In the dystopian utopia that is the near future, Life Contract insurance enables the offspring of the super wealthy to exist without pain or risk of death. Through a contractual anomaly, Rupert Archibald experiences an accident so painful that it turns his consciousness inside out, marking him with a quality otherwise absent from his stratified peers, who form a pain-seeking cult around him.
To exist is to experience pain. Whether it is the physical pain of inhabiting a mortal body, the emotional pain of frustrated romantic longing, or the existential agony of slamming repeatedly into the same unmoving spiritual wall, to feel pain is to be human and to be human is to understand this story.
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