Description

What if there was a drug that was irreversibly addictive?

Kyle is only one of many pitiful people addicted to pseudorphin, street name soo-juice. The difference is, Kyle, a brilliant astronaut, has the education to understand that taking just one dose of the drug is fatal. Withdrawal leads to suicide after exactly 96 hours, 100% of the time.

When Kyle is attacked and injured on a secret delivery down past the Fringe, he's rescued from bleeding to death by a young street waif named Laenei, whose hands can soothe pain. When Kyle is conscious, he's aware that Laenei needs protection from the monstrous criminals who roam the dark alleys of the lower city. But that 96th hour is fast approaching and his body is screaming for the gentle release of death.
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Excerpt:

"Just a little longer, Kyle. Don't let me down. See, I've got a theory, but the damned drug won't give me enough time to test it. If I could just find some way to let the body rest! I think the distorted μ receptors would eventually relax back into their original shape. Right now nothing but pseudorphin will fit. The body won't accept anything as a substitute, not morphine, not even pure heroin."
Morrison's voice droned on and on, an irritating background noise, like a wasp hovering just out of sight when you were sweaty and hot and in the middle of a job which required both hands and all of your concentration
"What's left to try? Sedatives, hypnosis, drug-induced coma: nothing works. All I get is respiratory failure. There's nothing, nothing that can take over for the body while the distorted receptors heal!"
Every word was as sharp as a razor, as honed as a fine sword slicing Kyle into tiny, anguished shreds, each separate bleeding cell containing more pain than he thought he could ever stand.
He screamed. The shriek ripped through his throat like a knife through rotted cloth.
Doctor, we're losing him! Doc! Give him the dose -- now!
He couldn't open his eyes, couldn't move his arms. God, was he still strapped down? Then he felt the soothing emotional and physical vacuum that told him he had been given the drug. He moved his head and felt the tug of the tube in his nose.
He heard the shush-pop, shush-pop of the respirator, and behind it the subdued blip of the heart monitor. His heart hammered against his rib cage, sending a flutter of higher pitched, faster blips into the air.
He had arrested. He had finally died. Morrison had let him go too long And the son of a bitch had resuscitated him.
"God damn you, Morrison."
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