nthposition online magazine

Owls

by Snehal Vadher

[ fiction - april 05 ]

The scene which we have here was approximately this: T was sleeping on a floor-bed in his parents' bedroom. His parents were not only sleeping but also snoring on a comfortable double-bed, stuffed with feathers. All this is not important, what is important is that everyone in that room was sleeping.

A poet once said "sleeping is just like dying"; remarkably true in our case. In the dark silence of 3am, a notorious flapping and slapping began drumming on T's ears. He lazily woke and turned around to see an owl, gazing with its luminous, bulby eyes right at him. T was terrified. His legs started quivering, and in complete panic, he woke his parents from their death. Just then, he noticed that the opposite wall was blood-splattered. A long diagonal of thick black blood ran across the wall. All were in dreamy confusion, as the poor owl patiently waited in a corner, as a patient-to-be-operated does. His unblinking eyes were watching the entire room bend into a convex. The room became a globe. His parents thought it would be a great idea to throw it out of the window. For this purpose they humanely used a badminton racket. "Of course it will fly, as long as it has wings, it will". And so they were convinced. After the owl was thrown from the window it landed flat on the ground, five floors down, but its body was never found. Its soul migrated to the realms of eternity and of chilled winternights. At breakfast the issue was not mentioned. And the breakfast tasted bland.

A month elapsed; the nights grew silent as the stars. Winter chill approached like epilepsy. And exactly after a month had passed since the incident, a suicidal owl entered through the bedroom window and blindly flew into the fan. It was exactly 3 am. Then another followed. And yet another, and a few more and now a plethora, a myriad, ad infinitum. No one was roused from slumber. The hands of the poor wall-clock froze at 3. All of them were floating on giant wings before they could realize what was happening. The room was left to drown in black blood. The owls seemed mightier in air. Their eyes were like thousand suns. T came to. He was dreaming that it was a dream. But the owls carried them swiftly across the sky, softly as a drifting cloud.