“I just don’t want to live anymore”
The patient stared at the therapist, legs crossed softly in his seat.
“How long have you felt this way?”
The boys shoulder shrugged,
“For as long as I can remember really…”
The therapist glanced down at his notepad:
July 29th 2340AD: Patient found in his room with a belt tied around his neck. The patients parents were informed and now await results from “The Decision”.
June 15th 2340AD: Patient checked into The Facility. Earlier in the afternoon, parents found patient in a closet. He was writing a suicide note on his tablet. Before arriving at The Facility, patient attempted to drown himself in a bath tub. Patient stated:
“I was trying to choke my breath out.”
May 5th 2340AD: Patient brought to The Facility with visible lacerations across his forearms. Patient stated:
“Cutting allows me to feel the pain. It allows me control it. I lose the sadness when I focus on cutting.”
The therapist looked up from his notepad and eyed the young man inquisitively:
“How come you’ve never succeeded? How come you’ve never killed yourself?”
The young mans cheeks ran flush:
“I mean…I’ve tried. Can’t you see that? That’s why I’m here isn’t it?”
The therapist looked down at his notepad, and then back up at the boy.
“It looks like you’ve tried several times but, it appears you haven’t followed through with your intent. It says here that you’re sad, depressed even…
I’m wondering how it is that you’re not dead.”
The boy looked away from the therapist and down at his forearm; sharp sketches protruding his skin like cat claws.
“…I don’t know…I’m just lucky I guess…”
The therapist adjusted himself in his seat, and reached an arm into the desk.
“Yet still, you continue to try. And, you continue to show up at this facility.
It makes me wonder…
Do you really want to die?”
The boy looked up, locking eyes with the therapist.
The therapist pulled back from his desk and walked towards the boy, leaning forward to place a 9mm handgun on the coffee table.
“What’s that for?”
The boy adjusted himself, making space on the couch as the therapist sat down beside him.
“You said you want to die…here’s your chance.”
The boy looked at the gun and his face dropped, eyes settling on the floor.
The therapist reached into his pocket and handed the boy a letter:
To The Facility at Willow Space Estate:
We acknowledge that our son has had repeat visits in regards to the state of his mental health. None of the treatment methods have had an effect on his suicidal ideation. He continues to cut himself and has now attempted to commit suicide for a third time.
We write this letter to give permission for an alternate means of treatment.
In accordance with the “Right to Life” ordinance of Year 2132, we give permission for our son to participate in “The Decision”.
We love our son.
It is with heavy hearts that we allow him to decide, for himself, what he really wants.
When he turned 21, his negligence toward self-care had become apparent. He floundered in academics at University and struggled to maintain a sense of balance during his years in Trade School.
Now, weeks away from being admitted into The Society, he continues to struggle.
We feel that he should be allowed to make an adult decision before his 30th birthday.
We don’t want to see him fail, and for that reason, we want him to decide, for himself, what he really wants.
We don’t want him to suffer anymore.
We dutifully accept the decision that our son will make, and we will continue to be grateful for The Society that has allowed for his treatment.
With love and respect,
Mr. & Mrs. Lundergard
The young man looked up from the letter, tears glistening in his eyes.
“So this is it…”
The therapist eyed the young man and opened his mouth to speak:
“This isn’t about your parents. This isn’t about me, or our facility. This is about you.
You’ve shown a complete lack of care during our programmed activities. Little to no effort across the board. You seem completely unable to try something that would challenge, and eventually re-route, your suicidal ideation.
None of our efforts have been matched, and now, you have to make a choice.
The Society can no longer afford to help you.”
The therapist slid the gun towards the young man.
The boy eyed the pistol and glanced around the room. Cream colored walls surrounded him and a small porthole blinked light sporadically from the hallway.
He stared at the light and imagined what death would feel like.
He contemplated his life, reliving memories: searching for something that reminded him of happiness.
He imagined his future and saw nothing.
The young man put the gun up to his temple and turned to face the therapist.
“I don’t know if I can do it.”
The therapist stared at the young man and nodded empathetically.
The boy began to shake, his eyes watered and he stood up to walk around the room.
He went towards the door and peered out of the porthole. Beyond the glass stood an elevator with a full array of blinking multicolored buttons.
The young man turned from the porthole and stared at the cream colored walls ahead of him.
He lifted the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger.
The therapist reeled back as the patient fell to the floor.
The boy grunted and shoved the 9mm underneath his chin:
The boy squeezed the trigger repeatedly, the pistol misfiring after every pull.
The therapist stood from the couch, walked towards the porthole, and touched a pad; a doorway slid open and he stepped into the elevator.
He pressed a blinking button and turned around to face the patient. The door closed, muffling the boy’s cries as the elevator began to ascend.
The young man slowly stood up, alone in the room with cream colored walls.
An intercom crackled:
The boy slouched to the couch and sat down. An image appeared in front of him and a film began to play:
“The Decision” has been preparing our youth for centuries. Since its inception, those who have participated in the experiment have gone on to lead as prominent figures in many fields. Including: psychology, philosophy, anthropology, and artistry.
