Ever since I was born I was different. Ever since I realised my path in life, I was different. Ever since I came to understand the ways of the Black Owls I was different. Not because of my sight. Not because of my hearing. But because of my choice. My choice of being the first Summer Owl.
The first thing my parents noticed about me that was strange was that I was the colour white in a family of grey-black. Not just white, a blinding white that seemed to glow. This is also why I am called ‘The Summer Ghost’. My Mother named me Icily, but my father calls me Melting Ice, or Ice for short. Well, he used to, until the first hunting night. My first hunting night with the Black Owl Elder occurred a month after my Mum named me. My friend Ash flew off before the Elder’s cry, catching a mouse within the first ten minutes. He was a born hunter, and soon got in with the popular owls. I remember being confused, blinking rapidly to try and wipe the darkness away.
-Ice! Come on! Everyone else has gone.-My father hooted, gesturing into the dark wood with his wing.
-Do I have to? Couldn’t I try in the morning?- I replied.
-You know you can’t! The whole point is to do it today, because today is the longest and darkest night in the year. And you know why we can’t hunt in the morning. We’re noc. Tur. Nal.- He whispered, as if the worms below could hear us with their non-existent ears.
-I can’t, father. I’ll try again in the morning.- I squirmed, knowing what Father’s expression would be even if the shadows slinked between us like a wall.
-Son! Get a grip. You know what will happen if you don’t even catch a fly tonight, let alone refuse to hunt.- His breath was getting all the heavier, and his eyes were protruding red against the black.
-But I can’t!-
-WHY NOT?- Father screeched, and all owls from miles around froze. I took a deep breath and blurted,
-Because I’m afraid of the dark. I can’t see.- Everything was still. I dared not to even breathe out.
-You’re saying that you can’t hunt in the dark?-
I can’t remember much after that, apart from that most of my family never talked to me from then on. My mother used to keep me in my tree for years, passing small dead mice through the hole. But it got too much. I hated being on my own. I despaired for the humiliation of my father. I was sick and tired of the me that I had grown into. I wanted friends. I wanted sunlight. I wanted a family.
So I left a week ago. On my own. Flying in to the middle of nowhere. The thought daunted me, but now I know I made a right choice. It was the best day of my life when I woke up in the morning lying next to a lake. The morning sun which I had never seen before had almost climbed above the mountains, spooling golden sunlight over the black water. I forgot about Dad, the Elder, my past life, and only thought of now, the present. Because that moment was incredible, seeing light for the first time. I forgot about the past, and didn’t think of the future. The present was the only thing that mattered.