Authors: S.J. West
The Watcher Chronicles
©2013 S.J. West. All Rights Reserved
The world my parents knew doesn’t exist anymore. On the night they were taken from me, the people of Earth learned definitively that
we are not alone in the universe. A permanent ripple of white light now laces the sky like a silky ribbon of fate, reminding any remaining disbelievers that their lives could be irrevocably changed in an instant. Day or night, you can see the Tear which has literally transported people off of our world, like my parents, and exchanged people and creatures from alternate realities and distant planets into their place.
our scientists have been able to tell us is that what we perceive as a tear in the sky is actually one end of a worm hole. But none of them can explain where the Tear came from or how it chooses its victims. Even with our advanced modern science, no one can find a way to stop the wormhole from opening and ripping our loved ones from our lives, casting them out into the unknown.
“Don’t get your hopes up,
Jess. You know the chances of them ever coming back are slim.”
I look at my best friend
, Faison, in the dim light cast by the moon and Tear in the sky. Her perfectly braided auburn hair hangs over her right shoulder against the emerald green of the scrubs she is wearing. Faison is the classic version of a true southern belle, a status in our circle of friends I could never quite seem to achieve no matter how hard Mama Lynn, the woman who raised us, tried to make me into one.
are sitting on a red and black plaid wool blanket in the middle of my parents land. On the night of their disappearance, my parents and I had been looking up at the sky because we were actually going to be able to see the aurora borealis in the Deep South. It was supposed to be an event caused by the after effects of a large solar storm which no one would ever see again in a thousand years.
0, 2012, just before Santa had a chance to visit a seven year old me, is the date I lost my parents.
7:00pm, the ripple appeared in the sky and opened to reveal two planets, one blue and one orange. When I reached out to my parents for comfort, thinking the world was about to end, I found only empty warm spots on the blanket where they had been lying only moments before.
Every year since then, the ripple
has opened at the exact same time and date as the first. Sometimes those who were chosen from our planet would return to the spot they were taken from. So, every year, I come back to my parents’ home hoping to win the lottery of their safe return.
I glance down at my
phone and see it’s a minute until seven. I reach out for Faison’s hand. She clasps mine tightly; neither of us knowing if one, both or neither of us will be chosen to travel through the Tear this year.
Tear opens showing only blackness on the other side. For fifteen years we have seen various worlds and distant star constellations through the ripple, but never absolute darkness. The other side of the Tear looks void of anything, a great expanse of nothingness. I suddenly consider the absurd possibility we won’t have to deal with any new tearers this year. The idea almost makes me laugh. The odds it would take for us to get that lucky don’t exist in the real world.
“What do you think is comin’ through?”
Faison asks, her hand squeezing mine tighter with justifiable worry.
“Your guess is as good as mine
,” I say, reaching for the plasma pistol in front of me with my free hand. “But you’re safe with me.”
“I know I am
Jess.” I hear the tease in Faison’s voice just before she says, “Even if you are a hundred and twenty pounds of nothin’ and can’t scare a fly.”
ake my head in feigned disappointment, keeping my eyes on the Tear as it closes. “Geeze, no respect for Watcher agents these days, not even from the best friend of one.”
, if you actually ate something every once in a while, maybe you wouldn’t look like a bag of bones. I don’t know how tearers are supposed to be frightened of someone who looks like a brown haired Barbie doll.”
I just sigh and st
and up, pulling Faison swiftly to her feet with one jerk of my arm.
“Listen, I know you don’t like me being a
n agent, but it’s what I’ve chosen to do with my life. Mama Lynn understands why I have to do it. I don’t know why you refuse to.”
crosses her arms in front of her ample bosom. If I look like Barbie, Faison looks like a Playboy playmate of the year with her curves. “Mama Lynn thinks the world rises and sets just for you. Of course she wouldn’t second guess what you decided to go and do with your life. But I know why you chose to join the Watchers. You think it’ll help you find a way to get your parents back.”
“You don’t know it won’t,” I sa
’s an old argument between Faison and me. I know she doesn’t think working for the Watchers will help me find my parents, and I can’t deny she might be right. But the odds are fifty-fifty as far as I’m concerned. As long as there is a chance I can get them back, I’m going to take it, no matter what the cost.
“I need to get back to the station,” I t
ell her. “I’m lucky they let me come here this year as it is. Rookies don’t usually get to take time off on this night.”
bends down and picks up the blanket from the grass, folding it into a neat square.
Mama Lynn and make sure she’s ok first,” Faison instructs me. “Then you can drop me off at the hospital. They asked all the nurses to come in for the first few hours after the Tear opened.”
I scroll down my
contact list to Mama Lynn’s number and tap her name twice to place the call. She picks up on the second ring.
’re both fine,” I immediately reassure her. “Are you ok? Did anything happen at home?”
No, I’m fine. George came over to keep me company while it opened. But you two be careful out there,” Mama Lynn says. “And tell Faison to call me when she gets to the hospital.”
