Henry Gale was a piece of work, a man pretending to be something he was not. He is a complete insufferable mystery. Every word that filtered out of the man’s mouth left a deep groove on Locke’s consciousness. It was like the other man was repeatedly pricking him with a safety pin just to see how Locke would react, just to see what would happen. As if he was also mystified, but insatiably curious. The small man was dangerous. Perhaps even more so than the threat beyond the imagined safety of their camps, these others.
What was underneath the top layer of skin? If you peeled it back, would there still be a person underneath, or would it be something darker. Who or what was this man?
When would the truth be realized?
There was no doubt that the man’s identity was part of some charade. Henry just couldn’t sell it, not really. There was no possible way it was the truth, the story just didn’t fit. It just seemed to slide out of Henry’s mouth and mean absolutely nothing. A story to hold his captors at bay. Something to stop the beatings, the pain. He was compliant, but for what reason?
If anything the injured man’s lie had been virtually solidified by Sayid’s reaction to Henry’s apparent truths. What those truths were, nobody knew. Locke wanted to crack open the mysterious man, and learn what the truth was. So did Sayid. The man had nearly lost his mind when he was forcefully dragged away from his prisoner. Sayid knew things about extracting truth from men, things that he seemed ashamed of. The man had an awareness that both Locke or Jack could never imagine having. So it wasn’t hard to believe that he knew about men just like this Henry Gale. And Sayid insisted that Henry wasn’t who he was. That is was a certainty that he was one of them, and that they should kill Henry before he had a chance to take out members of their group.
Locke knew that Sayid was right, but it was so easy to ignore the warnings. He wanted to be absolutely sure that their prisoner was what they all thought, a liar. So he convinced Jack that there had to be complete certainty in their coming decisions. No need to be rash, they had plenty of time to extract the truth, so why do something they may all regret. They would know what Henry was.
You know so many liars, don’t you John? They are all around you. You can’t get away from them, they will only follow you into the deep recesses of the forest beyond. They will try to control you, and you will let them.
Was Henry one of them, one of these others?
It wouldn’t be an unbelievable event. Their group had infiltrated the camp before, it was only a matter of time until they would have made another attempt. This could be that time. It would be wise to not underestimate Henry. It would also be wise not to overestimate his abilities either.
But Locke wanted desperately to believe that the man was telling the truth. He wanted to trust the man, to give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps it was the loneliness talking, because when he looked at Henry he saw something. A dangerous little thing. A chance of camaraderie, a confidante. For some reason, Locke wanted to give Henry Gale a chance. But he really shouldn’t give Henry the chance of getting too close. Yet Locke couldn’t make himself stop from visiting the man’s prison, his heart beating heavily in his chest and his hands held stiffly at his sides. The man wasn’t what he seemed, and everyone in the know, knew this.
Maybe they were all wrong, maybe everyone is too paranoid. Worked up, and unwilling to actually believe this man was a lost man. Someone who just lost the love of his life, someone stuck here on this island without any chance of escape. Because it didn’t seem like anyone would be leaving. Except through death, perhaps. Someone just like me.
Misplaced trust was like playing a deadly game. Yet, the gamble would make Locke’s blood burn. A feeling that he had long been addicted to.
-‘We can make a little deal, something only the two of us can put stakes in. So tell me, what kind of deal can we make? What do you want from me, John? If it’s good, then I will tell you what I want from you.’-
It must have been the eyes that first drew Locke. They were consuming, wild like the ocean holding them captive on the island. However, even those pretty blues couldn’t conceal the truth. The undeniable fact that Henry was a liar. Locke could feel it deep in his bones. In fact, he had seen many eyes like those. Had been drawn to more like it, so many others had lured him in with their tall tales and their fluttering lashes. The older he got the more foolish he became, but he was always caught in their snare. He may have already been caught by Henry’s trap, the lines connecting them invisible to the untrained eye.
He is going to use you, just like everyone else here.
Yet it didn’t stop him. It didn’t stop him from handing Henry a book with a timid smile. It didn’t stop him from staring too long at Henry’s lips as they curled into their own small grateful smile. No, Locke did not want to cut the magnetic line between them. So Locke made a promise to himself as he stood across from Henry, that he would cut the ties between them if he got too close.
He needed to be able to cut that line. Locke couldn’t afford to allow himself to be fooled by the kind words of others, or their filthy lies.
But it was going to be so easy for Henry, wasn’t it?
‘So, which one are you?’
‘Are you the genius, or are you the guy who always feels like he’s living in the shadow of a genius?’
It was only the second day, and he was weak. Henry was already getting to him, and it already hurt.
Locke pushed the cleaned dishes onto the cold floor almost as soon as he had gotten away from the injured man. The sound of breaking glass only fed the sudden rush of acidic vehemence.
Which was he?
Locke had a feeling that Henry already had made a guess on the answer to that.
So which one could Locke be? Was he the leader, or was he Jack’s shadow?
-‘You’ve got nothing important to lose, John. Only your life.’-
Deceit fit the man like a second skin. Something else was lurking underneath, waiting to emerge and take its first strike. Locke only hoped that he wasn’t the first to see Henry shedding his skin. This is usually when a creature of that nature will consume everything within sight. There will be a path of destruction left in the man’s wake, it was just a matter of time. Someone would have to pay the price, blood would be spilt across the sands of the beach. A token to the island, another sacrifice to some greater plan. Maybe he should just let them kill him. It would be so much easier than seeing where all of this was spiraling towards.
