©2023 michael raven

Notes about this piece: This piece was written during a single session based on prompts from the “Wildwood Tarot” with a thirty minute writing limit, followed by a ten minute limit for revisions. As such, there are likely both logical and typographic errors within. The three cards selected at random were: 5 The Ancestor, 15 The Guardian, and Five of Stones (Endurance). I allowed myself three minutes prior to the timed writing session to brainstorm ideas. The story may or may not reflect the meanings of the cards drawn.

The air was thick with humidity as the air rolled across the plains, flashes of light followed by thunder announced the coming rain. He’d get wet and the flames he tended would be washed away when the rain fell; from where he sat, he could already see the mercurial sheets slashing down in the last rays of the setting sun and the flames would cease to be within seconds of the arrival. But he hesitated moving any deeper into the cave, where his fire would continue to thrive and he’d stay dry. Inside was doorway and its Guardian, and it scared him to be anywhere near either, with the scent of rotting flesh and the musk of underearth perfuming the interior space.

Continue reading “Chosen”

Sigil of Healing

©2023 michael raven

“The West is the best!” shouted the crow at the bow as I paddled through cattails and ruddy rushes’ hissing cats through the narrows and shallows choked with grassy aquatic plants just below the water’s surface. Other things lingered there as well, but I tried not to think of those things, for the dead only waken when you think too hard about them as you pass over. And so I thought of anything but, although my will was weak and the ghost images of the dead washed through my head, clinging like barbs no matter how I wished otherwise.

Continue reading “Sigil of Healing”

Raven in the Sky

©2023 michael raven

Set a watch in the sky, to cry out when the hills begin to crawl and speak in unfamiliar tongues, when the bears wake.

Intro to “Raven in the Sky” (Oracle of the Morrigan), Morrígan Oran

“Hey Sam.”

Sam turned her gaze from the burning skies that turned the world a crimson color in the daylight and masked the stars come night for the past fortnight or so. No one could agree on the exact amount time that had passed, but agreed in principle the period could roughly be described as two weeks, give or take three days in either direction. Shit in the beginning had been chaotic by all accounts — there was no debate there. And, given the clocks had gone and done struck thirteen, then moments later given to the ghost just like anything with circuitry along with a blinding flash, well… the craziness and lack of proper tools to tell time made it awfully difficult to count the days, let alone the hours since.

Continue reading “Raven in the Sky”

By the Setting Moon

©2023 michael raven

Gathering weeds, bramble and thorn, she moved like midnight by the setting moon. Ever the air grown silent in the last silver glow casting shadows upon shadows and within the shadow of night, but for the shush and tug of her hands a’reaping, fragments of memory slipping behind her like dream.

She knew it to be soft voice, for the rustle of leaves in the wind on a windless eve and so she tilted her head sidewise and anon the speaker raised the timbre and lowered the tone so Jess might know what was to be said.

Continue reading “By the Setting Moon”


©2022 Michael Raven

It all ended somewhere between a grunt and a chuckle.

Her first inclination was that she had been stung by an angry wasp as she lurked in the high rafters of the stable, watching for him, meaning to thwart any escape he might try to make. Malcolm, as always, would take point in the operation to capture or provide justice at the end of a barrel for MacLeod, for “crimes against humanity”. Logan, as always, was Malcolm’s backup for those times when their bounty, as always, would try to run until they could run no more. It was her sacred duty to provide the backstop to such attempts and she had been damned good at it.

Until now, it seemed.

Continue reading “Half-penny”


© 2006-2022 Michael Raven

As warned (promised?) I’ll occasionally post a few fragments of writing I recently discovered on various USB drives and portable hard drives. Most of them I don’t recall having written, in all likelihood because I was deep into my cups at the time. The quality of these is mixed, but my policy has always been to share my writing with all the warts showing.

Below is a fragment of unfinished fiction I wrote in 2006 (lightly edited in this iteration). I believe I intended to try and capture a facet of Jack the Ripper, or someone very much like him, in this piece. This was one of the first “forgotten pieces” I have reviewed that was of acceptable quality (although I recognize it could stand a rewrite). Enjoy!

There is a fine, razor’s edge, between your world and mine.

I revel in the knowledge of unknowing and you suffer in the silence you get when you raise your hands up to your gods and ask, “Why me?”

The difference, you see, is that I have given up on the illusion of reality and you keep trying to create a reality. While you try to bend nature and those around you towards your view, your relativity, your world, your false illusory “reality” – I am floating slipstream between the folds, hollows and turbulence; I see what is real and I hail her name, Discordia, Eris, daughter to the Night, Strife.

Continue reading “Delirium”


©2022 Michael Raven

He felt the telltale electric charge ionize the air of an incoming walk-in before he heard or saw anyone. Or fall-out, he supposed, because they always fell some distance, higher or lower when they came and out, well because they were leaving what they knew instead of coming home.

