His childhood, well the first seven years anyway can be described as peaceful. His parents were reasonably wealthy merchants who lived in Sato to easily sell their wares. Though his parents business didn’t really affect him in any way at the time his constant exposure to multitude of people gave his father some time to explain about people’s reactions and the signs that tell what a person thinks about what you just said what is around him. Though young Kuro was rather adept at the skill of reading people and often watched his parents meetings and note the reaction of the buyer.
It wasn’t until he was seven when his parents went on a trip to visit relatives in Nagare. A few days into the trip before even getting onto a boat, the caravan they were traveling with was attacked on the road between Sato and Teichi. Kuro, his parents as well as all the other people that went along with the caravan were taken captive. All crammed into a circular room, a grate in the centre of the floor for waste, a single light in the roof would switch on and off to simulate what the captives believed was night and day and a chute in the wall for food. At first they gave the captives enough food to feed everyone but after what seemed like days the amount was reduced. This routine occurred every couple of days and it wasn’t before long that fights began breaking out between the adults. One man began to take a large portion for himself saying “He was bigger he deserved more”, this lead to the man’s death after the caravan guards beat him in his sleep and took what food he had for themselves. It was the first dead body that Kuro had seen but it wouldn’t be the last. After a body was found to be dead two men would enter dressed in white medical gear from a door that would seal perfectly with the round room and remove the body. It was soon discovered that talking to the men was not permitted as any of the captives who tried were struck and usually left bleeding.
People began suffering from starvation and soon death followed close behind. The sight of a dead body became a regular thing and any emotion the Kuro might have had beforehand dwindled away to a dull sadness but that was all, no connection and deep down a happiness that there was one less mouth to feed. Kuro was fortunately lucky as his father was a rather large man he was able to muscle his way in as the food came bring back what he could to his family. As the numbers thinned the food was able to sustain the remaining this led to the first person being taken by the soldiers, or at least that’s what Kuro guessed as they were wearing the Sato military uniform. People were taken and only some returned, it was not always a blessing that they were returned as most were mentally unstable and had aggressive outbreaks. This lead even more deaths as the ones that were unstable would kill someone or would try and get themselves killed in the process. The ever present death of one of the other captives had steeled Kuro of any emotion towards it at all, the sight of blood and violence no longer held him in fear, it was a part of his natural life but he did fear being taken or his parents being taken and as such whenever he heard the men coming to take someone he would hide behind his parents but this didn’t help him.
The usual whoosh sound of the door being opened followed by the grinding of stone on stone that’s only just touching filled the eerie silence of the cell as it always did when the men come to take one of them. They crossed the room and Kuro could hear their footsteps coming closer, “Give us the boy”, he couldn’t tell which soldier the words came from but it was spoken in common with a hint of a Sati accent. Kuro’s heart sank it was his worst fear to be taken and it was happening and what was worse by one of his own countrymen but it didn’t make sense why would someone from Sati capture and slowly kill off their own people. His heart was hammering into his ears and he could vaguely hear his parents making up excuses but it didn’t matter, Kuro felt a hand clamp down over his wrist. He didn’t struggle or fight, his mind screamed at him to move, to run, to do something but fear had taken hold of him. He was walking to where the opening would appear and lead him out when he was jerked around, his father had grabbed a guard, Kuro knew that it was pointless but his father tried anyway and was struck repeatedly as Kuro stood and watched.
He was blind folded but it wouldn’t have mattered, Kuro had become a shell unable to form any complex thought which could lead to an escape and instead he just simply walked and did what the voices told him to do. He was thrust into the bright white glare with the sound of metal scraping metal; he looked around not taking anything in and collapsed. He awoke, the softness of the floor confused him he was used to the cold hard stone of the big room he had been in but why wasn’t he there now. He sat up; the room was square and all white, the walls and floor padded, a bright white light hung from the ceiling intensifying the already blinding whiteness of the room and a small grate in the corner for waste. Kuro felt hollow, emotionally and physically drained, the image of his father’s already swollen and bloody face was the only thing he was able to recall. His confusion led to a sense of helplessness causing him to cry, but no one came to comfort him.
