Remy by Servius Wolf
Have you ever felt completely isolated from the world? Just so inundated with the sheer melancholy of it all? Have you ever just wanted to…escape? It may not feel like it, but you’re certainly not alone on that number. A lot of us are the same way. That’s exactly why I loved Remy. For a few precious seconds, it was like I’d been transported to another world. And I don’t mean like some shroom trip with flying dragons or demons or aliens. No, this world was a lot like ours. It was just better. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it felt good to be there. Better than this life, that’s for sure. In this place everything just always felt so wrong. My best friend Nora would jokingly tell me,
“Allison, you’re probably just depressed or overreacting, you should get help.”
Of course I never did, I didn’t confide in her because I thought there was anything wrong with me. If anything, there was something wrong with everyone else.
But, in a way, Remy made things right. It was one of those drugs that just seemed to come out of nowhere. One day we were barely scraping by on pain meds or the occasional Molly and the next it seemed like everyone got a hold of it from someone else. It came in an orange bottle, you know the ones every prescription medication comes in. I always wondered who came up with that. It was otherwise unmarked, except for the unassuming red letters scratched onto the small white tape, wrapped unevenly around the lower lip of the cap. It read, “Directions: Take One For Full Effects, DO NOT OVERDOSE. USE AS DIRECTED OR YOU MAY NEVER WAKE.” We didn’t pay too much attention to it, mostly because, much like any other drug, we knew first hand ODing on stuff like this was never pretty. All we needed was that one pill to take the plunge. When you swallowed your first tiny pink pill, it did something to you that no other drug would, something that at first honestly terrified me. When you ingested it, you would almost immediately fall unconscious. Not out cold like you’d been knocked out, no, it was more like a deep sleep. If someone pulled back your eye-lids they would would see your eyes darting manically in every direction. You wouldn’t be under for long, a single pill would only take you for about 30 seconds, but when you were under, it would feel like days.
And those days flew by, since Remy would always take you to the life you always wanted to lead. Other people lived more luxurious dreams, playboys on yachts, billionaires, kings. At least for me, life under Remy was lot like my normal life, but it was like my soul had been replaced by something more kindred, and spirited. It would shine through me, engulfing me in comforting warmth or a soothing cool depending on my mood. The first time I did Remy, I felt something I hadn’t felt for as long as I can remember, a sense of belonging. In this world, things just felt right. It was all I really wanted. After that first time, I couldn’t stop. I was totally addicted.
What I remember most of my first “experience”, was how happy everyone was to see me. My mom and dad were there and so was my little sister. They were so relieved I was home. My dad cooked me my favorite meal that night, spaghetti with garlic and parmesan . My friends all wanted to see me and hangout and have fun together. It all felt so warm and happy and so unlike what it was really like. And I knew it would end soon. The days went by like the seconds they really were. But it was completely bliss. Well, except one thing. For some reason, almost every time right before I’d wake up there would be a blurry figure in blue and white standing over me. Honestly at the time I didn’t think much of it. And just like that, I would be back in reality. But I knew I needed to go back. And I did. Over and over again for the next several days.
After a while though, things started getting…strange. It didn’t start happening immediately. Not even on the second or third time I did it, but after a week of Remy peculiar instances took place, both in my life and under Remy.
Under Remy wasn’t so bad. In fact it was still good enough to take trips back as much as I could. It’s just my friends and family, they started acting strangely anxious around me. As if any moment I would breakdown or go crazy. And again the figure in blue and white would see me off. I could deal with that though. The good outweighed that little bit of tension and like I said, I was hooked…
No, it was when I wasn’t on Remy that worried me most. The things I was seeing, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget them.. And I swear on my grave what I saw then and what I’m saying now is 100% true. You see, when I would wake up from another trip, the things I saw in the real world began to look different. It was subtle changes. If you looked at things really closely you could swear something was off about the color of them. It was like someone turned the saturation down on the world. The unnatural tinge painted everything around me, and soon enough I’d forgotten what the world looked like before it. Even so, I couldn’t get enough of Remy, and so things got worse. Soon enough the subtle saturation began getting more and more intense, whites getting so bright it was like looking straight into the center of the sun, while the blacks got so dark I couldn’t make out a single feature within them. My reality was warping in right front of my eyes. But honestly I didn’t truly realize how bad things were until one day, the people around me changed.
At first it was their faces, mostly. They seemed to twist into maligned forms, their eyes seemed to over time blacken, like when old film gets burn spots, that black with small white circles, those white pin hole pupils staring at me so hungrily. But the worst was their smiles. They were wide, from ear to ear, the teeth so eery white to contrast the sharp impossible angles at which they grew. I couldn’t get them out of my head. Suddenly I could feel a sliver of hostility in everyone around me, their blackened faces all seeming to turn in my direction wherever I went. Always smiling.
