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0:53 AMDreams of Ravens
Dreams of Ravens
I was sitting at a chair in front of a fire, sipping on the tea I had just brewed. It was still steaming and extremely hot, but small sips made the heat almost unnoticeable to me. I enjoy reading while I sit and have my tea, so I decided to read some of Poe's works. It'd been a while since I had read them, and the drizzly weather reminded me of a midnight dreary because of the dull pattering of rain against the windows and the gray covering the usually bright blue sky.
I set down my cup of tea after another sip and walked over to my floor-to-ceiling bookcase. I searched through the volumes of poetry I kept on the 4th from the bottom shelf. Eventually I fund Poe's work and picked it up off of the shelf. I started finding the poem, The Raven, as I walked back across the room to my chair.
I had a small side table next to my chair, a chandelier off in the upper corner next to the fireplace, and my bookshelf was the only other furniture I cared for in this room, which was against the back wall. I glanced out the windows as I eased myself into my chair, watching the rain fall lightly, but enough so that small tracks of water rolled down the window. I let out a small puff of air as I leaned all the way back in the large recliner and tipped it back so my feet were up. I glanced at my clock placed on the mantel. 9:15 at night, already?
Now that I was situated, I started reading the poem.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
Only this and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lose Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.
I gave a pause here, as I was feeling tired and sleepy myself with all the warmth of the fire heating my skin and the tea warming my belly. I made a dog-ear on the page to mark it, and pushed my recliner back to its original position. I yawned and stretched, and then I had some more of my tea. Once I had drained the cup, I set it back on the saucer and leaned back into the chair. 9.20.
I may as well go to bed, seeing as I have to get up early tomorrow. I grabbed my book and considered my tea cup before deciding it would be fine there until morning. I walked down the hall until I reached the last door and I opened it to step into my bedroom. It had a large King-sized bed in the middle with a small bedside table on either side, or a small dresser in the right back corner when you look as you walk into the bedroom.
I changed into my nightclothes and walked through my house, making sure the main lights were out. The fire I had made had been a very small one, good enough for me, and was nearly dying now. I picked up the poker and pushed the ashes this way and that to be sure that it wasn't still very active and would be dying shortly. After that was done, I made the walk down the hallway once more. I closed my bedroom door and picked up the book I had placed on the dresser. I lit a candle I kept on the small bedside tables - I can't help but like the not as modern way of doing things - and turned off the main light. I pulled back the sheets, climbed back into bed and leaned back into the pile of pillows I got used to stacking up since I started making the bed myself.
I flipped back to the page I had dog-eared and continued reading.
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is and nothing more."
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I," or Madam, truly, your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scare was sure I heard you," - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness was there and nothing more.
It was at this point I felt my lids fall, and I couldn't summon the strength or will to have them open again. I fell asleep with the book on my chest and started snoring, the candle still burning beside me, slowly, every hour shrinking yet another inch.
I awoke with a start and sat up, breathing heavily. I couldn't recall what I had dreamed about and couldn't figure out why I seemed so petrified... I looked towards my window, and since I didn't see the sun coming in and my candle was completely out by now, I assumed the sky was covered with many dark clouds, blocking the sun. Well, it seems it's going to be a stormy day today...
I walked back out to my kitchen to fix up some breakfast. While I was in the process of making breakfast, I glanced over at the watch I had taken off while washing the dishes the other day and left by the sink. 12:30. What? I threw open the window above the kitchen sink and saw the sky as pitch black rather than seeing the dark gray clouds I expected.
How odd... Suddenly I heard a faint knocking at the front door. I have a visitor. I never have visitors...
The small tapping noise echoed through the stillness of my house and I started walking towards the door. "I'm sorry, I don't have visitors too often, nonetheless at the middle of the night, so I -" I stopped midsentence because I had opened the door and no one was there. I opened the door wider. Darkness was there and nothing more.
I closed the door, now very confused. Who could have possibly knocked and gone away, just like that? I thought as I walked back to bedroom, hoping to get a few more hours of sleep before the morning and something else queer happened.
Again the faint tapping echoed, but this time through my bedroom door. Ah, now it sounds like The Raven. I don't know how they managed to sneak past me, but maybe that was their purpose in doing this? Hm, maybe I hadn't locked the front door after I closed it... I opened the door once more and saw nothing.
You know, if they are purposely doing this to re-enact the poem, perhaps I should do the same... What happens here again? I wracked my brain while I stood looking into the black - that's it! "Lenore..." I breathed softly, seeing what would happen.
"Lenore!" was echoed back to me just as softly. I grinned, proud I got it right. I closed the bedroom door and hurried to grab my book with the poem in it. I opened up to the right page right as I heard tapping from my window. Far louder than the first times I heard the noise. Well, they got outside quickly... I decided I should say the next lines aloud as I glanced at them once more.
"Surely, surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore - let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore - 'tis the wind and nothing more!" With my book in my left hand, I pulled aside the curtains with my right and opened the window.
It was not a person as I had thought, but a raven.
The raven seemed to hold his head high and his chest puffed out, and glanced at me in the eye. It cocked its head from side to side as it studied me closely with its beady eyes. Now I felt myself truly clam up and my heart beating faster.
He flew across the room to the door and sat atop the bust now hanging above the door. I never had that before... I glanced down at the poem, and saw that the stately raven was supposed to perch on the bust of Pallas. Now my heart is beating a bit faster than before....
I decided to continue following the poem, unknowing of how it would end. "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou art sure no craven, ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore - Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
The raven looked at me and croaked out, "Nevermore."
I just stood there a moment, staring at this raven. I may be going crazy!
I gulped and said the next line: "Other friends have flown before - on the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before."
The raven croaked yet again, "Nevermore."
"Doubtless, what it utters is its only stock and store caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster followed fast and followed faster till his songs of one burden bore - till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore of 'Never - nevermore.'"
Well what's next? I wondered, finding it interesting that I responded instantaneously to the bird. I looked down at the poem and furrowed my brow, thinking I couldn't keep going until I spied a velvet cushioned chair I never owned in my room. I glanced at the page and took a deep breath. As I wheeled the chair in front of the door and raven, I let out the air I just took in, in an attempt to calm my nerves. I eased myself into the chair and leaned back into the soft cushions. The raven and I stared at one another until I decided to just read the next passage in my head, until it was my turn to speak aloud again.
But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of the bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloated o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
Perhaps did actually grow thicker... I continued on. "Wretch thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he hath sent thee respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore; Quaff, oh quaff this kind of nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
"Prophet! Thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! - Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted - on this home by Horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore - is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
"Prophet! Thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! By the Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore - tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aiden, it shall clasp a sainted maiden whim the angels name Lenore - clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I felt myself basically spring to my feet, not really of my own will. What's going on here?? "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out of my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
I felt a weird tingle spread throughout my body, and the raven's eyes turned into solid red lights in the dark. My field of vision got blacker and was low and close to the floor until eventually I could only crane my neck and look at the ceiling. I heard a crash, but didn't think of what it could be. Then I remembered the final paragraph.
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on that floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!
Another voice seemed to enter my mind. You shall always be my shadow, from now until the day your physical form breathes its last. Now, I shall fly and you should awake.
I wanted to ask it to wait or stop, but as the raven flew away, I woke up with a start and sat up, breathing heavily. I couldn't quite remember what I had just dreamed about... I shrugged and noticed the lack of light in the room. I guess it'll be stormy today.
I failed to see the raven watching from the window, the bust above my door, and the chair off in a dark corner with a feather on it, which could have freed me from the curse sooner than death, 30 years later.
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