He had developed this routine and ventured on numerous endeavors similar to this particular one over the past two months. The young man would nimbly stroll across the sparsely decorated room to whisper to his lover, so as not to be seen as too disruptive to her ongoing studies, that he was going to head down to the public house for a bottle with intentions to discover lighthearted banter. She would vaguely reply for him not to be late and that she would be finishing her evening’s efforts in a couple of hours. Somewhat satisfied with this retort, he would carefully close the apartment doors behind him and leave the cooled air of the domicile for the smothering, humidity that was the remnants of the powerful sun’s closing rays. The first blocks in his adventure were usually bustling with folks tiring the bones of their domesticated animals, but once he crossed the overpass of the interstate beyond the nearby greenspace, the voices would disappear and the sound of passing traffic would begin to taper down to faint rumbling.
The truth was that the tavern he had earlier alluded to was not ahead of him, but instead there were emptied buildings and an abandoned old paper mill in the forefront. This part of the city had been left behind dozens of years ago when the commerce and its relying residency at once decided that the proud soul of the neighborhood had been lost and could never again be recovered. Occupant plight transpired seemingly overnight and portrayed remnants comprised the skeleton, which the young man had been traversing through. The sprite young man had grown curious of this place upon his first adventure when he noted the wildlife, which peered from behind the decaying infrastructure of this stretch of cityscape. Rodents and squirrels had claimed what other’s had left, and made it theirs. Other untamed creatures had stumbled upon these grounds in a manner perhaps similar to that of the young man; popping out of the comfort of the park across the arterial for a glimpse of what this unoccupied landscape may have to offer.
The young man had developed this pattern of travel when he and his partner had solidified their intention to leave the city at the summer’s conclusion. Autumn would bring desired changes for them both, but the pressure of the time spent in this setting had taken a bit of toll on his psyche. The interactions were not the cause of this wear, but his life had taken a desired new path with perils nobody can ever be completely prepared to handle. He was beginning to find solace within this period of his life and was welcoming to the nearing prospect, but could not help to feel the closing lifeline of this period had been partially missed due to personal indecision. Some external exploration had been declined, but his stubbornness managed to fashion this repeated journey.
Upon reaching the abandoned mill, the young man would gingerly slide through the void left by two planks of wood that were dislodged just outside the jamb of the mill’s backdoor. Careful not to catch the fabric of his shirt on an exposed nail, he would deliberately twist his torso to meander around the protruding obstacle. And once beyond this minor hindrance he would glance into an outsized room that was completely bare minus the dust that floated through the air and the cobwebs draping from the above rafters. Over the preceding years, looters had managed to snatch anything that may have remained from the great transition and now there was nothing left to absorb the light piercing through the shattered windows of the surrounding cinderblock walls. Within this space, there were several columns of steel standing lonesome to provide support for the above story of the mill, which could be reached by ascending the concrete staircase to the right of the young man. Slightly timid, he would gracefully jaunt over to the stairs and climb the flight to the above floor that was similarly designed to the ground level, but with the exception of a couple of crates scattered in a corner by one of the windows in the front of the building. The young man would cross the room while peering around the empty stretches to ensure that he was without company. Although he would always feel that his darting glimpses would catch sight of someone or something, it had always failed to. For whatever reason the factory was no longer serving as shelter to any seekers, despite its potential offering of comfort from the long days of summer.
Once the young man reached the wooden crate closest to the partially broken window, he would softly rest his body down and lean forward as to prop his elbows on his knees and stare at the quieting day off in the distance. He would contemplate his future endeavor in his secret place, and set his starred eyes on the gray rooftops of dilapidated homes across the street of the mill’s entrance. The buildings were mostly constructed of orange brick, with windows creating voids in the structure’s plane that were impossible to look into. Birds fluttered in flocks from one brick building to another, but always seemed to pass by the apex of the lone Victorian in this stretch of former residences. The triangular peak had appeared to have the best view on the entire block, but no oriole, robin, crow or wren ever hesitated by it when zipping from rooftop to rooftop. The young man had often found himself wondering why this was the case until he witnessed the reason upon his final evening of awed examination. Beyond the visual analysis he performed from the mills second-floor window, he had found the furtive cause.
By late August, the young man was so comfortable in his surroundings that he would stay until the moon became the only source of light in this clandestine world. And on this very calm evening he discovered his thoughts and vision again focused upon the lone rooftop and its unclaimed location, when suddenly a great object entered his periphery powering its large gold and brown wings until it reached the summit and perfectly settled its robust figure onto the point with the enviable view. It instantly made sense to the young man; this aged barn owl was the sole owner of this reality. When the other’s lost what they needed from this neighborhood and left for brighter futures, only then was the solitary creature able to discover what it had always aspired towards. Its keen, wide, black eyes had limitless view in this environment, which enabled the Ghost Owl to utilize its exceptional senses. Encompassed by seclusion, the great bird was able to unite with the emptied human landscape and concentrate on its scampering prey.