The Night When The Owls Were Too Loud

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‘Here arrives a sin of man

With it, a mark of filth that stained

And a blemish on moonflower petals gained

Find salvation if you can

Should demons awaken from beneath the land

An eclipse of the lune you shall see

Sunken in eternal red you will be

None to be spared, try to escape the Devil’s darkened hand.”

           -An excerpt from a slab written in Kabbalah script, unearthed from the bottom of the Dead Sea by the acclaimed archaeologist and professor of Theology, Dr. Justine.



“Miss, you’re leaving before finishing your meal?” The bemused waiter asked as I stood up abruptly. Without gracing his with a reply, I strode out of the diner. In any case, I would not have been able to answer, all I am capable of are low growls. Ah, do you see a girl stumbling out of the eatery? You would be wrong. I am a human, yet not. I walk from one restaurant to the next, making wild gestures at the counters, ordering all sorts of food. Of late, nothing seems to sate my hunger. I have heard other folks say I gorge like a slobbering beast and I daresay they would be correct in their observation. Cheese burgers, French fries, the things they serve here, these are not the usual kind I feast on.

Flesh. I crave flesh. At times, I am more than tempted to bite off my own skin.

By now, you must have realised what is going on, right? No? I suppose not. Even I was incredulous at first.

Well, let me enlighten you. I am a nocturnal predator, a vixen, to be precise. Rather, I used to be, a year prior. Has it really been a year, though? It is difficult to say these days. The world as we knew it, has changed. For starters, my own metamorphosis. Furthermore, the duration of hours has been reduced drastically. And as a result, it may have been a year or two or even three.

Speech eludes me, so does sleep, sight as well. I used to hunt at night, but now, it is all useless. The light of the moon aided me on my prowls, however-

The moon is gone! Forever lost to infinity!

Thankfully, the keenness of my auditory and olfactory senses has not left though. That is how I can detect the presence of humans and places where I can forage for my daily fare. And, for some odd reason, I can understand the human-tongue. Perhaps that is due to my transformation.

But these are the least of my concerns, I tell you.

For ages unending, I have not caught my daily forty winks. Can you imagine how devastating that can be? Of course not, you lot are real humans who are capable of dreaming in peace, reposing upon a soft bed. Can you even fathom how cumbersome it is to find new balance in this strange body? When I try to run or leap, I trip, falling on my face unceremoniously. Humans are not meant to prance about like us. There is a constant ringing in my ears; a furious reaction to the oddity in equilibrium. More like a drumming, distasteful noise; it nearly splits the skull. With no rest, no sustenance, I am very close to collapsing. I keep hoping I would turn back to what I used to be, but to no avail. Not surprising, really, given all the other changes that are taking place around me. The term \\\’seasons\\\’ has been erased from the minds of all. I feel the snow on my body and without my thick pelt, I tend to shiver most of the time.

Frustrated, sickened, tired to the bone, I exit another diner, but not before I hear a man\\\’s voice murmuring to another as if chanting. “An eclipse of the lune you shall see-” This alerted me.

Yes, a lunar eclipse, that was when everything began to go haywire, spiralling out of control. That was the moment I changed form; the moment my abilities as a night-time hunter lost the support of the moonlight, thereby losing sight.

What on earth is this fellow talking about? He seemed to be holding a conversation with someone else. The other man replied, “Yes, that’s what the text says. It’s a prophecy, as foretold in the ‘Book of Formation’ written in ancient Kabbalah.”

“That prediction is coming to fruition, isn’t it? After that lunar eclipse, we never saw the moon again. It’s as the Dead Sea scrolls described. It’s like the Devil’s hand called forth the demons from the underworld, who, in turn, devoured the lone light of the night.”

“As we speak, Dr. Justine is working on discovering the time machine to figure out the truth of the Kabbalah writings.”

Time machine?

Never heard of something like that before…

Is it some sort of thingamabob that lets you go forward or backward in time?

Will it let me go back to the hour before the moon disappeared, when I still existed as a vixen?

I sensed the scraping of chairs on wood; those men were leaving. Right then and there, I decided to follow them.

Perhaps they could take me to this Dr. What’s-his-name…

I tracked the sounds of their feet squelching in the snow and sludge and tailed them from a reasonable distance. After what seemed like an age, they stopped, the soles of their shoes touching old stone. Presently, a third pair of feet joined them.

“Have you found it, Dr. Justine?”

“Yes. We can get started right away.”

“So where’s the device?”

“It isn’t actually a device. It’s this meadow here, full of moonflowers, the portal to the flow of time. I went through the rest of the scraps found near the Dead Sea and managed to decipher a few more. One of them clearly indicates this place.”

“Oh my! All of these moonflowers have been stained black! As inscribed upon the slab containing the prophecy!”

“Exactly! Fitting, isn’t it? All we need to do is pick up one of these flowers and concentrate on the precise moment in time where we wish to go.”

