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The Raven

An Entry in "The Book of Dark and Wicked Things"

There exists a book with no name. Its cover bears nothing but a strange glyph drawn in blood. Every page is well worn and filled with Latin prayers a Roman priest wrote hoping to contain the evils he saw within the book. To say the book itself is evil is like a person in ancient times saying lightning is evil. The book and the powers it holds are merely outside our current realm of understanding.

Its contents have been a closely guarded secret for thousands of years, for those brave enough to open it knew its contents would spark mass panic. The Book of Dark & Wicked Things, as it has come to be called, rebukes one of the biggest lies told in human history; monsters exist and the book details the dark and evil creatures of the world.

A major misconception in our society is the inherent crossing of dark and evil. Is everything we associate to be dark truly evil? One example is that of death. It takes those whom we love but not out of malice, merely to maintain the natural order.

Another example is the race of The Raven. They are guardian angels to some but devils to others. They are the unrelenting firm hand that will guide you down a better path, even if you are not open to it. This has caused their reputation to be marred by those who needed a firmer hand than others.

The Book of Dark & Wicked Things has detailed accounts of people encountering Raven, and the book recently recorded the following:

A young man enters a messy office, there are several desks that are completely covered with unfiled papers, office supplies are scattered about and there is a layer of dust on everything.

The young man is of college age wearing an inside out black hoodie and ripped jeans. His hair is disheveled and he is visibly distraught. He sits down at his desk and tries to sort through some of the paperwork before putting his head in his hands and a tear appears in his eyes.

A light tapping on the door causes him to jump. He signals the person to enter without looking as he quickly wipes away the tear from his eyes. His friend enters the office and sits down in a nearby chair.

“Hey, what’s up?” he asked as she entered the room.

“I came to check on you. Everyone is worried about you. You haven’t been yourself since…”

“... since I had my heart ripped out.”

“It has been a month. You need to get out and have fun to get your mind off that. It isn’t healthy to wallow in the past…”

“WALLOW?! I am not wallowing! I am just not ready to move on!!”

“That is wallowing…”

“If that is how you feel why don’t you leave then!” he shouted as he stood and opened the door.

“I am sorry. I didn’t mean…”

“Just go.”

She hesitated for a moment but silently relented. She somberly leaves the office he wipes away tears welling in his eyes. He walked across the hall and entered the bathroom. He grabbed a paper towel and wiped the tears from his eyes. As he turned to leave he caught sight of his reflection in the mirror.

“We will get through this,” he said to his reflection. “They just need to give us more time.”

He walked across the hall into his office and sat at his desk. After a moment he notices something that catches his attention, placed neatly on his desk is a box wrapped in jet black paper and adorned with an elegant white bow. The card was black with a white figure of a man with a white raven as his reflection. He pulled the card out of the bow, opens it, and reads it to himself.

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. -E.A.P.’”

He set the card on his desk as he slowly tears the wrapping paper off the package and opens the box beneath. He reaches inside and pulls out a book, “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe, which he pauses upon reading. He picks up the card and holds it in front of the book.

“E.A.P.?”

He stares at the card and book cover for a moment before shrugging it off and setting the card down. He opens the book and begins reading it as the words begin to echo in his head.

...Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…
...Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing…
...Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore…
...Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore....
...Quoth the Raven “Nevermore”...

He wakes with his head on the desk. He looks at the time on his cellphone and rubs his eyes before picking up the book again. He sneers as he runs his hand across the cover.

“Once upon a midnight dreary…”

“While I pondered, weak and weary,” a voice stated from behind him.

He jumps and turns to see who was in the room with him. She was a young woman with gaunt features and raptor-like eyes. She was dressed in a neatly pressed white blouse with a long black skirt. A large black pendant hung around her neck and her black hair was pulled neatly back and held with a black pin.

“WHO ARE YOU?!” he demanded. “WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?!”

“I come from dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

“What?! Wait, ‘dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before’… You sent the package?”

“Ay. Too long have you pondered about what could have been, too long have you left yourself weak and weary.”

“This is a joke, right? Did my friends put you up to this?”

“Nay. I have been sent by my lord at the Plutonian Shore…”

“Enough of the Shakespeare crap! What is your name!”

“I have gone by many names through the ages but you may call me Raven.”

“Raven, like Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’?”

“Ay, though it was not I who visited Poe. He was in dire straights when another of my kind went to him. He went on to use the encounter as inspiration for the poem.”

“Of course!” He threw his hands upward in frustration. “If you insist on keeping this joke going you might as well leave!”

“Neither tempter nor tempest can deter me in my quest.”

“And what quest is that?”

“To lift your soul from the shadow of sorrow.“

“You know nothing about me. Now get out….”

“I know sorrow clasps you because of the loss of a young maiden.”

“How did you know…?”

“AH! Much do you marvel this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly.” She raised her arm and points ominously at him. “Know this! The burden of melancholy you bore upon yourself will be your undoing!”

“What are you…”

She smirked at the question.

“Some say I am a prophet, others a horror. Me and my kind have always been and will always be. We are charged with the sacred duty of protecting mankind from itself. We appear before people who choose to go down dark paths upon reaching a crossroads and tonight I come to you.”

“You have come, for me?”

“Ay, your sorrow for your loss has lead you down a darker path than the Fates wrote for you. I have been sent to guide you back to the right path.”

“What do I need to do?”

“Release your sorrow, allow your heart to be filled with light once more. Too long have you sat in the shadow of your sorrow. You know what you have to do.”

“I don’t…” he said as he lowered his head.

The lights dimmed as she swooped down from the desk and grabbed him by the shirt.

“YOU KNOW!”

“I will no longer be bound by my loss, I will live my life and no longer allow myself to be overcome by sorrow.”

“Declare it so those in Heaven and Hell can hear!”

“I am not bound by my loss and no longer will be overcome with sorrow!”

“Nevermore.”

The lights turn off as he feels her release her talon-like grip from his shirt. Voices echo in the darkness,

Nevermore… Nevermore… Nevermore… 

He slowly wakes and sits up looking unnerved over the dream. He picks up “The Raven” in disbelief. After running his hand across the cover he opens the book and looks inside it. A light tapping on the door causes him to jump. He signals the person to enter without looking as he reads something on the inside cover of the book. His friend enters the office and sits down at a nearby chair.

“Hey, what’s up?” he asked, without looking up from the book.

“I came to check on you. Everyone is worried about you. You haven’t been yourself since…”

He set the book down as she trails off, unable to finish her sentence.

“It’s okay, I know I have not been myself lately. Can we go out and get some lunch to talk?”

“Oh, sure!” She is taken off guard, but smiles. “I’ll go tell the others. They would like to see you too.”

“Sounds good. Let me grab my jacket, I will be out in a minute.”

“Okay,” she said as she stood and headed for the door. “We will meet you outside!”

She exits as he stands and grabs his jacket. As he reaches for the door handle he stops and looks back at the book. The book cover shifts as if caught in a breeze and the voice of The Raven comes from inside it,

Nevermore.

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