Whatever I was seeing, however, my peers still seemed the same. They were the same friends making the same lame jokes, same family bothering me in the same way. When I told Nora what I had been seeing she looked at me like I was crazy and told me I really needed to get help. She seemed genuinely worried this time. So I did. Unfortunately the doctor telling me she can’t find anything wrong with me, no matter how many times I described to her what I was seeing, wasn’t helping at all. Of course I didn’t tell her I was hooked to an illegal recreational drug. She told me that maybe I should talk to a therapist about it but I know what I was seeing wasn’t some product of a disturbed mind. I thought maybe…I could ignore it you know? Just go on with my life. Pretend I was seeing everything normally and acting normally. I thought I could, I really did. But those images and people were getting more and more disturbing. The world seemed to get even darker than usual and colors were hazing into not quite black and white, but something more sinister altogether, colors bright as they were dead. The people around me turned into hideous pitch black humanoid masses with tiny white pupils unnerving me at every turn. My friends could barely stand me with the way I acted around them when we were out in public with those things everywhere. My family eventually shunned me since I would never even show up to the dinner table, for fear of having to see another “visitor” over for dinner. The last days were the worst. The “people” seemed to go beyond merely looking, they started following me more often, looking at me more hungrily, and some even stalked me all the way home. I would hurry to the relative safety of my room during the day and almost never went out at night. If I did stay out too long a crowd would gather all slowly making their way towards me. It was so bizarre and yet utterly terrifying. The last day I remember seeing Nora at my front door just standing there. As I walked up the path I slowed myself. I knew something was wrong. Hearing my footsteps she turned around. Her face had become like theirs, black with pinhole white eyes. She smiled at me. I couldn’t take it anymore. I ran up to my room, Nora following behind, and before she got to me locked my door and wedged my chair against it. There was a faint knocking on the door.
“What’s going on Allison? Is it those things you’re seeing again? Look, we can go get help for you together. Just come out of your room.”
I didn’t believe a word she was saying. At this point she was the enemy. A horrible truth I couldn’t really come to grips with. She was my closest friend. My anchor, and now that she was like the others I had nothing to keep me going. With my newfound condition I wanted to escape this world now more than ever.
So I did what I believe anyone in my position would. I took my little orange container, about a quarter filled with the tiny pink cylindrical pills I fell in love with, and poured it all out into my hand, my other one shakily clutching a glass of water. In one fell motion I threw the pills down my throat, a large swath of water helping it down soon after. I layed on my unkempt mattress and closed my eyes like I’d done hundreds of times before. But I knew this time I wouldn’t wake up. I thought maybe I could escape forever. That there was, perhaps, a sliver of a chance that I could be happy in that better version of the world forever. It was all I had at that point. Soon, the darkness engulfed my mind and I was gone.
Then, I woke up. But my old room had gone. It had been replaced instead by a sterile white one. The walls seemed to reflect a plastic sheen, the work of the bright bluish white emanating from the LED light fixture hanging daintily above. Around me were what looked like advanced medical equipment. The only monitor reading I could understand was my heart rate. You know basic vitals, that notch of a single heartbeat interrupting the long white line tracking across the screen in a steady rhythm. I was alive. But how? Of the many strange readings seemingly being taken, the most peculiar was a large monitor in the center of the module to my left. It looked like a recording of a crowd of people all surrounding a small building. Something was strangely familiar about it. Almost as if prompted by my inquisitive thoughts, the door on the far end of the room opened and a man in blue and white garments walked into the room unawares of my awakened state. Without even glancing in my direction he robotically walked over to the desk and began writing something into a manila colored folder clipped to a plastic board. After a few minutes of watching him, he finally turned around to check on his patient- me. As soon as we locked eyes, his widened and he froze. Once I had gotten a good look at him I too must have looked like deer in headlights. He was the man in my dream. The man in blue and white before I’d wake. He finally peeled his gaze away from me and looked at the various monitors in the room. After checking them and then double checking them he finally turned back to me. Then he spoke.
The strange man cautiously walked over to my bedside, opened a drawer and took out an imposing looking syringe and a translucent mask attached to a tank. As he was taking the cap off he looked back at me.
“Listen…Allison right? We can’t risk it again. I’m going to have to put you back under until we figure out-”
“NO! I’m not going back…to that place.”
The doctor looked bewildered by my response, but complied and put the syringe away.
“Oh my god…you’re actually awake.”
I didn’t understand what he meant but before I could ask he began pacing quickly to several other instruments in the room.
“W-we have no idea what happened. You went into a coma, but as far as our vital signs monitors were reading nothing was wrong. Blood work was fine, no signs of trauma as far as we could tell. What we did see, was that your brain activity was going all over the place. Your body was producing and exerting extreme amounts of energy but your epinephrine levels were normalized. We’ve been trying to understand why you wouldn’t wake up, honestly we’d never seen anything like it.”
