The trip was an amazing experience for Cora; the trip of a lifetime! She visited much of Asia for about a month. Before the trip, she had lots of stress due to money, bills, and basically becoming an adult. The trip made her leave behind all of that stress; in fact, she didn’t even know what was stressing her out in the first place. The plane landed and she was finally back in Kansas City. It was August, and just in time for the new school year; she was still considering going back to college. Just as she began to wonder why nobody was moving off of the plane, there was an announcement made by an unknown speaker.
“Pardon the interruption, but there were some troubles during our flight home. We need everyone to take this pill that we are handing out. You may not exit the plane until taking these. We also have a bottle filled with tablets that you are required to take. You must take one a day, and at the end of each month, an employee of ours is going to come refill it for you. Thank you for travelling with us, and we are sorry for the inconvenience.”
Everyone was handed a small red and blue pill and rather than questioning what it was for, everyone took it without a word. Suddenly, everyone fell fast asleep in the chair they had been in on their way home.
When Cora woke up, she didn’t know how many days it had been or how she got home; all she knew was that she had an exciting trip. Cora found herself in the middle of her bed, fully clothed. Her bright green eyes looked around the room she was in, and rested on her medium sized suitcase in the corner. Dark, curled eyelashes emphasized her almond shaped eyes. Her nice brown hair, with natural blonde highlights, was pulled back into a ponytail, as loose pieces had fallen out. Her face matched her small, petite figure, and she liked it that way.
She got off the bed, leaving grooves from where she had been laying, and started to unpack her bags. As she pulled everything from the bag, she placed it in its natural home, and realized how many items she had taken on this trip; it seemed like her whole life was packed. After cleaning out the large section of her suitcase, she cleaned out the front pockets. In the smaller top pocket, she removed a tube of lipstick, nail polish, and a bag filled with bobby pins. In the larger pocket, she removed a bra that wouldn’t fit in the larger section, and a bottle of pills. Cora took the bottle and sat on the bed, remembering that she needed to take one each day.
She didn’t know what the pills did, but she didn’t care. Something in her was making her want to take the pills. It was a strange feeling; maybe this is what crack addicts felt like. Without hesitating, she went to the kitchen, put the pill in her mouth, and chased it down with a glass of water. An hour passed, then two hours. The pill seemed to do nothing for her, yet, she would continue to take them.
Weeks went by, then months. At the end of each month when she was about down to three pills, a large man would come refill them. He never had a long conversation with her. The longest they ever spoke was when she asked who he was, and he simply replied, “I work for the government.”. She got the vibe that he didn’t want to talk, so she never spoke to him more than that. This went on for a couple of months. Even after taking the tablets day after day, she saw no difference. Cora sighed in frustration.
‘What am I taking pills for if they aren’t doing me any good?’
She found herself thinking about this question a lot. Still, she continued to take the pills.
It was November 18, 2036; four months after her trip, and nine days before the state would be back to fill up her tablets. There were twelve left in the bottle. Cora went to the kitchen to take her daily pill as she normally did. Walking over to the sink, she grabbed a glass and filled it up with water. She unscrewed the pill bottle lid, and tilted the bottle to dump one in her hand. Only she flipped the bottle a little too hard, and a little too much. All of the pills fell into the sink and down the drain. All except for the two that landed in her hand. “Now what am I going to do?” she thought. But then she realized that the pills weren’t doing her much good in the first place, so it wasn’t a big deal. While swallowing one of the two pills in her hand, she put the other pill back inside their container. The next day, she took her last pill. One week would go by. That’s when the state workers would come. Cora wasn’t even worried. Plus, she was curious to see what the pills actually did.
Day one of not taking pills, and Cora felt the same. She didn’t start to feel anything until the second day. She woke up with a sharp, throbbing pain in her temples; it was probably because her body was used to taking the pill. The headache stuck with her all day, and into day three. On day three, she started to feel stress come on her. The stress she thought she had left behind her. The stress she thought was irrelevant now. The stress that had eaten away at her before she took her “trip of a lifetime”. Thinking it would help, she took a forty minute nap, dreaming only of her trip. Maybe if she got in that mindset, she wouldn’t be so stressed with everything on her plate: not having a job, not having money for bills, the holidays coming up and her having nobody to spend them with, and being so far in debt that just thinking about all the money she spent on her trip made her cringe. Her life was not the way she wanted.
