by Yoko and Philip Galvin
edited by Demetrio Navarro
Illustrations by Yoko Galvin

As a little boy, Roy watched the news and saw many non-violent demonstrations led by Martin Luther King Jr. on television. Roy’s father marched with the protestors wherever demonstrations took place in their city or in nearby cities. He was a vocal and dedicated supporter of Dr. King ever since Roy was 14, when his father took him to a Civil Rights March in Washington D.C. There, Roy heard one of Dr. King’s speeches. The experience remained with him his entire life.Short Story 7.6

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.’”

The words were so powerful that Roy felt a chill run through his body as he watched grown men weep when they heard them. Though Roy was young, he saw his father’s struggle because of the color of his skin. As long as Roy could remember he saw his father fighting for his right to be treated as a man and to be the equal of any man.

That day, more than 200,000 people marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. Millions more watched it on television. There was a moment during the march that Roy was standing so close to Dr. King Jr. that he could almost touch him. From that moment, Roy was determined to follow Dr. King’s quest, to fight for every man’s rights – especially for the minority races.

Roy sought the right profession to pursue his dreams for many years. He eventually decided to go to law school. He believed that he could help protect the rights of minorities by becoming a lawyer.

Though Roy was seen as a black man, he was not a pure Afro-American. In fact, his great grandfather was a white Englishman who owned a plantation in Alabama. From a young age, Roy knew this fact. However, he always considered himself black and he was very proud of it. He knew that even if he talked about this fact to others, it would not make any difference in the way he was treated. He would still be considered black no matter how light his skin color.

Besides, being seen as a black man seemed to make it easier to be accepted by his minority clients. Ironically, he learned at an early age that there was discrimination within the black community, within his own race. They discriminated by the shades of color. The men and women with lighter skin color considered themselves superior to darker skinned individuals. This was confusing to Roy. “What is the true source of discrimination?” He often asked himself. He tried to answer this question as he grew up. He came to believe some basic truths about discrimination.

”It is not simply because of the color of one’s skin. It can’t be because there are so many shades of skin color. Jews and Germans are both white, yet their discrimination was based religion and economics. So is it because of one’s religion or nationality? No. Neither of them can be the true source of discrimination. Within the same religion, people still discriminate.’”

Short Story 7.3

As for nationality, Roy learned that Japanese people discriminate against people of Korean descent who were born in Japan. Not only that, they once discriminated against each other based on geography, city versus rural, as well as their occupation. If your job entailed animal slaughter or you belonged to the 

nation of Ainu, who lived in the northern part of Japan, you were considered to be of a lower status. Others from various countries echoed similar biases in their countries.

‘If it is not because of the color of your skin or religion, does a person discriminate because the other person does not align with what he believes in? Or has the same sexual orientation? Is it because of a person’s personal experience? Is this why some still hate German and Japanese - just because of World War II? Why did our ancestors find it necessary to teach us to discriminate? There are so many ways for people to show prejudice. What is the common denominator for discrimination? What causes people to discriminate?”

Eventually, he concluded that the true source of discrimination came from an individual’s “fear”. Fear of the unknown or fear of difference.

It must begin when a person realizes that the others live or look differently than him. Then the person determines that he does not like what he sees about the others. It can be as insignificant as the food the others eat, the way they dress, or their unfamiliar habits. It can be as significant as their religion, their culture, their skin color or their wealth. When the person sees more of the others around him, that person must fear that one day, he may become the minority and the others will be the majority. He fears that he may eventually be outnumbered by others. That would mean he must comply with whatever the majority wants. He loses his power. Ultimately he fears that his kind will not survive in this new world because of it.

It didn’t matter to Roy whether this was the true reason or not. At least, thinking this way, he felt he understood people in general when it came to discrimination.

‘White people fear that their race will be extinct if blacks gain more power. Christians fear that they will have to change their religion if the other religions spread throughout the world. Consequently they would be forced to convert to their religion. Men fear that their status in society changes if women increase their power. These are some of the reasons why you would do anything to protect your rights even it meant starting a war. Besides, it is easier to discriminate or dismiss others than to try to learn about them.’

