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There are people who discover advantages in the least expected places. Making good use of them is a great way to develop their talents.

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.

  1. Deep psychological problem – the void of love being filled by pain?
    Holes in our souls? This shines a light on an aspect of our human condition! Good work!

  2. Sadly true of someone who has been abused as a child. They go on the offensive because pain is all they know. This distortion becomes their life. Insightful & poignant.

  3. When I was reading this lot of thoughts occurred in my mind such as childhood trauma, physical abuse how it can lead to develop characteristics such as BDSM. But then when he said, taking a couple of punches felt good, that was the moment i felt like even aggression is learnt.

    Great story. Great message. I felt there is a message in it and the boy’s pain is being masked by his aggressive/pleasure take on it. But the boy is traumatized which he himself doesn’t know. Sad.
    Beautiful story.

  4. Reads like the psyche of ring boxers and cage fighters.

    I froze at that scene between Charles and Joseph

    Choked, then carried on reading all the way with this thought mind how children eventually compartmentalize abuse.

  5. An Emotional story with a productive illustration. Where do you find these illustrations, which you use in your stories?

      1. But are all the illustrations from a digital artist? Because I think all the illustrations in your story are made in Photoshop by a digital artist.

  6. I have to be honest-it kind of freaked me out. Though had the most gentle upbringing ever, or maybe because, I hate when children get hit, it really hurts me. But unfortunately their are too many people who do hit children, and maybe this is the real value in your story. Children must develop some kind of mechanism to deal with it. The deeper the abuse goes, the more the reaction to handling it goes with the child. This seems to be a more disturbed reaction which indicates the multi-faceted abuse this child his dealing with. It broke my heart.

  7. This was actually triggering for me. I was a childhood victim of domestic violence the first two years of my life. Thankful my mom got us out of that situation. If we had stayed I may not be here. My biological father killed the next child of the woman he was with and is in prison for this as well as other crimes. It was the best way to protect me from becoming damaged by such an environment and gave me a new lease on life when she left him putting us first. I normally won’t even talk about this because till I was 18 we had restraining orders and had to warn everyone to never let him near me if he came looking for me. It’s not a pretty way to live if you might be in fear or looking over your shoulder all the time. And this story makes me realize I have unresolved emotions to address still that I thought I was putting behind me. Maybe I never will even though I try to find forgiveness and let it go.

  8. I was very interested in your recent story and how Jimmy will reveal his secret. Your stories are very interesting as I have always had the desire to write like this. Also thank you for liking my blog on the “The Old Home Place” I am so new to writing at all I feel grateful if anyone likes anything. So thanks again. I like your style.

  9. It’s a lack of sense of boundaries that cause people a lot of trouble. I wish people would be mindful, especially in public spaces. The value of boundaries begin in the home.

  10. Hello sebastian..see you have read some of my personal blogs..your following is a beauty to behold..do not mind if any of your followers want to see my personal blogs..love tobwrite stuff..getting better..do not remember if you had any glimpse of my bio..73 yr old..live about 75 miles nw of NYC, retired with 2 grown kids..wife for 48 yrs.. and 2 huskie mix mother/daughter dogs, that I live too much

  11. Thank you Sebastian, for liking my post (Free-Shirts.com) as I am new to blogging and need encouragement, I am delighted to know someone actually read it, especially that someone of your writing ability actually liked what I had to say. I came straight to your site and must say, it not only looks good, you write well. I read some old blogs and can identify with your thoughts and feelings as I am sure many of us can (you are a few years ahead of me philosophically speaking however). It can be an isolating and lonely existence, even if not physically alone, we can be alone in mind and spirit. I see much of the world in your words, whether through the blog or by your stories. I will recommend your site to two of my daughters, I’m pretty sure they’ll like your writing also. We all seek a reason for living in this crazy life, I have recently discovered that my reason is to work towards a life in the next realm, I see this world as a test and must try my best to represent the best of mankind to earn a place in the next life. This is a difficult task given the world in which we live and I often falter as we all no doubt do, however, the important thing is to strive to better yourself whilst on this journey. Thank you for being another voice out there, and such a good one at that. Keep up the good work brother.

  12. Hi Sebastian,
    Dropped by to see if I could reciprocate the sentiment. I can’t say I *like* “Boundless,” but it is thought provoking — and clever. I couldn’t relate to Joseph still getting the belt from his father as a young man (man enough to go to a drinking establishment and be served, apparently), but your story is, after all, set on a “starship” and thus some time in the future, so who knows? Neither do we know what Joseph’s supposed infraction was to prompt his dad — Charles, perhaps captain of the starship? — to lay into his son, just that Joseph thought it was because he was prone to “innocent . . mistake[s],” because he was “different” in some way, his “nature” (not nurture?) “…a nuisance to his father and everyone else on the ship.” Granted, yours is a short-story, a genre by definition a little short on details (a literary “tweet,” as some might have it), so we look for clues such that may (or may not) permit *us* — your readers — to fill in those blanks. It seems not *everyone* saw Joseph as a nuisance: Timmy was glad to see him — indeed goes to buy him a drink (and is therefore absent when Joseph, unable to bait Pedro into hitting him, throws the first punch). Likewise, in the aftermath, Timmy asks Joseph “what happened?” and not “what did you do?” Joseph replies, “That crazy guy,” the inference being that Pedro started it. Joseph, then, may not be nearly as truthful as he makes himself out to be with his dad — his “mistakes,” perhaps, not nearly so innocent. The title, “Boundless,” one might suppose, refers to Joseph’s discovery that he actually enjoys physical pain and therefore has nothing to fear from his dad (or Pedro, or anyone else) seeking to use such coercive methods to school him. Certainly such a discovery might make one *feel* entirely without bounds, except Joseph — ironically, perhaps — is now bound by his secret.

    Cheers! : )


  13. “It was as if his nature was a nuisance to his father and everyone else on the ship.” I have packed this brilliant line up and pocketed it to enjoy endlessly, such is my love for it. I may not be on a ship, but if I had a quarter for every time in my 56 years of life that my “nature was a nuisance” to others on this planet, I probably would be a millionaire. Thank you for this thought provoking story. It is jam packed with so many areas that I’d love to dig into a deeper discussion about that my comment would resemble a short story, so I’ll spare you!

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