Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2256001-The-Raven
by Sumojo
Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2256001
Story based on the poem, The Raven
Words 674

He stood in the ancient churchyard, the somber tolling of the church bell rang in his ears. Edgar shook hand after hand, unaware of whose hand he was shaking. Occasionally they left him in peace long enough to look around at his surroundings. To notice the damp grass beneath his feet, the same grass that was piled up beside the hole in the ground where soon he would allow the body of his beloved, Lenore, to be lowered. He shuddered to imagine his darling wife lying beneath the soil with only the creatures who inhabit that world to keep her company.

Startled back into the real world, he shook yet another hand, another voice saying how sorry they were. They said she was too young, vibrant, talented, to be dead. They didn’t say the dead word, they used euphemisms. Gone to meet her maker, gone to a better place, called home. Edgar felt he was going mad and yet he stayed, acting out his part until at last the day was over and at last alone.

The house was cold. Lenore wouldn’t have stood for that. She hated the cold and the image of her stiff body on the cold earth came unimpeded into his thoughts.

Those thoughts made him reluctant to light the fire. He wanted no comfort that was denied to his beloved.

There came a knocking at the window. A tapping, as if a child was pleading to come in after being banished for some misdemeanour or other.

Edgar held his breath. He listened. Had he misheard? Who would be calling at midnight? Was it just the wind causing a slim branch to tickle the glass?

Once more he heard the tapping, and with more effort than he thought he had; he raised himself from his chair beside the empty fire grate. Adjusting the curtain to peer out into the darkness, he recoiled when he saw black feathers and a shiny bright eyed bird peering back at him.

The sharp beak tapped once more, insistently, so it seemed to Edgar. When he opened the casement window, the bird flew in and settled on a statue of Pallas in the room's corner. It eyed Edgar as if he knew more about the man than he himself knew.

The bereaved man’s thoughts flew to his dead wife. They had often discussed, as spouses might do when languishing after a bout of lovemaking, what they thought might happen after death. Lenore had said she would come back as a bird, able to soar into the clouds and be free of earthly concerns.

Edgar eyed the bird and asked, “Is it you, Lenore? Have you returned to me?”

The bird just cocked its head and stared with its black eyes.

Edgar decided it must be a sign from Lenore. He’d always felt sure she wouldn't disappear from his life, their lives. So entwined had they been, it seemed impossible she could no longer exist.

“Lenore? Is it you?” he asked once more, his voice little more than a whisper.

The raven stared, the eyes penetrated Edgar’s very soul

“Has Lenore sent you? Do you have a message from my lover?”

The black feathers ruffled as the bird settled itself on the marble bust.

“Will I ever find peace in this life without my beloved?” Edgar pleaded.

The bird lifted its head, the black throat rippled, and a sound emitted from the open beak, “Never more,” it croaked.

Edgar shuddered. “Am I to live forever in this torment?” he cried.

The raven stared, its black eyes piercing. Tilting its head as it sat in silence.

“For god’s sake. Speak to me. Tell me what my wife wants me to know.” Edgar screamed in agony. “Will I ever see my beloved Lenore ever again, in this world or the next?”

“Never more. Never more,” the bird seemed to mock.

Edgar screamed at the bird, shooing him out of the window.

“Never more, never more,” the raven called, its voice fading into the distance the further it flew away, out into the darkness.

Note: written for Thrice prompted. Using the prompt. Write a story inspired by a famous poem.

© Copyright 2021 Sumojo (sumojo at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2256001-The-Raven