I

Throughout its' history the many countries of Earth had gone through many different stages of growth. Countries had gone into power and had governments had gone extinct. As much as there was growth, development in technology and health advances, there was just as much death and destruction. It took nearly ten years for a country to develop what they believed would be the answer for their country to end all hardships. The lone countries government had long since decided they needed a means to end the different wars, poverty and senseless violence. They were going to reinvent their country and make it a utopia.

To match the new utopian society the country opted to give themselves a new name and new laws to match their new views. Their new name became Arcadia. With the new name, the new laws came into effect. It took a few centuries for Arcadia's government to develop into the utopian society they wanted and the government did all they could to make sure it was kept that way. But, unknown to the general populous, the government was doing more than ensuring the laws were upheld. The government opted to take more liberties than any other government had in the name of keeping their society the picture perfect utopia. The government felt they knew better than its citizens and they were willing to take whatever liberties were needed to do what they felt was right for the people.

To ensure their utopian society remained as intact as possible, the government did all they could to rid their society of anything that promoted being different. The government firmly believed if everyone was as close to being the same as possible it would help rid temptation to do anything illegal. If everyone was the same, why fight to outdo and one-up each other? With what the government wanted, there would be nothing to outdo. Uniformity would help keep peace, the government was sure of it. With specially created drugs from their own private labs and some minor illegal tampering, everyone in Arcadia was soon born with only brown hair and brown eyes. It wasn't long before those with none brown hair and eyes was a thing of the past, a thing of rumor. No one needed glasses because there was inexpensive surgery that could be given at birth to get rid of the need for glasses. Everything was done to make everyone as similar as possible. In the governments eyes, being the same was the key to a utopian society.

A third world war broke out in the mid-21st century and had quickly severed Arcadia off from the rest of the world. Arcadia took advantage of the isolation created by natural borders that were created from the war and created their world. Soon all everyone knew and remembered was Arcadia and that its utopian ways had saved its' people from falling victim to the war like all the other countries of the world. Because of that every citizen did what they could to preserve their way of life, including following what their government said was best. The citizens had absolute trust in their small government. The government was never questioned and in turn, the citizens were never led astray.

The government was absolute in their laws. They solely decided which laws went into effect, not the people. For Arcadia's short life span, the people had never had any problems with that, so they accepted it. In order to make sure word got out about any new polices and laws, or any changes in policies, a department was developed that specialized in the advertisement of the new policies and laws. It was their job to make sure the entire populous of Arcadia was informed and understood any and all changes with the allotted amount of time.

Eric Sanders was in mid-level management in the firm that handled the advertisements. There was a new law that had been written up and approved that was to go into effect within the next few years and Eric was put in charge of making sure this new law was translated into a format the common person would understand instead of having all the legal jargon removed and put into enough advertisements for all Arcadians to get the word. The police wouldn't accept ignorance as an excuse for a law to be broken. Because of that stance, the government created Eric's firm to make sure there wasn't a chance for anyone to try to use ignorance as an excuse to break a law. The new law that was slated to go into effect was put into Eric's hands.

Working on the new project was Eric's big chance. If he was able to successfully pull everything off, he would be promoted. His superiors were using the new law, a law that allowed people who remained silent about other's breaking laws to be punished, to be a test for Eric. If he successfully advertised the new law he would be up for promotion for his dream job. It would take time to determine how successful he was because his success would be measured in how many people were arrested in accordance to the new law within an allotted amount of time. All Eric had to do was make sure every step in making his country aware of the new law went smoothly and that any hiccups were small and quickly taken care of. He was confident that with his experience on smaller, similar projects, he would be able to ensure he would pass the test with flying colors.

Not only was his professional life smooth sailing but so was his personal life. He was just months away from marrying his high school sweetheart, the person he had known since grade school and had always thought he would marry. He and his fiancée, Monica, had been engaged since they both graduated college and had remained as such for a few years while they established their professional lives. Now that everything was going so well, they had finally decided on a date. With the date secured, and as they neared the date, Eric was excited for it to happen. Once he was married and with the soon to be promotion, he would be living the perfect Arcadian life.

It was everything Eric had wanted. It was everything that Arcadia promised her people. It was the perfect utopian life. Eric didn't know anyone who was alive before Arcadia had been established but he knew enough. Before the land was rebranded into Arcadia, there was homelessness, poverty and crime. Just simply walking down the street had a risk of a person being robbed or even hurt in a car accident. All Eric had known in his life in Arcadia, as with all the living citizens, was peacefulness. Everyone had a home, everyone had enough food, everyone that wanted or needed one had a job and crime was all but non-existent. Arcadia was perfect. It was a utopia and Eric was proud to live in a time where all there was, was Arcadia and he would do what he could within his firm to preserve the utopian society.

