Zhikai is a nice town, or so it seems. I just moved in here from Kin-yo in Enima because of my new job as a sales clerk in a food supplement company. My landlady is a nice but old woman who seems to know a lot about the history of this town.
On my first day to work, I saw a young, handsome, but dirty beggar sitting near the corner of a building. He seems to be drunk or depressed, but his eyes tell me that he’s in a deep situation. I kind of felt sorry for him.
I saw him again when I got home, and I told of my landlady about this.
“Well, that beggar had been here for quite a long time, maybe about 2-3 weeks ago.”
“But why won’t anyone help him?” I asked. But she didn’t answer. Maybe it was too hard to say.
The next day, I saw him again. He has a rusty toy car in his hand and he was playing with it like a little kid. At first, I thought he was a guy with mental disorder, but he seems normal to me and I get the feeling like his personality doesn’t fit his body well.
And then, I remember how the Baukizen region was filled with EVS operators and victims; how children were turned into adults for slavery or forced labor, and some of them died losing their childhood. And I also heard that there were special cases of victims who get mental disorders or hysteria when they are left without counseling or proper guidance.
But when I asked the landlady, she said, “Anna, don’t get involved with those beggars or victims running around the streets, okay? It will be hard for you to deal with the authorities once something happened.”
I didn’t know why she told me that, but I didn’t ask; I just nodded and went to bed on that night.
The sun was bright on the next day, but this guy was acting rather unusual. And after my work, when I saw him again, he acted even more unusual. He was dancing around in circle, all the while saying stuff like:
“I’m older now…I’m older now…I’m a grown-up…I’m not a child anymore…I’m…”
And then, he accidentally hit his head on the wall. I approached him fast and looked at his wound. Good thing I had some tissue on my bag and some Betadine to cure his wound. He then regains consciousness.
“W-who are you?” he asked.
“My name is Anna. Are you okay?” I said.
“Yes, I’m okay. Thanks for saving me.”
“You’re welcome. May I know your name?”
“Oh…my name is George.”
“Say George, I hate to ask this, but are you an EVS victim? And what are you doing here on the streets?”
He then paused a bit, and said:
“Anna, those people…they killed my parents, made me an adult, and drove me crazy. You see whenever I become depressed, I get hysterical and I couldn’t control myself. It may seem that I have gained a mental illness or trauma from being EVSed. But as you can see now, I can talk to you normally. It’s just that I go insane whenever I’m taken to any hospital or the authorities, because…I couldn’t forgive them for not preventing what has happened.”
“So you have a tragic past, huh? Don’t worry, I’m here. I can help you move on.”
And so, the days went by and we became close friends, always seeing each other on the streets. I kept our meeting short and in secret so that it wouldn’t reach my landlady and probably drive me out of the apartment.
But there was one day when I went home, and he was gone. He wasn’t there.
As I saw televisions feature a news report about mentally-retarded EVS victims about to be euthanized, I hurriedly went back home and asked my landlady.
“Anna, they are the ones who were unloved, out of mind, and no longer relevant in this world. Zhikai has already kept this tradition to help them be free of the tragedy of having to live as adults and without parents.”
“But this is wrong! They should be receiving counseling instead of death!”
“Many doctors have tried to cure them, but all of them have failed. This is the last resort.”
I cried so hard, as I took my jacket, ran outside and went to the execution site, near the municipal hall. I stopped at nothing and finally sneaked my way to George’s prison cell. It was actually a normal room and he was tied to place.
“George…I’m getting you out! I can’t let you die!”
But he didn’t recognize me. He seemed drugged like he was on anesthetics and that he seems to have amnesia. He didn’t know who I was.
“George, remember me! I’m Anna! Your best friend, remember? Please remember!”
I cried as I start to let him loose, but there were guards that pulled some switches. Suddenly, there were thorns coming out of the walls and starting to close in on us. Meanwhile, I heard a voice.
“It’s useless, little girl. Your friend no longer remembers anything. Just let him die, or else you’ll die with him.”
I was persistent. “I’ll die with him until he remembers me!” I said with tears.
I kept shaking and waking him up, but he couldn’t remember or feel anything that’s going on.
And, as the last resort, I leaned over to his face and kissed his lips. It was a long, gentle, yet tragic kiss. I hope I wake up the prince.
Fortunately, as if some miracle struck the moment, George finally remembered me. The voice then ordered the operators to stop the machine. We were then set free.
As I explained everything to the authorities, they finally let George take another shot at being counseled. As I went along with him to the EVS counseling department of the town, I saw a picture of a girl.
“That is one of the EVS victims who got lost, and was a victim in the same time as George. She was reported to have been sent to Kin-yo and her memories had been erased. No one was able to track her down yet, since her parents were also killed.” said one of the doctors.
And I just remembered; I was also from Kin-yo and my memories tell me that my parents also died a long time ago. But my past is pretty vague and I seem to have little or no memories of my school days. So I asked the doctors to have my brain checked.
There is a device in most Enidoukan hospitals and EVS therapy centers that can determine if there is Bau Luca substance within a person’s pituitary gland and within his or her system. And if there are, then that person had been an EVS victim.
My result for the test was positive. I was this girl, and all that I could remember was my name, Anna. I also remembered that George was in the same row of houses as me, so we were neighbors after all, and we were originally of the same age. We also used to play board games and went to elementary school together.
“So you were my neighbor after all, huh?” George told me.
“Yeah, and I ended up just like you, except I had amnesia and was sent away.”
“But look – we found each other again!”
“Yeah, and we can be together forever!”
And thus, we eventually became a couple after his counseling and mine as well. The landlady let him stay where I’m living now, and I felt happy about that.