Chapter 57 - Inside Out (4)

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“….Hah. My fucking goodness.”

Woojin, who had been glaring at Gyosu while grabbing him by the collar, let go and sat back down as he let out a deep sigh.

“Oi, Metal Jaw.”

Flinch!

“W-What! I’m already healed up here. I don’t need your help! It’s clean! I tied it up just right!”

“Stop blabbering on and give me a cigar.”

Ian’s expression scrunched up at Woojin’s request.

“Hah…… Old Man, do you know just how many cigars you took from me? Just off the top of my head, I can count more than a sack of them, and with that, I could have gotten a new, clean chopper at the marke—”

“So, you can’t give me one?”

“…..”

Whoosh—

Grab!

“Thanks.”

“Nukes must kill ghosts, too, seeing that an old man like you is still alive.”

Ian gave up and opened his pocket. He could have just stuck up and not given it to him, but that made it very likely for that old man to become aggressive. Ian was a man who could sacrifice a single cigar for a comrade who was in the grasp of a beast.

Dangle dangle.

“Jaw boy.”

“What now? I don’t have ones with filters!”

“Not that. Your lighter.”

Glare!

Ian barely managed to suppress the curse words that bubbled up in his throat, then took out a silver zippo lighter and threw it to him with all his strength.

Clack!

“Thanks.”

“Go die in a hole, old man.”

Click— pop!

Tsh. Tsh.

Woojin lit the cigar and took a deep breath. As if the fury of the devil within him was coming out with the smoke, peace was returning to his expression.

“Haaaaahhhh. Jaw boy, you should go to the cigar field when that gunpowder job goes out of business. They say there’s no such thing as coincidence in the world. It must have been fate for me to pick your body up in that truck in the Wasteland so I could smoke these cigars of yours. Hmm. Maybe it’s because I didn’t buy these that they’re spectacular.”

“…..Hwak-tu.”

When Ian spit in the spittoon that was in the corner of the treatment room, the old man cackled as if that was the funniest sight in the world.

As Gyosu watched the man that was just furious at him laughing now, he let out an exasperated sigh.

“If there were any other doctor in the Wasteland, I wouldn’t have needed to come here. I’m getting therapy from a freaking bipolar.”

“Don’t set the pre-Great Disaster as your standard. Bipolar disorder is nothing compared to the guys that are suicidal or have some sort of PTSD or schizophrenia.”

Woojin shut Gyosu’s mouth with that one statement and casually returned the lighter to Ian. When the room filled up with smoke from the two people’s cigars, Vex crawled out of wherever he was, and Woojin opened his mouth again.

“‘Possession’….. Gyosu Park, didn’t you quit that game? You said you felt guilty that your parents’ data was copied inside the game and that you were scared you were still going to run back to them.”

“Haaahhh. I did say that. And I still feel that way. But you can’t survive in the Wasteland just by doing what you want to.”

Gyosu made a complicated expression—partially bitter and partially nostalgic—as he recapped the events of the past 12 days. It was ridiculous when he thought about it. His generator broke down, so he started a conceptual let’s play. And then he met Notum and went into Touran as a mercenary and met Charlotte and Edeorna. Then he was in massive debt from Koduro’s dumb mistake and got caught up in the treasure-hunting event in Area 45 on his way to Area 43, where he met the two friends behind him that were listening to his story with widened eyes. Then he became a test subject and recovered from the trauma of his mother, met Hyde, and destroyed a mage tower. Even while he was saying everything, he couldn’t believe that this all happened within a span of twelve days. Even considering the fact that time was five times slower than reality, there were still too many different events that happened.

Woojin closed his eyes and quietly listened to the words that flowed out of Gyosu’s mouth.

“…..And so, this Hyde guy is now living inside my head. I don’t know exactly what made this possible, but according to this guy, it’s a dumb idea to think about the past. And I do agree with him. There’s enough to worry about just by thinking about the future, so I don’t need any more worrying on my plate.”

“Hmm….. What an……interesting story. Possession has been a hot issue in the Community for a while now.”

After Woojin completely smoked the cigar Ian gave him to the very tip and spat out the ashes in his mouth, he started speaking with a serious expression.

“Gyosu Park. I have a million things I want to say, but let’s get this part straight. You like that ‘Hyde’ guy, don’t you?”

“……What?”

This old man really must have lost it. What was he talking about?

“Is that….. some sort of narcissism or something?”

“I don’t know. When I was listening to your story, you seemed to be pretty…. positive every time you talked about that parasite or something. Even after that thing went through your memories, brought up your trauma, and even took control over some of your body.”

