In those days the raven was her friend. It would alight her windowsill in the earliest hours of the morning, sentinel to watch over her. Life was hard,and she needed a protector, and it seems to find her and follow her.
In the first days it was a comfort as her mother died of a mysterious illness. In her family, so poor, this terrible loss was marked by her being required to take on an adult’s responsibility for the home, long before her teenage years had prepared her for, and she would weep into the night, long and silently, only appeased by her raven in the morning light.
Later her father also died, inexplicable and devastating, through a mining accident. Money dried up, and she needed to go to work in a local store for pitiful wage, to support her young brother and keep the wolves from the door. She toiled so hard her back would ache and her fingers felt worn to the bone. Her brother was too young to understand or help, and no-one in the town would lend assistance. It was a cruel time, a cruel place, with only the raven for her friend.
Then when the raven came once more, even her brother passed away. A whooping cough blight in a fevered, terrible night, with the raven at her windowsill as the terrible morning dawned, to comfort her once more.
“Our family is cursed” she told the raven. “And I am the last one left.”
Winter came hard and long, and her failing health crept up on her, a thief in the night. All alone she almost welcomed the death that lurked at her doorway. It is time, she thought, to join my family, gone before. She had no fear, for as the raven came and perched for the first time at night upon her sill, she felt the call and finally understood.
Little psychopomp, the raven, her friend at first and last.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2016