This story actually came to me in a dream so I feel like I had to write it down somewhere. The only concept I had was four boys’ parents are mysteriously killed, owls are somewhat involved with bringing signs of death, and I toyed with calling the story “Owlies.” This is the first chapter and I’m kind of stuck but I like to write and hopefully there will be more chapters to share. Hope you enjoy! Also, any feedback is greatly appreciated.
Caleb Fisk had no trouble with the seven logs wedged between his trunk-like arms. His father was a burly mountain man and raised Caleb to follow in his footsteps. Over time, Caleb made a home for himself, developed a brute strength and muscular physique, and married a sweet blonde girl who bore him four sons. He now trudged over to his shed where he made a career as a carpenter. He unloaded the lumber on the side of the shed and met his wife on the front porch.
Jayne Fisk’s immaculate blonde hair, wisped with some strands of gray, fell down to the coffee cup she was holding nervously. A couple of hairs landed in the cup, which she solemnly brought to her lips. Her piercing blue eyes looked up at the sky as if trying to look through the sun. Her father, an educator, brought her up in an advanced society far away from any woods. She never so much as stepped on a twig, let alone lived in a cabin with a true lumberjack. When she met Caleb, it was love at first sight, and her father did not approve. Her mother, long dead, would have loved Caleb, and mentioned many times to her daughter that she might prefer if her husband had a stick in his hand rather than up his butt.
Caleb moved up the steps and kissed his wife on the neck.
“Looks like rain,” she said, still keeping a stare on the sun. Caleb looked up to the clear sky and shook his head.
“There’s no clouds,” he replied skeptically. He proceeded to walk up the front steps, and through the front door leading to the kitchen. Jayne remained looking up at the cloudless sky with a worrisome face.
She mumbled something like “rain” and followed her husband inside. He was at the kitchen table with their youngest son Mackery (Mack for short). He was playing with his favorite toy, a wooden train whittled by his father. Jayne couldn’t help but smile. Her smile quickly faded as a roll of thunder resonated in the cabin. Jayne and Mack both had “deer in headlights” looks as a downfall of precipitation fell from the heavens. Out of the trance, Jayne sneakily gave her husband a matter-of-fact glance and Mack resumed moving his train up and down the invisible track and making “choo-choo” sounds. Caleb looked at his son and then to his wife. They always felt Mack had the “gift” shared by his mother, but it was now becoming more and more prominent.
“Come on, honey. Why don’t we go to bed? It’s past your bed time.”
Thatcher, sixteen, had trouble sleeping most nights. He hated the rain, but something was different about this rain. He lay in bed restless, pretending to be asleep as his mother came in with Mack.
“Ma, what’s with the rain? It was sunny a second ago.”
“Never mind, Thatch. It’s time for bed.”
“It’s not even sundown.”
“I don’t want any arguments.” Jayne shot a look to her eldest son and suddenly, his eyes grew heavy.
“Time to sleep, honey, and when you wake, it’ll be a fresh new day.” She lay her son down on his bed and kissed him on the forehead.
“How ‘bout a story?” he urged, but his mother solemnly shook her head.
“Not tonight, dear. Tomorrow night, I’ll give you two.” Though disappointed, Mack smirked and Jayne kissed him again. She then got up from the bed and headed for the door. Before exiting, she looked at the room housing her eldest and youngest son. Thatcher was trying to fight off closing his eyes but there was no match.
“Good night, my sweet boys. Tomorrow is a fresh new day.” She blew a kiss and headed out the door. Thatcher let his mom’s words ring in his head before heading to a somewhat forced sleep. Tomorrow is a fresh new day.
Morning came and Thatcher awoke to a large owl hooting. He turned over to Mack’s bed, but he wasn’t in it.
“Mack! Where are–?” The owl screeched louder and it was now that Thatcher refocused his eyes and realized the owl was right in the crack of their bedroom window. Mack was standing mere inches away from it.
“Mack! Get away from the owl!” Thatcher quickly scuttled out of bed and grabbed his little brother. The owl used this as a cue to lift off violently and soar above their heads, and out the bedroom door.
“Owlie!” Mack exclaimed as Thatcher lifted his brother to a shoulder and surreptitiously trudged out of the bedroom. He was met with his other two brothers across the hall who couldn’t evade the large owl’s hooting.
