Second Section: Abandoned
Chapter Eleven: Abandoned Discussion
“Do you recognize him?” Reyskaw asked.
“Him?” Diana asked. She had barely heard Reyskaw’s question. The ending for Abandoned was so unexpected, so evil, that she had been completely drawn into the story.
“Program Blue. The villain that has just killed the Abandoned and manipulated the five.”
“How could I recognize him? He hasn’t appeared in the story before this.”
Reyskaw’s tone became serious. “I’m not talking about the story. I’m talking about within your life. You don’t remember him, do you?”
Diana was confused. “No, I don’t. Who is he?”
She had no connection to anyone named Program Blue. If she were to recognize a character within a story, it would have to be based off of someone she knew. No one came to mind when she pictured an evil and crazy artificial intelligence.
“You need to remember. Program Blue is more than the villain of this story. He is something far more dangerous than that and you need to remember who he is before it’s too late.”
“Too late for what?”
“Diana, the current time in the story is April 15th, 2011.”
“Yes. I know that.”
“Correct, but how do you know that? According to the Great Library, what year is it?”
She paused before responding even though it was such a simple question.
“I don’t know,” Diana said. The Historians recorded everything so they must have had some sort of system for years and months and days. Diana had never seen this system though. All of the books had dates from the past. She had no clue what the present date was. This was Reyskaw’s reconstruction of the past, so how many years had passed since 2011?
“When the Historians record history, they do it by the years of humans.”
“Well we are human, Reyskaw. What other system can we use?”
“If no one in the Great Library knows what year it is, then how can you record the years?”
“And who controls the Great Library?”
“There’s a board of trustees and also the Emperor.”
“No, what country controls the Great Library? The U.S.? The U.K.? Japan?”
“No… we’re not..”
“Where is the Great Library located? Have you ever been outside of it?”
“Don’t you see, Diana?”
This didn’t make any sense. All the points that Reyskaw was bringing up were valid. Because of that, the Great Library was cast in a new light. Diana suddenly saw the place as being very strange.
“Reyskaw, what’s going on? You know, don’t you?”
“Diana, that evil should have brought your memory back. It has to or else we’re all in trouble.”
“You’re telling me to recognize someone I don’t even know. The Great Library is…”
“It doesn’t exist!” Reyskaw yelled.
Both were silent for a moment as the weight of those words pressed down on Diana. There was no mistake in what Reyskaw meant by choosing those words. It’s a simple fact: the Great Library does not exist.
Diana understood. All of the inconsistencies, all the things that didn’t make sense, began to pile up in her mind. This place was impossible.
“This place isn’t real, so does that mean…”
“No. You are real. Now, please tell me that you know who Program Blue is!”
“This is the first time I’ve ever seen him,” she responded. Her mind was clear, but she felt empty; there wasn’t any emotion in her voice. The world around the two of them suddenly felt very hollow as if it really wasn’t there at all. But it had to be.
“You need to remember. If you don’t remember then everyone is going to die.”
“Who’s going to die? There isn’t anyone here.”
“I brought up today’s date for a reason.”
“Today is April 15th, 2011. It’s not a story, Diana. It’s happening right now.”
“If the story is real, and the Great Library isn’t, does that mean I exist in the story?”
“Yes. We’re there right now,” Reyskaw said. “Remember who you are. Please, please remember! They’ll all die if you can’t! You need to remember who we all are. Program Blue, Reyskaw, and Diana!”
Diana snapped back to her true self. Her emotions returned and she tried to remember. Whoever Diana was in reality, she was a person who would know Program Blue. Did anyone like that appear in the story?
“I will, Reyskaw. I’ll remember, because whatever Program Blue is… I need to stop him.”
She could feel it on the fringes of her mind. Reyskaw was definitely telling her the truth. She had no clue what the answers to her questions were, but she knew they existed and that her lost memory would reveal the truth.
Reyskaw turned around as if noticing something that Diana hadn’t. His attention was focused on a dark corner of the viewing chamber.
“Whatever happens next, do not stop trying to remember,” he said with fear in his voice.
“What are you talking about?” she asked.
Reyskaw screamed in pain and Diana fell back in horror. She hit the wall of the chamber and witnessed a terrible sight. Jutting out of Reyskaw’s back was a blade. A Historian, with his face covered by a mask, had stabbed him.
“What have you done?” she screamed at it.
“Don’t be mad, Diana,” said another voice. “It’s only doing what it was told.”
The Historian pulled the blade out of the corpse and Reyskaw fell to the ground. His green suit was stained red and there was no longer any life in his eyes. Diana stood up to face the person who had ordered his murder.
The Historian stepped away to reveal the person who had commanded it.
“I said we’d be meeting again soon, didn’t I?”
“I know who you are now, Nero,” Diana said. Anger fueled the confidence that she spoke with. Her memories hadn’t returned, but what she had just witnessed was proof enough to know his identity.
The Great Library may not exist, but the people within it do. If she was someone in the story, that meant Nero was too.
“A horrific act in one world, followed by a horrific act in this world. I’m sure that it wasn’t that hard to make the connection,” he said to her.
“Program Blue,” she said.
“Yes. That is who I am outside of the Great Library. Outside of your prison, that is.”
“I recognize you, but I still don’t recognize myself.”
“You’re someone who needs to be imprisoned. Only because it’s impossible for me to kill you. This place is under my control. I am its god and as such I will give you a blessing out of the kindness of my heart.”
Diana’s eyes rejected his words. Her eyes were filled with the fire of hatred. Many times it is possible to hate someone unjustly, but that wasn’t the case here. Whether he was called Nero or Program Blue, he was utterly evil.
“I don’t want you to look at me like that. So my blessing will be the gift of amnesia.”
Diana screamed in pain and clutched her head. Nero was still at the other side of the chamber. This was an action being carried out through his will alone.
“Reyskaw? Who was that?” Nero said. “You don’t have to be sad or angry anymore. After all, Reyskaw never existed. There are only Historians and Librarians here. It was only ever Diana all alone in the Great Library.”
Before her eyes, Reyskaw’s corpse was vanishing. Wait, whose corpse was vanishing? She tried to fight it, but she was forgetting. She couldn’t forget!
Forget who? No… remember. Diana… you can’t…
Nero smiled as Diana lost consciousness and fell to the floor. She had quickly transitioned from horror to anger to pain to this. All because of Nero’s actions. He looked at this with pride.
“He was right, you know,” Nero spoke. “If you don’t remember your true self…”
They all die.