Project 52: Toppling Atlas

1 short story a week. 52 weeks a year.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Week Fifty Six: March 28th - April 3rd

I decided these next two weeks, that I would go back and edit some of my short stories. The brightest on in my mind that deserved this was "The Watcher of Achillbeg". It is one of my favorite stories, but I really didn't give it the detail it needed. I didn't reference heavily enough that it was a lighthouse, that the masses that anger him were waves, and that his friends, including the one he killed were all ships. I hope this edit clears that up a bit.

The Watcher of Achillbeg

     If I could unclench these brick teeth of mine, I would tell you a tale of despair my friend. However, I remain frozen, so you will need to have quite an imagination, or an abundance of hallucinogenics to fully lament over the context of the conversation we will have. I've come to terms with how I will remain for the rest of my existence, but perhaps you will agree that this settling is easily as despairing, if not more so than the reason why I pass this on to you.

     To start things off, let me tell you how I was came to be. I had such promise when I was growing up. I was raised on a cliff on the southern end of an island overlooking the sea in south Ireland, and as such, I was never taught what ugly was. I knew that pain existed, but personally had never seen it. This was how my childhood went, if you could ever consider me a child I suppose. Everyone grows up sooner or later, and I was no exception. The only different between us, I hope, is that the road I took to get there was covered in cold mud, and constantly beaten down by heavy rain.

I was so naive back then. When I was young, I thought I had all the friends in the world; the humans inside of me, my friends out at sea, and the quiet masses that splashed against my cliff. However, looking back on it all now, I realize the masses at the base of my cliff, the ones that refused to talk to me, are the only ones that I didn’t lose. Perhaps this is evidence that the universe or whatever you believe in has a sense of humor. Tumbling through existential crises is a young man’s game though, so let us continue with the story.

     It sounds like a good life, doesn't it? Keep on listening my friend, keep on listening. Assigning "good” or “evil" to objects isn't a game I care to play in, nor is this an easy feat; if I had to choose a single inanimate object to deem evil, time itself would be my candidate. Watching the people who maintained me grow old and weak, and slowly pass away was like feeling my heart die over and over again. Even with the walls I've built up over the years, I still can feel sadness seep through the cracks of my mortar every now and then. If you were to ask me how many years I’ve felt this way, I fear I may break down when answering that I’ve lost count.

     When you finally understand that those responsible for this joy you experience will fade away, but that you won't, you begin to feel hurt. When you finally realize that there will never be an exception to this rule, and that all you can do is sit back and watch, you begin to feel something else entirely different. You can no longer hurt because you start to lose that ability to feel in the first place. Only dim reminders are left behind, that tense up for a few moments, before swirling back into your subconscious.

     I had decided after some time, that perhaps I could change my focus from those that maintained me, and could instead befriend those that were involved in my work. I gave warning to those that traveled near me at night, of how treacherous my cliff could be; my terrible, wonderful little cliff. I would wave to them, and to my delight, they would wave back. I had made friends, friends that seemed to appreciate me. Does this sound like a happy ending? Keep on reading my friend. Please keep reading.

     With my focus on the sea, I finally had time to observe the masses that fell against my cliff daily. They would rise up in large numbers, and run towards me, but would only stay for a second before crashing, and dicing down into the water. Why did these faceless tufts of ocean hate me so? Could they not see when I waved to them that the cliff could hurt them? Looking back, If not for my wooden friends that rode on top of the masses every now and then, I fear I may have gone crazy. I told myself that if they wanted to ignore me, and keep on hurting themselves, that I wouldn’t care, and that I had my friends to think of.

     This confidence boost worked the same way it did with humans, which if you don't know by now, it is an unfortunate lie. After awhile, my wandering mind realized that my "friends" had never actually came near to see me. The seed of doubt had found its way into my bricks, and was starting to grow. Why wouldn't my own friends come see me? I became frustrated, and for days I would obsess over finding the answer. My answer finally came to me when I decided to take matters into my own hands. For that, you could metaphorically say that they are now covered with blood. Keep on reading my friend, the end isn't too far off.

     There was a terrible storm one night. The masses were bubbling up near my feet, and jumping to spit on me. I couldn't have possibly been blamed for becoming frustrated, could I? I was close to losing my composure, and retaliating, when I saw a dim light on the horizon. Here it stood, a friend of mine, waving at me, and waiting for one in return. Perhaps it was the crowd’s blatant disrespect that pushed me, or perhaps it was my own curiosity. Either way, I didn't wave back this time. I watched as my friend came nearer to me; his wave blinking out as patches of rough rain shrouded him. I watched anxiously as he got close, but still I didn't wave back. I just sat back and watched; everything grew tense. He was only moments from reaching me when I waved back, but it was just too late. My friend crashed into the cliff side; pieces of his body washed up to lay at my feet. This was the night that I killed one of my only friends.

     I could never be close to my friends, but they were as sure as dead if I ever gave up waving to them. You humans are good at adapting to anything unpleasant, but I would like to say that I have perfected it. Even up until today I have continued to wave on my friends, as well as the years. I've come to terms with my existence, and tonight I will finally be allowed some rest. They are tearing me down, and replacing me with somebody else. Some other poor sap that will have to carry this world on his shoulders even after they break. Some other poor sap that will eventually pass his torch on to an even poorer sap.

     I've said my piece my friend. I do hope you are a human; otherwise this message will never truly be given the emotion it deserves. The lord knows I cannot give it anymore myself. I've had my heart stopped a million times, I have been spit at since I was born, and I have even killed those close to me that would have had a chance otherwise. Is it sad that I find solace in finally being able to lay down and just cease to exist? Perhaps my friend, but then again, I have lived a long, sad life, no? What a more fitting way to end. Take care of those dear to you my friend, it's only a matter of time before you yourself will have to lay down, and I can only hope you get to do so with more dignity, and with less regrets than I did. Good bye.

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