The Raven's Lament

By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -

Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,

It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore

-The Raven :: Edgar Allan Poe

Chapter 1: Sorrow for the Lost Lenore

For some reason, there is a nostalgic feeling every time Lenore stared up at the heavens while the rain spiraled down from the ironbound sky. The downpour smashed mercilessly against her upturned face. Sometimes tears mingled with the rainwater, though Lenore wasn't always conscious of this. Let her angst wash away with the rain, where it will be purged and cleansed and maybe Lenore would be born anew. This nostalgic feeling recalled something in another lifetime, perhaps, something that should be remembered though no matter how Lenore tried, she couldn't recall what it was. This left her with a gentle ache in the back of her throat and heart, as the tears started to stream down her face. The nostalgia turned into heartache, leaving Lenore numbed not from the rain, but from her heart losing all sensation.

She wondered it was possible to lose her heart. Lenore had a vague concept of an organ beating inside a ribcage within the chest, though what Lenore more thought of was something akin to the conceptualization of a soul. The psyche. The heart that knows deep in the marrow your bones, the conscious weight of sins and sorrows that weighed down upon a world weary soul. She took on these sins and sorrows from many people, and sometimes, Lenore felt simply tired from it all and wanted to escape from it. The cemeteries and souls that she put to rest with her mysterious powers left her with a psychic imprint of their thoughts, and because the ghosts wanted to move on, Lenore carried their sins and weighs so they can ascend to the afterlife.

Lenore could feel her herat beating beneath her chest, feel the luls of blood rushing through her body, though there seemed to be a disturbing sense of emtpiness, even when her heart continued to beat. There were people whose hearts that continued beating yet their souls were dead inside, and sometimes Lenore wondered if the souls that burned out from both ends of the candle wick of their vitality would ever find peace. Lenore wondered when she would beginto spira in that breathless plunge into the abyss, like how Dante hurtled through all nine circles of Hell.

As always, Lenored stared up at the heavens, the rain numbering her face with its chilling cold. Looking up towards the rain seemed to be acathartic gestsure, cleansing her tears and numbing all her fears and sadness and loneliness. She rmeembered that she wished to the stormy heavens that someon, anyone, would come to her, to help ease this sense of never belonging, alwyas remaining invisible and ignored. Eventually the rian became a blessing rather than a curse when she saw a man walking through the rain.

The man bore no umbrella, and even though the rain outlined his form, he seemed to be untouched by them. His features were otherworldly, with a halo of long blond hair and infinite blue eyes. The expression he currently bore veiled any sense of emotion, and Lenore could only stare in awe at the figure before her. It wasn't his handsome features that struck her, but rather the faint glimpse of light that formed the shape of wings through the silvery veil of rain. A staccato flahs of lightning only emphasized the light illuminating the faint outlines.

Lenore almost said she wasn't worthy, about to fall down to her knees in front of this otherworldly creature. Yet Lenore didn't say or do any of these things, and said instead, "Are you an angel? Did you come because you heard me calling for someone like you, Mister?"

It seemed as though the man stared at her for the first time. HIs eyes flickered for a few moments, though he quickly re-composed himself. After a few moments passed, Lenore thought he wouldnt' say anything after all, though the angel eventually spoke.

"You're an unusual girl if you can see my wings. What's your name, child?"

His voice was detached, though his eyes were intently focused upon her. Lenore almost felt uncomfortable with his gaze searing through her, though she said. "My name is Lenore. What's yours?"

His eyes gained a far off look. "Ah, my name. It's a wretched name I've tainted. My name is not worth yto someone as pure as you."

"Tainted?" Lenore asked wonderingly, staring at the faint glimmer of wings that never completely vanished in the glittering rain.

"Yes, child. I cna no longer be called an angel. I am tainted."

Lenore lowered her head and she peered at the fallen angel underneath her lashes.

"I made a wish to the heavens that someone would come to me. I'm glad that I met you. I don't feel lonely anymore."

The angel's lips quirked into a small smile. He ruffled the top of her head, which was slick with rain, though his hand didn't get wet from the droplet clinging to her dark locks. Lenore wondered if angles had a special aura or power that constantly enveloped them, some kind of spiritual energy that repelled water or physical things that can touch an angel's ethereal body. She didn't know, but she knew that the angel she saw right now was someone special. He stepped closer, seemingly floating above the ground where great expanding ripples formed in puddles, before resting a hand against Lenor'es cheek. Despite the cold nad numbness that originally afflicted Leonre, she could feel a semblance of warmth, a spark of vitality she hadn't felt in a long time. She immediately felt a calming wave wash over her body, and Lenore wondered whether the angel'simple touch did this, or whther the angle performing cleansing white magic upon her. She enjoyed his touch, and when the angel was about to lift his hand away, Lenore clasped his wrist in her hands, making his hand cradle her cheek.

"You saved me today," Lenore whispered, a soft expression on her features. "Thank you. I don't think that you're impure. So don't be sad. Angels shouldn't be sad."

The angel simply rested his hand against her cheek as Lenore settled the side ofh er face into his palm, closing her eyes. As she suspected, the angel remained untouched by the rain, and his hand was dry, warm and smooth against her skin.

"No," the angel agreed. "Angels shouldn't be sad. I have begun to tire of my foolishness. Lenore, thank you. You've taught me much today."

He finally lifted his hand away form her face, and there was a ghost of a smile flickering across his once impassive features. The angel then turned, back toward her, with his wings brilliant as ever in the illusionary veil of rain. IT was almost as though he himself were a hallucinatory mirage, and Lenore called out to him in a daze, to assure herself he was real. "Wait! You never told me your name!"

The angle paused, then turned back to look at her. His stone cold features seemd to soften slightly toward her. It seemed as though the unrelenting torrents of rain grew stronger, and Lenor e could barely hear his voice carry through the storm.

"My name is —" the angel said, his voice carrying through the space between them. IT was almost as though a vacuum materialized there, and no sound existed, not eve nthe sound of rain or thee distanat rumbles of thudner pealing in the distance. SHe saw his lips move, form the shape of a name, yet Lenore couldn't tell what letters or sounds were formed.

The downpour strengthened, momentarily blinding Lenore. Whne she opened her eyes once more, the nagle disappeared. Lenore then stared at the heavens once more, though there was as hint of a smile upon her lips. It almost felt foreign, smiling, though the sensation of the rain drenching her and the cerebral deafening sound of thunder left her breathless and awe inspired. SHe made a wish to the heavens, and the heavens have ast an nagel down to earth for her.

"You're not impure," Lenore whispered to the rain, casting her words thorugh the storm and chill in hopes that the angel would hear them. "If I cna see you again, just once, then I will be happy."

Once these words ere spoken, just as the sound of rain became deafening so thatn othing else could be heard, Lenore then walked from the downpour to seek shelter.