Seventeen Seconds

Initial pain, hatred, sadness caused by another human being only lasts roughly seventeen seconds, after that all emotion felt is caused by our minds subconscious as a defence and survival mechanism, ourselves hurting ourselves. But imagine a world where this no longer applies, where a pill you took surpressed these feelings; sadness, depression and grief lasting not weeks, months or years, but only seventeen seconds; a world no longer controlled or infulenced by past emotions. What would it be like? Paradise? Eutopian? What if something went wrong, what if during those seventeen seconds the emotion you felt was mutliplied by how long you had been holding them back, what then?


1. The Birth

"Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed guests and indeed, the world. We are on the brink of a revolution, and I am recruiting you to fight with me," a smartly dressed man stood in the centre of a large circular room, rows of seats filled with health care professionals and journalists surrounded him, reaching high into the rafters, and he was loving the attention. "You've all heard the rumours, and I take it you've all read the documents provided." As he spoke his platform span slowly, allowing him to speak directly with everyone, meeting every gaze in the room face on, and smiling at all the cameras. "Now let me give you the facts."

"The Crotoxil Pharmaceutical Corporation has engineered something new, something that will change the course of human history," he continued; the pomp and circumstance of his delivery pitch perfect. Bright spotlights shone at him from all directions, reminiscent of a rock concert rather than the unveiling of a new pill.

"Mental anguish caused by another human being lasts roughly seventeen seconds, in this time we experience the purest form of the emotion; be it pain, grief, depression, hatred... even love. But after that the emotion grows, it mutates, it becomes the cancer that eats away at the foundations of our civilisation. After those first seconds the emotion stops being attributed to the actions of another, and becomes something worse, it becomes self feeding." The man paused, for effect of course, he knew the words off by heart, he had finished writing this speech long before the drug had even passed live testing.

"Our self conscious relays the emotion back to us, repeatedly, unrelentingly. So that even when the initial reason for the emotion has long passed we still feel hurt by it, basically it is ourselves hurting ourselves, punishing us. We are all guilty of this trait, there's no getting away from it. Well, at the moment," he added, grinning. "For whatever reason, we aren't certain, some believe it to be a survival mechanism, others believe it to be a social mutation. Whatever the reason may be, it is clear that this mutation is far more damaging to the human mind than the initial cause of the emotion. I call this process of self destruction the 'dusk thought,'" he had coined the term himself.

"Depression is the fastest growing mental disorder in the world, caused entirely by this social mutation, by this 'dusk thought'." The man tightened his tie and rested his arms outstretched onto the steel blue lectern in front of him, gripping it tightly. 

"Grief," he shouted, the words echoing. "Grief can cripple a family, lead to further problems, drinking, drug abuse, even suicide. You've all seen the news, you don't need me to tell you about the dramatic rise in suicide rates in the western world. It was recently described by the New York Times as 'epidemic.'" He held up the copy in one of his hands, his golden cuff-link glinting in the flash of a thousand cameras. This will be the photo they use on the front of all the newspapers in the world, he thought hiding his smile, me, curing the world.

"Now imagine. What if this social mutation could be stopped? What if there could be a world no longer governed by this 'dusk thought'? No more self inflicted hatred, no more mourning, no more depression, no more murder or violence." As he talked he pounded his fist against the lectern, the noise ricocheting throughout the grand hall.

"The CPC family have created a pill that completely suppresses this 'dusk thought'. Once taken any emotion linking to the original during the first seventeen seconds is completely removed. The emotion is still felt, but only in its purest form and only for seventeen seconds, after that the subject  comes to term with the emotion, looks at it logically, disregards it, forgets, and continues on with their day to day lives. Anger, sadness, all of these damaging emotions now no longer last weeks, months even years to subside, if they do at all. Instead they are gone completely after only seventeen seconds." The man was almost giddy with excitement as he knew his big finish was coming up.

"With one small red pill, taken once a week, things like suicide, murder, war, and deep rooted emotional damages can no longer occur. What is left is nothing more than hard working, emotionally sound individuals, and a peace on Earth like nothing ever experienced in the course of human history. This pill is advancement, this pill is evolution this pill is..." pause, he thought, "Euphoria."

With that the room burst into applause as thousands of onlookers rose to their feet clapping and cheering, taken in by every word the man said. The man on the stage bowed and waved and smiled, his act was over, he had claimed his prize, worldwide fame. Soon everyone on the planet would know of the name Alexander Cane, CEO of the Crotoxil Pharmaceutical Corporation, and brain child of Euphoria. The pill that saved Earth, if only briefly.

Within the crowd of scientists and politicians and journalists stood a couple, neither cheering nor applauding. They stood on and watch as their boss paraded himself in front of the whole world waving his magic wand and his sugar coated words. 

Deep in the chaos of the stands, bouncing in the mosh pit of fanatical jubilance the couple stood hand in hand. He turned to her, his grey worried eyes masked by the strobe lighting of cameras above and her tearful ones hidden by the shadows of the jumping crowd surrounding them, together they embraced. They kissed and held each other like you would at an airport seeing off your loved one forever. They kissed each other goodbye, and for the child that stirred inside of her. A child that would never see the world as it was in that moment, so happy and full of promise. They knew the kind of world their child would be growing up in, for they had worked together in the research labs of the CPC citadel. There is a reason why people who work in fast food restaurants don't eat what they sell, he had told her numerous times, it's because they know the truth of what's inside it.

The truth grew in them a pain so great that no amount of Euphoria could ever cure. 

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