Heather’s boss started to scream at her and the rest of the coworkers on her team. “This is NOT what I wanted people! Start over...NOW!” With that George Ashburn stormed out of the conference room. The team of four sat in silence until Anne spoke up, “He can not keep treating us this way.” Tears started to swell up in Heather's eyes but she refrained. Jake and Lauren started to agree with Anne and all three began to become heated. Heather finally spoke, “It’s not like we can do anything. Ashburn has been like this for the last four years that I’ve worked here.” Jake stood up and told them he was going to HR. Lauren laughed, “Good luck! Remember Robert Sims? He went to HR last fall and nothing was done. Then, the week of Christmas, Ashburn gave him the boot!” Anne rolled her eyes and then asked the group if they should get drinks after work. Everyone agreed.
As Heather, Anne, Jake, and Lauren started round two of drinks, Anne raised her glass as if she was going to give a toast. “Here’s to awesome coworkers and death to crappy bosses!” Everyone laughed, then Jake chimed in, “If only Ashburn would kick the bucket. We would all be much happier.” Heather shook her head, “Maybe we should not wish death on him. I know he is an ass, but death is a bit much.” Anne laughed, “Hey now! It’s not like I am saying we should kill him, but if he were to happen to fall down a flight of stairs…”. Jake and Lauren started laughing uncontrollably. Heather, visibly uncomfortable, sipped her drink.
After two or three more rounds, the group paid and made their way to the door. Out on the sidewalk, Heather suggested they walk a bit and sober up before they called for a ride. There was a refreshing breeze and the stars were out. They turned the corner and Anne started jumping up and down as if she was a child in a candy store. “Let’s go here! I know this place!” The others looked to see a storefront with a neon sign that said “Psychic Readings”. Jake and Lauren did not hesitate to agree to stop in. Heather told the group she did not like to mess around with “these things”. Anne stopped her, “It’s not like we are having a date with Satan, just want to know what our future is.” Before her, Heather saw three sets of puppy dog eyes begging her to go in, so she did.
Inside, the smell of sage and cinnamon filled Heather’s nostrils. From the back of the room entered a women dress in all Emerald. “Hello my loves, welcome to Madam Emerald’s palace. Heather laughed at the fact she could not come up with a more clever name than the color she wore. Madam Emerald told the group to take a seat at a round table with candles and cards spread out. As she took her seat she asked, “What can Madam Emerald do for you all?” Jake blurted out, “Tell me if I am going to marry my boyfriend!” Madam Emerald smiled and then took Jake’s hand and stared deeply into his palm. She smiled again and then flipped over a card and spoke, “Oh yes. Looks like the Lover card was drawn to you.” Jake and company looked down to see a card with two hands holding one another that was surrounded by a heart. Jake screamed, “YES! That means we are soulmates or something right!?” Madam Emerald shook her head, “It seems that way lover.” Heather shook her head and rolled her eyes. Madam Emerald turned quickly to her. “How about you next dear?” Heather started to say no, but her hand was grabbed swiftly. Madam Emerald studied Heather’s palm and a look of worry fell over her face. She then flipped over a card. The card was dark blue with bright white stars on it, along with a white barn owl. “Oh I am an owl I guess,” Heather said with a laugh.
Madam Emerald started to shake her head, “No. This is a very bad card!” Heather looked confused and asked, “What do you mean? It’s a cute owl in the night.” Madam Emerald pointed to below the owl, there stood a tombstone. “This is the card of death, my love.” Heather became irate and stood up. “This is not funny” she exclaimed as she started to walk out. The group stood up to follow her. Anne then turned to Madam Emerald and pulled her wallet out to pay for their services.
Outside, Heather was power-walking away from her coworkers. Jake and Lauren called out to her and begged her to stop. Heather finally stopped just as Anne was walking out of Madam Emerald’s. Jake and Lauren started to ask Heather to calm down and they expressed that it was all in good fun. Heather reminded them that this is why she did not mess with that type of stuff. Anne apologized and hugged Heather. There was no question that the night was over, so the four of them requested rides home. Jake and Anne lived near each other so they shared a car, leaving Heather and Lauren to catch a ride solo. Before Heather got into her car, Lauren asked her, “Are you okay Heather?” Heather faked a smile and said “yeah”.
Heather has never been one to make small talk to Uber drivers and this night was no different. She sat in silence looking out the window. Then something flew by and caught her eye. It was a white barn owl. She was in disbelief and for a second thought that her mind (or alcohol) was playing tricks on her. Her eyes followed the bird as it stopped and Heather noticed flashing red lights. She then snapped back to the real world and notice that there was a three-car wreck in front of her. Her driver sighed, “Ugh. This is going to take a while.” Heather then looked back at the owl, but it was gone. She searched her surroundings and there was no sign of the bird. After twenty minutes of traffic, Heather’s Uber was free of the pile-up.
Later that night, Heather’s dreams were full of the owl. She would chase after the owl and then lose it. She would then be flying with the owl in the dark blue skies. At one point, the owl picked Heather up just to drop her into the dark. This was the drop that woke Heather up. She brushed the dreams off due to the drinks and events of the prior night, then she headed into work.
At work, Lauren and Anne were getting coffee from the breakroom. Heather walked in and wished them both a good morning. They both asked how she was filling and she admitted that she overreacted. Then Jake came bursting in with such glee. “Ladies! Guess what!?!” They all looked at Jake, confused and Anne finally asked, “What?” Jake held us his left hand to show off a beautiful ring on his ring finger. The four coworkers started to jump and cry with joy. “He asked this morning at our coffee shop that we had our first date at”, Jake cried out. In the midst of the celebration, Heather noticed the time and reminded them that they all had another meeting with Ashburn in ten minutes. The joy was sucked out of the room. “I still can’t believe he wants us to REDO a project that took us MONTHS to complete” Lauren growled. Anne shrugged her shoulders, “You never know, maybe he took that trip down the stairs.” They all giggled a bit then headed to the meeting.
To no surprise, Ashburn was late to his own meeting. Heather remembers her first week when she was two minutes late to a meeting and word got back to Ashburn. He ripped her a new one. It was Anne that filled her in on the fact that you must show up on time, but Ashburn can walk in whenever he feels inclined. They all heard footsteps outside the door, so they straightened up and slapped on a fake smile. However, it was not Ashburn who walked into the conference room. Instead, in the doorway stood the head of Human Resources, Sarah. She started, “Good morning team. I am afraid I have some bad news. Mr. Ashburn, George, was in a really bad car accident last night with two other cars.” Heather’s heart dropped and the room stood still. Sarah continued, “I’m sad to say that he did not make it. I know this is hard and will be hard for some time. We are working on what the next best steps are for the team. Please take some time today if needed. Let me know if you need ANYTHING.”
Everyone was stun with disbelief. All four of them traded glances. Then all eyes fell on Heather. She started to cry and she felt her skin heat up. She closed her eyes and all she could see was that white barn owl surrounded by flashing red lights.
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About the Creator
Growing up I had many visions of what I wanted to be when I grew up. At times I was relentless on becoming a Power Ranger or a writer. After twenty-nine years, the path that seems most obtainable is becoming a writer.