Half-Truths, Total Lies Synopsis and Excerpts

Half-Truths, Total Lies– synopsis:

After believing he has gotten away with murder, Robert a sadistic killer, begins threatening and blackmailing his rivals for his coveted head teacher position. Having endured a childhood filled with rejection and dismissal, Robert feels this prized job is his only validation and measure of success.

Each of his targets, Ann, Malcolm and Ben, has a secret that if revealed would end their careers in this conservative community. Ann has been accused of molesting a student in a previous school district. Malcolm has addictions to alcohol and gambling. Ben is keeping his homosexuality a secret.

Robert methodically terrorizes his fellow teachers. He stalks Ben and his companion; drives Malcolm to resume drinking; and harasses Ann in her out-of-the-way trailer. Unable to admit their pasts, the victims withdraw and isolate themselves in abject misery.

However Robert’s world gradually begins to unravel. His victims, unable to perform their duties properly, are drawing attention to themselves. In desperation, he increases his sinister activities hoping to make them withdraw their applications for his job. As Robert’s insecurities mount, he turns once again to beating and controlling his wife, Betsy.

Detective Bates finds a crucial piece of evidence. As Sgt. Bates speeds towards Robert’s home with a search warrant and the principal is gathering her stressed staff together in an attempt to understand why they can barely function; this tense sage comes to an abrupt and shocking end. Betsy exacts her revenge.

Excerpts:

(1)Lost in thought, he kicked at a discarded coat in front of the entrance to Riverside Elementary. A low guttural moan disturbed the early morning stillness. Malcolm jolted into awareness. As he bent down gingerly reaching into the tattered garment, a sickening odour of bloody meat wafted from the clothing. His hand touched a warm, wet, slimy mess. Reeling as his senses were dealt another blow, he uncovered the inert body. Hardly recognizable, Susan lay semiconscious, bleeding from massive facial trauma. Her eyes, mere slits, framed the pulpy mass that was once a perky, upturned nose. Blood eked its way down to her chin soaking her matted hair. Once again, the low animal sound escaped from her lips. 

(2)One by one, the older students read the messages they had composed. Tears flowed as Doug, who had made great progress in her class, haltingly recited Ms. Lloyd’s favourite poem. The mood had gradually lightened by the time the children filed out into the sunshine, each carrying a green or silver balloon. Ms. Myers counted quietly to three, and then the balloons lifted skyward, drifting in the slight autumn breeze. 

(3)Meanwhile, Betsy lay moaning on the bathroom floor. Robert delivered one more kick and then left the tiny space. As the door slammed, she took her arms down, no longer needing to shield her head. She rolled over and heaved herself up over the rim of the toilet. Hanging onto the cold, white porcelain, she vomited the remains of her supper. Staggering to her feet, she inspected the latest damage. Ugly welts were forming on her stomach, and pain radiated from her wrist. Grabbing a facecloth, she held it under the cold water and then bound the material around the injured joint. “Mom … Mom,” a tiny voice came from the other side of the door. “Mom, are you okay?” 

(4)The insistent screech of the whistling kettle drew her back to the porch and inside. She put a tea bag in her cup and poured the steaming water over it. Reaching into the fridge for the milk, she froze in horror. There in the center of the top shelf was a squirrel carcass. Blood was dripping everywhere, and its entrails tumbled out of its body cavity. Her stomach roiled as the stench of still warm blood rose from the remains.

 

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