Hiroshi lore #1
Chapter one: The last night
The room has stayed untouched since that night. A microwave oven with a crusted plate, a stereo placed on the coffee table with withered fruit and scattered sheets.
A dim light illuminates only a part of the room, highlighting some sort of poorly set up operating table. The tools were few and poorly organized. The mirror was scavenged from that neighborhood’s non-recyclable waste, it had been placed in front of a car seat, that too scavenged somewhere.
The ceiling and the corners of the walls were littered with cobwebs, mold and dust. A graveyard of moths, flies, mosquitoes and a few fruit flies.
Time seemed to stand still in that room. Even after all those years, it still had that same yellowish-greenish light, that same suffocating and abandoned feel.
Detroit, United States of America | 2500 AD
« Sometimes, at night, I would leave the lights on in my lab, making sure the computer kept making noises… music videos, podcasts. Then I would sneak out the back and walk through the woods silently. I walked for a long time, until I reached this place, for looking at every corner, every detail. After turning the stereo on, I used to sit up and look at myself in the mirror, hoping that one night I would once again be able to see myself».
The boy’s voice was flat, composed. He stopped only to smoke, in quick fashion, greatly considering the words he was about to say. His gaze was dark, distant.
Hiroshi was sitting in front of a woman who was watching him intently.
« Is what is rational real?” You repeat this phrase quite often, Hiroshi. A room witnessing your human past, your mistakes, your hopes. That mirror and its reflection are important, because you feel that you have lost your reflection, your identity, as an individual. Is that mirror perhaps telling you that you’re not real? »
Hiroshi lights his cigarette up once again, the sound of the flame igniting interrupts the silence that followed Selene’s words. He focuses on the warmth of the smoke in his throat, as he slowly inhales.
He relaxes and closes his eyes, once again viewing images from the night that marked his end as Hiroshi, resulting in the birth of The Eschatological, the name by which everyone would have addressed him from then on.
« Monsters and irrationality ».
Although there was silence, he could still hear the muffled melody of that piece of music accompanying his last breaths. He was sitting in front of that mirror, trying to save his life. He didn’t have to do that, but he had no other choice. Acute pancreatitis, unimaginable pain and no support. He was alone, without money or documents.
He could only rely on himself and on the meager studies he had amassed over the course of his bankrupt college years. The last clear images in his mind are his bloody hands and shaking scalpel, ready to attempt a rudimentary cholecystectomy.
« Not all monsters are irrational, just as being irrational doesn’t necessarily mean being a monster. You obstinately refuse everything that your mind cannot justify with the principles of logic, to the point of denying your own existence and that of your fellow men. You perceive the strong physiological and psychological changes of your new condition, but clinging to an anachronistic and binary psychology and philosophy, you refuse to evolve and accept change, depriving yourself of the absolution and understanding that you should allow yourself. »
« I tried so hard to figure out what I have become, Starling. Ever since the very first moment, I tried with all my heart to understand what was happening to me. Those shadows, that cold, the music becoming more and more muffled and faint. Each disintegrated light, devoured by those shadows that monsters call the Abyss. His cold touch on my shoulder, the sound of his voice, the terror in my guts »
« The human brain is not able to sustain absence of impulses, which is why had to create your own stimuli in order not to go crazy, according to an etiological approach you have suffered a trauma, which causes you to react with pessimism and rejection in front of your new nature; however, I do not appreciate etiology, therefore I must tell you that it is an excuse you use because you don’t want to admit the limits of science, nor those of your senses. You fear that there may be tangible proof of the divine’s existence, something validating the dogma, going against your ideals as a rational advocate of natural sciences, and this is where you are wrong. Science and unknown are not enemies. »
Hiroshi’s gaze meets the psychoanalyst, poorly concealing the resentment and anger he felt for those statements of hers.
He also gave that look at the woman who had made him different, right in that room. She arrived after the shadows – he hadn’t imagined it – and told him, with a German accent, that she was now obligated to take him to the other side. His practice was over. Now, he could be one of them.
But he had never felt like one of them. He loved being as he was.
« I tried hard to fit in, I’m not a fool or a stubborn guy. I tried every night to understand my new condition, but apart from all the energies I spent, what I found in my hands was vague information and preconceptions, opinions and beliefs forged in ignorance, in self-belief. They are different, but they have preserved all the defects of Homo Sapiens and even managed to exasperate them, to the detriment of a capacity for change and analysis which borders on the ridiculous».
« You didn’t feel accepted, that’s the point. You don’t think they are irrational monsters, you are what you consider monstrous, unreal and irrational. Because you can’t get them to see you, appreciate you, catch the things you want to catch. You don’t feel like you belong to any category, and I’m sorry Hiroshi, but you are a recidivist one. Even in your life as a student you complained that you were different, misunderstood and alone. These are the very traits of chronic victimization ».
« That doesn’t make sense. They are the monsters »
He retorted firmly. He even stood up, with the excuse of a sudden need for an ashtray. Selene let him do it, and in that moment everything seemed to stop or about to explode. The Eschatological was a being at times indecipherable and unpredictable, and she was aware of that. He could have done anything, she saw that with her own eyes, so the best strategy was to stay cold, following the same rules of his rational and robotic dictatorship, waiting to simply follow the communication algorithm that the boy had decided to follow exactly 540 years ago.
