At the beginning of the 20th century, a young artist traveled between Italy and Spain looking for unique experiences. Among all the places he visited, nothing was as grandiose and at the same time as disturbing as the place that was kept in his memory as the House of Satoshi Kurosawa.
It was during an autumn afternoon, when without any warning the sun was covered by a sudden blizzard. He was hurriedly forced to seek shelter, with the sky already darkening, he saw nearby a large house whose architecture resembled the east despite a very singular appearance, as it was a construction with heavy concrete and solid wooden doors, in the middle of the roads. europeans.
Although at first glance it seemed strange, it was actually only peculiar to a skeptical and reason-centered person. The simplest explanation was that someone from the east with resources, built a kind of fortress or castle in the middle of Europe.
The artist knew some Japanese and recognized the sign near the entrance as saying Casa de Satoshi Kurosawa. It was dark and the cold terrifying, so he soon called the front of the building for shelter from the storm. With no response, he knocked a few more times on the door when it opened as if it hadn’t been locked. The door revealed a simple, cube-shaped room with 4 walls and three other doors (one in the center of the wall). The artist yelled for someone before entering, but with no response he went in and tried to open another door, but it seemed locked.
A cold draft was coming from outside, so he closed the door he had entered and went to try to open one of the other two doors. He noticed that after closing the door, the room was left without any external lighting except for a faint glow with a bluish tinge emitted by the walls, floors, ceilings and doors themselves. As if they had a soft phosphorescence that gave off that exotic light. When touching the left door, it was unlocked and opened. The artist then saw another concrete room with 3 more doors, the room was identical to the one he was in. He found it strange that there were 3 more doors, as he came through the front door and turned left, so if he went through a door on the left again he would end up outside the building. Though he hadn’t seen more than one entrance in front of that place.
Curious about the peculiar building, he went through the door, closed it, and tried to open the door on the left, expecting to find himself outside the building, as anyone with even the slightest sense of direction would imagine. But then the artist got scared, seeing another room with 3 more doors.
This time the artist did not go through the door, and tried to go back the way he came with the intention of leaving that place. But the other three doors seemed closed… in a panic, he pushed that door open and went to try again to go back the way he came and this time it was open.
Returning through the door he passed, he was sure of the way back. Upon entering the new room he would pass through the door on his right.
After entering that room, it would be enough then to open the door on your right and with that you would have gone the opposite way and arrived at the exit of that building. But as he feared, when he opened the door he came across another room identical to that one, with 3 other doors.
From there, panic took over. He started walking through the doors without thinking. He wanted to find the exit soon, or find someone. Anything, even the storm would be better than being stuck in that strange and confusing place longer.
It became clear during these attempts that only one door could be opened at a time. For another door to open, the first one would have to close. He also understood that there were doors that would not open.
Even walking through several identical rooms, he began to notice that there were marks of his shoes on the floor, indicating that somehow he had been there before.
After exhaustingly trying to find a way out, he realized he had no idea which direction to go. He felt that this method was not being effective and that fatigue was starting to kick in.
He sat down to eat something he carried in his duffel bag. But he could taste the food a little old, it wasn’t spoiled, but he also didn’t expect it to be that old and withered having been so little time since he bought it.
Fed, he began to think about where he was. He must have made some sense of that movement between rooms, otherwise he wouldn’t have returned to any of the rooms he’s already passed through (given the shoe prints seen on the floor). He took a clipboard and started drawing the rooms and with a drawing chalk he marked the place where he was with a number then continued through the doors. With each room he passed, he dialed a number, until he arrived in a room with a number already dialed.
From there he started to make other movements to understand how that peculiar geometry worked. It was something really fun, he couldn’t imagine telling about that place, he didn’t really know who to tell it to, but it would certainly be the craziest story anyone would ever hear. Even he, being skeptical, could not contain his excitement and happiness at having found something inexplicable. All his fear was converted into enthusiasm, sketching a map, things started to become clearer. He felt that he had found something fantastic that deserved to be explored very carefully. Even under the influence of his engineer father, he understood relatively well with calculations and quickly determined how the movement in that space occurred.
If I called each door a cardinal point (North, South, East, West) and considered the 8 rooms around it (North, Northeast, East, Southeast, South, Southwest, West, Northwest), then I could describe its movement as:
North door → leads to → East door of the Southwest room
East Door → leads to → East Door of the East Room
South door → leads to → South door of the North room
West door → leads to → South door of the Northeast room
Even the locked doors, he considered that they were actually doors that could not be crossed, otherwise they would lead beyond the limit of the building. He assumed there was only one exit and one entrance. Although he still had no idea how to get there or how such a place could exist.
Until his pencil tip broke and he went to sharpen it with the stylus. Eager and in a hurry to improve his map sketch, he ended up cutting himself with the blade. He dripped some blood on the floor and on the paper, but soon held the cut with a handkerchief and went back to working on the map, now on a much larger sheet resting on the floor of the room. The mood was high, until the moment he went to eat something else and felt the taste of the past food.
