TABOO

Part I

By Jia Zhang


Ever since I was a little kid, I've had this dream, where I stood on the edge of the world…Just me, and me alone. And the wind burned against my skin, and I felt a suffocation in my lungs, as if I was drowning in water. I remember looking down into a void of emptiness—it was like looking into the dark eyes of some great beast…Absolutely pitch black eyes. And I felt the gravity of that dark void drawing me closer, and closer, encircling me with its twisted embrace. I'd take a step off that edge of the knife, and I'd fall as if I were swimming through blood—thick and poison to the senses. And then, only then, after what seemed like an eternity of falling into that dark abyss…I'd land…

To this day, I still don't understand what that dream means. Even if I may not understand it, that dream still invades my sleep.

When I was little, I used be terrified of that dream, because I was never sure if I'd land safely or not. But I do, always…as I'd learn once I grew older. But the sheer peculiarity of that dream has always disturbed me slightly. Unlike any of my other dreams, this one was always repetitive; it was the same thing, exactly the same thing, every time I'd dream…like some twisted déjà vu—a broken record player singing the same mournful tune over and over again.

But, with me, I guess that dream seems somehow…coinciding, I guess, with my life. After all, I've always been a very bizarre child myself—my hair, unlike my parents, was this gold colour that was almost white under the sun. My skin was pale to the point if you looked hard enough you'd see my veins. But, what everyone finds to be my most unusual feature are my eyes…My pretty, bizarre eyes.

Under the sun, they are a colour of bright gold, like the eyes of a cat…and then at night, they're like amber stones, burning as if they were the fire that heated the sun.

I never knew what they meant either, my bizarre little eyes, and I never really cared…After all, they have been always useful to me. They let me see and notice things that normal people don't.

For as long as I could remember, I could see things. I was never sure what they were…ghosts, apparitions, angels, demons? I never really paid much attention to it, though. When I was little, I thought that everyone saw these things, and it even got to the point where my teacher thought I had an imaginary friend, and urged my parents to take me to see a shrink.

Of course, my father completely ignored that idea. He always says that a person knows that's good for him or her, so I grew up seeing things…never sure as to what they are.

Well, I guess my bizarre eyes may be a product of my bizarre family. My parents moved around a lot when I was little—we've lived in Tokyo, Osaka…then we moved to America, then London, and to our final destination, our current residence, Italy. We live above a restaurant, where dad and mom work, in a little flat that looks across into the Mediterranean sea. It's a beautiful view, and next to the apartment we lived in when we were in California, in America, this is by far my favourite.

My family has never had much—dad was a high school drop out, and so was mom, and they've been together since then. But dad was always able to find work wherever he lived, and he always made a good enough pay for us to get by without making the family poor. Middle, middle class, I'd guess. He always said he was lucky to find a good job—like he had some sort of Angel on his side. I'd always tell him he's crazy.

Dad and mom both work for a woman named Constance Italiano, a dark haired lady, who's got a lot of curves. She always has me call her Auntie Connie, and loves to hug me to the point of suffocation—but she's nice, so it doesn't really matter. Dad does the books for Aunt Connie, and mom is one of the waitresses in her restaurant. It's a good life.

I love my parents. Dad is always really lax with rules, but he always offers the best advice. He always told me, since I was a kid, to follow my own path, and not to let anyone tell me what to do or think, not even him. Dad can be really cocky at times, but he's a good man, and he loves mom to death. Mom always says, though, that I get my stubbornness and bad attitude from him. With mom…she's the prettiest woman I know. Her hair is always shiny and bright, and she always has a smile on her face. Mom's really a determine person, but she's also really wise. She's a great cook too. But she's way stricter than dad—she always yells at him for letting me off on too many things. But they love each other, more than anything in the world…and their love, it's never changed.

My parents aren't really religious—even though we live so close to a church, and Aunt Connie goes every Sunday. But with Sunday, my parents always spend that time together. They'd take walks, or have dinner together by the seaside. My parents always believed that they made their own life, and didn't need God to govern over them.

But I always knew, ever since I was little, that I did not live in a normal family, no matter how much it seemed like I did, or that I, myself, was a normal person. And I didn't really understand why I felt this till I was 13 years old. That was when I discovered why my eyes are so special…so bizarrely pretty.

