Friday, 31 October 2014

#CoffinHop Day 8: Ravens for Halloween

It’s Halloween my ghastly ghouls! And today I conjuring some grave magic with a creepy story, and a bit of Poe in the form of a video I made. I hope you enjoy this last offering, and...

 Happy Halloween!


A raven flutters from the burnished sky to settle atop her gravestone; an avian silhouette against the twilight. The creature stares at me with yellow eyes and caws, its squawk a guttural noise, harsh against my ears. It hops once, and flaps its wings, before it flies away.
“No.” The gasp escapes my lips. I recognize the creature. A spy for the Cabal.
A shiver of dread shakes through my bones. I kneel beside the grave marker, and place my trembling hand on the earth that conceals so much more than a mere body.
“They have found us, Mistress, sooner than I hoped.”
The thought of how flits through my mind. A misstep on my part, or perhaps they simply grew smarter over the years? It matters little, though, the reason. This struggle will soon end, most likely with my demise. But I don’t fear death, no, we are old companions. I fear failure, however. If I die before resurrection , they will control her forever.
I must not let that happen.
I must finish the ritual before the Cabal soldiers arrive.
The wind ruffles my hair, as a mother might a child, and I take reassurance. My efforts will not be in vain.
“No, Mistress, I have not searched for one hundred years, evaded the Cabal, protected our secrets and your burial site to fall short now. You will be set free from your prison, that wretched corpse where they trapped you.”
I glance at the sky. The sun paints the clouds a deep crimson, and dusk lengthens the shadows in the graveyard. I smile. That tonight, All Hallows Eve, will be the time of her resurrection seems appropriate. People used to believe the ghosts of the dead roamed on this night. I can only hope they will do so once more.
I pull the bag I brought with me closer, and open it, removing the necessary ingredients. I arrange them carefully—three glass jars, a black feather, and a pouch—and begin the spell.
I burrow a small hole in the loose earth, the dirt cold under my finger tips, the pungent smell of decay and filth scenting the air. Dusting off my fingers, I pick up one of the jars and pour the contents—dried twigs from an oak tree—into the hole I dug. Rummaging in my pocket, I remove my lighter and pick up the second jar. Then I set the twigs aflame as I recite the words embedded into my memory.
Awakened in Fire.”
I open the next jar and spill out the hallowed earth of a thousand graveyards to bury the flames. Smoke plumes from the dying embers
Strengthened in Earth.”
I lift the feather and drop it through the dissipating smoke, over the now filled hole. It drifts slowly to the ground.
Air to give you wings.
I raise the last jar and douse the feather in a cascade of liquid.
And Water to set you free.”
I feel the ground shudder and the air splinter with a frisson of electricity.
It’s working.
I snatch at the pouch, spilling its contents into my palm. The pieces of bone feel glacial against my skin, their inscribed runes shimmering a faint red. Carefully, I place the bones on the grave in the correct pattern, the symbol that will summon her back, and then survey my work.
I let out a sigh. “It is ready, Mistress.”
Only one more thing to accomplish, and I reach into—
My hand never finishes its task. I feel the bullet rip through my abdomen before my mind even realizes it heard a shot. I pitch forward, but quickly halt my fall by seizing the edge of the gravestone. I laugh, though I hear running footsteps, shouts and caws behind me, for my blood drips into the earth, and onto the bones. They are too late.
I roll away from the grave as tremors crack the ground and dirt spews upward. The stone marker splits and an intense, crimson light erupts, illuminating the sky. I shield my eyes against the glare, but I cannot block out the screams.
When I once again venture to look, I see her. She crouches on the ground, her black wings unfurling, and around her lay the bodies of Cabal soldiers, their own ravens scavenging among the dead.
I rest my head upon the ground and gaze at her daunting presence. “Welcome back, Mistress.”
She twists her head, staring at me with her fierce, obsidian eyes. In a voice both forbidding and soothing she speaks, “Thank you. For releasing me, and for your sacrifice.”
I nod, emotion robbing me of a reply, and see her rise toward the clouds, soaring high above the sanctified graveyard, her obsidian wings of bone and skin stretching wide, trailing smoke and aether. I smile as I watch her fly away, the ravens following, a magnificent black shadow against the sunset, and I wave farewell.
“Goodbye, my mistress.” My whisper catches the autumn breeze and chases her into the sky. I lower my hand, weakening from the pain and injury.
My breath slows, and my blood seeps into the dark loamy earth, but I do not care. My fading life does not matter, in fact I welcome its end. My demise means I succeeded. She is reborn, and this unnatural, immortal world will know the touch of Death again.

Now here's a bit of a salute to Poe...

Be sure to check out the rest of the Coffin Hoppers on this last day at

And if you haven’t yet, please enter my contest before it disappears.


Brewin said...

Love this story! And the Poe video tribute too!

A. F. Stewart said...

Glad you enjoyed.

Unknown said...

Love the idea of The Coffin Hop!

A. F. Stewart said...

Yes, it's a fun week.

Mary Rajotte said...

Ooh! Very creepy!

A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks, I do try.

DarcNina said...

Excellent! You do not disappoint on any level, Anita!! Your blog kicked serious butt! :)

A. F. Stewart said...

Thank you, kindly.

Unknown said...

Great story! I love Ravens and they're apparently super intelligent!

A. F. Stewart said...

Ravens are a particular favourite of mine too, and have a great myth based presence.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for sharing your work with us. I enjoyed this tale; I only wish I'd discovered this hop sooner. No matter, I'm following your blog now.

A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks for following, and you can always join us next year from the beginning.

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