Truth or Falsehood

  • 09 Sep - 15 Sep, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Fiction

My name is Aaron Tribiani and my life is revolving around history. Books written by the Gabriels and debates won by the Hectors were all around my head. The time had come when I started regretting getting married. But Lindsay was not the kind of woman that one should regret about. She was a kind hearted and sweet spoken woman who understood others. And her sensitive nature was not usually visible to those whom she cared about.

This hurt too much. Life became an agony. There are others who understand you and feel for you; but you are not sensitive enough to realise their pain. Deep down you are guilty about it. But you are so selfish that you are too deeply involved with your own problems.

Now the question arose that were these just my own problems? How come? I mean, not just mine but everyone’s future is attached with these. Isn’t it? My brother’s life is hanging. My parents’ marriage is hanging here. And my future with Lindsay is hanging with all these problems.

And the only way to bring an end to this is by personally visiting the island named Octaland.

I just need the resources. Once I get the resources to get there, I swear I won’t hesitate. I would just pack up my stuff and prepare to leave. There was little hope. I met someone who said to me:

“I can arrange a boat for you.”

“A boat?” I asked realising it was not enough.

“Yeah, I can!”

This guy was my new friend here in this new city. His name was Watson. He worked at the ship harbour and he could arrange a boat for me. So I asked:

“Can I get a cruise or something?”

“A cruise?”

“Something like a yacht…”

“I’m sorry, I can only arrange a boat.”

“Oh… Thanks, I’ll let you know!”

One hour later, on my way to home, I met someone outside the church. He was an old man with long beard. He greeted me nicely while I was walking towards home. I shook hands with him and he spoke:

“Hi, I’m Samson Buttons. And you are?”

I had heard of him before once. He was probably a priest I suppose. I said to him:

“My name is Aaron Tribiani and history is my obsession.”

“Ah history I see. So you’re trapped inside your past.”

“No, not mine. My family’s history. My ancestral history.”

“Why does that bother you so much?”

“It’s a long story. Anyways, who exactly are you? I’ve been told that you are a priest or something.”

“No,” he answered. “I’m a religious scholar of different schools of thought.”

“I see. That’s nice!”

There was a moment of silence. I broke the silence asking:

“So, do you live around?”

He chuckled silently and spoke:

“Kid, I can see the stress in your eyes. I know there’s something. And you need my help. Come with me I’ll buy you coffee.”

I felt hopeful and secretly delighted that this person might understand me and might suggest a reasonable solution to my problems.

Minutes later, while we were at the coffee shop, he asked me:

“So, your problems are related to your ancestral history?”

“Yes sir, exactly!”

“So you are from the Hector family? Or Gabriel family?”

“Yes,” I replied getting astonished. “How did you know?”

“So you are what Hector’s descendant or Gabriel’s?”

“Gabriel’s but how do you know about this?”

“Your family rivalry is quite famous in this city. And everyone dislikes it.”

“Yes, I also dislike it. And I want to bring an end to this.”

“I see. That’s a great thought you have. Do you have any plan for this?”

“No… Unfortunately no. But I want to. I want peace among my family members, even if it costs me my life.”

He remained silent for a while but smiled courteously. I continued:

“I’m hearing different stories from both sides. Some say Hector was the villain of Octaland and some say Gabriel was. I’m so mixed up.”

“My dear son,” he spoke gently. “Seeing is believing. These stories that you are hearing from your elders are not at all true. They are only a part of the truth.”

“I don’t think I understand what you are saying.”

“I mean to say that the truth can only be found by reading the real books. See kid, I know almost all about you people. Your families conduct debates and videos on this topic, especially on 21st of April. But I also know that none of these people have ever visited this island, Octaland.”

“Really? You think so?”

“Yes, sorry to say but I don’t think they have the guts to do this.”

“So, what can be done?” I asked sadly.

“There’s only one way, and I guess that you know what I’m going to suggest.”

“Personal visit to Octaland?” I smiled.

“Exactly. I know suggesting it is a lot easier than acting over it but believe me you have no other way… to bring an end to this dispute.”

“What if the truth is not peaceful? What if the truth might exacerbate this family feud even more?”

“It can, but you can manipulate the truth. Once you personally visit that place and give them the proof of visiting the library, you can convince them with your lies.”

I chuckled and spoke:

“You’re a religious scholar. And you’re suggesting me to create lies.”

“Lies that can make peace and stop further flow of blood.”

I nodded and spoke politely:

“Well, it was really nice meeting you. I’ll see you soon again.”

I shook hands with him and prepared to leave for home.

My brother Gabriel was lying completely injured on the ground of some dark room. His face was covered with several injuries and blood was all around on his clothes. Someone entered the room and turned on the lights.

It was Lot Hector along with two men standing behind him. He spoke:

“So you are the one who has murdered our family member?”

“I haven’t,” Gabriel spoke hardly.

“You are coward like your ancestor. I see that you are nothing different than your outrageous great grandfather.”

Gabriel yelled out angrily but felt painful which was why he got silent immediately. Lot walked towards him and spoke:

“You have no idea what trouble you have gotten yourself into.”

“I’m not afraid of you,” Gabriel replied.

“I know, but you haven’t tasted the pain of my hands.”

Gabriel spit out blood as if disrespecting him.

Meanwhile, I was at my house. I was watching the video of someone who is very much disliked by Gabriels as well as Hectors. He was from Hectors family. His name was Vernon Leaf.

