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Divine Delusions


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Olinto Arcuri was an Italian refugee. His homeland had been decimated by a nuclear strike, devastating Rome and the surrounding areas. As the ship passed over a particularly large wave, he felt his stomach drop in unison with the vessel. He couldn't bear the thought of seeing his homeland glassed over like that. He'd been a student in Southern Italy when the nukes fell; his family had hailed from Rome, and he'd lost all of them in the ensuing blast. His father. His mother. His brothers. 


He shook his head to clear the sad thoughts. Instead, he chose to look around him, out across the Mediterranean. The ship he was on was bound for Alexandria, specifically the newly-added Israeli region. It was rumored that the economy was booming and that, in addition to government assistance, employment would be easy for a person with Olinto's skills. He had extensive knowledge of CNC programming and managing multiple factories, skills that appeared to be in high demand for the Israeli-Alexandrian region.


Not only that, but the Aidennic government had proven to be tolerant of multiple cultures and religions under its administration, chiefly the now-minority Muslims. Despite all of the people on the boat hailing from Italy, they were mostly Catholics, though there were a few Aidennists in the mix. Aidennism had definitely become a small minority in Italy, mostly in Rome, before the bombs fell. It wasn't surprising that there were a few of them on-board, as they no doubt felt some sort of religious and cultural kinship with the Alexandrians. He looked to his sides, at the faces of his fellow Italian countrymen. They too, were looking for opportunity, and, like Olinto, an escape from the horrors of the mushroom clouds


He shuddered, as he remembered the day. He had been on his way to class, when a thunderous boom had rocked the very foundations that the school stood on, quickly followed by aftershocks and tremors. A few of the weaker-foundationed buildings had crumbled like a house of cards in their aftermath. It took a couple of hours, but if you looked in the direction of Rome, a vast mushroom cloud could be seen hovering ominously over the area, marking the mass grave that was now Rome. 


He had stayed in Italy just long enough to discern that there was little doubt his family was no longer still alive. He left a brief note, in case anyone in his family called or came looking for him on his off-campus apartment, before gathering and booking a trip to Alexandria immediately. He didn't know if he would find what he was looking for, out here in Alexandria. Hell, he didn't even know what he was looking for. Just solace from the immense grief and depression that was weighing down on his mind right now like an anchor. 

Edited by Biohazard
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"Hey, Olinto!" called out Nasim. Olinto turned his head ever so slightly, just enough to see Nasim out of the corner of his eye. What did he want? scowled Olinto, thankful that Nasim couldn't see his face. Olinto had come to Alexandria to work and to run away from his problems. He wasn't here to make friends, as Nasim seemed to think. Still, he put on a smile and turned around, greeting the Arab with the wave of his hand.


"Nasim, what's up?" asked Olinto, his weariness hidden under false cheer. Olinto had already made the decision to reject any request that Nasim had for him; he just wasn't up for anything social, much less with someone that he worked with. He went to work and toiled away most of his day, coming home and being far too tired, thankfully, to worry about the grief that had draped over his life like a shroud, shoving it even further down with pills. He preferred it this way, really, to sulk and be distant from people who always seemed far too exuberant about life. No, he'd much rather suppress it all with pharmaceutical abuse, keeping his mind as far away from the reality of what had happened, as possible.


"Me and some of the guys were wondering if you'd wanna come down to the bar with us for some drinks. I know you're new here, and I figured it'd be a good way to help get you acclimated," he said, the hope in his voice that Olinto would agree quite apparent. 


He didn't like having to shoot down Nasim. 


But he did it anyways. 


"Not tonight, Nasim... I've got this book that I've really been getting into, and I'm on like the last chapter. No, I think it'll be just a quiet night in for me," laughed Olinto meekly, desperately trying to pass off his lame lie. Hell, I don't even like to !@#$@#$ read, he thought mockingly. 


"Aw, well, rain check!" said Nasim dejectedly. Sweet merciful God, I'm glad that was avoided... thought Olinto. 


