AUTHOR Of MEDIEVAL FANTASY NOVELS, MANY SHORT STORIES OF ALL GENRES, AND AN AWARD WINNING DRABBLIST
SUTEE by Rick Haynes
Speed Up To Endless Enjoyment is the latest moniker for the cute name, Sutee. Drugs, booze and sex have been the terrible trio for as far back as I can remember, but Sutee can be mind-blowing, addictive, yet beneficial. The human brain is far superior to any other on Earth, as it is adaptable, yet, unfortunately, underused by most of Earth’s rapidly growing population. But that changed when more and more people took Sutee. The brains of the users quickly awoke, and the world changed.
How do I know so much about this wonderful drug? I confess, for I, Sebastian Seymour, created it, or perhaps I should say, found it. I am more of a beach bum than a scientist and my life was as normal as any other human most of the time. But not anymore.
My three bedroomed home overlooking the golden sands below was left to me in my parents will. I’ll never forgive the driver of the Range Rover, especially as he left them to die inside the wreck. I needed closure but, for me, there was only one route open. Toby Hamilton-King, the drunk who killed my loving parents, would have to suffer by my hands, especially as some smart lawyer got him off. Community service wasn’t any punishment in my book.
I knew it would take months for me to plan his demise, but time was on my side and I could be very patient. After the funeral, I gave up my fancy flat in London and resigned my post of assistant editor of an outdoor magazine full of nothing exciting. The nanny state had seen to that.
Now, living high on the cliffs, my view was spectacular compared to the endless tall buildings and the massive colony of human ants constantly on the move where I previously resided. And better still, my clothes no longer reeked of pollution when I ventured to the local village for supplies. Many villagers had been friends with my parents and knowing what happened, they’d always stop to chat and to ask if I needed anything. I did, but no one could help me as the rage inside was always simmering, ready to erupt at the slightest provocation.
My need for action was like a festering wound. I thought of nothing else even when I slept. With subtle alterations, the same dream would leap into my brain and create havoc with my senses. I wanted revenge but I was lost in a turbulent sea of uncertainty. My, how to destroy Toby Hamilton-King, was eating away any rational thoughts.
Was it fate or chance? I’ll never know but my life changed forever when I took an early morning stroll along the empty beach below the cliffs. The sun was yet to smile on the sea as I closed the door of my bungalow and walked towards the weather-beaten steps which would take me to the sandy cove below. My feet touched the sand and I saw something twinkling in the light of the first sun-rays.
As if my way had been preordained, I walked towards the sparkle in the sunshine sitting in a small pool of seawater. It was a grey weather-beaten twinkling rock; roughly the size of a football. It looked heavy but it wasn’t difficult to pick up. This was different, exciting, and for once, I forgot my self-pity. I wanted to see this rock under strong lights but my brain was overloading. It was telling me to take the rock up the steps to my home, but my hands were clammy and my heart was hammering. Inhaling deeply did the trick. My usual walk along the sands would have to wait. I couldn’t comprehend but someone, or something, was calling me.
Holding the rock at arms-length, I made my way back to my home as quickly as I dared. I put a rubber mat in the bath, placed the rock on the mat and turned on the shower to wash away the salt and the seaweed. Within seconds, the grey outer covering peeled away like an orange. I turned my head to shield my eyes. As if this inanimate object understood my pain, the powerful rays subsided leaving behind a warm glow of ethereal light. Like a magnet to a piece of metal, I was drawn to the glow, and, without thinking, placed my hands on the rock, caressing it like a baby. Feeling the warmth soothing my hands seemed wonderful but my feelings of awe soon disappeared. One voice inside my head was urging me to relax, whilst another, a louder voice was clamouring for caution.
“This is a piece of Sutee,” said a velvety voice. “Sutee is an old planet, a planet too far from Earth for humans to view through their telescopes. Unlike humans, war is unknown to us, as is needing any physical form. We are not here to change your planet, to destroy humans, nor to fundamentally alter the way you are. No, we are here because you found a rock, a rock with the beating heart of Suttee deep within the core. Over aeons, we have sent many rocks through time and space with no pre-planned destinations. So far, only a few have been found. And you are one of the lucky ones.”
“Why?” My lips were as dry as sandpaper, my legs were shaking and I thought I was going mad.
“You wanted a better life, Sebastian, but more importantly, you wanted revenge. And before you ask, I can read your mind. As you are now the holder of the rock, you have the right to use some of our powers, yet if you decide to abuse the mastery beholden to you, your life will be forfeit.”
I could feel the rhythm of my heartbeat quickening but my voice was quicker than my brain. “Do what you like, I want vengeance.”
