fiction

What You Get When You Flood Your Mind With Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”

Lenore’s Reprisal (inspired by “The Raven”)

January is a dangerous month. January is deadly. Don’t believe me? January. killed. my. Lenore.

Ok truth. A-steering-wheel-through-the-heart killed Lenore, but it was January’s fault. Lenore’ll tell it was the road, slick with ice and a blanket of snow. She’ll tell it was the brakes on the Volkswagon—that’s what did her in. But don’t you believe it.

You hear that? She’s always jingling the keys, telling me I need to take the car to the mechanic. From the garage I hear them ringing, hear her earrings and their blinging, and my guilt is ever-stinging at her mangled, undead form.

Though the Browns are playing, which is to say they’re losing, I get up when she starts her jingling because I know I’ll get no rest till I let her in the door. Why she doesn’t just come right on through—my ephemeral, vaporous wife of thirty-nine years, some of them while she lived and breathed—Lenore wants me off the couch, that’s why.

I tell her, “Wait just a minute, will ya, honey? It’s January.”

She tells me she waited for me to fix the brakes and look how that turned out. I meant to. Really.

She stands right in the way of the telly, hands on hips, keys a jangle, rusty earrings a’dangle, matted hair a crimson tangle. Who can enjoy a game with such distraction? Not I, nevermore.

“Your father wasn’t a glassblower,” I say, hoping she’ll get the hint.

She doesn’t.

I ask her to remove the serrated keys from my chest. She twists until only the key ring is visible, wrecking my PJ’s forever.

“Please?” I ask. “Take your keys from my heart, your form from my foyer, your brakes and your bangles, your oxidizing earrings and your weather-beaten bones, you zombie chore. Won’t you go? I can’t take it anymore.”

“Nevermore,” says Lenore.

photo credit: @amarnathtade

I gave this assignment to my 5000 Words class: read “The Raven” at least three times then craft a story based on it. You can change anything, POV, genre, aspects, motivations, setting, etc. 

 

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11 thoughts on “What You Get When You Flood Your Mind With Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven””

  1. This is so cool, Mrs. Griffiths! I loved how a lot of the words rhymed in the sentence: “From the garage I hear the ringing, hear her earrings and their blinging, and my guilt is ever-stinging at her mangled undead form. I also liked how you put the Browns in. (: Loved it!!

  2. Very nicely done, Kelly. Poe’s one of my literary heroes, and I posted my own Raven-inspired poem last year. If you’re interested, you can read it here:
    https://theceaselessreaderwrites.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/rewarding-with-a-reblog/

    My warped friend Michael at Afterwards pointed me in your direction today. Tip him a nod if you’d like. You aren’t too many miles from me; I think I’ll follow you for a while.

    Take care, be well, and happy writing,

    Denny

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