The Raven Goes Mad
Immortal Writers include authors like William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe. They, along with the protagonist of this story, Liz, have all earned eternal life because of the power of their words. Their characters have also come to life. Here's a glimpse of what it's like at the Writer's Castle around Halloween.
The scream reverberated through the castle and into the dining hall. Liz and Curtis looked up
from their pumpkin soup.
"Do you think Robert Bloch is experimenting?" Liz asked.
The man screamed again, and Curtis frowned. "Maybe we should do something. We're
supposed to be heroes."
"We live in the Writing Castle. Some weird stuff goes on in here, a scream doesn't mean we
"HELP ME!" the man cried out.
Liz and Curtis jumped up and ran out of the cafeteria and toward the harrowing screams. They
stopped outside of the library and drew their swords, then burst inside.
A character Liz didn't know lay on the ground, feebly attempting to dislodge the Raven from
where it was pecking him in the temple. Blood spewed out of his head and little bits of brain dribbled
from the Raven's beak.
"Please," the man moaned. "Please."
And then he was gone.
Liz stood frozen, staring at the horrible scene, but Curtis jumped into action and ran toward the
Raven, sword raised.
"Get back!" Curtis yelled. He swung his sword, but the Raven glided out of the way and
advanced toward Curtis.
Curtis was a fierce warrior, but he was accustomed to fighting dragons, not small pesky birds.
"Nevermore!" the Raven squawked. It dove past Curtis's sword and gave his temple a ferocious jab.
"Quick, Liz," a voice said from behind her. Liz turned. Shakespeare gazed at the dead man on the
floor with tight lips and furrowed brow. "Before the Raven does any more damage."
"If Curtis can't kill it, how do you expect me to be able to?"
Curtis yelled in pain and swatted at the Raven, but it persisted forward.
"I don't expect you to kill it," Shakespeare said. "Poe would just create something worse."
"Then what should I do?"
"Capture it with your Spirit magic, enter its mind and remove whatever is aggravating it."
"If it keeps moving, I don't know how I'll get a hold of it."
"Curtis," Shakespeare called. "Hold still. Let it eat you."
"Are you crazy, bard?" Curtis asked. He swatted at the bird with his sword while he held his
temple with the other hand, trying to stop the bleeding.
Liz understood. "Trust him," she said. Curtis closed his eyes, removed his hand and held
"Nevermore!" the Raven cried, then swooped down and started pecking.
"Now, Liz," Shakespeare urged.
Liz stepped forward and flung her Spirit magic out toward the Raven. It surrounded the bird,
trapping it, and Liz levitated it toward her. She held it in the air and looked at Shakespeare.
"Enter its mind and erase whatever has made it mad," Shakespeare said.
"Shouldn't we just kill it? I have it now."
"I forbid you to kill the Raven," Poe said. His low, morose voice came from the hallway. He
stepped out of the shadows and glared at Liz. "He's the only family I have left."
"It just killed a man."
"I can do without Montresor. But I will keep the Raven."
"Elizabeth," Shakespeare interrupted. "Do what he says."
Liz pursed her lips and gathered her magic from behind her chest. She closed her eyes and threw
the magic into the Raven's mind.
It was a dark, dense place. The darkness in its head pressed against Liz's consciousness. She
worried that she would have to erase the Raven's entire mind for it to be at peace, but she doubted that Poe would be all right with that. There must be something that had pushed the bird over the edge.
Liz pushed further into the bird's mind. Everywhere she turned, she heard shouts of NEVERMORE calling out through its mind.
What's bothering you? Liz asked the Raven.
Immediately, a horrible, gruesome image surrounded Liz. She tried to close her mind to it, but it
shoveled its way into her conscious. Liz cried out.
"Liz?" she heard Curtis say. "Shakespeare, let her stop. Something's wrong."
"Do you want the Raven to come back to itself or not?"
Gritting her teeth and ignoring her tears, Liz instructed her magic to take hold of the awful
image and tore it out of the Raven's mind, encasing it into her own.
Liz opened her eyes as her magic retreated from the Raven's head.
"It's done." Liz's voice cracked with strain.
"Let him go," Poe insisted. Liz looked away from the old writer and let his pet go. Without so
much as a squawk, the Raven glided peacefully to Poe's shoulder and perched on top of it.
"Thank you, McKinnon," Poe said. He extended his hand.
"Leave," Liz demanded. Poe hesitated, then shrugged, bowed, and left.
Liz wiped the tears from her eyes and shook her head, trying to rid her mind of the image she
had had to take into her own head.
"What was it, Liz?" Curtis asked.
"The Raven saw something," Liz said.
"And?" Shakespeare asked. "What has Poe done? It had to do with him; I could tell by the way
you demanded that he depart."
Liz shook her head violently.
"Tell us," Shakespeare demanded as Curtis slid his arm across Liz's shoulders.
"The Raven…" Liz swallowed. "The Raven saw Poe naked."
Shakespeare and Curtis paused, then both burst out laughing.
"You are kidding," Shakespeare said.
"It must be pretty bad if it drove the Raven to slaughter," Curtis laughed.
"You can laugh," Liz said, "but you haven't seen what I have seen."
Shakespeare shook his head and tried to compose himself. Curtis went right on laughing. "What
was it exactly that made the Raven mad enough to commit murder? Was he not Poe-tty enough for it?"
Liz grit her teeth. "It's not funny," Liz said. "I'm thoroughly horrified. I can never un-see that."
Curtis laughed while he used his magic to heal his temple. Shakespeare walked over to
Montresor. "What a mess."
"How are you going to clean up all that blood?"
Shakespeare smiled. "The same way I do everything. With a little bit of magic."