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For Your Own Good

They start giving you the pills when you're young.
Studies showed that most missing children were under six years old, but of course younger than two years get the standard VaxxTrack Series 2083. Once you're old enough to understand how to swallow pills, they put you on the Traceable Tablet. At first it was only available in cherry and grape, not exactly the most popular flavors for kids. When my daughter was old enough to start taking them, they had all sorts of flavors:
The new VitaTrace! Complete with 64 flavors your children will love!
Somewhere along the line, they started coming out with new adult vitamins. You could find them anywhere, over the counter, and each flavor had a different purpose. Not everyone jumped on the new vitamins trend, but soon doctors and pharmacists were cutting deals with drug companies and then when the military became involved, you didn't just not take your vitamins every day. Soon, all the vitamins were manufactured by VitaTrace Inc., capable of locating each and every person no matter where they were.
No one thought much of it. After all, disappearances, kidnappings, runaways, all sorts of scenarios like that were wiped out in a matter of months. People started noticing differences in the way they felt--safer, more secure, knowing someone somewhere knew exactly how to find them if something happened. Parents let their children go back outside and play again, and even adults started becoming more sociable.
Questions started being raised when a community of naturalists all died of mysterious causes. Doctors and scientists said it was some new airborne disease, and the reason why the rest of us were still alive was thanks to the daily vitamins we took every morning. So we kept taking them. Then, as a few more communities started questioning their need, they also succumbed to the strange airborne sickness.
Now, standing here in line, holding my daughter's hand, I wonder if that wasn't when everything turned for the worse. It's our turn, and I step up to the counter. The nurse hands me a cup with a VitaTrace. Ah, blueberry! She then hands my daughter one, and my daughter grimaces. She doesn't like the lemon ones.
The gun clicks behind my head.
"Take your vitamins!" the nurse says cheerfully. And we do.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, March 5th, 2018

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