The day he realized everything was outside of his control was the day he decided to change.
What else could he do, after learning he was trapped inside a globe?
He wasn’t sure exactly how he found out. In fact, he wasn’t quite sure of anything. He couldn’t remember his past and had no plans for the future. All he knew was his routine, one he partook in for reasons that were beyond him, now that he thought to pause and take a moment to look at them directly.
Wake up, get ready for the day, eat, go work at the market in the town’s main square before returning home; a quaint place out in the middle of nowhere, atop land that spread for miles in all directions. A home where he’d sit and eat the meal he bought from the butcher—a cut of steak and a collection of greens he brought from his own stall, the same meal, every day; rereading the same books from his small, personal library until exhaustion took him.
Or when the sun went out.
Whatever came first.
It happened like clockwork. The light above would darken, black out until he could barely make out his own shadow. Then, his entire world would start to crumble; to twist and turn, to shift and shake. Sometimes, it lasted for mere seconds, but usually, minutes passed, before everything would settle. And then he’d stand, walk over to his kitchen and begin pushing his bed out of it, dragging toppled towels while trailing over fallen books, careful to avoid the broken china, lest he cut himself on the newly sharpened glass; sharpened in a way only only accidents can create. Once settled, he’d slip off into sleep, house destroyed and turned into disarray, the smell of spilled milk and chaos carrying him into his dreams. But he never bothered to clean it. Why would he?
Everything would be righted in the morning, without any effort on his part.
As if the sun never disappeared; as if everything wouldn’t be destroyed the same time tomorrow.
That was how it was.
Now, he knew.
The sun didn’t truly disappear every evening, it’s absence causing him to scream and thrash as his body was thrown across his home, trying to dodge papercuts and impossible bruises, while hoping to not finally become impaled upon his bannister. No, that is what they did, what they caused.
Those beings, otherworldly and unknown, unseen by all, but controlling everything after trapping himself—and everyone else—inside this tiny globe. Whenever they wanted to check in, to peak, to see, upside down his world became, as the globe was moved, shaken, handled, thrown. Why they did what they did, he had no idea. Just like he had no idea how he knew the Watchers existed in the first place. He couldn’t recall how he discovered them. But even without knowing how, his certainty of their existence might be the only thing he knew for certain.
Well, that, and his plan to thwart them and their prying eyes.
That afternoon, for the first time in his life, he broke routine.
After visiting the butcher, he also stopped by the flourist. He’d never been there before and almost lost his nerve, once he saw the shock on the woman’s face at meeting a new customer. But he steeled himself, tapping into his reserves, forcing himself to speak, to hope she carried the one thing he’d ever truly needed.
He liked to think he was already brave before he confirmed that, indeed, she had what he needed, but he knew his bravery rose because of his luck.
Purchasing all that she had, he rushed home, hoping to finish before the sun disappeared and the Watchers returned, realizing what he’d done, ruining any chance for his plan to come into fruition. He labored that day, harder than he ever had, perhaps the first time in his life he truly worked at all. But he was done, sitting at his large table with his meal turning cold in front of him, his book open as he skimmed words with his eyes that his brain didn’t register; done when the sun disappeared and so did his world, blurring past him as shaped and flashes of color and shadow, reminding him of their solidness every time he intercepted their path in the air, bouncing between walls, the ground shaking all the while. Ye he didn’t feel any pain, instead remaining a ball of angst, worried at being discovered, trapped in this loop of a life forever, now aware that indeed this was the life he lived, forever helpless as his only plan was foiled.
But it never was.
As his house settled and he commenced putting his bed back together, he marveled at how he hadn’t been discovered, wondered how many times he dared to break his expected routine and get away with it, before the Watchers truly noticed.
Never again, he decided, as he crawled into bed.
He would be old and feeble, before the fruits of his labor could be seen and the effects of today, felt. But he was willing to wait. He was not willing to risk anything within his power to control interrupting his plan.
As he drifted, sleep coming slowly, he could picture it: his home, in the middle of nowhere, shrouded and hidden by a canopy of trees; trees that grew thanks to the seeds he’d planted; trees that protected him from the Watcher’s routine stare. For, once he was covered, once they could no longer see him, only two choices that remained to those mysterious beings from outside the globe.
He could be left in peace, hidden from their watchful eyes and perhaps, just perhaps, he could make a life for himself.
Or, in order to watch him, as they always did, they’d break open the globe, to see what had become of him, hidden in his house, under the trees.
Only then, they would never find him.
For he’d already be free.
Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. With eight completed drafts in various states of revision under her belt, she has no plans of stopping. And she really can’t wait for you to read these stories.
Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works as an evening librarian assistant. You can find her personal blog here and her book review blog here. You can read all of her Muses stories here.