I know the path I've walked. No one else needs to tell me.
For nearly twenty-eight years, I have lived by this one certainty. Once a humbling collection of words imparted to me by my late father, they permanently linger about me, reminding me to stay grounded and to always believe in the truth of all matters. I am grateful for these words, for it wasn't long ago I had lost sight of everything. Brought up by--and corrupted by, one could convincingly argue--Manfred von Karma, I became a prosecutor at the age of twenty, basing my career solely on how many defendants I could get convicted. Using dirty tricks to deal with a truth inconsistent with that guilty verdict was the easiest (albeit cowardly) way to maintain my spotless win record. Fortunately, several years into my career, I faced off with an old friend who gave my ego the beating of its life. Several incidents followed, none of which I remember being any more kind, but...I would not trade these misfortunes for anything else. If none of these had happened to me, I would not have found my way to the truth, and I would not be the person I am today.
Indeed, I know the path I've walked. It hasn't always been an honorable one, but ever since "that time," I have learned to walk it unwaveringly. I went from being a selfish prosecutor with little faith in the system to becoming a man steadfast in his pursuit of the truth. I no longer fear a marred win record, or the possibility that some defendant would be declared innocent of his crime. In the end, it is simple truth that will determine whether or not a man is guilty, and it is my job to guide things toward that end.
It seems strange to describe myself as someone who has faith in anything, considering my battles with the spiritual. For nearly twenty years, I have adamantly rejected the notion that we humans stay connected with loved ones beyond the grave. To connect with the dead--better known as "spirit channeling"--was something I had seen in my childhood fail, so I could not bring myself to believe in it. That, and...there had been a lot of pain attached to that incident.
The DL-6 incident--a nightmare I have never truly gotten over. It had marked the end of my childhood, and given rise to new fears. The story has become widely known since it was revisited over three years ago. It detailed how my father was murdered in an elevator after an earthquake had trapped him there with two others--a court bailiff and me. According to the spirit medium who allegedly called upon my father's ghost, the court bailiff had been responsible for the crime. However, the lawyer defending him had somehow managed an innocent verdict, destroying everyone's faith in the abilities of that spirit medium. The whole experience had left a bitter taste in my mouth, and for many years, I could not believe my dead father had named his own killer. I couldn't believe.
However, about a year ago, spirit channeling was at the center of yet another case. A young woman with whom I was acquainted had deliberately summoned the spirit of an executed murderer in order to protect herself from the deceased's homicidal tendencies. I was simply a spectator in court that day as it was revealed a certain witness was channeling that murderer. Hearing the news, I was cynical as usual, but right before our eyes, a terrible energy drew forth from the witness, and the witness reverted back to that young woman I knew. I saw it all. I saw her...yet I could not believe what had happened. It was a trick, my usual defenses maintained. It was all staged, and it was impossible for the spirit of the dead to have been inside that woman. Perhaps the prosecution and defense were all in on it. After all, the defense lawyer was a friend who insisted I believe in the spirit channeling technique.
But...deep inside, I knew that what I had seen...had to have been the truth. I simply denied it for a while longer...until the day I saw it for myself. No, it would have been more appropriate to say, I experienced it for myself. I had no choice; it was literally right in front of my face.
It was...just a few months ago. I was traveling abroad, as usual. I was actually planning to stay until the new year, but as usual, something urgent called me away. The friends I had made were in trouble--a young woman I considered family, and that one friend who had been adamant about me accepting the concept of spirit channeling. I can't say I've had the best relationship with either one of them. As a brother looks out for his errant siblings, there were times I found myself tailing that young woman. But this time, an outside party was responsible for her predicament. And of course, there was that friend--someone who based a career move on a need to seek me out and turn me from my semi-evil ways. I only came to appreciate the favor after I had lost and regained myself in the following year.
When a person does a favor for someone else, it is only natural that that someone else would want to return the favor at a later time. However, it was apparent my friend had no interest in accepting a helping hand when he needed it the most. Just as I had ignored his attempts to contact me once upon a time, he had refused to acknowledge my phone calls and letters. I could do nothing but mull over the irony (as well as consider that him ignoring me may very well have been the returned favor) and express my disappointment in secret. It was a time he needed friends. Several months prior to that, he had lost his attorney's badge due to an accusation of forged evidence. I suspected that there was more to the story, but he couldn't be bothered to confirm or deny the events. I couldn't make sense of it.
I finally had my chance to catch up with him; I just wish it hadn't been due to the fact that the ones closest to us had been in some danger. But at the same time, perhaps it was better that way. Not that I care to see a loved one in danger, but the whole experience caused me to step back and reevaluate my stance on certain topics.
I saw several old faces as well, and I found myself forging strong friendships with those who had once been strangers or mere acquaintances. We helped each other, and offered one another support during the more difficult times. And then...at my most desperate moment, it happened...the one event that destroyed the wall of doubt I had placed between me and that nightmare of eighteen years ago. And in that one impossible moment, the truth swept over me, forcing me to concede that what I had once considered fraud had been real all along. Looking back, it is strange. I never imagined that I, a man of science, would believe in anything that defied existence.
But then, I also never imagined I would find love.