“Yes, ma’am. I will.”
“Love you, kids. You watch your back. Who knows what came through this time.”
I know. I’ll be careful. Just make sure you stay inside and keep the doors and windows locked. Don’t let anyone try to come into your house until the agency is able to do a threat assessment. In fact, why don’t you get George to stay with you tonight? That way I won’t worry about you.”
You tell me that every year,” Mama Lynn says, a smile in her voice. “I’ll ask George to stay with me just so you don’t worry. I love you girls.”
“We love you too
“Don’t forget we’re all supposed to go see Uncle Dan tomorrow evening. They don’t think he’ll make it much longer,” I hear the strain in Mama Lynn’s voice, like she’s trying not to cry. “I sure would appreciate it if you and Faison could go up there with me
this time and say your goodbyes.”
All right, we’ll go with you,” I tell her even though I feel like the loss of Uncle Dan is simply granting us one less asshole in the world.
“I know the two of you had a falling out
before his accident,” she says. “And I still don’t need you to tell me what happened, but maybe you could find a way to forgive him for whatever it is he did before he passes away.”
That’s never happening, I say to myself but not to Mama Lynn.
“See you tomorrow, Mama Lynn.”
“Ok,” Mama Lynn sounds disappointed but I know it’s better than her knowing the real reason I can’t
mourn the loss of Uncle Dan.
When I end the call with Mama Lynn, I tell Faison, “She wants us to go pay our respects to Uncle Dan
“Pfft, the sooner he dies the better off we all are,” Faison says, “especially you.”
“Sometimes,” I say, pausing to get my thoughts together, “I want to tell her what her brother did but then I just realize it wouldn’t do any good. It would only cause her pain.”
“But maybe you need to tell her,” Faison urges. “Maybe it
’s time you told someone else besides me.”
“You know the only reason I told you was to make sure
you never went over to his house alone.”
“I know Jess,” Faison puts her free hand on my arm. “And I know what you did to protect me from him.”
“I love you,” I tell her. “And if he had laid a hand on you, I couldn’t have lived with myself.”
“I wish we had told someone back then what he was.”
“We were kids,” I say in way of explanation. “You don’t expect someone you trust to hurt you on purpose.”
“I know, but…”
“Let’s just forget about it,” I say, putting one of my arms around Faison’s shoulders. “Come on. We both need to get back to work.”
By the time I drop
Faison off at the hospital she works at, I’ve already received a call from the head office in Memphis about disturbances caused by the new tearers in the northern part of Mississippi where I’m stationed. I’m given directions to a home in Tunica where a man reported a tearer holding his daughter hostage demanding he be sent back home.
isn’t uncommon for tearers to become a tad psychotic when they reach their final destination. Being taken completely away from your own reality against your will can do that to a person. Most tearers end up accepting the government’s assistance in setting them up in a home of their own and finding jobs for them. It isn’t much different from the witness protection program. Some tearers never acclimate to their new homes though and have to be dealt with by Watcher agents like me.
Being an agent is
a fairly thankless job. The general public fear us because we are a law unto ourselves. All Watcher agents are placed under the jurisdiction of one Watcher. There are five Watchers in the US alone and a hundred and seventy-four more stationed around the world. No one knows where the Watchers came from or who or what they are exactly. All we know is that the governments of the world trust them completely. They look human but we all know they aren’t. Some speculate they’re demons bent on destroying us while others think they’re our saviors sent in a time when the world needs heroes. All I know is that they’re different. Just like the tearers are different. And I know they’ve been living on our planet long before the ripple ever appeared.
ve unknowingly been aware there are people living on our planet who don’t belong since I was a small child.
is one of those people.
didn’t realize what I was seeing at the time. I just thought the faint golden halo which perpetually surrounded my dad meant he was special. When I was old enough to ask him why he glowed and no one else I knew did, he simply told me it was because I could see the truth of things. He asked me not to let anyone else know what I could see and I never did, not even Mama Lynn or Faison. It was my secret and I was thankful he advised me to keep my particular strangeness to myself.
It wasn’t until I saw my first
tearer and Watcher that I realized my father was right. For some strange reason I
see the truth of things. Tearers don’t glow blue like Watchers. Those who are brought to Earth through the Tear glow red, making them stand out in a crowd for my eyes. As a Watcher agent, my peculiar talent comes in handy. It helped raise me in the ranks of the organization faster than any other agent my age. No one else in my class has a class one rating in identifying tearers, only me. Some of my colleagues think I am a tearer, but the Watcher I work for knows better.
hen I reach the house on Bankston Street, I park in the driveway and make a quick survey of the surrounding area. The house is your regular ranch style brick home. There’s a cedar play set in the lot beside the house, a red F150 double cab parked in the garage and a white steeple church across the street. I can hear frantic yelling coming from inside the home but the voices are too muffled to make out the exact words.