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Judel
The Barn Owl
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The Barn Owl
It’s dark, and I’m alone. As usual.  I opened my eyes and looked around the vast structure.  It’s foreign, though it has been my home ever since my curiosity prompted me to enter. By the time I realized the door was swinging shut, it was too late.  I was locked inside. All the windows had shutters, and there were no other doors.  I raced around, from one corner to the next, slowly realizing there was no escape.

Luckily, I didn’t die of thirst, thanks to the long trough full of water for the other creatures in their cells.  It wasn’t fresh and tasted awful, but it was necessary.  Food was plentiful as well.  My captors clearly replenished the supplies while I slept, so I couldn’t plan my escape. I even tried not to sleep, but it always claimed me. It felt hopeless. I missed my freedom and grew tired of seeing the same creatures every day.

I did the best I could to stay clean and would find small cracks in the walls for fresh air and light.  Boredom finally prompted me to explore the two level building.  I know I should be thankful I wasn’t kept in a cell like the others, so I could freely roam.  I avoided their cages though, not knowing if they were dangerous or not.  The 2nd level was full of boxes, knick knacks and furniture.  I spent most of my time there, moving from one item to the next, finally finding a nice chair that fit me like a glove. I would sleep there too.  I suppose as prisons go, this wasn’t all that bad.

Then one day I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.  I turned sharply to face the intruder and gasped.  I shrieked when I caught sight of two enormous eyes only a few feet away. I vaulted off the chair and put distance between us. It must have been just as surprised as I was, as it mirrored my behavior, flying in the opposite direction. My chest heaved as I drew in quick shallow breaths.
We stared at each other, neither of us moving.  I didn’t recognize the creature, which wasn’t like any of the others on the 1st level. Why did it follow me up here?  As I continued to watch it, I wondered why it wasn’t moving, just quietly returning my stare. This was my area, but I didn’t speak to it. Why waste my breath, when it might not even understand me?

It was too dark up here to see it clearly, but something about the eyes was familiar.  Should I move closer, to get a better look? If it was dangerous, certainly it would have attacked me when it was closer, right? And it was clearly just as afraid of me as I was of it.  Mustering up my courage and straightening to my full height, I took a deep breath and stepped forward.  It did the same thing.

I shuddered but held my ground and took another step.  So did the other.  Determined to confront this intruder, I went back to my chair.  It did as well, so we were back to where we started, both on a chair and staring at each other.  I let my gaze travel from the eyes down the body to the feet.  I then looked at my own feet, eerily similar. It was starting to freak me out having someone copy my every movement.
I leaned forward, and so did the other.  We were less than a foot apart.  I reached out swiftly, hoping to catch it off guard, but it moved at the exact same time and we collided in the center. 

 Nothing hit me though, and I felt nothing but a smooth flat surface.  It made no sense. I was touching this other creature, its eyes right in front of me, but it’s like it was trapped on the other side of something I couldn’t see.  I banged my head against it, and again it mirrored my actions.

Then it toppled over and landed with a crash.  The creature now stared at me from slices in the floor as I watched in confused horror.  The main door suddenly opened, and two humans raced inside.

“What was that noise?” One of them yelled, looking up at the loft.

I gasped, finally seeing my chance to escape and didn’t spare a glance at the broken mirror.  I spread my wings and soared from my perch upon the chair, flying over their heads to leave my prison behind.  I was no longer a barn owl. I was free.
--
Jude


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