Isolation in a room with no stimuli brings on boredom which leads to the mind making up ways to entertain itself; imaginary friends, looking for patterns in the wall or other surface, as well as a range of other side effects. Kuro went through these as he was in the room, not even the food was of comfort; a grey tasteless paste that stuck to the inside of your mouth. There is however a point in which the mind will get bored of these and go to more extreme levels where the imaginary friends you had, begin to take on a more serious personality and then start to tell you to do things. Kuro also began to experience the more advanced case of mental degeneration when he was grabbed from the cell and blind folded; he was then taken to another room and strapped into a chair. As the blindfold was removed he got his first look at the man he would later come to know as Takeshi. For Kuro, this human contact was magnificent and he eagerly answered any questions the man asked, as the man stood to leave he looked over his shoulder at Kuro and asked “I want to do an experiment on you Kuro. You will have contact with other people but there could be some pain involved. However me and my men won’t cause you any physical harm, remember that Kuro. So will you do it?” The simple nodding of Kuro’s head made the man smile before walking out the door. He was then blindfolded and taken back to the cell and so began the mental destruction of Kuro.
He was shoved through the door as the blindfold was removed, long enough to look around before the room was plunged into darkness. This first cycle lasted for weeks but Kuro had no idea not even when his food was delivered did any light enter the room just the sound of metal scraping against metal and the clang of the metal flap dropping open to reveal his meal. Then one morning or what he guessed was morning the lights were back on and as soon as he sat up the door opened and he was again blindfolded by the men who came and escorted to another chair where he was strapped in. As the blindfold was removed he saw the same man from before and again he asked questions but this time they were about he felt when he was in the dark, all the while writing down everything he said. He was then blindfolded again and taken back to the cell. This time the lights remained on for a little while until once again the darkness came.
And so Kuro’s life in the cell continued darkness and then the lights coming back at random intervals, it made his sleep patterns very disjointed and soon the inconsistent sleep combined with the utter aloneness of the dark made Kuro manic. With no stimuli he began to burn off his energy by pacing and talking frantically to himself, his speech became barely more than guttural sounds for the purpose of hearing more than just the sound of his breathing and footsteps. As time went on he began to lose his sense of self and instead looked at himself as a part of the cell itself. He pretended to be the walls, the floor, the corner where the walls meet and during the time were he trying to be the light and see what it must see that the door opened and he was dragged once again to the chair and strapped in.
As always these meeting excited Kuro, but as he answered the questions he saw the expression on the man’s face change ever so slightly as the questions continued on; the faint hint of a smile touched his lips as if enjoying a private joke. When he laid his pen down he looked up at Kuro, his voice carried the smile and so did his eyes, “Kuro are you ready to begin the next experiment?” With that he stood and walked out chuckling to himself.
Once again he was taken back to his cell, he waited for the light to turn off but it didn’t, instead a crackling sound filled the room followed by the cold and unemotional voice that would never leave his head. “You will not fear for fear is an illusion. Fear leads to inaction, inaction leads to death. Fear causes irrational thought, irrational thought leads to death. Do not fear”, and so it repeated over and over, a never ending monologue. The voice echoed in his head, over and over it went but then it stopped and Kuro opened his eyes, he was knee deep in water, the biting cold of the water began creeping up his legs and slowly into his bones. He tried to move but his feet were rooted to the spot, he looked around confused; the only thing he could see was more water and the light grey of the ceiling that stretched on forever. He was about to shout when he was grabbed from behind and forced backwards into the water. The hands were powerful and held Kuro’s head under the water, he panicked lashing out wildly trying to grab the hands and pull them free but nothing he did had any effect. Kuro’s lungs began to burn as his body screamed for more air, his heart thundered in his chest and his diaphragm pumped hard for any amount of air to enter his lungs. Kuro tried to breath and received a lung full of water, he began coughing and the last of his air left him, the light began to dim in front of his eyes and he stopped fighting as the darkness enveloped him.
