The Witness

Leslie

Super Fantastisch
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Location
Rhode Island, USA
#1
Title: The Witness
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, JJ owns Alias and all the characters therein. :-P
Song: “What’s The Matter Here?” by 10,000 Maniacs
Synopsis: There was once a boy…
A/N: Heard the song and I couldn’t resist. Young!Sark fascinates me.
A/N2: Thanks sooo much to Heather, my lovely beta! ^_^

That young boy without a name
Anywhere I'd know his face
In this city the kid's my favorite
I've seen him
I see him every day


He was a towheaded, scrawny child. Not much to look at, hardly noticeable really, but the island was his kingdom, and he was its king. He used to run along the cliffs at midmorning, his skinny legs flying across the sand and rocks, taking his little body with them. The chilly Anglo-French wind whipped around him, but he was always bare-chested, wearing knickers ripped short at the hem and tattered sneakers. The few who noticed the boy speculated that he was homeless, maybe the son of an unwed mother forced into the streets by nervous, unforgiving parents.

But I knew better.

Seen him run outside
Looking for a place to hide
From his father
The kid half naked
And said to myself
"O, what's the matter here?"


At breakfast I would peek out the window and there he would be. His hair dirty, bony elbows on the dirt yard supporting sunken cheeks that should have been rosy. The sign over the doghouse entrance read “Rufus,” so that’s what I called him. He had spent the night there, the dog long ago banished, but the small house still apparently useful. He rubbed his eyes.

Little Rufus. He couldn’t have been more than ten.

I'm tired of the excuses
Everybody uses
He's their kid
I stay out of it
But who gave you the right
To do this?


I would see them, too, sometimes. The man, anyway. He was middle-aged, thin, but healthy-looking. A contrast to the boy. He wore pinstriped shirts and dress pants. A businessman. Wealthy. One had to be to live on one of the Channel Islands. He was graying a bit at the ears, but still had a full head of straw-colored hair to match the boy’s. I would watch him come home from work – strong, tense shoulders; set chin; dark, brooding eyes. But he seemed amiable enough.

I never actually saw him speak. He was always hidden away deep inside the house when the sounds came.

We live on Morgan Street
Just ten feet between
And his mother
I never see her
But her screams and cussing
I hear them every day
Threats like
"If you don't mind,
I will beat on your behind
Slap you, slap you silly."
Made me say
"O, what's the matter here?"


Like I said, I never really saw the mother. Once I thought maybe I had – a dark head behind a pale blue curtain – but it was more of a shadow that I saw than a person. Her voice was not shrill; it was not painful to the ears; it was calm, collected, and reasonable. But the words… the words were different. They didn’t match the tone.

It was a shock, like a punch in the face, that first day I heard the shouting. I jumped to the door. It squeaked open and there he was, wandering blindly down the back steps. The house faced the ocean; its back turned almost like it was consciously ignoring something terrible happening within it. He wasn’t crying, or sad at all. He was demure; had a kind of half-smile on his face. I remember his lip was a little crooked; he always looked like he was hiding a juicy secret. I thought maybe the vicious words had been directed at someone else.

But then I noticed the bruises.

I'm tired of the excuses
Everybody uses
He's your kid
Do as you see fit
But get this through
That I don't approve
Of what you did
To your own flesh and blood


The man would go out every morning and come home in the afternoon. Exchanged pleasantries with the neighbors. Me included. Sometimes he would play in the yard with the boy, swinging him high in the air and catching him; playing ball, even, sometimes. Though not enough times to break a window. Those windows were shattered by something else, some other way.

He would smile, and the boy would too. He had every appearance of being a nice guy, a kind man, and a good father. Except when he got too loud, and we could all hear that any assumptions about his virtue were untrue.

"If you don't sit
In your chair straight
I'll take this belt
From around my waist
And don't you think
That I won't use it!"


He had a low, husky voice and a thick Slavic accent. Rumors had it that his wealth was the result of an inheritance, that he was a descendant of Russian royalty. We would all laugh at those tales, but who really knew?

The friendly face we were used to seeing – I tried to imagine it turned dark, menacing, thick eyebrows furrowed, mouth a cavernous hole in the already-wrinkling head.

Or did he smile as he said it?

Answer me and take your time
What could be the awful crime
He could do at such young an age?


