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When he believes he didn’t do the right things he should have done in life—
When he believes he didn’t say the good things he should have said—
When he knows he was used as a tool for evil.
Even after all hope is lost, there may yet be a second chance to fulfill a powerful destiny filled with light, and a grandfather named Jacob Davidson Bucket is about to find out.
The world may well depend on him.
The Grandfather and the Raven
by Valerie Brook
Copyright © 2017 Valerie Brook. All rights reserved.
Published by Kickit Press/kickitpress.com
Cover and Layout Copyright © 2017 by Kickit Press
Cover Art Copyright: SipaPhoto/shutterstock.com
This is a work of fiction. Name, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual events or locals or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction, in whole or in part in any form.
GO AHEAD AND SIT down with me, my Little Bucket. If you don’t mind—please hold tight to that big wooden railing, watch the splinters. Please hold on tight.
There you go.
You’re too high up on this historic truss bridge.
I know what you’re thinking of doing.
I’m so thankful I found you up here tonight. It’s too cold and dark as hell and I see you shivering. But if you let me tell you a story, the story of when I became married to the dark side, I think I can help you.
It’s not the sort of story you’re expecting me to tell.
Sure is gusty up here when that angry night wind blows, tosses your long hair against your face—please keep holding on. I’ll keep my voice up so you can hear. Will you nod if you can hear me good?
Okay, that’s good.
My sweet Little Bucket, I want to see your green eyes look deep into mine. I think you got your grandpa’s eyes, alright.
Just look into my eyes one time.
Well, that’s okay, we can look up at that universe of stars swimming that sky.
We’ve got time tonight, that’s what we’ve got. Time. You can sneak a peak at me anytime. I’m here to help you.
I came here to help.
* * *
So it was back in the 1930’s when I was a kid growing up—don’t that seem so long ago from now?
The trains that run these old tracks underneath our dangling feet are all sleek white and electric.
And in my day they were big black steam monsters.
I used to be what they now call a ritually abused child. The black magic, the ceremonies. The adults that do that kind of evil association.
There wasn’t a name for that kind of abuse before. Now there are books on it. Professionals trying to help survivors. I’ve seen them on bookshelves.
I don’t know why I never told anyone about my abuse before, but I never did in my life. Some things are too hard to say out loud when I should have said them.
I regret that.
Anyway, when I was young, I sneaked outside a lot at night where no one could find me. I was a good kid surrounded by bad people, and I crept around in the woods lot of the time where I felt safer from predators. The human kind.
Being one with nature. Being with the wild creatures. The elements and the nighttime stars.
Nature’s better company, you know.
A lot better.
And the pieces of my soul that human beings had smashed with their fists, broken with their lies, was soothed at night by the friendship of the animal folk.
They took my pain and healed it.
And I do mean to say it exactly like that—the animal folk.
Because they’re people. Four-pawed people. They have their own cultures. Their own languages. Their own ways.
I used to touch them.
Used to curl up in their thick and wiry and wild fur and cry my eyes out ’til they licked my face clean. Used to bring food scraps to share, and stories of my human life, and then roam the silvery grass and the moonlit rivers of air with them, filled with the wonder of life.
I could talk to them without sound.
I could hear them mind to mind.
Those wild animals were my best friends. All kinds of animals. Raccoon, fox, bear. Big mama mountain lion, too. She didn’t eat me when she could have. Even her purr raised the hairs on my neck. I learned how to sit still. How to absolute respect.
I could walk on four paws like them.
I could run that way. It was my secret. I was a naked animal at night and a boy by daylight.
Humans don’t want to see how we belong to nature. That the world is full of light, not dark. Giving, not greed. Humans want to just go on poisoning and wrecking and killing around like pure evil is a healthy and worthy thing to do to each other.
We’re destroying the animals and the Earth.
I know you understand, Little Bucket.
Time runs out.
You came out here to New York last year, twenty-three and scared, to study for your PhD in psychology up at that big university. You understand the darkness is gathering over the land.
Your generation understands better than mine.
Maybe there isn’t a human being alive anymore who doesn’t sense it. That a massive reprimand is coming near—
And you’re a high-achiever, Little Bucket. Real smart. All the academic accolades.
Real proud of you.
But I was talking about the psychic gifting that runs in our family line—
One day this wild black raven flew down into the backyard of the estate, out at the end of Lackney Street in Chicago, when my father still owned half the bloody town—he’d be your great grandfather.
I was alone in the living room, I saw the big bird swoop around, land in the cedar trees. Then it hopped from branch to branch.
I was eight-years-old.
No raven had ever landed in our yard before, not that I’d seen. Raven’s flew overhead, but they stayed to the tall treetops on the hill. Calling out with their quark, quark, and keeping their antics to themselves.
