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23 Jan 2012



Laine struggled in vain against her assailant. Shoved against a wall, choked for breath, she could not gather a clear thought.

For a moment her mind went entirely blank. Then the pressure disappeared, as did the man.

Instead of him, there was a cloud of fine dust in front of her, and beyond that a young woman pocketing something. Laine simply stared. As the dust between them settled and her adrenaline levels dropped, her knees turned to rubber. She used the damp brick way as physical support, and anger to fight back fear.

“Where’s the hidden camera?”

“Sorry, Laine, it’s no trick.”

“Yeah, right, you just turned a mugger into dust.” Pushing herself upright she snapped, “And how do you know my name?”

“Ash, you used to call it.” The young woman’s voice was even and quiet. She was not holding a weapon now, and moved carefully, as if dealing with a shy animal. “You taught me. You really don’t remember?”

“I have never seen you before. What are you playing at?” Laine wanted to run, but questions whether it would help aside, she had to know who or what was behind this mess, or it would turn her paranoid.

He opposite sighed. “I’ve got something for you. It... used to be yours.”

Laine watched her, almost hyptonised by her calm voice and movements, as the woman drew something from an inside pocket of her jacket.

“I’m not sure you want it back. But things” — she scuffed the light smudge of out-of-place dust on the ground — “are getting worse, and we need everyone.”

Her hand glowed red. When she opened her fingers, a sphere of white light rose from it and rushed towards Laine, who reflexivelytried to catch it. The light went straight through her hand and into her head, unfolding into years of memories.

When the first shock of impressions faded, Laine found herself leaning against the wall again, Kana propping her up. The first words out of her mouth were bitter. “I retired, you know.”

“I’m sorry.”

With a resigned sigh, Laine said, “Fill me in on the way home.”

Inspired by the prompt "a recall" by Deirdre M. Murphy

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