Halloween Flash Fiction Event: Linda Robertson

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Thank you for joining us for this Halloween Flash Fiction Event story from Linda Robertson. Linda’s story is dark and disturbing, but in the end, hopeful. (*trigger warning for some*) The image is a stock photo from a DeviantART artist who specifically allows it to be used on outside websites, with credit and links posted. Big thanks, to both the author and the artist, for sharing. Now… on to the story…

Owl

By Linda Robertson

 

What have I done?

Though the woodland was foggy and dense, I didn’t think about my destination. Though the sky was a spill of ink above those rattling empty branches, I didn’t consider the direction I sped off in. Though it was cold—so alarmingly cold, my only purpose was putting distance between me and…my sin.

Sinner!

Wailing and cursing each new thicket or low-reaching bough determined to restrain me, punish me, I fought my way through the forest. But this driving fear couldn’t fuel me long enough to break free to the meadow. Too soon, exhaustion wrapped its clammy hand around me. Leaden, I slowed but kept moving, desperate to be farther from the anguish I, in my iniquity, had created back there.

I must’ve trekked many miserable miles before it hit me that what I’d left behind the authorities would find. Sooner or later. They would. Then everyone would know what I had done.

Shame and disgrace so woefully heavy filled me and I stopped.

I have to go back.

But I didn’t want to. I couldn’t. Seeing it again would destroy me.

If I don’t go back, I can never go home.

Even if I retrieved what in sin I’d abandoned, even if I could undo my wrongdoing, I couldn’t just go home. I couldn’t go back to the only life I’d ever known, there would be no reclaiming it, no resuming where I left off. This…this atrocity would endure. Even if I could mend what was torn and bloody…so bloody…even if no one ever knew…I’d know. No penance could wash this grievous memory from my mind.

Nothing would ever be the same.

___walking_alone____by_biszkopciikThe weight of this knowledge pressed me down, down to the cold October ground. The trees around me were silent. They did not care. This bed of fire-colored leaves crunched beneath me. They did not care. The owl hooted above me. He did not care, either.

…or did he?

Aware that dark-sighted owls symbolized the uncovering of secrets, I froze, ensnared in his luminous golden eyes.

Suddenly, he leapt from the branch, talons extended. I could not defend myself as his sharp grip took hold. Beating his feathers he hauled me unwillingly to my feet. He dragged me back the way I had come.

I resisted. I tripped. I struggled. I stumbled.

Though I fought to drag him down, he would not release me. He would not give up.

For miles he yanked me along, all the way back to my wreckage of choices. There, he made me look at the body on the forest floor, at the blood draining into the earth, at the gleaming blade with its scarlet tip. He made me look into the sightless eyes of the body I’d left behind…my body.

Talons strong, he cried out as he dived, forcing me down into that body once more.

The sensation was maddening. Cold and broken and still for an instant, then shivering and gagging and stinging. Hurt and pain thrummed from my head to my toes. The earth rumbled under me. The leaves blew over me as trees lifted their roots and bored into my arms and excreted my own blood back into my veins.

When they removed their roots, my skin itched as it closed.

Blinking, I sat up but I did not feel like myself. I looked at my hands. My fingers curled like talons and I knew that I was not alone in my mind.

In the distance, an owl hooted. Then another and another until a chorus of night-birds drew me to my feet. Feeling strong, capable and unafraid for the first time in my whole life, I lifted my hands to the night and I cried out with them.

When I lowered my arms, they fell silent.

Touching my belly, I felt the kick of the little one my own father had put there.

I didn’t have to go home. I didn’t have to listen as the man I trusted lied and told everyone he had caught me with a boy. I didn’t have to hear him condemn me, didn’t have to hear him boasting of his own goodness for keeping me anyway and intending to raise the child of my sin. I didn’t have to wallow in shame and sorrow because of what he had done. I didn’t have to compound his sin with my own and seek escape through a grave.

I rubbed my belly, scratching over the busy little foot.

I am strong. And you, dear daughter, will be named Owl.

 

About The Author

Writing is Linda’s passion, but she’s a triple threat of talent….
AUTHOR  *  MUSICIAN  *  ARTIST
As a mom of four boys, versatility was a survival skill while they were young, but now that ability allows her to “keep many irons in the fire” from her old love of music to her new romance with costuming/sewing.

Linda took piano lessons from the age of eight until fourteen. At fifteen her father bought her a candy-apple red Peavy Razor six-string electric guitar and a small amp. By the time she was sixteen she was in a heavy metal cover band. By seventeen that band was the house band for a local bar, playing every Thursday night and having the option of opening for other acts. She still plays, and currently has seven guitars including two with seven-strings.

 

About The Artist

Image: Walking Alone

Artist Page: biszkopciik http://www.deviantart.com/art/walking-alone-141003722

 

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