"How long do you think you have before you have everything finalized for the big project dear?" Monica asked as the couple ate dinner in a relatively private setting at their favorite restaurant.

It was an immediate tradition the couple had set up that began with their first date. At least once a month if not more, the two would have dinner at their favorite local romantic restaurant. No matter how busy the two were with their lives, they always made sure there was time for to have a date night. With how busy they had gotten with their jobs, they wanted to make sure they never drifted apart. Divorce rate was very low in Arcadia, nearly unheard of, but it still happened and it was still a possibility. The couple didn't want to let down their families by having a divorce. Getting a divorce simply wasn't done and society would look down on them if that had happened. So they would do all they could to make sure it didn't happen to them.

"I'm not sure." Eric answered with a shrug of his shoulders. "I have most everything sent out to the government and I'm just waiting for their response now. They don't have any specific timeframes they have to follow. They just have to get everything approve, finalized and back to me within six months prior to the law going into effect." Since there was still a little over a year until the law would go into effect, Eric wasn't worried about it.

"They definitely have plenty of time to do all that." Monica remarked just before her phone went off with a text message.

It was usually frowned upon to answer any texts or phone calls during their date nights. But certain exceptions were allowed. When Monica gave Eric an apologetic smile before leaving the table, Eric wasn't upset. He knew the only reason Monica would leave their table in the middle of dinner would be if there was an emergency. Family emergencies didn't happen very often in Arcadia, not in their utopian world. Eric was confident there was nothing wrong with her family but instead Eric was sure there was something wrong within the company Monica worked for. But he would patiently wait for her to return to learn exactly what happened and within which social circle in case the rare chance of the emergency being her family had happened. Fortunately he did not have to wait for long. Just a few minutes after walking away, Monica was walking back with another apologetic look still on her face.

"I'm so sorry about that." Monica apologized as she walked back up to their table. "There's an emergency at work that they apparently just have to have my help with."

"I'm glad the emergency wasn't with your family." Eric said with smile, not allowing himself to appear to be bothered that his fiancée had to leave. He fully understood that since she had aspirations to grow within her company, some sacrifices would need to be made. He didn't want to cause problems within their relationship by having her decide between him and her future with her job. He would do anything to not get a divorce and then be looked down upon by society.

"Me to." Monica said with a matching smile as she grabbed her purse. "But no matter how sweet you are, I'm still needed there. I'm sorry."

"It's okay." Eric assured, ignoring the pang of annoyance that their date night ending much earlier than normal. But to avoid starting a fight, he wouldn't say anything. He would be the perfect understanding fiancée, as was what was expected of him. "Text me whenever you get home so I know you made it home safely." It was already dark, and even though there wasn't much crime in their entire city, it was still rather safe than sorry.

"Of course dear. The moment I walk into my apartment I promise I will text you." Monica promised just before she gave Eric a brief kiss before walking briskly towards the exit.

The two still lived in separate apartments, even though they had been dating and then engaged for years. But that was very typical in Arcadia. It wasn't until a couple was married that they combined their funds and bought a house together. It was rare for a couple not to buy a house as soon as they were married. It wasn't unheard of for couples to stay in apartments as some preferred apartment life; but Eric had saved as much as he could, as he was sure Monica had as well, so they could afford a down payment on a decent house as soon as they were married.

Since they lived in separate places, they were constantly on the phone with each other; whether it was via text or talking. They both always answered each other quickly and had even synced their calendars on their phones with each other so they knew when the other was busy and wouldn't be able to answer a text promptly. They knew when the other was available to talk and when they couldn't. Just like every other serious couple, they were well in-tuned with the others' schedule.

Eric finished his dinner quickly and in silence. He didn't want anyone else in the restaurant to assume anything was wrong with his and Monica's relationship. Image was important in their world, even if just a perceived and nonfactual image. Living the utopian world was expected of everyone and having a falling out while they're so close to their wedding was unheard of. He didn't want society to judge him. The moment he was done with his meal, he promptly paid and left.

Once home, Eric worked on several reports that were left for him to do while he waited for Monica to text him that she was safely home. He was willing to stay up all night so he could make sure that she made it home. It was the gentlemanly thing to do and it was what was expected of him to do in Arcadia. Hours ticked by as Eric waited by his phone for it to go off. As midnight neared, Eric was silently cursing himself for not asking Monica how long she was expecting to take at the office. Eric had long since finished with his reports and was left with nothing to do but watch late night TV while he waited for Monica to text him. Eventually though, he wasn't able to stay awake anymore and sometime past midnight, he fell asleep while laying on the couch with his cell phone in his grasp.

