Standalone 2- Hunter’s Choice


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Jessamine Connors…

I lead a simple life on the Olympic Peninsula running Moonchild Owl Haven, a bird sanctuary for sick and injured owls.

When I’m not doing that? I work a regular shift at the animal hospital fulfilling my day job.

Life is pretty great, what with my best friend Charlie coming around daily to help with my fly babies, but it’s also lonely. I mean, Charlie is old enough to be my grandad and the only other man in my life? A not even legal teen that’s like a younger brother.

Meeting people out here in the sticks is tough. Tougher still for a girl like me who can’t string two words together without stuttering so bad she can’t be understood. For the most part I’m okay with that, but sometimes I wish I could do away with my whiteboard and just tell people how it is, what I’m feeling…

After all, a man wants someone he can talk with, not just someone he can talk at.

At least that’s what I’ve been told…

Hunter Grayson…

I am older than time… A god amongst men…

No really, that’s not just me being arrogant. I really am the descendant of two gods.

Half cursed by my father’s uncle because of my mother’s betrayal, I can change from human to owl at will. It’s a lonely existence for the most part, I can only stay someplace until my lack of aging becomes a problem. So I wander, never staying anyplace longer than a few months and spending almost as much time in the freedom of my owl’s form than in my human one.

So who would have thought, that after centuries upon centuries of living I would find myself a broken and bleeding pile of feathers in the middle of a modern highway?

Who also would have thought that this would be the end of my self imposed solitude when she came, plucking me off the asphalt, carefully putting me back together.

She saved my life, and after weeks of being under her care… Watching her move silent and alluring between myself and the rest of her charges…

Well, I just had to know everything about her.


She was somber tonight as she moved about the barn. The old man had stopped his banging and sawing outside and there had been a long stretch of quiet. Nothing was ever truly silent when there was so much for my kind to hear.

She had come in after his old truck had crunched up the gravel drive, shoulders stooped; the weight of unpleasant memories upon her and had set about feeding her charges. She stopped before me, her storm clouded eyes heavy with emotion, brimming with barely suppressed tears and I hated it.

I longed to be a comfort to her, care for her the way she had, and continued to care, for me. She sighed and safe in her perceived solitude spoke.

“N-n-n-o on-ne wants a broken woman they can-n-n’t talk with, do they Hun-nn-ter?” she asked softly. The heartbreak on her face unmistakable.

I wanted to hurt whoever put it there. Rend their flesh with my talons, sending them bloody and shrieking into the night. I blinked slowly and gazed into the storm swept sea of her eyes, willing her to understand my thoughts, my feelings.

I thought, for a moment, something might be there, but then she turned and wandered away from me, and I felt bereft of her company. For weeks now, I watched her move throughout this barn, this haven of hers, watched her smile, watched as she gave freely of herself to me, to my fellow winged brethren…

I shifted from foot to foot, talons scoring the wood of my perch and hunched my shoulders.

She made me want to be a part of her world again.

Jessamine, with her creamy skin and smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks that reminded me of the star scattered sky…With her low soothing voice, as broken as it was, that sighed through the barn as the wind through the trees.

I longed to touch her, comfort her but for what I was, well that just wasn’t the kind thing to do…

Though I had never in my long years, ever, been considered kind, in any way, shape or form.


For her sake I would leave her be. Finish my healing, and fly on mended wing far from her and the temptation.

It’s what was best.

At least that was what I told myself, every day I was near her.


Text Copyright © 2014 A.J. Downey

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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