“I… did that?”

Woojin frowned at Gyosu’s confused expression. He didn’t really have professional knowledge in this field either. He just figured out things one by one because over 90% of the patients that came here had some sort of mental illness.

“Yeah. We’ve known each other for a long time. I know my fair share about the guy called Gyosu Park….”

Tap. Tap. Tap.

When Woojin slipped his gaze to Ian, who was standing behind Gyosu, and drummed on the desk, Ian just threw the entire pack of cigars at Woojin.

Clack—

“First, Gyosu Park. You have a severe case of love deprivation.”

Biting another cigar in his mouth, Woojin started to list everything he knew about Gyosu one by one.

“You might think you’re desensitized to this stuff. You’ve been through war and lived by yourself in the Wasteland for quite a long time. But what actually pulled you through those rough times was, like you know, the memories of the overwhelming amount of love given to you by your parents. You lived through your life with just those memories to live by.”

Gyosu wanted to deny it, but he had nothing to say. It was true that he lived his entire life chasing just one goal.

“To elaborate, you’re not starved of affection……. But addicted to it. Even though you have the cold and logical judgment of a Wasteland survivor, you’re unable to push away someone who approaches you in a friendly manner. To put it simply, you’re incredibly easy to get. If someone extends their hand to you, you’ll take that hand without any hesitation. Because deep inside of you, you have memories of people who loved you so much, they gave up everything they had. So you have an expectation within you for a love like that from each relationship.”

Tap. Tap.

Woojin shook off the ashes from the cigar into the ashtray. Gyosu felt like the red flames within the ashes of that ashtray were like the truth of his innermost feelings and was embarrassed that they were being exposed out in the open.

“You’re responding in the same way to that Hyde guy. It acted hostile at first, but it’s pretty friendly to you now. So you’re starting to gain hope from that. ‘He’s dangerous, but maybe it’s possible to live with him.’ The good memories you had with him recently are probably also affecting this thought. Since this guy freed you from your ‘lonely life.’”

[Kekeke. Vessel, is this true? I’m about to be a little touched.]

“That’s not….!”

“Oh, you’re going to deny it? Do you know? Ever since you stepped foot into this room, you have not once asked me about ‘how to get rid of this mental disease.’ You just said you got a new one. You’re still fighting inside. Even though you instinctively know this guy is dangerous, you’re also feeling friendly toward him. The friend that has seen your deepest secrets. ‘Can’t it become that kind of being?’ is the hope you gained. So that’s why you came here. You said you wanted to get treated, but all you actually wanted was a consultation. ‘This and that happened, so just listen to me.’ That was your objective.”

Like some fucking little kid.

Woojin trailed off with the last statement. The person who opened his mouth in this heavy environment was none other than Vex.

“So….. I know this was important to say and all. But I want to ask what he’s actually supposed to do then….”

“Hmm? Ah, right. I guess I am really getting old now. I’m babbling off by myself. Long story short, no matter what your opinion of him is, Gyosu, you need to get rid of this Hyde guy.”

Flinch!

[My goodness.]

Gyosu’s left fingers squirmed at Woojin’s declaration.

“You could have lived with it if it was just a normal multiple personality disorder. But from what you said, the consciousness of this Hyde guy seemed to be growing at a very fast rate. And using the memories of Gysou Park at that. That is a very serious matter. The subconsciousness called Hyde wants to come out to the outside world, is quickly growing, and even has complete control over a part of your body. A human’s body automatically tries to go back to normal when something abnormal happens to it. Seeing that this consciousness hasn’t disappeared, the rate at which it’s growing is faster than the natural speed of your body’s recovery, so what’s going to happen when the part Hyde owns becomes larger than you, Gyosu Park?”

“…..It’ll consume me.”

“Precisely. From then on, your body will try to go back to normal by slowly removing your consciousness. Of course, nobody knows how long it will take to get to that point. Since you still own the majority of your consciousness and because the ego you’ve built up for the last twenty-four years isn’t a weak one. But…”

Woojin took off the glasses he was wearing and stared at him grimly.

“If you leave that thing be, the name Gyosu Park is going to disappear at some point. Like that famous man-eater player or those other players who died from possession. GG isn’t just some game made for people to enjoy. It was created for a bigger purpose we don’t know of.”

As Woojin continued to talk, he stared at Gyosu’s left hand, which had been twitching for a while now.

Tap, ta-ap, tap, tap, tap, ta-ap—

While Gyosu was busy taking in this story, his fingers were sending Woojin a secret message through morse code.

