Isaac and the Owl

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Acerbus09, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. Acerbus09

    Acerbus09 New Member

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    In the far reaches of the woods, under a dark, blue sky, an owl is singing.

    Isaac Burns quickly grabbed his flashlight. It was the big one; the one his family calls “the sun”. Gripping the handle and tucking it under his arm like a football, he ran up the creek bank and through the trees. He didn’t use the flashlight to guide his way at first. He knew every pathway, every drop-off, and every cave in the woods up to the drop-off. He darted in and out of the great, oak pillars whose ceiling had fallen with the coming of autumn. Annie likes autumn.
    Annie Everfield was the girl who had given Isaac half her sandwich when his mother had forgotten to pack him a lunch on the first day of second grade. She was the girl who broke Tyler McFiggins’ nose the summer before fifth grade for stepping on Isaac’s remote control plane on purpose. She was the girl who listened to Isaac when he was sad about his dad not being around. She was his best friend. She was the one. Or at least she would if she wasn’t going out with Tyler now.
    Even though he had never told Annie how he felt, there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that she knew. They thought the same way. Isaac always knew when Annie was mad about something by the way she would put her hands in her pockets and then take them out, looking like she was about to hit something. He knew she was sad when her eyes turned from their usual, vivid blue, to a dull, listless grey. She used to try so hard to hide her emotions from him, but after a while found it pointless. They connected on every level, except the one Isaac desired most. She likes the yellow leaves best. I should get some for her.
    Isaac tore across the forest floor, overturning damp leaves in his wake. The owl’s song was getting louder so it wouldn’t be long now. He knew where it was coming from. It was where he went the last time he followed the song. It must’ve been where the owl’s hollow was. The sound was directly above him now. He slowed down to a cautious walk. Owls can see in extremely low lighting and have off-the-chart hearing. Isaac’s approach had been no surprise to the powerful bird of prey. He pulled the flashlight out from under his arm and flicked it on. Light flooded the forest floor, rushing up the rough, wooden walls, illuminating the coarse patterns in the bark, coloring every earth-bound leaf, and sending shadows beyond the trees. Isaac found himself in the middle of clearing.
    The trees were in a perfect circle, like columns in a rotunda. Isaac felt like he had stepped back into the days of ancient Athens. He had sat, or rather slept, through many a lecture on Greek architecture in history class. Annie would always poke him whenever he nodded off, which was about every two minutes. That was the only thing that Annie did that annoyed him. It drove him crazy when anybody poked him. Earlier that day, during passing period, she came up from behind and poked him on both sides.
    “Wha-ah-ouch! Annie, I hate that!”
    She giggled. Her laugh was how angels must sound when they’re amused.
    “I know. That’s why I do it.”
    “You’re a great friend.”
    Annie made one of those fake pouting faces and wrapped her arm around his, locking their elbows together as they passed the drinking fountains. A freshman was busy holding a seventh grader’s head under the stream as a teacher ran to his aid. Isaac ignored it.
    “I promise never to do it again.”
    “You promised me that the last time. And the time before that and the time before tha-“
    “Okay, I get it,” Annie said, laughing again, “it is just way too much fun.”
    “Well I’m glad my discomfort brings you joy,” Isaac said, his voiced laced heavily with sarcasm, “It makes me feel so good about myself.”
    Annie just smiled.
    “I’m going out with Tyler tonight.”
    Way to change the subject.