The pelican incident. He was whizzing across the beach again, regardless of the sharp jutting rocks, and he just kept going. He became a dot on the horizon. The sky began to turn orange, and the dot began to grow bigger and bigger again. He was a pale stick figure against the dark gray of the cliffs when he stopped. His chin was in the air; he was eyeing one spot in the sky. Then there was a loud BANG and immediately, he scrambled determinedly down the cliffs and out of sight. There was no one else on the beach, but that sudden sound frightened me and I followed him, wondering what it had been. That’s when I saw the gun in his hand. A gun! This little boy. And it wasn’t an old historical weapon like the ones you’d see in display cases of rich houses. Not something you would expect a small boy to come across here. It looked like a modern policeman’s gun – shiny and black, new even, maybe.

I looked back up at his face and he was staring at the ground. I followed his intent gaze and there was the bloody body of a pelican, black and white, and red. It was such a horrific scene; I wanted to cover my eyes. The boy so earthy, innocent, pure, and the pelican, dark and sinister, vivid crimson against the backdrop of the ocean and the reddening sky.

He had killed it. Where he got that gun, I don’t know for sure. Maybe his father.

If I'm the only witness
To your madness
Offer me some words to balance
Out what I see and what I hear
All these cold and rude
Things that you do
I suppose you do
Because he belongs to you


Was he bad? He was strange. As his pants grew too short, so did his temper. His eyes were no longer vacant, no longer subdued. They were black with hate. But I never saw him do anything else to hurt anyone or anything. He was still just as quiet, as removed as before. But I could see there was a difference in his demeanor by the way he walked out the back door of the house, down the road; the way he drove away at night, so fast.

Then she died. They said suicide. There was gossip but no facts. Everything was kept very hushed. The weekend before she died – they found her on a Monday – I remember hearing something like the sound I had heard that night on the beach with the boy. But who was I to judge?

I closed the windows tight that night.

And instead of love
And the feel of warmth
You've given him these cuts
And sores won't heal
With time or age


There was a man on the news yesterday that looked just like him. Only older, of course. Tall. Still skinny, but not like I used to find him. More muscled now, like his father had been. Still defiant, impassive, like the world didn’t affect him at all. Walking in a straight line, as if in an invisible corridor, closed off from everyone else, strong and solitary. He had always been a lonely boy. Though not by choice. I am sure, not by choice at all.

You say that’s him, that’s Rufus. Maybe it is. I don’t know what he’s done, but I can tell you I saw the reason why with my own two eyes.

I want to say
"What's the matter here?"
But I don't dare say
"What's the matter here?"
But I don't dare say


I never said anything. Never said I saw what I saw. You come here now and you ask me and so I tell you. You say, “This man has done terrible things; unmentionable things… And he lived here. Here on the Isle of Sark, and he lived across from you. Tell us what he was like.” So I did. Now you know.

God save me for what I did. God save me for my silence.
 

amy lynn

The Polish Pirate
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
#2
Okay, time for my glowing review.

I never said anything. Never said I saw what I saw. You come here now and you ask me and so I tell you. You say, “This man has done terrible things; unmentionable things… And he lived here. Here on the Isle of Sark, and he lived across from you. Tell us what he was like.” So I did. Now you know.

God save me for what I did. God save me for my silence.
Ripped my gut out -- this line. I love the point of view of this story, the view of a bystander.

He was a towheaded, scrawny child. Not much to look at, hardly noticeable really, but the island was his kingdom, and he was its king. He used to run along the cliffs at midmorning, his skinny legs flying across the sand and rocks, taking his little body with them.
I could actually see a young!Sark like this...kind of a lonely boy, not sure of himself around others...but king in his own world.

Was he bad? He was strange. As his pants grew too short, so did his temper. His eyes were no longer vacant, no longer subdued. They were black with hate.
The transformation you write is quite realistic. Living in such a situation could make one bitter and angry. Its like it sucks all the good out of him.

I don’t know what he’s done, but I can tell you I saw the reason why with my own two eyes.
You're killing me, Les. But in a good way. A very good way.

I just have to say, I adore the style in which you write everything. This was no exception. Simply incredible. (y) (y)
 

Galicdreamer

These Words, From My Heart...
#4
Oh yea Les...What can I tell you...I loved the story when I first read it and I love it even more now. :woot: I'm so happy to see it posted!! Okay here is my favorite part.

