Edgar Allen Poe does bad things to my mind
The Owl and the Pussycat
Wind raged outside, and torrents of dark rain lashed against the window. Thunder rumbled, deep in the belly of the darkened sky, and forked lightning raked its jagged claws across the purple clouds.
Sarah sat at her mirror, brushing out her hair for bed. It was always the last part of her night time ritual, so that every night she got at least a few minutes to talk to Hoggle, Didymus and Ludo before bed.
'Alright, guys, I've got to go to sleep. I'm exhausted,' she told them. They bid her goodnight, and with a sleepy smile she closed the connection. Getting to her feet, she stretched languidly and turned to head to bed. Her bedside light was on, so she flicked off the ceiling light and prepared to crawl beneath the covers. Twas after midnight, and quite dreary, while she pondered weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious thought of what to do tomorrow. While she nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at her chamber window.
'Stupid rain,' she muttered to herself, realizing that she had forgotten to close her curtains. Maybe if she did, it would muffle the sound of the branch, or whatever that was tapping incessantly at her window.
Dragging herself to her feet, she stumbled back to the window, and came to a stop, staring out at the little white owl on her windowsill.
Let me in, his mismatched owl eyes seemed to say.
'Yeah, fat chance of that,' she answered, hands on her hips. 'It's past midnight. Don't you have goblins to terrorize or something?' She pulled the curtains closed and turned back to bed.
Tap tap tap!
'And another thing,' she added, wheeling around and throwing the curtains opened again, 'stalking is not attractive. It's creepy. Showing up at my window in the middle of the night? Honestly? Guys get arrested for less than that. Now go away!' The drapes snapped closed and she stomped back to bed.
Sarah sat on her bed and waited tensely.
Cautiously, she tip-toed back to the window and opened the curtain a crack to peek outside.
She leapt back.
'And why are you in owl form, anyway? You're all fluffy and wet and pathetic. It isn't nearly as intimidating as your Goblin King form. Or as attractive either, for that matter. Not that I find you attractive in human form.'
The owl just gave her a look.
'Yeah, keep telling yourself that,' she muttered. Cocking its head, the owl stared at her in silence, looking as self-satisfied as an owl possibly could. Sarah stared back for a long moment, then blinked and shook her head.
'Look at me. I'm having a staring contest with an owl.'
'I didn't ask for your opinion.'
There was silence for a moment, and then tap tap tap tap tap!
'Will you stop tapping at my window? You're an owl, not a raven.'
'Do you honestly think I'm gonna let you in? Well, I'm stealing your line, birdie: Quoth the Sarah, nevermore. Get it? Nevermore. Not happening.'
A gust of saturated wind swept up behind the owl, sending soggy feathers flying in all directions and water-logged wings flapping for balance.
Hoot! it cried desperately, little owl eyes wide.
'Well, that's what you get for showing up at my window in the middle of a thunderstorm. Honestly, you should have chosen a nicer night to harass me.'
The owl lowered its eyelids and gave her a long look, but the effect was slightly diminished by another gust of wind.
'You look like a stuffed animal. It makes me want to pat your head, not fear you, love you and do as you say.'
Tipping its head, the owl looked up at her with one feathery eyebrow raised. The message was clear: get over it already.
'You have an attitude problem, you know that?' Sarah told it, hands on her hips.
It really did look bedraggled and pathetic. A poor little owl caught out in the rain…she sort of wanted to give it a hug.
'Ohmygod, is that your plan?' she gasped. 'You make me pity you? That's your new ploy? Instead of playing the domineering goblin king you play the poor shivering lost bird?' It was hard to tell in the bad light, she but thought the owl looked a little shame-faced. 'Devious little scoundrel, aren't you?'
'For the last time, no!'
Sarah caught one look of sad and dejected little owl depression before, with the most violent gust yet, her winged visitor was torn from the windowsill by the raging wind and rain. Sarah gasped and started forward, tearing the drapes all the way open and pressing her face to the glass.
'He'll be okay,' she told herself out loud. 'He can fly. And anyway, he can always just pouf himself back to his warm cozy castle, can't he? He's probably there already…probably gave up on me for tonight, and that's why I can't see him…he definitely did not get his poor little owl body dashed against the concrete…no…'
At that moment, flapping haphazardly, the owl reappeared, warring with the furious storm until it could get its talons into the windowsill, where it clung pitifully. Sarah unpeeled herself from the windowpane.
'I wasn't worried about you.'
The owl shuffled its feathers and inched closer to the window.
'You're going to get sick, you know. And it'll be your own fault.'
The owl looked shyly and hopefully up at her between its eyelashes. It was pretty damn cute…did all owls have eyelashes, of was it just him?
Sarah closed her eyes for a moment.
