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Burn the witch

by Alexei Sorokin 4 months ago in Short Story · updated 4 months ago
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Burn the owl

Oh, memories.

By freak coincidence, it landed on the grill on our patio, its feathers soaking in the grease from last night’s barbeque. Strangely, I was bothered not by the fact of having killed the bird, but by how the pieces of burned onion and fat from last night’s lamb shashlik would defile its remains.

It was my responsibility to clean the surface of the grill, but last night the Jacobs left too late and in the morning I was in no rush to perform my chores. When I stepped on the patio, I would’ve probably remembered the need to do the cleaning, but then I saw it, this evil-looking barn owl, staring at me from the middle of the tree, unfazed by my appearance. There was nothing cute about it. Its eyes were pitch black. They emanated death. Yes, death. I was disgusted and afraid. I guess it was similar to how some people fear spiders or snakes. My sister’s tennis racquet was conveniently placed at my feet, and there was a ball on it. I knew what to do. For a second I hesitated. Should I do a forehead swing or a serve-like motion? I went for the latter, a more difficult move.

The ball smashed the owl’s head perfectly; the body fell through the air without any signs of life. Now it was on the grill.

No, not dead. Its body was almost lifeless. Almost. As I got close to the grill, I could still see it expanding just a little from irregular breathing.

I felt no remorse, no pity. The owl’s death eyes had no pity. Why would I? She was like a witch. Or was it a male? Who cares? It needed to be dead. I opened the gas tank and turned the handle to light the fire. I closed the lid of the grill.

Burn! Burn! Burn the witch!

I don’t remember what happened later that day. I have vague memories of my parents questioning me in my room. I must’ve lied to them, saying I had no role in the incident.

That day was the start of something great. Monumental. Slaying a living creature was no longer a taboo. It was a thrill. I had discovered my mission in life. That darkness in the owl’s eyes, that look of evil and complacency - I saw it in my every victim, all sixty-two of them like I saw it in that stupid bird. And why am I calling them victims? The trial has been trying to break me. But they won’t. My “victims” had evil souls. They deserved to die.

Now, time to go. Soon I’ll be executed. They call it justice. Haha.

I feel no fear. Only peace. I will rest in peace.

***

Where am I? On a tree?!

It feels like I’d been somewhere else just recently.

I remember… it’s coming back to me. Strapped to my deathbed, in the execution room.

God almighty, I am an owl now!

And who’s that boy staring at me, his eyes full of hatred?

He will attempt to injure me but I feel paralyzed. From the confusion.

That boy is me.

This is a vicious infinite loop.

Damn it! This world, this universe. Be damned, you stupid evil child.

If you dare swing that racquet, I’ll eat your soul. I’ll possess you.

Now, darkness. But I’m alive. There is unbearable pain in my little body. He got me, the little demon.

No! Don’t close that lid! Don’t start the fire!

Oh, hell! Hell! I’m burning in hell.

***

Where am I now?

The fire’s gone, the pain is less but my consciousness is fragile. Where am I?

The surroundings are unfamiliar but somehow I can guess where I am.

A morgue?

No, a crematory.

And my body? What it is? Whose is it?

It’s a human body. I’m no longer an owl. I’m lifeless, but I can still see. The white ceiling above me. The people moving around me. They are wearing dark gowns.

The pain is back. It’s excruciating. It’s from the cuts in my body. Cuts? What cuts? I am trying to remember. I am starting to recall. They are from the horrific attack by a terrible monster, a maniac. I am his victim. Or am I?

No! I am the monster, the killer. But how am I placed in my victim’s body?

They are starting to wheel my gurney…

No, please no!

I am burning again.

I will burn forever.

The infinite loop of hell.

Short Story

About the author

Alexei Sorokin

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