a prompted short story by The Overlord Bear

Prompt (from r/WritingPrompts): “Bliss is a drug that has been used for centuries by a totalitarian government to help keep the population in line. You are one of the first people in 390 years to stop taking it.”

If there’s anything about Bliss that made it seem like the best tool to control a person, it was how it could give a high that lasted for a century…literally. The user’s body would be paralyzed, but their nervous system would continue processing the signals they believed to be experiencing. Even rebels who caught wind of its existence early on fell victim to it, having only known how it affected a person but not how to avoid taking it, and when they did know everything, it was already too late for them. It helped that Bliss could be disguised as innocuous instant seasoning, too.

If there’s anything about Bliss that made it seem like the worst tool to control a person, it was how its biggest pushers got so bored that they thought of taking it as a good idea one day. The power vacuum they left allowed the rest of the world to take all the things to know and gather about Bliss, and of course, the whole world entered an epidemic with it.

Not like all of humanity became extinct, though. At worst, humanity was an endangered species. Somehow, animals who fed on Blissful humans continued living normally. Blissful humans even became more effective fertilizer for plants.

But I never really realized that much as I woke up from my high. The first thing I felt there was pain from all the atrophy. Next was pain from all the heartbreak. I would’ve tried to kill myself soon enough, but my body was too weak to even do that.

But for some reason, I managed to live on. I just crawled towards something, anything that could make me alive and happy again. I crawled upon surfaces powdered by Bliss, which I had become immune to. I never thought about how I managed to survive a century when I first saw some dead victims and their pink blood on the ground. I just crawled and crawled, eating whatever I could from the places I could reach, and I also became naked eventually.

And then I saw some others moving like I was, pale as the snow that froze the bodies of humanity in a century of illusion and a lifetime of pain. At that point, we had crawled past a lot of jagged solids, searing liquids, murky gas, and other harsh matter. A helicopter also came upon us, people in coats taking us from one cage to another.

Pain came upon us again until we screamed and flapped enough for the scientists to stop. The cycle repeated with variants until a bunch of us surviving Blissfuls decided to massacre our handlers and then learn about the present world and ourselves through their files. It gave them pleasure, but I quietly distanced myself from them, even if it meant being stuck in loneliness. It was certainly better than denying the fact that we Ignorants (that’s what the scientists called us, much to the rebellious survivors’ displeasure) could still die with enough pain, at least. Our bodies just needed a lot more pain to die.

Funny how my fellow Ignorants tried to snort all that Bliss again, then. It certainly gave them highs, but nothing longer than what they’d get from the usual recreational drugs of more than a century ago. They then blamed their own violence on the drugs and the scientists and everyone and everything that wasn’t their own selves. Crawling across the earth felt better than their way of life, even though the difference between me and them was probably little.

And crawl I did, letting plants and animals feed on me. Sure, I wasn’t recognized much as a person, ending up spooking communities in hazmat suits, but at least I was paying back to nature, I guess. I was even forced to settle down on one spot when a tree that grew upon me became too big for me to move.

Eventually, the tree couldn’t get any more nutrients from my body. I was already deep beneath the soil, and all that was left was…

“…a surviving Bliss victim!?”

…ah. Someone noticed me.

“Have I…been good…?” I tried to ask.

Whoever got me out was silent at my question. I couldn’t even figure out what emotion I was receiving, nor could I figure out what sort of features my excavator had.

Well, I’ll know the answer eventually. For now, I think I should go get some good sleep here above the soil…

Author’s Note: Oh yeah, sending thanks to those who sent me birthday greetings and all that, yo~

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