The man from the interviews stood in front of him, the man repeated the words from his cell; “You will not fear for fear is an illusion. Fear leads to inaction, inaction leads to death. Fear causes irrational thought, irrational thought leads to death. Do not fear.” Kuro didn’t understand he looked at the man not knowing what was happening, but the man spoke again “You were caught with fear and as a result you died, think rationally about how you would get out of the situation. Whether through force or by guile but you must not fear or you will die.” Then he was gone and Kuro was knee deep in water again and once again the hands grabbed his and forced him down and once again he flailed about, and once again the lights dimmed in front of his eyes, the words echoed in his head “You must not fear…” and again he was knee deep in water totally confused and pushed under.
It was after the tenth time that he found himself standing in his cell, his clothes weren’t wet and his lungs weren’t burning; it was as if he never left the cell and then the voice started again “You will not fear for fear is an illusion. Fear leads to inaction, inaction leads to death. Fear causes irrational thought, irrational thought leads to death. Do not fear.” Every day he would find himself in another situation and every time the man would appear after the first attempt and repeat what he had said the first time but it never made a difference as Kuro would always seem to “die” or at least appear to die but he would always find himself in the same spot as before. He once again found himself knee deep in water, he could feel his heart thundering against his chest; this of all the situations was the worst. He began to shake as the hands grabbed him and pulled him down he thrashed around trying to grab something as always but to no avail. The burning in his lungs began and then Kuro gave up hope, he let his hands drop to what was holding him down and then made them push him down further. Kuro began to resign himself to death, this was the answer don’t fight to survive when you have nothing to survive for just let go. The lights began to dim as his arms became weak he kept the last of his air in his lungs savoring the sensation of being alive before he died. The hands released him and then Kuro’s survival instincts kicked in and he shot out of the water into the room where he proceeded to take large lung fulls of air. Kuro was once again confused, he had wanted to die; no more fighting just accept the fact that he was dead already.
The man appeared in front Kuro, “Think critically about any situation and you will find the solution. Fear is an illusion created by your mind, this illusion makes you think there is no way out of a problem causing irrational thought and inaction which will both mean your death. Do not fear. You figured out how to get the hands to release you without dying but you would be dead already think quicker.” With that the man disappeared and Kuro was back in the cell, not wet and not panting like he was moments ago. He fell asleep confused and shaking from what had just happened but he thought on what the man had said and then he saw what he needed to do with the situations he had been thrust into. It soon became obvious of what was required of him in each scenario and Kuro developed the ability to think quickly and critically about any situation. The mental trauma suffered from the multiple failures and the seeming death of himself had created a barrier preventing Kuro to fear or at least panic. The situations soon intensified to have multiple problems to solve each one having a different aspect to which Kuro was liable to die if he couldn’t think of a solution or froze up, each new situation advanced I difficulty increasing Kuro’s ability to think of strategies to solve problems as well as steeling him feelings that arise when facing such situations.
Kuro was sitting against the wall facing the door, the all too familiar voice playing over and over, the light above him flickering slightly as he pondered the best way to escape. He had decided that keeping the spoon they gave him for his meals was too obvious, so he would have no weapons but the only time to strike was when they came into blind fold him and there were always two of them when they did. Kuro smiled at his own ability to make a plan when the voice cut out, a crackling sound filled the room and was soon replaced by the familiar, but the message had changed “Happiness, Friendship, Love. These are all weakness, they will lead to your death. Steel yourself against these and you will be untouchable to deceit.” The messaged unnerved him, or was it more the change in routine. He closed his eyes and listened to the message as repeated, as he opened his eyes he found himself in a long corridor. His eyes flicked from wall to wall then to the ceiling and floor, nothing prominent was displayed only the closed door at the far end. He began walking tentatively towards the door, as he approach the door swung inwards revealing to figures, one male and the other female. He looked at their faces, they looked familiar, and then it clicked they were his parents. He ran forward over joyed, and his parents enveloped him in an embrace. Kuro began to cry with how over whelmed he felt, but then his parents stood. “Why didn’t you escape sooner?” his father’s voice was filled with content, his eyes burning with hatred. “Do you know how long we have been waiting for you, what happened to the smart son we had?” his mother’s disgust obvious in her voice and tone. Kuro didn’t understand they should be over joyed to see him, what happiness he had had a moment ago was gone, no longer tears of happiness rolled down his cheeks but tears of sorrow and loneliness. “No so of mine deserves to live when he is such a disappointment!” the knife appeared in his father’s hand, as the tall man thrust the tip of the knife through Kuro’s ribs missing his heart and puncturing his lung. Kuro could feel his as blood filled his lung; each breath became agony as he coughed up the crimson liquid entering his lung. His eyes began dim and the last image he saw was his father and mother standing over him laughing.
