“I was a watcher,” he told her, grinding his cigarette into the bottom of the ash tray and using his free hand to push his sunglasses further up the bridge of his nose. “Always bloody watching,” he spat. She wanted to ask what he’d been watching but somehow she felt her voice was not welcome at this conversation, at least not at this time, not right then. “I watched them all,” he said and waved a hand at the crowds milling past. It was a weekend, hot and clear so the crowds had come flocking, spilling into the cobbled streets of her little town to raid the shops and tea rooms. She curled her fingers more tightly around her watery cup of tea. “All of them!” he yelped, voice pitching. “I saw it all, each plot, each scheme, each grab for power. Tell me,” he said leaning in. “Tell me what you see in a crown?” She shrugged. “Metal?” she guessed. “Well of course, of course, but what else?” “Gems? Diamonds?” “Deeper!” “Power?” “Blood!” A tourist dressed in dungarees shot them a look and picked up his pace. “Blood?” she said hesitantly. “Why blood?” “All crowns are steeped in blood,” he said. “You won’t find a monarch in existence who hasn’t done something that leaves some sort of stain.” “Isn’t that a little cynical?” she asked. He shook his head. “I was a watcher remember, I saw the plays of power and it wasn’t just the old ones, Nefertiti, Cleopatra, Julia Cesar , it wasn’t just their sort. Power is a blood sport and that’s the fact of the matter.” She nodded slowly, lowering her hand closer to her handbag for a quick escape. “You don’t say.” “Oh but I do,” he was animated now, bouncing in his seat. “It can make you lose sight of the other things after a while. All you see is the blood.” “Sounds traumatic.” “Indeed! I grew to hate being a watcher, grew to absolutely hate it!” “And now?” She watched him pause, her hand wrapped around the straps of her handbag. “Well I’m not a watcher anymore,” he said. “You can’t hate being something you’re not.” “You can just quit?” she asked, handbag in her lap. “Of course,” he said. “You just get rid of your equipment and hey presto. No more watching.” “Equipment?” she repeated. “What equipment. Cameras and stuff?” “No, not a camera,” he said reaching for his glasses and pulling them from his face. “It’s a bit more inbuilt than that.” magpie tales statue stamp 185


  1. The writing is as good as I’ve ever seen – absolutely superb. His character is really, really interesting, as is the flawless, tense dialogue.. The ending slightly confused me.

    1. Well as gruesome as it may sound I wanted to suggest that the character had blinded himself in order to remove his ability as a watcher. Often the reader’s imagination will provide a more gruesome image than I could possibly write anyway so I thought I’d leave it as a hint rather than a concrete image.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the piece even if the ending did confuse you slightly, it’s lovely to hear such high praise as “absolutely superb” from readers. 😀

      1. I read it in the wee hours, maybe 3 am or something, so my faculties were a bit dimmed, sorry. What a spectacular ending. Truly. Absolutely superb is a bit more than praise. I was genuinely blown away and try to always say what I feel, thus ‘nice’ is nice etc. I thought he had a fascinating character. Will read again and really, what a clever idea.

  2. Even though it was short, I could imagine up an entire setting and scene around this. This is really great fuel for a bigger story if you wanted to write one. I loved the intensity of dialogue and ambiguity. It really allows the reader to personalize as they read! Excellent!

    1. Thank you very much, hopefully the same can be said for the rest of my writing. A few people have mentioned expanding on the story but unfortunately that will have to be a project for another time with Headquarters and my novel[s] now moving forward as priorities.

    1. I’m glad you think so. I doubt I’ll continue it any time soon, simply because I have a series of longer flash-fictions that I’m trying to post on a semi-regular basis already and alongside my current novel I can’t really afford to divide my attention any more than I have already. But thank you for the lovely comment. 😀
      It makes me so happy to hear back from readers.

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