    “That’s a surprise,” he said, clearly implying that it wasn’t. Not having you is hard enough without you rubbing it in.
    “We’re going to that new frozen custard place,” she continued, ignoring the irritation in his voice, “his mom is driving us.”
    That’s lame. If I were going to take a girl out, I’d at least wait until I could drive her myself.
    Isaac wanted to express his opinion out loud but chose not to. He had played this role before and it always ended with him saying the wrong line and Annie walking away mad. Isaac didn’t want to fight with Annie. Not then, not ever.
    “Sounds like fun,” he said. He didn’t mean it.
    The singing had stopped. Isaac panned the light from left to right, focusing it on the branches above. He froze. There it was. A full grown barn owl with white feathers, speckled brown, a white, heart-shaped face and eyes black as night. Isaac’s obsession with owls had started two years earlier, when Annie had mentioned how mystifying and cool they were. In an effort to impress her, he started reading up on owls, only to develop a true interest in them. That interest soon became an obsession. He went owl hunting at least once a week. This was his first find in over a month.
    He was as stone. His hand was rigid and his gaze steady. He didn’t even dare the breath. The owl was looking at him, its eyes narrow and intense. Finally, Isaac took a step. The owl didn’t move. Slowly, taking his time, Isaac walked over to a nearby tree. He wanted to get a more level view of the awesome bird of prey. He switched off the bulky flashlight and tucked it under his arm again. He reached with one arm and grasped the lowest branch. Pulling himself up as far as he could, he wrapped his legs around the column and started to shimmy his way up. One of the branches was protruding at a steeper incline then the rest. He pulled out the flashlight and edged it in the crevice. Now, with both hands, he climbed the rest of the way up to where he believed was level with the branch the owl had been resting on. He sat on the sturdiest limb available, reached down, grabbed the flashlight, aimed, and flicked it on.
    The owl was gone. Isaac waved the flashlight back and forth and all around. There was no sign of the bird anywhere. Suddenly, with a loud screee, a large pair of wings rocketed up past him. Isaac let out a pathetic yelp as he drew back in surprise. The flashlight flew out of his hands and tumbled down, hitting every branch on the way down. Isaac was falling as well. He reached out with both hands, but the branches seemed to be farther away then he thought. A few last, remaining leaves brushed against his face on the way down. In mid-air, Isaac’s body turned til he was facing the fast approaching ground. He threw his arms up, bracing for impact.
    Unexpectedly, Isaac felt the wind rushing not past him, but over and under him, as if his body was cutting through the air. He was now falling sideways, or rather soaring forwards; the forest floor rushed past him at an alarming speed. Without much thought, he brought his arms down hard and then brought them back up, stretched out and level with his body. It took him a moment to realize that they weren’t his arms anymore. Instead, they were a pair of large, white wings. He didn’t have to look to know that he also had two scaly feet with sharp talons. He could feel them as he flexed the muscles, opening and closing his new claws. This was the weirdest thing he had ever felt, and probably the coolest. He had had lucid dreams before, but none as real as this.
    Isaac soared above the trees, the clearing far behind him now. He flew to where the forest ends, into the suburban area where he lived. Looking down he saw his house. He could see details that no human eye could see even if they were standing ten feet in front of the house. His room was on the top floor, third window over from his perspective. His light was still on. It would be weird if he had forgotten to turn it off in real life too. Annie was always talking his ear off about conserving energy and how one should always turn a light off when they leave a- Annie!
    Isaac made a sharp turn and then a dip, slipping into a lower air current. He altered his course, now flying south along the main road. Annie and Tyler were at the new frozen custard shop on 28th Street. Isaac had heard good things about it, but hadn’t ever gotten a chance to go there. Isaac didn’t really know how these sorts of dreams worked. In his normal dreams nothing was what it was supposed to be. Someone didn’t have to look like themselves in order to be that person; Isaac just knew. In those dreams, Isaac was just an observer. He had never been able to influence his dreams until now. He felt like he was in complete control. What he didn’t know, is if things would be different when he encountered familiar buildings or people. Annie’s date with Tyler was the perfect venue to test his theory.
    Just for fun, Isaac tilted his wings and turned in the air, spiraling like an arrow speeding towards its target. Flying was so freeing and empowering. So many times, Isaac had wished he could fly off and away, leaving the entire world to yesterday. That is, as long as Annie could go with him. He wouldn’t leave her behind. He didn’t think he could if he tried.
    Isaac flew over several business buildings and establishments before reaching the custard shop. He swooped down and landed lightly on the edge of the roof. Annie was sitting on a bench, eating custard out of a cup with polka-dots all over it, smiling up at Tyler as he walked back and forth, waving his arms emphatically as he talked about his favorite chip brands. Tyler could somehow make Annie think twice as much of him by using his hands a lot. She had once told Isaac that he was “so full of life”. Isaac thought he was so full of crap.
    Really, Annie? This is the guy you want to spend your time with?
    Isaac was fuming when Tyler noticed him. He pointed up at him laughing, talking excitedly to Annie about the owl, about Isaac. Annie looked up and smiled, saying something about how beautiful the owl was. Isaac would have preferred something more along the lines of “regal” or “majestic”, but under the circumstances, he decided that “beautiful” was fine. But, Tyler was so interested in it being beautiful. Isaac watched him as he started walking around the small food court, scanning the ground for- a rock. Tyler intended to use Isaac as target practice.
    Tyler was a lot taller than Isaac. He was on the football and the basketball team. He was voted MVP in both sports in middle school and no one doubted that he was going to rule the high school someday. There was no chance of Isaac ever inflicting any physical pain on Tyler in the real world. But in the world of the dream, Isaac ruled. Despite Annie’s screaming for him to stop, Tyler picked up a stone, aimed, and hurled it straight at Isaac. Isaac lifted his great wings and pushed off the ledge, avoiding the thrown stone entirely. Isaac folded his wings and dove down, angling his body towards Tyler. The moron barely had time to react. Opening his wings at the last second, Isaac stopped with his talons stretched out in front of him. He landed on Tyler’s arm, which he had raised up in front of his face, and dug the sharp talons into the soft flesh. Isaac pressed in a little bit harder before Tyler started waving him around, screaming, trying his best to shake away the pain.
    Isaac finally released Tyler’s arm and flapped his wings, climbing back up above the trees. He could hear Tyler’s screams and cries of pain and Annie’s sweet voice as she both comforted him and talked to the 9-1-1 operator. That was just the thing Annie would have done. As he flew back over the trees, Isaac started to feel bad. It wasn’t in his nature to be violent or cruel, no matter what someone else had done to do him. Sure he felt bitterness, but not hatred. The aftershock of what he had just done, despite the fact that it was dream, felt really heavy on him. He realized that by goring Tyler’s arm, he had betrayed the desires of his heart: to inflict pain on those who had what he couldn’t have. He couldn’t let that hatred fester. He had to let go. And, part of letting go, would mean to accept the fact that Annie didn’t see him the way he wanted her to. Sitting around moping about it wasn’t going to change anything. He had to move on.
    *

    The next morning, Isaac woke up in his bed, naked, and unsure of how he got there. His bedside clock flashed “7:47 A.M.”. He was going to be late. In a flurry, he put on a clean shirt, some jeans and an old pair of sandals he had forgotten he had, and dashed down the stairs. He glided out the front door and made it just in time for the bus. Annie was already at the bus stop, waiting for him like she did every morning, except this time she looked really weird. She looked scared. Isaac couldn’t wait to tell her about his dream.
    “Annie! Hey, Annie I’ve got something to- what’s wrong?”
    Annie looked up at Isaac with a mixture of confusion,
    “You will not believe what happened last night. I was with Tyler, right? And we were just talking and eating frozen custard, and he decides to throw a rock at this owl that was on top of the building, right? And the owl comes down and- what? Stop it. You’re creeping me out. Isaac, why are you looking at me like that?”
     
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