Swallowing the bitter pill

He looked at the little ball of white.  That was all it took to stop all of this.

That and that alone.

They all told him so and he was too tired to argue with them anymore.

Suighing, he stood up and walked to the window.  Night had fallen and the city had taken on the glow from the numerous brightly lit neon signs.  All promising things that they could never actually deliver.  Once he had seen a sign morph from one word to another.  The true meaning behind it exposed, albeit ever so briefly.  Then it changed back again and he had not seen it do it since.  Anyone that he spoke to about this, just laughed at him and told him to stop being stupid.

They started locking up the different last week.

Behind him the television set blared out the latest reality show.  Normal people so desperate to have their fifteen minutes that they forgo all dignity and morals.  He could not turn it off, the remote stopped working the day that the Admoniters were switched on.

“You know you have to take it?”

The voice came from the darkness behind him.  He did not turn around, he knew who it was.  The voice spoke again, slightly reassuring in tone.  Almost like it belonged to an old friend.

It didn’t.

“You tried, you did your best but you failed.  Nothing to be ashamed of.”

He laughed the laugh of a defeated man.  The voice was right .

Without the pills, he had felt alive.  Everything seemed so much more colourful.  Brighter and brimming with life.  His dreams had become events, night after night providing him with entertainment and ideas.

He just couldn’t cope with the reality outside of his own personal bubble.  Real life came crashing down on him.  Poking and prodding at the darkness in his mind, making his fears very real.

There was always that nagging feeling.  How did other people cope with the banality of it all?  The endless reality TV shows, the newspapers and programmes that concentrated on triviality and gossip, rather than what was really going on.  he had tried to let it all flow over him but it left him angry and feeling helpless.

That was how they found him.  The people who were really in charge.  A quiet visit in the middle of the night and a quite straightforward explanation of what would happen if he did not take the pills.

The thought of returning to that beige world of no highs or lows frightened him.  Sadly the threats scared him more.

So he picked up the pill, popped it into his mouth and swallowed.

“Good boy.” the voice said.

Outside the world looked scary.  The harsh lighting and the darkness made him wary.  It was far easier to stay inside.

He would watch some Tv and then go to bed.  There was a cornucopia of entertainment available to him, he may as well enjoy it.  Settling down on the couch, he was hardly aware of the voice leaving.


Then another voice spoke.

It was angry.