I never said anything. Never said I saw what I saw. You come here now and you ask me and so I tell you. You say, “This man has done terrible things; unmentionable things… And he lived here. Here on the Isle of Sark, and he lived across from you. Tell us what he was like.” So I did. Now you know.

God save me for what I did. God save me for my silence.
That just moves me. I completly expressing the feeling that the author is feeling. Regret is a powerful thing...I feel that.

I love the song...seeing as I am a huge fan of 10,000 Maniacs, so excellent choice.

YA Les!!!!!! :) :cheers: :clap:
 

hotpot

The Bubbly
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
#5
Les, this was such a nice read.

The structure of this whole story is perfectly laid out and so original. I have yet to read another story where there is a silent witness to Sark's upbringing and you've set the bar high for anyone that attempts to do something similar. :)

The way you wrote his mother and father, his mother being a shadow and his father appearing to be ideal at times, is a excellent portrayl of how families truly can be in that abusive environment. The situations are not always complete hell 24/7, but there are rare glimpses of semi-normality, which you illustrated beautifully, that can make it even harder on the child.

I think I am in love with your phrasing. :shamefullyembarrased: It's not contrived, but very natural, which makes it all the more beautiful. The silent witness who saw it all, but did nothing ... such a sad but true reality. The last line illustrates that perfectly.

Excellent stuff, Les. (y)
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2003
Location
Canada
#6
Wow. this piece was very well done. I found myself completely drawn into the world that the neighbor saw.

**********
It was a shock, like a punch in the face, that first day I heard the shouting. I jumped to the door. It squeaked open and there he was, wandering blindly down the back steps. The house faced the ocean; its back turned almost like it was consciously ignoring something terrible happening within it. He wasn’t crying, or sad at all. He was demure; had a kind of half-smile on his face. I remember his lip was a little crooked; he always looked like he was hiding a juicy secret. I thought maybe the vicious words had been directed at someone else.

But then I noticed the bruises.
************

That was my favorite part of the fic and the last line of course lol

I loved the layout of this and it was so unique, never read anything like it.
Great Job!
Erin
 

Guest7119

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Sep 18, 2003
#7
Leslie!!!!!!

you talented freak!!!! it's not healthy to be this good you know!!!!! :D

amazing. poor little sarkie. aww! abused by his father. his mother was a meek woman who ended up dead. have you ever read 'facing the light'? this reminded me a bit of it. the story isn't really similar though... hehe. i'm a little odd.

child!sark was so believable. totally self-involved, but not in a vain way but an out-of-it way. i loved how he changed. from innocent to deadly to a hating little boy who would grow up to become as callous as his father.

beautiful. i might write a longer review later. i'll see. i loved the last line too.

amisha
xxx
 
#8
ooh i love it.

He was a towheaded, scrawny child. Not much to look at, hardly noticeable really, but the island was his kingdom, and he was its king. He used to run along the cliffs at midmorning, his skinny legs flying across the sand and rocks, taking his little body with them. The chilly Anglo-French wind whipped around him, but he was always bare-chested, wearing knickers ripped short at the hem and tattered sneakers
i can see him. alone, in solitude. scrawny with no friends. but to himself, king of the island.

Little Rufus. He couldn’t have been more than ten
rufus? aww...

He wasn’t crying, or sad at all. He was demure; had a kind of half-smile on his face. I remember his lip was a little crooked; he always looked like he was hiding a juicy secret. I thought maybe the vicious words had been directed at someone else.

But then I noticed the bruises.
Or did he smile as he said it?
I closed the windows tight that night
ahh! it's just so dark. v. good.

Was he bad? He was strange. As his pants grew too short, so did his temper. His eyes were no longer vacant, no longer subdued. They were black with hate. But I never saw him do anything else to hurt anyone or anything. He was still just as quiet, as removed as before. But I could see there was a difference in his demeanor by the way he walked out the back door of the house, down the road; the way he drove away at night, so fast.
the change is so real. the words are raw and true.

God save me for what I did. God save me for my silence.
killer ending. gut-wrenching type thing. i love it

lurve this fic les! it's great. pm if there's more

m-c
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2009
#10
I'm not a huge Sark fan, but I have to say this story makes me more intrigued about him! I agree with what others have said in that this story is written awesomely, and the subject is not one that I myself have seen before, so it is brilliant in its rarity. Excellent story.
 
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