What he had taken in his bag was now rotten. He found it strange, put the sheet on the floor to look for something in the bag that wasn’t rotting. Only a few chestnuts, although wilted, looked edible. Turning the map again, he saw that that bloodstain had greatly reduced. On the floor he couldn’t locate the drops that had dripped. Without understanding, he wanted to continue on the map, but something was bothering his skeptical side, a bad feeling told him to do one more test, just in case.
He made sure the floor was solid with no porosities. Then he let go of the handkerchief and forced the cut a little so that a drop would drip onto the floor. She fell, and was soon pulled across the floor. He rubbed the spot, and it was clean, repeated the experiment, and then did the same with saliva. But the saliva remained in place, only the blood was pulled across the floor. He got up, startled, and began to remember the vampire stories he’d already read.
He did the drop experiment on a wall and the same thing happened. Immediately the drop disappeared. The same at the door. It seemed rash to say so, but that entire building behaved like a vampire.
He was beginning to think that was why his groceries went bad so fast. He couldn’t tell what would happen if he fell asleep there. Perhaps strength was gradually drained from him, until he never woke up again.
He picks up his map and stands up, then starts walking so he goes where all the doors in contact with the building boundary would be (locked doors). For one of them, which leads to the exit, should be unlocked.
It was a long journey, with each room he passed, he marked a number with chalk, but he felt as if his body was succumbing, with joint pain and needing to breathe more and more with greater effort, it was as if something pulled his energies. He couldn’t tell if it was psychological, if it was natural, or if it was the house. But he faithfully believed that the house was responsible for it.
His map had several unexplored spots and by his estimates the whole house must have more than 400 rooms.
After many attempts, he began to dread the idea that he had made a mistake on his map, or that he had taken a wrong turn. But he insisted that he must finish the tests before reviewing the procedures.
Then one of the doors opens and glimpses the exit. It was still night, but the blizzard had passed, his initial wish was to get out of there as soon as possible. But now he feels more secure about his map. Standing in front of the door, he breathes in the outside air and it seems that his vital energy begins to restore itself.
A voice in his subconscious screams for him to get out of there, but another urges him to complete the map.
Almost putting his foot out, he decides to go back and complete the map, going through all the rooms and testing all the doors.
His joints ached again, his breathing became heavy again, but the stubbornness of youth was stronger. So he insists on going through the remaining rooms. He tests every door and walks through every room, until there is a mark on each one.
With the map ready, he was panting, sweating, and extremely exhausted. Looking at his map, even with a headache and dead tired, he determines the shortest way out.
Upon arriving in the room that would lead to the exit, he opens the door expecting again to meet the outside, but afraid to see a new room, perhaps an empty room with only one door and the shadow of Satoshi Kurosawa himself in its center. A room that was a lesson for him to learn not to ignore the exit his first time, and that he should now be stuck there forever.
Many dark thoughts came towards him, fear, anguish, sufferings, memories of the past and various concerns. But arriving at the final door, a happy disappointment, because after opening it he found only the moonlight illuminating the grass and the horizon. His vital energy seemed to gradually return.
He was happy to leave, but somehow disappointed that he couldn’t find a grand finale. Some last challenge, a surprise such as literature so often presents.
Still unsure about leaving it all behind, he releases the handkerchief from her hand and forces his cut to open a little wider and splatter blood on that partition that separates Satoshi Kurosawa’s House from the outside world.
His blood on the inside of the house in contact with the floor immediately disappeared. But from the outside, it was as if nothing happened. It’s as if the vampire that was that place had no power in contact with the outside, and he himself was the inside of the house. For even the outer wall or the outside of the entrance door was not absorbing the blood.
The artist was happy to have survived it, but sad to have ended so peacefully. In a gesture of solemnity, he joins his hands and bows to greet Satoshi Kurosawa and is grateful for the experience his home has provided him.
Moving away from the entrance, he kept the door open with the help of a large stone that was nearby, for fear of the door closing by itself and the whole house disappearing before his eyes.
In the distance he was making sketches of the place where he had been, seen from the outside, until the sun began to rise. And the place he was there began to be hit by sunlight. Through that open door secured with the stone, the sun’s rays began to reach and pass through the house, little by little the whole house began to disappear, from the inside out, as if it were a shadow that in the presence of light ceases to exist.
He ran to where the house was, based on the stone he left on the ground. Walking where the house was, he found small traces of his presence there, a bit of chalk dust from his many numberings done.
Seeing the first rays of sunlight he understood that he was really a vampire, a being of darkness and that he tried to kill him, or rather feed on his vitality. But now he seemed to have disappeared.
