The Owl

A short short story by Terri Givens

Featured Image (Owl) by Dennis Buchner/Unsplash

I heard an owl last night. For once I was grateful for single-paned drafty windows. His call was close and yet soft in the cold November night air. I attempted to drift off to sleep. Two blankets, a soft bed and the warmth of my husband felt nice. But, it was one of those nights where my body was tired, yet my brain was not ready to shut down for rest. 

There he was again. “Hoo, hoo,” he called. 

I had never heard an owl except on the audio of some back-lit screen. He kept me company as he called out several more times. 

Then I thought, “maybe I can see him.” 

I pulled back the covers and slipped out from under the arm that draped over me. Cool air instantly bade me to return to my bed, although, my desire to add sight to what I was hearing won out. My feet touched the wood floor, then the cool tile of the kitchen as I looked out into the back yard.  Our neighbors three-tiered backyard lamp shown in the darkness. 

“Perhaps I can see the owl’s silhouette,” I thought. “That would be just as good as seeing him clearly.” 

I searched the fence line between our properties, and the large oak branches that hung low, but I did not find what I looked for. I retreated to my bedroom and slipped back under the covers. My husband had awakened with my return.

“Did you hear the owl?” I said softly. 

“Yes, I did,” came his sleepy reply.

“Hoo, hoo,” the owl called once again. 

My heart took delight in the owl that I could not see but so clearly heard.

It was a lullaby. It was an owl’s lullaby for any who would be comforted and for any who would listen. 

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