Story: A Painful Truth

By: Vijay Johnson-Tanco

painful truth

“Listen, ye children, to the tale I have to tell. The morals I can teach you will save all of us from our own destruction. All I ask is not even a moment of your time, a mere glance if you will. I have seen the future, I know what will be brought forth. How the mothers will lament! How the children, teary-eyed, will bury their fathers war torn corpses! Why do we stand for brutal warfare, the killing of men, and piles upon piles of souls rotting in our own soil? I state that tolerance is the main issue of our killing and murdering. We are unable to accept each other no matter what we do! That, my dear brothers and sweet sisters, is what needs to change right now. At this second we kill simply to fuel our machines, because rather than walk by foot as we were originally intended, we would kill our fellow men in search of oil! We could have accepted them as people, and created bonds and friendships, but that is all the mad ramblings of a-”

A rock thrown through the air made contact with Brescham. Teeth and blood fell from his jaw, but he continued his words through mumbling. No one understood.

“He does all of this just for booze money?”

“All the bum’s trying to do is tug at your heart strings, just forget him”

“Get a damn job!”

A group of students were poking fun at Bresham, both metaphorically and literally. A young man began poking Brescham with a stick found on the ground. “Go on! Get out! Nobody wants to hear about those wild delusions again”

“Tease me now children, but the hellish banners will wave in the sky, the monsters will seek each of you and kill without mercy, and your homes will be toppled to the ground. Sad to see the youth wasted away like this, but I’ve seen each of your futures. It will not be a pleasant event, but have your fun now. If this is really the last thing you want to do with your lives”

“He’s not worth our time, let’s just get the hell out of here. I gotta get to class anyway”

The students, before exiting, threw coins at Brescham for charity. The old rough bearded Brescham let out a sigh, mumbled that he didn’t need the pity. Weyland, a young student, ran to his next class. He panted underneath his breath, because Weyland wasn’t ever a student who was responsible for misdemeanors. At worst he’s ever gotten was a teacher that never smiled at him. As he ran, he looked onto his wrist for the time, and in his lack of attention he ran straight into Brescham.

“I’m so sorry sir, I didn’t mean to. I just kinda ran, and I’m still going to be late no matter what I do, but please don’t tell any of the teachers. I’m sorry, I really didn’t-” Brescham cut him off with a gesture of silence. Brescham was kind in his manner.

“My dear young man, it’s completely fine. Go off to class, but I must tell you. Don’t become one of them. Can you remember that?”

“What sir?”

“I urge you, when the time comes, and you don’t know what to do. Do not become one of them. Promise me”

“I-I’m sorry, I’ve really got to go to class”

“Promise me!”

“I p-promise, to not become one of them?”

“Good. Now run along, you’ll be late young scholar.”

Weyland was puzzled. In his mind he questioned what state this old man’s mind was in, but there was no time for that. The bell would ring any second, and more than anything Weyland was afraid of disappointing his family, who viewed school as strictly as a nun would view church. As for Brescham, he moved onward spreading his message.

The next day, Brescham was killed in the explosion of an airplane, that collided with a suburban neighborhood. The media networks did not record this as an accident, but as an act of terrorism.

There was an assembly held in honor of the aircraft incident. Many speakers were chosen to share their feelings, and experiences felt from this event. A group of students all stood up together, and explained how just before, they met with Brescham, and were enchanted by his eloquent speech.

“On the day before he died, we met with Brescham. God rest his soul. He claimed to see our future, which we whole-heartedly believed with all of our being. A monster of a person, whose identity still remains a mystery to us, had thrown a rock at Brescham and caught his jaw. He was bleeding badly, he lost some teeth even! But we stood there with him, and spoke of nothing besides how evil the vices such as booze and fraud really are, and of course the need for a good education. Brescham approved of us highly. We are all proud to have spoken to that gracious soul before his passage unto heaven”

The students were then each given an award for their heartwarming despicable speech. One more thing all of them can put on their college transcripts. Weyland attended, his listened to each word spoken from these same young adults that tormented Brescham. In attendance at this assembly, as well as every other assembly, was the headmaster of the school, Harry Boinsold. The headmaster stood at the front of the gathering, completely mute while the other teachers spoke to him.