In the video, he was giving this speech while chewing something:

“My challenge to all the Gabriels, prove it. Prove it to me that your ancestor had the right to that land. Prove it to me through just one book written hundred years back or through a document written at the time.”

I forwarded the video clip several minutes. Now Vernon was speaking:

“These Gabriels know the truth. They know that they are wrong. But if they are going to admit it publicly, then they won’t get the charity and funds from their relatives. This is why I would like to tell you all that…”

He stopped speaking for a second and threw some sort of betel leaf out of his mouth. It appeared disgusting.

I couldn’t stand this person so I simply stopped and closed the video clip.

 Next morning, I was having breakfast with Lindsay. She began the conversation:

“Aaron, I’m really worried about your brother.”

“Yeah, me too. What bothers me is not that he is under their custody. What bothers me is whom he actually wanted to shoot. Your cousin Jimmy or me?”

“You think that he might have been there to kill you?”

“…I’m sorry, I do!”

“Come on Aaron, don’t think like that.”

“I can’t help it. I mean I know that my brother was never willing to break the family rules.”

“Family rules?”

“Killing you or killing Jimmy would simply indicate violation of first rule, which is why the only possible explanation is that he was there to shoot me.”

“No Aaron, please don’t think like that,” she replied getting depressed.

“Lindsay we can’t close our eyes like that, we can’t. We have to face the reality. We can’t keep running away from it.”

“Doesn’t it hurt you?”

“It does. It hurts a lot more than you can think. But I have no other option. I have to bring peace and rescue him.”

Tears appeared in her eyes. I wanted to end the conversation so I simply stood up saying:

“I have to make a call….”

I left the room and walked towards the exit of the house.

On my way, I came across Mr. Mark. He wished me:

“Good morning Aaron!”

“Good morning!”

“I have interesting news that might either delight you or disappoint you.”

I paid attention to what he was about to tell me. He asked me:

“Do you want to hear it?”

“Okay, I’m listening…”

“Tell me, who is the best debater in your family?”

“Probably, my uncle Ralph…”

“Probably? Unquestionably. And who is the best among Hectors?”

“As a debater?”


“Lot Hector,” I answered quite spontaneously.

“That’s right. And do you know what’s about to happen. These two are going to have a face-off.”


“Yes, there shall be a debate. And not just an ordinary debate but a grand debate. Almost everyone shall be invited.”

“Oh, my God! Is this something to be excited about? You’re really having fun with this, aren’t you?”

“Son, you’ll be thankful to me. Do you know who arranged this?”

“You, of course!”

“But there’s more. Guess what the bet is…”

“What?” I got a bit surprised. “There’s a bet?”


“But there was never a bet before. In the past debates…”

“Yes but this time it is and it’s your brother Gabriel.”

“Gabriel? You mean if our family wins then Hectors shall release him?”

“Yes, that’s what it is.”

“Oh, dear God! That’s an interesting way out.”

“Yes,” he spoke firmly. “And I suggested this.”

“Well, that’s great! I’m sorry about what I said before, but I am grateful to you.”

“That’s okay!”

“So, when is this going to happen?”

“The date is not fixed yet. But the two debaters are ready. They have agreed and they are willing to do it.”

“Great, that’s just great!”

“To be honest, I’m praying for Gabriels’ victory.”

“Thank you, I’m sure you are. Thanks for everything. I really appreciate it.”

He remained silent for a while and looked towards the kitchen. After few seconds, he spoke:

“I need to get my coffee!”

“Sure, thanks!”

I smiled courteously and left.

 Next day, my father and his brother Ralph finally arrived at this city where I live. They were seated in the taxi. Before stepping outside, my father said to Uncle Ralph:

“Ralph, you are my only hope. If we lose this debate then my son is gone forever.”

“Don’t worry. I have never lost a debate. You know that very well. I am preparing myself for the upcoming debate despite the fact that I know they’ll lose.”

“Look, I’ve already lost my one son. I can’t lose another one. Maybe God is punishing me for kicking out my own son!”

“At times I think of that too. But you know what? What you did was not wrong. You did the right thing. You sacrificed for the sake of your family’s dignity.”

“Oh please, can we get over with it? Family honour, dignity, norms and values. These are the things that have weakened me. They have made me what I am today. I just want to get away from this family feud forever once I get my son back.”

“Shawn, you should be ashamed!”

“What?!” my father uttered getting stunned on his comment.

“I’m sorry but you should be. Our family norms and values are not something that one must escape from. They do not weaken us. They make us strong.”

“I don’t want to argue right now at the moment. Let’s just find a hotel right now.”

“No Shawn. If you’re not willing to change your thoughts about our family values then I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I simply just can’t help you.”

“Alright fine, can we step outside please?” he spoke getting irritated.

They left the vehicle and paid the driver his due.

 Lot Hector was outside the room where Gabriel was locked. Someone came rushing towards him. He showed Lot the hand gun and spoke:

“This is Gabriel’s gun…”

Lot took the gun from him and asked:

“So, what’s the report?”

“The guy from forensic lab just told us that the bullet found inside Jimmy’s body was not fired from this gun.”

“What?” Lot asked getting shocked.

“Yes, the gun was not fired by him. In fact that gun was never fired at all.”

“Oh, my God! So this means Gabriel did not kill Jimmy?”

“Yes, he probably intended to but he didn’t.”

“Oh, dear God! Then who did it? Who killed Jimmy?”