The Raven: Prelude

The Raven: Prelude

A Story by Raleighwheels

                              The Raven: Prelude


The man’s boots thudded against the stone path leading up to his modest two room cabin in the woods.  His breathing was heavy and his heart felt as though it had been hammered against an anvil.  The door creaked as he pushed it open.  Rain and wind streaked into the house, but he did not care.  All he could think about was the one he lost.

            He slowly took his best jacket off and gave it a good shake to expel the water that still clung to it.  The boots he wore left muddy tracks as he walked to the table and threw his jacket over the back of the chair.  The man stood looking at the chair, trying to get his mind to focus on something other than the pain.  His fingers ran over the rough spindles along the back of the chair.  He had always been proud of the chair, because it was the first thing he had ever built by himself.  The chair was a gift to the woman he loved, but it was rejected because of the proposal from another man, a better man.

            “Why did she have to marry him?” the grief-stricken man asked himself as he sat down into another one of his handmade chairs.  His head bowed down and was cupped in his hands.  “I cared for her more than he ever could,” he said, sniffling.

            The hours passed, and still the man sat in his chair.  Even though he could no longer cry, there were no tears left in him.  The melodic tapping of the rain against the window was finally starting to lull him off to sleep, when he was suddenly awakened by a bang against his door.  The sound frightened him onto his feet.  He opened the door, but was surprised to find no one on the other side.  Just as he was getting ready to close the door, a black animal flew into the house and landed hard on the floor.

            After getting over his initial shock, be realized the mystery beast to be nothing more than a raven.  He carefully made his way over to the bird so that it wouldn’t be too scared of him.  The raven’s beak opened as he got closer, and it started to back up-never taking its eyes off of him-as he crouched down.  The slow extension of his hands towards the raven frightened it and caused it to fly into the air.  The raven furiously flapped its wings and circled the living room several times before coming to rest upon the man’s rejected gift.

            Once again, the man slowly made his way over to the bird, but this time he was calmly talking to it.

            “I’m not going to hurt you little friend,” he said when he was only a few feet from the bird.

            He then reached out slowly towards the bird.  The raven sat perched contently on the top of the chair as the man’s finger tips touched its back.  After slowly moving his fingers down the raven’s back, he figured that he would push his boundaries even further by trying to pet the bird with his open hand.  The raven seemed to enjoy his touch, and it even tilted its head to the side as if trying to tell its new found friend to stroke its neck.

            The raven and the man continued to slowly bond with one another.  The man sat down in another chair at the table and talked softly to the bird.  Before he knew it, the rain outside had stopped, and the sun was peeking out from behind the gray clouds.  The raven turned its head just enough to allow the man to see a hint of blue in its eye.

            “What am I going to call you then, little one?” he said as he rubbed the back of his index finger against the bird’s wing.

            A name came to the man as the raven bent its head down and started pecking at the chair.

            “I’ve got it!” the man said as he stood up from the table.  The raven then flew away from the chair, circled the room once before landing on the man’s outstretched arm.  “I will name you after my dearest love, my beautiful Lenore.”

            The man sat silently at the table, blankly staring at the raven as it hopped back and forth over the table.  Every so often, the raven would look at the man and croak as if it was telling him that it wanted some kind of interaction.  The man scratched the raven’s smooth chest and repeated its name over and over again.

            The raven tilted its head from side to side and watched the man’s mouth.  The bird then took a few steps back and let out a caw.  A smile appeared on the man’s face as the bird cawed at him.

            “What’s the matter, Lenore?” he asked the bird as it jumped from the table and perched itself once again on the back of the chair that was once a gift for the man’s love.

            At the sound of its name, the raven turned and looked curiously at the man.  The bird once again cawed as if trying to respond.  The man started repeating the raven’s name and it responded by cawing at the man and bobbing its head.

