“Who are you?” I blurted out.
“Me?” he questioned sarcastically as he gestured with his hands. “Well, I’m you. I thought that much would have been obvious.”
“Yes, I know you’re me, but who are you to me?” I snarled.
“Relax, I’m only having a little fun,” he said. “After all, I think I’ve earned it, and I think you owe it to me.”
“I don’t owe you anything,” I snapped.
“You don’t?” he asked, shocked by my statement. His demeanor and mannerisms reminded me of Jealousy. He said things in the same way and even moved like him, but I knew it was not my lost minion. “You are not innocent in all of this. You see, you locked me away a long time ago for reasons I do not know.”
“I don’t understand,” I barked.
“Shhhhhh,” he whispered with his finger pressed to his mouth. He flicked his middle finger upward, swiping the cigarette into his index finger as he took a drag and removed it from his lips. “I know you don’t understand, which is why I’m here and why I’m doing this,” he said as smoke poured from his open mouth.
I attempted to calm my nerves by taking a drag of my own cigarette. It helped a little, but I was still rattled by my current predicament.
“Your emotions are powerful,” he explained. “When you became so angry and frustrated at your family, your psyche imploded like a very powerful bomb. The blast scattered all of your emotions, including me, to all parts of your mind. The only two that emerged from that carnage were Jealousy and Hatred. You clung to them so tightly in your desperate need to feel capable that you fed them all of your attention.”
“I’m going to stop you right there,” I interjected. “They are my minions and what I rule over—”
He made a buzzer sound with his voice, interrupting me. “That’s where you’re wrong,” he said. “They became your minions as a result of your power. Tell me, do you remember a time before your extreme rage when you could see or talk to them?” I shook my head. “Exactly! Remember, you are the God of Hate and Jealousy as it pertains to mortal life and the world as we know it, but you gave them life in your mind to help ease your suffering. Really, they are you, just as I am, but they represent different parts of you, which is why they appear different from me. They are the ugly parts of you and the areas of your mind that harbor ill will for everything in your life. Everything that you’ve blamed on others, held your family responsible for, and what you feel resentment about, resides in them. So, they took shape, manifesting from your mind as you breathed life into them. Yes, they are your source of power, but they keep you company while they fuel you. Really, they’re the reason why you’re always in turmoil. They’re to blame.”
“This is too much,” I growled, rubbing my forehead. “You say there are others. What, they live in my mind too?”
“Yes, but you don’t give them the light of day,” he answered. “Dinlas, you—we—are very complicated individuals. There is no doubt, and nobody denies the suffering you went through, the rough times you’ve experienced, but things have changed. You decided to leave on a journey of self-reflection and discovery. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I could bust through that thick layer of self-hatred and doubt. When you met this woman, that shell fractured, and I crawled through the cracks. Hatred and Jealousy knew I was there, but they didn’t want you to become aware for fear of you choosing me over them. It turns out you did that all on your own, anyway.”
“Where are they?”
“How can they be gone? They’re me, right?” I asked, confused by everything my reflection explained to me.
“Not exactly,” he said. “They were you and started out as you, but given all of the attention and power, they changed into something else. I’m not getting into all of that right now. It’s not important. However, what is important is what we’re going to do now.”
He stood up and walked around the area, smoking as he pondered his thoughts. I watched him pace and tried to wrap my head around it all.
“You feel strongly,” he continued. “Your main emotions, the ones you choose to give power to, are hate, jealousy, fear, and love.”
“Fear?” I asked, snorting in disbelief. I hadn’t ever been afraid of anything.
“Until now,” he said, cutting off my internal thought process. He pointed to his head. “I’m in here with you. Nothing you think is off-limits to me, understand? And you were afraid in your youth of never being able to live up to your father’s expectations. That fear drove you into hate and jealousy for everything else that happened in your life. Now, you feel fear of losing her. It’s something I feel too, and I’m terrified of it. She gives me life. She reached into your black heart and squeezed it, pumping life into me. I plan to pay that forward by loving her with everything that I am. To answer your earlier question, your other emotions are on life support at this point due to your neglect. Fear is something you and I hold and control together, while Hatred and Jealousy live independently.”
“I’m losing my mind,” I muttered. “I’ve gone crazy.”
“No, you’ve been reborn,” he interjected. “And I’m going to help you, well I’m helping myself too, but you get the point. I wanted to take this time to introduce myself and explain things to you so that you won’t freak out when you see me instead of those two. It is important for us to become reacquainted because we will do great things.”
“I don’t want this,” I grumbled. “I don’t want any of it anymore. I don’t want to see or talk to things that others can’t see. I don’t want to feel this way or the way I’ve been feeling.”
“Great, that’s great. Let it all out,” he urged. “You’re being honest with yourself, and you’re allowing yourself to feel. Hatred and Jealousy don’t allow you to feel anything. They allow you to hide, and they shield everything from you. It’s why you’ve been so cold for so long and why you have abandoned your family. It’s why you stay away and why you refuse to go back, but this will change. You will realize how much love you have inside of you, and I’m so excited for you to embrace that.”
“I am a god!” I yelled. “A god of jealousy and hate! That’s it! Love is not a part of that!”
“Duh,” he agreed, flicking his cigarette butt into my face. He bent over to look me in the eye. “I didn’t say you would be a god of love. I said you will embrace the love you have inside of you, which will lead you down a better path. It’s a win for me because now I get to move about and stretch my legs.”
“I only want to love her, nothing else,” I explained, feeling weakness take over my mind.
“I’m sorry, bud, but you don’t get to choose who or what to love,” he said and furrowed his brow. “Now that I’m out, you’re stuck with me, and I’m never going back to the darkness you cast me into all those years ago. I can and will be your ally, but if you cross me, oh how I will wreck your mind for good.”