The Raven In the Maple Tree

So I’ve heard about magic happening all around this town and the town next door. Magic mirrors, magic elevators, magic bookshelves. The stories are detailed, specific. People are coming from all around to see if they can find the supernatural. Talking ravens, talking tigers, talking cats and dogs. I’ve yet to see proof of the magic for myself. Maybe because I’m not a believer?  The tales are fun, in the same way that legends and myths are always fun. I have a close friend who swears she’s seen Bigfoot. I think she wants to believe he’s real. Mystery is fascinating. Once something is proved true.. some of the fun goes away, I think. The wonder and search are where the interest lies.  I’ve gone to the deli everyone talks about, the food was indeed excellent. But no one famous waited on me. The woman was kinda hot, but she wasn’t a famous author or anything. Her name tag said Liz. I wanted to get her number, but she got too busy making food for customers. She had short dark hair, beautiful brown eyes, and a great laugh. And.. I saw all the antiques in the back room of the place. Some of them were pretty cool, but no magic elevator or bathroom out there. I had the meatloaf sandwich on a big crusty French roll with Cajun spiced tater tots. Fattening and delicious, but I wasn’t transported anywhere like the moon or another century. The only thing that happened as I left was that Liz smiled and winked at me. I’m going back tomorrow in hopes that I can talk to her. Hope she’s working. But I went there three days ago, and still nothing. My life is still ordinary. That’s not a complaint. I’m a happy guy.  But I think all the rumors of gods and goddesses and animals that can talk inhabiting this town are pretty ridiculous.  And today i had a long day at work. Just going to relax with a beer and a pepperoni pizza. Watch some Hawaii Five-0, the new version. Then again, maybe I’ll just sleep. Glad tomorrow’s Friday. Definitely not going to watch any election news. That’s just depressing. That Trump is a real asshat. I sit back in my recliner with a beer, my dog Dan in his bed beside me, and the TV on. I finish the beer, but then drift away.

… When I wake up, it’s 2:40 am, and the security light on my apartment terrace is on. I’m four floors up, and there’s an awesome huge maple tree real close to the balcony. It’s one reason why I picked this apartment. Love that tree. Right now, it’s lit right up in a cool shade of purple. Like someone has decorated it with little purple lights. I must be seeing things. And.. yep, that’s a raven sitting in it. She’s enormous. So I open the sliding glass doors. Dan’s still asleep. Raven’s eyes are intense. She introduces herself to me. She says, hello, Josh. I’m Norah. Venus sent me to see you… Oh yeah, I’m definitely dreaming. … This is happening because I doubted the magic. … I say.. You’re not real. I’m dreaming you. ..  No, you’re not dreaming. I’m real. If you climb this special tree, you’ll find Liz. She’s waiting for you up there, Josh. Go up now.. well.. I’ll give you time to brush your teeth, you have beer breath.. And you and Liz can watch Hamlet together. It’s an original production. Go ahead. Go get ready. It’s not nice to keep a lady waiting….

So I think.. well hell, why not?  I’m going to do it. But Norah’s right. I stink. I ask if I have time for a quick shower. She says sure. But be quick. The play begins in twenty minutes…

By M. Raynes


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