Authors: S.J. West
I step out of my Watcher issued black Dodge
Pheonix when I hear the distinct pop of a Watcher phasing in behind me. All Watchers have the ability to teleport wherever they want, whenever they want. It comes in handy.
“So what’s the situation exactly?” I ask
turning to face the Watcher of my jurisdiction while I put my Kevlar vest on over the black leather jacket of my Watcher uniform.
Isaiah Greenleaf stares in the direction of the house before answering me.
The first time Faison saw Isaiah I thought she was going to faint. She called him the prettiest black man she’d ever seen. Mama Lynn said he was pretty enough to be a movie star. But the strange thing is, if you were to round up all the Watchers in one room, you would have a hard time deciding which one of them was the most gorgeous. They all have an unearthly beauty which would have separated them out from us regular humans anyway.
“Jonas Hunt, his wife and daughter were gathered
around their dining room table holding hands and praying when the Tear opened,” Isaiah tells me as his gaze finally turns in my direction. “When it closed, the wife was gone and a tearer sat in her place. The tearer freaked out, like most of them do, and put a knife to the little girl’s throat demanding to be returned to his home. That’s all I know.”
I grab my plasma pistol fr
om the passenger side seat and slide it into the holster on my right thigh.
“Ready when you are, boss.”
Without another word, Isaiah and I make our way to the front of the house and ring the doorbell. It’s standard protocol to announce our presence before actually entering a situation involving a tearer. Trying to take a newly deposited tearer by surprise isn’t wise because you never know what you’re dealing with until you meet them.
on’t wait for someone to answer the door. That would be ridiculous considering the situation. Isaiah opens the door a crack and yells, “Watcher Greenleaf and Agent Riley coming in!”
s the door completely inward revealing the entire situation in one glance. Directly across from the front door through the living room, the dining area of the house is in plain view. The tearer is a man of average height and build with brown hair wearing jeans and a plain white T-shirt under a thin blue jacket. An ominous red glow only I can see pulsates around him. Yet, something seems odd to my eyes. The red is a darker hue than usual for some reason.
The tearer is
holding a small girl of about five in one arm while pointing the edge of a long kitchen knife against the front of her throat. The father of the girl stands anxiously on the opposite side of the table while he helplessly watches his daughter sob uncontrollably.
“Please, help her,” the father beg
s us, chancing a glance in our direction with frantic eyes.
the cool assuredness only Watchers seem to possess, Isaiah walks through the living room to stand beside the distraught father.
“Everything will be al
l right,” Isaiah says, his silky voice is like a healing balm meant to bring calm to the tense situation.
“Send me back home,” the
tearer demands, the hand holding the knife visibly shaking. “I want to go home now!”
s at the man. “You know we can’t do that. You’ve more than likely had this type of thing happen on your world too. The same rules apply here. No one controls the Tear.”
“My wife,” the man’s voice trembl
es with grief, “my kids. They need me!”
“What’s your name?” Isaiah ask
Owen, if there was anyway we could return you home, we would. But holding this man’s daughter hostage isn’t earning you any points on this planet. I’m not sure where you come from but I feel sure if someone was doing this to your family, you wouldn’t stand for it.”
’s eyes fall to the knife in his hands just before he lets it drop to the floor and releases his hold on the girl. The girl immediately runs to her father.
sits on the kitchen floor completely dejected. “What am I supposed to do now?”
up to his side to do what I’ve been trained for. “Come with me. We can help you start a new life here. You’re not alone.”
looks up at me, his eyes void of hope. “Without my family, what’s the point?”
“Maybe someone from where you came from is here to. You’ll never know until we get everyone’s information into our database.” I h
old out my hand to him. “Come on. Let’s see if we can find your family.”
A spark of hope li
ghts Owen’s eyes. He takes my offered hand and stands to follow me out of the house.
s behind to make sure the Hunt family is all right and gives them our number if they want free counseling. I know from first hand experience the counseling will be useless. No one can help you get over the fact your family was sucked through a worm hole to points unknown. At least if they died naturally you would have something physical to show for their existence, a body or ashes, something to mourn over. Having someone ripped from your life without explanation and not knowing where they are or if they are even still alive is a hundred times worse.
Owen into the backseat of my car and head towards the Tunica Watcher Station. When I glance in my rearview mirror, I see him staring out the window at the flat farmland on either side of Hwy 61. During the winter, most of the Delta looks like a barren landscape out of some post-apocalyptic movie. With the trees bare of leaves giving the illusion of skeletal figures, I can only imagine what our unearthly guest thinks of his new home.
“Do you mind me asking what the name of your planet
is?” I ask. It’s the first question all tearers are asked. That way we know whether or not they are alien or simply from a parallel universe.
Earth,” he replies, never taking his eyes off the world outside.
“This is Earth too. What was your Earth like?”
“Nothing like this one.”
The man meets my eyes through the rearview mirror. A passing car’s headlights illuminates his face for a fraction of a second but that’s all I need to see that his eyes have turned completely black and glossy like pieces of marble.
They weren’t as gullible as you.”
