Too Good for this World

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2014

Affrayed had been made, originally made, in any case, by a company called DAWN Industries. Imogen knew this because she’d read and heard all about it after the suicide pact that was responsible for Jonny’s death. Apparently the game had been “hijacked”, and its creators, Nick Winterbourne and Dan Avery had been “victims” in the whole thing too. What nobody seemed to know was how or why the game had been taken over, and just as mysterious, why every copy of it had now disappeared as though it had never existed at all. On the first anniversary of Jonny’s suicide, she emailed DAWN Industries, her mood dark and dangerous.

Dear Nick and Dan, I want you to know that my husband was one of the people who killed himself after getting obsessed with your game. I know it apparently wasn’t your game, but I don’t care. If it hadn’t existed my husband would still be here. He was the love of my life. Now that he’s gone I wish I was dead too. I hope that you can live with that. Imogen.

After she’d sent it she felt worse. She thought it would vent some of her bitterness, but it deepened it. It was like her mum said about karma. Putting badness and sadness and blame into the world only made it come back and bite you. When she saw that there was a reply from DAWN Industries later that day, she almost didn’t want to see what it said.

Dear Imogen. We understand how angry you must feel. Reading your email has saddened us more than we can say. I don’t know what we could possibly tell you that would make things any better, but if you want to ask us anything about the game or what happened we will do our very best to answer you. If it would be easier for you to speak to us in person or for one of us to call you, don’t hesitate to ask. We know how inadequate it sounds to say that we are sorry, but we truly are. This should never have happened. Nick & Dan.

Long into the night she toyed with the idea of meeting one or both of them, or asking them to call her. By the morning she decided it made no difference. The game wasn’t theirs anyway, and no matter what she did, Jonny would still be dead.

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