This was a prompt last year with our writers group. Since it's Halloween, I thought I'd add it (and not part of a women's fiction novel I'm working on).
Prompt: Silence lay as thick as death.
Scattered rays of yellow light penetrated in patches through the fog. The owl above turned its head 180 degrees and hooted. Its claws rested calmly on the old oak's branch as it shook dew from soft feathers.
"Did you hear that, Stanley?"
Marcus grabbed Stanley's rain jacket and slipped.
Stanley's flashlight went out and darkness came in to surround the two boys.
"The owl, Stanley. It wasn't a regular hoot like usual. It was drawn out, like a warning or something. Just like in the story... Beware of the owl with the calm hooot," Marcus whispered.
Stanley hit the flashlight a couple times. "Old flashlight...Marcus, forget that story. It's just an owl that hoots that way."
Suddenly a thud came from behind them.
"Stanley!" Marcus screamed.
Stanley grabbed Marcus's flashlight. He shined it behind them, over a moss-covered, long branch with dead leaves, lying in the path they walked moments ago. "It's only a branch. Probably old and gave way in the earlier storm."
"And now it falls?"
"Marcus, do you want to go home empty handed, or get what we're looking for?"
"I don't know."
Stanley thought to himself, I really don't know either. Instead of letting Marcus know this, he answered strongly. "Well I know. we've got to get it back and get it back tonight before dad comes home."
The wind swirled around the boys as they stood still. Stanley was waiting for his gut to point the way. Where were we the other night? He began to shine light on the concrete tombstones around them.
John Harrision...Beloved Father and Husband 1873-1938, R.I.P.
The boys moved past the plotted family section to the next headstone. Hilary Dyer. 1894-1923. May You Dance in the Hereafter.
"Here we go. I remember this," Stanley said. "We laughed thinking she probably loved jazz and wore frilly outfits and red lipstick. Would have liked to have met you Hilary."
"Stop kidding, Stanley."
A crack of lightning lit the sky. A raven, large and blacker than midnight, flew in front of the boys. Marcus yelled hearing the wings flapping. Thunder rumbled in the distance.
"Six seconds...the storm's going away, Marcus. We're fine."
Marcus wondered. He still felt dampness brushing his face within heavy swipes of wind. Damp moss came down on his head. He yelled, quickly pulling it off and looked up into the full moon. It was momentarily exposed as the winds had moved the clouds across. "Let's just get dad's lantern and get home." Marcus whispered.
"It's up there, probably five more grave sites. A couple more minutes, and we'll be out of here."
Stanley stopped. He thought he saw a reflection on glass ahead. It looked like the lantern. He remembered he set it on the oldest grave. He saw a shadow near it. It was the raven. It looked oddly perched on the tombstone... above the lantern.
"Stanley...do you hear that?"
"What Marcus? I don't hear anything."
Surrounding the boys, silence lay, as thick as death.