The Color of Truth

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I grew up seeing colors when people spoke.

It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try. I also see emotions in color. When I was little, I saw my mom in shades of blue when she talked with me. Blue is the color of truth, by the way.

If she was mad at me she didn’t have to say a thing. I could see the red glow and avoided her. I quit talking about colors to my mom and dad when I went into First Grade. They fluffed off what I was telling them about colors so I kept – what I then thought was a super power – to myself.

Little did I realize what that power would mean to me, and others, when I got older.

By the time I was out of high school, I was seeing brighter colors and more variations. For example, I knew when a person was depressed because they’d be surrounded with a gray highlight.

Sadness is purple. Anger is red. Green means someone is untrustworthy. Yellow is hope. Orange is love. Lies are black. Only I see these colors. No one else sees anything them. I’m cursed, or blessed, depending on how you look at it.

Here’s the kicker: when I’m around a lot of people it’s like tripping on some good LSD. The colors are fantastic! They blend into subtle tones that any artist would envy. Going through high school I seriously considered art as a career, but didn’t do anything about it when I graduated.

I briefly studied law at a local junior college thinking that with my ability to see truth or lies it would come in handy for a job – say as a judge. Being a cop, or detective, was another consideration, but frankly I preferred to avoid violence if possible.

In the end, I got a degree and became a 7th grade history teacher. I found the experience oddly satisfying even though it meant sometimes dealing with kids who were jerks. I admit to sometimes amusing myself with the smart guys in class by calling them on every lie they told. Pinning them like butterfly’s to a board, was a humbling experience for bullies too.

Overall, I had a good bond with most of my class. Students knew I was fair and that I didn’t believe in homework. There were always a select few who thought it was their duty to disrupt my class however.

There were two ring-leaders in particular who challenged me from the first day of the semester. Robbie McGinn, and Mike Hunter. Neither showed any interest in learning. They were aloof from other students, preferring their own company, and sitting apart from other students in the cafeteria.

I saw a green glow on both of them that seemed to grow fainter as the weeks went by, morphing into a new color – somewhere between green and black. I also noticed that their colors shifted rapidly at times. I started seeing brilliant flashes of red on both of the boys that would come and go in minutes.

One afternoon, after class let out, one of my students asked to speak with me. He heard a conversation between Robbie and Mike that disturbed him.

“They were talking about killing people here at the school,” the student, whose name was Paul, said. “I was in a toilet stall and heard Mike say they were going to have a kill count higher than any other shooting in the nation!”

I watched Paul speak and noted the color blue engulfing him before taking him to the principal to repeat his story.

Tom Blount, the principal, listened politely as Paul told him what he heard. I sat next to him in front of the principal’s desk. He thanked Paul for coming in and dismissed him, asking me to stay.

I noticed a green glow surrounded Blount. I was surprised and disappointed when he basically wrote off Paul’s warning.

“These kids,” he said condescendingly, “They’ll say anything. He probably had a gripe with one or both of the boys. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

I told him that wasn’t the way I saw it, but he brushed me off too. But I couldn’t let go of it. Not in this day and age. So I called the boy’s parents in for a conference. I talked with Mike’s parents first. That was a fiasco.

Instead of being concerned that their son might be plotting a massacre, they turned on me like rabid dogs! Both were glowing red, like two twin fires, as they accused me of bad-mouthing their kid.

Robbie’s parents were calmer. After repeating the bathroom conversation to them the father spoke up.

You know, of course, that you’re slandering my son with this tale of yours?”

He suddenly was bathed in a luminescent green. Once again, I found myself surprised and shocked by a parental reaction.

“I’m a lawyer Mr. Smith, and won’t allow anyone to speak badly about any member of my family. Robbie is a good boy, perhaps spirited, but that’s totally normal for a boy his age. I trust he won’t have a problem in your class now after this accusation?”

As they got up, I tried to say something, but they were both reflecting red flashes intertwined with a protective orange glow. It was useless. I sighed and gathered up a stack of papers to correct, and put them in my briefcase. I left the light on because the janitor was next door and my room was his next stop.

A week later, Robbie and Mike jumped Paul during recess on the playground, and beat him up. I happened to be the teacher on duty at the time and was distracted while arbitrating a verbal argument between two girls.

I did see the two culprits appear from behind the handball wall, walking fast with their heads down. They were both bathed in a brown light that I’d never seen before. I instantly knew that it meant mean and menacing.

By the time I got to the other side of the handball wall Paul was trying to sit up. His nose was bleeding and one eye was already swollen shut. I helped him stand up and offered to take him to the school nurse.

“No! I’ll go alone,” he said, and I saw him covered in a purple glow as he walked away. When I reported the beating to the principal he agreed to call the parents in and talk with them about their sons.

The next day I stopped by the principal’s office to hear about the result of the meaning. I was stunned when he said the parents told him their boys did not beat anyone up! And, that when he questioned Paul, he denied it was them who hit him. 

I noticed he looked down guiltily when he told me that one of the fathers was on the verge of suing me for harassing his son. It was a direct warning coming from a cowed school official.

As I mentioned before, I don’t like violence. The only gun in my house belonged to my great-great grandfather, a Smith and Wesson revolver in remarkable condition. When I went home that night I pulled it out of the little safe I had under my bed and found a box of .38 shorts inside too.

I never had a premonition before. It was scary. Something urged me to bring my gun to class in my briefcase. I popped it open and looked down the barrel. It looked squeaky clean. The pearl handle was weathered with time and had a thin crack on one side. I fired it once when my dad and I went up to a small firing range in the hills and tested it. He said the barrel was a little warped, but could be compensated for. I was twelve years-old at the time.

I felt nervous and uneasy the next day when I got to school. I kept looking down at my briefcase underneath the desk and thinking about the revolver. As the day wore on I forgot about it.

After taking the revolver to work with me for a month, I began to doubt my instincts and considered putting it back into the safe. When class started I made a mental note to leave it at home tomorrow.

Ten minutes into the study plan, Mike and Robbie burst through the door, each carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The students screamed and dropped down to the floor as they sprayed a hail of bullets just over their heads.

I dropped down behind my desk as they stitched a deadly pattern in the chalk board behind me. I opened my brief case, grabbed the loaded revolver and took a deep breath. The firing stopped and I heard empty loaders drop to the ground as they reached for replacements.

I looked under the desk and saw their legs. Without thinking I fired twice! There was an angry curse as Robbie fell down, dropping his weapon, and grabbed his bloody ankle. Mike fired a burst into the desk hoping to hit me, but I was already scooting out from underneath.

I stood up and saw Mike point his weapon in my direction as I fired the first shot! Something spun me around and my shirt was suddenly soaked in blood! As I collapsed in slow motion, I fired the last three shots in Mike’s direction before passing out.

When I woke up in a hospital three days later my elderly parents were at my bedside. A guard standing outside the door to my room looked in and saw that I was awake, he began talking into a radio on his shoulder.

Minutes later two police detectives arrived and asked my parents for some time alone with me. I repeated everything I could remember twice, before they were satisfied and left. They informed me that I killed Mike, and wounded Robbie…and that all of my students were safe because of my heroic action!

Then, as they walked out the door, a stream of my students filled the room with a brilliant combination of orange and yellow! I felt weak from my wound, but happier than I’d ever felt before.

Then a bright white light caught my eyes, and I became one with the universe.

As It Stands, some of us are gifted with the power to see beyond words through means that remain a mystery to the rest.

Author: Dave Stancliff

Retired newspaper editor/publisher, veteran, freelance writer, blogger. Married 44 years. Independent thinker with a sense of humor. Give my stories a try. You might like them!

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