Armaranos Fend

Suffering from extreme depression, Nate Glover goes to the woods to die. There he meets Heather, who seems mentally childlike. Heather claims to live in the nearby abandoned house and tells Nate she is being given medication and has no memory of who she is. Their meeting has extreme consequences for both of them as they unwittingly save each others' lives and find themselves accused of the genocide of humanity.

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I have an agreement with father time: he is gradually healing my wound and I am endeavouring to move on and live life to the full. Neither of us is keeping up their end of the agreement in a satisfactory manner. After seven years, the wound still hurts and my life is less than full. Not even half full. In fact, I would say it is now three quarters empty.

People are hopeless at comforting the bereaved. My best friends avoided me because they didn’t want to say something that might upset me, which made me feel worse. Work colleagues overcompensated by talking too much about inane things. They were stuck in the same office as me, so they couldn’t hide. Maybe they felt that talking constantly about rubbish would stop the awkward subject from being raised.

My parents had chosen to divorce during the year of the accident. They went their separate ways and neither of those ways brought either of them closer to me. The only person in my life who has always been there for me is my elder sister, Lucy. She makes up for the void left by my parents. No one can make up for the void left by my wife and son.

Lucy is seven years older than me and has been watching my back all her life. She lives across town with her husband and pets. They have no children but Lucy tells me they are trying. I wish she wouldn’t tell me that. I don’t need to know they are trying. I don’t want my brain showing me yet more unwanted images.

People used to call me brilliant. I could use both sides of my brain; the logical, scientific side could handle any sum, whilst my creative side could produce gallery-worthy art. So many problems had obvious solutions and I found I could quickly pick up any skill. Then, after the accident, I had a mental breakdown and lapsed into a depression so great I spent hours staring at the wall. I lost my job and my home and most of my sanity. If I had been able to channel any skill into one useful purpose I might have been brilliant again but, instead, my life became pointless.

I eventually returned to work and Lucy insisted I stay with her and Jeremy until I was fully up to speed. That was six years ago. I stayed with them for two years until I found myself a small detached cottage to rent. A new job took my mind off things for a while and relative normality returned. And then something occurred to me which changed my outlook on life.

People are morons.

I started to notice that there were a large number of stupid people in the world – they would claim ignorance about subjects that were before their time, as though anything that happened before they were born was forever lost. I saw selfish and self-centred people complain they were not getting what they deserved out of life. People seemed to want everything handed to them on a plate. In addition, common sense seemed to be less common than ever it was. Lucy used to tell me it was all in my mind but I saw them everywhere; at work, in the supermarkets, on the streets: morons. If I could rename this world, Moronity would be my first choice. Welcome to Moronity, where all the morons live. Welcome to the moronisphere. I despise them all. I must be moronasphobic.

My faith in humanity dwindled and I shut myself away. I lost another job and sank back into a depression so deep even my sister could not help me through.

And that is where I am now.

My home is in Salisbury, on the edge of town, across the valley from Old Sarum. Behind my modest garden, fields contour the land, right up to a line of trees on the horizon, which marks the start of woodland. The woods belong to a stately home, abandoned in the nineteen eighties.

I used to like to walk there at weekends to get away from reality – away from people.