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How Did You Become This Way?

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    You don’t think of yourself as a good person.

    Given, you don’t think of yourself as a particularly bad person, either. You did bad things, occasionally, as did everyone on Earth, but you don’t do it with the intention to cause harm. The entirety of your life you had known far too many people that intended to cause others pain. You know about those kind people better than anyone.

    You used to be one of them yourself, after all.

    When you were younger you were furious. Furious at the injustice around you and the actions of others. You hated the world, you hated everyone around you, you hated feeling that way. Eventually you let yourself lash out, taking the role of the aggressor, and you intended to cause pain. You were young, stupid, but age isn’t an excuse for what you did. You understood it would hurt, and you hoped it would. You hoped everyone who came into contact with you would suffer and broil just as you had.

    But you’re older, you’ve matured. You have regrets, many, many, regrets, and the consequences of what led to those regrets will follow you and snap at your heels until the day you die. Maybe even past that. More than that, you’re tired. Tired of the constant anger and having to fight, tired of being mean. You just… Don’t have the motivation to run around claws out anymore.

    It feels good to be kind. You miss it. You miss people being kind to you.

    You wish someone had been kind, back then.

    Just because you want to, doesn’t mean the anger goes away. You just… Find a way to redirect it. Spiteful determination. You would be that person. The one who you dream of swooping in and saving, protecting you before your heart burnt to the point of being a smoldering pile of embers and ash. For just one person, even if it was just for a while. You would… Help. Try to, at least.

    But where you were is not a place you could be nice. You were known too well, no one would trust you to try, and the picture of them in your head was twisted and cruel. You might not be thinking of the situation objectively, but you couldn’t bring yourself to care enough to try and put the baggage down. Even if one of them did the same.

    You were just waiting for an opportunity to leave. A good motivation to excuse your disappearance. Leafing through a newspaper for the first time in years gave you that chance.

    Ghoul Services.

    You knew a bit about ghouls, not much, but you knew what they were and the fact that they were treated horribly. And that the media lied about them constantly. You had enough political awareness to understand that at least.

    A human-like species that was only capable of eating, as far as you knew, human meat. Identical to humans excluding a higher count of a specific type of cell and the organs that only formed with the concentration of said cells. They were born they way they were, but apparently could be artificially made through organ transplant(???).

    As you understood it, they were people that had to deal with eating other people, and were demonized of it. You didn’t have a problem with cannibalism, normal humans resort to it all the time, but they have to. Calling them monsters and rallying people to exterminate them was just verbatim genocide. You’re not even that into infrastructure and you could think of at least five different ways to provide human meat without murder being involved. These were just traumatized, hunted people trying to survive in a world that hated them for a stupid reason.

    So you called the number in the newspaper ad and were on a bus to the nearest city that night.

    Turns out, there was a lot you didn’t know about Ghouls. But everything you did know was right. It was worse than you thought, their circumstances, but it turns out the horror hunger element was pretty much the only thing not super cool and/or interesting about them. Were you developing a special interest in a group of people? Yes you were.

    After dealing with the very real possibility that a fascination with ghouls could be seen as racist if enough people cared about them, you absorb information given in your course like a sponge.

    Apparently, the main difference between ghouls and humans aside from the entire “eating humans” thing was an organ that when not in use turns to a collection of liquid cells that circulate the bloodstream. Referred to as a “kagune” when expelled, they exit the back of the ghoul and change their eye’s colors. The type is dependant on the region of the body.

    The third role of Ghoul Services was massage of this organ, scientifically proven to reduce aggression and improve the mood of ghouls. When you got to practice on your first living patient, you felt almost as happy as the ghoul on the table must of. There you were! Actively being kind and helping someone!

    The second role of GS was protecting and sheltering ghouls, setting up places where they could live safely without being ridiculed or hunted. You found that admirable, sure, but you didn’t think you could cohabitate with anyone full time like the staff at that job entailed. That was, until you found out about the first role.

    Ghouls can eat human food.

    Ghouls can eat human food.

    There is an injection that allows ghouls to process human food without getting sick, removing eating humans from the equation altogether. Vials cost less than five dollars to make and hold tens of doses, and this technology has been around at the same affordable price for seventeen years.

    You had sort of lost it when you were told. Demanding why no one knew about this, about why ghouls were forced to live this terrible life style when the solution was right    there. It had taken you hours to calm down and listen to your teacher’s explanation, but what you were told wasn’t nearly enough. Some bullshit about little to no ghouls being willing for it, even those that lived in Ghoul Service facilities full time. Not trusting it. Ghouls not approaching the GS out of fear of being killed when it’s the only recourse you can go through. Lack of knowledge.

    This is when you decided that you would be the first resident employee at a GS building in one of the worst-off countries ghoul situations wise, Japan. There, Ghouls were hunted systematically. Slaughtered for being alive, even if they didn't actively hunt, pushed into isolated slums through a combination of necessary anonymity and the fact that even a suspicion of being a ghoul could throw you into the depths of a horrific prison that, according to the Human Rights Council, would land you in a prison yourself for war crimes in a combat scenario. A human rights violation, or it would be if people actually considered ghouls human instead of the closest real life equivalent of a horror movie monster.

    You had to get a license, first, finish courses and get certified and prove yourself capable. And you did, rising to every challenge with enthusiasm that pushed you through the three-year training period in just one. Just in time to sign up to be the front-runner for your organization's Japanese branch.

    And that's what brought you to where you are now, flying coach on what would most likely turn out being a one-way trip. It was your first time on a plane and you had the absolute pleasure of getting to fight for your prepaid seat window seat with a very irrational man who was apparently convinced he was the most important person on the entire aircraft. After holding up the entire flight with his entitlement, the plane ended up having to be re-boarded sans that man, which took hours.

    After that entire kerfuffle, you had the window seat you had personally paid extra for, and you were tired enough to nap through the majority of the flight. But only after the other patrons finished making the biggest racket possible by attempting to accomplish several other things they could've done before the last minute. Bathroom usage, shoving unreasonable amounts of luggage into the world's smallest overhead compartment, and even still trying to find their seats. You would think that people would have more sense than to wait until minutes before take off to do that kind of thing, but the universe was just dead set on disappointing you at every turn today.

    You ignored the passengers around you, instead staring out your window to watch the employees rushing about and the blinking lights down on the ground. You inevitably turn back to introspection and expectations in your buzzing nervousness, wondering if you would enjoy Japan. That wasn't the point of your immigration of course, but it was still going to be a big change in an environment. A significantly different culture and language, not to even mention the stigma you would receive for you career choice.

    Despite the unfortunate circumstances that led you to being willing to uproot your life in the first place, you couldn't help that think... You would. You would enjoy Japan. Of course you would be. You were about to be in a different county, hundreds of miles away from where you came from, away from them. The people you had already ruined yourself for. This was... A fresh start, in a way. A blank slate for sure. You wouldn't be in contact with anyone from your old life, the only exception being the higher-ups in Ghoul Services, and they were met in a transitional period so it didn't really count.

    Aside from just getting to do good... You think this will be good for you.

    A jolt of noise cuts through your train of thought and you stare forward. Before you knew it, the flight had officially began. The stewardess who had spoken over the intercom attempts to redirect your attention to a screen behind you. As soon as realizing that it's just the informational flight video, you lose interest and turn back to the window. Your seat was some sort of faux leather, not the most cushy but comfortable enough that curling in towards the windows and resting your head on the glass was enough to let you close your eyes and pass out.