“I think it wants us to follow it,” Will, the second oldest said ominously. Thatcher nodded in agreement.
“Right. Will, keep the boys here while I check it out.” Thatcher handed off his brother to Will and made his way through the corridor. On his travels, he tapped his parents’ door open and disappointingly shook his head negatively for his brothers. The hooting could be heard from the living room. Oh God, he thought. Oh God, Oh God, Oh God.
“Where Tasher go?” Mack cried.
“He went to go make us breakfast,” Will replied. Ellis, the third oldest, gave his brother a look of skepticism.
Thatcher stepped cautiously into the living room where the owl finished its call and rested on top of Caleb’s chair. The owl turned its head towards Thatcher and spread its wing to the right. Thatcher looked to his side and his eyes widened in horror. There was his father sprawled on the rug with a whittling knife delved deep into his muscular chest, below the tip of his beard. Thatcher could feel a hot stickiness on his feet and realized he was standing in his father’s blood. He tried to run but his legs felt like they were in quicksand. The owl flew up abruptly and whisked itself to Caleb. It sunk its talons into their father’s tough skin and in a flash of light, everything was gone, blood and all. Thatcher felt a drop of sweat, or tear, rolling down his cheek. He suddenly found his legs again and turned around. His eyes widened again as he saw his three brothers standing before him.
“We saw a light…and you were gone for a long time—is that blood?” Will was referencing Thatcher’s blood stained feet.
“Dad,” Thatcher murmured. That was the only word it took to make them understand, well except for Mack.
“Where Daddy?” he started to cry and Ellis, though no words were spoken, started to sob as well.
“And Mom?” asked Will. Thatcher shook his head.
“No idea. The room is empty.” Will couldn’t stop staring at his brother’s feet, marked in his father’s blood. Thatcher immediately exited the family room and out the door to the porch.
The three looked up to Thatcher. Being the first-born son, Caleb raised him as his father once did. Thatcher was built like his father, quick with a knife, and knew which berries were poisonous. To be honest, he always looked up to Caleb, but now that he was gone, something broke inside Thatcher. It was as though the rubber band that was holding this family together suddenly snapped overnight. He headed for his father’s workshop. It was empty aside from the unfinished cabinet Caleb was making.
“This doesn’t make any sense.” Thatcher rubbed his temples and to his relief and horror, a loud hooting could be heard from outside the shed. Thatcher could see a thin, white owl resting on a tree branch, much more elegant than the first one. It immediately flew down towards the boy and proceeded to fly past the shed. In no time, he followed the owl. It was not long before he saw a body lying on the brush. Even without looking closer, Thatcher knew it was his mother. She seemed to have something in her hand. Thatcher stepped closer and bent down to take whatever it was Jayne clasped so tightly. It took a little bit of effort, but Thatcher was able to pry open her hands and retrieve a piece of paper. The owl gallantly flew down towards Jayne and there was another flash of light. Thatcher read to himself but couldn’t make sense of it. He looked around at the vacant land where his mother lay mere minutes before, accepted the circumstances, and retreated back to the cabin.
Innes Creen, better known as Foxhole, is a hunter, less muscular than Caleb Fisk, and undeniably more dangerous. He liked to hunt in the wee hours of the morning where the deer were more prominent. He groggily got up from his bed, looked over to the empty spot next to his trodden pillow, and headed to the toilet. After relieving himself, he slammed his apple sized fist into his sons’ bedroom door.
“Beartrap! Wolf! Up an at ‘em!”
Foxhole trudged back into his bedroom, sleepily pulled on his boots and coat, and headed back out into the hall. Danno, one of his treelike sons emerged from the bathroom, mumbled incoherently, and slid past his father.
“Wolf, grab the blusterer off the rack.” His son waved his hand in accordance and trampled to the kitchen. Foxhole walked into his sons’ bedroom and eyed the giant heap under the covers. He gave a vigorous smack to his eldest son’s leg, and Stacker didn’t even wince.
“Your brother’s already up. Now get up or I’ll send for the owls.”
His son sprang up angrily and whisked past his father without a word.
“Wolf’s got the blusterer. Take the shieve.” The sound of a door slamming rang in Foxhole’s ears. He looked up to the sky. “Doe, grant me serenity.”