Midst the Mist – Koji Kitakuni

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“Midst the Mist” (short story) by Koji Kitakuni

English Publication History: Speculative Japan 2 (Kurodahan Press, 2011)

Original: Japanese (靄の中 , 2007)

Translated by Rossa O’Muireartaigh, 2011

Synopsis: Lee’s a seasoned investigator while Sakaguchi is the novice, both of who discover a dog axed to death. A nearby cowbarn raises their suspicions, so they drive to the homestead where a family of three are about to sit down to dinner. Lee asks detached questions to the man, which makes Sakaguchi uncomfortable. When the man accepts and chews a piece of pre-chewed gum, Lee shoots the man’s face off and runs to kill his wife. Meanwhile, Sakaguchi holds the boy, hoping he isn’t one of them, too. 18 pages

Pre-analysis: I remember once reading, long ago, that there were many types of love, not just the four, five or six attributed to the Greeks. If a modern word like love can be analyzed and broken down into constituent parts and contextual use, it clearly isn’t the simple, pure emotion we think it to me.

On the opposite side of the coin, there is hate. If love can be divided into types, surely hate, too, can be divvied up… or are we too proud of love to treat it like hate? Is the word so loathsome that it shouldn’t be treated like its opposite emotion?

As there are different realms of love/hate, there are also different degrees of love/hate. Each can span the spectrum from passive to active or maniacal to peripheral, but when the love/hate becomes logical, it transcends its own definition.

Analysis: The premise of the story is that an insect-like alien species has invaded Earth and taken control of their human hosts, simply for sake of their own survival. Because of their willing inflicted harm on humankind, they exhibit a kind of hate—an active yet tame hate. Meanwhile, Lee is an investigator who relishes hunting down and killing these human hosts and, thereby, the alien parasites—his hate is active and borderline maniacal. His partner, Sakaguchi, is shocked by Lee’s aggressiveness, only going through the motions by following Lee—his hate is passive and tepid. Toward the end of the story, Sakaguchi’s passive form of hate morphs into an active form of love.

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