With this in mind Roy felt that the best way for him to right these wrongs was by becoming a lawyer.

Though Roy mainly represented minorities in his legal practice, he understood that there was also discrimination towards white people. There were companies that would lay off a white worker before they fired a non-white. There were some blacks who hated white people and would harass them when given the opportunity. Some even believed that it was a white man’s conspiracy to keep blacks in chaos by providing them with drugs and weapons. They believed whites would do this so blacks would self- destruct.

The more Roy dealt with discrimination, the more he felt that he had to do something about it. His passion to fight against injustice led him to become not only one of the best lawyers in the city but also the most respected non-violent activist in town.

 

He was aware of the existence of the secret society “OSR” in his city led by William Stacey. He had pursued members of the “OSR” in the past few years and was hoping to prosecute them for their wrong doing against Jews, blacks and Hispanics. Because of this, Roy’s name was well known in town.

On many occasions, he got close to revealing Bill’s organization’s illegal acts but he could never gather enough evidence to support legal action. Roy was well aware that his life was in danger while he pursued OSR. He knew he could eventually die at their hands. But this thought did not bother him as much as it should, as he worshipped Martin Luther King Jr. He would rather be murdered just as Dr. King if it resulted in the destruction of the OSR. It was a sacrifice he was willingly make if needed. It would be his honor to die for this cause. Roy was going to fight this good fight and bring those who perpetrated their heinous acts to justice.

********

It was seven thirty on Monday night. Roy had just finished reading the notes of a case taken by a detective in 1979. It was about the incident at one of Sam’s grocery stores in the city that year. The case hit a dead end at the time because of lack of witnesses and evidence to prosecute anyone. It was hard to believe that no one saw what happened that night as the store was located in a busy industrial area. But the ugly truth was that everyone in the city knew the OSR was behind the crime and potential witnesses feared for their lives. The case was almost forgotten. However, Roy received a phone call a few days earlier that he felt could change everything. The caller claimed that he had witnessed the fire incident and that he even knew who was responsible. As Roy expected, it was executed by OSR members.

This phone call, if it was real, gave Roy some hope to prosecute the case. The witness was willing to share what he had seen on the night of the attack. At the same time he made Roy promise not to name him. Roy could sense the fear in the informer’s voice over the phone.

The caller’s name was Andres Cortes. According to him, he was a regular customer of Sam’s. It happened when he drove his car to the strip mall to buy some groceries that night. When he was about to get out of his car in the parking lot, a truck slowly passed by his car and approached the store. There were a few men in the back of the truck who were holding unlit torches and bottles. As soon as the truck stopped in front of the store, the men lit their torches and started to throw the bottles and torches at the grocery store. A few seconds later, the store began to burn right in front of Andres’ eyes.

For a split second, the light from the fire illuminated the faces of the men who were in the truck. Andres recognized a couple of them. The men were shouting with excitement as the fire spread quickly covering the store. Without losing a moment, the truck sped away and disappeared into the dark, around the corner of the strip mall.

Andres was horrified. From the moment the store caught fire, every movement of Sam was etched in Andres’s brain. Everything seemed to slow down and run in slow motion. Andres saw Sam coming out of the store with his son soon after the fire broke out. He saw the panic in Sam’s eyes as he was told his son to stay outside no matter what. He heard and saw Sam calling desperately to his wife and daughter to get out from the store. When Sam didn’t see either of them come out, he went back into the store in an attempt to rescue them. But the fast growing fire impeded his ability to go through the back door to the storage room where his wife and the daughter were last seen. The fire spread quickly, but in Andres’ eyes, it still was like a watching a horror show in slow motion.

After a few minutes, Sam came out from the store covered with burns and was sobbing with his son. Andres wanted to help Sam, but his body was numb. He sat in his car, stunned. He could not move. When the fire truck arrived several minutes later, Andres composed himself and drove away from the scene as quickly as possible.