The hairs on his arms danced in place, twitching to the beat of arrector pili reaching out for the other side, or the charge in the air. He ignored it, the feeling had become more frustration than excitement in his time in this place as surrender settled in. The others were coming, not going and there was no leaving, no homecoming, for the likes of him as far as he could tell. So he set to drifting on, like he always did in this twilight place.

Continue reading “Fall-outs”

Tree hollow

©2022 Michael Raven

A body won’t have noticed the hollow in the tree, had they just walked by, ambling as most folks do through forests, sticking to established forest trails. No. It wasn’t something that would have drawn attention at all, and that suited Stuart just fine. It was his secret hollow, a door to other places and times, something not given to being understood, especially by the old men and women.

If you were out of school, Stuart reckoned, you earned classification as “old man” or “old women”. Most people, he reckoned, and just by observation alone, were old well before that point, someplace and when around the age of thirteen by his estimation, but his judgments and proclamations trended to wide margins of forgiveness.

Stuart was quite content with the arrangement, being just shy of eleven himself and figuring he still had a good thirty years or more before he got old. He’d made a promise to himself, he did.

And so, every afternoon he sat in that hidden tree hollow with Bernard, the small red fox who lived nearby, and Hopping Joe, the crow who seemed to live everyplace and nowhere and they listened to the secret lives of the many people walking by. Bernard and Stuart asked many questions; Hopping Joe, well he seemed to have answers for it all. Meanwhile Lucas “Fuzzy Rat”, the local squirrel would shake his head in the branches overhead and make chirping noises in disgust at Joe’s answers. Stuart thought most of it was cow-pies, but Bernard accepted what Joe said, and that seemed to be enough. Every once in a while, Hopping Joe would tire of Lucas’ chirps and chase him off, but Fuzzy Rat never stayed away too long.

Perhaps he learned something about the world from Joe, in spite of his disagreeable sounds.

Endless, the hall

©2022 Michael Raven

He walked down the halls, finger dragging the dust from divider panels and three-quarter height trim, the lawnscaped green flowing out to infinity before and behind and cheap brass plated rails leading the leftside way, oak veneer solidcore doors with window slit wire mesh peepholes accessorizing, except where privacy was desired. Those did not let in or out the secrets behind closed door and were clouded or absent to hold secrets bursting at bay.

He hummed, occasionally tip tapping out some poly-rhythm, the time of which only known to him, but the count quite accurate and on as his fingers gathered the dust greyscale on the friction ridges making up his identity, should anyone care to match it up to another mark left on the plated rail.

No one did.

No forensic teams looked to put him away, put him behind bars, as he strode without apparent purpose. At that, however, a witness would have been wrong.

He had purpose behind walking these endless halls with endless walls and countless doors, each and every locked against trespass, but oh! how they tempted him with lurid promises as he passed. Inured, he felt no succubus temptation in the vague shadows and play of light any more. He remained… disinterested.

Trip tapping, humming tuneless, he succumbed to his mission instead. And — lost in his reverie that had gone on for so very long and he stepped one foot, then another ahead — he didn’t notice an end to his hallway journey and nearly walked into the bare, unadorned wall in his path.

Puzzling, he pondered, unhummed and of bestilled tappity tap. His eyes awoke with a start and a smile and he rummaged his rumpled frock pockets made of velveteen crushed until he plundered from them a stick of char, black as ebon night and drew upon the blank before him.

With fingers darkened soot, this he carved:

Shaky-handed door on the empty blockage, devoid of anything but white. Then, he pushed at the crooked center, gave a shove, a push, a thrust and, with great groaning at injustices untold, his drawing gave way to more nearly endless paths, this time carpeted red, with doors rightwise and rail left.

Click-clucking his tongue, he stepped through and sullied his other hand with dust of grey from the other rail, humming a humming kind of jaunty tune.


©2019-2022 michael raven

“Oh, please,” she sighed, breathing heavily from the effort of running madblind before she faceplanted in the palm of hand filthy with whatever gives an aptrgangr their ‘blood’. The mess it left on her face mattered only slightly. Considering the swarm’s collective vital fluids had splashed out and covered them both in gore when the rune-carved statue had flattened the undead, what was a little bit more on her cheek?

“Please do not tell me you MacGyvered a trap out of these ancient relics. I mean — what if they were valuable?”

Ben turned to her with a scowl. “What the hell, Frances? These ‘valuable’ relics of your wouldn’t have been much value to either of us if those undead bastards had caught up and given us both a bit of a munch, now would they?”

He stood up, wiping the muck from his shirt.

“You can thank me, by the way, for pulling you off to the side instead of letting you trip the trap. A little gratitude… would it kill ya?”

Another one of those 2019 flash fiction bits. Word of the Day, OED was “MacGyver”. File under grimdark with a pinch of black humor. Minor edits for clarity.