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The Witness

A long, harsh scream cut through the cold night air, piercing my ears as my shovel ripped through the earth. A chill ran down my spine as I dropped the shovel and pointed my flashlight in the direction of the sound. Was someone out here with me? No, they couldn’t be. I’d purposely driven out to a deserted spot, the only people who dared to be this far into the woods were the ones with ill intentions or something they wanted to keep hidden.

My logic didn’t stop my heart from pounding in my chest as I wondered if I’d been caught. Thump, thump, thump. I pictured my family’s faces illuminated by red and blue lights as they watched me being dragged away in handcuffs. I could almost see the tears streaming down my youngest daughter’s cheeks as the officer drove away with me in the backseat.

My coworkers would gossip about me before telling the news outlets that they thought I was weird and withdrawn. They’d say that I didn’t have any friends and how I isolated myself from them. They’d pretend that they’d reached out to me and invited me to go to their events. They would claim that they went out of their way to befriend me, only for me to ignore their attempts. Some of them might offer to be interviewed on a true-crime podcast. I hated true crime podcasts, so I couldn’t let that happen.

“Who’s there?” I demanded.

No answer. Whoever was out here at this time must have been up to no good themselves. I stole a glance towards what I’d been about to bury and wondered if their crimes were as severe as mine.

I was paralyzed with fear by the time the two beady eyes shone in flashlight. The eyes belonged to a predator who was both beautiful and haunting. It was a barn owl with soft, pale feathers that covered its entire body. He didn’t look friendly, like a dog or cat, but like a predator stalking his prey.

I laughed when I realized I’d been terrified of an owl. The owl stared down at me as I grabbed my shovel again. I knew it wasn’t possible, but I felt as though the owl was peering straight into my soul. It was as if he knew all my secrets. I glanced down at the fleshly disturbed dirt and realized he knew at least one secret. I smiled to myself, knowing that he couldn’t tell anyone. The only witness to my crime couldn’t comprehend what I had done.

I could feel the owl’s eyes burning into my back as I dug my shovel into the dirt. He shrieked again, the sound was loud and feminine. It sounded almost as if it were a woman screaming as she ran reminding me of the events that had occurred just hours earlier.

The owl may have made me uncomfortable, but I had to work quickly before the sun rose. The dirt-stained my skin, finding its way under my nails as I tossed mounds of dirt behind me until I had a hole big enough for her.

She had been beautiful just hours before, with pale pink hair, cherry lips, and a sprinkling of freckles across her cheeks. Her laugh had attracted me to her. It was a magical sound that awakened a new part of me, a dangerous part of me that had to have her. Her laughter soon gave way to blood-curdling screams, and then she was silent. Every sound she’d ever made was gone, just like she was.

As I lifted her, I noticed an owl tattoo on her arm. It resembled the owl who was watching me, but this owl was surrounded by stars and moons. I whispered that I was sorry as I lowered her into the hole, but was I sorry? I hadn’t been sorry when I got the urge to hurt her. Maybe sorry was just something people said.

As I covered the once beautiful woman with dirt, I wondered why I had hurt her and if I would do it again. The owl watched me, silently, his eyes judging me as if he understood what I was doing. I took deep breaths, calming myself as I finished the task.

I walked to a nearby body of water and threw the shovel in. I then washed my hands, as the beady-eyed owl let out another shrill cry. The sound was almost human, like a woman in distress. Like the pink-haired woman in distress. I remembered the look in her eyes when she realized what a monster I was.

I tried to put the owl behind me and leave the forest, but he always seemed to be ahead of me. His magnificent wings flapped as he moved to burrow in the tree just ahead of me. I shifted, going in the other direction to avoid the owl, but I heard his wings flapping as he hurried to perch of a tree limb that was just ahead of me.

“What do you want?” I demanded.

The owl didn’t answer, he only stared at me with his knowing eyes. He’d seen what I’d done, and he wanted me to suffer for it. I silently cursed myself for tossing the shovel when I could have used it to hit the owl. The owl continued to let out shrill noises, leaving me no choice but to cover my ears.

“Stop, stop! Please, I can’t take it!” I yelled as the noises made my ears ring.

The owl flew towards me, causing me to run back towards the water. The bottom of my boot caught on a rock, and I fell. My vision darkened as my head hit a rock. My eyes looked up towards the night sky, but the only thing in my field of vision was the owl. He’d moved again so that I’d be able to see him. He looked almost proud of himself as he watched my eyes close for the last time.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in All Stories, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror