This one’s dedicated to the dead who became the truth they were attempting to report. There are plenty of hacks in the world but, hidden amongst them, are some individuals who realise the value of truth and sacrifice themselves to it.
The truth had to get out, that was the last certainty, the bedrock of Sol’s waning existence.
He was dead, or would be soon. Too many enemies, too many death threats and no friends left, few as he’d had to start with. An irrelevance. No, not quite irrelevant, he didn’t want to die and he wasn’t so brave as to feign indifference in the solitude of his own mind. Sol wanted to live, he wanted to live in mediocrity or greatness, alone or loved, happy or sad – he just wanted to live. And the certain knowledge that he wouldn’t felt like a vacuum forming inside of him, dragging his mind towards acceptance. The second he let his thoughts turn towards it, he’d be gone. So he accepted the words and nothing more, ‘I will die’, they were floating above his head now, being drawn down by that abyss on the inside. They had to stay there, just detached enough to remain an idea rather than an all consuming awareness. At least until the truth was out.
So the truth. The truth had to get out. That was all that mattered now, fatalism, if well founded, was meaningless to that. They would come for him but they hadn’t yet and he still held the truth close, a tumour latched on to his mind, unfeeling but undeniably present. He needed to share the infection of knowledge, spread it like a pandemic in what little time he had left, the patient zero to necessity. Where though? Enemies, they were everywhere. In the police, in the press, in parliament, in the street, he couldn’t trust anyone who should be trusted and that just left people who’d never trust him. Strangers, passersby, people to whom he’d seem like a lunatic at best or who, at worst, would be marked for death themselves by the infection. The enemies would kill anyone they thought knew the truth and it’d simply die again with them after he’d had his turn. No, it needed an explosion, a proliferation of understanding that would spread far enough to sustain itself before anyone could seek to stop it.
There was one chance, one moment to act before there were no more. Sol was crying now, sobbing, alone in his apartment. The truth had to get out. The tears were those of failure, there was no way, there was no hope. He couldn’t think and he couldn’t imagine a path that led anywhere, too many enemies, so many enemies and no one to help.
The truth had to get out.
Footsteps in the hallway. Enemies, killers, an external weight to drag the words of death down through him and into the abyss, where he would inevitably follow. There was no escape, the truth had to get out but their vessel was trapped. Sol wailed through the tears, clawing at his head as if to yank away the mass of knowledge that it held.
Boots thudding on the door, the treble locks rattling in their housings. They wouldn’t hold, no more than Sol would once they gave way.
The truth had to get out. People needed to know about the lies, the thefts, the corruption of what was theirs. But there was no way, time had run out. The truth would never spread, it’d die incubated in a worthless host.
The door flew open. A blur of bodies, indistinct in all but their rage and professional violence. Sol went down, the idea meeting the abyss and everything else fading to nothing. The truth would die with him, the lies would survive.
No matter, he had the abyss now, a slow descent to something else. He had failed, but only he would ever know it, at the very least the truth left unspoken could mark him for no judgement.
The command to kill was lost on Sol, he’d already left.
My latest work, No Cure for Shell Shock, is a collection of short stories and poetry. It’s available as an eBook and a paperback here.
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