Even though the city police asked for assistance in identifying the perpetrators many times, no witness came forward. Andres could not report the incident to the police because he knew that he would be the next victim if he were to reveal all that he saw. Being Hispanic, he knew that he would become an easy target and probably be murdered if he spoke out. He had a wife and children. He did not want to go through what Sam had been through. The thought scared him so much he could not sleep for days after the fire at the store.

Since that night, Andres began to pay attention to the kind of crimes that occurred in the city. There were break-ins, mysterious fires, and the disappearance of people in and around the city. A disproportionate number of the victims were minorities. Sometimes, the criminals were caught and their pictures were displayed in the newspaper. Almost all the time, the criminals were young punks according to the newspapers. The police force concluded that some of the local gangs were the cause of all these crimes, but never seemed to suspect that there was a larger organization behind them.

Then one day, a neighbor of Andres was murdered in October of 1983. In the local newspaper, described how his friend’s house was broken into by a couple of young thugs. The two men were only after money to support their drug habit. The police caught the robbers and their pictures were on the front page of the newspaper. Andres recognized one of them, a skinhead. He was the one of the men in the truck the night of the store fire. He did not know that the skinhead was connected to Bill’s organization, but he knew that the two other men who were with him that night at Sam’s had something to do with the organization. He knew their names: Colin Sutherland and Greg Peterson.

Andres realized that if someone did not stop the organization, more innocent people would be killed. In his heart, he just knew. The next victim could be a member of his family. Despite his fear of OSR, he felt a sense of urgency to do something about it. While he was paying attention to all the criminal cases in the past years, he also read many articles about the lawyer Roy Clark. He thought he could trust Roy. After all, Roy was trying to help minorities like himself. This was why Andres phoned Roy’s private number and explained he would tell everything he knew in exchange for anonymity.

Knowing exactly what happened that night after Andres’ phone call, Roy retrieved the case file from the police the next day and read it over several times, very carefully, to study the facts and to find anything that could lead to the OSR. Unfortunately, nothing in it was helpful. Since Andre did not want to be revealed as a witness, Roy could not go further. So Roy decided to interview the victim of the fire incident himself and made an appointment to see Sam that night. Roy stored the file on the case in a safe place in his office and left.

While driving to Sam’s grocery store, Roy kept thinking about the case. ‘Six years ago, when the crime actually happened no witness came forward. Though the city police tried hard to solve it, the case did not go anywhere. The only information they could obtain was from Sam and some firemen who put out the flames.’

It was important for Roy to resolve this case as incidents such Sam’s case were increasing in frequency in the city lately. There were no witnesses in every case where the OSR was the suspect, which frustrated Roy. All he had to go on were rumors of their activity. Did OSR exist or was it just another urban legend? As a consequence, Roy urgently needed a solid lead in any of the cases that could connect it to the OSR. There was a pattern of unsolved murders and disappearances of people in the city. Because of Andres’ phone call, he finally felt that this might be the start of the end of the OSR’s activities. Roy became excited about this case. If Andres’ testament matches with Sam’s and somehow Roy could convince Andres to go on the record, it might be the end of Bill’s organization.

Roy formulated questions that he would ask Sam while he drove to the store. His appointment with Sam was scheduled at eight at Sam’s grocery store. While he drove to the grocery store he didn’t notice a car was closely following him.

Just before 8 o’clock, Sam, at his store, was lost in thought about his life. Roy’s contact seemed to trigger in Sam a melancholy and restlessness that he couldn’t shake. Soon Roy, the city’s best prosecutor would be there to interview him. As his heart started to beat faster, Bill, whose spirit was still inside of Sam, was trying hard to understand what was going on. As the clock on the wall struck 8 o’clock, the door of the store opened gently and Roy entered. Bill was shocked to see Roy enter through the door.

“My God!” Bill gasped inside of Sam.

“What is the prosecutor doing here? He was supposed to be picked up by Colin and his gang on the way home tonight.”

Only a couple of days ago, Bill ordered his followers to execute Roy when he was on his way home. Bill wasn’t expecting Roy to drop by Sam’s store the same night the execution was scheduled to take place.