[G. o. F. u. c. k. Y. o. u. r. s. e. l. f. O. l. d. M. a. n. ]

“….Gyosu, do you happen to know Morse Code?”

“Huh? Ah, yes. I learned it when I was in the army…. But I forgot all of it.”

“I see……”

Damned bastard.

A menacing smile spread across Woojin’s face as he looked at the fingers that were still twitching at him.

“It seems I’ve been talking for too long. I’ll make a diagnosis. Looking at your current situation, this can’t be solved by medicines like suppressants. This thing was planted in you by the program made by GG, which can scan a person’s conscience and reenact everything commanded by it. There isn’t anything you could do with the technology and skills of this current world.”

Grab!

As Woojin said that, he quickly reached out to grab Gyosu’s left hand and secured it on the table. There was a sharp scalpel in his right hand.

“Argh!”

Rustle!

“Oi, old man! What are you doing?”

“Put down that knife. I’ll behead you the second you make even a paper cut on Hepburn.”

“Hah! I’d like to see you try. This is the first method. You said the part he’s controlling is the three fingers on this hand, right?”

The scalpel touched Gyosu’s skin, and a red stream of blood flowed down his hand.

“Cut all of them off. Don’t let him do anything and just stay in that brain of yours.”

“T-This! You even call that a solution……!”

“Vex, calm….. God damn it!”

Stumble. Crash!

Ian yelled at Woojin as he pulled back Vex, who was going crazy after seeing Gyosu’s blood.

“Old man! Is that really the only way? Hey! Gyosu! At least say something!”

“It’s not that he isn’t talking. He can’t! The guy that’s about to lose his only part of control over the body is probably going crazy right now! Respond to me if that isn’t the case! If you can’t respond to me, I’ll consider that a sign that you can’t win over that thing and cut off these fingers!”

“Grr, ghhhhh!”

As Woojin said, Gyosu’s mind was currently in chaos. The Hyde that was playfully joking just a moment ago was now rampaging inside Gyosu’s mind. Emotions that couldn’t be put into words—confusion, anger, greed, worry, and a little bit of sadness—were all swirling around him in turmoil.

Gyosu could feel it. Hyde definitely wanted his body, but he wasn’t a bad guy. Just a little kid that didn’t learn that yet. It was a sort of understanding that could only be felt by the two consciousnesses that were coexisting with each other.

‘I need to explain that to him. I….. Just stay still, will you?’

He couldn’t move his body or speak. It wasn’t that Hyde had that much control over his body, but the rampage Hyde was pulling into his mind had completely paralyzed it.

“I’m cutting it in three! One!”

‘Damn it, Hyde! Just calm down! We’re going to lose our fingers at this point!’

He could clearly feel it. Hyde was scared. The fear that he would lose his only source of direct sensory and go back to when he could only indirectly sense what I sensed.

‘No, that’s not it. It was something deeper…. Loneliness?’

And then, Gyosu realized when it all went wrong.

[I need to cure this ‘illness.’]

It was what he had said as he left the shelter.

He was basically a copy of my mind. When I came to the hospital to solve this problem with Hyde, he became scared that he would be abandoned. From the moment he was born into my mind, he talked to me, learned through me, and felt the world through my body. To him, I was the only family he had.

“Two!”

‘You could have told me this sooner! You just sat there like an idiot, pretending you were fine, pretending everything was okay, and joking around like normal! Just, just…..’

Just like me. He was the same. The me before I overcame my trauma.

‘For goodness sake, you just had to go and learn the bad parts too! Like using that dumb brain of yours for your own good or blabbering off even when you have nothing to prove—’

“Thre—”

“Or how you always carry everything by yourself like a fucking idiot!!”

Bang!

Just as Woojin was about to stab his hand, Gyosu yelled out as he crashed his head on the table.

Drip. Drip.

Gyosu looked up at Woojin as he spoke. The wound on his head unfazed him.

“Why did you have to scare a kid that isn’t even a year old like that? He’s going bats**t crazy because he’s scared right now!”

With Gyosu’s statement, Woojin, who was glaring at him with a cold expression, Vex, who was still squirming around on the floor, and Ian, who was holding back that Vex, all froze.

“Hah. Haaaaahh, hah ahah! Agkhahahah!”

Woojin’s lips started to twitch, and he then began to laugh like a madman.

“My goodness! I thought this was going to work, but I didn’t expect it to be this good. ‘Kid,’ you say? He said, ‘What are you doing to this ‘kid,’’ hahah-ahhhh! Oh my goodness!”

Woojin laughed manically as Gyosu just stood there, stunned.

“I was testing you, you idiot! I was checking how far you and that guy had come!”

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