The year was 2051. It was winter, and the outdoor temperature was hovering around ninety-five degrees Fahrenhiet.
Of course, I was holed up inside. Everyone was holed up inside, just as they always were -- that is, of course, except for the dregs and radiation mutants.
You see, back in the thirties, a new painkiller was developed and put on the market. It was a real hit; it was more effective than Advil or Tylenol and was used in almost every household. What the pharmacists didn't know, though was thet when the tablet or gel capsule of the painkiller was exposed to sugar (outside of the digestive system), it became a heavily psychoactive drug. This, of course, was passed around quite prolifically and unstoppably, as everyone thought it was unaddictive and harmless. The drug, called "cloud," was distributed mainly in airports, trainstations and warehouses, or in places where statues were present. Earlier in my life, I'd had some pretty bad experiences with the kids hanging around these places.
However, reports started popping up of people who had gone missing after flying into unquellable rages while using cloud and running out into the night after horribly maiming or murdering everyone around them. By this time, it was getting dangerous to be out in the sun during the day, so it was assumed that they'd died.
Retrospectively, these cases all had a few things in common: the beserkers in question had all recieved the vaccinations against cancer that were now being handed out as freely as vaccines against the flu, they were all using cloud, and all of their freak-outs had occurred at night after the sun had set.
These beserkers were (well, are) the dregs; the reason everyone disposed of their painkillers, the reason no-one goes outside anymore, and the reason why no houses are allowed to have lights on at night. The dregs are attacted to and infuriated by it.
My family and I are currently staying in what used to be my grandmother's house, out in the suburbs. She died just a few years after this all started to happen. Some days, I wish I had met what seems to have been such a timely fate.
Anyways, this day dragged on like any normal day. Once the sun had risen, my brother, sister and I pulled on our astronaut suits (which had imporved over the years and became available to the general public "for all your traveling needs." Which reminds me: the richer class made a break for it at the beginning of the thirties and went to live on the moon.) and strapped on our oxygen tanks before opening the reinforced back door out onto the jungle that the world had become.
The plants and animals, of course, had adapted quickly, developing waxy coverings to keep out radiation and growing tougher, spiny skind to ward off dregs and radiation mutants. Humans, after living in evolutionary stagnancy for so long, had been incapable of adapting to the changes.
Our goal this afternoon was to replenish our stores of fruits, greens and meat, if we could find any of the latter. The fruits and veggies were easy; we'd always had a garden, so the smaller plots of stawberries, salad and flowers had transformed into larger areas for our mini-sustenence-farm that had grown up with the jungle. I'd never been so grateful for all the canning mom had done when I was a kid -- food preservation is extremely easy when you can just put all your edibles in glass jars in the basement.
Somehow, we ended up staying out past sunset, even though there was no way that the oxygen in our tanks could've lasted that long. The lights in the house were on, and I began to get the sickening feeling that we were being watched.
A strange, stick-thin man stepped around the corner of the house, regarding us with wide, huge eyes that reflected the moonlight in a perfect sheen, making him apppear blind. He smiled a slow, feral smile. That's when my siblings and I bolted for the door.
We managed to close the screen door on him, but couldn't manage the second, reinforced door for some inexplicable reason. As the dreg punched his hand through the glass, I woke up.