Everything has a beginning.
My name is Kichiro Higa. I was born as the third son of the Higa family. They were a kind, loving family. They treated their children and siblings equally. We were friendly, but competitive. We all got along. We obeyed our parents, we were never too terribly unruly for them. The Higa family was incredibly ideal, the envy of my parents' friends and neighbors.
My brother, Jun, was the first of the three sons--three Higa children--to graduate from college. He went overseas to work as an ocean engineer in America.
The middle child, my brother, was the athletic one. He went to play baseball in Tokyo.
As for myself, you could say I was the family prodigy. Perhaps it is bold to admit, but I was a genius from a very young age--my grades expressed as much. I had immense promise. In fact, I graduated from high school being three years younger than my peers.
You could say my parents were incredibly blessed with their children.
The early years are inconsequential. I went on to college. There, I took up biological studies. From there, I went to medical school. I had aspirations of being a neurosurgeon. I was ready to devote my entire existence to these studies. I was an over-achiever. I was unhappy unless I was absorbing texts or studying for a big exam. You could say I missed out on much of my youth.
I do not feel this way.
Where was I...right.
My time in college led me to meet my wife, Michiko. The two of us hit it off easily; she was schooling in business at the time, and was close to graduating. I was on my final year, and had already begun my residency. We intended to marry when she was finished with college.
At the age of twenty three, Michiko was pregnant. We had not anticipated this. We refused to let it crush our happiness. She dropped out of school and began taking up work to help make ends meet until she was due. I continued my residency.
Later that year, our daughter Kyoko Higa was born. We moved to Port Island.
Kyoko Higa was--is--my soul.
My daughter was everything. I was loathed to think that much of her youngest years were spent with me working late hours and long shifts. However, what time we had together was precious and perfect. We were the perfect, happy modern family. My hard work paid off. I was recognized among my peers. I was chosen as the head neurosurgeon's understudy at the hospital. I was going to be his successor at Port City hospital the following year. My star was shining brightly.
So, so brightly.
Life, for those several years, was perfect.
The day Kyoko Higa stopped caring about life, about living, was the day I "died.
At the age of nine, my daughter was diagnosed with Apathy Syndrome.
I didn't know how to take it at first. I felt numb. My entire body refused to move. The doctor called to me, but I swear I do not remember him talking to me. Only when Michiko touched me did I respond by nearly lashing at her. I apologized profusely. She forgave me.
‘We'll get through this,' she assured me.
Her words felt so hollow, but I accepted them.
Life, as I knew it, had no meaning anymore.
I spiraled into decay. I wanted nothing in life, except for the life that I had before. My wife grew colder and distant. Work began to falter as result of my lack of care or exuberance. I very nearly killed a patient that day...but who cares?
No one is nothing compared to my little girl. My empty, hollow, doll-like Kyoko.. .
The emptiness of life was too great after a year of Kyoko's Apathy Syndrome. I began to drink heavily. I had quit my job at the hospital. My marriage to Michiko was in great, rapid decline. Several times she had threatened to leave with Kyoko. I told her I would kill her if she left with my daughter in a drunken fit.
I didn't mean it though. But that didn't help our marriage at all.
Michiko left on a stormy Monday night in December. I remember this day well because this was the day I discovered the existence of "Persona." How, you may ask?
The story is, in retrospect, intriguing. I had furiously drank that night. I was angry at the world, angry that life had turned out the way it had. I was mad my wife left me, that she took my reason for living--my daughter, Kyoko--with her. By the end of it, I didn't care anymore. I wanted nothing to do with life.
So, drunk, I wander to the nearest bridge in Port City. I was going to jump, except--
The stroke of midnight hit, and for the first time in my life I'd seen the world in a way I had never seen before. The world itself shifted, hues of black, bloody red and sickly greens painted the horizon, of which was littered what with appeared to be solid black coffins that reflected no light. Sure, it was dark, but the moon was so massive and gangrene-yellow they should have.
