Times have changed quite a lot. The 21st century will certainly not become my most favorite era, although the technical achievements do have their perks. This night is relatively quiet. Every now and then, a car drives along the streets beneath me. I may not have the best view up here on the roof of this old church, but it suffices. The light of the moon mixes with that of the streetlights, and becomes a poisonous yellow. I liked this town better in the 17th century, but I better get used to it. After all, I’ll have to spend some years in this one.
One advantage of immortality? You get to know many incredible people from every epoch. The disadvantage? Eventually, everyone will be dead.
Thus, I broke loose of cultivating contact with humans. As amusing as they might be, all of them are fugacious. Smirking, I stretch out my wings, and let myself fall from the rooftop.
Tonight, however, everything changes. I had almost given up with my search. One might have guessed that one day I would meet one of them here in Salem – this town is cursed, in sooth. I see the tiny, black shock of hair beneath me.
A trained eye would recognize her immediately, and I, who have been dealing with those beings all my life, have no doubt. Yes, it is her, indeed. The first witch after more than three hundred years.
A few weeks later.
“Look out, there’s the freak.” That is the usual greeting when I walk through the school hallway. I ignore my fellow classmates as usual, and angrily close my locker with a thud, while my best friend still follows me.
“Come on, Abi,” she begs, “you won’t even have to kiss him.” Julie can be so stubborn, but this time I won’t back down.
“That’s not even up for discussion. I don’t even know him,” I defend.
“Things can always change,” she sings in a ridiculous voice. Julie asked me to accompany her cousin to prom night. I’ve only met him a few times, although Julie and I have been friends for years. Usually, I’d do her that favor, but when it comes to boys, warning bells ring in my head.
“Listen, Julie. I’m sure Eric is a great guy, but …”
“Marc. His name is Marc.” She lifts both eyebrows, and I roll my eyes exaggeratedly.
“See, I don’t even know his name.” That alone should be reason enough not to go to prom with him.
“Abigail, I’m only thinking of you in this matter! I don’t want you to have to show up alone for prom.”
I sigh melodramatically, and head for the school exit without giving her any more attention.
“Besides, you would get along perfectly! He likes video games, just like you do!” Well, we are predestined by fate then, I guess. While she follows me swiftly with her short legs, I turn to her and make a face.
“Really? I bet he’s also president of the math club and wears oversized nerd glasses, am I right?” Julie opens her mouth widely in shock.
“He’s my cousin, Abi!”
“Another reason not to go out with him,” I riposte, and I cannot suppress a grin.
“Okay, touché. But please think about it. I cannot remember you ever having a boyfriend. And don’t go all ‘I want to wait for the right one’ on me.” She crosses her arms as we leave the building.
This afternoon, the spring sun is so unnaturally hot that I break out in a sweat.
“I had a boyfriend once, before.”
“Oh, of course, I forgot. Daniel. How long have you been together in fifth grade, two weeks?” Once again, I roll my eyes. I like Julie, really, I do, but when she starts this topic, I could wring her neck. When we arrive at the crossroads, I’m somehow relieved that we’ll be parting ways.
“Okay, I’ll think about it. Happy now?” She grins like a Cheshire cat, and hugs me goodbye.
“Very! See you on Monday, I’ll be at my dad’s over the weekend.” I nod, and we go on our separate ways.
Finally, some silence. I wasn’t able to concentrate in school today, anyway. It’s the 23rd of May, and that means that today is my parents’ sixth death anniversary. On my way to the cemetery, I try to remember their faces.
It’s only been six years, but I realize how harder that gets every year. My guilt does not really contribute to my mood. When I’m in front of the high gate of the cemetery, I suddenly feel cold. The sun is still shining down on me relentlessly, but I’m freezing nonetheless.
I didn’t want my Aunt Sarah to come with me; I always come here alone. Enjoying the silence and thinking of Mom and Dad, that’s exactly what I need right now. Suddenly, a wind rises and blows up some leaves. That happens often when I’m here, and initially I thought it was scary, but by now I imagine it’s my parents who answer me when the memories are strong again.
I reach the grave. Here rest Mary and Samuel Willows. I sit in front of the grave, and close my eyes. While I think back to all the good times, I smile, and a single tear runs over my cheeks.
“Bittersweet memories. It’s nice to reminisce, isn’t it?” The voice comes out of nowhere, and I quickly stand up.
“Bittersweet …? What the hell? Who are you?” In front of me is some guy, who probably wants to make a cool impression with his smug grin and his crossed arms.
“Corvus Raven, milady. What is your name?” He implies a bow, and asks for my hand. This guy must have a screw loose. I flick my bag over my shoulder and leave.
“What manners. I merely asked for your name.” Idiot! Why am I leaving? He should leave! How dare he hit on me here? Furious, I turn to him again.
“Is that some kind of ploy, hitting on girls at the cemetery?” He protectively raises both of his hands to his face, and his blue eyes are partly hidden by his short, blond hair.
“I’m sorry. I just thought you’d like some company. You looked so lonely there on the ground. I wanted to appear smart.” Oh, really? Failed miserably.
“You know, some people may actually like to be alone at the cemetery. That’s the purpose of it, after all.” I give free reign to my accrued rage. On the one hand, I’m somehow glad that he showed up; that way, I can let off some steam.
“Cemeteries are not for the dead, they are for the living. For mourning. Mourning alone can be unhealthy.” Jeez, what does this guy even want?
“Have another smart pearl of wisdom up your sleeve, or are you done? Just piss off, you’re creepy.” I turn around and leave. I don’t care what he thinks. I just don’t want to be near him. However, I cheered too soon, because he just follows me.
“Me? I am creepy? Says the girl in black clothes with black hair and raccoon-like eyes. That cries for The Grudge.” That was definitely too much.
