“You knew the terms of our agreement when you signed it, Mr. Morris.”
The old man sighed, and reluctantly walked away from the beautiful view of the terrace over the ocean, from the memories from a long and adventurous life. “Do you really have to take them all? Could I at least keep one of them?”
The man in the black suit stared at him coldly from behind the desk. “You know that’s not possible. The contract is very clear about it. Besides…” the man added with just the hint of a smile. “it really will not matter anyway.”
He thought about it for a moment. This was not quite what he had expected when he signed that piece of paper, so many years ago. “Can you at least give me a bit more time? I would just like to say goodbye to them.” He looked at the thin figure behind the desk, hoping to find a hint of sympathy behind the elegant dark glasses.
“I’m afraid I cannot do that. Time, as you know, is of the essence in this matter. If we miss the deadline it will be too late and the contract would be broken.”
He sighed deeply, closing his eyes as he prepared to let go of all his cherished treasures. “So what should I do now?”
“The procedure is very simple.” The man stood up and placed a large metallic suitcase on the desk. He opened it to reveal several crystal spheres, carefully arranged within. “Just place your hand on the central orb.”
He approached the desk and raised an old and slightly shaky hand towards the crystal sphere, but stopped before touching it. “Will it hurt?”
“You will not feel the slightest discomfort.”
He hesitated, and touched the sphere. A warm tingling feeling rushed thru his body. He could feel a whole lifetime of memories slowly fading. Not forgotten, just being drained away from him. “You won’t even let me remember what I signed?” he asked, feeling his whole life dissolving into nothingness.
“A whole life’s memories in exchange for immortality? It seems like a fair exchange, Mr. Morris”
“But what good is immortality if you can’t remember what you’ve seen, heard, enjoyed… if you will not even know what you’ve lived?”
“You asked for immortality, Mr Morris, not for recollection of it. We always fulfill our contracts to the letter.”
He could hardly remember who he was now, everything from his long life slowly blurring away. A sudden revelation struck him. “Wait! I have to know. How many times have I signed this contract before?”
The thin man smiled openly this time. “Many times, Mr. Morris… Many, many times.”
The man in black looked at the briefcase with the satisfaction of a job well done. The crystal spheres were now filled with a whirlwind of bright sparkles, each one a treasured memory. He closed the lid and silently walked out the empty villa.
They told the police how they found the little boy sleeping on the cold beach. The whole village was puzzled. If only he hadn’t lost his memory he might have told them where he came from.
They were a good family, the Morris. The boy couldn’t hope for a better future when they adopted him. And, being rich, they would surely provide him the means to live a long and adventurous life.