I wrote a new short story entitled The Prosthetic Retention, which can be downloaded as an ebook for free here:
There are 3 different file formats to choose from so that you can read it on your computer, Kindle, Ipad, or whatever you prefer to read ebooks on.
The story follows two inventors as they seek to uncover all the mysteries of the human mind and its ability to remember. If you have read the story I posted a while back entitled The C.O.R.E., you will be familiar with the characters, however, this story doesn’t tie in to that one in any way.
Here is a sample from the story.
“Now,” said Thurmond, finally looking up at Harold for the first time, but not before noticing the enormous mess that Harold had made, “why on earth were you looking so intently for that prosthetic only to ask me what it smelled like?”
A grim look swept over Harold’s face, and he became rather pale, yet, in an instant, his face was reanimated with color and his eyes lit up vividly.
“Yes of course!” shouted Harold. “The prosthetic! You do remember the smell, don’t you?”
“It is a hard smell to forget,” said Thurmond.
“Yes, indeed,” said Harold. “Such a strange, powerful odor. Unexpected, wouldn’t you say?”
“Indeed,” agreed Thurmond.
“Indeed,” said Harold. “You said it yourself. That is a hard smell to forget, correct?”
“Correct,” said Thurmond.
“I would agree,” said Harold, “which is why I bring this up in the first place.”
“Go on,” said Thurmond.
“I thought I could smell it this morning,” said Harold, “which got me thinking, isn’t it strange that a smell can be recalled so vividly after such a great deal of time?”
“It is quite notable,” said Thurmond.
“In fact,” continued Harold, “it is as if the very source of the smell is in the room at that moment.”
“It does seem that way,” said Thurmond.
“Which got me thinking,” said Harold.
“Yes?” replied Thurmond.
“It seems as if the source of the smell comes not from the actual object itself,” pondered Harold, “but from our very own brain.”
“Fascinating,” said Thurmond.
“Think of what the smell of cinnamon does to your memory,” said Harold, “or tea, or freshly baked bread, or wet grass, or the air after a heavy downpour.”
Thurmond sat and pondered for a moment.
“These smells all came from somewhere,” said Harold, “but are we so naïve that we would think that every pot of tea smells the same, or every grain of cinnamon, or every blade of wet grass?”
“It does seem rather odd,” said Thurmond.
“What I am insisting,” said Harold, “is that these smells are in very close association to the portion of our brains which process memory!”
“Go on,” said Thurmond, wandering his eyes up at the ceiling.
“I believe,” said Harold, “that our sense of smell is a creation of our brain, and that each scent is our brain’s very own mnemonic device, if you will. A fully developed, concrete representation of a mental fixation or preoccupation! A tangible abstraction!”
“It does seem a rather plausible theory,” agreed Thurmond, still staring into the air.
“No two pine trees look the exact same, do they?” asked Harold.
“I would say not,” answered Thurmond.
“And the trunks of two pine trees also do not feel the exact same, wouldn’t you agree?” proposed Harold.
“Not the exact same,” responded Thurmond, raising his fingers to his chin.
“So isn’t it safe to assume,” continued Harold, “that no two pine trees smell the exact same?”
“I supposed you’re right,” said Thurmond.
“But yet,” said Harold, “we all recognize the scent of pine as a particular smell.”
Thurmond sat and squeezed his chin for several moments, turning his eyes to all corners of the room.
“If that theory is correct,” said Thurmond speaking up, “then wouldn’t the same principles apply for every one of the five senses?”
“A clever query,” said Harold, who was now also stroking his chin. “Sight and touch seem to be much more tangible than smell, taste, and hearing.”
The inventor stood for a moment with his right foot tapping the floor and his eyes gleaming with intensity. His assistant also sat pondering, stroking his bulky chin and plucking at his chin hairs.
