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The Brain Wash

22nd May, Story #144/366

By L.C. SchäferPublished 24 days ago 3 min read
The Brain Wash
Photo by That's Her Business on Unsplash

Why is it, in waiting rooms, you feel too big and too small at the same time? Or is that just me?

A nurse popped her head round the door and called my name. Before I stepped through after her, I saw a little boy walk in with his mother. What's he doing here? Too young! I glanced back over my shoulder. In that second, I searched his eyes. Was there something haunting there?

I handed my questionnaire to the technician and climbed into the huge leather chair. It felt like being a child at the dentist. Is that where the spike of nerves came from? I leaned back, slowly, gingerly.

"First time?" the nurse's eyes crinkled at me above the flimsy mask.

My voice failed, so I nodded, eyeballing the machinery around me.

"Not a thing to worry about!" she chirped, fastening the doodads to my head. "I've been loads of times! Top-tier self-care!"

Just a little mental spring cleaning, that's all. No core memories touched, that's against policy. But that awkward encounter in the office elevator, that can go.

"Right," said the technician, "You've got 'phobia' listed here under 'erasure'. Just to make sure you're aware we can't get rid of that completely. It's like lasering a tattoo. We recommend a repeat treatment."

"OK," I squeaked.

"OK. Ready?"

I had to stay very still. Wouldn't want to accidentally erase memories of Christmas 2010, or my first kiss.

I'd imagined a spike going into my brain and winkling out bits I didn't want, or hosing the mental dustbunnies from nooks and crannies. But nope: they just hooked my brain up to a computer, and tidied things up a bit; organising folders, deleting files, scrubbing others.

"These memories of your Grandmother look quite faded. Do you want them re-touched?"

A sweet painful lump in my throat.

Yes. No. I don't know. Maybe a little?

"We'll leave that for now, you take time to think about it. Maybe next time?"

When I left, did I feel better? Lighter? Happier? I think so.

Did I really, or did they put that thought in my head?

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Word count: (excluding author's note): 366

Submitted on: 22nd May at 23.25

*Quick Author's Note*

First, and most importantly:
thank you so much for reading my story! The ha'penny that Vocal will toss in my hat for your eyeballs landing on this humble piece will be well-spent. Might pop over to Vegas for a few days. Buy some platinum breakfast spoons. See if Brian May is selling his Red Special.

If you enjoyed this one, the very best compliment you can give me is to
share it, or read another!

A Year of Stories: I'm writing a story every day this year. This one continues my 144 day streak since 1st January!

Please do consider lending your support to the other creators who are also on this madcap "a story every day" adventure. They are putting out excellent content every day!

Rachel Deeming

Gerard DiLeo

Leave a comment: Please do leave me a comment. It makes it easier for me to reciprocate the read.

The story behind the story: Just playing with the idea of "brain washing" really! What's to stop it being a huge scam, if people can poke around in there? They can make you think whatever they want. If you take this idea and run with it, please link me to whatever you come up with!

Thank you

Thank you again, most especially if you are one of the wonderful people who has been staunchly reading these daily scribbles since the start of the year. I see you, and appreciate you very much indeed! 😁

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Short StoryMicrofiction

About the Creator

L.C. Schäfer

Book-baby is available on Kindle Unlimited

Flexing the writing muscle

Never so naked as I am on a page. Subscribe for nudes.

Here be micros

Twitter, Insta Facey

Sometimes writes under S.E.Holz

"I've read books. Well. Chewed books."

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (11)

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  • Shirley Belk22 days ago

    They once routinely used electroshock "therapy" for seizures which caused mild memory loss to the patients. I think if they kept on tinkering with the brain then your story could one day be quite plausible. And that is soooo scary.

  • Hannah Moore23 days ago

    I would pay good money for some of this!

  • This is why I'm never letting the tech companies put anything inside my brain haha

  • Cathy holmes23 days ago

    What a fascinating concept. Wouldn't I want a "cleanup?' Hmmm.

  • Mariann Carroll23 days ago

    I like this story concept.

  • Katarzyna Popiel23 days ago

    Felt myself cringe while reading. I hope it won't come to that ever... Hands off my mind, it's mine and mine only!

  • Omggg I really want this to be real! I wanna delete to many memories!

  • Love it LC.

  • John Cox24 days ago

    Very, very clever twist at the end. Loved this, LC!

  • Christy Munson24 days ago

    What an idea for a microfiction! Loved it. I'm conflicted about it, of course, which I think is part of the point. How handy it would be, and yet... hmmm. Love that your writing inspires great thought.

  • Caroline Craven24 days ago

    Great stuff L.C. Wish this was possible and you could erase the bad memories and enhance the good ones.

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