For a few minutes, Bill tried to grasp what was happening in front of him, he could not comprehend what was being said between Roy and Sam. What was that lawyer doing here? He was supposed have been picked up and dealt with by his men.

“Mr. Sung-ho Lee? My name is Roy Clark. I’m the lawyer who called you today. How are you tonight Mr. Lee?” Roy, hand extended, approached Sam who was sitting behind the cash register.

“Fine Mr. Clark. I’m fine… Let me close the store so we can talk without interruption.” Sam walked toward the shop’s front door and locked it and flipped the sign to “Closed”. He led Roy to the back room. In it was a small table with a couple of chairs. Sam pulled out one of the chairs and asked Roy to sit down while he studied his visitor carefully.

Roy was a tall black man with very short hair and a pair of glasses, wearing a casual blue sweater and dark blue jeans. Unlike other lawyers that Sam had met, Roy’sShort STory 7.5 mannerism and his attire made Sam feel relaxed.

“Mr. Lee, may I please call you Sam?”

“Yes, Mr. Clark.”

“Please call me Roy. As I told you over the phone, we have a witness from your fire incident in 1979. Apparently, he saw everything. He even recognized a couple of men who were in the truck that night.”

Roy took his notebook from his pocket and began to explain to Sam the details of what the witness saw during the fire incident.

“Thank God!” Sam sighed. “Finally, whoever hurt my family is going to be punished for what they did. Then my wife and daughter can rest in peace.”

“Unfortunately, in order to prosecute them, it will take more than the witness’ word. This is just the beginning of a long process that will need more corroborating evidence. We could be looking at a process that will take a long time. We first have to collect evidence that they were the ones who committed the crime and then we have to take them to court and convict them for what they did in front of a jury.” Roy looked at Sam whose face was covered with a large scar, a constant reminder of the horror that Sam has suffered.

“Anytime, any day, I will be there. I will be there to witness all those bastards being brought to justice and sent to jail for the rest of their lives. Better yet, they should all be hanged.” Sam said with bitterness and resolve.

“I understand your anger and frustration, Sam. I honestly do. But, these criminals that we’ll be dealing with may have something to do with a powerful organization in our city. You and your son could be in danger. So please be very careful. Do not talk to anyone about this until the case is over. Not even to your son. Okay? The less people know about this, the safer it will be for both of you.”

“Yes, I will be very careful. Thank you, Roy. You know, all these years, I have felt so helpless. What made me feel so bad is that I was there when it happened and couldn’t help my family. Then we couldn’t find the murderers. You don’t know how desperate I’ve felt all these years. I kept telling myself it was all my fault. I was the one who dragged my wife from Korea to come to the USA. If we stayed in Korea, nothing like this would have happened. I killed her and our daughter. I should never have taken Jackie away from her loving parents in Korea. Jackie’s parents trusted me. I’m not trustworthy. I’m a total failure. I don’t deserve to live... I should have died with my wife and daughter 6 years ago.”

There was a silence.

“Indeed, I almost committed suicide that year. But when I thought about Dean, I could not go through with it– I couldn’t leave him alone. He needed me. Though my life has been hell since that night, I endured each day to live for Dean.” As he muttered these words, Sam’s eyes filled with tears.

“I don’t know what to say. All I can promise you is to do the best I can,” Roy responded.

Short Story 7.1Roy got up and walked toward Sam. Roy gently placed his hand on Sam’s shoulder. Bill’s spirit lifted from Sam and entered into Roy. Bill could feel the sensation of his spirit moving from one body to another.

“No! Not into this body... Please leave me in the Chinaman’s body!” Bill screamed inside of Roy. He felt powerless and desperate.

Roy was not aware of the transference and was ignorant of Bill’s spirit and his despair. Calming Sam down somewhat, Roy proceeded to gather all the information he needed from Sam from the night of the tragedy. Though Roy never had a wife or children, he felt that he understood enough of Sam’s sorrow. This empathy made him even more determined to find the murderers for Sam.