Day four was one of the hardest days. Cora woke up to a bad dream at about three in the morning. She was standing in the middle of a field , staring off at something in the distance, when all of a sudden planes are flying over her and dropping bombs. She turns the other directions and runs as fast as she can, but wakes up before she find out her fate. Short and fast breaths leave Cora’s mouth as she woke up from the dream. This wasn’t the only time she dreamed of something like this that day. Several times throughout the day, she had the same recurring daydream. She is lying on the ground in a field that looks similar to the one in her dream before. She has a gun propped up under her with her hand on the trigger. And suddenly, a shot was fired, only not from anywhere near her. This bullet was coming her direction. It didn’t hit her, but hit a woman next to her. The woman’s face was very familiar, yet Cora couldn’t quite figure out how. The horror of seeing a stranger get shot right next to her snapped her back into reality. She found herself stuck in this daydream at least five times that day.
Although she had frightening dreams, Cora was able to fall asleep fairly quickly that night. Perhaps she was drained from everything going on. She didn’t care; all she wanted was sleep. She got a couple hours of sleep but she soon grew restless. She tossed and turned most of the rest of the night until she couldn’t take it anymore. Why was she having all of these dreams? Was it just a coincidence that they started happening after she stopped taking her pills? Maybe the people from state were covering up something. What would they be covering up? Was there something wrong with her? Maybe she had some special ability like seeing the future and the state didn’t want her to figure out her gift. What if those dreams that she is having is what is going to happen to everyone who wasn’t a part of the government? “Actually,” Cora thought, “that doesn’t seem totally ridiculous. That could be my problem. I’m gifted. But what about everyone else on the plane? Did they have a gift too? What if a brain changing chemical was spilled on the plane and we all breathed it in?” That seemed unlikely , but what other explanation did she have? Curiously, Cora spent all of day five thinking of possible explanations. She even went to the library on her laptop to research.
She spent the rest of the day researching and resting to try and get rid of the dreams and headaches. The dreams were becoming more vivid and realistic. They were real! The headaches and daydreams went on until she had had enough and decided to try to fall asleep. Cora tossed and turned, attempting to get comfortable but failing. She jumped out of bed when a wave of images flashed through her mind; they were all too fast to remember any of them but she saw a field. It looked so familiar. As if she knew the place. As if it was engraved in her memory. The wave of images came about every hour but only lasted about two minutes. With all of this in her head, she wasn’t able to fall asleep for longer than thirty minutes. This rolled into day six. Her pills would be coming in about twenty four hours. The headaches and dreams would stop and she could go back to normal. She was curious about what truth was being kept from her, but it wasn’t worth the agony she was in at this moment: she hadn’t slept in days, her head felt like someone was hitting it repeatedly with a hammer, and she was going insane just thinking about what was going on with her.
November 25, 2036. The truth came to her in one of her thirty minute sleeps. Her headaches had ceased. He restlessness was over. Her dreams were no longer dreams; they were real.
It was as if the pills had worn off and the truth was revealed. Cora woke up after a thirty minute nap, only this time it wasn’t because of the wave. It was because of a notion; like something inside of her pushing her to wake up. When she woke up, she knew the reality about her trip. The whole trip was a lie and none of it ever happened. She did in fact go on a trip to Asia, but it wasn’t a month long trip; she had been there for three years. There was a war against North Korea that she and many people were fighting in. The familiar face next to her on the battlefield belonged to a friend she met at bootcamp. The battlefield she was standing in was the one where she watched everyone die. The hands holding the trigger of the gun were the ones that were forced to kill many innocent people. The stress she had felt was all of her anxiety when she took a minute to realize what danger she was going to be put in. Everything in her dreams weren’t something she’d seen in her future; she had been remembering her past. Suddenly, Cora felt lightheaded.
On day seven, her flashbacks were worse than ever. She tried to forget about this information that she just learned, but every once in awhile, something would trigger a flashback and it would bring back that traumatic scenes on the battlefields. Does this happen to many people after they fight? Do many of them have flashbacks? She didn’t know. What she did know was that she would get her pills refilled by three p.m. and then things could go back to normal.