The Citrus Syndrome
❝The Citrus Syndrome is just about the worst way there is to die.
It starts with the physical illness. Vomiting, chills, hot flashes, abdominal pains, fever, muscle aches, bleeding, coughing, fatigue, headache, nausea -- You name it, we've got it. Oh, rashes too.
At least it's not difficult to identify someone suffering from it. All the test subjects shared the same ashen complexion, same watery eyes and deteriorating bodies. It eats you from the inside out, until you crumble into nothing.
Sure, you might say, that's bad. But what makes this the absolute worse way to die?
The psychological stage.
You're lucky, if you don't make it that far. Hopefully, you just contract it and kill yourself or choke on your own vomit -- spare yourself the pain.
In our research, we were able to locate the part of the brain that first latches onto phobia. The part that holds your deepest fears, and where they came from. By far, the most dangerous part of the brain to mess with.
I was never present for the physical experiments. Ignorance is bliss, they say. I put my chemistry degree to good use, and that was all. I didn't want to see what happened to the test subjects. We had been convinced that everything happening at the facility was humane. But I wasn't so sure.❞
#235 in Science Fiction 2/12/17
Cover by @calebwhite13