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Just One Pill

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The small brown bottle sat in front of her. It would only take one pill to relieve the pain. Just one, and the world as she knew it would disappear into the void, where nothing and no one could touch her.

No feeling.

No pain.

Nothing.

Emptiness was better than loneliness. The doctor's knew what was best, they saw her pain and offered resolution. They gave her the bottle.

Just one pill.

Without the pill there was only anger. Pain beyond the physical. A pain that would never stop until it had devoured her entire being, her soul. Years of guilt and sorrow would vanish, leaving the memories behind. Just one pill and it would end.

Memories.

The people she'd loved, the lives she'd destroyed, the guilt she lived with. Ahh, what fond memories. On the streets at 14, shacking up with thieves and scoundrels, working like a dog in jobs that many do but none dare to talk about. Leaving behind a family that loved her, a family that cared. A family she never realised existed, until now.

She had blamed them for everything, they were responsible for her pain, for her anger. There was a fire in her that burnt like the sun, slowly dying unable to prevent it. Reaching out as far as it could for help, yet destroying everything that came toward it. This was her. She was alone in this battle, nothing could stop the destruction. Just one pill they told her. One pill and it would all go away. She was sick, they said. She needed help. But first, she needed to take one pill.

Just one pill.

Images flashed back and forth through her mind. A sleek black colt caressing her temple. The smell of cheap aftershave. The morning after. She'd played her share of Russian roulette, new the game well. The fact that she was still alive made her wonder whether she'd won or lost. Sex games for the rich and demented. Two girls, one gun, and a bottle of cheap vodka. The one who lived got fifty thousand new yen and the night with a sadistic motherfucker. If she was lucky half the money would be blown in some back street clinic, and if she was unlucky, all of it.

Images.

Memories.

Things she'd done.

And now she was here. In a company clinic. A company she'd never worked for, never mentioned, never heard of. They offered her a chance to change. A miracle in a bottle, an escape. She didn't believe them, couldn't believe, had never believed. It was their pill in this bottle.

Their redemption.

Their cure.

Their pill.

The pill would calm her, they said. It would release her from the anger, remove the pain. She could start over, with rehab she could rejoin society they said, become normal. They tried to convince her everything would be alright, once she took that pill.

Just one pill.

She knew what the pill meant. She knew she could never be normal. Just one pill and her life would change alright, she would no longer exist. Everything that had been before would disappear, would cease to be.

All those times when she'd let the anger take hold. She'd smashed things, screamed profanity, cried for days. The pain inside her, aching to be released. Not knowing why, not understanding, not caring. Then the darkness. Swallowing her whole. Invading her dreams at night, haunting her thoughts by day. This was what they wanted to take away.

No more screaming,

no more pain,

nothing.

They could have forced her to take it, strapped her down on the bed and injected the necessary drugs. They chose not to, and she hated them for that. She opened the bottle in front of her and emptied its contents into her hand.

Just one pill.

She laughed to herself quietly, they didn't even trust her with a full bottle. Just one pill and it would all be over, the nightmares would end.

The pain would end.

Life would end.

Just one pill.

She laughed again, this time a little loud. The tiny tablet lay in the palm of her hand, barely noticeable. Just one stupid pill. Then she could go about in the world. Get herself some mundane office job, 9 to 5. Become like everyone else. A drone. Never really knowing what it is to suffer, to feel pain, to live. Is this what she wanted? Everything she believed in, everything she had fought for, gone in one pill.

No memories.

No pain.

Nothing.

Just one pill.

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Che Paula Dunlop