He stood out, even in the chaos of teenaged students and middle-aged teachers surrounding him. Everyone knew everything about him; they all whispered and laughed as he found his way to his assigned seat.
“What kinda freak is that?”
“I heard he got kicked out of his old school because of that…thing.”
“Lookit him. Got his nose up so high he’s showin us his boogers!”
He kept walking. His tennis shoes scuffed the worn aisle carpet as he carefully wove through the crowd. His worn gray t-shirt was caught and pulled a few times, but always “by accident.” It wasn’t hard to locate his seat. Being the only one under 5 feet tall in a room of giants, he could see it between their long, thin legs. One wooden, high-backed chair, set near the foot of the stage, had been cut off at the legs to provide more of a floor cushion than a chair. He settled down without making a sound, carefully evading the eyes of his classmates. He didn’t have to wait long for the principal to come out onto the stage and begin the show.
“Sit!” Hundreds of theater seats flipped open and groaned as huge bodies flopped into them. “This is not an assembly for your entertainment. I am here to introduce our newest student and to dispel some rumors.”
“Freak!” shouted a deep voice.
“Silence!” the principal shot back. With a vague gesture, the principal summoned the young man to stand. He did, holding himself as tall as he could. “This is our new student–“
“What’d you let him in for?” shouted another male voice.
“He don’t belong here!”
“He’s a liar!”
The young man suddenly looked toward the crowd, his eyes searching. Many flinched from his gaze, hissing and holding hands up between their eyes and his gaze. His eyes stopped on one girl. “I am no liar,” he said.
“You told me my boyfriend was cheating on me, and I deserved better!” she shrieked. Her brunette ponytail was shaking as much as her fists she kept thrust at her side. “He’s the captain of the soccer team! You don’t get any better than that!”
The young man smiled at her, but his eyes held no joy. “His power will end soon. Then you will have to face the truth.”
The principal hurried to the edge of the stage. “Shut. Up. Now.”
The young man looked up at his principal. “I cannot. Truth compels me to answer when I’ve been asked. She asked what her future held. I told her what was happening in the present, for that leads to the future.”
“Look!” The crowd lowered its collective voice into a sound that mimicked an angry bee’s buzz.
The principal ground his teeth together. “Knock it off, or I’m going to have to–“
“I can’t stop it.” The young man held up one hand, now glowing softly. He knew what they saw; he’d seen it in the mirror several times. First his hands would glow, then up his arms to his face and torso. If he really had to dish out the truth, his legs and feet would glow as well. “Truth sets me free, even from what you consider natural.”
“You said you could control it.”
“You told me that the kids here were honest.”
“Get out.” The principal grabbed the young man’s arm and turned him toward the back exit. “Walk away and don’t come back!”
“You would let them live a lie?”
The principal pointed to the door. “Go, you pious bastard!”
The glow dimmed, then brightened again. “Principal, take hold of your students. Train them in truth. If you don’t, they will face truth in a light much harsher than mine.” With a nod, the young man left.
This story shouldn’t have been written, but it was a dare. Stephanie Moran wrote this one!