White Lies is a short story about a young girl who can’t tell the truth and her mother who can’t stand liars.
There was a young girl named Chiaki. She was playing in her bedroom when she heard her mother calling her from the kitchen. She raced downstairs.
“Chiaki, come here. I have something to ask you,” her mother said.
“What is it?” asked Chiaki.
“Do you know who ate the cakes that were meant for the guests?”
“Uh… No… I don’t know,” Chiaki replied.
“Did you eat the cakes?” her mother asked.
“No, Mama, I didn’t,” the little girl replied.
Chiaki was wringing her hands nervously.
“Chiaki, I know when you are lying,” her mother said. “A thief always starts out in life by lying. And the police always catch a thief. And the thief is always punished. Do you know what I am saying Chiaki?”
Chiaki couldn’t bear the guilt anymore. She started sobbing.
“Mama, I’m sorry!” she wailed. “I ate the cakes! I’m sorry!”
“There, there. Stop crying,” said her mother as she held her hand. “I was angry because you lied to me. Now you’ve told the truth, everything is going to be fine. I don’t like liars, so never lie to me again, OK?”
“OK,” said Chiaki.
“Now dry your tears,” said her mother. “We’ll go to the store and buy more cakes.”
“OK, Mama,” Chiaki said.
Chiaki’s mother had a baby. When she came home from the hospital, Chiaki was delighted.
“This is Nana,” her mother said. “You’re her big sister. You have to treat her with love and care.”
“I will, Mama,” Chiaki said.
But after the baby arrived, her mother didn’t seem to have any time for her. The baby cried all day and all night. Chiaki couldn’t bear to hear it screaming and bawling. She couldn’t concentrate. She couldn’t even think. Eventually, she had enough.
“Mama! I’m sick and tired of hearing her cry!” she shouted. “I can’t study with all this racket! Can you please shut her up?”
“You need to be more understanding,” her mother said. “Nana is just a baby. You’re her big sister.”
“But you’re always with Nana,” Chiaki cried. “You never have time for me anymore. I’d like to spend time with you too, Mama. I’d like to go to the store with you, to the park with you, cuddle with you…”
“You’re old enough to go to all those places by yourself,” her mother said. “So shut your mouth and stop being so selfish.”
“I hate you!” Chiaki screamed as she burst into tears.
She ran upstairs, slammed her door and locked herself in her room. That evening, she refused to come down for dinner. Instead, she stayed in her room and brooded about Nana.
That night Chiaki had a very disturbing dream. In the nightmare, she saw herself walking through the house in darkness. She went into her mother’s room and tip-toed over to the baby’s crib. Then, she picked up her little sister and carried her downstairs.
In the dream, Chiaki opened the back door and brought Nana out to the garden. There, by the light of the moon, she fetched a shovel from the shed, dug a little hole in the wet grass and buried her little sister alive.
When she woke up in the morning, Chiaki was shaking and covered in sweat. She felt sick to her stomach. The nightmare had seemed so real. She was horrified.
“Mom was right,” she thought. “Nana is just a baby. I’m her big sister. I need to learn to put up with things like this. I’m going to ask Mom to forgive me.”
Just then, her mother burst into her room. Tears were streaming down her face.
“Chiaki, do you know where Nana is?” she asked. “When I woke up this morning, she wasn’t in her crib. Do you know anything?”
The little girl shook her head.
“Are you sure?” her mother demanded. “You really don’t know anything? Do you swear?”
Chiaki gulped. “Yes, I swear,” she said weakly.
“Alright! Alright!” her mother said. “Help me find her!”
They searched the house from top to bottom, but they couldn’t find Nana. They ran up and down the street looking for the baby, but she was nowhere to be seen. Finally, her mother fell to her knees and began sobbing uncontrollably.
“Where did Nana go?” she wailed. “Where could she be? She doesn’t even know how to walk. How could she disappear like this?”
Chiaki was wringing her hands nervously.
“Chiaki you know something!” her mother screamed. “Chiaki! You know what happened to Nana, don’t you!”
“No,” said Chiaki. “I don’t know anything…”
“Chiaki, I warned you not to lie to me again!” her mother screamed.
“I’m not lying,” Chiaki mumbled.
“I know when you’re lying!” her mother shouted. “Tell me! Where is she? Where is Nana?”
Chiaki couldn’t bear the guilt anymore. She looked out the window and pointed at a little mound of earth in the garden.
“No!” her mother cried. “Dear God! No! This can’t be true!”
“Mama!” the little girl sobbed. She tried to grab her mother’s hand.
“Don’t touch me!” her mother screamed. “You killed Nana, didn’t you! You killed her because you were jealous!”
“I didn’t mean it, Mama!” Chiaki cried. “I didn’t mean it!”
Her mother flew into a violent rage. She grabbed her daughter by the neck and began choking the life out of her. She squeezed and squeezed until she couldn’t squeeze anymore. By the time she came to her senses, Chiaki lay dead on the kitchen floor.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang.
The mother got to her feet and answered it.
When she opened the door, she saw her neighbor standing outside. He was holding Nana in his arms.
“We found her crawling around outside,” he said. “She must have gotten out of her crib during the night. Good thing we found her before something bad happened…”