“OK, What did you get?”

The Chief walked through the room, our team had that night’s haul laid out in front of them.

Subconscious Harvesting.

We had been testing it, mainly for military uses but once news slipped out through the unofficial channels into the unofficial ears of the corporations they willing signed up.  “If you could take things out,” they reasoned. “You could put things in.”

“Not a lot, sir.” Dan, our fearless team leader. Eager for promotion with no moral compass. “Less and less each time.”

We’d all seen it, too. People on the streets seeming greyer…less.

The haul was checked over.

A pin. Large. Very sharp. Used for bursting bubbles.
Pneumonia Germs. Sealed in a lip shaped pertri dish.
A small vial. Contains Clear Liquid.

“What’s this?” the Chief enquired.

Cummings, a new recruit into our band of thieves answered.

“Ever full, sir. Salt to the taste.” He checked his notes. “The subject was…male, sir. Life not going well. We think these are his tears.”

“Ever full, you say.” The chief pulled the stopper and poured some onto the floor. The contents of the bottle splashed out and we soon were standing in a couple of centimeters. The chief stopped the bottle muttering to himself.

“Enough to fill an ocean,” was what he said. I have good hearing.

On the desk next to mine was a small box, perspex. The kind you’d put your lunch in.

“And this?”
“Lies, pain and sorrow, sir”
“Good, Good. You?” He pointed at me.

I held up an envelope.
“Is that all?”
“It’s a Vow, sir.” The room fell silent.

“A vow…” The chief held it up. It was weighty, soiled. They always were.

“Don’t -”
But he opened it. Same as always.

A woman’s voice, sad, angry – not in our ears; in the backs of our minds.

“I’ll never fall in love again.”
The envelope faded.

Everyone did their best to purge the vow from their system but it would take time. Hopefully not too long.

“Small haul, gentlemen. Small haul. We’ll study this. Get that out of your heads and get some rest.”

He turned on his heel.

“Until tomorrow, gentlemen. Until tomorrow.”