Over the crest of a hill, I drove. A first glimpse through a fog-veiled light beam, headlights illuminating a field of diamonds, glittering the bejeweled roadway, but no…

My approach revealed broken glass, strewn cut-edged shatters reflecting the light.

High beams joined the moonlit sky across a mostly barren landscape and beyond the sea of broken glass – a car. Transfixed, slowing almost to a stop, my eyes moved suddenly to the tire. How obscure, this vision before me, a spinning tire thrust into the air, like a strange carnival ride going round and round.

Escaping my lips was an abrupt sound, incredulous as my mind began to grasp this scene. The initial imagined beauty, crystalline shimmers against the dark highway fell away like a fading smile. The twisted hulk lay diagonally across my lane. Feeling a black foreboding welling up, I parked, sensing the unfolding nightmare. Was I asleep? I had been driving all night, an endless journey etched into my thoughts like a deep chasm. My car engine finally quiet, I opened the door and emerged into the night, listening to an eerie silence.

A sharp sound forced my head to turn toward a lone tree beside the road; I squinted to see a wide-eyed sentinel, silhouetted against the sky. The owl sent a mournful message. “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” came to mind. The scene opened silently before me; I stood unmoving, taking in the macabre sight.

Seconds passed as hours and feeling powerless to move or to react, I finally called out. Hearing only the echo of my own voice, my eyes fell again on the owl, who stared, a perceived messenger of death, until it flew away at the sound of sirens approaching.

Image Credit:Erik Karits

Julie A. Dickson is a poet and writer of YA fiction, based on personal experiences of bullying, mixed with fantasy and magic. Her poetry appears in over 50 journals, including Misfit, Sledgehammer, Open Door, etc. She is a push cart nominee, past poetry board member, advocate for captive elephants and companion of two rescued feral cats. Writers write.