When Roy left Sam’s store, Roy looked back through the window of the grocery store. He could Sam still trying hard to compose himself. Roy knew that talking about the fire incident again made Sam relive the excruciating emotions of the past. Roy could see how much Sam was in pain and missing his family.

With this thought, Roy got into his car. It was little past 9:00 p.m. and the parking lot in front of the strip mall was almost empty except one car sitting in the corner. Roy glanced at the car and noticed that there were a few people sitting in it. But he did not think anything of it. He started his car and drove away. When Roy turned on his car radio, he turned on his favorite classical music. He was soon absorbed by the music and forgot all about the car he saw in the parking lot.

Roy’s apartment was located in the suburbs. To get there, he had to take a road that cut through a secluded wooded area. As he drove along the road, a car suddenly appeared behind him, its headlights glaring in his rear view mirror. At first, he didn’t realize that it was the same car he had seen in the parking lot. The vehicle sped up and caught up to Roy’s car. Roy noticed the car kept getting uncomfortably closer. The car rammed into Roy’s car from behind, stunning him. Roy sped up but the car kept hitting his rear bumper. Roy quickly realized they were trying to run him off the road. After a couple of attempts Roy decided to pull over and confront the driver. Angrily, he got out and tried to find out why the other vehicle was harassing him. Short Story 7.2As soon as he approached the other car, Roy was surrounded by four men on the deserted road. Roy realized he had made a serious mistake and that his situation had turned extremely dangerous. He tried to run but they quickly surrounded him and wrestled him to the ground. They forced him into the woods and began beating him. Still in Roy’s body, Bill felt his panic and started to yell to the men not to hurt him.

“It’s me! Can’t you see I’m inside of Roy! You stupid idiots! Stop beating me!” Bill screamed inside. But no one heard his voice.

Roy was struck over and over again by the gang until he could not stand up anymore. Some of his teeth were broken and his mouth began to bleed. He felt extreme pain in his stomach and chest. He began to gasp for air and eventually lost consciousness. After the gang noticed that Roy could no longer move, they picked him up and threw him into the trunk of his own car. Bill knew exactly what was going to happen next. After all, Bill was the mastermind behind this horrible plan. While the car traveled down the dirt road, Bill felt severe pain all over his body. The pain was nothing new to Bill. Having experienced his share of beatings and injuries in the past, nothing came close to the pain and panic he was feeling now. It was so severe that he thought he would rather die. Then he realized that he would be dead soon. Bill was almost envious of Roy’s unconsciousness as he did not have to endure all the pain Bill, in his awake state, was suffering.

Upon shutting the trunk of Roy’s car, one of the men started up the engine of the Roy’s car and drove away. Roy’s body was thrown left and right in the trunk with every bump the car hit on the road. Uncharacteristically, Bill began to pray...

“Dear Lord, what did I do to deserve this? All my life, I was only trying to be your servant. I was only trying to create the world you wish to have. A world of pure race. Isn’t that what you want? Why? Why are you testing me like this? Don’t I deserve better than this? Please Lord. I can’t take the pain any more. Take me away from here and leave me in peace!”

The car suddenly stopped after what seemed to be an eternity. Bill could hear the second car stop right behind Roy’s car, followed by the slamming of car doors. Then Bill heard the sound of shovels digging a hole nearby. An overwhelming fear hit Bill. He was wishing he could lose consciousness at that very moment. He heard every scoop of dirt thrown into the air. He could imagine every inch of the depth of the grave the gang was digging. Soon this hole would be Roy’s and his grave! Listening to the sound of the digging sent chills through Bill’s psyche.

Finally, one of the men opened the trunk of the Roy’s car and Bill could feel Roy’s body hauled roughly out of the trunk. The men threw Roy into the hole, the body hitting the bottom with a jarring thud. At that instant, Bill also lost consciousness.