« What faults do you attribute to these monsters? What are the amenities they have committed to deserve this sentence? I don’t mean morally. I mean… how exactly were they irrational? »
The cigarette was immediately smashed against the encrusted glass of the ashtray. He certainly hadn’t finished smoking it, but that question had catapulted him back over the years, into the great cinema of his misfortunes. He was now sitting in the front row, alongside monsters.
« When a Lasombra chooses a successor, they want to make sure the successor is an excellent product of natural selection. However, you will understand that natural selection is severely hampered by medicine, ethics committees, progress, the very structure of society, respectability. »
Selene noted patiently. Hiroshi had returned to a state of emotional regression, he was speaking as he did long ago, putting aside everything he had learned about emotional intelligence, empathy and the concept of community. She let him, because she realized she was near the tipping point, the main engine of her unhealthy psychoanalytic belief.
« No, they certainly are no different from mortals, far from it. They are only exempt from a series of at least logical consequences. If you are a predator but your prey has no adaptation to escape death, then you’re not a predator, you’re trying to be some kind of deity. The Lasombra play with everything and everyone, they only care about themselves. When they find a mortal to embrace – I mean, turn into a monster – they do everything to try and break him, ruining his life, plotting misfortunes, taking away everything dear to their victim, whom they like to call a chosen one ».
« I suppose that their purpose is to create strong individuals, ready for everything. They are not predators, they become natural selection themselves, but when this selection is not based on natural laws but on social and political ones, then there comes the conflict. The irrational. In your view, their actions are irrational and far from logic, far from the order of things. However, they are no different than a little bird throwing out chicks from the nest to make them fly. »
« The Elegant one didn’t just throw me out of the nest. She destroyed my life, hellbent in pushing me over my limits. I’ve hit rock bottom because of her far too many times. No matter what I did, how hard I tried, she was always there using her shadows, her powers of domination and manipulation, always for completely ruining my world. When she failed to break me this way, she hit my body without my knowledge, almost causing me to lose a leg, ruining my sight, even causing me heart and pancreas problems ».
« But you didn’t give up and went on. From her point of view, you are a great evolutionary product. A bit like diamonds in the bowels of volcanoes. Not all pieces of coal respond equally to pressure. I think the problem lies elsewhere, Hiroshi. You say they are monsters, but it is evident that you are mostly angry with yourself. You started experimenting for reverting to how you were before, adopting behaviors which are well outside human understanding, you established who should live and die and abandoned every ethical principle, heading straight into an abyss, putting yourself alone in a new practice, finally extending the thing to others, well protected by what you call “Indifference”. I am confident that your intelligence allows you to see the behavioral patterns that you learned by imprinting ».
Hiroshi did not answer, instead spending four minutes and seventeen seconds in religious silence.
He wanted to oppose that sentence, but Selene was playing the game with weapons which proved far too good and powerful. Her assumptions were based on psychoanalysis and logical processes, so he had no way of arguing those.
« When did you realize you were like her? But most importantly, why do you still try to deny it? »
That was the ultimate question, the one which would have marked the success of the session or the complete failure of an entire psychological path that the boy had decided to undertake, after half a millennium.
« Seeing human beings as slaughtered meat, blood bottles or pawns on a chessboard… I just can’t envision such things, in all truthfulness. I… find those who dedicate their lives to science, technology and research so admirable and commendable. I appreciate philosophers, inventors, artists. I love listening to a musician, I mostly prefer literature. I’m neither a misanthropist nor a sociopath. However… this new condition of mine prevents me to think of them as my kind, and this is not good. I started thinking like her, I started thinking about my results – only my own – without concern for any possible consequences, for any possible price that others would have to pay. But maybe it used to be like this also before, perhaps selfishness and cowardice, carelessness and presumption are elements which make us similar… little by little I stopped hating her, I stopped yearning for her death and desiring revenge. I stopped feel like a victim and started acting first, as the perpetrator, taking justice into my own hands, then I preferred occupying my precious time with more important things. Shortly after that, I would also start dressing up like her, probably for the same reasons. I would also begin focusing on her same things, starting to treat people and things alike with the same light-heartedness with which you kill an ant or a fly.»
« And did you continue on also when she was gone? »
The Eschatological intertwined his fingers, bringing his back forward, for looking at her better.
« Did you ever think that when she left… you felt the weight of her absence and became yourself the monster she decided you were without even realizing it? Carrying out her visions, religiously following her principles, perfecting them and adding this passion of yours of rationalizing everything. Like in your loneliness, nostalgia were the only thing able to keep you company. »
A thud, then the sound of broken glass. Hiroshi had accidentally dropped the glass ashtray to the ground, in a small impetus.
« I know who I am. I am Hiroshi, I am not The Elegant One. I’m not a vampire, I am a human affected by a series of induced mutations, probably of viral origin.»
Selene did not answer, but rather continued to stare at him, without looking away. If she had done it even for a moment, he could have devoured her.
« We’re wasting time,” he continued.
Selene stood up, tidying up her things.
They would have continued the next night.