“I know you do but the consequences of such an act could cause you great harm. However, there is a way to satisfy your deadly desire without causing distress.”
I clenched my teeth and spat the words out. “And that is?”
“Sutee is a drug. It can save lives, it can cure illness, and in certain circumstances, it can be addictive. Earth has thousands of scientists seeking new drugs to cure disease and save those people at most risk. Sutee can help. Deforestation, the oceans, pollution, global warming, Sutee can help. If used properly, Sutee can be the drug to ensure all humans are equal but with none more equal than others.”
“And who will control, Sutee? No doubt one of your people or maybe one of our lying politicians?” I sneered.
“There would only be interference if you, yes you, Sebastian disappointed us.”
“Me? I couldn’t handle this on my own. I’d make mistakes. I haven’t a clue where to start. No! No way will you put this on me. Look, I’ll take the rock back to the pool and we can forget all about it. Okay?”
I turned my back, grabbed a bottle of beer from the fridge before walking onto the veranda. Surely my head would clear now, I told myself, but I was wrong.
“Why not start with something easy. You want your revenge on Toby Hamilton-King for killing your parents. Why not send him a dose of Sutee? Whilst his health will remain unchanged, he will soon be addicted. Sutee will urge him to be remorseful, to lead a different life, a better life.”
“What sort of revenge is that? Seeing someone you want to kill leading a better life is not enough. He must die.” I smacked my hands together and let rip. “You piece of shit. Why don’t you piss off and leave me alone?”
“No. You need help. Your planet is in turmoil. Earth needs help. Sutee is ready, to give you help.”
I knew insanity didn’t run in my family, yet with a voice like silk talking smoothly inside my head, there could always be a first time. But I’d never walked away from a fight and I didn’t intend to break the habit now so I shut my mouth and waited.
“Like so many others on your hellish planet, this man deserves to be severely punished. But his premature death is not the answer.”
“So what is? Will he be praying in the local church for forgiveness or collecting money for charity?” I jeered at the voice.
“All life is precious to us, yet we can understand why you, and many others like you, seek retribution for heinous crimes committed against their loved ones. We will not agree to his murder but using Suttee too often is harmful, and, eventually deadly to anyone misusing the dosage. There is no doubt Toby Hamilton-King will ignore the warnings and take too much Sutee. Thus, by his hand, he will likely perish.”
“Are you sure?” I looked down to the floor and closed my eyes. What was I doing talking to a stone when the ache in my head was growing. Was it a migraine? Did I need a doctor? I had to know more. “I don’t see how you can be so certain of his demise. And anyway, how do you communicate with so many people at once?”
“When you picked up the rock, you called us, we came to help, and, numbering in trillions, here we are. Sutee is all around you now. It exists to help you as it has with other species in the universe.”
This time, my voice was steady, yet both hands were still shaking as I pondered over my future. “I don’t believe you, I don’t trust you and I want you to go back to where you came from.”
Unfortunately, the voice I was beginning to despise cut into my reverie. “I will not lie to you, Sebastian. Planet Earth is on the edge of the abyss. It needs aid.”
“Really! You can do that?”
“No! You can. With our help of course. We can see the devastation of your beautiful planet caused by the greed of mankind. We must interfere as Sutee lives to protect all life. The power of Sutee is immeasurable. It simply needs a conduit to save Planet Earth.”
I hesitated. “And, you mean me?”
“Yes. Remember, you picked up the rock and called us.”
“How? I mean, where do I begin? No, don’t answer that question. Just leave me alone.” My voice was high pitched and loud but the words inside my head - you can do it – were soft, like a father talking to a child.
“You still have small pieces of Sutee in your bath from your washing of the rock. Take some and give them away. Those touching the pieces will feel different very quickly. Being highly contagious to a few, but not to others, Sutee will still spread quicker than a plague, a plague for health and happiness and not one of despair. And don’t forget your visits to the local village. Shaking hands, touching surfaces where others would touch, and by exhaling air from your lungs, will all result in the spread of Sutee.”
“I’m not sure about this. How much do I need? Where will it come from?”
“Sebastian, you have one of our precious rocks and the rock will provide. Simply ask for help and wait.”
I couldn’t stop my body from shaking nor the drops of perspiration from running down my back. With so many questions tormenting my brain, I wanted to turn back time and leave the rock where I found it. The phrase - pull yourself together- luckily worked. I inhaled deeply and felt my body relax - a little.
“I’m sure this nightmare must end sometime, but for now, I’ll play along with your game. Addiction, you said, but only for some like that scumbag Toby. Why?”
