Uppoint Darkn skimmed a stone across the surface of the lake counting the skips, a mind blowing twenty three. He hopped about and cheered himself. Then he picked up another one and with a flick of his wrist endeavoured to repeat his success. Three skips and it plopped and sank. He flung himself down on his back and stared at the moon. He simply couldn’t go on like this. He had lost all track of time and his attempt to dissolve himself in water had proved he couldn’t do it. He wondered how long had passed while he’d been trying, could be hours, could be years for all he knew. He sat up and transferred his gaze to the reflection of the moon in the water. He loved this place. Of all the places on earth he could go, and there were undoubtedly a vast number that were more spectacular and beautiful, Lake Buttermere spoke to his soul. It wasn’t huge, awe inspiring or stunning but it was peaceful and sombre and melancholy especially on a clear winter night with a full moon when there were no people or cars to disturb its tranquillity. It was as it had been since the dawn of time; well ever since he’d been coming here.
He stood up and stripping off his clothes again plunged back into the icy water swimming with concentrated intent; his body cleaving a path through the reflected moonlight sending it dancing and skittering across the surface. He swam until his lungs heaved and his arms and legs burnt with effort then waded out and dried himself off. He put his clothes back on and went and sat on a rock. He couldn’t spend his entire time staring morosely at water but on the other hand he hadn’t got anything better to do. It is one thing having appointed yourself the grand purpose of protecting Earth from the ravages of your own species; quite another to realise that your grand purpose has landed you with untold years of complete mind numbing boredom and loneliness. There’d been plenty to do at first and he’d been buoyed up by a sense of righteousness; or at least of sticking it to his family, but once he’d got it all sorted it had just become a matter of guard duty in a very quiet outpost where he was the only inhabitant. He did what he always did when he got into this state which was to go and find someone or something that needed help. At least someone else’s misery took his mind off his own problems for a bit. These days he stuck to simple things like finding lost pets or sitting in bars listening to people explaining the disaster of their life. He lifted his right hand and considered the ornate knotwork on the wide bangle circling his wrist. After a moment’s thought he touched the owl’s head and drifted up and away from Buttermere to find a problem that needed sorting.