The Memory of Becoming an Evermore
I awoke in a satin tomb, nearly suffocated. Nothing but black, everywhere, and I clawed my way out of that grave, hate in my chest, thunder in my head.
I didn't know what was happening, or why I'd come back. The experience was nightmarish, something one would only expect to occur in a dark slumber.
I recall all.
Burning in my lungs, that hadn't breathed air, gasping for life. Dirt under my nails. The icy rain, drenching me.
I stood up on my feet, trembling, and weak. Images of what might've been my previous life, flashed before my eyes. My eyes, I opened them.
A black raven landed atop my tombstone. He stared at me, his beady eyes demanding my attention. My chest burned like fire. My head roared. And I heard a throbbing voice echo, “Forever, forever, forever, forever, forever.”
I screamed. Rain fell down around me. I dropped to the ground and held my head, throbbing in pain. My heart in agony. It felt as though the bird was tugging at me, drawing me near, trying to pull me in.
At that precise moment, the bird pulled me into him, and I felt my bones break as they collapsed into a smaller birdlike structure.
“Evermore, evermore, evermore…”
I became the raven, only I was a white one, and I was still very much dead. But I was at unrest. I was undead. The chosen one, doomed to live forever. This was worse than the non-existence that death offered me. During death, I could not feel.
Now I could hear, see, smell, feel, everything...brightly...deeply.
I could hear all sounds, feel all things. Even things humans had not the ability to feel. I felt the lamenting heartache from the dead. The moaning torment, the pain of the decaying. I felt their agony.
I had supersonic sight. I could see the Eiffel tower from where I stood in North America. I heard every creature's thoughts, felt every creature's emotions. I heard the symphony of the whirling wind and drumming rain. I heard the heavens thunder.
I flew upward and into the branches of the trees, but before I landed my flight, I crashed to the ground in my human form. The fall did not hurt as it might've for a human.
I fell on my back, and stared up into the cobweb of tree branches to see a guy staring down at me, from the tree, with a smirk on his face. “Can't believe they sent me all the way down here for this.” He indicated me.
He leapt down, landed on his feet, and extended a hand to help me off the ground. I took his hand and he jerked me forward with a firm pull. “I'm Michael,” he said. “Michael Corbin. Welcome back.”
“What am I doing here?”
“You're an Evermore. You need to come with me.”
I shook from the cold rain. I wrapped my arms around my body. “What is an Evermore?”
“Guardian of the dead and dying, creators of life, destroyers of evil.”
I coughed in a mad fit, then I said, “I don't understand.”
“You're the eternal one. But don't worry. There's a way out. This can be a blessing or it can be a curse. You choose now.”
“It already feels like a curse, man.”
He ignored my statement. “There's three ways to get to Nevermore. We teleport, we fly, or I carry you on my back through a skylight-windfall.” He smirked at the last transportation method.
I made a face. “Well I'm certainly not riding on your back. Don't even think about it. Better watch yourself.”
He smiled. “You better watch yourself.”
I stared at him through the strands of my hair. “Don't tell me you're gay. I don't need this of all things, right now.”
“Nevermore some fairyland?”
He ignored me. “Well, you can't teleport. You're not strong enough. That was never an option. So you're flying.” He walked off, then turned back to look at me. “Better learn to shape-shift, and fly, quickly, or you'll be stuck down here like this forever.” Then he ran at the speed of light and burst into a black raven.
“Man, wait on me, will you?”
I rubbed my hands together, then took a running start, and thinking about the moment before when I'd became the bird and flew up into the tree, my body shifted into a white raven, and my wings flapped through the sky, furiously, to catch up with Michael. I followed him through the velvet lit sky, through the wispy and dark clouds, and five minutes later, he flew through a skylight into a dark room and I flew in behind him.
He transformed into his human form and so did I, stumbling back a little, and knocking a glass vase off a desk, sending it shattering to the ground.
“Do you have to make such an obnoxious entrance?” Michael said. “Everyone already knows you're here.”
“Well excuse me for not being exactly skilled in shifting. I've never done this before.”
