Children's Short Fiction: The Watchers
This will be my biggest article to date. With a 2600 word count it dwarfs most of my articles. Now the grammar is problematic as it is an experimental fiction, yet let's see if I could get reads.
It’s now getting late, and it’s time for little Cara to go to bed. After putting on her pyjamas she checks herself in the mirror and a black haired girl with a round face looks back. Her room is dark, but unlike most girls her age, she is not afraid to be left alone.
“It’s the cat,” she said after hearing something bump. And indeed the cat she once nursed to health peers in from the window as if saying a hello. She gives her room a last glimpse as she sits on her bed. It’s messy, and it needs a good clean-up, but she will worry about those in the coming weekend. And from a jumble of pillows and sheets, Cara extracts her teddy bear. This old, but mint looking toy with golden fur and bright eyes was a gift from her grandmother. Cara just can’t sleep without it in her arms.
“Good night,” she said, and she kisses the teddy bear. Cara bends on her knees to whisper a prayer, her usual habit before sleeping. After several minutes all is silent.
But the silence breaks when something bumps.
It’s not the cat this time. The window just moved by itself as if touched by invisible hands. A gentle breeze dances outside her window, and slowly the latch unlocks and the window opens. The moon peers in, its silver glow filling the darkness of Cara’s room.
And something wondrous happens as Cara sleeps soundly on her bed.
Descending from the beam of moonlight are tiny sparks, like miniature twinkling stars. The sparkles circle Cara’s room as if bestowing it with special charms. The sparkle slowly collects and forms the silhouette of a human person. And from this glowing mass a girl materializes. Gracefully she throws her hair aside, and it cascades down her back like strands of silk. If Cara is awake, she would be mesmerized by her unworldly beauty. With delicate features of a fairy-tale princess, she is an art form that comes to life. Slowly the girl lowers her face to give Cara a kiss.
“Sleep tight little girl,” she said and Cara’s sleeping face breaks into a serene smile.
“And now to call for the Watchers; you can now wake up Gilded Bear,” she then declared.
The stuffed bear in Cara’s arms stirs to life. Carefully he disentangles himself from Cara’s embrace. He then does a brief stretch and smiles.
“As sweet as her grandmother,” the Bear said.
“You and the others did well last night. You just successfully repelled a Nightmare Spirit,” the girl said to him.
“Any malicious spirits will have to go through us first, my dear Deana,” the Bear replied proudly.
“Good and now let’s call the others.”
The Gilded Bear grabs a handful of glimmering dust from a container Deana conjured. He spreads it in the air and it forms a small door. And from the door, out comes a confused looking white hare with a spectacle and carrying an oversized wand.
“Now where am I… oh yeah, Cara’s room,” he muttered, “and you are…”
“Please Snow Hare.”
“Oh yes, it’s you Gilded Bear. Oh my, my memory is as bad as ever!”
Deana and the Bear could only laugh at the blundering Hare.
“But where is the Sparkler,” the Bear asked.
“The Sparkler, your friend…”
“Ah yes, well she will be late. Oh there she is!”
Another door materializes from the cloud of magical dust. It swings open and out comes a harassed looking rabbit with a large bow between its ears and a flowery wand. The Sparkler is smaller and greyer than the Snow Hare yet she looks more alert.
“Where are you Snow Hare? You forgot to fix your bed again!” the Sparkler shrieked.
“So that’s what I’m trying to remember,” the Snow Hare said while hiding under Cara’s bed.
“Okay, enough of that,” the Gilded Bear said as he drags the Snow Hare out of his hiding place, “we didn’t have all night. We have to summon the Dreamer right away.”
The Sparkler is still snarling at the Snow Hare when they gather near Deana.
“Now the Dreamer won’t be too happy if he sees you fighting,” she chuckled.
“Well, let’s begin now,” said the Gilded Bear, and he sprinkles another magical dust in the air. Cara’s room then transforms into a form of an outdoor night-time scenery complete with a starry heaven and a downhill meadow.
“Come to us bringer of sweet dreams and protector of children from the malice of the night,” the Gilded Bear whispered. The Snow Hare and the Sparkler join hands and their wands cast a beam of light to the sky. And from the clouds a ball of light descends and transforms into a sleepy tapir creature in wizard’s hat and robe. He smiles dreamily at his companions and yawns.
“What dream should our little Cara prefer,” he said. He waves a paw and Cara’s sleeping smile deepens.
“Now since everyone’s here, I will leave Cara to you all,” Deana said.
“The girl is safe with us. No nightmare shall harm her,” the Gilded Bear said impressively, his chest puffing. But the rest seems to have other plans tonight. The ever sleepy Dreamer is on the floor and snoring. The Snow Hare is panicking over his missing wand as the Sparkler nags wildly.
