The trap bites deep in my leg. The pain shoots through my entire body. The cold comes fast. I’m not sure if it’s from the blood loss, or because it’s after midnight, in January, in the Rockies. I hear rustling in the trees approach from behind me. I feel cold no more. All I feel is tired. I close my eyes just for a moment.
I open my eyes. I’m surrounded by light and land that feels different. I look to my feet to find a turtle walking past me. I look to my right to find a bear sitting chewing on a broken branch, playfully. I hear a birds wings flapping. Landing on the other side of me is a snow owl. They are all here for me. They speak with no sound. A truth piercing me like an arrow. I’m no longer in that world anymore. I passed that life and shed its husk. I see there is water so I go to drink but I’m not thirsty. I am just doing it out of habit. I see my reflection. I’m a large wolf. Hair as black as night. I am wolf shadow. My turn was up. The owl asks me if she can go now? I say yes and I watch her fly high up then dive down into the river. She does not come back. The owl is in the tangible world now. What was her new form?
The owl emerges not as herself but as a young boy. Confused and always fearful, the boy child struggles with things he can’t express or explain.