the raven

October 19, 2008

[A story that was started in October 2007. It’s unfinished and I’ve lost the idea of where it was going. Instead of writing an ending that goes against the original intentions, I’ll post it as is.]

I am perched on top of a street lamp, glowing lights underneath warming my dark rear quite nicely. A wonderful invention these lights. A handy heating unit in the cold nights, and also a convenient lookout to spy from. A breeze blows through the city, coming down through the valley to ruffle my feathers only a slight bit. No matter. I sit, warm and cozy, while my counterparts down below are more than likely cold.

Funny chaps, them. I’d give them names for you, but they’re just birds; who cares about their names. I will name one of them for you though. Cross is what I shall call him. A dangerous raven, a smart bird, but as evil as they come. There are rumours about him that go around our circles on the street. Rumours of him eating cats when he feels like it. Rumours of him living not in a nest in the forest like most of us, but in his own private place up high in the buildings of the city, a raven’s penthouse. Most of these things are rumours, except for one night.

And I happened to be there.

Cross is so-named because he doesn’t have any one joint to hang around. Take me, for instance, on my perch on this silly street lamp. I sit here day in, day out, flying around a little to gather my food, but otherwise I return to this one spot. It’s my spot. No one will challenge me for it because there are plenty of other street lamps in this city. But Cross is different. He rules where-ever he is at that particular moment. There is no stopping him, no challenges going his way. In a moment’s notice, he will show up and take over. He thinks he is more important than everyone else- he isn’t, but don’t pass that along to him.

The incident involving Cross occurred at one of the local hangouts in the city. It’s not well-known by the humans, and the other creatures of the night shy away from this place. It’s not very welcoming to newcomers, a bit raw I would say. Drishunlong. The name alone has caused the older animals of the villages to run away. Those animals are tough, but not tough enough to venture into this world. I have only been there once before, which was long enough for me to be imprinted with a memory.

Drishunlong is not a place in the sense of a bar or restaurant. It is an area where certain ravens find themselves to discuss raven matters – who has access to X dumpster, who gets to fly across the river and who doesn’t, how many ravens can exist at any given moment downtown. Important things for us, no more foolish than human matters. What does exist at Drishunlong are a pair of dumpsters, fifteen feet apart, along a chain-link fence. On one side of the fence, is a parking lot; on the side of the dumpsters, some old, decrypted buildings that are still occupied. The dumpster doors are more often than not propped open, rubbish overflowing onto the ground. It’s a raven’s waterfall of goodness. If you show up late, you miss a lot of the good parts that could have been found. Appear late and you’re stuck scavenging up the broken up nacho chips of a week old bag of Dorito’s. Even worse is not having any edible substances there and being left with broken up pens or cardboard – an unnecessary evil if there was one. The lighting at Drishunlong is poor, as it is everywhere in the city that isn’t on a major roadway. Even the raven’s backyard of the alleyways, it is incredibly dark. On occasion, an idiot will be sitting in the alleyway shining his car headlights down our way, illuminating the decay stuck underneath the fence and up against the old buildings. We do not like such things, as it reminds us that we are standing around squawking about our matters while our feet are mere inches away from the latest dog shit to be dropped onto the ground. Thankfully, the mice of the world are pushovers and can be made to clean the stuff up. The morons.

The sounds coming out from the building beside us are loud. Too loud for my liking, but the music is decent. A low rumbling beat with the vocals barely audible through the many layers of walls and other crap it has to pass through. It’s a fitting underscore to the events that are about to transpire at this place, known as Drishunlong.

I, as usual, am to be found on top of the chain-link fence, towards one end of the dumpsters. My eyes are split between looking at the ground, and looking at the building that owns the parking lot. An area of safety, just in case. A few other ravens are picking through the remainders of the trash, and not having much luck at finding anything decent either. They’re squabbling amongst themselves about how the older ravens always get the best of life while they’re left with nothing. More ravens are gathering towards the other end, muttering away. I strain to hear them, and debate about flying closer, but I do not want to draw attention to myself. It’s risky enough as is being in this place, so I’d rather not remind them that I am actually here. A screech comes screaming down the alleyway followed by the insistent honking of a car horn. The noise causes all of us black birds to close our beaks and stare down towards the vehicle to see what we had missed. We all have our suspicions, and sure enough, a cat slinks out of the shadows of the car. It heads up against the wall of the building, and the car drives on. We turn our heads away from the nuisance and go back to out business.

As mentioned before, raven business is not all that interesting. There was one major problem of late, however, and that is much interest. It concerns a rival spot, a rival murder of ravens, that have started to frequent the area known as Sermawkt. It’s much cleaner than Drishunlong, which doesn’t make the ravens that frequent there any better. They do pretend to be better than the rest, and there lies the problem for us Drishunlongers. Of late, the Sermawktens have started to guard dumpsters and attack any other ravens that have been hoping to feed there. They are a ruthless bunch, plucking the feathers of some dear friends of mine. They harass our group constantly and don’t let up.

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