Barefoot, the boy slowly walks down the cold stone stairs. The old musty basement threatens to make him cough or sneeze, but he does neither. He is silent as he descends into the darkness. The boy is frightened, his heart is pounding, he knows something is within the basements depths, but he also knows that he must go down. Something pushes him to unveil the basements true nature. Darkness consumes the boy at the bottom of the stairs and he stops moving. His breathing makes no sound as he stands there, in the darkness. The boy waits in the darkness without a sound. His eyes adjust to cold dark and he can make out another set of stairs to his left. Silent as ever the young child steps down the last set of stairs and peers around the pitch black expanse.

There it is. The boy can just make out the outline of an enormous tree, stretching its branches into the roof of the cavern. The tree is old and wise, its branches stretching across the total expanse of the room. Fireflies flicker around him and due to their friendly light the rest of the room is revealed, empty of threats. The child finally relaxes, letting out a breath he had been holding for there is nothing to fear here.

An owl alights on the tree branch

The silent and controlled child cannot help himself. He screams. Guttural terrifying screams fill the cavern and still he screams. He screams and screams in anguish, tripping over the bottom step he falls, but still he screams. He tries to run, to escape but still he stares at the owl, wide-eyed and screams his heart out. He cannot close his eyes or look away so he screams to find relief.

The owl looks at him, slowly moving its head so it stares at the boy straight in the eyes.

The child’s screams are more frantic now gasping for breath but still screaming and screaming, the high pitched torturous sounds escaping the boys lips, still he screams.

The owl take flight, hovers just above the terrified child, dives down and starts pecking him.

The boy screams. Choking on his own blood he screams still, salty tears flowing over his injuries, he screams and screams. Desperately he looks towards the stairs screaming for help, for mercy.

There, on the stairs, the boy sees his mother. Her arms are crossed in the way she does and she only has her pajamas on having only just waking up from her child’s screams.

The boys eyes, flowing with tears can only make out his mother’s face beneath his screams of anguish. Frantically, with the owl attacking him, ripping his ears off, pecking out his hair, frantically the boy crawls towards his mother, towards safety. He pushes with one last effort and his bloodied, scarred hand rests on his mother’s slippers. Still he screams but the child knows it will be over soon and for that he is glad.

The boy, peers up through the pain and sees his mother kick his injured hand off her foot and walk back up the stairs.

The boy screams, he screams until his heart bursts and still he screams some more. However, now the child screams because of his main fear, not of pain or owls, but of abandonment.

  • JaneTheReader

    An intriguing story, not sure what the owl is, but I find it quite sad when the mother leaves him to die. Perhaps this is part of a bigger picture? I’m not sure. Good read overall.