“Here,” he tossed me a new suit of clothing. “Remove your dirty attire and put this on. You need to make a stunning impression on the Master, who's been waiting on you.” He stared at me.
“Can I get a private moment, please?”
“Get over yourself. There's a thousand guys here in Nevermore. Why would I want an amateur?” He strolled over to the double doors ahead of us. “I'll wait outside the door. Hurry up.”
I pulled off my wet t-shirt, and jeans, and replaced them with the elegant clothing Michael had given me, dress coat and all. Then I knocked on the door to let Michael know I wanted out. When the door opened, I was greeted by loud music and bright lights and ball gowns, lace, and masquerade masks.
“What's all this?”
“The Risorgimento. Some people are being united as one tonight, meaning they'll never have to leave Nevermore, while others are passing through to the otherside, allowing new members in. You're the first new member.”
“Who's passing through to allow room for me?”
“No one, yet.”
“So you're telling me I don't even have to be here?”
“Yes you do. The Master, Zarfe, is ancient. I will replace him soon, and you will take my role here.”
Several females passed by me, staring approvingly. One said, “Happy Birthday, Marcus,” as if she knew me.
“It's already December thirty-first?” I asked Michael.
“Yes. And you're officially nineteen, well technically eighteen, but what the hell. You'll be this age forever. Just be glad you didn't come here looking like that,” he pointed to an elder. “At least you have a chance of finding an immortal lover.”
My eyes attempted to digest the place all at once, a complete fail. Soon, an elderly man, a strong man with hard grim features, approached us. “Well you're finally here. Took long enough,” he spat. “It's time to begin the induction ceremony. Michael, call in The Society.”
A young girl, she couldn't have been no more than sixteen, entwined her arm in mine, linking them, and smiling, led me to a private room. Zarfe followed. Once I was inside the room, she turned around and politely shut the door, and left. I found a chair, which appeared to be made of bone, and sat down, but Zarfe made a loud, rude, and raspy declaration.
“Get your ass out of that chair now! You don't sit down unless you're told you may do so. Don't begin to play games with me, Mister. I'll throw you out on your ass.”
I smirked. “With all respect, Sir, I'm not sure I even want to be here.”
“Well you sure the hell won't survive out there without our help.”
“But I'm already dead, so I don't think it would mat—”
He interrupted me. “If I'd known they'd sent a smart ass to replace me, I would've thought twice about it.”
“But I thought Michael was replacing you and I was replacing Michael.”
He glowered at me, narrowing his eyes. “Mister, if you're going to be a wise-ass I will not tolerate it. I will annihilate your ass so fast, if you thought your resurrection was a nightmare, you won't know anything until you feel my force. Zip your mouth!” He slammed a fist on his desk, and pressed a button on the call box. “Michael, get them in here right now before I cast you out.”
Zarfe kept his eyes on me. A few seconds later, the door opened and the girl who'd led me into the room now brought Michael and three other members who wore red coats with hoods, which they removed. The girl didn't leave this time.
The three red coats stood in front of Zarfe and bowed. “You summoned me, Master?” The blonde asked.
“Yes, Jillian. Our newest member now stands before us.”
She turned her black eyes on me. “Yes, I'm aware. Let the inspection begin.” She looked at Michael. “When you found him, what kind of condition was he in?”
“The same as the others. Confusion. Except he caught on faster than anyone I've ever seen before, and I've been doing this a while.”
“He was able to fly up here.”
“You're kidding? You say he flew?” She turned to Zarfe. “Master, this should make one precocious Crow we have on our hands this century.”
Michael gave a funny look and she turned to look at him. “What's wrong, Michael?”
“He's not a Crow.”
“Then what is he?” All the eyes in the room turned to look at me.
Jillian appeared furious. Her eyes glowed the color of smoldering coal. “That is cursed, Master!”
“Michael, are you sure?”
“I'm quite positive.” He gave glances to me and then back to Zarfe.
“That just cannot be,” Jillian spat. “It cannot. Abomination!”
“No chosen one has ever came back as a Raven. Raven is only for the Elders,” Zarfe said.