He was talking with such speed and excitement I could barely process it all. I was in a coma? I didn’t know how to believe it. In fact I wasn’t sure if I did. That this place I was in was real and everything before was… something else altogether. Like some kind of horrible fever dream. Could he be lying and I in some kind of strange purgatory? After taking a moment to collect myself, I began again
“How long have I been asleep?”
A worried, if not terrified, look overtook the visage of the doctor. He laid his back on the bedside.
“Well it’s not quite that simple I’m afraid…you haven’t been asleep this whole time. You kept waking up. You don’t remember that?”
“What? No, of course not this is the first time I-”
It suddenly dawned on me. Those experiences with Remy. It all made sense. I was here. But how? And why did it take me back?
“It was the Remy.”
“The, the… recreational drug I was taking. It brought me here for a little while, then I would go back to that place.”
“By that place, do you mean this one?”
He motioned to the large monitor showing the crowd in front of that same building. Upon closer inspection of the strange instrument I had realized the video was not just any building. It was my house. I thought maybe the camera was low quality or it was some kind of error but there it was. And the crowd was similarly recognizable. But this was a more sinister familiarity. With unnerved certainty I’d realized that crowd wasn’t made up of people. It was those things I saw. The pitch black forms, the white pinhole eyes that seemed to pierce into the very fabric of my thoughts. I never wanted to see them again, but here they were. The doctor seemed uninterested in the image and continued our previous engagement.
“Recreational drug you said? Interesting. That is a strange manifestation of it, but dreams rarely make sense of these sorts of things. It seems we were on the right track…” The doctor slowly slipped into a state of merely mumbling to himself.
“Manifestation of what?”
The doctor’s line of thought was clearly interrupted and he looked back at me with gentle concern.
“We tried a lot of things to bring you back. Like I said we’d never seen anyone in a state like yours. The last thing we tried was a drug called TC2-538. It had only ever been used on mice and the results were…inconsistent to say the least. Completely experimental and wholly unethical to use on a human subject. But your parents got desperate, they signed the forms and so we performed the injection. The idea was to basically isolate a bromine compound in your cerebrospinal fluid that would dictate whether you were awake, in light sleep, or deep sleep.The drug inserted a synthetic version of the compound to alter these levels and force you into an awakened state. We thought it failed. We were on the cusp of giving up on you. Then you woke up. Of course it wasn’t like this time. When you’d wake up before, it was like you were in a trance or lost some of your cognitive function. It was like you weren’t all there. And then after a couple days you would just fall unconscious again. Your family or friends, they would bring you back here. I’m not sure what changed this time. Why you’re ok now.
“I think I might have an idea.” I said pensively. I didn’t want to tell him that I basically killed myself using Remy but at the same time I wanted to tell him everything. I wanted someone to understand. He looked like he wanted to press me more but I quickly changed the subject to the strange monitor.
“What is that, and how is it seeing that other…place?”
“It’s…well to be honest I don’t even know the name for it. It’s military tech, classified everything. They came to us once news got around inner circles about your…special condition. They needed a test subject and your father and mother needed answers so they brought it here. Didn’t tell me exactly how it worked but it seems to take information in your thoughts, brainwaves, signals, subconscious and visualize it into a sort of image. It’s far from perfect. It updates itself every 5 or so seconds based on any changes. I think in the future they want it to visualize perfectly synced video feeds of people’s thoughts. For interrogation and data breaching. Scary stuff.”
He shifted uncomfortably.
“As for image itself. I thought you might know a little better than me. It’s your mind after all.”
The image, for a fraction of a second, blinked white and then returned to the image. There was nothing obviously different in this refreshed image, at least to me.
“Well, that is my house right there. But those..things crowded around it. They used to be regular people. Even my family and friends. But they started changing after I took Remy. Always…smiling at me. I can’t get them out of my head.”
I sat in quiet contemplation for a few seconds. The hum of the various instruments filled the void of silence. Something was bothering me about this whole situation. The image blinked white signalling another refresh.
“You said it was visualizing my thoughts right? But I know that place isn’t anything I’ve ever thought up. It might be in my head but it’s not mine.”
The doctor laughed.
“What’s so funny?”
“This is ridiculous. It can’t be possible but I’m choosing to believe you. Only because I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of this for the past 5 months.”
He continued, pacing back and forth.
“You said the house was yours. It was only until we started dosing TC2-538 that you saw them that way right? Well…maybe they were pretending? Maybe they were hiding in your thoughts and memories. As people you’ve seen before.”
“But why? And what are they?”
Before the doctor could respond the image on the monitor blinked white once more. But this time something was different. The crowd wasn’t facing the house anymore. It was facing in the direction of the monitor. It was facing us. My head hovered closer to the screen. The faces of the things that made up the crowd now twisted into shapes so filled with hate and vitriol, I would have welcomed the sight of those smiles again.
“Something’s wrong. Why aren’t they smiling anymore?”
The doctor was equally disturbed by the image. I suddenly felt a knot in my throat. I wanted to throw up.
“Maybe when you were there they were happy.”
“They want you back.”