Cries Of The Barn Owl
A Dark, Romantic, Flash Fiction
He watched as smoke twirled upward from the glowing tip of his cigarette, twisting and turning against the silhouette of tall chestnuts that lined the back of his garden. He filled his lungs with the rich, heavy warmth of tobacco and exhaled a large cloud, swallowing up the spiralling streams as they danced toward the night sky.
It was cold out. Ice had already claimed the decking beneath his feet, and the black felt-lining of the shed roof glistened in the blackness of night. Dense, entangled, branches glowed white against the fullness of the moon, and somewhere, shrouded in the shadows, the unmistakable call of a barn owl echoed out from beyond the tree line.
The sound always put him on edge. Spooked him somehow. Though Freya would always tell him to stop being so ‘superstitious’ and enjoy the sharp, scream-like, cries for what they were, and to reign in his imagination for a few moments. She always loved owls. She loved the outdoors and wildlife in general, but owls above all.
For each Christmas, birthday, valentines, or occasion, he’d search stores for anything and everything that had owls on them. Or foxes, she loved those too. He’d buy notebooks and backpacks, pencil cases and fluffy sweaters, and she’d never once tired of his willingness to know and understand her quirky tastes. At least, she never showed him if she did.
Such a free spirit as she was, watching her in nature always conjured a smile. The way she’d dance through wild bluebells and skip across leaf-littered woodland, dressed not to impress, but practically, in hard wearing jeans that hugged the shape of her legs and rough boots as old as she was. No matter the weather, the sun would find its way to her at the most perfect of moments, just in time to dance with her hair as it flowed wildly around her. If he was really lucky, it’d catch the intoxicating green-blue of her eyes as she shot him a rogue look over her shoulder. That suggestive, animalistic, grin she wore that set his soul ablaze.
Moments like these she sparked in him something wild. Although an overall reserved man, she somehow grabbed hold of his youth and yanked it to the forefront of his being. With her he found his freedom. True freedom. Her energy, her smile, her spirit. It was infectious.
The owl screeched again, yanking him back into the present moment. His cigarette had almost burned itself away while his memories consumed him. That happened a lot these days. Unexpected moments of stillness, lost time, as if his body froze while his consciousness travelled back in time, until something external snapped him back into reality. Something cruel, something sinister, like the barn owl. Forcing on him the present while his heart and soul existed only in the past, entwined with a lost love so pure he had no idea how his lungs drew breath with each passing moment.
How could he still live in a world while half of himself had been ripped away? How could his eyes still blink and his hands still grip? How could his feet still carry him forward, when all the spice he had for life died right along with her?
From the day she departed, the very moment her soul decided to travel on without him, he longed for nothing more than to be with her.
A once spirited man now rendered an empty shell.
A lifeless, soulless, machine.
Longing to be wherever he could dance with her in the bluebells, or skip with her through the autumn leaves.
With the final embers of his cigarette he took one last draw, then flicked the glowing tip to the ground. The gasoline soaked ground ignited a pathway of flame, following him back into the home.
He sat on his fabric sofa and watched the flames climb the walls, engulfing the home around him. He closed his eyes against the heat, gulped down a lungful of smoke, and laid his head back against the cushions.
There she was once more… the enchanting features of her face, the mesmerising curves of her body.
He headed toward her.
The barn owl cried from beyond the tree line.
* * * * *
Well it's been a while since I've written any fiction, but hopefully this is the first of many to come to this platform. If you love content like this drop a follow over on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with new fiction and lifestyle related content.
Enjoyed this flash fiction? Consider leaving a small tip to help support future content. I've got a lot planned!
About the author
An avid writer from the UK with a passion for words! Whether I'm posting my musings to social media or creating longform content for the masses, You can bet I'm somewhere trying to make sense of this wonderful chaos we call the universe.