Short Story 7.7Roy was suddenly awakened by a flash of light. Roy’s first conscious thought was of the chill and wet all over him. His stomach and head throbbed with pain. His mouth was filling with his own blood. When he tried to spit it out, he felt what he thought was fine dirt settling on his face. His second thought was of how real, and how hard it was to wake up from this dream. He moved his head to shake the dirt from his face. Then he opened his eyes in order to find out what was going on. First, it was too dark and he could not focus on anything. Then, it was too bright as he saw a flash light shining right at him. He tried to get up, but he was in too much pain and his body was partially covered with dirt which made it impossible for him to move his body.

In the distance he could hear voices. Then he remembered what was happening. Reality hit him harder than the shovel full of dirt that brought him to the full realization of his predicament. He was being buried alive in the bottom of the freshly dug hole by the riverbank. His scream was muffled by another shovel full of dirt. Bill in Roy’s body also regained consciousness and as he watched the men throwing the dirt, he cursed at them again and again. Soon the body was buried in a deep layer of soil. Roy could not see any light nor could he breathe anymore.

********

A light shot through the window of Bill’s limousine. Bill woke up suddenly from the nightmare. His forehead was filled with perspiration and he found himself tightly clutching the armrest of the limousine. He was gasping for air and his throat was dry, as if he had eaten dirt. He soon realized that what he was going through and seemed like a couple of days was just a dream. How real everything felt, especially all the pain when he was in Roy’s body. Bill was having a hard time believing that what just had happened was just a nightmare. He reached for a shot of whisky from the car’s bar. With a big gulp Bill started to calm down and he slowly convinced himself that it was nothing but a bad dream. He felt an overwhelming sense of relief taking over his mind.

However, he couldn’t shake the images of Helen, David, Lynh, Angel, Sam, and Roy. Doubt seeped back into him like a cold chill on a long winter’s night. Bill tried harder to forget the images, without success.

Outside of the limousine the night was ominously dark. Bill saw a reflection of himself again in the window of the car. As he thought about his death in his dream, he started to think about his father, Jim’s, death. That was a long time ago. Bill remembered the night he received a phone call from his mother Beth. She was terribly upset. She begged Bill to come to the hospital where Jim was admitted and say a final goodbye to his father. He could not quite understand why his mother was so upset about the whole situation. After all, all his father ever did to his mother was to physically abuse her. Though he would rather avoid seeing his father, Bill agreed to come to the hospital only because he loved his mother and wanted to console her.

It was late at night by the time Bill arrived at the hospital. Most of the lights were turned off and the hospital looked ghostly from a distance. When Bill approached the reception area, one of the nurses recognized him and took him straight to his father’s room. His mother waited for him at the door anxiously.

“Bill, it’s so nice to see you.” Beth embraced Bill.

“Are any of my brothers coming to see him?” Bill asked his mother as he hugged her back.

“No. I got hold of them, but they told me they are not coming.” Beth whispered sadly.

“I don’t blame them.” Bill muttered quietly, incomprehensibly so his mother could not hear. “Who would want to see the man who had caused such misery in their life? I came because I love my mother, not because of that SOB.” Bill’s mother did not scold him for his harsh words, for she knew that every one of them was true.

Jim was lying on the bed hardly moving his chest as he breathed. His hair was completely gray and his body seemed very frail. At this point, Bill realized that it had been a long time since he last saw his father. ‘Is this really the man we were afraid all these years?’ Bill thought as he stared at his father. His mother sat down beside the bed and took his father’s hand gently. She was sobbing.

“I know how terrible your father was to you all these years. But believe me he has changed a lot in the last few years. I have seen a side of your father that I never saw before.” Bill’s mother continued to explain how wonderful Jim had become.

But it did not matter to Bill whether his father changed or not. The fact remained the same - the scars that his father left on each of his sons were so deep, nothing could heal them. The frail appearance of his father did not change what Bill thought about his father even after all these years. He was a mean, ruthless man whom all of his family had feared for so long.

Standing right in front of his dying father, Bill did not feel even the slightest bit of sympathy towards him. In fact, he had waited for this moment all his life.

