When Owls Hoot

When owls hoot, I remember the stories my mother used to tell. Stories that frightened an eight year old me. Stories that always left the chills running down my spine.

“Don’t whistle at night. You’d awaken spirits, you’d summon ghosts. You’ll call the names of the dead. And they would hear. And they would come.”

*********

“Last seen 7th May, 1854.”

The usual last seen notification appeared as soon as she’d sent her last message.

“Alright. Fine. I’ll make it tonight, but I always leave with something.”

I was used to seeing the notification date back as two years on a few of my Facebook friends’ profiles, because of their chat settings, but this particular date had me wondering.

I tapped the “View Profile” option, and everything was blank. The explicit pictures, pornographic exposures and nude photographs of herself were all gone.

I couldn’t feel my head on my shoulders. My normally heavy head was air-light, and I had reason to believe I became paranoid.

Her name was Jessica, as much as I was led to believe, but right now, I couldn’t tell. I could feel my breath failing, while I was trying to make out the image on her all-of-a-sudden new profile picture.

Somewhere beneath, it read “Mors aequo pulsat” in Latin.

“What have I done?” I heard myself yell.
I had momentary flashbacks of the horror movies I’d watched over the weekend, while I was trying to get myself together in one piece.

The soft, but rapid tap on the door seemed to create a symphony that played my consciousness back to me. I felt the sudden need to scream, but I was alone. Everyone had gone for the holidays. And this was the reason I asked my supposedly online girlfriend to come over.

Building up courage, I drew myself to my feet and hobbled over to the door.

The night was unusually quiet, and the breeze seemed to be making the tree leaves wave differently tonight. It was as though their waves were saying goodbye.

I hesitated, and then the tap. Again. Like a set up, my phone vibrated, and a notification popped in. It read, in Latin, again, “Ego adsum. Videre possum tibi. Non est tempus.” It was a message from Jessica!

I froze. And then a second message. This time, in English, “Open the door.”

As if through magic, I felt gravity pulling my feet towards the door, with my hands shaking the whole time. I reached for the knob, like one hypnotized, and opened it.

And I felt it. It passed. Like a whisper, rooting me to the ground. The whisper brushed against my shoulders and entered the house.

This was the onset of the curse.

Neither did I need a mirror, nor the need to turn, to know that there was a life form manifesting behind me.

I turned. And there it was. The image of a girl in shreds, floating above the ground, with her head sagged downwards, which was very much because of the cut on the left side of her neck. She held a blade that glinted in the dark, scarlet and sharp.

While trying to make out what I was seeing, her head shot up, and there were no eyes. Just sunken holes and a scarred face.

She smiled. “How do you like me now?”

When she slashed at me, I didn’t know that was the last taste of life, and my phone dropped from my hands before I finished telling this…

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