The Owl’s Graveyard

A mischievous autumn breeze carries frail leaves across the graveyard, tickling the brown grass darkened by headstone shadows. The leaves turn and sway around slender, knobbed twigs, carrying the scent of wet earth from one space to another. They rustle and crackle when they clash against the other, and then fall to their final rest as the wind whisks away to the north.

Off in the distance, a tower chimes twelves bells, a strike of midnight, and in response, silence falls over the yard.

Hoot hoot, a grey owl calls from a dead tree’s branch. A shiver rustles his silver feathers reflected by the red full moon, and the brittle branch sighs under his light weight.

From midnight to three chimes of the tower’s cry, the owl had watched the graveyard come alive for many years. And before his watch, his mother, and her father before that. Every night they’d listen as the ancient spirits spoke, their voices muffled from the pressure of their dirt prisons.

But tonight is different. Tonight, the voices stray from the ground and their spirits mingle above. The owl watches with wide yellow eyes, the legend passed from each generation of feathered-watchers true. He hoots once more and spreads his wings. Quickly, he takes flight and soars with the stream of spirits, leading them away from the graveyard’s curse that’s lifted by the full red moon and All Hallows’ Eve.

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