“I think you could use a better company,” Deana suggested to the Gilded Bear.
“I will entrust my many lives to them, they are more than a match to any marauding spirits around. And Snow Hare, you drop your wand there.”
Deana is suppressing a laugh when she bids the four Watchers goodbye. After she left, the Watchers then take their places on Cara’s study table, where they have a perfect view of the room.
“A lot of children is having nightmares lately, wonder what’s the other Watchers are doing,” the Sparkler said loudly.
“You can’t blame them, there are Nightmare Spirits out there that is too much for them to handle,” the Dreamer added.
“The Nightmare Spirits; you know, malicious entities that bring nightmares to children. Have you forgotten Snow Hare,” the Dreamer said, now more awake than before.
“Ah yes, the Nightmare Spirits. And do you know that children’s mischiefs could strengthen them,” the Snow Hare replied.
And the night deepens without any signs of trouble brewing. So far no malicious spirits show up which is a rare treat.
“We could use a break. It’s about time we have our holidays,” the Sparkler chuckled.
“With us watching, maybe those folks decided to turn back.”
And exactly after the Sparkler said that, a shadow appeared under Cara’s bed; it starts to crawl its way towards Cara like a ghostly slug.
“That explains it, the Spirits have found a new means of entry,” the Snow Hare shrieked.
“I need to get to Cara now,” the Dreamer said urgently. But his dumpy legs can’t get him there quick enough.
“Here,” the Sparkler said. She points her wand to the Dreamer, and he goes flying into the crawling mass of shadow.
“You cannot have Cara,” he muttered, still dizzy after being hurled by a high powered spell. He raises his hand to unleash a powerful form of magic. Instantly sparks fly around Cara’s bed as the crawling shadow dissolves.
“Nice one,” the Gilded Bear said as he and the rest skid to a halt near the Dreamer.
“Do you think the shadow is gone,” the Snow Hare asked.
“Look,” the Sparkler pointed a trembling finger at a figure looming above them. The shadow now shows its real form. They are now looking at a horrible man--sized creature with lizard--like body, bat wings and cruel talons. Its drooling mouth is armed with sharp teeth.
“Oh dear, it looks angry,” the Dreamer muttered.
And before the creature takes them, the Sparkler raises a wand. It gives off a blinding flash, and the creature is temporarily blinded. The Watchers take their chance and make a run for it. They dive behind Cara’s toy chest, the nearest hiding place they could find.
“Wow you’re heavy,” the Gilded Bear gasped as the Dreamer slides off his back.
“Thanks for the ride,” the Dreamer chuckled.
“Wait, how about Cara…”
The Gilded Bear freezes after the Sparkler said those. They just left Cara in the mercy of the creature. How stupid are they to leave her unprotected!
“Ah don’t worry, my magic does more than repel Spirits,” the Dreamer assured. And sure enough the creature ignores Cara as if she is invisible.
“You’re a genius,” the Snow Hare said. He almost knocks the Dreamer when he pats him on the back. But when the monster fails to spot the sleeping Cara, it sniffs the air and picks up the hidden Watchers
“Yikes,” The Sparkler shrieked when the creature pushes aside the chest, revealing the Watchers hunkering behind. They managed to leap aside before its flashing claws have them.
“Well, you forgot to put protections on us,” the Snow Hare muttered to the Dreamer on his shoulders.
“We have a persistent enemy here. Usually they will flee when confused,” the Dreamer replied as the Sparkler shoots spells at the creature.
“This will hold you,” said the Sparkler when none of her spells worked. This time a cloud of smoke puffs from the end of her wand. It spreads across the room and produces multiple copies of the Watchers. Now there are many Gilded Bears, Sparklers, Dreamers and Snow Hare running in all directions. Instead of being confused, the monster turns its head around and relies on its keen sense of smell to sniff its way towards the real Watchers.
“Got any great ideas,” the Gilded Bear mouthed after evading the creature’s tail.
“Temporary defensive spells won’t work, we have to put the creature to sleep,” cried the Snow Hare.
“But how,” whispered the Dreamer as they watch the monster deflect the Gilded Bear’s magic.
As an answer, the Snow Hare conjures a large free--floating mallet. Upon his command, the mallet drifted towards the creature to pound it on the head. The quick and nimble creature sidesteps and the irritated Bear sees his chance.
“My turn,” said the Gilded Bear before conjuring a large chain. The distracted creature never sees it coming. The chain snakes its way to the creature and binds it. With the creature unable to move, the mallet lunges and delivers a painful blow.