“Sir, are you feeling well?”

“What?” Harry snapped out of his trance long enough to reply to another who spoke to him.

“It’s just well. . . not to criticize the process of how you run the school, because it is marvelous I tell you! I have never seen a more successful center of education in my life, but we have yet to sort out the budget”

Just then Harry stopped paying attention, and sipped from a flask stowed. The teacher speaking to him stopped, and became wide-eyed at this. The headmaster did not stop, in fact it appeared Harry had drank even more before storming off. Weyland was in the masses, listening to this speech.

“This is the world we’ve come to” Weyland thought to himself, for fear of anyone with a differing opinion. “This is what the average student body looks like. Liars seeking out any opportunity to earn an academic achievement to get into the next best college. This can’t be what the entire world is like, there has to be some good people on earth.

“Do I really believe my own lies? There isn’t any altruistic souls in this existence. There is only cons and thieves. I hate to simplify it to that level, but it’s true” Weyland gave the speech his full attention, as more of those same thoughts clouded and fogged his mind.

Like a dehydrated elephant will plunge its trunk into fresh water, Harry gulped his booze down and prepared for a speech. He took the microphone from the children.

“It’s so nice to see good, upright adults come from our humble institution. But then there’s you lot, and oh how clever you must think you are! You think not of what you do that affects others, you only think of yourselves and how you can benefit from helping your fellow men and women. I saw what really happened between you and Brescham. I know how you mistreated that poor old fool. Yet with all of that evidence, I’m sure if I asked you for the truth, I would receive nothing in return but a steaming pile of fecal matter. Isn’t that so?”

There was an uncomfortable silence. “To put it bluntly, that’s how the world is supposed to work, assholes” thought Weyland. An uproar occurred in the audience, then shouts were thrown at the headmaster, who was rumored to be drunk. He simply turned, smiled, and left the building. Innocent masks were worn by the group of students to the front, and while they fooled the audience, they did not fool their peer Weyland. No, to Weyland the only event that came to mind with those students in mind was the vicious beatings, the way sniggered and chided the young man. There was no putting it gently, Weyland was a lamb to that group of sharks.

Letters from outraged parents, the school districts, and a death threat from a student were piled onto Harry’s desk at home. “It doesn’t matter, none of this mattered anymore. I just need to relax” Harry took a pill. He was given a prescription. In the mirror Harry was unkempt, his tie was torn off and his formal attire was ruffled. What Harold did yesterday at the school wasn’t the first time, he would have occasional spouts like that when he realized the school was just a fabricated lie, there was nothing good about it, nor innocent for that matters. Harold knew that the students that attended his school were all but angels. Each day he caught a student with illicit recreational drugs, or a man and a woman graciously sharing a bathroom stall. For the headmaster, it was all too much.

Harold’s prescription was scattered on the ground, his home was cluttered with nonsensical organizations of paper and cloths, but beside his feet was the prescription:

Name: Harold Boinsold

Disorder: Major Depression

Incident: Suicide attempts at ages 15, 25, and 39

Notes: Prescribe anti-depression as well as therapeutic visits with a counsellor.

“Well, I didn’t turn out to be the worst headmaster of our cozy little school. Or perhaps I did, and I’m just being optimistic. It really is all the same to me. . . “

Harry now played with a pistol in the palm of his hand. He loaded the bullets in, only to throw them all out. At one point, he held the barrel against the bottom of his chin, the metal from the gun was cold, cold enough to make a man shiver but also stop worrying. If he ever decided, Harry wouldn’t need to decide the schools budget, nor would he worry about the taxes he needed to pay. The barrel felt colder to Harry. The man didn’t have any family left to worry about, he could donate all he had to the failing school, or a better idea would be charity. A little colder. The bullets were all loaded in, the only thing he had to do, was give in. A quick tap of the trigger was all that was necessary. “One. Two. Thr-”

The door was opened.

“Who in hell could it be now? I told you before Tom. I don’t want to worry about the budget tonight, won’t you let it wait until tomorrow?” Harry slid the gun back into his drawer. In the hallway was not Tom, but in his place a student from the school.

“Weyland? My boy what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be off at school, I think it’s about fifth period if I’m right, and you’ve always been a Straight A student, you can’t afford to miss school.”

