Flash Fiction: “A Long and Silent Watch”

I was almost going to turn this into a novel or an ongoing series of stories.  Who knows?  I still might do that one day.  But for now, enjoy these fragments from a strange old journal that I just happened to find…

A Long and Silent Watch, by Alexander Paul Willging

Word Count: 692

Journal Entry 2011-04-13: I’ve made contact with the Peregrine.  He saved my life tonight outside a restaurant.  The Italian one that Father loved so much.  I never expected such power could be found inside a single human body.  But I’m not convinced he’s entirely human.  Will write again when I know more about my mysterious savior.

Journal Entry 2011-04-20: He told me he has abandoned his birth name.  Now he’s just another Peregrine, a lonely traveler through cities and towns, sworn to never let down his hood nor his vigilance.  I asked what he’s searching for.  All he would say was, “Trouble.”

Journal Entry 2011-05-01: More adventures with the Peregrine.  Their war fascinates me.  It’s a quiet war, a battle in streets and rooftops and isolated fields.  No witnesses, no civilian casualties, and no conquest.  They call it “The Game.”  I’m not sure what the prize is.  I’m not sure if it’s even possible to win.

Journal Entry 2011-05-17: The Peregrine called me Vanessa today.  It’s the first sign of real emotion I’ve ever seen in him.  We start training tomorrow.

Journal Entry 2011-05-18: I flew over the city this morning.  Without a glider, without a plane, I flew.  These Peregrine are amazing!  Their control over what they call “The Four Forces” is too awesome to be believed.  I wonder what else they can do.

Journal Entry 2012-07-04: Independence Day.  We saved a building full of people trapped by a massive fire.  When we slipped away after the confusion, my Peregrine mentor smiled and shook my hand.  He tells me it’s the highest sign of respect among the Brotherhood.  I believe him.

Journal Entry 2012-09-12: Father is gone.  He learned something he wasn’t supposed to know.  He’s just a government clerk.  My mentor says it’s time we faced our oldest enemy.

Journal Entry 2012-09-16: If you should ever enter the basement of City Hall on Main Street, stand next to the file cabinet on the far left and press your hand against the wall.  If you have any training in Soulsight as the Peregrines do, the wall will shimmer and you can find a way to cross over into the Otherworld.  I wonder if this is where our City Councilors keep their all dirty little secrets from the press.

Journal Entry 2012-09-17: It’s too heavy a burden to bear.  The Otherworld is full of madness.  Skeletons in business suits, rats the size of horses, bat-people and bridges made of live snakes!  I don’t know if this is my last journal entry.  I can’t imagine who’ll ever read this if we never get out of here.

Journal Entry 2012-09-23: We found Father yesterday.  The skeleton in the suit (my mentor said he’s called a Calavera) belongs to an organization that opposes the Peregrine.  They breed nightmares and oppression.  They rule our world in secret, hiding behind every attic and basement, every ghost town and dark forest.  The Calavera was congenial when he explained the situation.  Father had found the portal and taken pictures.  The Calaveras demand silence about their reign, just like the Peregrine believe in service without publicity.  Father must either stay in the Otherworld forever or leave with us with a “gift” implanted inside him.  That worried my mentor.  He doesn’t know what it could be.  An explosive, a mind control switch, or a demon that will eat my father from the inside out.  I can’t think anymore about this.  I have to stop writing now.

Journal Entry 2012-10-01: It’s over.  Father is trapped in the Otherworld.  The Peregrine lost this round of the Game.  He gave me a choice.  Either I stay on with the painful memories and the silence, or he erases my memories and takes me back home.  I choose to stay.  God help me, it hurts worse than anything I could’ve imagined, but I choose to stay.

Journal Entry 2013-01-01: New Year’s Day.  My mentor is dead.  He gave his life to seal off the portal underneath City Hall.  I found two homeless children downtown tonight.  A boy and a girl.  May God give them strength to face the long night and the silence as I have.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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