One Point Two

       It just wasn’t fair. Mairead had told herself a hundred times that she was lucky to have a Truthteller as her mother, but it didn’t make her feel any better about it. For a start it was impossible to tell a lie, even if it was just to get you out of going to school one day because you didn’t feel like it or you had an exam, and there was no telling when she’d pick up on that common phrase – “I’m fine” – to probe you until you explained what was really wrong. Of course, her position had brought them riches and a stable job and they weren’t going to end up on the streets any time soon ...

       But Mairead had a secret and that was that she might have inherited her mother’s gift. She hadn’t told anyone except Ella, who was one of her best friends, but that had proved to be one of the worst decisions she had ever made. Of course, she hadn’t quite foreseen its outcome...

       They had argued for three days. Ella said it wasn’t because of Mairead’s gift but because she felt lied to, uncomfortable with somebody who didn’t trust her enough to tell her secrets. She said there was nothing to be ashamed of about being a Truthteller because it was a noble calling and her friend should have been proud.

       It was all lies. Mairead knew that, because she was a Truthteller and she could see if somebody was lying. The patterns in their eyes changed, and she saw the way the iris narrowed. People didn’t realise how outwardly visible their lies were. But Truthtellers saw everything, and nobody could hide from them.

       “Mother, why can’t everybody see the patterns?” she had asked when she was younger, uncertain how to behave around somebody who was so important in the country. After all, what better tool could you have at an important meeting than somebody who knew if your political opponents were lying?

       “Not everybody has the right kind of eyes, my sweet. Why, so few people are born with these...” Yet Mairead had got them, though it wasn’t a gift that could be inherited. Bright green they were, flecked with gold and silver that danced in the sunlight. And oh, what a terrible power they wielded. She longed to be rid of it, so that she could believe the pretty words of the people that surrounded her, but she couldn’t. She had to live with knowing all the while they were lying and yet still smiling and pretending that everything was fine.

The End

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