The Red Herring

So this was an assignment that I had to do for class- we had to create a superhero that went along with the Cold War or World War II. The Red Herring is a representation of McCarthyism and the Red Scare.
-the italicized parts are Adler's father's memories, not Adler's.

There was always an air of mystery surrounding his father. Adler De Castro had simply accepted it as fact that he was never to speak of his family’s beginnings. Unlike Adler, who respected his father’s decision to not tell about his tragic life before immigrating to America, the United States government never seemed to grasp that, and at every interview that his father, Senator Caan De Castro, attended, at least three reporters from their various newspapers and editorials would ask about his father’s origins from before his rise in the government. Despite all the mystery surrounding the senator, the man was loved and revered by the population of West Virginia. He was known as a fair man, an avid supporter of the underdogs of the world. This undying support from the state that he represented gained him both allies and enemies; and as all enemies do, they frequently tried to undermine the senator’s plans to better his piece of the world and the people residing in it. The constant yet subtle attacks on his father should have foreshadowed the events to come...at least that’s what Adler tells himself as he watches his father being arrested for “treason against the country.” He doesn’t cry. Just lets the anger roll through his veins. As his father is shoved into the back of a police car, the carefully built and diligently cared for dignity stripped from his person, Adler watches, committing the scene to memory. As the police car rolls down the long driveway and turns out into the street, Adler starts running, screaming his father’s name. As he gets to the end of the drive and sees the car turning another corner out of his field of vision, he falls to the ground, his fifteen year-old body rigid with the fear of being left alone. He whispers, the words carried away by the wind, a lonely promise made by a boy discovering a newfound loneliness: “I swear...I will fix this…the truth will be known, and the liars will be revealed.” Adler slowly makes his way back into his home, the emptiness heavy on his shoulders. He finds his way to his father’s room, lying under the plush covers, thinking of his family’s history.

A young boy watches from a window in a gritty ghetto as his brother and sister are carted off to the trains, undoubtedly on their way to be shipped to certain death. He does not cry, just watches in solemn silence, body slumped against the wall. He thinks back two, maybe three, maybe even four weeks ago, when they took his parents away from him in this same manner. That time, though, they yanked the boy from his mother’s arms, and beat her for trying to hold on to him. The tears slowly start to fall as the boy remembers his mother’s broken body, crumpled in his father’s strong arms. The boy’s father looks down on the boy and his siblings, his eyes empty of the laughter they used to have before the Nazi Germans invaded Poland.

Adler begins to cry, reminiscing the stories that his father had told him about the time that his father had spent during the Nazi occupation. He shakes with the heaving sobs that slowly begin to be turned into a boiling anger at the world for giving his father respite just to take it all away again.

A month after the rest of his family had been taken away from him, a man in Nazi uniform came to the ghetto, grabbing the boy and taking him to a shack in a field just outside the ghetto. He strapped the boy to a chair, pinning his right arm to the arm rest with his wrist facing up. The man proceeded to tattoo the boy’s wrist, ignoring the boy’s screams. When the man finished, the boy was unconscious from the pain. The man tossed a bucket of water over the boy; the boy startled awake, sputtering from the cold.

Adler grabbed his father’s journal and a pencil, beginning to sketch a picture, an idea running rampant in his mind.

The man unstrapped the boy, and helped him stand. The man looked down at the boy, and in the man’s eyes the boy was surprised to find compassion. The boy looked at the man who was watching him and cried soft sobs. The man awkwardly patted the boy’s shoulder, leading him to the door. The man opened the door and pushed the boy through, but stood in the doorway and said something the boy would never forget. “Boy, they’ll take you soon. If you can find a way out, run. Run and don’t you think about your family. They’re dead, just like you will be if you allow yourself to be led like cattle to your death.” The man then shut the door, leaving the boy alone, but with a new purpose. A purpose of survival supported by the injection of the truth of a seemingly inevitable death. The boy now had reason to live...to get out.

Adler stared down at the drawing in father’s journal. He stood, smiling to himself. He now had a purpose, a reason to live. The truth would known...and he’d be the one to tell it.

The End

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