Norman Shins lived in a large bland city known as Festin. It was tall and strong and grey with stunning skyscrapers made of glass but a thick fog that held them from those on the streets below. He was a bookkeeper and wanted to make an honest living. His fame came from his lies that told of two friends that really had their say.
He wrote one note that stated boldly:
“They knew of only one man who stayed in a form of madness that seemed out of place in an otherwise matriarchal household. “
This was odd in Festin, and odd for Norman Shins. He had a tendency to write aimless letters with bad grammar and more small marks from tears than of punctuation. In the factory he worked, the main platforms were brown, small rectangular rows and columns he needed to fill with minute details of the past days work. This meant he stayed up late pushing paper nearly every night.
This would have been lonely to some but he had a colleague who felt forced to keep him company in the same small cubicle. But this action was simply because the boss needed to instill fear and power for respect. He thought that nothing that truly bothered him besides the small gap between the blades of the forks he told Norman every night at dinner.
It was easier to believe in that sort of thing than tear the tormenting darkness in the world away from his inner light. It helped keep him centered.
Norman sometimes thought aloud that he was the only fair bookkeeper in this land. He may have thought he were the only fair person. Their leaders and the common folk held strange regard for those who abused their power and set this norm. It started as fear, Norman figured, but became a triumph of culture to demand people did one’s bidding.
But Norman just kept books. His boss would command to make sense of things on threat that he would simply die. It was he or his staff, in the end, as Norman and his cubicle partner Harold needed this position to keep their mortal shell. Neither had family to care for. That seemed for the best because it was how their boss had raised them. No one had a family in this land. The eerie Darkened Guards would take all children to the nearest orphanage as soon as they were born. It was considered a sin to avoid telling a superior that you were expecting a birth.
It was argued that this sped the process of growing. Studies backed by the Main Office of Ready Birth in Festin suggested that orphaned children left home and became self sufficient much quicker than those children coming from more affluent backgrounds. Norman was sure that some simply died though the official numbers that were available to the public stated clearly that overbearing parents often ceased the development of their otherwise stable and capable children. Norman turned one night to his only true friend and said, “Harold, we have no mortal shell outside this office. You sleep two blocks away and I sleep one block away. Is this what life is?”
Harold refused to answer and did not speak all night, passing even at the end of the night when Norman waved as they took their leave and headed in opposite directions from the front gate outside the building and into a hazy morning light.
So the next night Norman asked the same question. Still Harold just looked at his books. Silently and simultaneously they wondered and subliminally left the office without missing a pen stroke. By some sort of luck, or perhaps just fate, the papers moved away and they found a small grey book.
This book appeared old, as the inside cover claimed it was written in 2009. Harold read the title to Norman in a calm yet nervous manner, trying to hide his glee and shaking hands. The title was bold and black on a simple matte white background. It was gritty to the touch. A symbol neither man knew was in the center, marking a brief red outline that played tricks with their eyes.
“So You Say You’ve Committed Genocide – A Handbook For Going to Hell.”