“Then I'd say there's a first time for everything,” Michael said. The girl in the back, the one who'd led me in the room smiled brightly. “Cool.”
All eyes in the room, turned to glare at her, including mine. She lowered her head and quit smiling. Zarfe looked at me.
“There's one other thing you must know,” Michael said.
“Enlighten me,” Zarfe said.
“He's also a white Raven.”
“Outrageous!” Jillian exclaimed. “Those simply no longer exist!”
Zarfe took in a deep, frustrated breath and slammed his fist on the desk once more. I darted my eyes back and forth between people, trying to follow the conversation, trying to understand what was going on.
“This would only mean one thing,” Zarfe said.
“What?” Michael and Jillian said in unison.
“He's Superior to us both,” he told Michael.
“What does this mean?” Michael inquired.
“He will have to be the one replacing me when my time is over.”
Jillian spun out of control. “I won't have it, Master! An amateur in control? Have you gone mad?”
“Jillian, this is beyond my control.”
I crossed my arms smugly and smiled.
“You must do something at once!”
Zarfe glared at me in indignation. “Wipe that smirk off your face this instant. You still have a lot to learn.”
Jillian glared at me with disgust.
“Master, he cannot be leader,” Michael said.
“Jillian and Michael, you are going to train him.”
“I will partake in no such thing,” Jillian said.
“You will do as I say,” Zarfe said.
Jillian squirmed beneath her skin.
“We will decide how strong he is, and if he's as strong as you Michael, I'll send you both on a mission to see who is worthy enough to be leader. Until then, continue on. I'm still in charge.”
Jillian gave me one last disapproving stare, before she exited the room, followed by the other two red coats, and Michael and Zarfe.
The girl was left in the room with me, and she smiled in the corner. I looked at her and she looked up, blushing. “I knew you were going to come here and I knew this was going to be great,” she beamed.
“I'm Emilie,” she said, extending her hand out to me to shake mine, a formal introduction. At first I hesitated, but then I shook her hand. “Wow,” she said, blushing again and trying to hide her face. “I think this is the most excited I've been since being here, the first being when Jillian didn't win over the heart of Anton as her immortal lover. He passed through to the otherside, and she was left with no one. Her Centennial had already passed, so she was stuck here forever, and made the choice to become leader of The Society. She's really just a bitch. I'm glad Anton didn't stay, even though I loved him.”
She looked down at that last line, and paused for a beat, then looked up at me. “I'm sure she'll go for you next, even though you're currently the newest member on her hate list.”
I could tell that not only did Emilie talk a lot, but she must've been new as well, and also from the current Earth time frame. She spoke like that of a modern day teenager.
“So you and Jillian are also enemies?”
“Silent enemies. I could never let her know my true feelings. I'm only a servant. A Jay.”
“I don't exactly belong in this Corvidae Dynasty, you know.” She fluttered her eyelashes. “I don't know why they all were so surprised that you were a white Raven. I mean, God, you must be more ancient than Zarfe, to still be a white raven. I mean, you are from like the end of the nineteenth century.” She came in closer and motioned for me to move my ear next to her. “The researchers who've studied your case, knew you were a Raven, they just didn't want to tell Zarfe. At the time of your death, your body entered preservation mode. You were meant to be the leader the entire time, even before The Master, but by a strange twist of events, you didn't resurrect in time. So, the researchers removed your case file entirely and wrote you off as a regular Crow.” She smiled, deviously. “Quite the scam, isn't it?”
I still didn't understand anything that was going on, but hoped in time I would. “What exactly is The Society?”
“The Law. They govern our existence and make sure the rules of the Land of Nevermore are strictly abided by, or else.”
“Or else what?”
“They annihilate you.”
I gave a contorted look.
“They are fanged creatures who can rip a body apart in a matter of only seconds. I've seen it happen.”
“What am I even supposed to do here, anyway?”
“You are a guide. You guide the dying to the otherworld, the afterlife, you give the living spiritual messages, and you kill the corrupt. Got it?”