Eric woke the next morning to his alarm that warned he needed to leave for work so, rang from his room. Only thinking that he had again fallen asleep on the couch after staying up too late, he moved to turn off the alarm. It wasn't until most of his morning routine was complete and he was preparing his breakfast did his mind finally turn from trying to make up for waking up late to the fact he hadn't heard from Monica. It wasn't common for Monica to have to work late; in fact she had only had to work late twice within the years she had worked with her company. So not remembering that she had worked late wasn't a big deal, but forgetting that he hadn't heard from her was a concern. It should have been the first thought Eric had that morning; he would do all he could to make sure no one found out about his lapse of memory. Before doing anything else, Eric pulled his phone out of his pocket and called Monica.

The phone rang until it was sent voicemail, making him nervous that something was wrong. He would have to pretend everything was normal until he had proof of otherwise. Eric left a voicemail requesting that she call him back as soon as she could.

Eric had to pause before finishing getting ready for work to take several deep breaths. He had never had much to worry about in Arcadia. No one didn't return calls or texts, no one ever just stopped talking to someone. For Monica to not let him know she was okay was very worrisome. He would wait, just a little longer, before he would go to the small police force that was really more of a novelty that a necessity. Monica's office was on his way to work, he would stop in to make sure she was okay if she hadn't responded to him by then.

Eric finished getting ready for work and left no later than half an hour later to drive to his firms' offices that were an hour drive away. The drive was long, even with the little traffic his town offered, but he loved his job and didn't want to work anywhere else. Living in the town he did also allowed his fiancée to work in her dream job. Living an hour away from his firm was a sacrifice he was willing to make. Ten minutes into his drive, he pulled off the freeway on an exit he was very familiar with. It was the exit that would take him to Monica's office. He would step inside and make sure his fiancée had shown up and was fine. Getting a reasoning as to why she had ignored him the previous night could wait until their work day was over. He didn't want to risk causing a scene at her workplace and have rumors spread about them. They would deal with their problems in privacy.

Eric parked his modest car in the first available parking spot and quickly walked to the building. As he had come to surprise Monica plenty of times with flowers and small gifts, as was expected of him in Arcadian society, so the security guards all knew him and no longer bothered making sure he was allowed in the building. For over a year Eric had been allowed to walk into the building and the guards wouldn't so much as bat an eyelash because of how often he would visit.

"Excuse me sir." A guard that Eric had learned to be Mathew, stopped him as he started to pass the security desk.

"Um, yes?" Eric asked, anxious to move to Monica's office to make sure she was okay. He had sent her a text just before he left his apartment and she hadn't responded to that either. Eric was worried and his nerves about not getting letting his worry show was starting to get to him. He needed to make sure everything was okay and normal as soon as possible.

"Do you have an appointment?" The second guard, who Eric knew was the longest tenured guard, named Joe, asked.

"No." Eric hesitantly answered, confused as to why he would have been asked that. "I've never needed one before. Is this a new policy?"

The two guards gave each other a look that made Eric more nervous. He wasn't sure what was going on but something didn't seem right. It give that much more need to make sure Monica was okay.

"You've always needed an appointment to go inside sir." Mathew answered. "It's been that way since the company opened."

"Who are you here to see? I can see if they have some time to see you if it's an emergency." Joe added.

Eric wanted to question why he would need to make an appointment to see his own fiancée when he hadn't before. But he could talk with Monica about that later when they were alone and there was no one to accidently over hears them. If the guards wanted him to make an appointment, he would play along. He already knew that Monica had left her morning open in order to catch up on paperwork. He knew she would be able to see him.

"Monica. Monica Newman please." Eric impatiently answered.

Joe nodded to him and started to look up information on his computer. From his experience from coming to visit Monica over the years, Eric knew that Joe was looking up Monica's schedule to make sure that she was in fact available for someone to meet with her. It took longer than Eric would have liked for Joe to confirm it, especially since the entire process wasn't needed in the first place. But within ten minutes Eric had a visitors' pass, something he hadn't had to wear for the last couple years, and was on his way to Monica's office. What was a bit concerning though, was before Eric walked away from the guards desk, they gave him directions to get to Monica's office which was located in the back. If Eric hadn't been there so many times, he would have needed the directions. But knew where to go and the guards should have known that.

After a few minutes of walking down halls and up two flights of stairs, Eric was finally at Monica's office. Instead of knocking, as if he was just a typical visitor or client, he walked right in. He had only knocked on Monica's office door once. That was when Monica had first moved into the office and he had surprised her with the first bouquet for her office.

"Hey, I wanted to make sure you were okay." Eric said as he walked in, catching Monica by surprise. She clearly hadn't been expecting him to barge into her office, which she should have known better.

"Excuse me?" Monica asked as she stood up from her chair.

