"We used to fly at night, in the time between oblivion and morning." Said the owl from his constant perch.
"We used to sit in barns at dusk when the rains come from the west, and I'd shield her under my wing as thunder shook loose the boards around us. All night, we'd hear the trees creaking and dripping and we'd wait for morning. Her heart beating slowly against the ruffled, old feathers of my breast. She would watch the farm mice skitter about in the hay below, but she'd never lunge, she'd never even move. It was here that we were perfect, and it was here that we found love in the lightning storm."
The owl tried to blink, to close his eyes to the fluorescent lights, but they were glued open in an eternal gesture of misery and surprise. So he sighed and went on.
"She never spoke much about the times we would aim towards the moon and tumble through swarms of fruit bats, or when I crashed through the window of a house in my attempt to defeat the cat that lived inside. She never strayed too far from that barn where we would sit together all day and listen for the farmer to return from the fields. It was our mansion and our coffin, our infinity in a box."
The lights above flickered and came back on, continually humming in the night, displaying the animals who'd come to pass before the owl. The blinded fox, an uneasy pheasant, the angry ferret, a collection of the dead and the damned. But they all quietly waited for the owl to tell his story.
"One night I awoke on the banister above the hayloft, and she was right there beside me. Her eyes closed, her feathers smoothed and gorgeous and terrifying and freeing. Everything I'd ever wanted to see was beside me. But she wasn't breathing, she wasn't nuzzling her beak into the underside of my wing. She was cold. To this day I'm not sure what killed her, but I like to think it was the fact that we were perfect for a single moment. That she had found a means to an end, and her heart just stopped on principle. Nothing would ever be better than that, so her heart chose to collapse."
The owl coughed in an attempt to realease a cry, a tear, anything at all to bring him closure, but his lungs were filled with dust. His mouth was the dry cavern of a desert cave. He was infinite in his sorrow, and infinite in his willingness to endure it for the love he'd known.
"I brought her gently to the beds of hay below, and laid her softly down for one last time. She was still so alive to me, so gorgeous and perfect, ever-lasting in how I saw her. It was then that I found myself thinking. I found myself knowing that I didn't want to live in this place without her. The world now seemed dark, even in the night. The rain no longer calmed me, the thunder ceased being a lullaby. So I found my own way out. I found a box on a workbench with a picture of a mouse on it, its eyes crossed out in red. And I tore through the package, and I ate all the pellets inside. It was the only way I could find my way to her."
"And when we were stuffed and stitched and filled with sawdust, and we were nailed to our perches in this room, I tried to smile. She's near me now always, we're forever entombed as one. It may not be a barn, and I may not hear the rain anymore, but I don't need those things. The only way to keep us alive was for us to die."
All the other animals tried to clap, but found they were unable to move their hands. They all heard a door open, and the lights flickered off one by one, and they all heard the door close in the pitch blackness again.
"Goodnight, my love." Said the owl to the dark.