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Backwards

Gregory Velloze is a writer and law student from Southern California, with a Bachelor's in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, who spends most of his free time either reading or writing.
The Ending
And they told me his story, read it for me backwards, and said that for me they would do the same. For progeny and ancestors of the Retromens had communicated with their caretaker, studying him as he studied them, generation for generation.
Their lives were brief, ephemeral and short, but beautiful and longing for something greater. And there among the dendritic swarm, I heard his voice. And through his work, my father was reborn.
As I studied the Retromens, every shock sent along the communicative wires revealed a plethora of thoughts, fleeting and brilliant, spread out and shared along a hundred thousand generations, and reserved in place for a hundred thousand more.
For the first time in my life, I didn't care what the peer reviews would say. They could call my work the grief-stricken madness and say I would be better off talking to the wind, but my eyes were opened. I would hear none of it.
And though I was hesitant, I left my current projects to study the Retromens. My colleagues thought I was crazy, and to be honest, I almost agreed with them.
"Finish my research," my father said, "I need you to finish it,"
Repeating his one request, he reminded me again and again, and every time I left the hospital, of what I ought to do.
Over the course of his stay in the hospital, I visited him daily, frustrated with the lack of change in medical science. Not enough had changed to save his life.
When receiving my doctorate, I was surprised by a turn for the worse in his health. It was Pancreatic Cancer, and in a few months he would be gone, and he knew he was not much longer for the Earth.
I learned that he was always right.
He was laughed out of universities for believing he was communicating with these small hive minds of microbiomes. My mother said that he would speak to a lump of moss if it glowed enough, and during the early stages of my career I sided against my father with the establishment of our field.
My father had kept Retromens in a tube for study, as their powerful minds contained the legacies of both their ancestors and progeny. With a computer connected to send and read impulses, my father believed he was communicating with them--even though he thought their perception of time was more fluid.
And he called them the Retromens. They were small and nearly unicellular, similar to nematodes in their simplistic physiological structure. But their minds were surprisingly well organized and were almost in synchrony with those of their communities.
My father told me, long ago, the story of a species beyond the stars with a lifespan so quick, that its forward and backwards were one and the same. They lived over their split moments, brief yet powerful, their milliseconds containing many millions of memories that could be studied--memories preserved forwards and backwards over generations.
The Beginning
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
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