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Our mama would always tell us a story before we fell asleep; the first story she read to us was called “A Fortunate Fate”. It was a distant memory, and I still remember that woeful tale that she told us so long ago.
She would always have that faint glitter in her eyes as she stroked our sweet faces, and in a quiet, almost inaudible, tone she would say, “Running from his bitter destiny. Running from his fate, he ran from his enemies. Their eyes were black, and their teeth were in a point. Their hair was pointed up to the sides and with long finger nails they would snatch your soul right out. As the sun set this fine eve, red light reflected off of them, leaving behind a dark shadow.
"The villagers ran away proclaiming, 'They're demons from hell!' As those demons flew they found a small crippled boy, one of 8. The little one was lifted by these grand demons and they gave him the one thing he always wanted, the gift of flight. He flew from his fortunate future and instead flew towards his fortunate fate." She would then look to the sky as we said a prayer to God. I'm a questioner and I would question all sorts of logic from my mama.
“Why did he just let himself be kidnapped?" I would ask her. "He doesn't seem very smart."
“The boy was never kidnapped, dear; he just took the path everyone was afraid to take because they were judgmental,” my mama responded.
“I knew that,” I said to her.
“Of course you did, dear,” she said in a sweet tone, laughing and giving us a heartfelt kiss on our cheeks. She then got up with a bright smile and whispered goodnight as she left the room, turning off the lights with her…
And I guess you can say that’s where all my fantasies would come to an end. As the darkness flooded the room with a death-like grip, I heard a deep voice in the room. I gripped my pillow and held it front of me, not like how a coward holds a stick, but as a warrior who holds her shield.
“Emily, that was a dumb story, right?” the deep voice asked.
“Shut up, big brother!” I said.
“That was awfully rude of you,” my brother said as he walked over to my bed and sat on my legs.
“Hey… that hurts, get off!” I said, trying to do sorta a backwards push up to get him off.
“Tell me a story and I will get off,” he said as he took out a knife and apple from the table and began cutting pieces of the apple.
“Alright… I see no harm, but if you don’t get off, I will make sure you choke on that apple,” I said.
“Oh, very scary,” he said in a mocking tone as he took another piece of apple and chewed it like an animal just to upset me.
“Here I go.. And I’m only saying it once so make sure you’re listening. It's called the Raven and the Spider.” I tried to move him a little off my legs… no luck, he noticed right away and adjusted himself to my movements. Seeing this was a pointless battle I sighed and began my story. “Thunder strikes my heart on this cold night. It’s the call of the Raven as he calls for my return from this noble crusade. It’s the fire that burns my skin. It will be the cry of a child, or is it my own nightmare? It’s the grins of many faces, which is the screaming of my soul.
"A spider swings down to me as my arms and legs are all tangled in his web. Yes, it’s a spider. It’s a spider that chains me to this bed and hits me with the belt. It’s a raven that walks by my window tonight and pecks at the glass. It’s the lies of unknown justice that is said to come. That little spider of only eight bares his fangs in me, injecting me with toxins. It’s a wall of brick, that keeps me here in this prison. I will show him the bird of death; I grow legs of 8 as I climb up the wall and bare my fangs in the raven's neck. Seeing him choke and crumble, I mumble my own death,” I said as I looked into my big brother's eyes, since I was adjusted to the dark now.
“Nice story but it wasn’t good enough," he said.
“What?! Why?” I asked him.
He cut a big piece of apple and stuffed it in my mouth, and he looked at the window. “I wonder who the Raven was,” my brother said in a faint voice. He quickly turned his head back to me and smiled at me with a thick row of pointed teeth and long yellow finger nails. With gentle wording he said, “I love you."
I woke up screaming, with my mom running into the room to comfort me.
“Honey, what is wrong?” she asked.
“I saw my brother again,” I said
“Oh… dear, you know your brother is in heaven now..." she said as she gave me a hug.
“I know… I love you,” I said as I fell apart and began to sob in her arms. “Mama, please tell me a story,” I said.