'Crap.' She shook her head, opening her eyes to look out at the owl again. 'I can't believe I'm doing this.' It was just too cute to leave out alone in the rain. She put her hand to the window and opened it a crack.
'You have to stay in owl form, okay?' The owl nodded fervently. 'You promise?'
'And don't expect this to happen again,' she muttered, sliding it open a little more to let the soaked and dishevelled owl come tumbling in. Sarah regarded it for a moment as it shook out its feathers, and then she pulled the sweater from the back of her desk chair and wrapped it around her gust.
'I'm a hopeless softy, aren't I?' she asked the storm outside
'That was a rhetorical question.'
The owl smiled and burrowed deeper into the woollen sweater.
'What wrong with you? Owls have beaks; they can't smile. And I'm pretty sure they're not supposed to have eyelashes, either.'
The owl looked up at her for a moment, then closed its eyes.
'Yeah, well, shut up,' Sarah responded. If she hadn't been so damn tired she would have been able to think of a better comeback.
'You can keep your opinion to yourself,' she told him, 'or it's back into the storm with you.'
'That better have been a hoot of agreement.'
The owl wasn't very wet anymore, and as it dried off it got progressively fluffier. Instead of smelling like wet feathers, though, the bird was exuding the pleasant scent of pine forests and dark earth and mountain peaks, with maybe a hint of vanilla. Sarah rubbed it gently with the sweater, and was rewarded with a gentle hoot of contentment. Its eyes were still closed, so Sarah allowed herself to smile at its absolutely endearing adorableness.
The owl opened one eye, smirked, and nestled deeper into the sweater.
'Stupid smug little avian pest,' she told him. 'What did I say about your opinion?'
The owl was all nice and warm and dry by now. Sarah yawned and glanced at the clock.
'Jeez, it's 1:30. I have to go to bed. Time to go home, little owl.' It seemed a little cruel to toss the poor creature outside again, but she doubted he would just leave of his own volition.
The owl opened its eyes and looked up at her for a moment. Then it wriggled out of the folds of the sweater and hopped to its feet.
'Wow,' Sarah told him. 'Maybe there's hope for you yet. Good night!'
And it fluttered over to her bed, landing on her pillow. Sarah's mouth dropped open incredulously. He couldn't actually think…
'Don't you dare even think about it,' she warned, but to no avail. The owl picked up the edge of the coverlet in its beak and slipped underneath, lying down with its fluffy little head on the pillow.
Sarah's hands were back on her hips as she stalked towards it.
'You can't possibly be comfortable like that,' she told him scathingly. 'Owls aren't meant to lie down. Especially not under blankets.'
The owl gave her a look.
'And don't you look at me like that.'
It ruffled its wings in an unmistakable owl shrug and closed its eyes
'That's not what I meant. Now come on, get up. I don't care if you're an owl, and I don't care how pathetically cute you are. I'm not sleeping with you.'
The owl opened one eye, then closed it again, burrowing deeper beneath the covers.
'Oh, so what, I'm supposed to sleep on the floor?'
Another wing-ruffling shrug.
'You're insufferable, you know that?'
Sarah sat gingerly on the edge of the bed. It was late, she was tired and she didn't have the time or the energy to argue with him. She could always pick him up by the scruff of the neck and throw him out the window…but when she looked at his fluffy little white head and contentedly closed eyes she just couldn't bring herself to do it.
'Alright,' she said, poking him to make him open his eyes, 'these are the rules: you can't claw me, you can't peck at me and you can absolutely NOT turn back into a human. Capiche?'
The owl gave a slightly muffled hoot as she pushed it out of the center of the bed, lay down and flicked off the light.
'I will definitely regret this in the morning,' she murmured, feeling herself beginning to descend into sleep. Before she could drop off, though, something fluffy brushed against her hand, which was tucked beneath her cheek.
'Now what?' she asked, opening one eye. The owl smiled up at her and snuggled closer.
'Oh no,' she told it sternly, 'absolutely not. You stay on your side of the bed.' She pushed it away, but it wrapped its talons around her thumb and gently clung to her as she tried to withdraw her hand.
'Don't even think about it.' She pushed it away again, with the same results.
Sighing dejectedly, Sarah opened her other eye to stare down at her bed fellow.
'Enough is never enough, it is?'
It gave her that look again, gazing up through the widdle owl eyelashes, and she sighed in resignation.
'Fine. Fine. But remember the rules.' Sighing again, she pulled him closer and tucked him against her shoulder, his head under her chin. He felt soft and fluffy, the way Lancelot used to feel when she would sleep with him, before she gave him to Toby.
Hooting softly, the owl snuggled closer, downy feathers cuddly against her neck. She pulled the blankets up over him, one hand resting gently against his back. His heartbeat was slow and comforting, softly lulling her to sleep.
'Are you happy now?' she asked sleepily, surrendering to her exhaustion and to the gentle pulse of his heart.