I was only three when I met the boy who would end up being the focal point of my life. It's the first and earliest memory I have. It was only a couple of days after we moved to Japan, within the first few years of Sybil being put into action. Mommy and Daddy were adamant about getting to know our new neighbors, but I hated them all. They were all strangers who looked different and spoke a different language. Frankly, I was scared of them. I wasn't one of those joyful darlings who loved everyone they met.
Sure, there were a few children my age, but they all spoke Japanese, which at the time was foreign to me. When Mommy and Daddy invited yet another family over for dinner, I stubbornly locked myself in my room and held onto my stuffed bluebird tight enough to strangle it. At the sound of knocking, I hid under my covers, but the voice I heard on the other side of my bedroom door didn't belong to either of my parents. Even so, it was perfect English.
"Our parents sent me to get you, Esther."
I threw back the sheets and darted to the door. Only when I was reaching to unlatch the lock did I hesitate. It was a boy on the other side of the door, I could tell by his voice. I'd never talked with a boy that wasn't Daddy's age.
I waited, but there wasn't anything else. He didn't knock again, nor did he speak. I swung the door open, convinced he was gone. Of course, he hadn't left. I remember he looked quite surprised that I'd actually come out.
I stood there in wonder, completely captivated by the older boy before me. His shocked eyes were a wide amber, his scraggly hair pure white. Even in my toddler eyes, he was beautiful. Getting over his initial reaction, he extended his hand to me and said two words.
"Come on." I grabbed onto his hand, keeping Blue, my bluebird, tucked close to me in my other arm. He brought me down to dinner, but I refused to let go of him. Here was someone closer to my age, who could speak the language I could understand. I didn't peep out a word that night. I can't recall what we ate, but I sat between Mommy and the boy.
I heard her say to the other woman, "It seems that Esther's taken a liking to your son." The woman responded in Japanese. That night, I learned the name of the person who was bound to become my most important person.
I was three, and Shogo Makashima was eight.
It wasn't until I was four that I discovered his fatal flaw. For the past year, I'd hung around him as often as I could. I wasn't old enough to go to school yet, so I had infinite time on my hands. The days Shogo had to go to classes, I'd tag along with his mother to pick him up. There might've been a five year difference, but he was the only one I considered a friend.
He tended to ignore me when I was around, but it didn't bother me in the least. All that mattered to me is that, when he talked, I could understand what he was saying. I quickly learned that he loved to read, and whenever he was doing so he didn't want me doing anything noisy.
My parents were delighted when I took an active interest in reading, but I still could only comprehend the simplest of things. Sometimes I would peek over Shogo's shoulder to see what he was reading. Half the time it was in English, the other half it was in kanji. Every now and again it'd be in some other abstract language. Whenever it was English, I'd try to mouth the words to myself. He didn't like when I read aloud. I made amazing progress within a single year thanks to him
It all happened on a Sunday.
I had woken up early and realized it was a day Shogo wouldn't have school. Without asking, I left the house and went over to the Makashima's. I was in such a rush I didn't even change out of my pj's using my compact mirror. I wanted to tell him that I finished the book I picked up two days earlier, which was the fastest I'd gotten through one.
His dad was leaving for work and told me Shogo was in his room. His father and mother had been learning English, just as I'd been slowly learning Japanese. I let myself into the house and bounded up the stairs. I sprinted down the hall, as his room was at the end. I had to use both hands to twist the knob and open the door. The sight that met my eyes was one that no child should ever have to witness.
A knife plunged into a puppy's neck so it couldn't even let out a yelp. Shogo twisted it deeper as I watched, and it convulsed for some time before going limp. He drew the knife out and the blood spurted out, splattering onto his face. The entire time, his expression remained blank. His white skin and lovely hair were stained with blood. Unable to scream, I stood, frozen. As he cleaned the red from the knife, I could clearly hear my heart pounding in my ears.
It was around that time when he finally noticed me. It was obvious he hadn't been expecting me so early. The second I met his eyes, I bolted. I ran all the way back to my room and threw myself onto my bed and cried. I couldn't erase the image of the dying puppy from my mind.
The next morning, when I woke up, my automated hawk warned me that my hue had become clouded and that I should seek counseling. I ignored it, and ended up starving myself until sunset. After everyone else was asleep, I crept into the kitchen. I sat down with a half gallon of ice cream and began to collect myself. I was tired, young, and confused, but the cold sweetness cleared me up. Not being a complicated kid, I thought it through to the best of my ability and decided he was still my only friend, so I had to accept him.
When I got up the next day, my hue was clear and I was determined to make up with him. Mommy and Daddy were worried, of course, when I came down for breakfast. I didn't respond to any of their questions, but ate the food in front of me like there was nothing out of the ordinary. I chose a purple dress with matching hair bows to wear and sneaked out of the house. I was smart enough to realize I wouldn't be allowed to go if I asked.
Standing on my toes, I rang the doorbell at the Makashima house. The mother was th one who answered.
"Esther!You have not been here the past few days. Did Shogo do something?" I shook my head. "Well, he is at school. Do you want me to come get you when I go to get him?"
"Can I wait in his room until then?" I was afraid of my parents being angry with me, which they eventually were when I finally did return. She let me in and I shut myself in his room. I spent my time trying to sound out the titles of the books on the bookshelves. I did my best to keep my mind off the puppy from the other day.
One of the books I recognized instantly. It was a slightly worn hard back with a plain brown cover. It read Sherlock Holmes. It was one he read often.
At some point, I got bored and curled up on his bed. I must've fallen asleep. Next thing I knew, I was shaken awake. I startled when I saw Shogo, the images of blood running through my head. Shaking it off, I sucked it up and grabbed Sherlock Holmes, which I had taken out beforehand.
"Will you read this to me?"
He paused for a second, taken off guard, but then he smiled. It was the first time I'd seen him happy, so I grinned back in satisfaction. We spent the remainder of the day reading, with me listening intently to the story. Much of it I didn't understand and I asked about everything, to which he'd explain in the simplest way he could. I enjoyed this reading session so much more than all the others, and him killing the animal completely slipped my mind. Neither of us ever mentioned it again.
As we aged, we learned that our esteemed Sybil system couldn't recognize him, and his murderous tendencies grew. He was a teenager when he killed his first human. I didn't observe the event, but he told me about it. It had been a man, a latent criminal who was being hunted down by the police. Society wouldn't recognize his death because of his mental health.
Shogo's situation actually seemed somewhat logical once he explained it. The man had tried to take him hostage, so he 'fought back'. He killed him. If it was ever discovered, it would be written off as self defense, or even an accident.
The day he turned eighteen, I wasn't quite thirteen. He told me he was planning on disappearing. He wanted to challenge Sybil, which was taking away people's right to act and governing our lives to the point of us depending on it for survival. It was making us into submissive sheep. With his unstainable psycho pass, he could vanish like a ghost. I refused to accept that unless he brought me with him.
Of course, I knew he didn't need my consent, and that my hue was as changeable as anyone else's. I couldn't fade away like he could. But still, he let me come along. I told my parents I would be staying with him. I'd still go to school, I'd still take my psycho pass medication, and I would be mostly independent. I had school, and Shogo had 'work', after all. They were upset, spouting that I couldn't stay with an eighteen year old boy, but Shogo stepped in and was able to convince them. He always had a way with words.
We've been living together ever since. The most serious question would be: How can I keep a healthy, stable mind living with a killer? The answer is, I can't. I'm not like him. There are times when my hue becomes so clouded that I have to skip going out for days at a time. It interfered with school when I was younger, and now, it interferes with work. I just graduated from college, and things will only be more difficult from here on out.