Han Hito: The Story of Patient Zero
At the time of writing, it’s nearly one in the morning, so if I seem unclear in any way, please do not hold it against me.
Writing this was a wild experience from the first word to the last. Even if I didn’t quite complete it in the one-month time constraint I did Nock Rebels (my previous novel), I think it was well worth the effort. Now, I don’t believe this is perfect. Obviously not. I know there are places where it drags and builds up to nothing. Those are consequences of failing to plan for it. I do, however, firmly believe this is the most intensive piece of literature I’ve written, at least for now. I’ve been drained of so much by writing this, but I’ve created so much, too. A world, a plot, characters, ideals. I always knew I wanted to write Han Hito, but I never knew how hard it would be until now.
For a while, I struggled while writing Chapter 12. What you see now as the first segment of Chapter 20 was originally planned to be far earlier in the novel, and I ended up losing hundreds of words by deciding to cut it. I do think it was beneficial, though. The chapters I had to tell Niko’s story were more than worth it. I just hope you, the reader, think it was worth it, too.
For the uninformed, Han Hito is part of a multitude of stories and writings called Yume no Monogatari, which means ‘Story of Dreams’. Personally, I believe Han Hito is the best place to start the series, simply because it doesn’t require any previous knowledge to enjoy. In the future, when there are more of these novels, I hope you consider continuing the characters’ journeys.
I originally created the concept for Han Hito in 2018, when I was eleven. My original thought was ‘What if there was a virus that decimated the world?’ I realized that wasn’t quite original, so I took ideas from other areas to come up with something better: ‘What if there was a virus that turned humans into animals?’ Still not the most unique idea, but I decided I could rely on my characters to make it more original. Speaking of which, the early characters were very interesting. The story was set to focus on three unnamed characters- cat boy, falcon girl, and spider girl. These three were to be cousins who were turned into ‘half-humans’ when they entered a secret doorway in a local zoo.
Now, obviously, that’s not incredible. It doesn’t quite make any sense, nor does it tie into anything else. So, after assigning the characters names (a most important and daunting task), I decided I would make things harder on the three- Nico, Tori, and Chloe, respectively. It’s fairly easy to tell which characters these prototypes became. The three of them now had to live in the forest to keep humanity from knowing their secret. I thought ‘Wow, this is perfect!’ and then set the virus to release in the year 2020.
If you’ve ever been alive before, you probably realize that approximately two years after that incident, a virus was released in the year 2020. Just, not the one I was expecting. This came as a disappointment. ‘There’s a new virus causing havoc.’ ‘Is it the half-human virus?’ ‘No, it’s COVID-19.’ During the quarantine, I made multiple attempts to start writing Han Hito. There’s only one of them I still think is decent, but it’s the most recent one, of course. I tried different styles- diaries, logs in a database, third-person omniscient, even telling the story from other characters’ angles. I eventually realized something wasn’t working. So, my then-stupid self decided to throw some more characters in to fix it. Their names were ‘Soul’ and ‘Wing’, and they would join the group after a few months and help them find the cure.
If it isn’t clear, Soul and Wing were prototypes of Murry and Sammy. In fact, they weren’t prototypes, but simply disguised. In one of my other series, two of the main characters, Muriel and Samansa, get banished (well, really threatened to be killed, so they leave on their own volition), so I decided it would be a good idea to reuse them for another story. What an idea that was. Thanks, then-stupid self. Murry and Sammy didn’t single-handedly fix the story. It took months to figure out exactly what I wanted from each of the characters. They were a massive help, though.
The quote which ended Niko’s arc of the story, ‘Stand together’, is a direct reference to the series Murry and Sammy come from. I mention it in the book- it’s a phrase Murry coined during a very treacherous event. It’s since become almost a catchphrase for me. The full line is ‘Stand together, always and forever. Not even the hands of death can untie our souls.’ I like to keep it short and sweet. It’s a message of cooperation and determination, some of the most important themes of this novel as well. I figured it made sense to reuse it.
One last thing. In Japanese, the kanji for Han Hito literally translate to ‘half’ and ‘human’. For a long time, this book was titled just that- HalfHuman. It’s a name that I liked, but that I’m glad I changed. If you want, you can call it HalfHuman and no one will mind. It’s all the same story of determination and morality.
I hope you enjoyed the world of Han Hito. Farewell, friend. I look forward to seeing you on the path ahead.
Stand together, always and forever.