One night as I laid in bed, reading a new book I'd bought that day, I suddenly heard an ear piercing screech that cut through the quiet.
I sat up, my heart pounding from the shot of adrenaline, looking through my window. I didn't see anything, but knew it'd came from outside, resting my head on my pillow again.
But the screeching continued, no matter how hard I tried delving into my book.
Finally, after an hour or so of listening to the terrible noise, I put on my coat and boots, walked down the stairs, and outside in to the cold night.
The frost coated grass crunched beneath my booted feet as I stepped toward the tree line, the place I knew the sound originated from.
The bright light of the full moon guided me, my arms crossed as I saw my breath in the air, which smelled cold and clean. Glad I put my coat on, but wished I'd grabbed my gloves too.
The screeching resumed, piercing my ear. I winced and gritted my teeth, but kept going. I would find its source.
Then I spotted it.
It was a barn owl, tangled up in something, flapping its wings and screeching, trying and failing to escape.
I paused for a moment. What should I do? I wasn't an expert with animals and how to free them. Plus the idea of getting shots made me nauseated.
I couldn't call animal control either though. My cellphone was in the house and I lived in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention it was the dead of night, and I had no clue as to their hours.
But I couldn't just leave the owl to die.
Swallowing, I slowly approached the owl, scanning for any injuries. Its big eyes stared at me, unsure if I was friend or foe. I didn't blame it. I'd do the same.
"It's okay, I'm here to help you." I whispered, inspecting the damage.
Determining it was tangled in rope instead of wires and it was not injured, I knelt behind it, untying some of the knots. Must have flown into a hunter-made trap.
Damn them. It was my property and I did not condone hunting of any kind. I should have put signs up, or called the police before now.
The owl squirmed as I did my best to untie the knots, but the animal wasn't making things easy for me. It would flap its wings and screech at me. I kept going, careful not to make jerky moments.
A few minutes later, I freed the owl. Yes! I was good, grinning to myself as I slowly stood.
It hobbled around, not using its wings. I frowned, crossing my arms. It could have in shock. I decided to follow it, not wanting a bigger predator to kill it before it fully recovered.
I made sure I kept a good distance, my steps as quiet as I could force them to be. It seemed to move to my house at first, but it veered to the small, empty red barn on my property.
I smirked, shaking my head. Shouldn't have been surprised. Barn owls had that name for a reason, not that I knew much about them.
It then took into the air, flying to the high window of the barn, a part I could not reach. That was okay though.
I smiled, trekking back to the warmth of my house. Well at least it was in a safe place where it could recover in peace.
For the next week, I checked up on the owl, which appeared to be fully recovered, hooing at night as I watched it fly to hunt for food from my window.
I even drew a picture of it in my free time, hanging it in my bedroom. A reminder of the good deed I did, besides the vocalizations of my new barn resident.
It made me realize how quiet my home life was. Sure, work was noisy with phones ringing, people talking, and paper being printed, so the tranquil vibe of my home relaxed me.
It was also quite lonely.
My closest neighbor was at least a mile away. I didn't even know their name, and felt awkward at the idea of showing up on their front porch. My family didn't even live in the state. Nor did I have a dog to keep me company.
I frowned, pursing my lips together as I cleaned my living room. My heart ached a little. Yeah, I needed to make human friends, and maybe adopt a puppy.
When I finished my weekly cleaning, I began calling people to see if they wanted to go to dinner, or a bar. A few said no, but a couple of co-workers happily agreed to go out.
I smiled, hanging up the phone, rushing upstairs to shower and change. I heard the owl hoo again, grinning as I got dressed and left for a new adventure.
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