Before I kn
ow what’s happening, he thrusts his arms through the Plexiglas which separates the front seats from the back, passing his hands and arms through the one inch plastic like it isn’t even there. I slam both feet on the brakes just as his fingers are about to wrap around my neck. The force of my rash move causes the car to skid off the road slamming head long into a wood power pole along the highway. The airbag deploys from the steering wheel column and slaps my face like someone just kicked a soccer ball into it. As quickly as it inflated, the airbag deflates giving me time to unlatch my seat belt and stumble out of the car.
el disoriented from the impact but have enough sense left to draw the plasma pistol from my thigh holster and point it at the car.
The back passenger door bl
ows off its hinges soon followed by Owen.
“Hands over your head!” I yell
, trying to keep the gun steady in my hands while I try not to pass out.
“Now why would I do that?”
Owen steadily walks towards me, no hesitancy in his actions.
“Stop where you are or I’ll shoot! T
his is your last warning!”
doesn’t stop and I know if he reaches me I’m dead. I shoot.
The ball of plasma bounce
s off his face and dances off into the night sky, exploding into a shower of light like a sparkler on the fourth of July.
Before I even ha
ve a chance to get off another shot, Owen has one hand around my throat and uses his other hand to yank the pistol out of my grasp. I desperately try to pry his hand from my throat but it’s like his fingers are welded to my skin.
“Now just be still
,” he whispers in my ear. “This won’t hurt much as long as you don’t try to fight me.”
are anything but comforting. Owen brings my body closer to his like he’s about to hug me. I feel more than see the right side of my body begin to meld with Owen’s left side, like two candles melting into one another. I grab him by the shoulders and desperately try to push him away but the added pressure only causes me more pain.
“Stop resisting,” he murmur
s, as though he’s receiving pleasure from the process.
My mind reject
s what I’m going through. I feel like someone who’s stepped into quicksand without anything around to use as a handhold. I don’t know what’s happening and I’m not completely sure I want to.
His shoulders begin to tremble beneath my hands causing my whole body to vibrate like a tuning fork. He finally
starts to scream as loud as I am, thrusting me away from him causing me to fall ungracefully onto the ground. When I look back up at him, I see that half of his body is missing. The half mine occupied only moments before.
“What did you do?” He
shrieks, like I should have all the answers.
My eyes fe
el like they’re about to bulge out of their sockets as I continue to stare at him, unable to move or even take in a breath of air to fill my burning lungs.
falls down on the one knee he has left screaming in agony before exploding into a pile of black ash.
I hear the distinct pop of a Watcher
phase in behind me. I assume its Isaiah and relax, comforted by the fact he will know what to do next because my mind is a maelstrom of confusion.
I finally find it possible to take in a deep breath but impossi
ble to say anything to Isaiah who is strangely silent and still behind me. I turn my head to look up at him.
It’s not Isaiah.
I scramble to my feet to face a Watcher I’ve never seen before. Everyone in America knows what the five Watchers who help protect us looks like and this one isn’t one of the five. I know what a lot of the overseas Watchers look like and can’t seem to place him as one of those either.
In the dim light of night, his
pale face glows softly. His grey wool button down coat flutters in the wind around his legs. Like all Watchers he is handsome but unlike other Watchers his face isn’t perfect. A deep scar marks his face running from right above his left eye to below his cheek bone. An imperfection no Watcher I’ve ever seen has.
His eyes stare into mine for a moment before moving to the
pile of ash still lying on the ground behind me.
“Who are you?” I
Mason Collier,” he replies. His eyes slowly travel back to me. “More importantly,” he pauses, tilting his head and narrowing his eyes on me. “What are you?”
“What am I?” I repeat, feeling
slightly offended by the question considering who is asking it. “Shouldn’t that be my question to you?”
The corners of Mason’s mouth twitch like he wants to smile. “Touché, agent?”
“Riley. Jess Riley.”
He’s silent for a moment looking me up and down in one glance
, like he’s trying to detect anything special about me. “Has anything like this ever happened to you before, Agent Riley?”
I take a deep breath and say, “No,” while sliding my pistol into the holster on my thigh. The steely weight of it against my leg brings a strange sort of comfort to me. “I can’t really say I understand what just happened
to be honest. I was just doing a routine transport of the tearer to my station when he attacked me.”
Mason crosses his arms in front of him. “He wasn’t a tearer. He was
“Which is what exactly? An alien?”
“No, it’s a type of demon that is almost impossible for even someone like me to detect.”
” I ask, thinking he’s making some sort of joke. “There’s no such thing.”
You say that like you know it for a fact,” he comments, tilting his head at me. “Why?”
“Demon’s are mythological creatures. If demons are real, then there would have to be a
This time it’s Mason who looks completely confused.
“You don’t believe in God?”
“If a benevolent
God actually existed, He would do something about that.” I point directly above us to the Tear.
He’s leaving it there for a reason?”
“It would have to be a pretty damn good reason.”
I don’t feel like having this discussion with a complete stranger. Mama Lynn’s already tried to persuade me God had a purpose for putting the Tear in the sky, but none of her bible thumping religious mumbo jumbo ever convinced me the God she loves and believes in so blindly could have a good enough reason to take my parents away. I can’t place my faith in a higher power that could be so heartless and cruel for its own nefarious purposes.