Riverview, Again Series 1 - Episode 05 - Memories

Waking up in peculiar places was something I was becoming accustomed to. This time I was opening my eyes up to a lusty brunette female, with long locks of flowing hair drooping around her shoulders. Despite her surgical outfit and presence within the Institute, I could immediately tell that she was neither a Corrector nor an offender. She appeared to be warm and kind in nature, and did not possess the cold, red-eyed stare of a Corrector. Her hair was flowing too freely and too elegantly for her to be a convict. So was she just a regular member of the State, volunteering her surgical expertise for malevolent deeds?

"I need you to remain relaxed and still," she said softly, although that wasn't too difficult to achieve with nearly-paralysed limbs. "The more you remain still, the less likely we are to make a mistake."

She had a calming glow to her beautifully structured face. Her rosy cheeks bore make-up, which was a taboo in this society. It was a sign of ugliness, ironically; yet she didn't have any need to mask her attractive face. She must have been given special privileges, in order for her to coincide with Correctors without having her make-up ridiculed and reprimanded.

Her unbefitting beauty had slyly distracted me for a moment. I was fixed into place on a lounge chair, sitting upright and unable to move my head due to the tight restraints.

"The surgery on your brain will be completed within a few hours," her delicate lips spoke, "but you won't have any memories of your life before this surgery."

They were destroying my memories?! I observed the youthful doctor carry an electric probe, as she walked around me to access my presumably-exposed brain.

"This won't be painful," she reassured. "Well, not physically at least."

Then the world started to blur into one big mass of colour - seamless at the edges and psychedelic in the middle.

"Uhhhh!" I groaned, powerless to the hands rummaging around my head.

The memories swirled within my brain, running away from the burning probe that would blot them out forever. A spied another female doctor by the sinks, and then another walking through the door; but I only ever heard one voice. That was when the visions started, as I recalled past events for the very last time.

The colours converged to form a recognisable scenario. I was back in my residency, at a time that appeared to be many years ago. I was newly partnered with Mikhail and we were having one of our first marital spats. But this quarrel wasn't just an everyday argument.

"I can't believe you committed such a crime, Brother!" I screamed, neglecting the dangerous possibility of our neighbours overhearing. "I should be reporting you to the Correctors!"
"No, Sister, you mustn't! You will only incriminate yourself too!" Mikhail said.

Mikhail had committed a criminal act, but was desperate to evade any justice imposed by the Correctors. I knew now that his words were lies, as anyone who tattled on lawbreakers was only ever praised by the State. But back then, I was ignorant and impressionable. I was scared to implicate myself for witnessing the crime.

"You have committed something sinister and we would struggle to live our lives in the knowledge of your felony. I must do the right thing, to correct your sins," I explained, but my words fell on indifferent ears.
"Do you know what the Correctors would do? They inflict torture and pure agony upon any wrongdoers. I cannot go through that, Sister!"
"Why are you trying to evade rightful justice, Brother Mikhail?" I asked innocently.
"My actions were warranted! Why should I be punished by death for ridding the State of a pervert and a Rebel?" he replied, but he wasn't defending his case very well.

Any other member of the State would have bowed down and accepted their punishment, for the good of society. Brother Mikhail's resistance made me very suspicious. This was the first instance that I had realised the full extent of his rebellion.

"Why put yourself through this ordeal, Sister? You will only taint your own name and the neighbours would grow increasingly wary of your actions after you give me in. It wouldn't be long before they reported you to the Institute of Correction, would it?" he reasoned aggressively, and he had verbally backed me into a corner that I could not get out from.

That recollection quickly faded into nothingness. The colours began to swirl before my eyes again, until another memory evolved from them.

I was standing by a graveside, with flowers set upon the mound of dirt. I knew who lay beneath the soil, and thinking about it made my stomach turn.

Within the grave was Comrade Tyrone, a former work colleague who was outed as part of the Rebellion to his friends and fellow workers. His saga didn't climax in being reported to the Correctors, but instead ended in cold-blooded murder. And his killer?

A whirlwind of memories rushed forth from my mind and precipitated before my eyes.

"I lust for you every night, Racquel," Comrade Tyrone whispered in my ears. "I am eager to violate you in unforgivable ways, but it would kill me to betray your utter beauty."

His advances on me were sickening and unforgivable, yet ensnaring. Love and longing were forbidden emotions that distorted the perceptions of even the most innocent of people.

"You will lie with me in bed, Sister," he stated, in a sleazy manner.
"I will not, Comrade," I replied. I was not his Sister and his use of such a title was a disgrace.
"It was not a question, my beauty. You will do as I say."

"You will do as I say."

The colours converged to depict another memorable event.

"You will do as I say!" Brother Mikhail screamed at the guilty party, dressed in his worker uniform. "Keep away from Sister Racquel!"
"She and I are as one, Mikhail! She isn't your Sister. She is MINE!" Comrade Tyrone yelled hysterically, allowing his yearning for me to engulf him entirely.

Comrade Tyrone was behaving like a lunatic. Brother Mikhail was scaring me with the manic look in his eyes, but he was only trying to protect me. Words would not be enough to reason with a Rebel, however.

"I have already slept with her. She is mine and I am hers. You can't even get her in to bed to reproduce, Comrade!" the fiendish Tyrone taunted.

That was the straw that broke the camel's back, for Brother Mikhail. He snapped and did some awful things to Comrade Tyrone. The evening culminated in an abrupt death. Even after we fled the scene of the crime when he had finished, things would never be the same again between us.

"You're a murderer, Brother Mikhail. You will burn in the Institute for this!" I screeched.
"No, Sister. You are in the wrong for enabling the villainous Tyrone. You even slept with him?!" Brother Mikhail cried. "Get out! I can't bear to look at you anymore!"

 

He resented me for pushing him to the extreme. He had let his feelings show and this led him to become an emotion-criminal, like Comrade Tyrone. Like myself. Brother Mikhail would fester for several years before outing me to the Correctors, leading to this very ordeal I experienced in the Institute of Correction. Nobody would question what he said to the Correctors, as they were eager to punish anybody that stood in the way of a unified State.

The colours began to mix again, until I was brought back to the fateful incident several days ago from now.

I stood before two men in very unorthodox uniforms. I didn't recognise their faces or the attire they wore. It was very unlike anything that would be found in this State, but I recognised the surrounding location to be that of Riverview.

"We just want to take you to the police department for questioning. This doesn't need to get out of hand," the paler man said calmly, trying to coax me into a false sense of security. "We won't harm you."

The clubs and guns in their pockets suggested otherwise. What if I could swiftly grab one of their weapons and use it against them?

"Please, don't make this harder for yourself Rachel," said a rather familiar voice.

I looked around to see a man resembling Brother Mikhail standing behind the Comrades armed with weapons. Were they even Comrades? They were calling me Rachel and were addressing me without the proper title prefixes. Why was this so? This did not feel like a world that I knew, but it was undoubtedly Riverview in appearance.

"We don't want to have to resort to any brute force, ma'am, so if you come with me now," the man continued, "it will all be so much easier for everyone."

This scenario was identical to my first encounter with the Correctors, but the characters in this played-out memory were different. Brother Mikhail seemed different, in both the clothes he wore and the way he acted. It was as though the State had never existed and that this was an alternate reality.

But it was all just a memory. A false one, most probably. If the Correctors were capable of removing memories, wouldn't they surely be able to implant new ones?

But that didn't matter now. Everything suddenly faded to grey, again.