Outside,a strike of lightning threw itself down onto the ground like a spear of electricity with grey clouds rumbling along side the thunder.Inside,Jay lurched inside of the old abandoned house desperately looking for somewhere to hide in the crumbling building.:Old furniture torn with fluff sticking out;tables and chairs broken in pieces and cobwebs in corners of the room.To his shock,he noticed that the abandoned building was a dead end.He was stuck
Behind him,the peculiar looking man stood in the doorway,a knife glinting like a star in his hand.Jay gasped…
…but at that moment,something hooted deeper than thunder.Out of the darkness,not one but two coal,black eyes appeared,a flash of brown and the sharpest of beaks.Whatever it was,burst past Jay and stood between him and the man!
It was small.Small and brown.Jay realised that he was standing beside a feisty Barn Owl.It threw its round head back and hooted viciously.In that moment,the man had fled as if having a runner-up.Jay stood rooted to the spot,paralysed by fear.
The Owl turned around and bowed down in front of Jay,resting his wings on the ground.He could see that he was wounded.A gash of red ran across his wing.He had never been so close to such a feisty creature before.He could smell an earthy,musty scent and watched as its pelt of brown feathers ripple across his wing.
They stared intently at each other;Jay felt that he was sizing him up,seeing deeper and deeper into his very being.But,his fear began to fade and he held out his hand.He leaned his head forwards and hooted softly.Then his wing was placed on him with its soft feathery wing.His eyes sparkled as if black shining diamonds.He could see kindness but also a well of sadness.
It was then that he spoke.A low gravelly voice that seemed to spring from the ground itself.It was a voice of rock,wind and mud.
“I need your help now,”he said slowly.
“We must find the gateway.”
“What on earth is it talking about?”Jay thought to himself.
Jay stared back,his head nodding as if he understood.He knew in that moment he would do anything to protect this small,beautiful creature.Anything.
“They will be back,”said the Barn Owl,”so I must hide.”
A while later,Jay and the Owl had slunk through the streets,down to the old warehouse by Cherry water canal.No one ever dared to venture there.Rumor had it that the ghosts of navvies haunted the building but that last summer Jay had made an entry.(He often sat inside watching ducks swim across the water’s edge.).The Barn Owl settled down in a corner and slept.Jay kept watch.