Illustration by Lynnae Direain
When you open your eyes it doesn’t surprise you that you’re sitting in the interrogation room. What does is that you’re not surprised, considering the last thing you remember is staring up at the hospital ceiling listening to the heart monitor stop beeping.
It’s bare, like the interrogation rooms you’d seen in television shows. But looking down at your wrists, you see you’re not handcuffed, and the seat of the metal chair pulled up close to the table is cushioned. The light overhead glows with a gentle light and turns what would otherwise feel like quite a harsh atmosphere into something more like the waiting room in an eye clinic rather than the one stop before prison.
Your inspection is cut short when the door opens and a man in a suit enters.
A shot of fear skitters down your spine.
The man holds up a reassuring hand. “Don’t worry. I’m just here to talk.”
You relax some. Though nondescript, you notice the suit is immaculate. Same for his face. There’s nothing particularly striking or attractive about his features -- except that his hair is long, tied back in a tight ponytail with not a strand loose -- yet he’s probably the handsomest man you’ve ever seen.
Unbuttoning his jacket, he sits down across from you, and folds his hands. “You’re more tenacious than you think.”
You don’t know what to say to that, so you just shrug.
“I’m Gabriel,” He continues. “He sent me to answer whatever questions you might have.”
Silence. Gabriel waits.That’s when you realize he’s sitting on the wrong side, the side of the one being interrogated.
You hesitate. “Any question, huh?”
“Okay.” Your question comes from some hidden corner of your soul, somehow creeping to your lips and demanding to be spoken like this was your last chance. You look him right in the eye and say,“Is life lie?”
“Life is full of lies,” Gabriel answers simply.
Your heartbeat flutters.
It must have shown in your expression, because Gabriel leans forward, resting his hands on the table. “Life is not always what you see with your eyes, what you feel, what you say or do, or even what you know. Everything can lie. Everyone can lie.”
“So far this is not very encouraging.” A little flash of frustration makes your skin prickle uncomfortably.
“Truth is a thing all its own.” Gabriel’s eyes -- an average brown -- seem to spark as he speaks. “It is the loudest yet least heard, the brightest yet least seen, the most certain yet the least known. In all life it is the most sought after, yet least desired. Truth does not bend itself to the will of man. It simply is. It is rightness; order. Lies mix reasoning and desire to convince you that you want the lie more than you want the truth. They make you think you can achieve order another way, that your life will get better, that you can change the world, by building on the sand. The weakness in lies, however, is that no matter who believes them, truth does not change. Truth is not accommodating, it is true. It tears down what is false without quarter. You either accept the truth, or you join the liars.
You slam your fist on the table and point an accusing finger at the man in the suit. “You can sit there and praise truth all you want, but if I can’t trust my eyes and ears and mind, how am I supposed to know what to believe? This is impossible; it isn’t fair. How do I know you’re not the liar?”
“I’m just the messenger.” Gabriel stands, buttoning his suit jacket. “So are you.”
He’s leaving. You stand as well. It wasn’t anger, it was fear. Wait... “Wait.”
“Please, just tell me. I can’t…” The beeps of the heart monitor have become one long drone of sound. You can hear it again faintly in the back of your mind. No. You can’t go back without knowing. You won’t. “How will I know what’s true?” Then your heart sinks. Maybe you weren’t going back.
Reaching across the table, Gabriel puts a hand on your shoulder, looking right into your eyes. “Faith.”
“You already know that.”
Your stomach quivers. But Gabriel smiles, and steps back. He motions to the side wall.
“You’re free to go.”
There’s a door there, now. Whether it had been there before or you simply hadn’t noticed it you aren’t sure, but you find yourself walking towards it. Opening it. And stepping oustide, leaving the messenger in the suit and the interrogation room behind you.
You’re standing in the midst of oblivion, and there’s something in your hand.
It’s your Grandmother’s cross pendant.
The heart monitor starts beeping again, and you open your eyes.