The shrilling caw of the raven wakes me from unconsciousness. My eyes are open but all around me is darkness. An overwhelming, claustrophobic feeling envelopes me, but as I try to move my hands to my chest, I find the coffin that has me enclosed tightly.
I am buried alive.
I’m scratching for my life. The flesh on my fingers quickly pulls away and I begin to slowly lose blood, along with my sanity. Every strike of the fist seems pointless and each of my breaths become more shallow. I have no idea what to do.
“Roderick! Dear brother, where are you? Help me please!”
All I can hear is the sound of my weak heart beating in my ears. The air around me is thinning out but my lungs thirst for it even more. Where is my brother and why has he left me like this?
Hope is deteriorating as lonely tears streak down my face. I am trying to control the rise and fall of my chest. Savor each breath to hopefully extend my time in here in hopes that Roderick will find me. I have never felt more disconnected from my skin. An impassive death stares at me, waiting for the right moment to consume.
My eyes are fluttering as visions dance in my mind. I cannot not tell what is memory or just madness creeping into my thoughts. I can see myself in my room, lying in bed and feeling ill. I hear the voices of two men. Then I see Roderick’s face close to mine as he holds a bottle to my lips. He tells me to drink it against my will. The taste….like almonds……
My eyes shoot open and a guttural scream from deep inside reverberates through out the coffin. My own brother tried to kill me. No! This cannot be. I scratch, punch, kick with my last remaining strength to get out of this hell. I need to find my brother. What do I have to lose?
My punches grow weak and I hear a strange tongue saying Roderick’s name over and over. I succumb to the thought I have lost what is left of my lucidity. I laugh as I believe it is the raven speaking his name. A raven that talks? This is how it ends for me.
“Yet mad I am not…and very surely do I not dream.” *
I am feeling so sleepy and not even sure if this is just a nightmare. Will someone please wake me if that is the case?
I hear the raven once more and this time it sounds as if he is laughing. Does he mock me?
I breathlessly whisper, “Oh raven, why do you laugh? I am dying and I only have my brother to blame,”
I can hear claws on my coffin, oh my coffin. I press my hands to the top trying to pull what life I can from above.
“Raven, please carry my words to Roderick. Let him know how I did not go peacefully. Tell him I will bring hell to him as I pass over. Go now.”
I can hear the fluttering of wings and pray my message will reach my murderous brother. I promise to bring terror down on him as soon as I take my last breath.
As the last air leaves my lungs, I feel light. I feel myself rising out of my casket and into what has become my tomb. A smile comes across my face as I am met by the raven. Instinctively I follow him.
We ascend through the floors of the house up to Roderick’s room. I arrive at his door, the raven bids me adieu. Pushing myself through the door and I can sense Roderick is hiding from me. I pull back the curtain and his eyes meet mine.
Cold air fills the room as I speak, “Oh brother, what have you done?”
The knife clatters to the ground and a scream pierces the night.