calliope, calliope 2018

truth – a story

photo credits here

by janani

The truth. It was the one thing Marilyn could not tell.  From little things like admitting she ate cake saved for her father when he came home from overseas, to who copied someone’s work in the examinations, she could never tell the truth. Lying, in her mind, was part and parcel of life and the only way to save herself. She felt that the truth would be the thing that got her into trouble, and that only lies, cold hard lies, could help her. Lies told with no feeling or expression, lies told without a trace of guilt. Yet, she could not always get away with this.

On that fateful day, Marilyn was walking home from school. She was strolling casually, not a single worry in her carefree mind. Out of nowhere, a man appeared. A grotesque mask concealed his face, revealing only his eyes. Those almond-shaped eyes were as black as night, as clear as a starless winter night. His figure was slender and muscular, and he looked fit and athletic. The little skin he revealed was pale like pallid cheese. A small black bag in his hands looked like they contained something small, and easy to carry. Something like a gun.

Heaving for breath, that man asked in a raspy voice, “Girl. Tell me, quick. Where is the nearest shopping centre? Tell me. Tell me, girl.” Marylin was thunderstruck. She had no idea what to say. The man looked dangerous. To her surprise, she found herself stammering instructions to that frightening-looking man. In her fear and confusion, all she said were the absolute truth. She did not lie.

The man dashed off faster than an angered dog. Marilyn was speechless. She did not know what she had done. Had she just aided a man to commit a crime, or had she helped a lost man find his way? Marilyn trudged on her heart heavy with worry.

The path was silent. Not a soul wandered in those streets. She was the only one there. She was alone and helpless in the silence. No one could help her.

A screeching wail of sirens broke the silence. Fear filled Marilyn’s heart. A police car screeched to stop beside her, confirming her fears. She had aided that man in crime.

A window rolled down.

“Did you see a man wearing a black mask?” he asked.

“Yes.” She replied, her voice trembling in fear.

“Where did he go?”

Marilyn was frightened. Clearly, if she told the truth, she would be in grave trouble. She told the truth, she would be in grave trouble.

“I.. I… I don’t know.” She replied.

Marilyn trudged home.

The next day, Marilyn died in a bomb blast. A bomb had been detonated in  her neighbourhood.

It had been done by a man in a black mask. He had received the bomb with an unknown seller in a black market. The man in the black mask had stolen money from a supermarket. The police reported that they would have been able to apprehend the man if there had been witnesses pointing them to the right direction.

Alas, Marilyn had not. She had not told the truth. She had lied.

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