“Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad”
Prometheus, The Masque of Pandora
In the upper echelons of society there exists an ever growing group of individuals with entirely too much time on their hands. The members hark from around the world, but share similar traits. Often from lives of exceptional wealth, they are apathetic individuals, detached from day to day life and merely looking for the next distraction. In this club they find that something they have been seeking to fill the void. The club allows its members anonymity and encourages pseudonyms taken from ancient gods.
Now the name of the game is Despair. The members compete against each other, and a recognised hierarchy exists for individuals that have proven proficient in the past. A random person from across the world will be elected and presented to the player, who will then proceed to tear apart the person’s life in the most entertaining fashion. The resources of the cabal extend far and wide, and with the significant money at their disposal there are few doors that cannot be unlocked. The game is scored based on the speed with which the player can get the target to dispatch themselves.
It’s not clear exactly how long the club has been in existence, but the earliest records were shortly after World War 2. A small group of English officers returned from the war back to lives of luxury, and started to explore new ways in which hell could be inflicted upon an person. Over the years, the numbers have grown and imaginative characters have brought about the self-inflicted slaughter of thousands.
Over the years, rules for the game have had to be implemented. The most egregious examples would be in the late 70’s. “Ares” had just been given his target and had dropped out of sight. The cabal kept the victim under constant surveillance , awaiting what would come next. During a family dinner, he calmly walked in and executed 8 members of his family. He tossed a pistol at the poor boy, and instructed that either her shoot himself or the rest of his family would be dead by dawn. Took him 30 seconds to make the choice. “Ares” loves to brag about the fact that the “No killing” rule was brought in to bring him under control.
Now the games comprise of identity assassination and the destruction of a person’s faith in themselves. One of the more interesting examples was from “Isis”, who announced from the start that she had no care for the time taken and that this would be her magnus opus. She hired several individuals to undergo plastic surgery to make themselves identical to the target. They started to follow this young introverted woman around, always visible to her in the distance. She began to grow paranoid. At this point, the stalking escalated to several of them following at once and approaching her aggressively. She always ran from these encounters, heading home and locking her doors tight. They would post photos of her taken from her back garden through her letter box. It took 6 days before she finally snapped and opened up her arms with shards from the mirror.
The current record is held by “Morpheus”. It was quite inspired. He paid a number of actors to approach the target, and to say deadpan “wake up, you’re in a coma” then act confused when he confronted them about what they had said. He hurled himself from the top floor of his offices before the day was out.
Now there is no limitation to who can become a target, save for the members of the club. This extends to celebrities from all walks of life. Many public rag scandals have come from machinations of the club, with the now fading star watching their glamour dissolve in front of their eyes. Those who have lived the high life often cannot continue once they are cast out.
An interesting case was with “Jupiter”. They threw him a bit of a curveball, and elected a target from deep within the amazon forest. A tribesman with no significant concept of much outside his own village. He kidnapped the man in the night and proceeded to subject him to a clockwork orange-style lesson in the horrors and atrocities that have been committed by man. It took 3 days , but he clawed out his own eyes and died from the shock.
Now this brings us to You. You have been selected as the next target. My name is “Mercury” and you are my target. Knowing what you know now, why don’t you save us all some time and just swallow the goddamn capsule…
Original Author: The Silicon Lemming