The Unheeded Omen:
“when an arrant mind wanders,
and breaks open the protective shell,
rising up, a wicked demon saunters,
from the darkened depths of hell.”
The general populace has long considered ravens to be associated with bad omens, though never putting much stock in such trivial absurdity, I delightedly accepted the opportunity to move my family into a lavish home located on Raven road.
In the early morn, in the spring of the year 18--, bracing yet dreary, leaves insignificantly rustled as a gelid breeze swept along, washing away droplets of early precipitation. Clouds hanging oppressively low, still darkened, loomed overhead, threatening another ghastly shower to descend upon us while we rode protected from the elements, while the wheels of the carriage jostled us about as they trundled over cobblestone. The voyage was relatively short, reaching just beyond the edge of town, which I had and would continue, to call home for many a year.
The caw of ravens echoed overhead as we veered down the road of our new dwelling, with seemingly thousands of the blackened beasts residing in its progression of Oaks.
My darling Penelope and our two young progenies, plus one in the womb, sat delighted as the driver directed the carriage down the lane to the two-story brick mansion as it seemed to us, having lived a life of little resource. This was the beginning to a new epoch, this auspicious occasion afforded by a promotion I procured; we received the home joyfully with the compliments of my company, as part of my bonus.
As the carriage rolled into view of the domicile, the children curiously gazed through the panes of glass, pressing their noses to achieve a better glimpse, their fidgety disposition putting smiles on our faces. Penelope and I showed approval for their enthusiasm.
The usually neatly manicured grounds were awash with the residue from the storm of the previous eve. Well-groomed hedges of significant splendor and foliage lined the drive, their once proud branches drooped towards the ground, some almost bear of leaves, and as the carriage circled in front of the home, ivy, overspreading the exterior, glistened in the dim light of day.
A valet, another benefit of my new station and being a servant of the house for numerous years, met the carriage as we stopped.
As we departed, the valet bowed deeply and gestured toward the portico, commenting that he had allocated our possessions to their proper place and now, the vast luxury of the domicile awaited us.
We embraced the cold air and made haste for the door, the children enthusiastically, first through its threshold. I followed my beloved, nodding attentively to the valet and, approaching the door, I noticed my new neighbor, an elderly man, pitifully disheveled, standing on the porch of his own discriminately decrepit home across the adjoining field.
The grass of the field, more resembling brome, between us was unkempt and thus made it impossible to tell where the abandoned yard ended and the neighbor’s began. The neighboring house was decayed from years of neglect, paint long ago wearing thin, cracked and peeling, and shutters hung precariously from their mounts. A broken fence of rotted wood surrounded the property, half its horizontal slats lying at angles to the ground and hidden by overgrown sedge. The windows seemed blackened by death, empty eye sockets peering at our new home and the roof seemed to house more ravens then did the trees, as any of its worn shingles were barely visible. Overgrown and under trimmed vegetation scattered the lot, yet the view of the house itself, unfortunately for me, was unobstructed. Upon looking at the melancholy house, a sense of indispensable gloom washed over me.
My new neighbor seemed to be as unkempt as was his yard and I noticed, with ease, the elderly man’s demeanor appeared to be one of utter indifference. I waved to him in what I considered to be a polite gesture and, perplexingly, he just turned and entered his house without response, which I thought a bit odd as I entered my new home.
I absorbed the splendor of my new abode, which was of stark contrast to my neighbors, while trying to shake the awkward encounter from my mind. Artful paintings hung from the brightly colored walls while decorative rugs dotted the cherry hardwood floors. The furnishings bore elaborate carvings, with soft velvety cushions, while brass and silver trinkets topped the stands and mantles. Fires burned in the ornate fireplaces casting a warm glow about the rooms, filling them with a cozy air, and simultaneously casting eerily dancing shadows about. Spacious was the home, with formal living and dining rooms, a parlor, four bedrooms upstairs and indoor plumbing, a fairly new innovation. We quickly settled in and, with assistance from the valet, we fell into a routine, living a somewhat leisurely life compared to the drudgery of life before my promotion.
Kraig has earned his BA in English writing and graduated cum laude from Washburn University in 2017.
Kraig has published two novels and published poetry. He is currently working on another writing project.
His current novel is A Collection of Twisted Tales.
You can visit his website at http://www.kraigdafoe.com.