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Bottled Euphoria

by NateAtNight

“That’ll be fifty dollars.” Says the British sounding girl. She can’t be much older than me—she’s very short and stout. I can’t see her face, since most of her’s covered with her dark purple cloak that’s barley visible in the dark. “Well, you’re buying in bulk, so I’ll say forty-five dollars.” She sticks out her hand, and I hand her the money. “Here,” she hands me my bottle of happiness.

I tuck it just inside my blue cloak, almost identical to the British girl’s purple one, and start walking home. Then I start thinking about the future. I could go to jail for this. This is illegal. Bottled emotions are like drugs, thought of as dirty, reality changing, and euphoria inducing. Unless you buy a sadness bottle, then it’s more like a sadphoria. But I’m buying a euphoria bottle. But it’s not for me. Why break the law if it’s not for me? But it’s for my dog of five years. Mack. He’s been depressed ever since Slinky died. Slinky, my cat. Best friends with each other. It was weird at first that a cat and a dog were friends, but it wasn’t weird to them. They used to jump around together, eat together, play together, do everything together. Now all Mack does is sleep and sleep and sleep. The vet he’s depressed, and so does mom. Doesn’t that just show you how interesting our minds are? And how emotional we are? By we, I don’t just mean humans. I mean all living beings. Dogs, cats, humans, and trees, probably. Did you know trees can communicate and defend against attacking insects?

I snap back to reality as I walk past the park that’s a block or two from my house. I see a person who’s homeless laying down on one of the benches in the park. I step towards him and fish a dollar out of my pocket. He seems to be sleeping. I set down the dollar just above his head, on the bench. As I do the man’s head brushes my cloak and the euphoria bottle inside the cloak makes a light tapping sound as it collides with one of the cloak’s buttons. The bottle falls out of my cloak, and onto the soft mud under my feet, but I have no worry. I pick the bottle back up and tuck it in my cloak again. This man is asleep and did not witness evidence of my illegal act. And even if he were awake, no one would believe an old meddling kook. He shifts on the bench and reaches into his breeches. He pulls out a gun.

“Put your hands on your head,” he points his gun at my head. “This is the police.” Says a homeless man.

My parents have always taught me to be a law abiding citizen, and I have a clean slate. Until earlier today. Should I stop, and give in? Was all of this for nothing? I could be beheaded for this.

I take off running.

“Hey! Come back here!” The police man/homeless man gets off the bench and starts chasing me. Why was he even there in the first place? Is he a police man, or not? I run past the gas station, then the market, and I circle around the buildings and head back to the park. I can hear foot steps behind me, so I step into the alley in between both buildings. The man passes by me and heads the way he came, looking confused. After he leaves, I run back to the park, and I decide cut through it instead of going around. I move through the trees with efficiency and my foot catches on a tree root. I stumble and the bottle falls out of my cloak. It bounces off the tree trunk and lands on one of its hard roots. The bottle breaks open and the shiny liquid spills all over the tree. All of it spills out. All of it. Was...  all of this for nothing?

I look up at the sky. The tree branches and its leaves block the stars, but the leaves on the tree shine brighter than any star ever could. 

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59 Reviews

Points: 3884
Reviews: 59

Sun Feb 07, 2021 10:32 am
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...

Hi NateAtNight,

A very interesting, exciting story that leaves you with many questions - while reading and afterwards. What is it about these Bottled Euphoria? Where and how are they made? Why is it forbidden to buy them? Does the government have something to do with it? What kind of dystopia is this that the main character lives in?

It feels like a prologue to a longer story, where you learn more about the background to everything. I think the idea with these bottles is very clever and in some ways even cruel, because I imagine that you extract euphoria from other people and they probably become depressed. How do you extract emotion? You leave so many questions open, one really wants to read more about it! :D

One would like to know more about it, maybe some details about the protagonist, more about the past, the dog and the cat, in which time they live and since when these bottles are available.

The story is good, but it needs a bit of polishing. Some details and background information would help to get deeper into the story. We don't get much insight into the protagonist's past, just that she (I assume it's a woman or girl) had the two pets and the cat Slinky died. I'm sure there are a few more paragraphs you could put in there to tell us more.

The ending is really poetic and beautiful, I like it very much. I interpret it as if the branches of the tree represent the people (or government), while the sky with the stars represents freedom.
The story is really great and it makes you want to know more.


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9 Reviews

Points: 122
Reviews: 9

Mon Feb 01, 2021 6:54 pm
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Vryog wrote a review...

