10/9/09

The Lowman's Watching (horror/fantasy)

A lowman stands in the shadows atop what used to be an apartment building. He takes the crisp half burnt air of autumn into his lungs. The world is still and time seems to be a cruel illusion.

A dark and foreboding figure, he holds the secrets of existence and death within his mind. Far does he see and far has he been; once he was called a mystic, now he holds another title, one far more sinister and deadly. His world is coloured with the horrors of witnessing and committing. But now his attention is focused on a window across the street. Behind it he sees beauty, sanity; he sees the rarity of true love. A sad crying of envy floats into his mind but he cannot hate them for their love.

Inside the ugly and nearly abandoned apartment house two young lovers are unboxing the contents of their lives. Amidst conversations of future plans, the young man and woman arrange framed pictures into a bookcase. Every now and then they exchange a kiss or a groping. Ever oblivious in their thinking, in their love, they never take notice of the lowman's watching. Perhaps for a brief second they thought they sensed his eyes but waved away the intuition.

A crow perches itself outside the lovers' window. For a moment it stares off into the dimly lit room. Its thoughts are hidden to all. Seemingly bored with staring, it makes a quick tap on the glass with its ebony beak. Such a startling surprise, the woman makes a tiny shriek while the man turns his head abruptly toward the noise. After realization sets in they look at eachother and smile. The tasks and talking resume.

The lowman takes this scene in and contemplates its meaning. Always a crow that comes knocking is to be taken as an omen of ill-will. He knows that neither the man nor the woman have this knowledge. He persists with his watching to see what may come.

As he waits for the omen to prove itself real, he reminisces about a time when he wasn't much different from the young man he's currently watching.

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He had been in love, yes, so very very in love. She had been his godess and he worshipped her faithfully. They were so happy, so dynamic together, so very perfect. They had just become engaged when tragedy came visiting. Fate always enjoyed ripping lovers apart; Death for her but there would never be death for him.

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That was eons ago, his focus is needed on the present. He's been drawn to these two but he does not yet know exactly why.

His attention is brought back from the land of souring memories by a faint and distant sound. A knocking at a door inside a building across the road. The door belongs to the apartment he's been observing. Perhaps now he will find out the ill that is to befall the lovers.

The woman attempts to get up to open the door but the man speaks and she sits back down. He, instead, goes to the door. A question is asked to whoever is behind it. There must have been a friendly answer to the question, there's a smile on the face of the young man, who, with no further hesitation, opens the door.

The lowman is the first to notice the gun. He carefully examines the expression on the face of the stranger holding it. Too many times has he seen that look and always wishes to never see it again. He contemplates what his action should be: Stay and watch like he's done so often before? Or try to change the upcoming events (something he's never done before)?

As the lowman debates his actions, the young man is trying to talk sense to the gunman, who at one point, must have seemed a friend. Sense is lost to the holder of the gun. He's an angry defeated man, tainted somehow as well, perhaps by drugs. The lowman can see his thoughts clearly. Death was at the lovers' door and they hadn't known it.

A sad horror unfolds before the lowman's eyes. The gunman yells, the youngman is pleading, both vocally and mentally. Begging is always a mistake. In an instant, chaos reigns. The young man receives a bullet. The woman screams, charges the gunman, he pushes her down.

He's seen enough, too much. The lowman leaps from the building to the ground below, landing perfectly on his feet. Off into the other building he goes, flying through it, up staircases until he reaches the woman's floor. He bolts in through the still open door. A horrible sight pierces his eyes. She's been shot.

He hurries to her. Her pretty green aura fading quickly, but he can still see it, that's something. A quick glance over at her lover tells the lowman that death has won the battle against the youngman. His aura is completely extinguished.

The gunman is in a different room and has yet to learn of the lowman's presense. He will learn of it though, that's a sure thing. The woman whispers to the lowman a name: "Eddie". He can see her thoughts, it's the name of her deceased lover. In a whisper he gives her the truth, there's not a point in lieing now. "He's gone dear, I'm sorry." And in one sense he is sorry but in another, more selfish sense, he sees an opportunity.

Tears stream from her eyes. She's fading even faster now. The lowman whispers to her again, "I can save you my dear. We can go on together until the world is destroyed. You will be immortal. Will you say yes to me?".

Her first reply is a questioning thought that barely makes it past her lips, "Eddie?". Once again he sees her thoughts and again has to disappoint her. "He cannot be saved, he's too far gone." A fresh river of tears runs down her face. "No" is her last word and the lowman watches her aura bip out of existence.

He rises from the body. He hates himself, he hates the world, and most of all, right now, he hates the gunman. Perparing for a killing, he darkles himself. Barely there in body, he isn't noticed until his bite is felt in the neck of the gunman. As he drinks away the ugly existence of the gunman, he slowly gains back his solid state. The last thing the gunman sees is a man walking away and the jewelry he was attempting to steal all over the floor.

Wanting the young lovers (at least the young woman) to have a decent burial, he phones the police from a payphone a few blocks away. He walks brisky from the phone-booth into the night air. He hates himself, he hates the world. Overhead a crow screams into the dark. "Death for all" it yells mockingly "but not ever for you.".


-----Epilogue-----

The police arrive at the home of Edward Anderson and Elise Potter around 3 AM. When they enter the apartment they see two young people shot to death on the floor. One officer ventures into the main (and only) bedroom. There he finds on the floor strewn jewelry pieces and a human shaped pile of dust. Baffled, the officer calls in the lead detective. The lead detective is not surprised by the find but is a bit skeptical about what it may be. He instructs the other officers to bag some of the dust as evidence.

A few weeks later the lead detective receives the results of all the tests done on the dust from the apartment. Some of the results state that it could be human but the DNA was so deconstructed that it was impossible to tell for sure. All the results list "Inconclusive" for the finished product. Clearly surprised, the dective calls for further investigation of the murders. His goal now is to find the anonymous caller who tipped them off.



--------author's note---------
this would be the second draft of this story. i'm pleased with it right now. i believe that we will see more of the Lowman. his wanderings may make for some interesting short stories. this was a turning point for this character. prior to the incident in this story, he had witnessed many a murder and even committed a few himself. he had never wanted to intervene. here we see that he feels bad about what he's done and that in some ways, he wishes for a partner, one that reminds him of his one true love. will he find that partner? who knows. perhaps another story will tell. in this story, there are some references to a few movies or books i'm fond of. the last names of the two young lovers: anderson refers to The Matrix's Neo (aka Mr. Anderson) and Potter, refers to Harry Potter's Lily Potter. The word lowman was a word if first read in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. My lowman is quite a bit different from his. King's Lowmen were animal/human hybrids that were mostly assholes. My lowman is a vampire, who has a conscience and is capable of love. And the crow, while a minor player, is a bit taken from The Crow series.

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