Hua Cheng is hated by everyone he’s ever met.
They look at him and see the worst of the world. If he’s lucky, they see him as a broken, pathetic child that was created completely by accident and so will go through life as quickly as he entered it. Otherwise, he’s seen as neither child nor adult nor human but is instead seen as a creature born from a loveless place from unimportant subject matters and who will not so much experience life as he will be experienced; he’s seen as a roadblock. A thing that should be passed by quickly so that he becomes nothing more than a memory. A subject in a discussion that nobody wants to have but that they must because he is sadly, tragically, unavoidably a part of reality just as they are.
In turn, he hates everyone he’s ever met.
Family is to him a piece of the past that was shed long ago because he has no need for people who never wanted him and will continue to pretend like he never happened in the first place. Friends are people who he hasn’t deemed an inconvenience when they’re at arm's length and who owe him money that he doesn’t feel the need to pry away with violence. Acquaintances are common, fleeting, and range from a bartender he spends a night trading small talk with and a lackey who feels that their health is only guaranteed if they kneel forward so far that their forehead scrapes the dirt. All such categories are others, temporary obstacles, books to sift through as much as he likes depending on whether or not their stories pique his interest. It’d be blasphemy to burn every single one that he finds once he’s lost interest, but sometimes the subject matters are so utterly disgusting and wrong and infuriating that he can’t find any satisfaction in setting them back on the shelf once their forms have been revealed to him. But he forgets about his rage once he lets it sit and simmer for a while, and he forgets about what once drove him when the moment in which he stirs the flames and discards of the subject has passed.
Others, and him. There are two parts of humanity, and these are all they are.
Hate is too strong of a word, perhaps. Because in order to experience hate he’d have to care enough about those around them to pay attention to what they are and allow them to infiltrate his thoughts for more than a second.
Apathy, he knows it’s called. They say it’s bad, that it makes people inhumane and allows them to do horrible, terrible, monstrous things to their fellow humans. That to be apathetic is to be so removed from humanity that you cannot see anything beyond your own life.
But they’ve never treated him like a person before. So what does it mean to be so apathetic that you are no longer humane when you were never considered human in the first place?
Hua Cheng isn’t sure why, but he finds security in his thoughts. They make sense, after all. His worldview comes from his experience with the world. And he’s confident in his knowledge of how the world views him in turn. Powerful in the sense that he has the brawn to drag himself up to the surface, the brains to keep his head above the water, and the money to build the boat that means he can lounge on the deck while the waves try and tear him apart from below.
He’s not too sure why he built the boat in the first place if he has nowhere to go and nowhere to return to, but he’d be damned if it isn’t a good one.
This is what he thinks as he sifts through the coat of the man whose eyes have just dimmed after his life was choked out of him. His hands find a cold gun, a sleek leather wallet, a card with the man’s face and name that he can use to infiltrate the tower he stands in front of. He lifts up the body of the man that was once living and moves it away from sight. Then he dusts off his spotless leather jacket and hides his keep from view before slipping into the back door with the help of the I.D.
He needs the money, he tells himself. Well. No, that isn’t true. He’s fine when it comes to money. It’s less about the goods gained and more about the status. What kind of top-rate hired hand would he be if he couldn’t complete an impossible robbery? And maybe, for once in his career, he’ll find himself a challenge.