Short Fiction | Science Fiction
Never Say Die
They Remembered Everything
For months now, tiny visions flooded Chiru’s mind. Scenes of fights, but not with guns or tanks — with minds, flashes of lightning, bolts of energy. He saw the others there in the scenes too — all of the men and women here at the refugee camp with him.
Chiru sat in the circle with the others to discuss their condition with the counselor. At least Chiru hoped the man was a counselor. Was he there to help them remember or would something happen to them if they did remember? He hated the paranoia that washed over him since the visions began. Was he the only one who’d had them? He would have to find out, but not in this circle and not with the counselor present. He would wait. When it was his turn to speak, he denied any memories, just like everyone before him and after him.
The next morning, he put his plan in action. He waited until he was alone with another refugee.
“Harco, do you really not remember anything?” he asked the one who helped him bucket water from a nearby stream.
Harco shook his head. “Not a thing man. You?”
“I’m not sure. I want to try something, Harco.” Chiru knew Harco’s power. He’d seen it in one of the visions. With the energy from Chiru’s hands, Harco could freeze things, but it only worked if they worked together. He stretched his hand towards Harco. “Take my hand and then place a finger in the bucket of water.”
Harco laughed. “What is this, Chiru? Have you gone daft as well as lose your memory?”
“Okay, okay,” Harco sighed. He clasped hands with Chiru and then stuck a finger into the bucket. The water froze instantly. Harco pulled his finger back and shook off Chiru’s hand. “What the hell?”
“We all have special abilities, Harco. Powers. Like Mandy over there,” he said as he nodded toward her. “She can slow things down with her mind, but only if she touches your hand. Carlos can shoot lightning from his fingertips, but only while touching my hand.”
Harco stared at him with disbelief. “And you?”
“Well, I can send out bursts of energy, but only if I touch hands with Danielle.”
“And what can she do?”
“She can call forth the energy of the Planet — volcanoes and earthquakes, but she has to be touching…”
“Okay, I get it. None of us can act alone. So what happened? How did we all lose our memory?”
Chiru sighed heavily. “That I still don’t know. I’ve just been getting flashes, but until now, I wasn’t sure if they were memories or dreams.”
“So what do we do now?” Harco asked as he tied a bucket of water to one end of the large pole.
“Some of our powers are quite forceful. So we can’t go around testing everyone. We can test Mandy and Bull. He can levitate things when he touches Mandy. Can you help me round everyone up for a meeting in our tent?”
Harco nodded his head. “Yeah, I can do that. Hey! What do you think would happen if we all joined hands in a circle?” he asked as he hoisted the pole up and over his head to rest it on his shoulders.
Chiru scrunched up his face in contemplation. “Hell, I have no idea.”
Later, after their evening meal, the group gathered in Chiru’s tent. Chiru told them everything he’d remembered. Harco demonstrated his ability to make ice.
“Mandy, do you want to try to slow down time?” Chiru asked her.
She reached out to take Harco’s hand. “Maybe you all should do something. Dance or walk around,” she suggested.
The group stood up and began flailing about. Mandy grasped Harco’s hand and waved hers out toward the others. Suddenly everyone moved in slow motion. She laughed and released Harco’s hand. Everyone went back to a normal pace.
“That is way cool!” Bull yelled. “Let’s try my power now.”
Mandy sat down in a chair and reached her hand out to Bull. He clasped her hand and touched the chair. It lifted up off of the dirt floor. When Bull could no longer hold Mandy’s hand, they let loose. Mandy and the chair fell back to the floor.
Chiru fell to the floor too. He held his head and curled up into a ball. A flash of memory hit him. The war. The counselor hovering above them in a Helo. He was their enemy. He held some kind of device and aimed it at them. As the beam struck them, they yelled “Never say die!” and fell to the ground. The memory ended. Chiru uncurled and looked up at the concerned faces gathered around him.
“I know what we must do,” he said and sat upright. “Just follow my lead, okay?”
That night as they all gathered in a circle with the counselor, they assured him once again that they had no memories. The counselor stood up and went into the center of the circle. Chiru nodded his head and clasped hands with Harco on one side of him and Danielle on the other side. Everyone began clasping hands.
The counselor noticed what they were doing. “No! Don’t do that…do not join…”
As soon as the last hands joined together, a flash of light flew up in the center of the circle, a wind swirled around them and the ground shook. A brightly lit vortex formed and sucked the counselor down into it. His screams echoed throughout the tent. A powerful force threw all of the refugees flat on their backs. Lightning flashed, striking all of them in their foreheads. And then a calm fell over them. They sat upright and touched their foreheads. They remembered everything. They whispered in unison, “Never say die.” Their slogan. They were freedom fighters fighting for Earth and they’d finally defeated the leader of the aliens who’d invaded their planet.
©2020 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.
Lori Carlson writes poetry, fiction, articles, creative non-fiction and personal essays. Most of her topics are centered around Relationships, Spirituality, Life Lessons, Mental Health, and the LGBTQ+ community. Check out her personal Medium blog here.