Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Flash Fiction 13: The Watcher

Since last week it was almost midnight before I posted, this time I thought I’d try and get my story out on the early end of things :)

Continuing Jezina’s story again (the goal is all of November). Tricky cause of course what do you do after hanging on the cliff? It’s not a question I usually have to answer in 1000 words, but I do if the story is to continue. Whose foolish idea was this November project anyway? *g* hahaha ok enough silliness. I hope you’re enjoying my story – all suggestions and comments welcome.

For those new or interested the story begins here: Knowing
And part two is available here: The Next Step


The Watcher

Jezina cautiously followed the young girl into the house, with a shy glance at the kind looking woman and the intense man beside her. The young girl signed rapidly, clearly excited although Jezina didn't know if it was because of her, or if she was always exuberant. The older couples' gaze was cautious but welcoming.

Following the girl deeper inside, Jezina found herself in what was clearly the heart of the house. The huge open space had wooden floors covered with knit rugs in multicoloured designs -- far more colours than the dyers in her village had ever produced. The stone fireplace housed a low fire, with a cooking oven next to it whose scents indicated it was in use. Jezi's stomach growled the instant she noticed, much to her mortification. Fortunately nobody seemed to notice.

But then the warmth faded from the room and suddenly it seemed large and intimidating. She surreptitiously looked around, trying to identify the change, and when she looked up to the loft above, the one she had seen earlier was watching. The look in his grey eyes was one of pure hatred and froze her in place.

The young girl effortlessly broke the tension, speaking to him. His response to her was terse, but at least he looked away from Jezina who quickly moved out of his line of sight. The woman appeared in the doorway and led them all to a fairly small kitchen which was not huge, but had shelves entirely lined with food. So much food for only one family. Almost as much as they'd have in winter stores for her whole village! Jezina was astounded and tightened her stomach muscles to stop her stomach from reminding her again that it had been a long night and was well past breakfast.

The woman handed her a plate and gestured to the food, but Jezina hung back, unsure of what was appropriate to take or expected of her. The young girl again solved her dilemma by bouncing in front, randomly tossing a variety of items on a plate and gesturing one-handed motions that Jezi didn't entirely understand but interpreted to mean she should follow. As she did, she felt the watcher’s cold gaze on her once more, but refused to acknowledge it.

Jezina spent the day with the woman Dalone and her daughter Riley. She helped with their chores and Riley quickly appointed herself language coach and patiently spent endless hours working with Jezina. The man disappeared for the day, and while occasionally Jezina felt the cold eyes of the watcher, mostly he stayed away and she started to relax.

Invited to stay, the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and Jezina found herself adopted into the family. One quiet night Jezina confided in Dalone about what had happened the night before she showed up in their yard; the night her life changed forever. And Dalone held her while she cried. After that, she was simply family. To all but one. Nobody could or would tell her why Kale despised her, but it was clear he did. Never would he speak with her, and always he watched.

Eventually the day arrived when Jezina knew the time had come to move on.

"I still don't like the idea of you going off alone." Dalone told her, worrying. Jezina laughed "I'm only going over the hill," she reminded her.

"Yes, well you came from over the hill too," Dalone stated with a glance in the other direction, justifiably concerned. Jezina paled briefly at the reminder.

"Yes but this time we know what's on the other side." she stated with a confidence she didn't feel.

"Jezi will be fine." Riley reassured her mother. "After all, she knows how to sign now."

"Learned from the best!" Jezina said with a grin at Riley.

"Besides, she has to go so she can bring me back a new hat!"

"The whole reason for going really," Jezi joked.

"Maybe if we knew why you were really going?" Krage asked seriously. But Jezina couldn't explain it to them, just as she'd never been able to explain her need to cross the wall. She had come to love these people as family and she hated that she was hurting them by leaving. She'd never felt so welcomed, and yet she knew she couldn't stay. Dalone worried it was because of her son's behaviour, but Jezina realized that even without him, she would still eventually have felt the need to move on – even as part of her longed to stay.

"Karge I'm sorry. It's just something I have to do." Jezina said, tears sparkling her eyes as she met his glance. "Besides," she said trying to force the laughter back into her voice, "Riley really does need a new hat!"

She looked toward Riley to share the long running joke, but Riley had turned unusually serious. Standing where her mother couldn’t see her, she signed furtively, “Remember, he doesn’t hate you.” Before Jezina could question the unusual message, Kale’s abrupt arrival behind her put an end to the emotional goodbyes. There was no way she’d risk tears in front of him.

“Don’t worry Mother,” he said, his tone as cold as ice. “She’s not going alone. I’m going with her.” And with barely a passing glare at Jezina he picked up his bag and hers and headed off up the hill. Jezi shot a panicked glance at her new family. Dalone was clearly surprised but not entirely unhappy. Krage looked resigned, and Riley looked absolutely thrilled. Jezi shot a questioning look at her, but before she could say anything Krage spoke,

“You don’t want to let him get too far ahead,” he said in warning. Sure enough Kale was setting a pace she’d have trouble keeping up with. And so, questioning her sanity, Jezina left the family she had grown to love, to follow the man she was slightly terrified of.


This is a fascinating mix of characters and interactions. It builds nicely and flows well. Kale kind of creeps me out, as he does her, and I wonder that she would so readily accept him joining her. It might be a bit more believable if he followed, joining her when she really had no other option but to accept his presence. Riley's reassurance is somewhat comforting though.

By the way, you spelled her name two different ways:
"Riley really does need a new hat!"

She looked toward Reiley to share...

Intriguing story. I look forward to see where it's going.


Your story continues to be very intriguing. Very good pace throughout.

Kale doesn't creep me out. It rather relieved me that the Watcher was going to help.


Wow Jon I find that really interesting -- mostly because in my first draft Kale DID follow her, but it required significantly over 1000 words to resolve that, so I turned it around in the interest of pacing. By making Riley speak before Kale I was hoping it would imply she knew ahead of time what was going to happen (again more words cut that might've clarified :) so as to give Jezina some reason to go along w/ it...

Thanks for the heads up on the name -- I think I've fixed it now. Her name was actually originally Rally and got changed a few times until I settled on one. I thought I caught them all but obviously not *g*

Glad you're enjoying it Marisa! Thanks for reading!


Really good story. You have me hooked. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next.


Very enjoyable and interesting stuff. I liked the description of the warm room turning cold and why. This was the centre of the story for me. (As an aside, I was slightly terrified of my now husband when we first met!! LOL)


Post a Comment