One Little Pill. Short Story.

Martin looked at the pill sitting in front of him, it looked so innocuous. One little white pill, that was all. He had carefully extracted it from the baggy, pulling it from several of its friends. As he looked at it warnings rang through his mind, “Highly addictive.” “Ruins lives.” Flashes of faces appeared, gaunt, pockmarked, missing teeth, images of skeletal bodies, curled up for warmth or from pain. He’d seen plenty of it through his life, he’d seen all the warnings, all the documentaries. He had scoffed at those who took it, but here he was. Was it really so awful? He wasn’t hurting anyone after all, just himself and he knew it would make him happy again, that was guaranteed. He took a deep breath and picked up the pill, before he could second guess himself he popped it into his mouth and quickly swallowed, wincing at the taste. He picked up a bottle of Coke and quickly swished some around his mouth, it helped a little but the harsh, bitter chemical tang was still stuck to his tongue. He took another mouthful of drink and looked at his watch. Ten minutes, that’s how long it would take before it kicked in. He quickly chugged the rest of the Coke and settled himself into the couch. The high would last for six to eight hours, sometimes as long as twelve but unusually no longer. There was a two litre bottle of water nearby in case he got thirsty. He was told he wouldn’t need to drink, or to eat, but still, he wanted to be sure. He looked around his dull apartment, he lived here for almost a year now and it still didn’t feel like home. It was dark and gloomy, even when the blinds were open, there was no happiness here. He blinked and his apartment was gone.

He was sitting on his couch at home, his real home. The TV was playing morning cartoons, Jessie was lying on the ground on her stomach, head propped up on her hands. Martin’s breath caught in his throat.
“Guys, breakfast is ready!”
Jessie’s head whipped around and she launched herself from the floor, a smile plastered across her face, she bounded from the sitting room. Martin stood, feeling as though he couldn’t control his body, he moved through the house, from the sitting room and down the hall. The door to the kitchen was ajar and he pushed it open, squinting slightly at the light. Maryanne was standing at the kitchen island, adding another crepe to the pile. “C’mon, get them while their still hot.” Martin stepped forward and kissed her gently on the cheek, she laughed as she moved the pan further from him. He could feel her skin beneath his lips, so soft and gentle and warm. He could smell her, not her perfume, but her. He breathed in deeply as his hands moved of their own accord. They picked up the plate and he carried it to the table, Jessie was already sitting in her seat, her favourite Peter Pan plate in front of her. Her small knife and fork was carefully set on either side but Martin knew she wouldn’t use them. As he placed the plate down she pulled a crepe from the pile and started sprinkling sugar on top. Martin sat down, then looked around, “Do you need a hand honey?”
“No, I’m just done.”
She stepped around the island and came to the table carrying a carton of orange juice. She poured them both a glass then grabbed a crepe for herself, spreading Nutella across it and placing strawberry slices on top. Martin looked down to find that his hands had been busy while he had been distracted, they rolled up his crepe, carefully folding it over the keep both the bacon and the maple syrup inside. He brought it to his lips and tasted the burst of sweet and salty flavour. Everything faded for a second, blurring, Martin wanted to speak, say something, anything but his mouth was too full of food, he couldn’t get the words out, couldn’t breathe. He sat up and started coughing, already feeling the food disappear and the gloom settled over the room again. He felt hot, sweaty, he could feel the tears pouring down his face. It was true, everything they said about it was true. He took a slow, deep breath. It wasn’t real, it was just a memory, he couldn’t have stopped it. He was shivering uncontrollably, he throat was dry and sore, he picked up the bottle and took a few gulps. As he swallowed he realised he needed a piss. He stood and paused for a moment, his legs felt weak. He made his way to the bathroom, once he had finished there he felt his stomach grumbling. He went back to the kitchen. He could have sworn he just ate, he could still feel the crepes sitting in his stomach. He opened the fridge, there wasn’t much there. He grabbed out the ham and cheese and quickly made himself a sandwich. When that was done he scarfed it down quickly and went back to the lumpy, overstuffed couch.

He sat down and picked up the small baggie, he wanted to go back, no he needed to go back, but how long would these last? He looked at his watch, he had been out of it for about seven hours. The more you used them the longer they worked. He had one more day before he had to be in work, he could definitely have another pill, but then what? Could he really wait a week to see them again? He fished out another pill, they were expensive, but it was definitely worth it. He would have to take it easy though, he couldn’t use too much too fast, he didn’t want to get addicted after all. He looked at the white pill and resisted the urge to pop it into his mouth. He had to be careful about all this, clinical. He had proven it worked, he had seen them. It was the few hours they had spent together before the accident. He shuddered again, he had seen them lying on the road, mangled and bloodied, the officers had tried to stop him from seeing but they had been too late. He had avoided these pills, these little miracles for so long because he was terrified that was what he would see, he didn’t think he’d be able to stand seeing it again. He looked at his watch, then at the pill in his hand, he popped it into his mouth, “Fuck it.” He settled back in the couch, his heart thudding heavily in his chest, it wouldn’t be long now.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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