Henry was starting to show more signs that he wasn’t the man that he said he was. Of course, it was to be expected, as the lies were slowly growing more pathetic and weak. There were not any visible fluctuations, nothing that would normally make one assume that the words were anything but the truth. However the emotion was lacking, and everything fit too well.
Everything had its place in this perfect little story of his. The sad little story of two lovers romantic flight turning into a story of both death and grief. It wasn’t the story that was unbelievable, it was how easily Henry could talk of his supposed loss. But where was the grief, where was Henry’s anger at being cheated of his loving wife? How could Locke even think to believe him? Why did he want to give this man his trust when it was so obvious that it was all lies? Every single word a part of some play.
The man was trying too hard.
And, oh lord. Locke should have listened to what his gut was telling him. He should have listened to Sayid, should have kept his distance from the man locked in the armory safe.
But he couldn’t keep away now, no matter how hard he tried. He was one of the leaders, was one of the people who actually had a say on this damned island. It was his responsibility to be there, however he never wanted to be farther away from what was going on.
It had already begun to spiral so quickly out of control.
‘Cereal? Wow, where’d you guys get cereal?’
‘It was down here all along. The pantry’s full of food.’
‘How old is it?’
An innocent thing to ask until Henry questioned their lack of interest on the details. Henry was right, it was foolish not to ask questions, to just take everything in stride. A lesson that Locke now wanted answers too. Something that Jack would most likely try and coerce him to do regardless.
I make my own damn choices.
This had to be a part of Henry’s plan, something to throw them off his track. Of course Henry was good at that, wasn’t he? He only proved his cunning the more he continued to speak, like the good little manipulator that he was.
‘This must be my reward for good behavior, huh? I guess I earned myself some good will for finally drawing that map for Ana.’
‘To my balloon.’
Henry had already managed to have Ana Lucia and a couple of the others go search for his supposed hot air ballon. The fact that both he and Jack were only just finding out about it was a huge issue. And the news was from Henry, no less. Jack had been furious, and Locke couldn’t help but be in awe. Was this just a simple man, or was Henry a little more complicated than that?
‘Wow, you guys have some real trust issues, don’t you?’
He is waiting to see who is really the leader. Will it be me or Jack?
Jack was a liar, an omitter of truth. So am I. But were there any real issues between them? Locke assumed that Jack didn’t trust him. Not after Boone died. He guesses that was fair, and maybe that is where all of these problems were suddenly stemming off from. Was it so obvious to Henry? Were they open books to this possible enemy?
-‘Everyone can see it, you know. Jack is the one with all of the power here. You are just the lousy competition.’-
Locke was head to head with Jack, and they were both ready to lash out. Which of them had the right answer to the situation? Who was right, who was wrong? Locke let Jack have his say, this wasn’t a real battle. Or was it?
‘Put him back in the armory, John.’
As soon as Jack had disappeared Henry had stared cryptically into Locke’s eyes. The other man only saw weakness, and his voice was pitying as he cut Locke open with just a simple question.
‘Why do you let him talk to you like that?’
There was a hint of judgement. As if John had to do better, as if he was disappointing. It was almost as good as a slap to the face, but those at least didn’t sting quite like this. Locke had wanted to throw the man against the dining table, to shut Henry up before he started to needle further into his mind. He never wanted to hurt anyone quite like that before, never for such a simple question. Instead he had grabbed at the man’s shirt collar and forced him back into the armory.
The man was safe there.
John tried to retreat right after he slammed the door closed, his anger diminishing quickly. Gone like the wind, honestly.
Henry’s quivering voice had followed him though. It followed all the way out of the hatch.
‘John, I’m sorry. John?’
My god, what if he was innocent? What if he isn’t what we think he is? Control yourself. It is just the island getting to you. You just have to survive this, it doesn’t matter if you are leader or not. It doesn’t matter what he says.
But it did matter, and that is what angered Locke the most. It especially infuriated him that Henry was tugging on his insecurities and drawing out the dark thoughts that lurked in the corners of his mind. Everything was finally coming into perspective. He was the weakest link, Jack was definitely the leader of the group. However, Locke felt that he had the chance to change that. Perhaps Henry could help him. Point him in the right direction. Or was it more likely the injured man would destroy him instead of help?
Why should I ask a liar to help?
God, he was so confused.
Locke doesn’t want to, but he can see everything being burned away in the blink of an eye. Everything except Henry, he would be the only thing to remain. This man might be the survivors undoing. If Locke let him, Henry would most likely be his own undoing. The other man had already started to unravel the bonds within the group with his twisted little words. His stories, his uncanny ability to weave little tales, these innocent seeming whisperings of murder and traps. Henry was playing everyone against another, but Locke could not see how far the man could go. He was already being pulled into the game, he just didn’t know where his moves would lead.
It was completely infuriating. It was exhilarating.
Locke wanted to be pushed as far as Henry was willing, he wanted to see if the man would outfox him. What surprises would soon come. Who would Henry Gale become? What wickedness would come from that small and weak seeming man?
He isn’t who he says. But I want to pretend. I want to see what he will do, what actions he will take. Because everything Henry had done so far was so interesting. What will he do, when will it happen?
John doesn’t find himself caring about the lies so much, he just wants to see. He just wants to feel and to know. Where will all of this go?
'He will lead you to your death Locke.'
He just had to plan.