Five years transpire.
Ibai is found clutching a dead cat in his sleep. The animal has been mutilated. Ibai is covered in its blood.
They are not sure how--or even IF--they should punish him. In spite of their shock and dread, they attempt to approach this rationally. They decide to speak with the boy first.
“Do you understand what you did, mijoro?”
Ibai smiles eagerly. “Yes, Papa! I killed him!”
And they come to realize that, at the age of five, Ibai possesses a concept of death. The boy already knows that life can end, despite never having had it explained to him.
Nor does it frighten him in the least. Instead, Ibai chooses to ask, “What is death like, Papa? Will I be able to die soon?”
“Death is not something to look forward to, mijoro.”
“Because life is precious. In fact, it is the most precious thing in the world. Do you understand? Ibai, what you did, taking that cat’s life, was wrong. You must not do it again.”
Ibai returns a curious look. “But I wanted to do it, Papa. Why would I want to do it if it was wrong?”
They have a hard time answering such a strange question. “Just because you want to do something does not make it acceptable,” says Nere.
It takes a while for Ibai to comprehend that, and even after the boy claims to, they are not wholly convinced that he does.
Moreover, they come to learn that, despite knowing about death, the boy possesses no concept of pain. It seems he has never felt it before. They must endeavor to teach it to him. It will serve as his punishment, they decide.
Their efforts backfire. Ibai does not mind pain at all. Rather, it seems to only make him happier.
An incredibly disturbing discovery, it is. They begin to see that Parson may have been correct. But they will not give up on Ibai. That is unthinkable.
They devise an alternate means of punishment. Isolation and boredom. After only one taste--alone in a soundproof chamber with nothing to do for a mere fifteen minutes--Ibai proves much more agreeable. They have found something he genuinely fears. They must use this tool carefully in order to guide his behavior in the proper direction.
And for the most part, it seems to work. It is worrisome, yes, and certainly requiring patience, but Ibai appears to learn that he must not hurt others.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Written by George M. Frost