The Witness


The Witness

Edgar Million




The Witness

Published by Edgar Million at Shakespir

Copyright 2017 Edgar Million



The Witness (a new Sum inspired story).


After you die you begin a new life as a Witness.

Your new existence begins as you find yourself standing in the corner of a bland room which smells of cleaning fluids and coffee. It begins as you watch your own mother, younger than you ever remember her being, smaller that she could ever have been, in the throes of agony as she gives birth to you.

Your father, pale and anxious, holds your mother’s hand with a limp, weak grip, looking fearful, cornered; lacking the purposefulness which you’d forever associated with him.

At last the tiny version of you enters the world, wrinkled and bloody and howling with a primal rage which only infants can achieve convincingly.

Your mother and father look so happy in this moment, more in peace and joy than you can recall and you share their happiness. You can’t recall a time you ever felt so loved.

The days of your life begin and before you know it the infant version of yourself has grown into a robust child, fond of climbing trees and running. Unlike the adult you will grow into, he loves nothing more to be outside. Chasing a football, building a den, exploring imaginary worlds.

It’s fascinating to see this, because much of this experience and memory were long overwritten in your memory, in hard climb into adolescence.

Only a few good memories linger from this period, but now played over, you see there was so much happiness in this time.

You and mum doing a jigsaw together; the tender touch of her hand as she helps you slot a stubborn piece of a tiger’s eye into place.

You and your dad squashed onto the settee on a Saturday night, watching some movie, a warm easy affection which belied the cold, driven man who you recall.

You perch on the arm of the chair, warming yourself on the scene, a slight ache in your stomach, that you can’t do this yourself; squeeze in for one last hug with a parent you’d forgotten had ever had any tenderness in him.

At the start of this journey you thought that maybe at some point you would fast forward onto the key points of your life, but the pace never changes, life is slow and sometimes beautiful, and much as you wondered during your time on earth, you wonder what is the point of it all.

Child-you is nearly a man now and you watch as he begins a series of adult firsts: love, drink, sex. You cringe a little to listen to the naive but confident young man you’ve become, filled with the brash, noisy inexperience of youth, overflowing with the certainty you are bound for glory. But part of you envies him, untarnished as he is by the seasons and the lessons of your life.

You stay with him as he grows, weep with him as he loses his first love to an older boy with his own car and facial hair, then watch apprehensively as he meets the woman he will eventually eventually marry. You are fully aware that this marriage is going to end badly, yet at the same time you find yourself falling a little bit in love again, with the beautiful young woman who in life you’d grown first distant from, then to despise.

You share the moment again when your twin sons were born, then watch, a bitter tang rising in the years which follow, as you wait for her to change, to grow hard and sharp and break his heart. Break your heart.

Yet as you watch, you realise, more clearly than in life, that there was shared blame on each part. From outside, you see the seeds being planted which would lead her away and into the arms of her best friend.

You curse him for his disregard for her, will him to be more tender, more alert, but he is condemned to repeat your mistakes. You are condemned to witness them.

The years pass.

You watch as other loves come and go, but know that you will never again let another woman inside, not completely, so most of the time his only company, for most of the rest of his life, is you. Yet he has no idea you are there.

The infant you has become an old man now, infrequently visited by his children. Visited even less often by his grandchildren, who look upon him as if already a dead thing.

You watch him, alone in a cold room. Waiting for a death which cannot come too soon, and recall the internal dialogues, the bitter, silent wail at your perceived abandonment.

But he is passing now and as he eventually leaves the world you wonder what happens next.

It was enough to live this life once, you want to go now. You’re very tired.

As you watch the final breath issue from ancient, paper-thin lips, you find yourself being addressed, directly, for the first time in over eighty years.

A small grey man with a clipboard has appeared and is talking to you, “okay, now you’ve had the chance to view it, did you make the most of that life? Are you satisfied it was enough?”

You think, of all the missed opportunities, and answer, “no, not really. But what difference does it make?”

“Okay,” he nods, in apparent agreement, “would you like to make another attempt? With the wisdom you have now gained, or move on, to the next place.”

You consider this. Move on, or try again. Could you put things right? Be kinder, be happier? You look at the man, his eyes downcast on his notes.

You give him your decision.





Thanks to the inspiration of David Eagleman’s wonderful book Sum, which I highly recommend.


This is the second story which I have written with this, structure, the other being Possibility, in which a man dies and finds himself in a world populated by all the choices he’s ever made.


That story is available for free, here: https://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/470121


And also as a podcast of it on the Edgar Million Podcast (search on i-Tunes, Pod Addict etc) or there’s a direct link below:




Finally, special thanks to Mike Lewinski for making the cover image of star trails available under a CC license:






Thanks for taking the time to read my story and I hope you’ll forgive the odd typo or grammatical error that slips through. Feel free to tell me about any you find via @edgarmillion . As much as I try to proofread everything, I know I miss errors here and there, and I’ll remove them if you tell me.

If you follow me at @edgarmillion you’ll get announcements of any upcoming stories or other news, along with occasional complaints about football and The Donald.

Finally, if you liked this story, I’d love a review if you have a mo.

Also, if you like listening rather than reading I publish lots of my stories as podcasts/audiobooks for free here: https://soundcloud.com/edgar-million and on iTunes.


Other works

The Outsider

On a normal day, a bizarre tragic thing happened.

The world cried out for answers, but the one man who might have had them had none to give.

“The news said it was a plot by Al Qaida or Islamic State. Twitter and that shouty American bloke on YouTube said it was the Jews and the New World Order coming to enslave us. David Icke probably said it was lizard people, but I’m only guessing, just because that’s the sort of thing he says. 

When people find out I was there, on that terrible day they ask me who or what I thought it was, certain my presence must have endowed me with some greater wisdom. Then when I can tell them no more than their Facebook they switch to suspicion. If I don’t know then I must have been a part of it. The inside man.”


Franny and June

‘Franny and June’ is ‘Freaky Friday’ meets ‘We need to talk about Kevin’.

Remember all those body-swap movies in the eighties? Like Big and Vice Versa and ask yourself, what might happen if the doting parent misses their youth a little too much.

Who wouldn’t like another chance to do all again, to get it right this time? To be young and pain free, careless and bright? Of course, we know from Tom Hanks experience that being young comes with its own challenges, right?



A Button to Save The World

The end of the world is nigh. Cities lay in ruins, almost everyone unemployed and global warming threatens to overwhelm us.

What if you could press a button to make everything alright?

The time had to come soon though; they had to stop it hitting the tipping point. The point when global temperatures would rise two degrees above the pre-industrial revolution levels, when the Greenland ice sheets would melt and we would begin to burn. Ever more chaotic weather patterns, famine, war and quite possibly end of the humanity. The earth would live on but humanity, our civilisation and history would die screaming.

What if you could press a button to stop it all? Reverse and even eliminate global warning? Would you?

Of course you would, but as Patrick K. Useful discovers, saving the Earth has a cost.

One man has a Button, which when pressed will save the world.

Patrick K Useful wants to stop him.



The Witness

The Witness When you die you return, a mute, invisible presence who watches all your days repeat. All your sorrows, all your joys. You watch your entire life replay as a mute observer. A witness.

  • ISBN: 9781370881871
  • Author: Edgar Million
  • Published: 2017-03-18 14:20:10
  • Words: 1598
The Witness The Witness