Autumn was in full swing I noticed, as I kicked some of the russet leaves that piled in tiny mounds throughout the grounds. The golden, amber and auburn crowns of the trees surrounded the clearing I was standing in. A gust of wind wound through the leaves churning them into miniature whirlwinds that then glided softly back to the ground in a slow motion effect. It was beautiful here, a combination of park and natural woods that lent a serene feeling to the place. I was entranced by the otherworldly energy that I sensed emanated from the woods.
Part of me didn’t want to leave, but I also urged to go home and recover from whatever had happened to me. I couldn’t be far from the city so I headed west finding a trail nestled between ancient trees that hinted at their age by the large trunks and roots that plunged into the ground. For the most part all I could hear was the wind whistling softly. It’s bone chilling cold seeping into me. Soon, I could see a gate in the distance and hurried my steps. The day was ending and I wanted to leave before dark.
The warning hoot of an owl startled me just as I neared the gate and I glanced up into the trees to see where it came from. A large barn owl glowered at me with its dark eyes and I felt the menace in his message. Fear sprang through me and I tried to open the gate which rattled as I shook it but wouldn’t unlatch. I sensed more than heard the owl take flight and I looked back. He was huge with unusually long legs and talons. I panicked and started running back towards the woods – the owl pursuing me relentlessly no matter how many turns I took. I tried heading back towards the gate but he cut me off; painfully nipping at my shoulders and arms while I ran shielding my head. It didn’t matter what I tried, he continued to usher me back into the woods. Terrified, I entered the clearing - the barn owl still chasing me hooting angrily; chastising me while I ran sobbing hysterically.