• In the very highest point of a tall round tower lived a man. His hair was white, his eyes were bluer then the bluest sea, his mouth was turned down in a permanent frown. He wore a large coat that had once been the colour of wine, now faded almost to grey, with countless pockets filled with trinkets and items, some that were priceless, some worth less then the dust on the ground. He did not think them worthless however. After all, he knew that to some, the dust on the ground could be worth more then all the gold or precious jewels in existence.

    His tower was high, high, high up in the sky, hidden by clouds. If there was a bottom to it, he did not know. He did not want to know. The floor was tiled with green and grey, the walls panels of glass between widely spaced iron bars, his roof was also made of glass, and curled up to a point on which birds liked to rest. There was a staircase leading down, but this he had no use for.

    In his tower, high up in the clouds, the man was not alone. He had the company of a thousand thick books, their pages empty but their stories just waiting to be told, and a hundred spyglasses and telescopes positioned all around the glass walls, some enormous, some tiny. The very smallest was made of gold with a silver chain. This he carried in the pocket closest to his heart. This was his favourite.

    Along with his books on their pedestals and his spyglasses, the old man also had the crows. They were his only living company, the only bird that dared peck against the glass windows and demand to be let inside. And he let them, sometimes he talked to them, sometimes he ate them, others he would curse at and chase away from his tower in a furious rage. You never could tell.

    This man, with the white hair and the piercing eyes, was the witness.

    For a time longer then anyone knew he had sat in his tower, looking out over the earth through his spyglasses and through his windows, sitting in his rickety chair with the wheels that he rolled around recklessly in to reach each new position. He watched, he witnessed, and the stories he saw would be recorded in his books by some invisible hand.

    He did not know how long he had sat up there, watching the world below. It was possible he had witnessed the beginning of time itself, and sometimes he wondered if he had. It was such a long time ago though, and his memory was not limitless as his life seemed to be. Sometimes though, in his dreams, he could see miraculous things, colours that had not been discovered, things that one cannot dream of without having seen them before with ones own eyes. If this was heaven or some other thing, he did not know, and did not dwell on.

    He had seen many things though, he had seen time shape the world into a sphere, seen deeds of great bravery and foolishness, of scandal and sensibility. He only saw the truth, and he only recorded what he saw. Heroes whose deeds were a sham, he witnessed, villains whose actions were not without explicable reason, he witnessed.

    Back in the days of old, when his presence was known and his legend whispered by many, some wondered just who he was witnessing for. Some believed his recorded tales were presented to those who chose the path of life after death, a judgement. Others believed he was the recorder of lives so they would never be forgotten, even as time went on.

    But whispers become stories and stories become nothing more then a nose in the air and a knowing smile. After all, humans are too clever to believe such nonsense surely. It was amusing to be certain, and an intriguing story to tell the youngsters “You’d better eat all your leafy greens or the witness will see you, and then there will be trouble,” but surely such a tale could only be a myth.

    Unfortunately, it was not.

    As the witness sat and watched the world below him change, the deep furrow between his eyes slowly grew deeper, his frown slipping lower, him mood worse.
    A crow pecked on his window, wanting to be let inside.
    He rolled over and flung the glass open. A wash of water and freezing cold air rushed inside, fluttering the pages of his books and spinning his spyglasses on their stands.
    “BE OFF WITH YOU, YOU TRECHEROUS CRETURE!” he bellowed. The crow did not move, but sat in the windowsill, watching him carefully through beady black eyes.

    Almost as soon as it had arrived, the bad weather rolled away, and the grey skies were calm again.

    “Come in my friend,” the man motioned impatiently, as if his anger had never existed.
    He rolled away from the window as the crow hopped inside, perching on the top of a large telescope and ruffling his feathers importantly.

    The man rolled across the slippery tiled floor and came to a halt at a small silver telescope to the east of the tower. He peered inside, muttering to himself.

    He swivelled the looking glass around, looking here and there. The bird watched him.

    “Boring, boring, boring,” he muttered, swinging almost violently to the other side of his tower and peering through the largest lens.

    Behind him, an invisible hand started to write on the pages of a spread open green book.

    “Stop it you!” he swatted at the invisible hand and slammed the thick book shut. The Clouds gave a soft rumble. The bird tilted it’s head and looked at him.

    He rolled to the north side, and south side, the east again and the west, peering through different spyglasses and frowning as he went, sometimes looking so fleetingly, you’d wonder how he could see at all. But not one little detail escaped his piercing blue watch.

    “Ugh!” he threw up his hands in exasperation and rolled to the centre of the round room, glaring at his spyglasses as if they’d betrayed him. “Nothing! Nothing at all.”