The Owl Woman

Flash Fiction

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Journal Entry- July 24, 2011

I figured it out.

They keep saying Things will get better, You’re just having a tough time, You need to get out of the house, You need a break. The words of the wise. Those who are wise because they chime the same tired phrases women have tolerated from the moment we spoke against the grain.

Maybe there’s truth to it. Possibly. But a part of me fears that if I leave, I won’t return. And I won’t feel ashamed or torn apart by guilt as I should. Not instantly. Not in time to repair the damage my absence would cause.

So, I stay. And the darkness thickens. The curtain descending over my eyes never completely closes, as sternly as I will it to.

On nights when sleep seems burdensome, I sit and wait for the spirit who possesses me to show its face, reveal its purpose; or lie in a tub of water, boiling to the touch, my skin crawling with stings and pricks until the slightest bit of cool comes to ease; or wander the house checking windows and doors and corners for abnormalities, listening for the sweet breath of each dreaming child and streaking their pillows with stray tears.

I thought I was losing myself, losing my mind. And something— someone—had to be responsible.
This morning, when my eyes caught the slightest tint of light in the sky, I knew the notion of sleep was lost. I brewed a cup of tea (the latest blend prescribed) and settled into a damp wooden chair on the deck, steadying for the murky fog to settle.

My trance was instantly broken by the deep hoot of an owl echoing from the woods. An untimely sound for this creature of the night.

Then I saw her.

She loomed a few paces past the viny brush, standing deathly still against the mossy oak. Draped in a taupe cloak, her eyes veiled by the shadow of an oversized hood. A set of pale rose lips sat slightly parted above her ivory chin.

But the most curious of all was the owl call spawning methodically from her throat.

I rose from my chair entranced by her cry. Her slender frame stayed frozen; her delicate fingers clenched her thighs. Morning snow began to dance between us, each flake a chilly gift upon my face.

Who was this woman? What did she want? What did she need?

A shriek from the bedroom above drew my attention to the window. The baby, awake. When my eyes returned to the woods, the woman and the snow had vanished.

That’s when I knew, without a shred of doubt: this woman was the something I had been searching for. The key to my sanity. A light in the darkness that has been consuming me night and day.

I have to meet her.

Tue May 18 2021 04:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)