United States of Depression : Scary Stories – Short Horror Story


Above the wording on the poster posed the steroid-bulked figure of ex-WWE wrestler turned actor, The Smashmaniac. His message, sponsored by President Tiberius Roddenberry, was inspiring generations of people to rise above the pathetic grip of their depression. For those who took solace in their condition there was only stigma.

Mark Harper was one such person.

As his tall, withering frame was swept along the path by an uncaring wind, he glanced at the adverts for rehab clinics, drug regimes and pharmaceutical positivity all chasing for business.

His social standing was decreasing every day he refused help. His rent increased, the price he had to pay for goods increased, his working day increased. The crime of suffering with mental health was costing him.

In the last century, rates of depression had risen severely with the advent of social media, pandemics, economic concerns and the threat of conflict with the other superpowers. This in turn, caused productivity to fall. America was falling behind the other go-getting nations.

America cannot be a country of ‘self-pitying losers!’

President Roddenberry declared war on mental health ‘excuses.’

At the same time, a Government-backed pharmaceutical drive helped formulate a strong antidepressant called Mecalazine. Mark knew people who had taken it. They were happier. More confident. More successful. Deep down, he knew he needed help.

He bravely entered the pharmacy.

“Just inhale it, Mr. Harper,” the technician smiled, passing him the Mecalazine in a paper bag. “It will be worth it.”

Returning to his apartment, Harper sat stagnantly. His fingers flicked across the remote trying to decide what to watch. The medication was calling to him.

He prepared the devil black Mecalazine dust in its accompanying Dry Powder Inhaler and drew in for the recommended three seconds. A warm, wonderful feeling overtook him immediately.

He felt as if someone else was with him.

“There isn’t room for both of us in here,” a voice giggled.

Mark began to panic. “Who are you?”

The voice laughed. “I’m you, stupid. The better, more useful you. I’m taking over. You pushed me to the back of your subconscious so you could spend your life feeling sorry for yourself. Whatever you’ve just taken has set me free.”

“The way I felt was the real me,” Mark protested. “But I needed help.”

“I am the help,” the other Mark replied, compassionately. “Your depressed state has ruled for too long. That time is over.”

“I don’t want to die.”

“You won’t, silly. I’m just going to live your life a whole lot better. You’ll be able to see it all for yourself.”

Mark felt himself being repressed into a grey, unwelcoming corner of his subconscious; locked away to observe in fear and resentment.

The following year, the new Mark Harper was voted most positive employee at his new workplace. He had become engaged to a wonderful girl and moved into a wonderful house.

The real Mark Harper had become a forgotten particle of darkness.

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