The monster collapses seemingly unconscious.
“Wow it almost got us,” said the Dreamer while staring at the limp form of the creature.
And the monster breaks free from the chain, much to their horror. This time the mighty blow of the magical mallet is not working. Somehow its skull is enduring each concussion.
“We have no choice but to call him,” the Gilded Bear suggested as they flee from the rampaging beast.
“The White Wings Snow Hare, goodness, do fix that memory,” the Gilded Bear replied. The monster closes in and they narrowly miss a swipe.
“But let’s distract the beast first,” the Sparkler suggested. She lashes her wand and something blinding flashes on its tip. The glare temporarily blinds the creature, and the Watchers take this chance to escape to safety.
“Let’s do it,” said the Gilded Bear. He waves a paw, and a pendant appears. The pendant has a strange shape, like a tiny silver bird.
“Lead the way Gilded Bear, you know the spell more than any of us do,” said the Dreamer then.
“And hurry up, he is coming,” the Sparkler added, for the monster is starting to pull itself together.
“I need everyone’s help, focus your magic on the pendant,” the Gilded Bear said. They group around the pendant to start the summoning rites. The monster blink at them as its vision recovers from the glare.
“Come to me sacred guardian of the night, let your spirit shine upon us,” the Gilded Bear said. The monster charges at them, but a strange blue light coming from the pendant stops it on its tracks. The blue light spirals into a glowing whirl and something ghostly forms in its eye. Slowly the ghostly apparition turns into a solid form of a large bird with features of an eagle.
The monster backs away. The bird spreads its wings and the whiteness of its feathers made it seems to glow in the darkness of the room. Its talons glisten like daggers and the sickle beak clicks menacingly.
“White Wings, the Guardian of the Night, send the creature back to the darkness he came from,” the Dreamer said. The White Wings soars above the creature, the cruel talons on the ready to grasp. The creature backs away to evade the flashing talons and attempts to get airborne. It catches the White Wings’ glare, and it suddenly loses strength. There is something about the way the White Wings stared. Something powerful seems to be emanating from its amber eyes.
“Go get it!” the Sparkler cheered. With eyes close, the monster attempts to fight off the White Wings. To make itself more intimidating, it spreads its wings and growls. The White Wings is undeterred. It lets go a fearsome screech and goes for the creature’s head. The monster sidesteps and counters with its claws. It misses and gouges a fistful of Cara’s bedroom wall. The White Wings then soars higher to get a clear shot of its back. Aware that its opponent is targeting a vulnerable spot, the creature rears up to fight back. Even without its sight, it could still sense where the White Wings is hovering. A brief struggle then ensues as the two combatants give everything they have. Finally the White Wings manage to secure the struggling creatures in the grips of its talons. It then emits an ominous shriek, and a swirling portal opens on the floor. With one talon, the White Wings flings the struggling monster into the portal. Slowly the portal closes, trapping the monster inside.
“You did it,” the Watchers cheered in unison.
The White Wings does a victory lap around Cara’s room. It makes a flyover above the Watchers and disappears into a cloud of sparkles.
“That was some fight,” said the Sparkler.
“The thing is Cara is safe.”
“You bet. The troubles are worth it Snow Hare,” the Gilded Bear replied.
The fight leaves behind a bit of a mess. Cara’s toy chest is upturned, her books litter the floor and there is a dent on her wall. With magic, the Watchers restore her room into its former state.
“What time is it,” the Dreamer asked as they proceed to Cara’s study table, their favourite hangout. The Snow Hare pulls out a tiny hourglass with tiny numbers etched on the bulb.
“It’s way past midnight. It will be daybreak soon,” he said after examining the hourglass.
“Want to sing a song everyone,” the Gilded Bear suggested.
“Sorry but we’re not in the mood right now,” the Dreamer replied.
They spend the rest of the night chatting and laughing at each other’s joke, and not long after the darkness breaks. The rising of the fresh morning sun signals the arrival of a new day.
“Not now,” Cara muttered as the alarm clock stubbornly rings, “not now, just a few more minutes.”
She just had a wonderful dream. She is flying on the back of a great white bird in a world she discovered behind her closet.
“Cara, time for breakfast,” her mother called from downstairs.
Cara yawns and sits up. She absentmindedly scans her room, her usual habit after waking up. There are no traces of the Watchers here. They are gone into their own worlds as soon as the sun rises.
Except for the Gilded Bear who remains next to her in her bed.
“Coming Mom,” Cara replied. And before leaving her room, Cara gives the now non responsive Bear a kiss. It’s funny, but she has this feeling that this stuff animal is protecting her as she sleeps in the night.