"I had thought you were going to text me last night to make sure you were okay and when you didn't, I got worried." Eric said before giving Monica a relieved smile. "I just wanted to make sure you were okay."

"Look, I'm sorry but you're going to have to leave." Monica said as her hand moved towards her phone. Eric saw the movement and wasn't sure what to think about it.

"Still trying to catch up on paperwork before lunch?" Eric asked, assuming that Monica looked nervous only because she as concerned that she had indeed forgotten to text him. "We'll talk after you're off then; perhaps we can make up for last night?" He would talk with her later to question her on why she had forgotten.

"I don't think it's any of your business on what I'm doing here." Monica said as she picked up the office phone. "I don't know who you are sir, but you need to leave please."

Eric was baffled. Monica wasn't making any sense. He had no idea what she was doing but he knew he had to fix it. If word got out that they were having problems and that she kicked him out of her office, it wouldn't be good for their social standing. Neither of them would want that. Eric would do what he could to prevent that from happening.

"What do you mean Monica? I was just saying that we could finish the dinner we couldn't complete last night and talk about what happened." Eric started to move closer to her, in a way so that he could try to offer any sort of comfort he could to the woman that seemed to be starting to panic.

"I wasn't with you last night. I don't even know who you are." Monica said, her voice starting to rise with her panic. "If you don't leave now, I'm going to call security to escort you out."

Eric had no idea what to think. How could his fiancée, someone he had known his whole life, not know him? It was impossible. It couldn't happen. It had to be a joke of some sort. He wasn't sure what kind of cruel joke she was trying to pull, but it needed to stop.

"Stop messing around Monica. All I wanted was to make sure that you were okay; especially since you hadn't answered my phone call or text." Eric was starting to get upset about what Monica was saying. He wanted her to stop. This wasn't normal behavior and if she kept it up, he would start to be concerned with her mental wellbeing.

"That was you?" Monica asked with a slight look of disgust on her face. It looked as if she didn't even like Eric had tried to get a hold of her; that she didn't like he was concerned about her. "I don't know who you are. I've never met you before. Please leave me alone."

Monica didn't wait for Eric to talk before she used the preset speed dial on her phone for security and asked for them to come immediately to escort Eric out. In fact, she hadn't even used his name; she had called him a stranger. The possibility of Monica truly not knowing who he was had Eric motionless in his spot. It took security, someone Eric didn't know, to nearly push him out of the office to get him to leave. He was warned not to return again or risk being arrested. That was a warning that was rarely given in Arcading given its' utopian society, the fact that Eric had just received the warning was very concerning. But nearly as concerning as what had just happened between him and Monica.

Choosing to save what pride and respect he could, he opted to go straight to work before he was too late. He had heard of the elderly and people with head injuries having memory loss. But those were isolated incidents, it didn't happen to an entire office full of people. He had no idea what he would do to try and figure out what happened. But he did know that if he didn't show up to work on time and then work in accordance with their standards, he would be in a lot of trouble. He didn't want his name to be hurt by having a poor work performance.

An hour later he had parked his car and was walking into his firms' building. In that hour he hadn't been able to completely calm down, but he had been able at least calm down enough to hide how anxious he was feeling. He would complete a normal day of work. He was hopeful that the normalcy of doing something he loved and something he was good at, would help him get through the day before he was left to deal with what had happened earlier.

It was déjà vu as he tried to walk through the receptionists' desk. All he wanted to do was go to work and try to get something done. He just wanted to have the normal, average day that had been promised to him by Arcadia.

"Do you have an appointment sir?"

He could still hear those words, even hours later, ringing in his ears. He had tried to reason with the receptionist, someone he had known for years, that he did in fact work with the firm. He had even started to tell her information that only employees of the firm would know. But that only got security called on him. He knew that if security got a hold of him, he could possibly get arrested. That would completely ruin his reputation; he couldn't allow that to happen. Before security could arrive, he ran out of the office and to his car. From his car, he drove back to his city.

At first he wanted to go to his fiancée to find comfort, but she apparently didn't remember him either. He could have gone back to his apartment, but it wasn't normal for someone to be home when they weren't sick and were scheduled to work. He was worried of what his neighbors would say if they found out he had gone home early. He eventually decided to drive to a local park and just sat on an isolated bench. He didn't know what he was going to do, but he needed to do something. Thus far, his employer and more importantly his fiancée had completely forgotten about him.

He had never heard of something like that happening. A mass memory loss was impossible; it just couldn't happen. Not in Arcadia. Eric needed to figure out what had happened, but he didn't feel comfortable sticking around town to do that. With all the reminders of how people had forgotten about him, he wanted a change of scenery. He would go someplace that would have people that would always have room for him; a place where the people could never forget about him. Someplace he could always go to for help. He would go to his parents' house and figure out things there.