Why my eyes were eyes of gold…

It was for a school project I was doing, when I still lived in London, that I came upon this knowledge. We'd already lived in London for three years now, and on that particular day, I was in a local library doing a project on genetics. Originally, the assignment I had was to study the affect different genetic traits from parents have on their children. I'd read up on everything I could possibly ever read on the subject, but just an hour or two before I went home, I'd found a book that was terribly useful for my project.

It was also the book that changed my life forever.

Because I'd always known my parents lied to me about some things…

There was a subject in the book on children of incest, between cousins, siblings, and parents and their children, throughout history, and it's genetic effects. The statistics had shown that it was highly dangerous for blood-relations to produce offspring, and the high amount of complications, different genetic syndromes, that could affect the child. It was a high percentage that most children of incest would be born with physical or mental problems.

But…

There was still a percentage, a very small percentage, that survived without complications or problems. Those children, on that slime chance out of a million, could live and grow up normally, like any other child. However, all children of incest, born healthy, had the same trait—golden eyes.

Like mine.

I was a very smart kid, and I say this without being prideful. But I was, and sometimes I wish I weren't…because then I wouldn't have realized the horrible truth as to what I was.

I was a child of incest…

A child of Sin…

When the idea first ignited in my head, I thought it to be absolutely crazy—deranged…that I was something like this was absolutely ridicules…But once I went home that night, all the puzzle pieces from my childhood began to fall into place.

Like the fact that my parents looked a lot a like…how my father always had to dye his hair black…

Like the fact that I never knew my grandparents…and how my mother used to say that my grandmother would hate to see us…

Like the fact that my parents shared the same last name…when I, and only I, knew for a fact that they were not married…

Although I was born and lived in Japan for three years, I don't understand a word of it…But one word that stuck to me, after the incident in the library, was what mom once called dad… "Onii-chan"…

"Older Brother…"

For a long time, I was horribly sick to my stomach. I'd vomit uncontrollably some nights, to the point where my dad had to take me to the hospital, only to be released later with a diagnosis of "upset stomach". I felt sick, just absolutely sick, for such a long time. I felt so sick and disgusted with myself that I'd used to cut my skin, to the point where blood would spill out in a breath. Some nights, I'd cry and cry, till all the oceans were filled, and I had no tears left to bleed my pain. My parents never knew what was wrong with me at that time, and it made me sick to just look at them…

I began to despise them, hate them for what they did…

Hate them for what they made me…

A child of Sin…

I was never really religious myself, but growing up you learn a thing or two, about Hell, and Heaven, and the Sins, and those that commit them. I'd always known, especially from myths, the result of those born of Sin.

I was going to Hell.

It was maddening, through those years, after learning what I was. I became a problem child, breaking rules, smoking, doing drugs…everything to eliminate the pain and dizziness and fear that I felt if anyone ever found out what I was—an absolutely disgusting thing. But I'd never have sex, no…after that day in the library, I never, ever thought about that. I did almost everything, just to numb that sickening feeling I felt every morning when I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror. I had broken so many of them, because this reason. It had gotten to the point where I wanted to kill myself, but I'd always remember that I'd be committing yet another Sin, when I already had one so huge.

I couldn't do that.

So I droned on living…my parents never had a clue that I found out about their secret. Every day I'd drift through life, trying to forget my own skin. They'd try to ask me what was wrong, and if they could help. But I'd yell, and scream, and shout, and cry…saying how I hated them…but never telling them what I had come to realize as the truth.

By the time I was fifteen, I was standing on the edge of a very sharp knife, and about to fall into the darkest void I have ever known…most dangerous than those drugs could ever be…

I had slit my wrists, letting the blood soak into the tiles…in that moment, I had felt so relieved, so free and liberated from all the suffering and pain I had endured. As I died, I died with hatred for my parents…hatred for my mother, for my father, for the world…and most of all…

I despised myself…

I despised everything I ever was.

And I died in that horrible way.


to be continued


Author's Note: Taboo is by far my favourite out of The Bible series, because I relate to the main character very much. Originally, this was supposed to be just a one shot, but I ended up deciding to divide them into two parts, because the time Setsuna and Sara's daughter spends in death is the most important, and really changes not only her perspective of the world, but also of her parents and of herself.


© March 2005, by Jia Zhang. All right reserved.