Book 1, Chapter 7
Theo receives a message from his former academic mentor, Jasper Palmer-Smith, asking him to come visit. Theo writes that Jasper was an unpopular Oxford professor who, every year, singled out a male student to be his special favorite. Theo was flattered to be selected and worked hard to prove to Jasper that he made the right choice. In the aftermath of the Omega, Jasper and his wife moved to the country and—like many other citizens prior to the Warden’s takeover—began stockpiling food, medicine, and matches to prepare to live out their lives unaided and alone.
When he arrives, Theo observes that Jasper’s wife has gone rather senile. Jasper explains that he wants to move back to town because the Warden plans to concentrate service facilities in urban areas to provide power for as long as possible. Jasper reveals that he wants to rent part of Theo’s house, an idea Theo finds abhorrent. They discuss the “Quietus,” an elaborate, government-run event in which elderly civilians commit mass suicide. Jasper mentions that his wife has been talking about the Quietus, though Theo highly doubts this given the extent of her mental deterioration. Theo leaves Jasper without making any promises but privately admits that he is repulsed by the thought of being responsible for the old man.
As he drives back into town, Theo sees people queuing to see Rosie McCure, a famous evangelist. Theo recalls that several popular religious leaders emerged in the years after the Omega. Though many initially preached that the Omega was God’s way of punishing mankind’s sins, such an approach was ultimately abandoned as it only made people feel worse....
(The entire section is 579 words.)