity? She forgot me and she didn’t want to! She woke up and questioned who I was, I thought that even after she would come to remember who I was. It’s been a year, and I’m in incalculable pain. She doesn’t love me anymore. She told me to go away, for I was starting to freak her out. Then as the bus stopped on the corner of Mission and Begonia, I saw her inside a Starbucks, with a man. I stared into the glass window. She brought her coffee up to her lips. Two things I saw that I just can’t shake off, it was that split second that changed everything. I saw a ring on her finger, and on her cup, written the name “Stacy.”