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The Owl (standard:other, 718 words)
Author: kendall thomasAdded: Apr 23 2003Views/Reads: 1757/1Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A group of old friends reminisce in a hunting lodge.
 



The Owl by Twisted Wabbit 

Several old friends were seated around a glowing fireplace in a hunting
lodge tucked away in the Canadian Rockies.  They were sipping smooth 
whiskey and smoking thick, flavorable cigars.  Occasional one would 
break the comfortable silence to reminisce about a past event that they 
all held in common.  There would be chuckles and good-natured nodding 
of heads as he proceeded, and, when he had finished,  someone else 
would elaborate on the remembrance to the general amusement of all.  
The stories had been recounted many times, over the years, but the 
group never tired of hearing them retold or of repeating them with 
slight variations here and there. 

Indeed, these reminiscences were the real reason these old friends came
to the mountains every year.  Hunting moose or elk, or whatever, was 
merely an excuse for these get-togethers. 

They would make a leisurely stroll along a nearby lake with their
expensive shotguns and rifles slung over their shoulders, but rarely 
lifted them to shoot at anything.  When they did accidentally happen 
upon the occasional game coming down out of the woods for a drink, they 
would invariably miss their shot, for in their declining years they had 
developed a sympathy and reverence for life that had been lacking in 
their youth.  And although they would never say so aloud, this 
reverence had developed into an abhorrence of killing for sport. And so 
it was that their ‘hunting' was done mostly from their richly padded 
armchairs. 

As night gathered and stars filled the sky, the unaccented hoots of a
horned owl came to them over the crackling of the fire. One of the men, 
handsome still, with a full head of thick, gray hair, had suddenly 
become despondent as the hooting fainted away. 

“Why, whatever's the matter, Rawlings?” a thick set man by the name of
Vanicsek asked, noticing the change in his friend's countenance. 

“Oh, nothing really; it's just that the sound of that owl reminded me of
an incident that happened many years ago, something that I've tried to 
forget.” 

This confession got everyone's interests and with some gentle prodding
he was persuaded to tell what had happened. 

“Well,” he began,” when I was a child a school bully by the name of
Allen Turly was always picking on me.  One day he had me cornered on 
the playground and was about ready to hit me with his fist when a new 
student, by the name of Richard Hughes, came to my rescue and with one 
well-placed punch sent this bully fleeing. Thereafter, Richard and I 
were inseparable buddies.  We even went to the same college and when 
the war in Nam broke out we were among the first to join up, serving in 
the same infantry outfit.  One day , while on patrol, I was wounded in 
a skirmish and, risking his life, Richard lugged me out of the line of 
fire and back to our relief point seven miles away. I owe my life to 
him.  A nobler man never lived. 

After our hitch was up we finished college.  I became a lawyer and
Richard a business man. 

I played the field when it came to women; while Richard, a romantic at
heart, fell head over heels for a pretty, little southern belle by the 
name of Sally Ann. After they were married, I was always treated as a 
member of the family and was always going over for supper or a ball 
game on TV. 

One evening when I arrived at their home, somewhat out in the country,
Sally Ann told me that Richard had flown to New York on business.  
There was nothing unusual about this, Richard was always flying 
somewhere promoting his software firm as it grew in size and 
importance. However, one thing led to another and late that night 
something woke me up while I was in bed next to Sally Ann.  Then I 
heard what it was -- an owl hooting in the tree outside the window.  
Guilt-ridden, I got dressed and slipped out of the house. 

Later I learned that Richard had come back early from his business trip
and would have discovered Sally Ann and me together had that owl not 
awaken me.  I moved away shortly thereafter and never saw my friend 
again.” 


   


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