Mario felt the rising tide, the overwhelming weight of numbness, blanketing him from the inside. It’s curling grayness was a fog that drowned heart, mind, and soul together at once.
He felt a small flare of fear but already the alien force was drinking the emotion dry, sapping it of any impact. All he really felt was a kind of detached awareness that he should be feeling fear.
As he had gotten older, these feelings had become more frequent. He hesitated—then tapped the pump hanging on the side of his neck. There was a moment of nothing before a rush of lush colors. Blues, reds and yellows splashed across his vision, revitalizing him. Wonder thrilled him. Joy filled him.
Exhaling a breath, he used his tongue to peel back the last remaining bits of grayness that stuck to the sides of his teeth and spat it on to the ground.
All around him people with glazed eyes periodically touched their own pump. How had the generations that came before managed to live so long without the drugs to keep the madness at bay?