“Sutee reads minds, checks human bodies for signs of illness, helps with existing diseases and prevents future harm to those fully embracing Sutee. But many humans, like Toby, will demand more and more Sutee as they believe it will make them stronger, more powerful in brain and muscle. Sutee does not judge or interfere with those wishing to follow such a path. Misuse like that will take a heavy toll on anyone and death within a few years is certain.”
I couldn’t think straight. Was the voice telling me the truth? Did it matter what I said to this thing called Sutee? Or maybe there was a simpler answer? Hearing this voice meant I was either, drugged-up, crazy, or already dead. Not for the first time, I held my head in my hands, closed my eyes, and wished with all my heart for the lunacy to end.
“I can’t do this. I beg you, Sutee, get out of my head and never come back.”
“Be bold, be brave, Sebastian, and you will be a hero in saving the lives of so many human beings.”
I screamed until my throat hurt but only an eerie silence greeted me.
The last eighteen months have passed as quickly as my nightly dreams. Dark rings circle my eyes and I tire easily these days. Yet, looking in the mirror, I see a lean body and a determined face looking back at me.
I’m so glad I gave my Sutee rock to the government all those months ago. They control the supply of the drug now. More rocks arrive, not just in England but all over the globe, and massive factories are making tiny Sutee tablets for anyone wishing to take them. There are no more voices in my head but friends and neighbours taking the drug freely admit someone calls them occasionally.
The Sutee drug is now taken regularly by humans residing in every continent on our beautiful blue planet. With all the heads of state seemingly addicted and now in agreement over the future of mankind, the chances of future wars have receded. All countries have agreed on a decommissioning programme for nuclear weapons. Global trade is booming, many diseases have been eradicated and the young are growing up in a pollution-free world. With petrol and diesel cars being replaced with hydrogen models, the purer air is a blessing for every living creature. And to celebrate the second Sutee anniversary later this year, young saplings are ready for planting all over Earth. A worldwide party of epic proportions will follow and naturally, all food and drink will be free.
After seeing the latest news my heart began to beat faster than I thought possible. The record number of suicides had been blamed on the Sutee drug for being so addictive but those experts have since disappeared. And none of the huge, anti - Suttee community has appeared on any of the television channels recently. Dissenting politicians, doctors and television presenters are also absent from our screens. Those raising questions are ignored.
Yet, high on euphoric bliss, the billions of homo sapiens on Planet Earth have embraced the new order. And who could blame them now the fear of nuclear destruction has vanished, courtesy of Sutee. Undoubtedly, Sutee is responsible for persuading all nations to destroy every warship, every attack aircraft and all weapons on Earth. The clamour for peace is now racing towards a so-called, happy ending. Yet, I have a nasty itch which refuses to go away.
I may live in a wonderful world free from violence, sickness and obliteration but the number of people dying from an overdose of Sutee has dramatically increased in England.
Worldwide figures are unknown but some bloggers on the internet are predicting a global disaster of death. We are told many of those recently deceased had underlying health conditions but nobody knows the truth. Even so, I was surprised when I learnt governments all over the world were now changing their advice.
‘To ensure a healthy and long-lived life, we recommend a single Sutee pill be taken daily.’
In some ways that directive makes sense. Sutee is readily available, it calms people, helps with too many ailments to count, and is free. But those in power say little about the numbers addicted to Sutee and shut up tighter than a clam when cornered.
No matter the bloggers' suspicions, any prospect of war between nations has disappeared. A new age, a golden age if you believe the politicians, has begun.
Toby Hamilton-King threw himself off a cliff and when I heard the news, I shouted out the words I’d wanted to say for a long time. “Justice, at last, you bastard.”
I live in a world of politeness and caring now, a world without fear. When I go out, my neighbours are more than friendly, the local shops are full of good food, and children are happily playing games. I couldn’t wish for anything more as Sutee is undoubtedly solely responsible for the way we now live.
Yet, I’m not in euphoric bliss like many of the people I meet when I leave the sanctuary of my home. And that worries me. Perhaps never taking the drug in large doses, and now, not at all, has something to do with my clarity of thought.
Looking out at the deep green beyond the bay, I see several trawlers sailing off to the distant fishing grounds. The gulls are shrieking on the cliffs and the sky is alive with fluffy cotton wool drifting on a gentle breeze.
Is life truly better than it once was?
I’d like to think so, but I’ll never stop wondering about Sutee. By picking up that tarnished rock, and inadvertently, changing all the lives on our planet, I wonder.
Have I saved Earth or have I opened the gates to hell and the complete annihilation of the human race?