Not lost

Today’s Author prompt:

She read the label which said in bright, bold lettering: “Guaranteed to cure what ails you!”

My story:

Note: Also inspired by an episode of Doctor Who when the Doctor and Martha are in New New York and people are selling emotions on the streets.

Emotion enhancers were addicting. She knew this. Isn’t this the same path that he chose? She could still envision the disappointment on her mother’s face and her hunched back as she waited for his return the night he went missing, her aging hands pulling the blanket closer around her chilled skin. The winter was unforgiving that year.

Hadn’t she condemned her brother’s behavior? She thought him weak and turned up her nose and abandoned him in disgust when he sought out the pills. She left him wade through his depression alone.

“Here, Miss! You’re looking a little down. Why not try some ‘Optimism’?”

The alley vendor watched his customer read the pill boxes’ labels and their surroundings with split attention. The grime on his face made his eyes abruptly white. Between his energy and his appearance, the man appeared mad. He needed to make the deal and soon.

“Come on, love. What will it be? ‘Content’? ‘Ease’? ‘Passion’?”

The girls stared at the black market merchant, not knowing what to choose, if she wanted to choose. She could only feel the loss of her family gnawing inside her like a ravenous rat. First her brother. Then her mother.

So many of the missing had tried to replace negative emotions with concocted, laboratory substitutes for positive feelings. Would her face be added to the roster of the lost? No one would notice her absence, what with her family dead.

“I know what you need. Here, try ‘Ardor.’ It’ll give you a sense of purpose.”

The girl’s eyes widened.  She shook her head and disappeared around the corner leaving the dealer behind her. There was more purpose than becoming invisible.

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