“I wanted to give this back to you” Weyland retrieved the flask that Mr. Boinsold dropped.

“Weyland, you were always a kind young man, but I apologize” uttered Harry.

“You don’t need to apologize for anything Headmaster Boinsold, the assembly was actually fun to watch for a second there. You wouldn’t believe what those students giving the speech are really up to. . . but I should watch my tongue”

“No need, I know exactly what those children are doing. They’re making themselves proof of what modern school systems will do to your children. It really is quite revolting, but the past is the past and I can’t undo it sadly. Why don’t you go run along and play”

“Run along and play?”

“Or do whatever it is children like you do. I really need to be alone and doing some work right now.”

The night arrived quickly. The school was devoid of any individuals aside from Harry, who still stayed in his office. There was a breeze, and everything felt cold, yet again the cold metal was against Harry’s chin. The radio was on beside him, Harry decided to drop the weapon and sip from his scotch.

“More updates on the aircraft disaster. As was speculated that it wasn’t an accident, we’ve just received evidence that there was indeed an act of terrorism that just occurred. Police officials say that paratroopers were seen landing onto the streets followed by gunfire. No bodies were found, but a number of citizens have recently gone missing. People are advised to stay indoors for the time being, and rest assured that the U.S. Military will handle the situation”

Harry blacked out.

The morning greeted with a hangover and gunshots. School had already taken place, and men dressed in full body armor and equipped with weaponry shot off their guns, and injured students and faculty alike. Korean phrases and commands were shouted between the troops.

“Weyland! Where is that young man? Where is everyone running off to? Who are these men!” Harry was yelling out his questions to anyone that could answer, but the only replies were screams of terror.

Running through the halls were Korean troops chasing a frightened young man, Weyland. His shoes were untied, his clothes were a mess, and there were still clumps of sand in the corners of his eyes. Weyland ran for his life, away from two troops who were hell bent on ending his life.

This morning Weyland was greeted with fire burning away at his home, his family was lost in the flames. Father couldn’t help him, nor could mother at this point. The only destination Weyland set for himself was the headmaster’s room.

Harry, upon leaving his office, saw a terrifying banner. A crimson flag depicted a white circle and a star.

“This can’t be. What would they want with our school? What do they want to do here? These aren’t soldiers, or any official politicians. They’re just kids! Young, teenage, ignorant children.” Harold looked out the window, and saw the group who met with Brescham. Their hands were bound, knives against their throats, their futures were black.

“Being killed by the masses” the students met their ends. Harry retreated back to his office, locking the door. The cold was back. He took the revolver out and loaded six bullets. The tip of the barrel rested against the side of his head. The cold metal was ready, Harry didn’t need to feel cold anymore, all that was needed was an act of submission. The warm moment would bring peace.

Well my hypothesis on this aspect of the experiment is right so far.

Weyland was outside the hall, he eluded the men for now.

“Mr. Boinsold! Headmaster! You’ve got to get me out of here! Let me in sir I beg of you, please! The men chasing me will be here any second, and I don’t want to die. Not here, not now. Please! I’m begging!” Weyland banged his palms onto the door, Harry was motionless. His face appeared without emotion and he had a certain stillness about him. He seemed already dead.

“Go away. This isn’t the best time”

“What? Sir I don’t think you know what’s happening out there. People are dying and murderers are around every corner. Please, the soldiers are looking for me and they won’t stop until I’m dead. Let me in” and with that, Harry opened the door.

It seems that I did not account for all the variables.

The man let the young student into his office, then locked the door. Another shout in Korean was wailed through the halls. The office was set up with explosives. Harry and Weyland still inside.

A fiery light erupted, and the two were dragged through the burnt grass. They were tied up, and forced to kneel down as prisoners. Harry shot a glance to Weyland, then vice versa. Weyland couldn’t stop shivering, the fear of death lurked in his mind. While Harry welcomed it, he was afraid for the others who wanted to cling to their lives.

“If there is one thing I want to achieve in this life, it is keeping you alive throughout this horrifying experience. Trust me Weyland, I won’t let you down. You’re going to get out of here safely, we just have to find the way.”