Moments after the shadows nearby began to stir...and from them crawled unspeakable dark creatures with empty eyes. Wordlessly they crept toward me. I didn't know what they were, but their intent was obvious: they wanted to kill me. Naturally, I began to panic. My heart was pounding, my chest felt as if it was going to explode.
I fell to my knees, weak and afraid. And just before they could devour me I cried out in desperation that I couldn't die here, that Kyoko needed me--!
And then it came, a manifestation of my psyche. Him.
Was this the Devil, come to take my soul?
"I am thou," it said. "Thou art I."
Surely, I thought, I was dying. There was no medical feasibility for this. This was not happening. This was some near-death hallucination, I decided.
"I am Mephistopheles, Hell's representative, granter of dreams and desire. My power is yours."
I awoke the next day, free of harm...but that voice still echoed in my head like a pounding drum. Mephistopheles...what the hell was that about?
I spent a few months locked away in my apartment desperately seeking the answers to my new found mystery--but not a day went by when I thought of my dear Kyoko. That "thing" healed me--it had to have. There was no doubt about it. I should have been dead. And yet...
Eventually the answers came. It was called a "Persona" in some circles, a strange phenomena in which the psyche of a person was projected into reality. The mind was capable of such feats? My mind, no less?
Maybe this was the beginnings to the answers I was so desperately seeking for my daughter.
If I could cure her, I could have my family back...
The first time was the most difficult.
She was probably fifteen, maybe sixteen at the oldest. She begged me not to take her life, to let her go. She promised she wouldn't tell anyone, that she wouldn't press charges.
I told her I was sorry. The last scream was the worst to hear from her, that blood-curdling, raspy sound that eventually bled into a groaning whisper. Then a death rattle. Then that girl died.
But nothing came out of her. No Persona--nothing.
My efforts had been in vain...but at least that Persona of mine was there. Mephistopheles was a great help.
Another one. This time I had results. The struggle was a difficult one, but it seemed that the circumstances were nearly identical to mine after all. On the verge of death or fear, Persona /do/ emerge. The rumors weren't entirely unfounded, it seems...
I see the truth. I do not like it, but I see it.
A man--Himeru Satou--came from Port Island University today. He said he had heard about the awful situation my family had gotten into, and wanted to help. He said he could offer me steady work and resources, having heard about my efforts to seek a cure for Apathy Syndrome.
I began working for Port Island University's biology department the spring of 2009. It takes away from the time I could be using to find a cure...but it's a necessary evil. Just like those people--
Further research into Apathy Syndrome has revealed little to nothing. I refuse to give up.
A man approached me after my class at university today. He said he was from an "organization" with interests in Apathy Syndrome and its causes. Claimed that such things were not "needed" in the future of Japan. Invited me to attend a meeting with one of his colleagues at a future date. Interesting.
The man's name was Kenji Wakamoto. He said the organization he was with had their hands out in all sorts of "powerful influential" positions. He said with my help, they could further address the problems with society. Apathy Syndrome... isn't its cause rooted in society? If I join them, there may be hope for my little girl yet.
I told Kenji I was interested. He was particularly interested in my position at the university in its biology department.
I was introduced formally to Kenji's superior. He informed me of the New World Order. While I do not necessarily agree with the entirety of their beliefs, I am willing to give up almost anything for my little girl and her cure. I will do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes--
Progress has been slow. I cannot find anything beyond what I have known already. The concepts of "Persona" and the existence of them within the human mind still elude me. What brings them into existence? How is it possible for an abstract concept of the human psyche to take form and substance? How can these concepts actually affect the real world?
My studies continue. My pursuit of the cure still evades me.
I will have it though. I must have it. There is no excuse--
Just wait, Kyoko. Just wait. Wait...
Daddy will do whatever it takes. Daddy will rescue you, and we can be a family again.