Silver moonlight shone brightly through the window of the barn. Another average day thought Willow as she snuggled down between her parents. How she dreamed of an adventure! Life as an owl was so boring and tiresome...
Willow was in fact a small barn owl whose brothers and sisters had long moved on to start a life. The only sibling now was Cherry, a tiny barn owl who always looked up to Willow. So now it was just her, her parents, Hunter and Leela, and Cherry. She was a milky creamy colour flecked with brown like chocolate sprinkles. Her eyes were a gorgeous gleaming yellow but her most impressive feature was her wings; Willow was becoming an excellent flier. But her parents wouldn’t allow her to leave the nest.
That night had a mysterious chill in the air that made Willow feel uneasy. A sharp wind whistled through every nook and cranny. Everything about the night suggested it was better to stay in the nest, warm.
Just as Willow finally found herself allowing sleep, a foreboding knock on the roof woke her up with a start. Suddenly a black shape hovered ominously above her...Willow felt as if she had been muted - she couldn’t utter a single squeak. Fear overcame her as this menacing creature closed in swiftly. Willow realised it was a raven with large black wings like curtains as it snatched her right out of the nest! Her parents slept on as she was carried away into the night...
It had been nearly an hour before the raven spoke in a surprisingly calm and collected voice.
“I am sorry that I scared you, Willow but I couldn’t let your parents know where I am taking you. I mean you no harm so don’t worry little owlet.”
Willow suddenly had millions of questions she had to ask. “How do you know my name? What’s your name? Where are you taking me? Why can’t my parents know?”
“You ask too many questions owlet. Wait and see.”
As they continued, the dark enveloped the two into the night. Tall trees swayed in the breeze reaching their branches up to the moon. Stars glistened like little fireflies high up in the sky.
At long last, Willow saw a tiny square of golden light, just like a box in the middle of the night sky!
“What is that?” she asked the raven, curiously.
“It leads to an amazing place, Willow. Let me show you.”
They flew right into the box of light, brighter then anything Willow had ever seen before. As they flew she noticed it got warmer, brighter and her whole soul felt happy and at ease. The scene before her was beautiful...
There was a large meadow filled with little owlets just like her and all of them with amazing flying skills. Just like her. Heavenly scented flowers grew up from the lush green grass; rambling roses, daises, daffodils, snowdrops, red tulips...and Willow knew at once this place must be magical and not just because all of the flowers grew at different times of the year in reality. A silver river flowed through the meadow and a majestic kingfisher sat on a branch overlooking the water. Cherry blossom rained down from the trees into the water and slowly started moving down the river.
“Why take me here, Raven?” she asked, confused. “It’s just like paradise...” she added, dreamily.
“This place is called Nowhere Land. It is not the past, not the future, not now. It is an in between place for everyone who believes that there is more to an owl’s life then eating. It is where fliers like you, Willow, find they have an amazing talent. Go, explore.” And with that he vanished.
“No...But...I never found out his name...or how to get home again...” she thought to herself.
But none of that mattered any longer when Willow tried to fly. Her wings felt weightless and she glided on the soft breeze and found she could turn by moving one tiny feather a fraction. She felt amazing, on top of the world...and talented.
How long she stayed in that paradise she couldn’t recall but it was the best moment of her entire life. She flew under the cherry trees, swooped millimetres away from the silvery waters and flew further then she ever had before. She fell asleep on the soft cushiony moss under an oak tree with her newfound friends and slept soundly for a long time.
When she awoke, to her great surprise, she was home again cuddled up in her own nest with her father, mother and baby sister...
They had slept on the whole time. Had it just been a dream?
The following morning as sunlight shone through the cracks of the barn, Willow heard an ear piercing shriek that she instantly recognised as her mother’s. As she hurried to the front of the barn, a cherry blossom petal fluttered off her wing...so it wasn’t a dream last night, she thought!!
She got there to see Cherry trying to fly and hanging on to the roof just by a feather. Her Mother and Father were looking on hopelessly not good enough fliers to reach her in time. She fell down and down and Willow hastily swept down to her baby sister catching her on her back and swooping back up to the nest, breathless.
“Willow!! How did you learn to fly like that? “her father asked delightedly. Her mother looked on, speechless.
“In a very special place.” Willow replied with a grin, cuddling her sister Cherry close.