A second later, the door flew open and a girl ran at me and threw her arms around my neck. “Oh Marcus! I'm so glad you're here.”
When she pulled away, I saw that it was none other than my annoying twin sister, Vivian.
“I will have you know, Dear Marcus, that you are no longer the oldest sibling. I made it to twenty-one when I died. You're still eighteen.”
“Nineteen,” I corrected. “Well, technically. I don't think resurrection on your birthday really counts, but so be it.” Then I added, “So this means you must be on your best behavior always and conduct yourself in an adult manner, while I, on the other hand, am on the cusp of adulthood, I'll never technically be an adult.”
“Oh, shut up, and let's go dance. It's our birthday, after all.” She took my hand and pulled me out the door and into the masquerade crowd.
“So who's courting you?” I asked.
“Michael Corbin,” she said.
I smiled to myself. “You sure about that?”
“Yes. He will soon be leader of Nevermore.”
“And are you sure about that?”
She spun around and gave me a look.
“I'm just saying. Sometimes you never know.” I shrugged.
“Which other creature residing here could ever replace Zarfe?”
I flashed her a bright smile. “Yours Truly.”
She scoffed. “Please. Don't be absurd.”
I stood against the Palace wall and crossed my arms over my chest, staring out into the spinning array of bodies. Once dead bodies. It was strange to go from being deceased to suddenly being resurrected and brought here.
I felt a light tap on my shoulder. Emilie extended a bowl out to me. “Here, Marcus. Thought you'd like some mix.” The bowl was full of dehydrated fruit, nuts, and berries. I scooped up a handful and shoved it all into my mouth at once, turning my attention back to the crowd.
“Thought you might need it,” she said, “since they'll be here to get you in two minutes.”
I spun my attention to Emilie. “Who?”
“Michael and Jillian, of course.” She looked past me. “And they're here now.”
I turned around. “Come on, little bird,” Michael said, pulling me by my upper arm.
Jillian gave me a disgusted look. “Let's get this over with,” she spat.
We walked across the ballroom to a door which Michael opened, and we descended down a spiraling staircase into a basement. Michael then opened another door and a cool breeze came in. We now stood outside the Palace, on a lower balcony, above a roaring ocean.
“You're going to have to jump off the edge,” Michael said.
“What?!” I turned to look at him, but before I could do or say anything else, Jillian shoved me off the edge with all her force and I spiraled downward in my human form, racing at incredible velocity toward the freezing ocean. At first I panicked. Then, I knew I wouldn't let her get the best of me. I burst into the white raven and soared back up toward the top of the ledge, my senses dramatically increased.
“That bastard really is a white Raven,” she said.
Michael turned to her. “Don't fool yourself, Jillian. I think you like him.”
I could hear their conversation.
“The way you stare at him, I'd say you do.”
“No comment. Marcus can hear us.” He smiled and jumped off the edge of the balcony, but instead of bursting into a bird, he landed perfectly on his feet, on the sandy part of the ocean and turned his head up to the sky to look at me.
Jillian stared down at us both, anger radiating from her entire being. I flew downward toward Michael and crashed into my human form, five feet away from his face.
“All right,” he said. “Think you can out run me?”
“Why do we have to train like this anyway if all we ever do is guide people to the other side?”
“There's more to it than that, Marcus.”
“How hard could it be?”
“We have enemies.”
“Who are our enemies?”
“Wolves,” he said. “There are many others, but mainly wolves. Wolves are also guides. They warn of imminent death and many other things. Also, Corvidae hunters want to kill us. They still believe we take innocent lives, that we're somehow responsible for people's deaths. You know, old myth about how Ravens and Crows rip apart bodies and eat the flesh. You have a lot to learn.” He took off running and I sped after him. I did an amazing job at keeping pace with him, but I skidded to a halt when I saw him leap incredibly high into the air and land a thousand feet away, with perfect grace. I was shocked. When I blinked, he was gone.
“You know, I can hear your thoughts. They're extremely audible,” he was behind me. I spun around. “Just remember that from this point on, nothing you think will ever get past me.” He patted me on the back. And that was how I became an Evermore.