's 2018 Horror Write-off:

Horse Helps Owl

Submitted by The Bee Keeper

Horse Helps Owl

My plat was finished. Inevitably that meant flour every where. Even a few grains which I shook from my ears. Well, not quite finished. A braided bread needs time to rise in a nice warm humid place. The yeast of course doing much of the work, though I did add an egg for good measure. I placed the plat in a proofing drawer when Snake came round my shoulder to have a look at what I was doing.

Must you really breathe down the back of my neck? Snake looked at me dejectedly and said "Oh but Iis was jussst curiouss, no needsss to be soooo per ssssssnickety abou titssss." Aye mate but you nearly gave me a fatal start so you did. "So ssssssorry to russsssel your feassssthers. Iiissss ssssuposse Iis ssssshould be leavingsss you to your workssss. And with that Snake vanished.

But naturally I couldn't get one moments peace. Owl came into the kitchen clattering all four of his beaks busily. Mate you're givin' me a migraine I said to Owl. Owl stared back at me with twelve dull eyes. The clicking stopped.

Though in short time Owl had made a great nuisance of himself once more. Absentmindedly shifting from one stilt leg to the other. Click-a-click, click-a-click, click-a-click, click-a- DO YOU MIND!

Owl stopped shifting about and stared at me some more. Yes, pray tell, is there anything you need of me? I'm getting the ever so slightest feeling there's a reason you've decided to park your slimy hide here while I'm trying to go about me own business. Owl stood stalk still and continued to stare blankly at me or perhaps the wall behind me.

I took the loaf out of the oven and walked around Owl to place it on a rack to cool. Mind you, this had been some time later, since my plat was large and needed all the time it could get to cook. Finally, Owl's head swiveled around to face me again. "I came here because there was something very important I was supposed to do" he said in his old toddering sort of voice.

In me kitchen? "No, oh no, not here..." He stood there saying no more than that while I went and butchered some fine cuts of meats, mixed marinades, and later cut up the fruits I got from the lower pantry. I flicked a seed off Owl's brow. Somehow or other I always ended with some seeds on the splash board, the cupboard flaps and on myself. Or in this case Owl, who didn't flinch or react in the slightest when I removed the seed.

"I came here because I was supposed to do something important!" The sudden remark from Owl startled me and I nearly jumped to the ceiling in surprise. Mate! What was that for?! I know, I know, something important. But criminy! How is makin' me leapt out my own skin, doing something "important"?

Owl shuffled over to my stool and sat down with both thin legs sticking horizontally out like two ugly saplings. "I'm supposed to tell someone very important, something very important, in someplace very important, in a time that's very important". Owl sighed and blinked his eyes pleadingly at me. Ok, so what do you want me ta do about it? I'm a cook? Bring me somthin' or other and I can dice it, poach it, pickle it, bake it, broil it, you just name it. But if you got a message to be delivering, well... I don't know what to be saying? I can't help you Owl.

"But, but, it's IMPORTANT!", "And you're a messenger!"

Uhhhhhgg... That I be. 'Tis no denying, Owl. But it be what I am, not the name of my occupation. I'm a cook, Owl. Or Lord of the Larder n' Inferno if that be the title you'd prefer to address me by.

"Hoooorrse! Horse I need your help!" Owl's red eyes began to wet at their margins.

Fine. You big bawling lump o' flesh. This better be as important as you say it is.

When we finally got to where Owl thought we should be... maybe; all I could say was it was quite a dump. Are you sure this is the place Owl?

"Yes, maybe, well, hmmmm.... yes, yes, this is the place and time" Owl squinted his eyes as he surveyed our new surroundings.

So is it just this one planet, Owl? Because I think I'd rather let it decay at it's own natural pace. I mean it's not like there aren't any other planets of this sort.

"Pish and tosh! Shame on you Horse. This... this is important!"

Well you're the one with "much wisdom" and "knowledge of all cures". It's your job to be fixing a sick planet, now isn't it? I'm just the one that got you here. And now that we are here; I think I'll jolly well find a nice place to eat some popcorn and watch the show.

I found a suitable perch near the city's edge. Black stains were stretching across the high wall like watercolor soaking into tissue paper. Spidery pale yellow strands wormed their way out of otherwise solid wall. The trees and shrubs bent over as though made of rubber. Though Owl had taken off to find this so called "Important Person"... I knew I was not alone.