Jack Smith - Scientist
“This, is going to make us rich.” Jason was holding a pill in between his index finger and his thumb.
“This beautiful fucking, pink pill is going to make us so rich we’ll need houses just for our money.”
There were cheers around the room. I cheered too. Being filthy rich sounded pretty good.
We had been working on this pill for years. The pills had hit shelves 2 months ago, and sales had been huge, there were a number of offers from big pharma companies that Jason was negotiating.
Jason was our enigmatic Chief Executive. He had found the funding, charmed the right people basically, to allow us to develop this pill.
There were 6 of us in the room. Jason and myself were the founders of DreamControl Inc. The other 4 people in the room were Andrea, our sales and marketing guru, she had worked with Jason during the funding rounds and helped design the brand around the pill, Alex and Jamie were our lawyers, we were consulting with them so much during the process that they asked to buy in to the company and attend meetings, and there was Katie, she was my lab assistant, she was a beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed pharmacologist from MIT, she was as brilliant as she was beautiful. And me, Jack, I had come up with the idea for DreamControl and was the lead developmental scientist behind the pill. But this was definitely a team effort, and we were all excited about what we had created.
The pill, taken right before bed, gave you the ability to have vivid and lucid dreams. Basically, every night you could be whatever you wanted, wherever you wanted and do whatever you wanted.
A few of us had trialed the pill on ourselves and after some minor setbacks, mostly insomnia, we had finally perfected the process.
We were a close team, we had worked, and often slept, in the same cramped office 7 days a week for the last 3 years. With the champagne flowing freely, those of us who had taken the pill were urged by the others to share what we had dreamt about.
Alex, the lawyer, went first.
“I always wanted to fly.” He said quietly. “So, every night, I soar the skies, I see the world as a bird sees it, I zig zag between mountains and I feel the wind on my face. I speed towards the earth and I feel the rush before I fly back up into the clouds again.” He had closed his eyes, as if reliving the dreams again, and a small smile came across his face.
There was a general murmur of agreement, that was a good dream.
Next up, Jason, the CEO.
He stood with one hand in his pocket, one hand holding his champagne glass, with his perfectly fitting suit, cropped beard and piercing blue eyes, Jason looked every bit the CEO he was.
“I dream of luxury.” He said with a glint in his eye. “Fast cars, ocean views and plenty more of this.” He raised his glass and took a big swig.
The rest of us laughed, we could’ve predicted Jason’s dreams. He was never shy about his ambitions, he had always craved luxury.
The last person who experimented with the pill was me. But I dreamed of Katie every night. It was never perverted, or sexual. We just held hands, talked, watched the sunset and then sat together in silence, in each other’s arms. Still, I couldn’t share that with the group.
“Umm.” I had to think of something quick. “I always dream of being in my own lab, to study whatever I wanted.”
Everyone saw me as the geeky scientist, so they bought it readily enough. Katie giggled at my answer, and I felt my face blush, I finished my champagne and hoped people would think the redness was from the alcohol. The rest of the night went as expected, we ate pizza, we drank and we talked about how far we had come and what we’d do with our riches before we all collapsed on the floor of our office to sleep.
And that, I’m afraid, was the last time that all of us were together. It wasn’t too long after that wonderful, celebratory night when the side effect of the pill started to show its ugly, insidious head.
It started with Alex. He’d hiked up to a cliff-face over-looking the ocean and threw himself off. It was ruled a suicide, the pressures of a start-up, and we knew he had some money issues. But with the company so close to success we couldn’t fully understand it.
It wasn’t until Jason’s episode that the pieces started to fall together. He had driven to a rich neighborhood, parked his car outside of the nicest house and walked up to the door. He was charming and well dressed and managed to get invited inside. But there was an argument inside the house, about what, no one knows, but the owner of the house was killed. Jason had struck him in the head with a lamp. After killing the owner Jason had stolen his watch, his credit card and the keys to his Ferrari parked in his garage. He went on a dangerous joy ride, stopping only to buy an expensive bottle of liquor. When they found the car wrapped around a tree, Jason’s hand was still clutching the empty bottle.
I was the one who put the pieces together, Alex had dreamt of flying so he flew off the cliff to his death. Jason had dreamt of the finer things in life, so he abused them to excess, so much so that it had quickly cost him his life.
I found myself driving to Katie’s house, if anyone could figure this out with me it would be her. When I got to her front door, I realized had a bottle of wine with me, I didn’t remember picking it up. I knocked on the door, she opened it and smiled at me. “Jack” She smiled. “I wasn’t expecting you.”
I felt my heart flutter with joy. I don’t remember anything after that moment. I woke up in a cell. None of the police officers would tell me anything. I sat with my head in my hands desperately trying to remember anything, but when I saw my hands were stained red, I feared the worst.
Pat O’Malley – Police Officer
I had the sirens blaring, and I was speeding down the road. The officer who was first on scene had refused to describe what he found over the radio. All he’d said to me was to bring a strong stomach and a bible.
I’d seen plenty of shit on this job so I wasn’t too worried. But when I pulled into that poor woman’s driveway, I saw two officers, the men who had got there first. One was sitting by the edge of the road, his hat in his hands and he looked like his mind was a thousand miles away. The second officer was in the bushes emptying his stomach.
Neither of them responded to me when I asked for information on who was in the house. I drew my gun and my flashlight, better safe than sorry. I approached the open door and knocked on it with my torch.
“Hello? Police!” I waited for an answer. “Oh, hello sir! Please come in and join us.” The joviality of the voice was at odds with the officers I saw outside, and made me wary. But no amount of wariness prepared me for what I saw.
I walked into the living room. The source of the voice was sitting at a table, a big, welcoming smile on his face. There was a woman sat opposite him, with her back to me. I ignored the man and questioned the woman. “Ma’am, are you okay?” No answer. “Ma’am?” I kept edging closer. I got close enough to put my hand on her shoulder to get her attention, but before I reached her, I noticed her hands. Each hand was flat on the table in front of her, a nail driven through each hand, holding them in place.
I looked from the nails to the man sitting at the table opposite her, he was staring at me, still smiling. I raised my gun at him. “Don’t you fuckin’ move pal.” I walked to the side of the woman to see if she was still alive. Two spikes were driven through her thighs as well, I looked down and saw the spikes went all the way through the chair, completely pinning her. I was moving slowly, afraid of what I’d see next. As I moved to her front, I saw her face. Two hooks were pulling her mouth apart in a twisted, tortured smile, dried blood had dripped down her chin where the hooks had dug into the inside of her mouth. I looked at the man again, my gun still pointing at him. His expression hadn’t changed. “She kept trying to leave, and she looked so sad.” He said in his disturbingly happy voice. I looked back at the woman, I noticed now that her left arm was contorted at an impossible angle. “I’m afraid there was a small struggle.” The man said, obviously noticing that I’d seen her arm. “She wouldn’t sit down for dinner you see.”
The man’s head suddenly bobbed wearily, his eyelids drooping. His eyes suddenly focused on the woman and he screamed before suddenly passing out, his head thudding on the table as he fell. I checked the pulse of the woman, faint, but still there. If she made it though, she’d never be the same, physically or mentally.
It was days like this that made me thankful for that new pill my wife had found for me.
I wonder what I’ll dream about tonight.