The Only Thing

How would you denote a flashback, as opposed to a dream, as opposed to a hallucination, as opposed to a vision or a false memory or an alternate timeline? What about it screams ‘the past, in quick, consuming bursts’?

She doesn’t know the answer, and she also knows she doesn’t like why she’s wondering.

“Hold still.”


“This is for your own good.”

“No, let go! No! NO! Don’t! Please!”

How quickly her cries changed from anger to begging, and then weeping.

She had tried so hard not to injure.

Not to kill.

But these weren’t the people she should’ve been trying to save.

And then everything changed.

Warmth like liquid sunshine poured over her in waves. The sudden rush of pleasure, orgasmic delight, a fantastic blitzkrieg of dopamine and seratonin suffused her. Tears ran from her eyes as she sagged in the chair, laughing, sobbing. “No,” she wept. “Oh, God.”

“Aaaand that’s it, folks,” the man in the labcoat sighed, grinning back at a small grouping of men and women in powersuits. “This is the fifteenth we’ve injected.”

“Where are the other fourteen?”

“We put eleven back in the wild, with trackers!”

“Hey,” she whispered, laying in the chair, puddled, squirming, feeling a welling-up of pleasure, letting it move through her in waves. “Hey, you, you did something,” she sighed, and it was hard to keep her eyes open.

“We did,” Labcoat said, grinning, coming around to undo her restraints. “We did do something, miss. Something amazing.”

Powersuit One said, “And you’re sure they’ll seek?”

Powersuit Two said, “Because this won’t be of use if they just die of withdrawal.”

Labcoat chuckled. “They’re streetkids. The pushers will know what they need, and they’ll supply it. It’s easy. I can’t believe we didn’t think of it before.”

“Then how did you lose three?” Powersuit One asked.

“Immediate anaphylaxis. Omelettes, eggs,” Labcoat shrugged. “Twenty percent shrink rate, in this experiment? It’s amazing, I’m telling you. This one seems to be doing fine. In fact, I’d say, Hey, look! Mikey Likes It!”

* * *

Flash forward, but not quite all the way.

* * *


She was picking at a spot on her arm with broken nails, chewing on her lip, leaning against the damp brick of the alleyway wall when she heard the voice, and felt icewater pour down her spine.

“Jones, hey — hey, wait, bloody fuck, damnit, stop fucking running!”

But it was the only thing left she knew how to do.

About Catastrophe Jones

Wretched word-goblin with enough interests that they're not particularly awesome at any of them. Terrible self-esteem and yet prone to hilarious bouts of hubris. Full of the worst flavors of self-awareness. Owns far too many craft supplies. Will sing to you at the slightest provocation.
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