On A Raven’s Wing
The boy wished every hour of every day for his life to be different. Less boring. Less normal. He was an only child, though his parents were nice enough. He had his health and wasn’t unattractive or misshapen. Life was okay. If he had friends, they wouldn’t have understood him, nor would he have wanted them to.
When he wasn’t wishing, the boy read about adventures and escape. About lives of epic proportions and saving the world. While he enjoyed reading these stories, yes, he couldn’t help but feel belittled by them. Insignificant. Bland.
However, this one day in particular, as he sat in his matchbox of a classroom, which was part of the shack that was his grade school, it happened—his wish came true.
At the front of the class, the underpaid, unenthused teacher slowed down in all senses, slurring his last word in drawn-out slow motion until he stopped mid-sentence.
The boy peered around at his classmates to see how they were reacting but found that they, too, were all frozen in place—stuck in time. The lights flickered out as the boy stood up from his desk and examined the room in a full circle.
Thunder boomed outside and shook the paper-thin walls as rain splattered the open sill of the only window at the front left of the room. All color drained from the world, as in an old movie, though he was unsure when this happened. Most likely at the same time as the lights.
The teacher and his students resembled marble-white statues with no other purpose than to fill the stage the boy now occupied. He stood and gravitated to the window as the sky cracked, rattling his teeth and ribs.
The sky outside had darkened into a deep, ashen grey as if night had killed day and was there to stay. Lightning illuminated the motionless classroom, if only for a moment. The boy scanned the figures to make sure he was still the only one moving before turning back to face the window.
A raven as black as ink perched on the window frame. Its sharp, dark eyes fixated upon the young boy. It sidestepped closer toward where the boy stood. The boy reciprocated the bird’s stare with equaled intensity.
Its eyes glowered back at him with depth and power that surpassed any bird—even any human. The thought sent shivers down the boy’s spine as hair prickled on the back of his neck. Nevertheless, he remained planted to the ground where he stood in front of the dark creature in the open window.
The bird moved fast. It stabbed forward at the boy’s hand with its sharp beak in a concise needle-prick. The boy did not flinch.
Dark droplets of black blood dripped out and fell to the floor. The boy remained as motionless as the other statues—not out of fear but of eagerness not to ruin this moment.
Though it wasn’t much blood, the boy smelled the strong scent of salty copper. It mingled with the electric scent of lightning and petrichor in the air and filled the room as the storm outside grew. It was not an unpleasant smell and seemed to charge the boy with a sense of power.
The raven nipped once at the open wound, though not as sudden this time. It clicked its upper and lower beaks together and cocked its head to the side as if in contemplation. It had judged the boy’s quality.
The boy held his breath.
Thunder rumbled in the sky outside as rain continued to fall at an impossible rate.
The raven once again faced the boy, but this time nodded its head as if in approval. It had tested the boy’s worthiness.
It presented its wing, unfurling it towards the boy, who accepted it in the small of his bleeding hand.
The two then fell out the window into the night sky.
This is a great short story—loved it. You have a way with words reminiscent of Poe. I enjoyed your piece and hope to see more of your work!
Thanks a lot for the message Chris, I really appreciate your feedback!