Iron Bound Out-take “The Observer”
“Hey ya’ bud?” the male voice asked as I stepped around the corner peering into my bag.
I didn’t need to look to know who it was, or more specifically – as not a soul I knew spoke to me that way, and in this crowded hot city there was not a soul whom knew me – what it was. Still peering into my satchel, perhaps with a tad more determination to avoid such a rude interruption, I afforded a quick peek to confirm my assumption. Yes, a beggar, lowlife, the plight of all western cities, was passing by. He had long unkempt hair, that peculiar gait common to the gutter scum, and the dress-sense of one cast from the civil society. Somewhat of an informal dress-code amongst the lower life-forms must exist. I kept on for a few more seconds, deliberately scouring my Billabong bag for that pesky timetable. Bus schedules in this place were so complicated.
What I was after was the seven-three-three bus. Naturally, that bus does not stop where was right now, stop D2, in King William Street, so a connection was needed. The pond-scum had gone so I checked the road for the required bus. Far-off in the shimmering heat of the midday sun it looked like the seven-two-two was nearing.
I stepped out to the curb and readied my ticket. Manchester was a world away, and this was my first step home. A pang of fear shot through me as the consequences of my decision, of my past decisions, again stung my heart: when I turned-up, with my different identity, would the authorities know I was there, would they be waiting? Their partial incompetence was a necessary component of my plans to take advantage of their human habits and again secret myself in their lives without their knowing, free to judge and free to give life. It was another journey back to the chaotic emotions of strangers, new friends, the dying who deserved another year, the abrupt judgment of a sentence to death, all unspoken and unseen.
All but a few who would even trust their instincts and wonder, their idle thoughts of strangers and crazy events dismissed from their analytical minds. They would tell themselves that such creatures do not exist, that such thoughts are crazy. No, they tell themselves, death and life are natural consequences of things beyond any control. Yet, still, deep in their dreams and deeper in their nightmares, they silently suspect the truth: that there are some things out there that do have those powers of life and death.
And they have met them. Time and again there is the woman about to become a suicide, who meets that new friend, a strange lover, pushing her heartbreak aside and giving her a few more precious minutes, days or years. Until we withdraw, leaving her to her accumulated fate earned by the perversion of the gift we carefully extend. A hanging, a sliced wrist, a jumper, a poison victim, plus the whole myriad of other early and deliberate deaths so delayed for the one gift we can happily extend.
Each gift needs to be balanced though, and we do that with no remorse. There is no doubt in our mind when we deny the murderer, or the pedophile, or the drug dealer, their full time in their bodies. It is with pleasure we slake their thirst for evil and give the wronged that second chance to be human.
To do this we observe, learn, and judge. We have a limited cycle of power and an infinite choice of good to perform. Rationing our deeds is the only sadness I feel, for there are those very few with whom I would give all my powers to, so that they may live their life in full, happy and ever-present for their kin. It was a thing that I never had and now I know the meaning of good and evil.
A shadow whooshed to a stop in front of me and I readied my ticket. The doors opened and I stepped up, my journey beginning with a fierce blow of cool air and the realization that with that one step I was going back home, to make those decisions that would give life, extend life and take life.
You probably want to know a bit about me. I suppose I can tell you a little, though bear in mind that my story is different and I have no doubt you will find it a might hard to swallow. For in this world there are beings that inhabit human shells, yet serve no obvious purpose in life. Not like those people who wander the streets picking scraps from dumpsters, or scrounging for money as beggars. Just people who seem content to wander and always seem to do whatever they choose.
The Observers – that is what we call ourselves, though some of my kind use other names such as Thetans, angels, Judges, or Faeries. I prefer Observer, for that is what I am, and I don’t watch over children, only adults. I suppose that technically, as one nuclear physicist discovered many decades ago, I am a Thetan, fully-fledged and capable of moving from life-form to life-form, body to body, life after life.
When I am actively observing the human world I assume the body I am used to. Now, in the life time of the shell I inhabit at the present time, I belong to a forty six year old Englishman who currently uses the name of David. I say currently, as sometimes I go by the name of Deborah, in the same body, changing its outward appearances to suit my purpose. The identity I choose depends on my mood really.
My previous incarnations have been as an American local government worker by the name of Charlie in the 1960s, and before that as a nurse in post-war Britain. Those bodies died on me. The afore-mentioned killed by a bullet to the brain, the latter falling from a crane trying to talk-down a jumper. Lucky Edward Hervey survived till a couple of years ago, the sight of my splattered body below him both a horror and a nudge to live his life in full. Poor Wendy Ryan was cremated.
Though the specific memories of earlier incarnations elude me for the most part, their deaths rank high in my recall. The abrupt bang inside my head of the bullet striking home, or the falling sensation and the dying moment whence my bowels gave way and that warm flood of wetness soaked my dying seconds. Whatever this current body has in store for me is a mystery. I don’t care what happens, though I do sometimes wish for a more genetically capable husk to inhabit.
Still, David serves me well and has done since I first entered it as he was pulled-back from the drowning he experienced in the New Zealand summer of 1977. He may not have the go get ‘em attitude, but then that is my fault. I’m not bothered by material wealth, only by the ethical decisions I make. It doesn’t matter where I do that, or in whatever human form I take, I can always observe and judge.
Mind you, having more money would always be a help. Travelling by business class, or via round-the-world ship would be my choice of style. After all, David does get tired and suffers from the usual and predictable ills associated with human life-forms. Just the other day, his body gave me a nasty fright. There I was sat on the bus travelling south to observe his mother, Mavis, when he developed an extreme high temperature and felt sick, sort of like motion-sickness.
Well, it passed. Not that his death would have been disastrous to me, but it would have been an inconvenience. A decision on his mother would probably have been abandoned. Instead David recovered from the little shake-up and the following couple of weeks allowed for a reasoned judgment on his mother. Like most missions, the judgment was to do nothing.
The time before Adelaide came out the same too. After three years of watching and analyzing the outcome was that Keith was in need of no intercession. He was not in a critical state and was an innocent. So, I left him there to check on David’s mother. Again, no decision needed there – whatever is going to happen will happen. Some folk deserve neither losing time, nor being given extra. It tends to be the one’s badly wronged, or those damaged too early by emotional factors beyond their control.
Some would look at my kind and say we are superheroes, or some sort of being of that ilk. Me? Nah, not at all. Sure we have powers that can give and take lives. What people do not suspect, and which every one of the Observers feels and knows in their heart, is that our powers are not born with us. Rather, each of is eternally damned by the very pain suffered in every one of the humans we inhabit, for whatever short period of time. Our abilities are gained through the pain, sense of loss, and emotional retardism of real life. We have those things in spades.
My own Observership began with a little blonde girl, Heather Thompson, five years old, wanting an ice-cream, something new and exciting. She was dead as a consequence… or that was what I believed at the time.
© 2012 Kaden Brown