“Usually when you hear ‘watchtowers at the end of the city’, you’d think of Rapunzel or Beauty and the Beast. But not after this.
The watch tower is the only place when looked at from the heart of the city, which makes you want to believe in flat earthers. It was eerie. Probably a very common description given about anything when it’s outside of all the civilization. But that’s what it was. Plain scary. What’s even scarier is that there’s this old lady who works there. Yes, she only works there. I would rather she also lived there because that’s definitely less scary. Don’t fight me on this. She goes there every day at the crack of dawn and returns late at night. Maybe because she doesn’t have anyone to come back to. Or maybe because her family just ran away from her due to the time she spends at the tower. That’s probably it. It’s easy for me to keep track of her because she lives right across the street from me. I have a window into her life, quite literally. As far as my memory serves, we’ve never made a single conversation. Maybe she can’t talk.
But there was this one day. One day I pray I could forget this moment. But it haunts me. The lady who never cared to talk to even her mailman, came up to me, on the street, when I was entering my building. She said and I quote, ‘I saw someone kill someone’. It was one messed-up sentence, let me tell you that. How would you react to that? How does anyone react to that? So naturally, I froze. But I think I reeled back after a few minutes and asked her the ‘w’ and the ‘h’ questions. She does not say one word. Just grabs my hand and takes me to the tower where she works. Radio silence all along. Then she takes me to the top of the watchtower. We stopped at once. But I decided to take one more step ahead to ensure I’d be ready for any kinds of moves she tried to pull. That one step I took blind, was a huge mistake. I heard a weak thud and a weight against my foot. Looking down at the ground was a terrible mistake.
That’s where I found the body of a man lying upside down, a lot of blood in a puddle around him. I couldn’t even gag. My reflexes had gone numb. I didn’t even think that was possible. The same ‘w’ and ‘h’ questions ran in my head. But this time, one question kept ringing in my head, “why me?” Why did I have to be the one encountering this travesty? Was I her next victim? Or was it because she wanted me to take the blame for a completely unrelated murder?
As I lifted my leg to take another step to cross over onto that side of the god-forbidden body, she pulled on my hand with a grip that I couldn’t shake off. I stayed on her side. She gestured for me to sit on the floor next to her. I did so. What other option did I have? Who knew what she was capable of? I kept my eyes closed. I couldn’t bear the sight of that dead man anymore.
She stood up, went behind me, and just disappeared into the dark. I sat there still, not even daring to take a deep breath. Maybe the time had passed, maybe it hadn’t. But if she was not coming back, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to run away from this cold, dark tower, was what I had thought. This woman was like Mother Gothel.
Being careful to not make any noise, I stand up. One step backwards without turning my whole body and I hear a ringing sound. Then a loud thrash. Then a ringing again. And when I finally opened my eyes, I was back in my apartment.”
The policeman takes note of everything, doesn’t question me about anything else, and walks away. What’s the use of questions now anyway? They would never be able to find the murderer.
How can I say that so surely?
Multiple shattered mirrors all around my house, and I can still see her lips moving, chanting these words, over and over.
Because the old lady didn’t lie to me when I asked. Her voice is still loud and clear, right inside my head.