            After doing this for sometime, the raven’s calls started to sound more and more like human words.  The man told the bird that he had had enough for the day.  His eyes were getting extremely heavy and his mind felt like it was clouded.  He stood up from the table and gathered the bird into his arms.  Looking out of his window, he could see that the sun behind the trees and the sky was bathed in a beautiful mix of pinks, reds and oranges.  The man walked over, opened the door to the cabin and set the raven down on the ground.

            Tears once again started pooling in the corners of his eyes as he told his newfound friend to have a good rest of the night.  He watched as the raven flew into a tree close to the house, and then he closed the door.  The floorboards creaked and groaned as he made his way through the living room and into the small bedroom.  The man fell like a dead body onto the firm bed and went to sleep.   

            He woke up the next day to a tapping sound on his front door.  Grumbling to himself, the man shuffled his feet along the floor as he made his way to the door.  With a quick motion, he flung the door open only to see the raven standing on his doormat.  The sun shining on the raven brought out a purplish color mixed into its black feathers.  The raven then flew through the door and landed on the back of the dining room table chair.

            “Good Morning, Lenore.  How are you?” he asked the bird as it preened itself.

            The bird stopped fixing its feathers and responded with a call that sounded like, “Nevermore.”

            The man stopped for a rest and tried to figure out if he had heard the raven correctly.  Once again, he called its name, and it responded by saying, “Nevermore.”

            Hearing the words “Lenore” and “Nevermore” struck his heart and caused him to feel a mixture of sorrow and frustration.  He walked over to his chair in the living room and slumped down in it.

            “Why did she have to marry him?” he said as he watched the bird, which was still perched on the table chair.  “Didn’t she realize that I could have made her happier?  He did nothing but ignore her.  That man shouldn’t marry someone if he is going to spend his whole day reading and studying books.”

            His thoughts went to the last time he saw Lenore before the wedding.  She had sent him a message asking to meet in the meadow near his home.  This was the meadow where they had met.  He found that she was in the meadow waiting for him.  She looked so beautiful in the sun.  Her black hair flowed in the spring breeze and reflected the sunlight, making her head seem to glow like an angel.  The man held her in his arms as she said her goodbyes.  He begged her to stay with him, and promised that he would keep her safe for as long as he lived.  But, all his begging and promising was in vain.  Lenore kissed his cheek and walked out of his life.

            The raven, breaking the man’s concentration, flew from the table chair and landed on the back of the chair where the man was seated.  The man looked up at the bird and smiled.

            “Hello, Lenore,” he said, reaching out his finger to scratch the bird’s head.

            The raven croaked and replied, “Nevermore.”

            At this moment, the man thought of a horrible, yet genius idea.

            He stood up and faced the bird.  “I could use you to help me torture the one who stole my love away from me.”  He reached forward and stroked the back of the bird.  “It will make me happy to see him suffer for the evil he has done.”

            The man picked the raven up and went outside.  The sky was filling with black clouds and the winds were starting to get stronger.

            Looking up at the darkening sky, the man said, “The gathering of an oncoming storm is a perfect time to pull off this deed.”

            The storm had reached the town by the time the man and the raven reached the house of the once living Lenore.  He set the raven on a low hanging branch of a tree and then made his way over to a window on the side of the house.

            The raven sat in the tree silently and watched as the man pushed the window open and crawled inside the house.  No longer able to see the man, the bird became agitated, and it started moving from side to side along the branch.  It then flew down and landed at the front door of the house, waiting for the man to let it in.

            The man moved quietly through the dark room of the house.  He made his way over to a cracked door that had light shining through it.  Putting his eye up to the crack, he could see Lenore’s husband sitting at a desk reading from a book.  Candles flickered around the room and the wind could be heard as it beat against the shingles of the house.  A sudden tapping at the door distracted the husband from his book and caused the man’s heart to beat wildly with excitement.

© 2013 Raleighwheels

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Added on April 30, 2013
Last Updated on April 30, 2013



Selinsgrove, PA

I'm trying to get back into writing. I've been thinking of stories for years and have a large list of ideas down. I tend to write more horror and supernatural stories. more..

O Death O Death

A Story by Raleighwheels