Indie Book Spotlight: Aria, by Gyorgy Henyei Neto
Six months after the catastrophe known as The Scintillance, Dia decides that it is time to find the memories she had lost. However, while seeking for her own past, she is caught in a web of lies and betrayal. In a town governed by the ARIA foundation, Dia must learn about her own memories, her past, and the intricate connection between herself and the the Scintillance.
It felt so alien to walk through those corridors. Streamlines of wiring and metal, a track only broken by a smooth glass door every ten odd steps. I imagined feeling claustrophobic just thinking of walking through those aisles, but it seemed less so there.
I kept following the woman in front of me. Her steps were precise and decisive, only disturbed by the slight limp on her left hip. Every few steps, she needed to readjust her pace, so she would wobble, however graceful that would look, her shoulder-length, fine and thin, jet black hair would bounce to her right as her right left received the limp. Nothing major, imperceptible even, in any other circumstance.
But I was nervous, I was feeling my stomach take a will of its own, and perform somersaults in my belly, and for that I needed to have a point to focus my attention. The corridors continued as they started, no sign of a change of scenery anytime soon, so I choose to find an undetectable flaw in the only thing moving and alive in front of me, and try to make sense of the whole movement, its idiosyncrasies, its flow. Step, limp, hip, shoulder, hair, wobble, and begin again.
She didn’t say a word since we crossed the door that separates the old building from the new. Her intent was strong, and vague. She didn’t tell me what was happening, other than she was taking me to speak with her brother, the other person who was having dreams about the scintillance, who was talking with my best friend, behind my back, and that now apparently was also seeing myself in his dreams. If I struggled to understand the circumstances that brought me to that stage in time, in space, and in feelings, I wasn’t confused enough.
“Vóra?” I had to break that silence. Me, breaking a silence.
“Yes” Just yes. A flat, unemotional, almost unintentional “yes.”
“Where are we going?”
“We are going to talk with my brother about his dreams. He said you know about that too. About strange dreams. Dreams that happened” As elusive as our whole interaction to this point.
“Yeah, I think so. I have been having those dreams since” my memory was still hidden by a thick fog, a fog of light, of Carrie, and of my mother. “Since the scintillance I imagine. I don’t remember much about what happened.”
“You don’t remember? Can you see it in your dreams? Your memories?”
“I can. Sometimes. I can see images, symbols almost, like a cryptic message that needs to be solved by finding the hidden pieces of information you are given.”
“Homomorphic encryption” she spitted.
“Excuse me?” She didn’t even flinch saying those words. I believed that those were indeed words. She turned right on a crossroad of tunnels, I tried to keep up.
“Homomorphic encryption. It is a mathematical theory.”
“Okay. I still don’t know what that means” She stopped in front of one of the glass doors and picked up her pad to open it up.
“It’s a theory that says that a mathematical function can be stored – or exists – in different shapes and basic forms. I don’t know how to explain that to you. Do you know anything about math theory?” Her pad opened the door, and she got in without letting me finish my reply.
“No, I don’t know any maths theory. I’m an anthropologist, we don’t do maths, much”
The laboratory was small, but the window facing the east side of the building let a flimsy light squirm in, through the half-opened blackout flap curtains. Vóra sat at her desk, looked at the blocked rays of light, and sighed loudly. “Okay, imagine you have a puzzle with the image of a house, by the river, and a tree.”
Awfully specific. “You can assemble and disassemble the puzzle following the cut-outs on the cardboard, correct?”
“Yes, of course”
“Okay. Now imagine that instead, you could separate the house from that image, and store it as its own entity. That is our theory of homomorphic encryption”
“And how that has anything to do with the dreams?”
She turned her chair, took her glasses and chuck them on her desk. Frustration perhaps, maybe
“It means Dia, that those memories are pieces of a puzzle, but they are stored in different places. Parts are in your head, parts are in my brother’s, others we don’t know yet, maybe in someone else’s dreams, maybe lost. We don’t know for sure. That’s why we need you, and you need us too” She turned her station on and close the window. The only light was the small skyline of blinking lights around us “Take a sit, Adonis will be right back.”
I liked the natural light more than I thought before I entered that room. There was a different kind of life there. A rhythmic, pulsating life. Vóra’s monitor was showing tables and sheets, and processes being completed, and started again, that I didn’t want to understand.
“How do you organise your dreams?” her face and her hair were almost art in that light, with the reflections from the flickering light, the monitors chirping and humming, it was an unnatural beauty that half hypnotised me.
“Organise them? I don’t…organise them. I have them, and then I remember, think about, try to figure out what they’re trying to tell.” At first, I thought I was the only one having memory dreams, or whatever she’d said they called it. Now, not only there are more than one, but those people also knew much more about them than I do. I mix of awkwardness and jealousy hit the back of my throat. “How about you? Do you write them down?”
She laughed. Not a loud laugh, but a surprised one. Even herself seemed shocked by her reaction. Vóra continued typing and snorted a smile directly at my pride. “No, we don’t write them down. We record them, then we analyse the patterns against past dreams, looking for any homomorphism” As soon as she said that word, she turned, with a smirk “You know, the puzzle pieces?”
I was being pushed. I tried to push back.
“Well, apparently you didn’t find much, since we need the help of an idiot that doesn’t even know math theory.”
“Look, I’m not trying to be your friend right now. And we do need you.” She sounded more serene, defeated even. “We have been trying to find as much as we can, but we ran out of the mints, been months now. Without them, the dreams are extra disorganised. They are unruly, the information runs away, it is flaky sometimes, pudding-like other times. We try and grab them, just so they ooze out through our fingers."
About the Author
I have always loved to write and to create stories. As a kid, I would imagine my favourite characters into situations that I would create for them, even putting different franchises characters playing and living together in fun crossovers.
I have then worked in academia, now as a PhD in Anthropology, and for 15 years I have written and produced many articles, books, and dissertations. Also, in between all that, I have put my creation and creativity in practice through music, which developed into a short but quite interesting career.
Now, I have decided to go back to my roots, and rekindle that flame of creativity, and create great science fiction and fantasy worlds, lore, and characters.
I was born in Brazil, and now live in the UK.