Town With No Memory - Book cover

Town With No Memory

Ebony Clarke

Age Rating


Samantha's finally on the road, escaping the horrible mess of her life as her abusive home gets smaller in the rearview mirror. But when handsome, charming Austin stops to help when her van breaks down, Sam's forced to put her plans on pause. Austin can't figure out why he's so fascinated by Sam, but all he knows is that he wants to get closer. As time rolls on and the van stays in the garage, Sam wonders if it's actually worth it to finally let someone in. Even if it ruins everything.

Age Rating: 18+

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26 Chapters



Dear Austin,

Do you remember lying under the stars in a field with a pretty girl? Do you remember telling me to write it all down?

To write a book of all the beautiful things that mattered to me, of all the things I wanted to remember?

You told me I wasn’t the writing type but the feeling type. You told me to pour my feelings onto paper. How did you know me better than I knew myself?

Here it is: you gave me the words I didn’t know I had. Here are all my thoughts and feelings that I could never say aloud. Everything that you needed to hear, but I was too broken to say.

Austin, you have loved me without fault. I have nothing to give back but myself. So here I am, here we are. I have put our messy and beautiful love into words.

Our great epic. The odyssey I promised you.

We have always said forever in a way that promised eternity. Well, I love you for however long our forever lasts. Until we are nothing but echoed stories.


I sit on a swing in my front yard. My legs dangle as I stare at my empty house. I made this swing one summer years ago and used to spend hours playing here.

But the grass underneath it has grown back where there had once been a bald patch, and this must be the first time I’ve sat here in years.

It has sat here, alone and rotting, waiting for a little girl to return. But that little girl is gone, grown up long before. Now I sit here all grown up, wondering where the little girl has gone.

I finished packing all my belongings into my van twenty minutes ago but have been unable to move from this spot. One trembling thought after another rambles through my mind.

There is nothing to keep me here. I have no reason to stay and even more reasons to leave. This is my childhood home, the place I grew up.

This is where I first learned to walk, where I snuck out of my bedroom window, had my first kiss, and learned how to swim. Those memories will soon be lost to me forever.

But then I begin to smile—something I haven’t done in a long time. There is nothing to keep me here. I won’t ever have to see the dents in the wall or the broken windows.

I will never again have to walk by the dining room table and remember my head slamming against it. Or look at my door and wonder if I should lock it tonight.

Or see the empty beer bottles in the living room or smell the metallic scent of blood. Suddenly, I cannot keep the smile off my face as I climb into my car.

Free. I am free.

Normal people usually leave home with tears in their eyes because they’ll miss their mom’s fried chicken or the free rent, but for me, it is a different story.

While I do have tears in my eyes, I know I will never miss this house or the people in it. Most kids move out to go to college or a new apartment.

But of course, what I’m doing is nothing as normal as that.

If I concentrate, I can remember a time when I was one of those beautiful children. The ones who sing and dance without music, who play in fields and race on the swings till their legs are tired.

But as any child does, I moved on from swing sets. I now listen to music by myself with the volume as far as it’ll go, until I can feel the beat in my bones, blocking out the screams.

My curtains stay shut to the fields I used to play in. Instead of coloring the walls, I now go into the city, trying to forget my problems and coming back late the next day with bloodshot eyes.

When I get home, I usually walk straight to the bathroom, where I dig through the cabinet until I find what I’m searching for. My backup bottle of pills.

On nights like those, prayers slip out of my eyes and down my cheeks, and I pray for the night to end.

But today is different. Today nothing is ending. Instead, everything is beginning.

Today, while I was walking toward the front door, a small folded and unframed picture sitting on the mantel caught my eye. It was a picture of my mother and me.

She used to look at it sometimes, picking it up to trace our smiles with her thumb. Some nights she would press it to her chest and start to cry.

I couldn’t have been older than five when the picture was taken, giggles escaping me as she pushed me on the swing, our matching smiles alight on our faces.

I fell down later that day and scraped my knee. I remember how the stillness of her voice calmed me. I remember being jealous of her gentleness.

I knew even then that I was never going to be like her. That she and I were not the same. That used to make me sad, but now it is my only wish.

I almost grabbed the picture to take with me, but put it back in a moment of determination because I knew that this was how it had to be: no memories, no goodbyes.

I’m ready to leave this place and forget about everyone I’ve ever known. I’m tired of the memories that linger around every corner of this goddamn house.

I am ready to leave with no goodbyes or explanations. As I start the ignition, I know I am ready to start over.

My plan is simple: drive until I find a place where all the memories can’t find me. A place where I can sleep through the night, or where I don’t jump every time a car door slams.

Find a place where I can start over. If it turns out that there is no such place, then I’ll just keep driving. Just keep running.

I had gotten the idea from the stories I was told as a kid. On the bad days, instead of reading me a storybook, my mother would tell me the story of the town with no memories.

She described it as if it was real, a place where people were happy and free, a town where there was no need to drink and no men with hungry fists.

A town that would take all the bad memories and replace them with good ones. No matter how broken you were, this town could fix you.

As a child, I dreamed it was a magical town made of clouds with people dancing in the streets.

Now I know just how innocent I was.

Years later, I caught her mumbling the story to herself in one of her drunken ramblings. Trying to comfort herself with a story of her own.

And somehow, if I close my eyes, it is still just as magical as it was back then.

Deep down, I knew it was just a town and there was no escaping my life. But all I ever wanted in the world was a place that didn’t remind me of this house. That doesn’t remind me of them.

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