Never Ending Cycle by Sebastian Iturralde

Blog | Short Story

School shootings steadily increased to the point that the government could no longer ignore the problem. Something had to be done. Accepting the impossible options, the Ministry of People Protection was created to counteract the problem. George Thompson, a man with an out-of-the-box philosophy, was chosen as director of the Ministry of People Protection.

Rosa Pérez, a high school teacher, was one of the victims of a school shooting a few years ago. The death of his wife changed everything for him. George couldn’t mourn Rosa’s death knowing that others are at risk. He tried to fight the machine and eliminate the problem, but could not change a constitutionally protected law. He was about to give up when a letter from the president arrived.

After accepting the position of Ministry of People Protection, George understood the ridiculousness of his only option and began working to find a way to eradicate the problem. His team of researchers embarked on a journey into the unknown in search of a different solution.

Years of research led to the discovery of a device the size of a laptop.

“How are the experiments going?” George said as he entered the lab.

“Just the person I wanted to see,” said Jonathan Young, walking casually toward the center of the firing range. “Today’s test will surprise you.”

“Every day it’s the same with you, Johnny,” said George. “What is it today? A new prototype of bulletproof fabrics.”

Jonathan smiled. “Come on, George,” he said, “I know you want to try it.”

George recognized the suit Jonathan was wearing. Although it worked, the impact of the ammunition was too powerful for the government to force all children to use it. George accepted the challenge and reached for the handgun on a nearby desk.

“You know this isn’t what they’re looking for,” George said, loading ammunition into the magazine.

“Pretend this is the first time we’ve done this test,” Jonathan said.

“I’m beginning to think you like pain,” said George.

“I’m ready,” Jonathan said, holding out his arms.

George aimed to miss towards the scientist’s side, then he pulled the trigger. Blinking, he lost track of the impact of the ammunition. The black paint on the wall behind Jonathan seemed untouched.

Jonathan smiled at the Ministry’s surprised face. “Try again.”

George aimed at Jonathan’s chest and fired again.

“I think your aim needs an adjustment,” Jonathan said.

George fired again to understand the situation. Then he lowered the gun. “What’s going on?”

“The device with the little blinking light on the ceiling,” said Jonathan pointing up, “is my personal safe zone: PSZ for short.”

“How does it work?” George asked, looking at the device with wonder.

“PSZ detects bullets and pulverizes them.”

“Unbelievable,” said George, “that renders guns useless.”

Congressional approval was almost immediate. The massive manufacture of PSZ, thanks to a million-dollar contract, had one of these artifacts in every classroom in the country.

No one expected the reception of PSZ among citizens. In a matter of years, the entire country was protected by these devices. Portable versions even limited the power of the police over the citizens. Personal discussions quickly turned aggressive.

A new problem arose in a world where the strongest exerted their power over the weak. Things got so dangerous that men started carrying bladed weapons to protect themselves.

As had happened before, the richest began to contract the services of the strongest; that was the return of the oldest profession in history. Arms for hire were more necessary than ever now that millions of people were trying to demonstrate their power over others, without anyone being able to do anything about it.

It seemed as if it was going to be a normal day. The hall lights were on when Tommy Jarvis arrived at his school. He was the boy who surpassed all others. The girls wanted to be with him and the weakest wanted to be like him. Of course, not all of the students fully accepted Tommy’s power over others.

Bobby Fairway was one of them. A young man tired of accepting the force with which Tommy maintained control over others. Bobby decided it was time to do something about it. He walked without attracting the attention of others. Hiding the weapon behind his back.

Tommy stopped when he felt Bobby’s defiant gaze across the aisle. The two wore the school uniform, jeans, and blue v-neck sweaters. The only difference was that Tommy was a bit taller than all the others.

Bobby pulled the katana from his back. Once everyone looked at the weapon, he drew it. The blade gleamed in the hall lights. Bobby raised the sword. “How tough do you feel now.”

Tommy smiled. “Do you think hiding behind a sword will save you from a beating?”

“Try me,” Bobby said, “I dare you.”

Tommy stood still. “You don’t even have the skills to get close to me. Look at the samurai boy. Did your dad buy you that toy so you can learn how to defend yourself?”

Bobby was furious. The love he received at home couldn’t prepare him for constant emotional abuse. Bobby didn’t understand why he should be victimized day after day. On more than one occasion he had begged his parents to transfer him to another school.

Tommy was used to living in a constant war against his father. The toxic relationship they had was normal for him. Destroying others was what he learned as a child.

An antiquated system forced them to face each other day after day. His parents did not understand the problem because they did not experience the same circumstances. They believed that the problem would be solved if they decided to be friends. They were classmates anyway.

Bobby lost his life that day. An accident that left his father’s sword embedded in his chest. The problem ceased to be weapons, but schools continued to be obsolete institutions for the modern world. The problem was that many depended on the money these education companies generated. Millions of dollars justify some deaths.

One day we will understand that making life unbearable for the youth is not the best way forward for humanity.

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