The Worldmind was made up of humanity’s memory–fallible and incomplete, but sacred. To destroy pieces of it would be to destroy the associated memories of those pieces for everyone connected to them. Destroy a tree in the Worldmind, and everyone who has ever seen the real tree will suddenly forget that it exists. It’s a temporary memory loss, usually–a “fade.” Psychics who can access the Worldmind and explore it can sometimes force forgetfulness. They forge “fadeblades,” which are like blades of nothingness–like holes in reality–that can strike out against the Worldmind. And those inside it.
To destroy a tree is one thing. The real tree has no memory. But to use a fadeblade on a psychic’s astral projection can cause permanent amnesia. Not to mention everyone who ever knew the faded person would forget they exist–at least for a while. A scary prospect.
Which was why Scott didn’t want to get in a fight.
He stood before the astral projection of his classmate, Ian, who gripped a fadeblade and pointed it at Scott. Scott had his own blade, and he held it defensively in front of him. It was hard to see Ian’s face–fadeblades tend to be fuzzy, impossible to stare at directly. Slitted black holes in the world. Their astral projections were in the middle of a street in the Worldmind, but in the real world they were in their own bedrooms.
“We don’t need to fight,” said Scott. He wondered if he could eject his projection from the Worldmind before Ian could fade him, but he didn’t think he’d have the time or the concentration.
“It’ll be over quickly,” Ian said. “You’ll forget everything. And she’ll forget you.”
“The fade is temporary, man. She’d remember me eventually. And I’d remember too. She doesn’t love you.”
Ian took a swing–Scott parried it. The clash of the fadeblades was a whisper in the back of your mind, unreal, untrusted, like deja vu.
“Even with me gone,” Scott huffed, “she won’t choose you. You can’t–” Another whisper-clash. “–Hey! She’s a psychic, too. You’re not going to keep this from her, even if she fell for you, which she won’t. It will only make her hate you more. Is that what you want?”
Ian made to strike again, but stopped.
“She was mine,” he said, holding the emotion back from his voice.
“You can’t claim a person,” Scott said.
“It’s not fair.”
“It’s her choice, not just yours. You’re smart, Ian. You’re better than this. You’re not a jealous, possessive meat-head. You think twice about things. Think twice about this, before you do something you regret.”
It was a long time before Ian threw his fadeblade away. It struck a car and erased it. Somewhere in the real world, a man would forget he owned a car, until his insurance bills arrived. He took the bus for a month instead, and ignored the car parked in front of his house.
Gradually, Ian stopped projecting into the Worldmind and returned to his bedroom in the real world. Scott did the same.
High school was a lot more complicated once psychic powers and memory worlds were involved.
Today’s three random prompt categories were, “Worldmind,” “Talking your way out of a fight,” and, “Sacred.”
I’m pretty rusty at the YA game.