Enter The Owl Kashshaptu
The year is 1960. Henry and Rachel Wells are driving down one of the many dirt roads of Grimwood. The radio is silent as are the Wells. Their youngest son was found dead in the woods two weekends ago. They’ve only lived in Grimwood a few years now, and misery seems to be the only thing God holds in store. They sit quiet and still, staring ahead at the next curve. They left their oldest, Martin, at home. He can’t be a part of what’s to come. Henry is a smart man. He knows the idle gossip of small towns, but, desperate times… yada, yada... He keeps thinking what if that old drunk was right? He can’t continue not knowing, and Rachel, well, she’s dead, too. She talks from time to time, but she’s emotionless. She acts as though she’s in a dream. They’ve been driving silent like this for almost an hour. The silence seems to be screaming at them. The death of their youngest son, Daniel, was just too violent to think of anything else. He’d been ripped apart, just a bloody mess that scarcely looked human. The police said it looked like an animal attack, maybe a coyote or bobcat, but what kind of animal would leave him there like that? He wasn’t even eaten. Henry doesn’t consider himself very religious, and yet he admits the air is evil out here. And there is definitely something wrong with today. The sky is grey with thick rain clouds, and the lightning is growing steadily worse.
It was the night before and Henry was driving home drunk, as had been the case lately. He would drive in circles on the old, dirt backroads, and cry while shooting whiskey. This night he almost ran over an old man walking down the middle of the road. Henry pulls up beside the man and asks if he is okay. The man stops and stares.
“The Devil walks in these woods, you know.”
Henry doesn’t respond.
“He stands behind the trees and laughs as a child.”
Henry says, “You look like you need a ride home. What’s your name?”
“I’m Joseph, Joseph Deltri, but that don’t matter much. Nothing matters much anymore," He turns and walks into the woods.
“Hey,” says Henry, “Ain’t the Devil out there?”
“Oh, yes, but I know him and he knows me. He has taken my soul and brought my daughter back from the grave.”
Shock struck Henry across the face. He must be crazy, as well as drunk.
“In fact, “ says Joseph, “He told me you would be here and to relay a message to you.”
“Oh yeah, and what would that be?”
“That you can have Daniel back.”
How does he know this? Henry couldn’t believe this was happening. He didn’t even realize he was lost in his own thoughts until the sudden pouring of rain broke his concentration.
Henry couldn’t see Joseph anymore, so he screams, “How?”
He hears Joseph from the darkened woods, “ The Owl.”
Who? Henry screams out into the night, “Who?!”
No answer, but what he had heard; The Owl. The rain pours into his open window, but he does not care. He hears a child laughing from the woods, quickly rolls up his window and heads home. The story is crazy, ridiculous, but how did that guy, Joseph, know me? What if it’s true? Would I give my soul to bring Daniel back…
Yes. I’m damned to love so much. A thousand times over, yes.
Again with the rain? Henry thought. After spending a beautiful day in smoky bars, he finally found a couple who heard of The Owl and kinda’ knew where she lived. He only told Rachel that he heard of someone who could speak to the dead.
Now it was completely night, and Henry kept finding figures in the woods. Maybe real, maybe not. So long as Daniel was found, he didn’t care. Every time I make it out this way it rains. And there’s the landmark he’s looking for, an old church with a huge iron bell out front. He turns off the main dirt road to what looks like a wide, glorified trail. As the car splashes in puddles of black water, Henry mentally crosses his fingers, and considers praying, but thinks better of it. Maybe it’s better to keep God out of tonight’s affairs. A cabin is illuminated by the headlights, and Henry has already spotted a few owls in the lurching trees overhanging the cabin. Big deep breath. They look at each other for a few moments, he thinks of kissing her, but apathy is the victor of recent emotions.
“Okay, Rachel, you wait here. Let me check this woman out first, alright?”
She nods, “K.”