Kuro sat up abruptly as he took in huge lung fulls of air, the cell was a comforting sight. As he calmed himself slightly he began to remember what happened, his father, his mother, what they had said and then the knife but it couldn’t of happened, he was still alive; his parents would never do that to him never… never. Kuro began shake and rock back and forth, his eyes glazed and unresponsive; he soon feel asleep but the images of what had happened plagued him. When Kuro finally awoke the man that talked to him when he was in the chair was sitting beside him, “Do you know why you’re here Kuro?” his voice was hollow with no emotion.
“No”, Kuro voice was raspy and it hurt his throat. He had wondered before to why he was here but he didn’t know why. He liked talking to this man because he was the only one got to that didn’t try to kill him, it’s why he had been so co-operative with him.
“I’m making you strong so you can protect people. The shinobi of the country have become weak, you are the salvation to this weakness. You won’t need others to support you, nothing will hold you back, and you will become the ultimate weapon of this land.”
“You’re a liar. You said you and your men won’t hurt me and they have. Why should believe anything you say, you locked me up here and started doing experiments.” Kuro’s voice cracked as his anger rose to the surface, whoever this man was he was a liar. “I want to leave right now.” The man’s face changed in an instant going from vacant to furious.
“I have not lied to you; neither my men nor I have hurt you physically. And you agreed to take part in this experiment, there is no backing out now and you insolence has been noted.” The tone of voice he used unnerved Kuro but he kept eye contact with the man. A smile touched the man’s lips before the room disappeared along with the man. Standing before him again were his parents.
“Son I’ve finally found you, I missed you so much.” There was warmth in his mother’s voice. She bent down and hugged Kuro, as she began to cry. Kuro’s heart was in his throat, he was so happy, he was with his parents again and the tears started rolling down his cheeks once again but something felt wrong. A sudden flash went before his eyes and he remember what had happened last time. No that must have been a dream, he hugged his mother harder. As he disentangled himself from his mother’s embrace he went over to hug his father.
“You think your mother is more important than me, why should you show her more love then me?” His father’s eyes burned with hatred once again, his voice dripped with anger.
“But she hugged me first” Kuro’s voice was flat and whiny; again his world was falling apart. He didn’t know what was happening. Why was his father so angry, had he seen mother come up and hug him?
“Don’t talk back to me you insolent child!” The back hand was lightning fast as it cracked across the side of Kuro’s face. His teeth felt jarred and his ear was ringing as the pain began to take effect. Kuro fell to the ground holding the side of his face.
“How could you blame what you did on me?” Now his mother was furious, she kicked him in the kidney as Kuro was trying to get back on his feet. The pain lanced through his side as he crumpled on the ground again. He began sobbing as his father loomed over him.
“You have never made me happy; you were a mistake, one that shall be corrected shortly.” Kuro looked up at his father, the side of his face already becoming bruised and swollen from where he had been hit. His father grabbed the front of Kuro’s shirt raised him up off the ground and struck Kuro.
The cell was dimmed when Kuro woke, his face was throbbing and dried blood crusted his face around the nose and mouth. As he felt his face he realized that one of his eyes was swollen shut and his nose felt wrong, hurting at Kuro’s touch. His mind began to process what had just happened, the man was standing in-front of him and then his parents were there. But how could it be possible but his father had hit him, the swelling was proof, Kuro began to sob as his mind forced him to begin the process of detaching himself from his parents. As before different situations were presented to Kuro each involved something either to do with Happiness, Friendship or Love and each time a little part of Kuro would die as each virtue that was once a large part of his life was severed forever as his mind began receding from the pain that it was suffering.
Once Kuro showed that the situations no longer had any effect on him, the voice changed once again working on another series of emotions. Again situations were presented to him each one slowly killing off the aspects that makes someone unique. Kuro became robot like, no emotions clouding his judgment just fact with no remorse for what the consequences were in any of the situations, however one emotion still remained; Kuro’s anger would flare up over nothing