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A night to remember

When does tomorrow begin?

Officially it is after midnight but we all know the day isn't over then. The way I figure it, the day isn't over until the sky begins to lighten. I'm not talking about dawn but, rather, the ever so faint lessening of the coal blackness turning into an inky-blueness that marks an unstoppable increase in brightness towards dawn. If you wait until the sun rises, it'll all be over.

They said I had until tomorrow.

If I head west, chasing the night I might prolong the darkness by a few hours but I will have to move fast. Those extra few hours might just be enough to save her. To save what we had.

It's already late. Darkness fell about an hour ago. An hour before that I was getting my instructions. It has to be tonight. Tomorrow will be too late.

I can hear the bells of the level crossing begin to sound through the salty night air and start to run.

Her name was ... is Susanne. I first saw her this morning? I check my watch; yes, still officially this morning. She had dropped what I thought was a pen but which, fatefully, turned out to be an epi-ject. In another age it would have been a glove.

She hadn't noticed. I caught her up and asked if she had dropped ... “this”? At first she didn't want to take it, which was confusing but by now I was looking directly into her eyes and she relented. Remember her eyes. Somehow I invited her for a coffee and she had agreed. Remember her accent. She wore a thin silver ring on her little finger. Remember that ring. Over that coffee it must have seemed like the Spanish Inquisition to her as I asked so many questions. I had wanted to get to know so much about her. Remember her life story. She played flute for her state orchestra. She was only in town because her tour bus had broken down. It would be fixed by tomorrow. But that is not why the dawning of tomorrow holds such dread for me. We had an amazing, perfect day. It is unbelievable, I know and it feels pathetic to write it down but I loved her from the moment she dropped that dammed epi-ject in front of me.

Little did I know that she was going to stick me with it at the door to her bus. “Its better this way,” she said as the door closed. I managed to grasp the empty cartridge off her before the bus drove off leaving me standing there staring dumbly at the thing in my hand.

The cyber café where we had spent the first, all too brief, hours together would still be open. I googled the drug. It was one of the new amnesiacoids; photo-activated. If I was to remember Susanne. I had until tomorrow or spend the rest of my life in darkness. I hit the forums. This was one of the more vicious kinds. It didn't just delete the memory - it made you want to forget. They advised that some people had had some success by out-memorising the delete range of the drug. If I could hold on to the memory for longer than the drug's normal working time limit some of the day could remain. It would be like our last few hours together. If it didn't work, I will read this tomorrow and wonder what it is all about.

The train slowed at the crossing – it was easy to jump aboard. Like the hobos from the past I would ride west gaining a few short extra hours before dawn brought the light that would activate the memory loss. I had to use this time to bed-in the memories of Susanne. There would be time later to speculate why she would want me to forget her so thoroughly. Why did she even possess such a drug? Stop it! I have to concentrate on remembering. Every detail, no matter how trivial, would help to counteract the drug's reaction in my brain. A reaction that would start as soon as daylight activated the designer molecules and they started to unpick the last twenty four hours of memories.

I had to fight the twin problems of remembering and of not sleeping. The intensity of my feelings for Susanne made the former easy, the train's rocking motion made the latter hard. I decided to write down what had happened.

Otherwise, how am I to make sense of waking up on the opposite side of America in a freight train? With a notebook of gibberish about a girl called Susanne and a mysterious drug that doesn't exist.