It was a world where your neighbour would cut your throat for the shoes off your feet. Deprivation and despair filled the air as thick as the detritus toxins war factories and chemical plants spewed endlessly into the atmosphere. Decades had passed since the economy choked, crumbled and collapsed under its own weight. The money had long since evaporated and everyday people were no more. Everyone had to fight for survival, staking a claim on anything of value and defending it with all their might. Many lost souls perished in State Assistance Camps.
There was no justice, no law to protect. Streets awash with debris and cities in ruin, this once picturesque city was now a post apocalyptic waste ground. Lifeless bodies scurry in the shadows like rats in the night savaging and clawing their way through a dark existence. Gangs cruised the streets in cannibalised battle-armour plated vehicles left over from the aftermath. Built to protect, now used to dominate and extort the dirge that was left from the denizens reserves.
Despite the war the world’s population was still accelerating at an alarming rate. Analysts predicting 8 billion by the end of the year. The only people who had money were the pharmaceutical companies. Nothing like a drug-fuelled high to lift you out of that post apocalyptic downer. They pumped out a new brand with new mind bending effects every few months or so. Just enough to get you hooked and then a new product that was guaranteed to take you to the next level.
Dan Stanton was a product engineer. He cringed at that title, he was a user. Savvy on what drugs mixed well together through years of hard-core abuse. His dreams were in vivid technicolour and ever increasingly merged into reality. The only thing that kept him from flying off into the stratosphere was Helen. Then came sleep.
Some say that it was the last governing council’s design. A last ditch attempt to get the world back in order. Whatever the origins, one thing was clear, take sleep and then there is nothing. A purple pill with no discernible marks, unassuming yet it is death in one stealth swallow. Created as a solution, it’s sinister side subdued by the powers that be. It was the person’s right to choose. Surely it was more morally questionable not to offer this choice in this fractured reality?
There was no public debate, no religious outcry. The people with the money had the power to hush any protests by the most extreme means. Sleep hit the market and the death toll began to hike. The fatal pill found its way into thousands of hands. Never could he have imagined one would be Helen’s.