Truth Or Falsehood

  • 23 Sep - 29 Sep, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Fiction

Tom Collins was seated with his two friends and one brother. One of his friends asked:

“So you were the one who did it?”

“Yes, I planned it. I planned Jimmy’s murder.”

“But why?”

“There’s a long story behind it.”

“Come on tell us, we’re all friends here.”

“It’s not about friendship. It’s about family. Family rivalry!”

“Family rivalry?”

“Yes,” Tom answered, “planting this murder on Gabriel Tribiani was necessary.”

“But his brother Aaron is your friend, isn’t he?”

“He is, but a friend you can use for…”

“Use for?”

“Revenge. I’m using him to get my revenge,” Tom replied fiercely.

“What kind of revenge?”

Tom’s brother replied:

“Revenge of blood…”

Nobody spoke anything and Tom’s brother continued speaking:

“This blood is against the entire tribe. Jimmy is dead. Gabriel is under Hectors’ custody. And now a grand debate is awaited.”

“Why are you doing this?” their friend asked. “What kind of revenge is this?”

“A revenge that shall torment their generations forever.”

 One night while I was about to sleep, I received some video on my phone through Whatsapp. I opened the thirty seconds video clip. In the video, Vernon Leaf was speaking as if promoting an upcoming event.

“It has been a long wait. And now there is finally this grand debate. The truth shall be exposed. The consequences shall be faced.”

I stopped the video and closed it as I disliked this man very much.

I only wish that this debate saves my brother’s life. I wondered. But I also know that this debate won’t bring an end to the family dispute. In fact the rivalry might become even more exacerbated if Gabriels lose.

I just closed my eyes and went to sleep.

Meanwhile at some hotel’s room, my father and Uncle Ralph were seated on the same bed. Uncle Ralph was reading the text message he just received. My father said to him:

“Alright, I’m going to sleep now.”

“Wait Shawn,” he replied reading the text message with intense look.

“What is it?”

“Oh my God!”

“What happened Ralph?”

“…I have a secret agent,” Ralph spoke after a while, “he gives me information about the confidential stuff going on among Hectors. He has just informed me that…”

He stopped speaking, so my father asked:

“He informed you about what?”

“He just told me that it’s not what it looks like. The team of forensics has just deduced that Jimmy was not murdered by Gabriel.”

“What? Oh my God! So what are we going to do now?”

“We have to do something now…”

“Yes, definitely, but what exactly?”

“Let me think of it…”

“I got to tell you,” my father spoke. “We have to take Gabriel back without any debate or anything. They have to return him since he is not the criminal.”

“Don’t get hasty. I have to keep the consequences in mind.”


“We can’t just go there and demand Gabriel just because of this text message.”

“Why not?”

“My agent’s life will be in danger. I can’t risk that. Calm down Shawn, I will think of a way out.”

My father remained silent being angry at the same time.

They didn’t talk any further as my father just went to sleep.

 Next day while I was walking towards the church, I met Samson Buttons once again. We talked while we were standing outside the church,

“So what’s up Mr Aaron?” he asked me.

“Nothing much. I was just… anyways so are you free right now?”

“Well, yes, I am. Do you need anything from me?”

“Well, it’s kind of…” I replied reluctantly, “I need to know what you know.”

“About what?”

“Regarding our family dispute…”

“Oh… I see. Well to be fairly honest, I don’t know much. But there’s one thing I know for sure. And there can’t be any second opinion about it.”

“Okay, what is it?” I asked curiously.

“No one from either Hectors side or from Gabriels side has ever visited… The island!”

“You mean Octaland?”

“Yes. And I mean it. You need to realise the importance of this. The only person who has ever visited that place was Justin Chloe. But he never returned. He couldn’t make his way back.”

“Oh God, really?”

“Yes, and trust me. The one who would be brave and courageous enough to go there and return safely would be a priceless person.”

“You think so…”

“Yes,” he spoke as if motivating me. “That person would be the only person who would have found the truth. But reading those historical books written by your ancestors would be a condition here.”

“Yes, of course.”

“So, I would suggest nothing but going and visiting that place personally. I know you are in search of truth.”

I gave his words a serious thought for a while and then shook hands with him saying:

“You know what sir? Every time we meet, I get motivated. And really inspired. Thanks man. Thanks a lot.”

“Anytime kid,” he answered gently tapping my shoulder.

It’s a little disappointing every time you walk away from this person. But at the same it’s really a thought changing conversation that keeps going on in your mind.

I walked towards the church to say my prayers.

 Two days later finally, it was a face off. The two teams were seated opposite to each other on chairs like respectable people. Between them, the injured Gabriel Tribiani was seated handcuffed to the chair.

On one side it was my father and his brother along with two other men. On the opposite side, it was Lot Hector along with the annoying Vernon Leaf. And five other men were seated along with these two. I wasn’t there. I was just watching the live video through Facebook as there were several cameramen shooting the video.

Lot began the debate:

“Alright, the topic of our debate today is…”

“…Hold on hold on,” Uncle Ralph spoke in between. “First, we need to clarify one thing here. And we need strong evidence on your behalf.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’ll explain it to you, don’t you worry,” he replied with sarcasm. “We have been told that the gun that was found with Gabriel was taken for inspection. And Jimmy’s body was also taken for the anatomy, is that true?”

