The one thing, he thought, that I could not remember except while she was here, and could not remember if I tried to tell her, was that she is my daughter, a detail that in a few moments I will forget permanently.
He looked around the room, then stared at his calendar. It seemed that the entire week had passed as if he had been in a dream, with nothing to remember, but the word count on his desk display showed that he had indeed been productively busy. He’d had a trip this afternoon, hadn’t he? He must have taken a walk, and passed it in thought, so there was nothing to remember of it. So what had he been doing? His routine must have been so humdrum that he could remember nothing of it. For some reason, the gap bothered him.
“Telzey, my schedule, the last week?” he asked.
Searching. Telzey paused. I have no records of that.
“Surveillance camera records. Search. Where was I on Wednesday?”
House security records for the last week have been deleted. There was no transfer to remote storage. There is no record of a reason for the deletion. I have a message from you. ‘All that was deleted was done in my name and by my direction, for a good and sufficient reason.’
How charming, Pickering thought. Something has happened to my memory, and to Telzey’s records. The memory trick – that was surely one of my five visitors, who I always trusted. He scanned his desk, finding a note in his own handwriting.
I will not remember the week clearly, the note read, with my consent, to protect my five visitors from serious harm, however annoying I will later find the gaps in my memory. Last week will be a dream, one from which you have now awakened.