I haven’t written any fiction this for a while and I wanted to write something so here goes.
The Statue: Part One
The statue stood in the middle of the square, staring back at me with one stony eye. Between the narrow slats of the boarded window I watched him, waiting for a sign of movement. In the darkness it was hard to tell but I was determined to catch him in the act.
It had become a game between us. I first noticed it a few weeks ago. The statue of the Unnamed Hero, worn and cracked, mossy and stained by the char of battle, had been taunting me. It knew I was a watcher. It was my job to stare into the darkness and keep the monsters at bay with my ever vigilant eye. I was a good watcher, maybe even the best, they said. I could stay focused and alert for hours.
But the statue mocked me. I had memorized its features and posture. So when it moved, I knew.
It was tall and broad, covered in a stone approximation of metal plated armor. The head was uncovered. Long hair fell down the shoulders and partially covered the face. Except for the one eye. It squinted, staring right at my watching spot. The face was battered and scarred, pitted with bullet holes and riven by age. But the eye seemed untouched.
It crouched, with a sword reared back in one hand and a pistol in the other, aimed and ready to spring into action. The long cloak on his back was chipped in places, but mostly in tact, swooshing around over his extended pistol arm as if in motion. It wasn’t until you looked close that it became clear, the pistol and sword were not held by stone hands, they were a part of him. His armor too, was a part of him, bolted on to his body. The unnamed hero was not human, or at least not entirely.
At first I would watch him out of idle curiosity and boredom. Staring into the darkness night after night you have y find something to occupy your mind. So, in an effort to stay watchful I memorized each detail of the statue outside. Even as I scanned the square for signs of the enemy, my attention would return to the statue. It was a week ago I think, that I first noticed the movement. I did not see it move, as such, but I noticed the change in the stone folds of its cloak.
The picture I had painted in my mind was very specific. It did not matched what I saw outside. The difference was subtle but it was there. The next day was even more peculiar. I noticed an odd black mark along the edge of the stone blade. The statue, as aged as it was, had stains and marks all over it, but this one was new. The posture of the statue had now been corrected, even to the exact folds of the cloak.
I tried to bring it to the attention of the Watchmaster, a stern fellow by the name of Cabberaeux, but he, ill-tempered at the best of times, brushed off my claims like dust from his boots.
Over the next few days the signs became more obvious, to me at least. I tried to tell other watchers but none of them could see. I told Archeleus, the day-watchman who relieved me each morning. He squinted and pressed his face to the wooden slats and gave it his best, but noticed nothing out of the ordinary.
I had begun to think that the cold watches of the night were claiming me. Perhaps the shadows were tinkering with my mind, pulling at the sane parts and twisting them to distort reality.
It was then I found confirmation. I had determined to find an answer once and for all. I had watched all night, three hours before and three hours after my assigned watch. I lay flat on the cold stone on the ground floor with my eye pressed against the heavy gate. If I angle my head just right I could see beneath the gate. It was awkward and uncomfortable, but no one came down here any more, so there was little risk of discovery. I stayed vigilant by humming under my breath, the battle hymn of the resistance, until my mouth became so dry and scratchy I had to stop. I made it until the fifth hour after midden night, when I dropped off.
My eyes were only closed for a few moments, it seemed. But when I opened them, I saw it, the proof I had been waiting for.
See part two later this week.
If you read part one, let me know what you thought.