Moonflowers have a distinct scent of honeysuckle. Thus, I found myself able to pluck one at random. I did not care what the three men thought; some girl emerging out of the blue, sniffing dark petals. I was desperate to leap back to that night when the owls were too loud. The birds had been particularly annoying then. They were much too confused at the advent of the hour of the eclipse.



I had regained my sight, having returned to my former self, a four-legged creature instead of standing up on two.

A beautiful lea stretched out before me, pristine in its purity, pearly moonflowers blossoming everywhere. I noticed three men at the edge of the field. Apparently, they too had arrived at this point in time. The full moon still embellished the heavens as had been the norm then.

“There’s a vixen over there!” One of the men called out.

“We’ve nothing to kill it with!”

“Let’s retreat deeper into the grove, biding our time!”

But before they could come to a decision, the scene before me began to flit and ripple, although the landscape was but a tapestry woven out of gossamer threads, as delicate as butterfly wings floating in the air, a veil that fluttered to and fro.

There shimmered into sight a battle ground, fraught with cruelty, reeking of burning gore and deathly fumes…

Blinding sparks from clashing blades, flames from firearms. There were men beheading their kin, spearing their fellows…

Immediately afterwards, the scenery revived, it was that meadow again.

Now, however; roughly; a hundred flowers had been smeared in grime.

The field faded and another drapery was hung, soft as a passing spring breeze.

There loomed a site of execution, crows shrieking with the accompaniment of laughter. Heads of several had been set on many a pikestaff, the mouths of the victims, the spoils of war, had fallen open. Soon, the sight drifted.

The field had returned.

This time, another bunch of florets had been besmirched. The lea glistened away once more…

Next, a spot where a gruesome ritual was in full swing. Several women and children had been placed on lit altars before a pagan effigy that resembled a goat. Eventually, bloodshed commenced…

Yet again, the meadow returned, glimmering. More petals had been inked with the murk of evil.

Following such wickedness, other murder-scapes emerged, much like the appearance of shadows from beneath the ground, straight from purgatory.

A sprawling city where tall buildings were crumbling like a deck of cards due to a series of deliberate explosions…

Children with blank eyes and hollowed cheeks forced to work for the wealthy…

Women in excruciating agony as people attempted to snatch their piety and dignity away…

Elderly folk begging on streets as others cackled at them, dangling notes before their eyes before stowing them away in the deepest folds of their attires…

People concocting odd tinctures, the rest choking on them…

And every time these terrifying scenarios played out, the moon started to turn darker and darker, akin to the blackening of the flowers.

I understood.

An eclipse indeed. Of innocence. Eons and eons of purity being robbed. Humans were finally getting their comeuppance. Some higher entity was serving them their just desserts.

Within my range of vision, a tiger slowly ambled into view. As I took a couple of steps back, a sharp cry resounded in my ears; the screech of a vulture. Before I could cower; for vultures were nasty chaps; both the bird and the beast had started to morph. I let out a growl as I came to the conclusion that there had been others like me, others who had changed shape during the eclipse.

“So that’s why the text said ‘none to be spared’!” One of the trio exclaimed-

But I was having trouble standing erect, something was clouding my thought processes-

“Look at the vixen! Her body\’s altering!”

“I see. So this is the truth of the eclipse. Even animals, now turned into humans, will either end up killing each other; or; nearly starving to death, shall start tearing up their own flesh!”

“We’ve got to leave! Now! They might notice us!”

“Fear not, our time’s almost up! The contraption is meant to work only for a day!”

“With the moon’s gravitational pull gone, the earth’s tilt of 23.4 degrees will straighten, and the day will reduce to five hours! Good for us!”

What… did they just say?

I will… return? I thought I was here to stay!

I will return to… being human?

Is this where the world was headed to?

Ripping apart others, ripping apart the self?

An everlasting eclipse?


Is my time up too?



When I came to, I lay on snow, gasping. A fresh patch fell close to where I landed from my sojourn to the past. I no longer inhaled the fragrance of honeysuckle nearby, neither were my time-travelling companions in the vicinity. Perhaps we had been thrown off at separate spots, perhaps they were off to slaughter others like me. We were fated to experience the same orgy after all.

I dusted my coverings and dragged myself up.

A young boy passed by.

Could he be a carnivore to whom foxes were prey? A bear or an alligator maybe?

Or…. none of those.

Maybe a lesser creature, like hamster or a finch?

Best not to approach…

The lunar eclipse had ensured that none could really discern if their neighbours were human or not. If he was indeed what he appeared to be, he could end my life whenever he chose!

Looking for food elsewhere was pointless.

Then again, a vile end was inevitable.

I bit into my skin. Human flesh wasn’t bad.

None shall be spared.

A prophecy, you see, must always ring sound and true.

And who am I, an insignificant creature, to still the Devil’s darkened hand?

That Stormy Night
When We Met


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