“It seems,” stated Harold, “that the two dominant senses, tangibly speaking, are more dependent on the physical attributes of whatever it is they are analyzing. The three lesser senses, tangibly speaking, are more dependent on the brain and the body to stimulate a physical reaction. Think of how sound waves in the air must have a receiver to be heard. It seems that each of them has a unique way of making the abstract become concrete.”
“Fascinating observation,” said Thurmond.
“Indeed,” said Harold.
“What is it you are working up to?” asked Thurmond.
“Thurmond,” answered Harold, “do you believe in déjà vu?”
“I can’t say I understand it all,” said Thurmond, “however, I can say I have experienced feelings of déjà vu before myself, and they are quite strong.”
“Very strong indeed,” said Harold. “I believe that I experienced it myself this morning when I smelled the scent of that prosthetic. I truly felt as if it were in the very room, but yet, I knew for certain that it wasn’t. I knew immediately what the smell was. It was unmistakable.”
“That is quite strange,” said Thurmond, “seeing as it hasn’t been here in several years.”
“That is an awful long time for a scent to be lingering,” said Harold, “wouldn’t you say?”
“Quite a long time indeed,” agreed Thurmond.
“Indeed,” said Harold. “There has been plenty of time for the scent to escape from the air, which means there is only one place left in which the scent could still remain.”
“Very clever,” said Thurmond.
“That scent has been filed in the deepest recesses of my memory,” said Harold, “and it is connected directly to the very memory itself! It is the key to the memory, both of which I still have!”
“Fascinating,” said Thurmond, gazing up at the air longingly.
“Thurmond,” proposed Harold, “this discovery could hold the keys to all our questions regarding long-term memory. I believe if we can focus in on these scents which we so strongly recall, then we may be able to recover a massive amount of memory which we have deemed lost forever.”
“Now there’s an idea!” said Thurmond, finally turning to Harold and pointing his large finger at him.
“Think of all the people who long to remember the days of their youth,” said Harold, smiling from Thurmond’s reaction. “I made no conscious choice to store the scent of that prosthetic, yet it has remained in my brain after all these years. Every scent we have ever come across could be lingering in our minds at this very moment, each one tied to a specific memory.”
“If we channeled this as you are saying,” said Thurmond, “we might never forget anything ever again.”
“Precisely!” shouted Harold throwing his arm into the air and stopping, for he had been pacing, or strolling rather, back and forth since the beginning of the conversation.
“We owe it to ourselves,” said Thurmond talking with his hands, “to everyone really. There must be a way to…you know…”
“To make this idea a reality!” interjected Harold. “And bring it to the public!”
“Yes!” shouted Thurmond.
“Quickly,” said Harold in a more serious tone, “jot down these ideas.”
Thurmond quickly pushed aside the sketches of his wrench until he uncovered a blank piece of graph paper. Harold, on the other hand, paced around the room with his fingers stroking his long chin. He slanted his eyebrows down and inward, and he squinted his eyes as he pondered. Thurmond looked over at Harold after he had secured the piece of paper, and he waited for a few long moments. Harold stopped pacing and stood still for a moment. Thurmond watched him carefully. Harold looked over at Thurmond and looked at him in the eye, then looked away again and proceeded to pace around the room again. This set of actions took place consistently for the next several minutes. Every so often the two men would make uncomfortable eye contact, only to look away and continue pondering in silence. Finally, Harold spoke up.
“Thurmond,” said Harold.
“Yes?” answered Thurmond.
“You wouldn’t happen to be a brain specialist, would you?” asked Harold. “Medically speaking?”
“Why no,” said Thurmond. “Not at all.”
“Neither am I,” gloomed Harold.
The two men waited in silence for what seemed to be a rather long time for two grown men to be silent.
“Frankly,” admitted Harold, “I haven’t the foggiest idea of where to begin.”
“Neither have I,” said Thurmond.
“Perhaps,” said Harold slowly, treating each word delicately, “we should continue at a later time.”
“Yes,” agreed Thurmond. “Perhaps.”
“Indeed,” said Harold rather awkwardly.