“Sure, okay!”

“So, now we need to know first is that the bullet found in Jimmy’s body, did it match the gun that Gabriel possessed?”

To be honest, I didn’t understand anything they were talking about, because by then I had no knowledge about this secret issue that took place between them.

Anyways, back in the live video, Lot replied:

“Who has given you this information?”

“That is not relevant here,” Uncle Ralph replied.

“If it’s not relevant according to you then we are not even going to talk about that stuff.”

“What the hell do you mean by that?”

“We clearly want to know who is giving such false information. Either, give us his name or just forget this topic and begin the debate.”

I could not understand anything here but anyways I kept on watching the video for a while. The interesting point in the debate came when Uncle Ralph asked Lot:

“Do you agree with the fact that neither among us has ever visited Octaland?”

“Yeah, definitely!”

“And there is no one alive today who has ever in his life paid a personal visit?”

“Yes. And the only person who visited the island never returned back.”

Now this was what I actually gained from the video. And this motivated me to take a step.

As a matter of fact, I closed the video and logged out of Facebook. I wasn’t interested in the debate anymore. I could see my purpose ahead of me. My task was clear now. Only implementation was required now.

I went to the bathroom and took a bath. While I was standing under the shower, I was thinking of myself sitting on the boat and travelling to Octaland. The library that I had never seen was appearing before my eyes. I was destined for that place. No one had returned successful from that place, my job was to set an example.

Do you think finding out the truth can bring an end to this family rivalry? This was the question that arose is my mind. The answer was: probably yes, probably not. But I had to land there no matter what.

I turned off the water tap and rubbed my wet face. I combed my hair backwards through my fingers.

Now I have to risk everything. Everything that can lead me to that place. Not just the island but the library.

Two hours later, while I was making a list of stuff that I needed to take along with myself to Octaland, my father in law came and knocked at my door. I looked up at him and said:


“Did you watch the debate?”

“I saw it for first twenty minutes…”

“It has ended!”

“Oh… So what happened?”

“Hectors escaped…”

“What? Really?”

“Yes, the topic of debate was turning into a different direction. It was changing because of Hectors themselves, so they had no other option but to escape.”

“What about Gabriel? My brother…”

“He is not released. I don’t think he is…”

“Wait, what?” I asked getting confused.

“The live streaming had stopped. I don’t think the debate had reached any conclusion…”

“Oh, God!” I uttered getting fed up. “It feels as if I’m trapped in a spider’s web. And this is why I’m leaving tomorrow.”

“Leaving? Where?”

“I have to tell you this because I expect your support in this?”

“Where are going exactly?”

“I’m going to the place where no one has ever stepped his foot.”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“I’m going to Octaland…”

“Octaland? All by yourself? Alone?”

“Yes, I have to… I have no other option.”

“You’re going to Octaland… For what?”

“To find the truth. The truth about what really happened back in 1860s.”


“Why?” I asked getting surprised on his reply. “Do I have to tell you why?”

“Just tell me one thing here. Do you think the truth about Octaland tragedy would change our current situation?”

“I don’t know if it would. But I do know that the right and wrong would be clear as crystal after my personal visit to this island.”

He was left speechless after this. I spoke after few seconds:

“I don’t think you are willing to support me. But in that case, I would request you to not stop me from whatever I’m doing.”

“No son,” he said keeping his hand on my shoulder. “It’s not like that. I support you. I support you one hundred percent. The only thing that is scaring me is that if something happens to you, then Lindsay won’t survive. She cannot live without you, I’m telling you.”

I was a bit moved. So, I said to him:

“Don’t worry. Everything that shall happen, my death or my survival, it shall be for the best.”

“Oh come on, you can’t think like that…”

“Trust me dad. I’m taking a big step. I know what I’m doing.”

“My daughter has once lost a husband. She won’t be able to bear this again.”

“I know. Just pray for me. Pray for everything to be alright. And pray also for me to return successfully from my mission.”

“I will dear son, I will. I know I’m a little impolite and not easy to be talked with, but I will try and be nice for you. At least in my prayers.”

That very moment Lindsay came in. We both looked at her for a while. And then we both looked at her realising our mutual love for Lindsay.

 Two days later while I was standing at the coast of the sea with the boat tied to the harbour, I heard Lindsay calling me out. I turned and looked at her coming with hands full of stuff. She was holding the food and water related items in shopping bags. However, I also had a suitcase of clothes and other important accessories.

Next minute, while the two of us were standing face to face, I could see the tears in her eyes. I tried to avoid the sensitivity point here and talked to her avoiding the eye contact:

“Alright, I’m all set and ready to leave… I’m headed to find the truth. And I hope God will support me completely.”

“Yeah,” she hardly spoke.

After a little silence, I took out a short photograph from my pocket and said:

“Don’t worry, I’ll remember you…”

“Yeah me too. Unfortunately we won’t be able to stay in touch, since there are no electronic signals or connections available at Octaland.”

“I know. That’s disappointing for me as well!”

“But I do know that someday soon you shall be claimed as the Hero of Octaland.”

I chuckled and prepared to leave taking out the map from my pocket that I had just purchased. This map was the route guide to Octaland through sea.

A minute later, I stepped over the boat and untied the rope. Before holding the oars, I waved goodbye to my wife and looked straight ahead towards my destination.