In a future society where people erase their memories as casually as throwing away old clothing, an archivist who stores them gets a visit from an old lover who wants hers back.
Hands grabbed him as the dark face burst into flame, screaming for help. But there was no sound as he fell through the glass, away from the fire and ash, clutching the ice-cold Shiva.
The slow dripping of water woke him. He opened his eyes and turned his head to stare at the windowpane streaked with raindrops. Even with the comforter, the big bed seemed cold and empty without Anna, just like everything in the house these days. I need a smaller bed.
Rain, rain go away. Come again some other day. A harsh-light image of the cellar galvanized him awake. "Oh, shit!"
He threw back the comforter so hard it landed on the floor and launched himself out of bed. Dragging on his worn bathrobe, he pounded barefoot downstairs and into the frigid kitchen. He yanked open the cellar door. A stink of germinal mildew and the sound of burbling water wafted up to him. "Oh, Christ!"
Someone knocked on the door. He strode back through the kitchen down the front hallway to the door and yanked it open. At first he didn't recognize the woman who stood, drenched, in the doorway, blinking up at him. Then, the memory of her stirred and the disaster deepened.
"Hullo, Meg," he said through his teeth.
She glanced at a plastic note in her hand, then back up at him. "Are you Simon—"
He grabbed her hand, jolting a squeak out of her. "Never mind that now. Come on." He dragged her into the house, slamming the door behind her.
“What are you doing?"
"Rescuing the memory archive I've got in the cellar. You're going to help me." He didn't question why she hurried after him with no further objections. He already knew why she was here, even if she didn't.