The Truth Will Set You Free
Bethany Lui, Grade 6, Regina Coeli Primary School -
Finalist in the 'Write Along 2018' competition
The dishevelled absconder hurtled towards the statue near the quadrangle, vaulting bushes and rocks as he went. One rock, like a monolith, loomed before him and he staggered over it. Just in time. The sounds of police and gunshots closed in.
He had been incriminated for bank fraud and swindling numerous people. But he wasn’t a criminal. He hadn’t done anything wrong. He certainly resembled the vagrant they were looking for with the same pale skin, gaunt frame, and beguiling purple eyes. He would have been less impertinent too if they hadn’t burst into his house as he opened the door.
It felt like he had been scampering endlessly, which made him feel unexpectedly tired. Slowing down, he slouched behind an old stump, reluctantly hobbling across the embankment. Giving up, and realising his good foot was twisted, he groaned and fell to the ground. That was the last he recollected.
As Connor’s eyes opened, he apprehended his brother’s shambolically, cluttered abode. His older brother’s smirky face suddenly emerged.
“See, it wasn’t that bad,” Ethan remarked arrogantly.
Ethan’s apartment, though richly furnished, was full of purloined objects and papers listing names of those he had hoodwinked. Connor’s ankle throbbed incessantly. Ethan had gone too far.
“Ethan, I can’t do this anymore,” Connor stated finally.
“What?” Ethan answered innocently. He fluttered his eyelashes in an attempt to make Connor laugh, but Connor wasn’t in the mood.
But when Ethan didn’t answer, Connor persisted.
“I need to tell the truth. I'm telling Gran.” Connor headed for the door but this proved a tremendous mistake as there awaiting him were two sullen officers.
But Ethan’s memories of Connor seemed ubiquitous and haunted him. Gran also interrogated him about the traumatic events leading to Connor’s arrest. When she didn’t believe him, Ethan began to tell the truth; he was to blame. Her jubilation fluctuated to horror.
“Ethan, you know Connor defended you and protected you when you were little.” Ethan’s head hung, knowing it would be one of Grandma Callie’s long lectures. “This time Connor is probably going to gaol, Ethan,” Like an electric shock, Connor abruptly realised how grave things were. Connor sacrificed so much for him and loved him. Connor was like the older brother, not him. He the older brother was a pernicious influence on Connor
The next day, news of Connor’s liberation spread. All the newspapers reported how Connor took the rap for Ethan. Ethan felt a twinge of jealousy. But knew he made the right choice.
With dawn came the warm, familiar, phosphorescent, glow on Ethan’s window. The officer handed Ethan the same breakfast. Boring. He gave up a life of adventure, amusement, and crime. Then a little paper aeroplane soared like a defiant eagle through the window. Ethan flabbergasted, picked it up and unfolded it. It was from Connor.
“You did the right thing. I respect you Big Bro.”
Ethan slowly grinned. He knew now when free he could finally live with pride and start again.