“You don’t know me! Just because I like black doesn’t mean I’m emo or goth. Some people cannot be pigeonholed.” I’m done with him, but the fact that he just grins at me foolishly drives me mad.
“And yet you allow people to pigeonhole you. Scary does not always mean bad. In fact, it was a compliment. Death becomes you.” I feel all color vanish from my face, and I clutch at my cell in my pocket, so that I can call the police, if necessary.
However, when I turn to him again, he’s gone. Before my feet falls a single black feather.
“… And then he was gone! Just like that. I mean, how is that possible?” At home, I call Julie immediately, to tell her about that eerie encounter.
“Was he at least good-looking?” As always, she does not have anything else on her mind.
“Oh Julie, can you please be serious? In his place was only a black feather. Ha, that guy probably wanted to shit me. Corvus Raven? Ridiculous, right? It’s obvious he wanted to scare me.” I keep mumbling to calm myself, but fact is, my whole body is still shaking.
“If you say so. But do tell: What did he look like?” I irritably blow a strand of hair out of my face, but I answer, anyway.
“Blue eyes, blond. Like a surfer boy, just less cool.”
“Definitely not. To be honest, he actually was fat and bald.” I visualize that guy in my version.
“Oh, Abi, you’re such a spoilsport.” After all, that elicits a smile from me.
“I really have to go now. Dad will be here soon, and I haven’t packed yet, and my nail polish is nowhere near being dry.”
“Okay, call me if you have got reception in Hicksville.” She laughs half-heartedly into the handset.
“Dream on. Goodbye, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Goodbye, civilization.”
“Don’t be so melodramatic.”
“Look who’s talking.” With that said, she giggles and hangs up. However, she has given me an idea. I start my little tin can factory (or like other people would say: computer). Rattling, the OS boots, and after an eternity, it’s ready for work and I log into Facebook.
Yay, no messages. Not surprising with 20 friends. My timeline overwhelms me with duck face pictures of Julie and steaming food. I type in Corvus Raven into the search field, and I immediately get some hits.
That’s him! Corvus Raven, is that some nickname? Maybe it’s his favorite manga character. His profile is not really revealing. In fact, it resembles mine a lot. Barely informative, and with only one profile picture. That’s one picture more than I ever uploaded, anyway.
While I scroll through the posts, a chat window suddenly pops up, and I’m startled so heavily that I almost fall off my desk chair and throw my mouse to the other side of my room.
Corvus Raven: “Well? Found something interesting? ;)”
That is not possible, right? A moment ago, he was not even online. He must have installed some mods or so, in order to see who visits his profile. Dammit! What do I do now? Pretend I didn’t see anything and log off?
Corvus Raven: “Hello? I know you saw that message. :P”
I whirl around. That’s ridiculous, no one is in my room; impossible that he could be watching me. I stand up and pick up my mouse. When I sit down in front of my computer again, the little chat window is still waiting for me, almost menacingly seeming to blink. To hell with it!
Abigail W.: “what do you want?”
Corvus Raven: “Me? You were the one who visited my profile.”
In that moment, it dawns on me. He can’t know who I am. He does not know my name, and I don’t have a picture on my profile. Hm, this could turn out to be quite funny.
Abigail W.: “right hehe. just wanted to check out some boys. lololo”
I hope average girls in my age write like that. Now I’ll pay him back for what happened at the cemetery! He’s writing …
Corvus Raven: “You did not seem to have an interest in boys earlier.”
Abigail W.: “earlier?”
Corvus Raven: “At the cemetery.”
Shut up! That’s not possible! He cannot know that I’m … Okay, take a breath, Abigail. This guy is probably some sick stalker, and I will just report him.
Corvus Raven: “You should upload a picture of yourself. Such a beautiful girl like you does not have to hide herself.”
Abigail W.: “dont tell me what i have to do, and stop paying so much attention to spelling. this is a chat!”
Corvus Raven: “That does not mean one has to drop all manners.”
Abigail W.: “goodbye forever. im blocking you!!”
Corvus Raven: “okay, okay. you won. better? .. lol?”
He must think of himself to be very funny. I don’t even react to it, and block his profile. So, that’s it for you, Corvus Raven. I take a few breaths and … nothing happens. Seems like I finally got rid of that guy.
My aunt calls me to dinner, and I turn my computer off. For a while, I have enough of social networks. I don’t tell Aunt Sarah anything about what happened. She shouldn’t worry about me, she already has enough on her plate. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to go to an asylum, and in return I help her as much as I can.
After dinner, I lie down on my bed and play with my PlayStation, but I can barely concentrate. Again and again my eyes dart to my computer. After a while, I give in.
I turn boot it up again, unblock him, and write on his timeline: “Corvus Raven. what kind of ridiculous joke is that? thats not even a name. corvus means ‘raven’ in Latin.”
There, I had to get that off my chest. I click on the button to block him again, but in that moment a notice tells me that he commented on my post. Do I even want to read the response? Curiosity wins.
“Not bad, Abigail. You keep surprising me. Yes, you can see it as a sort of sobriquet. Also: You impressed me.”
Arrogant, boastful fellow! Oh, and also, I’m sooo impressed.
Angrily, I type an answer: “it happens that im interested in languages!! and now i never want to hear from you again.”
That’s really enough now. I wasted enough time with him … I’ll wait for one last answer. Nervously, I refresh the page a few times. Why does that take so long? Did you run out of smart things to say, Mr. Raven? In that moment a new comment appears: “No promises.”
Goodbye, Corvus. It was unendingly boring to meet you. I turn off the computer once again, and play some video games for the rest of Friday night.
End of the excerpt. If you would like to continue reading, please purchase the book. Thank you for reading!