He returned to the city and that late afternoon returned to the place, but found nothing. Even after dark, she waited and returned for days. He started researching the area, and there seemed to be cases of missing persons there. Always the same pattern, a lone traveler who didn’t reach his destination having passed through there. He looked up the name of Satoshi Kurosawa, but it was a common name, there didn’t seem to be anything peculiar to link someone with that name to that place in Europe.
He tried to understand what had happened, if that entity would appear again. But nothing happened. He tried to record all his memories, even returning there on the same date the following year, but the place felt light, as if that dark being had left this world. Then he realizes that he could have really killed him… that that stone, placed to prevent the door from closing, was responsible for that being’s death. That perhaps prevented the House of Satoshi Kurosawa from erecting its defenses against the sun, and once the sunlight hit the creature’s interior, it likely killed it from within. This makes sense with his memory, of seeing the building falling apart from the inside out.
The artist then found himself saddened, as he was responsible, albeit unconsciously, for the death of a unique creature. This embarrassed him, for even if the creature had tried to devour him, it was wonderful and its vain human curiosity made it cease to exist.
After returning to society, the artist decided to bring some of his experiences and memories with the creature to his works. This was partially possible thanks to perspective tricks. People were amazed to see his paintings, veritable labyrinths that seemed to make no sense in the usual Euclidean spatial geometry.
But all that was a way of resenting what he had done to that being. A way of leaving its complex existence that contradicted Euclidean geometry, marked for history and sharing with the public a remarkable admiration for this extinct existence.
About the post
This is a science fiction tale like others already published on this blog (Vampire hunting on the Orient Express, Siege of the last Beast of Gévaudan, Attack on the invading vampire, Clash against the Dollhouse Master, The Doppelganger, The challenge at the gate of the abyss).
Let’s go then to the themes that this story allows us to discuss. First and perhaps the most obvious of all, it has to do with Euclidean Geometry. Note that the structure with which the protagonist moved through Satoshi Kurosawa’s House did not preserve the commutative property of the sum of movements. For example, moving North and East is different from moving East and North.
Another characteristic that this unique geometry environment presented is the absence of opposing movements. In other words, moving towards the North is not the opposite of moving towards the South. Performing these two movements then does not return to the place of origin.
Even so, knowing the rules of this different geometry, it is possible, as the character did, to build operations that allow us to find routes within this environment. It sounds kind of weird, but singular geometries are more common than we think, just think about our own transit system. If the place where you need to arrive with the car is located on the next street on the left, we cannot necessarily simply turn left on the next street, as it may be a curve that is prohibited to be made, or even it may be a street on the wrong side of the road. direction we are heading. To solve this, we need to follow the streets and curves allowed, making longer trajectories than if we simply followed on foot.
Another issue that this post addresses is related to the investigative method. For the protagonist at first believed he was in a labyrinth, but noticing the deterioration of his food and the absence of blood on the floor, he began to hypothesize what it could be. Experimenting with different materials (saliva and blood) that reinforced his theory that the whole building was a vampire. He even carried out experiments on the outside of the building to understand the behavior of that house / creature.
However, anyone who thought this was a horror tale, let alone heroes, is wrong… the third point and I would say that the most important thing this tale brings is related to research ethics. For to start the protagonist after finding the exit for the first time, he decided to risk his own life to complete the study of the interior of the house/creature (it almost killed him). But after leaving the house, he blocked his door from closing with a stone and watched the creature. As he’d already seen, the outside of her didn’t seem to absorb blood, and by the time the first rays of sunlight arrived, the outside was still intact. The problem is that with the door open, the sun’s rays reached its interior, which was the “vampiric” part, and that was vulnerable to the sun. For this reason, the house/creature died.
While it seems reasonable to say that the house/creature wanted to kill the protagonist, the protagonist was already safe and secure outside of it. But his curiosity in following the experiment, in holding it open by force while observing and studying the object, resulted in its destruction. It would be a situation analogous to finding a unique marine animal that came from the depths of the ocean. Although he may have a lot of teeth and have tried to devour you, after escaping him and restricting his movements, the person remains with him on the surface until he can’t resist the temperature/pressure/atmosphere or any other aspect, and dies. The creature was in fact not to blame for wanting to kill the protagonist, that’s how it feeds… but after escaping, the protagonist came to cause its death, which is indeed a pity, after all, that being was unique and the lack of careful with the study, it destroyed it.
It might seem like this lesson is more in the field of biology, which involves animals with teeth… but no. This is a lesson in research ethics in general. To be careful with our objects of study when they are living beings. This also includes research in the social areas with human beings. It’s not all that we consider derisory and harmless (like that rock holding the door) that it is. Thus, as researchers, this attention is needed to reflect on how much our study can somehow harm our object of study. They can be questions, interviews, questionnaires, exposure to content, games, videos, audios… the most varied things, which certainly “do not hurt us”, which can cause serious damage to the other.
I hope you enjoyed this tale and these reflections, can you find the name of the protagonist of this tale?