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Grade
11

I am the Watcher. Or at least, that is one of my titles. People call me by so many different names and titles and labels that I have quite forgotten my own. Or maybe I never had one in the first place, but keep the title Watcher because it fits me, because my task is to watch. I watch the stories flowing like a river through my guardian’s heart. I read her memories and dreams, and I contentedly curl around rosy coloured moods. I love my purpose, but the best part was the stories; the black ink somehow moving to create a symphony of feelings and desires and worlds all laid out on the page. She wrote the sky, vast and infinite and always. She used to, at least.

~

I am the Watcher, yet lately there has been little to watch. I used to have a new story every day, a fantasy with people fluxing and twisting and pulling apart just to be brought back together. Now my guardian is just a blank page, ready for use yet so, so unprepared. I call to her, ask her, plead with her for those stories that used to flow like a thunder storm full of lightning and coloured raindrops. Yet she does not hear me, does not feel me pounding on my prison doors. I cannot be felt, heard or seen. I am just the Watcher, and that is all I will ever do. Watch.

~

I am the Watcher. I used to watch, but now all is so much noise and color and density that it seems black and quiet. Not the good kind of black either, but the black of oil surrounding you, winding its snake-like arms around you till you cannot escape. The black of a starless night, when all the light has been suffocated from the world and you cry out for help but there is no one, nothing left. I didn’t even know pain could be this deep. Yet, I am still here, tasked with the duty of watching. My guardian is just having a bad day, a bad week, a bad month. She will stop, she will come to her senses and suddenly my world will come back to order and I can rest upon quilted whispers instead of poison tipped lies. She won’t leave me, she just needs some rest. Yes, she will be fine.

~

I am the Watcher. I have to be the Watcher. I cannot stray from being the Watcher. I cannot escape, even if I want to. I don’t want to escape, I want it to stop. I want my guardian to wake up and give me that ocean of sky she used to write. I don’t want this poisoned mind, this awful pit of smoke and lines of red on pale skin. I don’t want these memories of pain and wanting and a wall, always the wall, always there, always luring her to hit it and cry and scream. I didn’t know, I didn’t know. It used to be so wonderful, and I didn’t even know it could be anything else.

~

I used to be something… it was a good something; a something that watched and felt and was always, always ready. Now what am I? I am nothing but a single dying ember in a field of charred dreams. I am a being with no form, a sentient with no thoughts, a spot of light when there is nothing but darkness. Am I nothing? No, but I am not something either. I used to be a Watcher…

~

No. No. No, I can’t let this happen! I can’t just watch anymore, watch my guardian die on the side of a street, passer-by’s walking, drifting past, shying away from the prone form. “Is she dead?” they whisper. “Is she dead, or just drunk?” She isn’t dead, I yell, she is dying! And I am dying with her. I can’t let this happen, this slow decay of the magnificent; the slow rusting of what was once beautiful and strong. I can’t let the sky be torn away. I fight; I must fight harder than ever before. I must be heard, be felt, be seen and be more than just the Watcher. I used to be the Watcher, I used to watch every memory and hope and dream and story flow through my guardian’s heart. Now I must show her, I must make her remember that there is more than the chemical warmth of some fake happiness. I must be more than just an unnamed thing, something that just watches the world and does nothing to stop its downfall. I must.

It’s… cold. I have never felt cold. I have never felt feeling. And the world… the world is so much greyer than I remember it being. It is rough concrete and roaring monsters of metal and smoke, towering monoliths full of empty mirrored windows.  It is real. I lift my head, carefully, slowly, my wings stretched out for balance. I have never walked. I cannot move my whole at once. I must first lift one leg, then place it down firmly, then the other, and again and again until I fall. I have never been hurt, not like the scrape of pocked hardness against my side and head. My ear throbs, but I cannot stop. I take another step, another, through the noise of the city night. Shakily I stumble up to that small, prone form wrapped in dirt and sweat. All colors have faded from her, leaving behind a mask of grime and dirt blonde hair streaking her forehead. The checked coat that was once red is now brown, and the blue jeans are now black with grease and city smog. She is lost, as I am in this new, grey world. I plant a front paw on her side, balancing precariously with my tail and wings and other three legs. It is so hard to be real. She doesn’t seem to feel me, and I think that all this has been for nothing, that she is too far gone and will never come back to me.

But I need you I cry, stumbling and falling against her grunge. She shakes her head blearily, looking at me with eyes like the windows above, empty and dark and shiny. She pushes me down, gently, clumsily, like she is just learning to be real herself.

“Go away,” she says tiredly, “I have no time for hallucinations.”

But I’m not! I’m the Watcher. I’m your Watcher. You have to listen!

“Why?”

Because my guardian is lost and clumsy and has window mirrors for eyes. Because she ripped up the sky and replaced it with chemical grey. Because I have stopped being the Watcher and am now… nothing… I rear up and plant my forefeet on her shoulders, looking her in the eye. Because you are more than a speck of dirt on this spinning ball we call earth. You ripped up realms, even when I told you not to, even when they were the best in the world. You scorned me, and stopped being you and became something less. Because I want you back. Because someone needs you, Guardian.

She shakes me off again, cringes against the foggy cold of the manmade world. A tear winds across her face like a spider web, sparkling silver against her grey face. “No one needs me.” she mumbles, eyes glazed ice. “I want someone to need me so bad that my brain created a talking, winged dog of all things, just to make me feel better before I die.”

 She is so tired, so weary of this life. She has forgotten her stories. She just has to remember, that’s all.

“Well, as long as I’m hallucinating, mine as well make a day of it. What’s your name?”

I don’t have a name. I have a title, many, actually. You can call me the Watcher.

“The Watcher?  That’s not a good name. Everything needs a good name, even hallucinations.”

I don’t have a name, though.

She frowns, her mind slowly turning and clanking back to life, slowly re-igniting that small flame behind her eyes. “Who cares if you don’t have a name? I didn’t have a name either, until my parents named me. Still though, something as beautiful as you needs a name.”

And just like that, my guardian sat up, became more than just a dazed body leaning against an alleyway. “Efthemia. Ef-eth-eem-ee-ah. How do you like that?”

~

I am the Watcher. Or at least, that is one of my titles. People call me by so many different names and titles and labels that I have quite forgotten my own. Or maybe I never had one, because I was waiting; waiting for my guardian to give me a name. She gave me a jewel, a piece of the sky.

I am Efhemia. My guardian has started again, like an old truck chugging back to life. And I know that, even though she needs a bit more work and time and love than the newer, less damaged ones, my guardian is an antique, something unique and wonderful. And do you know what Efthemia means?

Hope.

It's beautiful, Ana. Heart-wrenching and bittersweet. One day you must explain to me how you were able to interpret depression in this descriptive form.
Congratulations on your placement in this contest!

From
Granny

State
Alberta
Zip Code
T0A 0M0