The Watcher is as close to a bogeyman as I ever had. I have only really seen him seven times, though I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen him out of the corner of my eye.
The first time was when I was young. My father took the neatly wrapped bundles that were my family, one by one. It took him most of the day. Finally, he picked me up. Mother followed behind as we made our way to the grove. The Watcher was already there, the graves dug, their little bodies lain. The Watcher said a few words about trees in bright sunshine. My mother wept, her sobs causing her entire body to shake uncontrollably. The Watcher took here in his arms and held her as my father carefully placed each tree in the fertile soil. My mother cried over each tree, speaking names I have long since forgotten. I do remember The Watcher, as he approached me, his voice husky with unvoiced emotion, refusing to let his tears flow. “Well, boy. You’re the last of the brood. Worry not and stay strong, I have the rest. I’ll keep them safe.”
And again, soon after, when my mother had left and I slowly followed father, her long white shroud brushing the ground as we followed a path that has always seemed familiar, we met again. I helped him clear the hole, and heard his words, though I could never recall them, no matter how I try or how often I attempt to replay the events of that day. I do recall something of the beautiful rest of fall and the rebirth of spring. I carefully patted down the warm, moist earth and her tree was lain.
Time flew, as it tends to do, and I never spoke with him. I saw him, as I mentioned earlier, as a flash of brown and a glint of gray. He let me know he was watching. I never resented it and I believe, as a young lad, I took actually took pride in him, this sentinel of the woods, who “WOULD HAVE WORDS WITH ME”, as my father put it, whenever I misstepped my duties, watching over me.