With much effort, Jim raised his hand to gesture Bill to come close to him. Bill looked at his father’s hand for a moment, briefly with a certain scorn, but then decided to walk slowly toward him. How terrified Bill felt when he was young when Jim raised this same hand to strike him. Because of this hand, Bill hated his father for as long as he remembered. But he hated his father even more after Jim shared a secret with his son when he leaned over to hear what his father had to say just before he took his last breath. Jim breathlessly whispered to Bill,

Short STory 7.4“My son, I’m so sorry that I mistreated you when you were young... I was a horrible dad... I was frustrated with everything in my life – beginning with the fact that I never had enough money and education. But the thing that has haunted me the most in my life was that I am partially black… I know you don’t like to hear this, but your great grandmother was a black woman... I did everything to hide this fact from others – even from your mom. You know how we would have been treated if people knew. That is why I never told this to you... But I’ve been watching you from a distance for many years and I fear that one of these days you will regret your life because of what you are doing. You are still young. You can change… Son, I beg you. I just don’t want you to make the same mistake I made.”

Those were his father’s last words before he died. Bill could not believe what he heard. As much as he hated his father, he hated colored people more. All of his life, he was taught to hate different races by people who he respected. That was the reason he had joined the secret organization. With his strong commitment, he was becoming a very powerful figure within the organization. Everyone in that organization respected him.

But now what? How could this be possible? Bill tried to deny what he had just heard. There was no way he was one of them. One of those inferior races that Bill hated so much. After he heard Jim’s last words, Bill rushed to the nearby washroom and vomited until there was nothing left in his stomach.

********

It has been 7 years since his father died. Ever since that day, when he saw himself in the mirror in the dark, he saw a black man. Something he could not tolerate. His hatred towards other races increased even more after his father’s death. At the same time, he became envious of his wife Helen. As far as he knew, Helen was pure white with blond hair and blue eyes. He did not dare disclose this secret to his wife as he was so afraid that she might reject him. This terrible thought made Bill very angry. In order to suppress his anger and insecurity, he began to drink excessively. And when he did so, he became just like his father Jim, and began to abuse his wife violently.

How ironic, Bill thought. The one who was prejudice about other races was the one who was partially black. Then he began to think that maybe there were no pure races in this world.

“Sometime, somewhere in their ancestor’s lives, there might be a colored person who entered in their blood. Even Helen, who seemed to be pure white. Who knows? Just because she has blond hair and blue eyes, that doesn’t mean anything. After all, nobody would believe that I am partially black. I don’t have any trace of a black person’s appearance. And Roy... Poor Roy’s great grandfather was white. Who would know he has a white person’s blood in him. He looked completely black except his lighter skin color. I wonder if all those who are white supremacists, those who profess to be pure white, ever traced back their family tree. How would they react if they found out they are in fact partially black or yellow? Take Hitler, he hated Jews and murdered millions of Jews. Yet, he was one of them! How ironic. Could it be that we deny the fact we are not pure? By eliminating others, ultimately we are eliminating ourselves.”

These thoughts exhausted Bill. He did not care who he was anymore. He just wanted to go home to Helen. He looked at his watch to see how long he had been in the car. It was 11:24 p.m. It was still more than ten minutes before he would arrive at his house.

“What a terrible nightmare! Oh Lord, your warning was more than enough for me. I promise I will change. I vow to be a better husband for Helen. I have to make a call to Collin and stop his gang from killing the lawyer first thing in the morning. Though I can’t undo every crime I’ve committed, at least I can stop killing Roy Clark. Then I will quit the organization and work for unfortunate people and other races.” This was the first time in his life that Bill had ever pleaded to God.

Fatigued from his nightmares, he poured another shot of scotch and stared at it for a while. He just wanted to forget about everything that happened. “This is the last drink I will ever have,” he murmured to himself. He closed his eyes for what felt like a couple of minutes.

When he awoke, he found himself standing right in front of the window of his bedroom looking down on the drive way. What he saw in the window was Helen’s reflection, not of himself. Bill screamed!

Short Story 7.8

the end