‘Hate’ is a very strong word, one that – like ‘friend’ – others seem to throw around without considering what they are about to say. Life has so far shown me that those who sow hatred with the loudest voices are always the rashest - and succeed more in exposing the darkness within their own souls than the vices of their victims.
I am well acquainted with Hate. It took root and burst into a forest of thorns within my schoolmates once it was assumed that I carried the affliction of homosexuality. One Christmas Eve, a sour-faced girl acidly refused to sit next me at Midnight Mass, declaring – “I hate him” - having not once exchanged a syllable with me beforehand. During a brief term of employment at the local supermarket, I became the subject of vendetta - whispered taunts, mocking laughter and stabbing glares - after complaining to management about the insolence of certain members of the night-crew.
Now, the heat of blazing Hatred burns my skin from another direction. It used to hurt me when I learned that I was supposedly ‘the biggest figure of hate’ among that community, who – despite the fact I have had no ties whatsoever with them for four years – have blamed me for any slight blemish to their ego and made me the subject of bitter hate speeches, mocking videos and lamentably cliché-ridden parodies, one of which concludes with me being brutally mutilated.
But as history has proven more times than it is possible to catalogue, Hate is the thin, flimsy mask of Fear.
My apparent crime was nonexistent compared to those committed by others on previous occasions. And prior to the uproar that resulted in my exile, I led a modest and well-respected existence among the community, even establishing several traditions that it is still famed for today (though, predictably, any evidence of my contributions were erased following my departure, and attributed instead to others within the favouring circle of the Count). But it is clear to me now that I only carry that title of ‘the biggest figure of hate’ because I ventured into forbidden territory – the bloody chamber of Bluebeard’s castle.
I did not imagine those horrors. I wasn’t creative enough to conceive such narratives, and make-believe cannot move a body to the despair that I experienced. The fact I am now hated for trying to cast away the darkness within that chamber reinforces everything I came to realise by the time I detached myself from that cult. Now that they are united in their belief that I am the snake bent on contaminating their utopian paradise, they can remain deluded by the fantasy that has seeped silkily into their brains like ambrosia - and reject everything they dare to acknowledge. They deserve only pity for being so weak.
The parodies, videos and hate speeches that have been produced about me serve only to reinforce a bleak message to any other soul who dares to unmask Bluebeard again.
I don’t think it’s possible for them to truly hate me. None of them knew the person who sat behind the screen-name, of the living nightmare that poor soul was encased within on a daily basis like Andersen's mermaid silently enduring the stabbing pain of a thousand knives with every step on her new legs.
But I doubt that matters. I am not the one they hate. Neither am I offended by the thought of being parodied. It is the monster they believed me to be that has been immortalised in their history book as their 'biggest figure of hate', the stain that marks 'the darkest year'. Pierre existed only in cyber-space. As I am sure was the case with many of them also, he was a personality that I constructed, who embodied qualities that I lacked in the real world; confidence, wit, talent. He was a marionette who sang while I pulled the strings, unseen, in the lofts above. He was no more authentic than the characters celebrated by the cult.
Even if Pierre had elements of my soul within him, they are certainly there no longer. As a person, I am so vastly different to how I used to be during that ugly period that comparison would be futile. If they continue to hate Pierre as intensely as they claim, they may as well be directing their loathing at the air. He died the second I closed my account. The body that they mutilated and gaffered at proudly had turned to dust long before the court clowns - intent only on securing a seat close to the Count's rear-end - raised their ruthless pens.