"Yeah, for sure man! Rain check!" echoed Olinto, excusing himself and heading towards his car as quickly as he could. He got in, slammed the door behind him, buckled, and sat back in his seat. He reached over under the passenger seat, pulling out a small pill bottle. He had a mix of uppers and downers in here, his own personal little stash. He shook the pill bottle, listening to the pills inside clink around against each other and the bottle walls. He'd have to re-up soon. 


He untwisted the cap and dumped a few out into it, carefully selecting out two uppers. He'd practiced this quite a few times since he'd started working in Alexandria. He could take two of these, and still be sober enough to drive back to his apartment, no matter how much traffic there was. He popped the two into his mouth happily, checking first to make sure no one else was around before stuffing the pill bottle back into his hiding spot. 


Olinto sat back with his eyes closed wearily, letting the strong euphoria and energy boost slowly spread throughout his body. He could feel his teeth clench slightly as the drug's effects began to sink in, but he loved, no, craved this feeling of bliss that followed. He took a deep breath, exhaling himself and feeling a few of his muscles twitch in response to the uppers. He put the keys into the ignition and turned his car over, driving through the short distance to his house swiftly. He turned into a distant corner of the parking lot, the same one that he always turned into, throwing his car in park and shutting it off. 


He looked all around, in every direction, confirming that no one else was in the parking lot with him. Olinto reached under the passenger seat, withdrawing his bottle of prescription pills. I'm not even prescribed to half the !@#$ in this bottle, he thought glumly. Shortly after moving to Alexandria, with the new-found insurance that his job offered, he went to a doctor for the first time in years. It was no surprise that he was diagnosed with clinical depression. Soon after, the doctors began to peddle drugs left and right, citing a bunch of mumbojumbo nonsense about how this pill would help with this symptom, while this pill would have excellent effects combating this symptom, and how this pill would negate the side effects of those pills.


"It's all !@#$%^&*, anyways," he said aloud to no one in particular. Yeah, he probably did have clinical depression, but it wasn't any surprise to him. He'd just lost his entire family and was in an entirely new country, trying to run away from it all. He shook the bottle again, enjoying the clinking sound. His mind wandered back to the myriad of pills inside the bottle. Turns out, it was quite easy to buy these for recreational use. It had literally only taken a simple question to a random fella at the bar to get his hands on these babies. 


He twisted the cap again, reaching two fingers in to slide out some downers. He held three in his hand, tipping the pill bottle up slightly so that he could peer down the length of it - from the looks of it, he had at least a dozen of them left. Good, he thought. For some reason, Nasim's offer to hang out with his coworkers had triggered something reckless in him. He threw the three downers back and reached back into the pill bottle, fishing another three out. The trio quickly followed the first. He twisted the cap back into place and put the bottle inside his pocket. He left his car quickly, choosing to enjoy the first rush of drowsiness inside his apartment. 


By the time he had walked up to the second story, he could feel the first signs of the downers kicking in. The inevitable creep from the downers merged with the uppers he had taken after getting out of work, creating an even stronger sense of euphoria. He felt glazed over and light as a feather when he stepped into his apartment, throwing his dufflebag from work into the corner haphazardly.


"I tink... I need tuh sit down," he said aloud to no one. He could hear the slur in his words, loving the loss of motor control that he was feeling as he staggered over to his couch. He crashed down on it, not feeling a thing as he reveled in the almost-drunken numbing that had captured his entire being in its snare. With the little bit of motor control he had left, he reached out across his coffee table to get the remote, and flicked his television on. The warm colors that emanated from the screen soothed and filled him with warmth as he basked like a lizard in the sun. 


His mind and thoughts were hazy now. He vaguely realized that he couldn't fully think in complete sentences anymore. If he was sober, that would have worried him, however the cocktail of uppers and downers had sedated his anxiety and his mind. He was floating through his consciousness, not really caring to watch the television but rather letting whatever small bits of thought and images that rose up in his mind pass through, like a movie projector on an infinite loop. 


Soon enough, his drug-addled and sedated brain decided that it was time for him to pass out, an action his body harmoniously carried out. The last thing he remembered was the television playing an infomercial about some type of new cooking knife before it all whitewashed and disappeared in a haze of euphoria and drowsiness. 

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