Raven’s Song is the story of Raven, a 15-year old girl who has been sent away to a boarding school by her parents in order to safely hide her away from her stalker ex-boyfriend Tiyon. Raven is miserable because she is interested in art and the school she has been sent to specializes in math and science. She also feels ashamed that she ever got involved with Tiyon, who had a long history of emotional problems. One day she discovers that Tiyon has sent her a letter at school. One of her friends had been tricked into giving him her new address. Now realizing her cover is blown but not wanting to transfer schools again, Raven decides to take things into her own hands. She will get revenge. She will stalk him. But will her obsession with getting revenge take over Raven’s life?
His hands were long with spindly fingers. His arms were gangly and covered in dark circular scars. Burns from the tips of his mother’s cigarettes. Whenever she was angry—because she couldn’t find work, because of rats and roaches in the apartment, because he looked like his father, or just because Tiyon was her son–he became her ashtray. The arms, he thought now, were a good place to burn. They could mostly be covered with sleeves while school was in session. And it kept the caseworkers out of their business most of the time.
He was drawing in his art class. He was no good at it. He told his friend Chanara that the futuristic military base he’d done looked more like a deformed mushroom on a pogo stick. She laughed. He was good at that, making girls laugh. That’s all he ever was to them, a clown. At school, a clown. At home, an ashtray. Never quite human.
She sat across from him. She had small hands, like a little girl. Hands the right size for dressing dolls and petting hamsters. Small, drawing hands with a callous on one finger from years of holding pencils too tight. And that meant one thing: either she liked to write or to draw. Looking at her single-minded concentration and the way she held the thick Ebony pencil in her hand, he figured it must be drawing. But he couldn’t tell, since she sat across from him, whether her picture was good or bad, since it looked upside-down to him. Freshman. Fresh meat. Easy prey. He could tell.
So he got up and went to her side of the table.
“Mind if I have a look?” He asked.
“Well, okay. I mean, I’m not finished yet, but if you want to see it—“
He could tell she was one of those types who could never quite bring themselves to say “no.” He could tell she was his kind of girl.
Raven writes about Tiyon
He was sort of like the character in a movie that none of the other characters seemed to understand. And you want to help them, but you can’t. Nothing you do will ever be able to effect them at all. That was how I felt. And it frustrated me.
“He is not a monster. He is misunderstood.”
That is what I used to tell myself. I read his poems. They were about being lost in a terrible storm with no one to hold his hand and nothing to shelter him. I was so stupid. I fell for it. I drank in all the crazy lies he told me. Even when he said the bomb threat was not his fault. I know he’s crazy. I know he did that for me. And that’s what really made me hate him. I hate him from the bottom of my heart. I don’t care. Nice little church girls can hate people, too. I hate him as much as he thought he loved me. I hate him form the bottom of my heart.
the bomb threat
Our school was on the news that day. He’d called the school and said there was a bomb inside. They made us all stand across the street. My father didn’t want to let me out of the car. He was getting ready to drive away when I saw somebody standing on the roof, waving his arms like he was crazy.
He yelled out my name.
“Raven! Raven! I’m doing this for you!”
Over and over again. My father turned and gave me a look I’ll never forget.
And I heard kids asking each other, “Who’s Raven?”
So now they all knew.
Raven in 3rd person
She wears mostly black, walks alone, with a distant expression on her face. She does not want to he here, but knows she should be grateful. Her old biology teacher has pulled some strings, and now there are strings attached, and so she is all caught up in string. Sometimes she tries to humor herself, pretending she is an undercover agent on a mission, and that’s why she has to check in with the security guards three times a day. It’s a deadly mission, and headquarters has to make sure their spy is still alive. It is a game she can only play with herself about 5 minutes at a time. She cannot get too close to anyone here. She sits at a different lunch table every day. She does not want to make friends here. She feels she can trust no one.
Two months into the term, in October and very close to Halloween, she gets a card in her mailbox with writing on it that is indistinguishably his. Opening it makes her feel sick, but she can’t not open it either. So she does. There is a cartoon drawing of black cats, ravens, and pumpkin heads. It is still addressed “My Dearest Raven,” just like always.
Raven’s Poem about Tiyon:
Elegy for your Memory
I let your memory die
yet your memory
the empty chambers
of my mind.
Your memory is embedded
in my mind
like arsenic deposits
a grave reminder that I
And every night
you visit me--
who rattles my thoughts
You’re mad at me
because I left,
because I let
my feelings for you die
like your memory.
I hardly remember
your voice anymore
and I wonder
if you died
like your memory,
your haunting memory.
©2002 Tiffany Gholar