Richard has managed to escape the routine of his life and engage in a fully-present moment with his wife Julie. A simple stroll down the shopping promenade gives him the chance to engage in precious time with his wife. However, the presence of an electrical storm turns the early day into a disaster for Richard. Suddenly he is faced with a shocking leap into a position where someone’s life has been taken by his hands and an Observer suddenly holds Richard’s fate in his hands. Will he escape the impending persecution and re-unite with Julie?
Sometimes you just get a spark of inspiration that launches something off in your head as a writer, and you have to go for it. This is one of the enjoyable things about writing because goodness knows there are enough times when you have to go through that frustrating process of digging around in your head for an idea. Anyway, The Observer was sparked by an idea from a friend, author Mark Taylor, who relayed a story about being out on the street and wondering about being a watcher and being watched.
So this is where The Observer came from, and I wanted to try something a little different with it. The Observer is such an important characterin the story, but still, he is barely in it. He plays two sides in support of and against Richard through the story too, as Richard’s circumstances twists and turns, so he is pretty complex. The Observer is just there in the background, judging him, but in turning around
Without him there, though, arguments over the scene would have been evenly balanced. But The character doesn’t do anything, say anything and it is all about the unfortunate circumstances that Richard finds himself in.
So I just tried to make The Observer a background character, barely noticeable but remain crucial to the plot at the end. The plot, well that is about Richard who wants to escape for a lazy morning’s stroll with his wife Julie. But then, through some cool special effect-type stuff, he ends up in the body of a construction worker, just at the very moment that his new host body is engaged in the act of killing someone. It remains deliberately uncertain as to whether this was an accident or not and that leads Richard to question his own innocence. So the short story looks at that, how he panics and rationalizes something he didn’t really do and how he would potentially cope with the consequences and in the losing of the love of his life, Julie.
Things do turn around for Richard in the end, but nothing quite gets back to normal for him, though. I didn’t want to just have everything resolve itself and while there is one of those predictably unpredictable twists at the end, I felt the story needed it. I wanted to raise a sense of relief and then shatter it all at the last minute, which hopefully I achieved. I like taking stories and ideas to a darker place and Mark’s original idea was lighter than this. However, I felt I could put it into my style. So there it is.