New York City. A city fueled by a world of opportunities and the millions of dreamers, driven by ambition and passion, who dared to take a step into the competitive race, yearning for a chance to be a part of the reason for the city’s famous reputation.
Such a vibrant and unique scene, yet one of the most unlikely of places to find a species such as the one standing right before me, taunting me with its omniscient yet catastrophic black eyes.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I used those words to describe, what you might believe to be a simple barn owl. And the answer to that is so inconceivable, that my own sister laughed in my face once I told her, right before she suffered the same fate as the others.
It’s not something you lead with in a conversation. In fact, it’s not something I’d recommend using in any topic of conversation at all. And my reasoning for it is simple: No one would ever believe you anyway.
Now, let me explain. This deceivingly, innocent creature, is the reason for my eternal unrest. The reason I’ve lost my sanity as well as credibility.
You see, up until a month ago, I was a detective in the Special Investigations Division. I was damned good at it too. I was widely respected and honored because of the special ability I had of solving cold cases which are, ultimately, cases that occurred decades ago and have exhausted investigative leads.
June 2nd, 2019. That was the day this “thing” appeared. I was curious as to why an owl was standing on the the railing of my boyfriend, Michael’s, front steps. I stood staring at it for a while. So blinded by the fact that it was this deep into the city, I didn’t even stop to think that a creature like that would have a planned, evil agenda. But who would? Absolutely no one.
I didn’t think anything of it when a week later I received news that Michael had passed. A heart attack, they’d said. At first I was confused because Michael was a very healthy man. He exercised regularly and didn’t eat junk food unless it was a special occasion or I offered, which wasn’t very often.
After a while, though, I moved on from those doubts and continued on with my life. Until the same thing happened three months after, as I walked up to my Mother’s house. That same owl was perched arrogantly on the branch of a tree planted in front of her house.
My instincts told me there was something off about it. And as I stared into it’s inky black eyes, I could’ve sworn I saw it gleam in the most mischievous way.
Yet as I did before at Michael’s, I ignored it and walked in as I always did because no matter how many times we asked her to, she never locked her door unless she was going to bed for the night.
That day, September 2nd, 2019, was when I found my mother lying on her Persian rug, drenched in her own blood. I didn’t scream. Somehow I knew this wasn’t just an accident. And although I couldn’t feel a thing, I cried internally. I cried as the police questioned me, I cried as I saw them lift her onto a stretcher, and I cried as I watched them drive away with her lifeless body in the back of the ambulance.
I went home that night. I lied in my bed unmoving, except to decline my sister, Margarett’s, calls. I knew she knew. I knew she needed me in that moment. But even if I could be there for her, I wouldn’t be able to say a thing and knowing her, she’d have too many questions I wasn’t even near capable of answering.
So I stayed there, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat . I just stared at my ceiling, thinking about everything and nothing. Simply breathing but not living. There was no ache in my heart for the loss of my mother, in fact, I barely thought of her during that time period I spent staring at my ceiling.
The only time my trance was interrupted was when I heard the continuous banging on my front door, and the painful wailing of my sister’s cries as she screamed for me to open it. I didn’t. After a few hours it was silent. I wasn’t sure if she’d left or if her voice was wasted and she couldn’t cry any longer. Either way, I stayed still.
My sister forgave me, eventually. We had a proper funeral for my mother and although we were still mourning her loss, we managed to continue our lives just as they were before.
We’d agreed to meet at either of our houses for dinner at least once a month. I knew she needed to be close to someone. Someone who understood her pain. Someone who shared it with her. And I had no problem with that at all, I loved spending time with her. We talked about our lives and how she wanted to start a family soon. It warmed my heart to hear her talk about her life and how content she was.
Which is why I felt my heart drop when I saw it again, on the railing of her front steps, staring patronizingly at me.
I didn’t even hesitate, I rushed up the steps, rang the doorbell, and banged on the door like a mad woman. I waited and waited and when I finally came to the conclusion that she’d died the same way as Mom and Michael, she opened the door.
I sighed in relief and ran inside.
“What the heck? Why’d you ring the doorbell like a crazy person?” She’d asked me.
I sat her down and explained to her from the very beginning what I’d seen. By the end of it I could tell she was suppressing her laughter. But I insisted, she needed to believe me before it was too late for her too.
After hours of trying to convince her she became angry and kicked me out, telling me I was inconsiderate for making up this crazy story just to cope with Mom’s death. As I walked out to my car I stared straight at the evil thing.
“Someone will believe me, and when they do, this agenda you have, will be put to a permanent halt.” I grit out. All the emotion I had stored in, pouring out in anger and malice towards it.
I tried calling my sister when I got home, and then a few days after and she wouldn’t return my calls. I knew she was still alive because I went to the school where she taught and asked for her.
A week later, December 2nd, 2019, I got the same, dreadfully familiar call informing me that my sister was hit my a semi and had succumbed to her injuries. That time I did cry. I cried and screamed and yelled. I destroyed anything I could find in front of me until I was too exhausted to move.
When I finally stopped crying, I felt a surge of determination. I had to find out what this evil thing was doing.
The next few months, I’d compiled an extensive portfolio of evidence that proved the owl was behind it all. I knew I’d become obsessive, but I also knew it needed to be stopped.
Since I hadn’t been showing up to work, nor had I notified them in advance, they’d suspended me for a month. And once that month was over with, I marched straight in there and showed it to the Chief of Detectives.
He didn’t believe me either. Instead he’d told me that I wasn’t mentally stable enough to continue working in my Devision and that my suspension had become permanent. I didn’t fight him on it.
Instead I went home and sat in my chair in my living room. The chair I’m currently sitting in now, to be precise.
Everyone I’d cared about was gone. I had no more fight left in me. That wretched Owl had won and I didn’t mind accepting it.
There was nothing left for me to lose, which is why I was a bit surprised to see it perched on the top of my television staring at me.
I hadn’t left any doors or windows open so I knew it couldn’t have gotten in that way.
And although I knew I should be scared, terrified even, I wasn’t.
I just stared at it and smiled.
“You win.” I tell it.
It’s eyes glimmer with mirth in an expression telling me “not yet.”
It spreads its wide wings and gracefully flies over to me landing on my arm.
I don’t even flinch, I just wait for it to tell me something, anything. Maybe give me an explanation as to why it chose my life to ruin. But it didn’t. It just stared.
And I knew with absolute certainty that it was my turn.
June 2nd, 2020. This is the day I die. And I wait, vibrating with anticipation. Knowing how it took my soul, but desperate to discover how it will take my life.