You live in a world where each lie creates a scar on the liar's body. The bigger the lie, the deeper and larger the mark. One day, you meet someone that only has one scar; it is the biggest one you have ever seen.

He was a real good guy, through and through. Never met anyone quite like him since, never really expect I will either.

People like Joe don't come around often. Once in a lifetime maybe, if you're lucky.

Almost everyone I've ever met had the tiny silvered papercuts of white-lies on their fingers. It's a price of formalities, a camouflage of sorts- as everyone has a few, some deeper cut than others over the years; opened and reopened time after time. And not just that, but the larger cuts, silvery things on forearms and shins, necks or backs. People lie, it's just the way of things.

Sometimes the pain it worth the deception, the balancing scale plays out mentally before a person's mouth opens.

Joining the force was what I wanted. There was a lie I told myself: A Lie I scratched in deep, over and over again. I wanted to change, I wanted my parents to be proud: All lies, tiny scratching lines on my shoulder to create a strange and deceitful pattern that never seemed to heal completely.

In truth, I joined the force because I had nothing left. I joined as a last ditch effort to save myself from rock bottom. Among the elite, surrounded by the brave and the successful, I simply kept my head down. It felt like being a fox, stuck among a pack of wolves. Just being there in the first place felt like deception.

But then, there was instructor Joe.

I had more scars than most, and that earned little trust- but if people were politely cold with me, they were visibly frigid with Joe. See, he didn't have the traditional marks on his hands, he didn't have cuts and nicks along his arms, his face or neck: At a quick glance you might have thought him the most honest man alive. In fact, at first people did. A man in his fading thirties without scars?

That's like a god-damn unicorn. They're more myth and legend than person- yet there he was. Plain as day.

Everyone liked Joe that first week. Everyone wanted to be on good terms with him- I mean, who wouldn't? In a world of liars and cheats, proof reminded at every twist and turn of the road, who wouldn't want someone they could trust?

Well, that was before he took of his shirt in the locker-room. Before we all saw the hideous mark that covered half his back. One lie, but the most gruesome thing I've ever seen. From his shoulder blade to his ribs, it looked like a crashing comet of red and silvered white. A tiny portion of it just finally healing, a rough tear now recovered again.

It was all the same lie. That's something you can just tell sometimes, just know it. Usually you can tell how many times too, but whatever the number was which he'd said that aloud, I don't know.

He rarely spoke to begin with, issuing the orders with a stern smile, instructing as all the rest did. He was positive, encouraging, truthful: But that scar was on everyone's mind. Deep, dark, and terrible: Someone who could tell a lie like that... Well, there was someone to watch out for. In the end though, it was at the range when things went well and truly sour.

Live-fire runs, we'd done them a thousand times, but that day I guess someone forgot themselves. Maybe they thought too much on what and how and their brain skipped a beat, or maybe they were just careless. Regardless of the reason, a shot fired when it shouldn't have. Brass spit fire, Air swallowed metal, and lead took its first taste of iron, calcium, iron and dirt.

In that order.

We all stopped, eyes wide and watching that kid fall down real slow. First standing, staring with his hand pulling away- not even scared, just shocked. Red, like deep crimson soaking and spreading, he dropped down to his knees. Still, he wasn't even there yet, it hadn't quite processed.

That's when Joe caught him- and all the shouting erupted. The pandemonium, the first real training turned to action kicking in. Cries for "Medic!" and "KIT! Get the kit!" as people ran for the directions they thought mattered.

I was close enough to know that wasn't going to make a difference. Center of mass was what we trained for, the reason was straight and forward: Shoot to kill. Eliminate the target and move on.

So I sat there, weapon heavy in my hands as I watched Joe hold this kid, blood pouring out into the dirt like a faucet, and I listened to him repeat the words that cut deep. Over, and over, and over again.

"Hang on, look at me. You're gonna be alright."

"You're gonna be alright."