Very nicely written. wow! I find the "I look up at the sky. The tree branches and its leaves block the stars, but the leaves on the tree shine brighter than any star ever could." line very poetic. Poor Mack never received the euphoria bottle. The effects of the "drug" is interesting... does the happiness = growth/succession?
In this universe, how are these "emotion drugs" obtained...makes you wonder where they come from. Are they extracted from people? Is that why they're illegal in this universe?

NateAtNight says...

Ooh! You got me thinking. Maybe I'll write more on this topic :D

Vryog says...

That'd be awesome! I'll keep a lookout for more!

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126 Reviews

Points: 9791
Reviews: 126

Sun Jan 31, 2021 11:33 pm
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Carina wrote a review...

Hello! I thought I'd leave you a quick review for Review Day. :)

I like the concept of this - a "bottle of happiness" or "bottle of euphoria" is illegally sold, and the MC [for this review I assume the MC is female] buys it to give it to her dog. She's caught by a homeless man, possibly police, and runs away, accidentally dropping it in the process. All of it was for nothing. It's an intriguing storyline and I want to thank you for sharing it!

The most helpful critique I can give you is to add more sensory and emotional detail, especially on inner thoughts. The MC is clearly upset if she had to go to the black market and buy this illegal bottle. How is she feeling? Numb, empty, alone? Or, since this is for her dog, perhaps terrified of any possible repercussions? Perhaps she is shaking, paranoid while looking around, feeling sweat drop down her face as the hair on the back of her neck stand up when the man points a gun at her. And when she runs, she runs with all her might with adrenaline gushing through her veins. It's survival instinct. She must do what she can to survive. But when she drops the bottle and the glass pieces are sprayed everywhere along with the liquid, she can only look down at it with an empty, hollow feeling - because all of this, all of this work, was for nothing.

That was how I imagined it, anyways. I think this short story can definitely use more of details like this. It'll bring it to life and captivate the reader's attention! :) On another related note, I'd like to see more detail on the reasoning behind her wanting to buy the bottle, namely the storyline with the dog.

There are also a few nitpicks, namely grammar mistakes on quotations. I won't mention it here, but I recommend brushing up the rules on that.

Anyways, that's it, and I hope this has been helpful! Thanks for sharing your work, and I hope you keep writing. <3


NateAtNight says...

Thanks for the helpful review! I'll take that into account :)

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15 Reviews

Points: 549
Reviews: 15

Fri Jan 15, 2021 7:08 pm
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thegoldenbird wrote a review...

Hi there!
I would like to begin by telling you that this is a well-written story and the concept is nice. It definitely got me engaged and I liked the way it ended.
However, I'd like to point out a few tiny shortcomings that I noticed:
1. Paragraph-2, sentence-3: change it to "I could go to jail" instead of "do to jail". It's a mere typo, but definitely attracts unnecessary attention.
2. Paragraph-2, sentence-16: it should be "do everything together", instead of "everything together".
3. Last paragraph, sentence-2: the plural of leaf is leaves. Not leafs.
4. The title seems a bit off, and basically spoils the ending before the story even begins. It isn't very attractive either, so I didn't actually feel like reading the story at first. Perhaps you could choose something like "Euphoria", something that attracts the attention of the reader and keeps the plot anonymous.
The above are just suggestions. All in all, I think it's a good work.
The Golden Bird

NateAtNight says...

Thank you for the feedback! I'll definitely make those edits, especially the title suggestion one. I wrote this really late at night, so I'd be surprised if I hadn't made any errors. Thanks again!

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22 Reviews

Points: 51
Reviews: 22

Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:13 pm
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cidrianwritersguild wrote a review...

Well met Nate!

We at the guild are going to share our very inexperienced opinion with you!

First we must ask, what time period is this? You mention guns and police, but then you also describe the emotion saleswoman as wearing breeches, a pantaloon reminiscent of the 1700s. Of course, you also say that the saleswoman is British, so perhaps this is a British thing?

Next, we feel that we should compliment you on your description of Mack, the centerpiece of the story. We find the phrase "dog of five years" to be greatly humorous! You've captured the essence of people's relationships with their dogs extremely well!

All in all, this is a very well-written story. We hope to see more writing from you in the future.


The Cidrian Writer's Guild

NateAtNight says...

This takes place in the distant future at some point (I'm not exactly sure when), but I can see it's very confusing.
Oh, and thank you for the feedback on Mack's description!
I wish you well in future writing endeavors!

Don't be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.
— Roy T. Bennett