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The Pilgrims' Inn, Nov. 28: Chapter 28: Nevermore

Post 1

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late



Ozymandius was awakened at midnight by a rapping at the front door of the Inn. Turning on the light
in his room, he noticed that bookcases had been installed in the walls. The shelves were covered with books that seemed to date from previous centuries. Indeed, some of them were so old, Ozymandius expected to see Latin words along the spines.

Well, the rapping continued. The fireplace in the Inn's front room was nearly cold. Only a few embers were still glowing. They cast ominous shadows on the walls.

A gust of bitter cold wind blew into the Inn when he opened the door. He had expected to see a poor wayfarer who was half frozen to death, but there was no one there. This is ridiculous, he thought, closing the door and turning to go back to his room. His eye was caught by a calendar on the wall next to the door. It was the calendar for 1844, and all the dates up to the 21st were circled. The shortest day of a year long past. Probably the coldest night of the season so far. Wait, wasn't that year in the middle of what geologists called the Little Ice Age? Ozymandius was shivering just thinking about it.

Then his eye was caught by a portrait next to the calendar. It showed a young woman with pale skin and short, straight black hair. She wore a ghostly white dress. The top of the dress was in a straight line a few inches below the neck, and the facial features expressed no discernible emotion. "Lenore" was inscribed along the bottom of the frame.

Maybe this would all be cleared up in the morning, Ozymandius thought, trudging back to his bed. A few minutes later he heard another rapping, this time louder and more urgent, but at his window, not at the front door.

Ozymandius greeted this with words that could not be printed here. Angry, he opened the window and thrust aside the shutters. In came a large black bird. Well, not just any large black bird, but a talking raven, though it seemed to know only one word: Nevermore. Ozymandius waved his arm at the bird, hoping it would go back outside, but instead it flew toward the doorway and perched on a bust of Athena.

"Well, if you're going to stay and disrupt my sleep, the least you could do is tell me your name," Ozymandius told the raven. "Nevermore," it repeated.

Ozymandius went to the oracle and asked for help. "You have a raven that keeps saying 'Nevermore'?" the oracle exclaimed. "You can let it give you a guilty conscience about some petty or wilfull act you comnitted in the past, or you can ask Jack Sprat to catch the bird and deliver it to the place where it belongs. A poet who is about to write a poem about ravens lives in a house on Greenwich Street in New York. I think the Inn is on that street right now."

"Does it matter which house?" Ozymandius wondered.

"Not really. The raven knows where it wants to go."

"Then why did it come here?" Ozymandius snapped.

"The finger of fate is fickle sometimes."

"I will deliver the bird myself," Ozymandius declared, summoning Jack Sprat and dressing in the warmest winter clothing he could find. Thus girded for battle with Jack Frost, he clutched the cage in which the raven sat, and opened the front door again. Ah, now he saw that the Inn was across the street from a row of houses. Gaslights were positioend here and there, but to be on the safe side Ozymandius took a flashlight with him.

He squinted at the mailboxes, but snow had piled on top of them, and he didn't want to be found lurking on a city street after dark with a strange light source of the future. So he opened the door of the cage and let the raven out.

"Go, find the right house, and bother me nevermore," he whispered to the bird, crossing his fingers in the hope that it would not fly back to the Inn..

With a flutter of its wings, the raven left the cage and flew toward one of the houses.

"It isn't just fate that's fickle," Ozymandius muttered as he passed the oracle on his way back to his room.

"Would you rather have entertained the man who wrote a poem about a raven?" the oracle wondered.

"It's not likely that he would have been able to pay his bill. Anyway I was almost ready to ask Mrs. Sprat to prepare roast raven for tomorrow's dinner."

"Don't say that too loud," the oracle warned. "You could wake up tomorrow morning in the Tower of London, where ravens are protected."

Ozymandius fell asleep to the sound of the oracle laughing. Well, that was preferable to imagining a flock of ravens coming at him in revenge.

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The Pilgrims' Inn, Nov. 28: Chapter 28: Nevermore

Post 2

SashaQ - happysad

smiley - biggrin


The Pilgrims' Inn, Nov. 28: Chapter 28: Nevermore

Post 3

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

The raven that perches over my doorway thinks that the U.S. will nevermore be a democracy.


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