Hidden in the darkness of his closet. Convinced that hiding will be enough to protect him from danger. Joseph heard the automatic sliding door to his room open.

It had only been a few hours since, driven by his innocence, Joseph made another mistake. It was as if his nature was a nuisance to his father and everyone else on the ship.

Why do I have to be so different? Joseph thought, holding his breath, as he listened to the footsteps outside the closet.

Charles searched under the bed before heading to the closet’s metallic door. “So here you are.”

“No wait,” Joseph said…but was dragged out of the closet. “It’s not what you think.”

“I’m going to give you a chance,” Charles said, letting go of his son’s foot.

“I was there when they did it…” Joseph said.

“We’ve already talked about this,” Charles said, undoing his belt buckle. “Lies really bother me.”

“But…it’s the truth,” Joseph said.

“Enough…” said Charles, “you know what’s going to happen now.”

Joseph spun and ran to his automatic bedroom door.

“This time it won’t be so easy,” Charles said, watching his son trying to slide the door open.

“Please no,” Joseph said. “This will be the last time it happens. I swear.”

“You know what I think of swearing,” said Charles. “Turn around.”

Joseph raised his hands. “No Please.”

“Turn around!” Charles said.

“Sorry, I’m Sorry.”

Charles took Joseph by the arm, forcing him to turn around and hit him with the belt. Then he released the boy and left the room.

Joseph was left alone. Thinking. Trying to understand what had happened. Maybe his father didn’t want to hit him hard. Although when he passed his hand, Joseph felt the bruise.

The skin on Joseph’s buttocks was reddened from the blow—despite the fear he had felt—the pain was insignificant.

Joseph was reliving the situation in his mind, trying to understand the pleasure he had felt. All this time fearing threats from his father, yet the pain was so pleasant. Maybe this is what other people feel, he thought.

After sunset, Joseph snuck out of the starship’s sleeping quarters. He had to find an answer to the question that was spinning in his mind. Am I the only one who enjoys pain?

Joseph did not have a plan or excuse. That wasn’t important anymore. He reached the main corridor and walked in the only direction that made sense—towards a bar frequented by the school’s seniors. There he could clear his doubts.

As soon as the place’s automatic sliding door was opened, he saw strangers drinking and chatting. The atmosphere seemed warm and the area was filled with the smell of smoke.

Joseph approached the bar…unsure of what he was going to do. When one of his classmates recognized him.

“Hey, Joseph. What are you doing here?” Timmy said. “I thought you had to go to sleep.”

“I have time for a drink,” Joseph said.

“That’s what I like to hear,” said Timmy. “Come, I’ll buy you a drink.”

On his way to the bar, Joseph noticed many unfamiliar faces. This was a perfect opportunity to test his theory, and he bumped into a stranger’s shoulder.

“Look where you’re going,” said Pedro, the man Joseph bumped into.

Joseph stopped next to him. “Get out of my way.”

“You have a problem?” asked Pedro, spreading his arms.

“Yes, you are my problem,” Joseph said.

Pedro raised a hand to Joseph’s face. “I’m not wasting my time with you.”

Joseph noticed that the man was about to turn his back on him. He was about to miss an opportunity. This was the first time that Joseph clenched his fist with the intention of hurting someone and acted impulsively by throwing a punch.

Pedro dodged the first blow and the fight began. The other guys at the bar backed away from the fight, creating a circle around them.

Joseph took a couple of hits but kept fighting with clarity. Even after falling and hitting his head on the ground, Joseph continued to fight lucidly.

His punches were disorganized and didn’t cause much damage, even when they struck. While Pedro’s blows managed to open the skin over Joseph’s eye. At that instant, the fight was stopped.

“Let me go,” Joseph said, trying to free himself from the group of men holding him.

“Calm down,” Timmy said, grabbing Joseph’s face. We better get out of here.

Timmy left the bar following the men holding Joseph.

“What happened?” Timmy asked, once they were alone.

“That crazy guy,” Joseph said, hiding his secret. Delighted to confirm how good it feels to take a couple of punches.

About the author

Sebastián Iturralde

Writer of enigmatic tales, weaving captivating narratives that provoke thought and stir the imagination. Unveiling the depths of human experience through words.


About Author

Sebastián Iturralde

Writer of enigmatic tales, weaving captivating narratives that provoke thought and stir the imagination. Unveiling the depths of human experience through words.