The Truth Hurts, Doesn't It?

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On the isolated island of Artocas, the crisp waters run clear and turquoise blue. Against the white-sanded shores, waves crash in pleasant synchronization, while the sun bleeds into the ocean like a fiery blaze. The whispering breeze invites you where it’s none too hot, nor cold. Coconuts and pineapples mix from the plentiful markets, to the copper roofed homes, and through the lustrous town center.

Young women and men stroll along the palm shaded paths over-looking the sun-bleached pier and glistening boats. Bearded men with colourful Moroccan drums fill the air with beats while children squeal, dancing along. The simple squawks of gulls surround the citizens of Artocas, though we don’t mind. We citizens, young and merry, enjoy the simple things in life, uninterrupted by the bustling and advance of our surrounding world.

We now change our scene to Vera, a bright, young lady of just 23 who very recently birthed her first son. Stepping out of her cozy home for the first time since, Vera hastily joins her old friends while she walks along, eventually splitting off from the pack. Soon, Vera sees the ferry pull into port past the gardenia gardens. Every week the same ferry arrives to deliver supplies that our leaders are unable to provide for us, things like steel, and iron. Once or twice young men and women have tried sneaking onto the ferries, but we are unsure if they succeeded.

Soon Vera, lost in thought, charted across the Forest of Forbidden Entrance.

“Mystery and trust are key for any society to succeed and advance”, their head leader, Chief Dorite Allwaze, once told us during our seasonal, mandatory town meetings. No one questions the laws of Chief Allwaze, for he holds the throne of existence.

Suddenly Vera stops strolling along the cemented path when she notices a figure moving swiftly in the forest, as if it was running from something. Moving closer, she saw it wasn’t a figure at all, but a person, her mother.

“Mother,” She cries out but receives no response, “Mom!”

The frail, older woman glanced in her direction, but quickly turned away, and continued to run. Vera noticed the immense pain in her eyes, along with fear.

“Mom”, Vera called one more time before she was not visible from sight, “oh, I need to get her.”

Carefully treading into the forest, Vera followed the crackling leaves, and rustling thorn bushes.

“Alice, we know you’re out here,” She hears a deep voice rumble.

“Alice, there’s no point in hiding, we’ll find you. We always find runaways.” This voice growled.

A sharp shriek pierced Vera’s eardrums and a chorus of pleas with obvious restraint. Vera covered her mouth to retain her screams, and she ran. She ran as fast as she could to catch the men holding her mother.

Shortly, Vera located a moderate brick building with no windows, and only one tiny door. Outside the only decoration was a wildly burning fire, various large pieces of wood, and rope, burnt and black. A strong odor of rotting flesh engulfed her and a scream led her to the slightly door of the brick building. As she approaches she clearly hears several voices, and the scent progressively worsens.

Without sound, Vera observes the horror through a broken brick in the withering wall. Nearly decapitated bodies lay tumbling over one another, most with unrecognizable faces. In fact, Vera notices, all of the people were older citizens.

Vera’s mother was fearful, yet aware, of the sharp blade before her. Aware that within just moments, her life would be taken from her.

The deed was done swiftly and, still bleeding, she was carried to the flame. Alice was bounded to a board of cedar oak, and thrown in the fire like a stone in water. Uncontrollable tears fall from her crystalline irises, and she saw the face of chief Allwaze.

“No, “she sobbed, “this can’t be happening.”

Her body flew as she made her journey back to the candy-coated abyss she thought she knew.

“Please, you have to help me!” she cried, dirt and sweat covering her figure, “they’re murdering our parents! I saw them murder my mom!”

“Who is?” all of the other civilians said when they were informed of this news.
“Chief Allwaze. I saw him! He murdered my mother!! I’M NOT CRAZY!” she screamed.
In response, all she received was a laugh of disbelief and they walked by her. The ferry horn rang through the town, signaling its departure in 15 minutes. Without warning, she blitzed through the town, the gardens, and the sun bleached pier.

“If the idea is mystery and trust is murdering all of the ones that we love, I do not want to be a part of it.” Once she was secretly on the ferry and after the departure on the turquoise blue seas, she found a seat on the creaking wood. Then she saw it, a man on the opposite side of the boat, lifting large bags of white and tossing them into the sea. Only then did she realize the full extent of her massive mistake. A large bodied man appeared before her, with a fancy suit and leather shoes. While displaying his severely crooked smile, he chuckled and grinned down on her.
“My, my dear Vera. I just knew when your mother named you, you would cause trouble for me. Seeker of knowledge.” He chuckled, “now you’ll stay with her forever. Nobody escapes Artocas with the truth…”

“No…”
The large blade from earlier reappeared, sharpened by pain, and stained by the imminent bloodshed.

“Please…”
Her world faded to black.





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