Somewhere in the distance a siren sounded, wailing into the night like an agitated animal, impatient and frenzied. It distracted me from my attempt to rest where I still sat slung back against the armchair as creeping shadows played about me with the darkening of the hour.
I resettled with head resting at an angle, exploring the bitter aftertaste in my mouth with probing tongue as mind drifted aimlessly, almost back to desired nothingness until the sound pierced into the stillness again. It was closer this time, louder and soon separated with an echo as another emergency truck perhaps came flying down the streets after the first. Somewhere down in the evening urban chaos was fate spinning some disaster or another.
Fidgeting irritably in my seat I eventually pushed up to stand, striding to where the window lay. It was a floor to ceiling affair, bathing the room in an odd light reflected from those of the city beyond. Being so high in the block I was told rewarded magnificent views and I could not disagree even if my view was entirely different from that of others. I leaned against it, palm pressed and fingers splayed, caught in the allure of what could only be described as a theatre of light panning the horizon below.
The blanket of buildings below was lost to me as was every yard of tarmac and every curbed street corner. I saw neither flickering street lights nor zooming taxi cabs. No ten foot billboards with their plastered smiles and catchy slogans or any sparkly shop-fronts with their festive offerings and enticing displays. Instead of concrete high rises, winding traffic and gaping subway holes waiting to swallow up or spit out teeming commuter crowds, I saw only life. And oh how beautiful it was, enough to have me forget about all I was blind to. Touching my head against the cool glass I drank in the view.
Shiloh had asked me once what I saw when I looked down, curious as to how my special gifts translated such a spectrum of energy all at once. It had been hard to explain and I’d mused on it a while before speaking. It was like looking at a spark, I’d eventually explained, a spark of life erupting from a void of darkness where the emptiness suddenly became consumed by everything it wasn’t. Vivacious and vibrant as an array of different colours and experimental tones and hues of each and every one splashed theatrically across a stagnant bleak backdrop. From the fiery smouldering pinpoints of the frustrated and wrathful depicted in bright crimsons and dark tainted mauves to the fresher yet clinical mind frames of the cool peppermints and frosty corn blues, each soul emanated energy like an artist’s brush stoke upon canvas of darkest night.
Yet what made it truly a breath stealing sight was not just the burst of colours but their fluidity. The motion for the scene was never static, never still, never repetitive but always moving, always changing as the will and mood of every single soul below entwined and parted, meandered and morphed like a spectrum of animated snakes writhing in a tank, each as individual as a fingerprint. It could be at times hypnotic and though she’d nodded softly to my reply, an agreeable awed sigh lilting off her lips, I’d known Shiloh could never really have a true perception of what I witnessed every time I gazed down in my own way. To her it was just an inspired notion of an image; to me it was far, far more.
For me it was not in the initial wonder of such an alternative insight but rather in the gradual noticed detail, the honing in upon one element of that overall spark, reading the story there to be told and knowing I would never look down upon the same view twice. A ‘Window to Souls’ she’d aptly named the glass I gazed through now. Simple yet true.
Sometimes it made me lonely, feeling I was apart from them all whilst standing at the glass, able to observe and to judge yet without an audience to witness and even with Shiloh’s occasional interest never anyone to validate what I saw or appreciate it as I did. When I did appreciate it of course. Other times it made me frantic, eager to feed, eager to steal and convert what I saw, so much going to waste every minute with them all so oblivious. Yet other times it drew me in, captivated as I watched the mood and sway of a city seep and swirl, projecting the mood of a populace when I focused upon the view as a whole.
Still the sirens sounded, screeching in crescendo as what must be a major incident brought them chasing the pavements one after the other. Trailing my gaze back and forth I found I could pinpoint where likely tragedy had struck for out to the east side there swarmed fury of anger and panic-swollen richness to the scene, every moment its depth intensifying as news broke and crowds gathered, emotions stacking and running high. I witnessed such often and would make note to have Shiloh read from the early morning newspaper upon her return to satisfy my curiosity for the truth of the matter.
A thought occurred to me as I squinted behind my blindfold, colours merging and blurring before glittering back into focus. What price would the mayor and his council pay to see what I saw? What insight I could give those that strove to understand? What sage perception I could offer? Pulling my chair closer to the glass I slowly sat back down, my arms extended along the arms as fingertips drummed accompanying beat to my contemplation. There were surveys, polls, statistics and speculation upon the mood of a populace yet how much worth was the word of one who could see the Truth laid out before him like a snapshot? And what if that one was gifted in more ways than one? “Interesting…” I murmured to myself and settled in to spend the witching hours observing the city like a god from his throne.
© Rachel Ellen, 2012