Graduates of “The Decision” have been afforded a special place within The Society.
As a recent graduate, you have answered the call to action. You have made the choice to end all choices and must now accept the burden of your life.
It is no longer yours.
You have been selected to begin apprenticeship and will not be allowed into The Society.
Instead, you will begin the Ancestry of Artistry program.
There are things that you can do, tactics you can take to combat the intrusiveness of your suicidal thoughts, but…
They will never leave you.
There will be moments of compounding pain. Times when the burden of your thoughts, your emotions, will be too much to bear.
Stuck between the stagnancy of a life worth living and the decrepit deceit of your own mind; an all encompassing emotional angst- the ridges of death beckoning you towards infinite darkness.
You’re wired differently, and as such, you must equip yourself differently.
Now, the journey towards realizing your life task can begin, and we welcome you to the next phase of your development.
An opportunity to combat your natural regression and provide our culture with the fruits of your labor.
You will learn to act out on your emotional impulses, find what you love, and birth it into the world.”
The film stopped.
The boy leaned back on the couch and looked at the pistol lying on the floor.
He stood up and walked towards the gun, bending over to pick it up as the porthole slid open.
The therapist stood in the elevator, beckoning the young man to approach.
The boy took a step backwards, pressed the pistol against his temple, and pulled the trigger.
Blood splattered the cream colored walls and his body slumped to the floor.
To Mr. & Mrs. Lundergard:
We regret to inform you that your son will not be entering The Society, or our Ancestory of Artistry program.
During “The Decision”, you’re son was offered a place in the artists community to live, work, and learn how to best translate his unique perspective for benefit of The Society.
Generally, the experiment has proven to shock a person into a state of awareness.
The influx of emotion when confronted with death sparks a mind to break free from genetic disability.
Your son proved to be different.
We expected him to accept the call to action and begin his training at the artists colony. In most cases, we use emotional momentum from “The Decision” to ignite a change of attitude for the emotionally challenged.
Most of our graduates learn to embrace their weaknesses, implementing them into a realm of expressive self-discovery.
The theoretical physicist Ellen Ripley used her depression as a means of communication.
Noted for her discovery of the Universal Space Dynamic, before achieving a peak of performance in the field of science, her poems and short stories inspired a multitude of “The Decision” graduates to continue challenging their own suicidal ideation.
Her scientific work changed the way we perceive time and space, while her literature inspired hundreds of people to save themselves.
But, her family never saw her again.
Ripley chose to die during “The Decision”.
It is rare that a person makes the final choice. The boundaries set within our VR program make it difficult for a subject to follow through with a final act of suicide. In our research, we discovered that the shock of immediate death is enough to change the trajectory of a persons neurobiological impulses.
It is extremely rare that a subject follows through with their intent to end themselves.
During the simulation, your son followed through with his suicide. He killed himself.
Now, we regret to inform you that you will no longer be able to communicate, or see, your son for the extended future.
Your son has to believe he can start over.
You will no longer be able to contact him and his life will begin anew; free from the bounds of parental, or environmental, influences.
He is starting a new life for himself, a life that will be created at his own discretion. We will maintain an environment of interest immersion as he begins his journey towards self-mastery.
In the future, he will re-emerge into The Society, but not as a citizen. He will reintegrate as a leader.
His attitudes, his actions, and his beliefs will have changed, but, he will forever be your son.
“The Society” commends you for producing such a valuable asset and we are excited to see the work your son produces.
We look forward to re-introducing him.
In continued growth for discovery,
Dr. Erick Von Wheeler
Chief Psychiatrist and Virtual Reality Consultant
-The Facility at Willow Space Estate-
“Wake up…its time to start”
The boys eyes opened and he glanced around the room.
Vibrant tapestries covered the walls. A desk with a monitor and keyboard sat at the side of the room and a touchpad blinked softly next to a doorway.
In front of the doorway was a woman.
She smiled and motioned him towards her.
“The program is at your discretion…”
The boy sat up and looked down at his arm. No scratch marks or cuts. He lifted his hand to the side of his head and felt for the hole where the bullet had entered. He felt the coarseness of his hair, the smooth of his skin.
“What happened? Am I dead?”
The lady smiled, “In a sense, yes.”
Behind the woman, light from the hallway began to shape and bend. First, a beach, then, an amphitheater packed with people, followed quickly by a mountain with a snaking path amidst a forest of snow.
“Come, let me show you around.”
The young man stood up and walked towards the woman. She put her arm around him and stepped into the hallway.
“What would you like to do?”
The hallway faded out and blended into darkness. Pin cushions of light appeared as the room expanded into a cosmic view of the universe. Galaxies, stars, and planets shone brightly all around them.
The boy looked back for the doorway and saw a space station, shuttles moving in perpetual motion as they docked and disengaged.
The boy tensed his muscles and willed his body towards the station.
Together they flew, and for the first time in a long time, the boy smiled.