Before Weyland could offer his thanks, the student next to him was put down. That student’s name was Aaron, with black hair and wide black eyes that saw everything. Aaron died a pessimist, always seeing the bad of things. As a younger child, Aaron was mistreated and abused. This happened because he was a homosexual. His biological parents refused to acknowledge that was part of his DNA. For this, Aaron’s life was harsh, and he was in love with one individual. A schoolmate of his, who committed suicide.

I suppose it’s time to save my two surprising subjects.

A gun was placed against Weyland’s forehead. He already made peace in his mind. He was going to die right here, he thought. Harry saw this happening, and panicked. His mind seemed to be in a frenzy: “What can I do? Where could I find help? Oh screw it! Here goes nothing!” Harry stood up and tackled the Korean soldier to the ground. The guards raised their rifles, and their pure intention was to shoot and kill any and all hostiles. I stopped that, I stopped all of that, in addition to stopping time and space as well. I stopped everything in our universe except for Weyland and Harry.

“What?” Harry was shouting out questions on the possibility of the situation. Weyland was still shivering in fear. I’m already interfering too much with the experiment as it is. There was sometime before the transition was completed, so I did what I desired. I interacted with them.


“Who are you? What did you do?” Harry was the talkative subject this time around. Weyland was still shivering.

“Well. I’m a researcher.”

“For what? What is it exactly that you research? We were almost dead back there, I would have gotten a bullet in my head what do you say about that? What would you like to research there?”

“That wouldn’t have been the first time you had that fear. I know you Harry Boinsold. You are quite the individual. As for your student Weyland, I feel pity for him. I feel pity for both of you, and the predicament you’re in. If it is any consolation, it’ll end soon.”

“What will end soon? How do you know our names?”

“Just relax in the moment. Please. In our brief time together, would you like to know a secret?”

“What secret would that be?”

“In my research as well as my travels, I’ve seen monsters and human beings. The world you see will be slightly disorienting, it may seem different and not your world at all. But I assure you, the human beings you see in that world, are monsters just the same as the troops from your earth. No matter where you travel there are always monsters. It seems to be almost genetic, the only variable is how the subjects uses their own genes. Oh the fun of punnet squares. Farewell gentleman”

The universe was now complete. The universe was the same, but different. I became the quiet observer again, taking down field notes as I went.

Weyland and Harry were the same as well, but different. Weyland sat up tall, awaiting any punishment that he would receive, while Harry was carried a smile on his face, because he knew the end would have a positive outcome. Aaron, who was sat beside Weyland, was also the same, but different. Aaron had white hair, and he was burdened with blindness, making his eyes white. Though that didn’t bring his spirits down, he was almost as optimistic as the headmaster was. Aaron had a good life, his parents loved him and never touched a hair on his head, he was proud to be who he was. Aaron was even proud to be a homosexual, and he was proud to be with the boy he loved.

He was spared, as all the others were. The banner that hung over the school was decorated in red and white stripes, with a blue sheet full of stars in the corner. The invaders were wearing green and shouting in english.

“No hostages are permitted to be killed, is that clear grunts?” A commander ordered. Weyland was full of courage, and he wanted to fight back for his homeland.

No, that couldn’t be right. The invaders were more drastic than merely securing the civilians.

“HQ just gave us the go ahead. No individual can leave alive. Sad to say, weapons free.” The soldiers rejoiced and shot rounds off at the prisoners. There were smiles mixed in with murder, the boy and the headmaster stood up. Weyland ran at them to charge, but a bullet entered his lung and he was brought down. A soldier fished a knife from his uniform and assaulted Harry.

That’s the last I saw of them. My experiment is complete. Reshape the world in whatever way you imagine, somehow the monsters will still exist. The monsters always find a way into human life, as I’ve stated before maybe it is genetic to be a monster. I don’t know. I can’t ethically conclude that each human being is a monster, but my experiment has proven that everyone has the power to be a monster. Even Weyland and Harry.

Weyland and Harry started to revolt against their oppressors in their original universe, and now they are executing the prisoners they’ve taken during the resistance movements. It’s all perspective, and all perspectives have shown me the same thing. A human being, regardless of any variables, always has the power to be a monster. Always.

Categories: Fiction

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