No, this raven was doing something unusual.
It was looking right the hell at me.
In the daylight where anybody could see.
I opened the back door like a slow-motion robot boy, like my two worlds were combining and I didn’t want them too. I walked through my mother’s scratchy rosebushes, thorns drawing blood, and up to the playhouse. I climbed up the tree, crawled across the playhouse roof.
The raven’s claws stabbed the wooden fence post. Sunshine winking brilliantly from liquid-black feathers. Eyeing me with one coal black eye on the side of its head.
A dark eye.
I felt nervous.
But inside the dark raven’s stare was a pinpoint of pure light—wisdom and power and love so deep it washed me over and prickled the hairs up my arms.
The raven might have been all black by color, but it was a creature of light—like it was more than a bird. A shamanic being that could fly between spirit worlds.
Those feathers were so inky that they kept reflecting the sun with a bright sheen. I held my breath, reached my fingers out, and touched behind its eye.
Touched its smooth stone beak.
Stone like that—yes, smooth as stone and cold as an obsidian arrowhead, too.
Now, after I tell you the rest of the story it will seem strange that this part is the hardest part to say.
But that bird spoke direct into my mind about the future. It shared with me mind-blowing things about what will happen to our beautiful planet. That we would save ourselves, from ourselves—just in time. My heart filled with hope that day, indescribable hope.
But there was more to the message.
It was about my destiny.
That I had an important mission here, and without me and the actions I was destined to take when I was older, humanity would fail.
The planet would die.
That raven’s exact message—well, I’ve never forgotten a word of it in all this time and never repeated it, either. As much as I was thrilled, it scared me so very bad, too.
Maybe that message started haunting me as soon as it went into my head.
The raven told me I’d have an amazing granddaughter in the future.
Foretold you, Little Bucket.
Special things about you.
Then my mother flung open the back door and shouted out in pure fear: Jacob Davidson Bucket, get away from that nasty raven right now—and that bird flapped it giant wings and rose away into the blue sky gone forever.
Right there my fate was said and done.
That bird had been a spirit messenger, had spoke to me of sacred things; but my mother had been another messenger, and blabbed her mouth off because she never protected me for anything.
Not one thing.
My father’s powerful men found out.
Found out about my gift with the wild animals that I’d tried to keep secret, but I was eight years old, and my secret didn’t keep.
They were rich secret society men—initiated men. And these are the secrets on high that the initiated don’t talk about.
But I’m going to confess those secrets now.
They brought me out to a midnight beach with other abused children, the moon so full and sick I thought it would puke out the whole sky. I watched the other kids naked in dread across the orange flames of a vicious, hungry bonfire.
They were crazy-eyed like minions.
We were the next generation of evil being groomed.
The children of the ones who eat their own and we couldn’t find an escape.
The raven in the cage wasn’t my same one, even though my father’s men lied and said it was.
It was a dark ritual ceremony—ancient from thousand of years back in time and tongue, so they told us—sacraments were burned and incantations chanted and blood threw on the fire; black and syrupy, sweet and smoky and foul, and the initiated prayed to the lower elements for power and the lower elements came nigh.
Ghoulish and perverted and gruesome, shadowy monsters thickened in the night. Dark voices that don’t sound like people you know.
Or people at all.
Because they’re demons.
And they manifest here when they are called in through the dark magic of the drawn circle. And those men got advice, and sold their souls, and they go on to rule the world. Run the wars. Usher in their modern kingdom of technological hell.
They sell their children to the beast.
And there was sex abuse, and that’s really the least of our troubles as children—
That’s how I understand what you’re feeling tonight up here on on this lonesome bridge. That’s how I understand, my Little Bucket.
That’s how I can.
Hurt people hurting other people.
Sometimes you’re the one at the end of the whip line.
And they made me kill the caged raven that night with my own hands. Told me they’d kill all the other kids if I didn’t. One kill by one.
Had one little girl I’d never seen before with a knife on her neck. And they slit her throat and threw her body on the fire, I swear it.
Murdered before my eyes.
Let the raven out of the cage on chains and it tried to hop away and save itself and the men made me catch it and wring its neck.
My little hands wringing and wringing.
I couldn’t do it right.
I was too small.
My spirit broke inside. A million pieces. And then I could do it.
They packed my cheeks with drugs and blood and my eyes rolled back into my head. My heart raced and my veins coiled up and somehow in that nightmare of a night I shot up out of my body in flight.
I think I really died, for a minute or two.
It felt like my heart stopped beating.
I think I became my own spirit raven, or had a shamanic vision. Something like that. I left my body with my own black raven wings toward the sick yellow moon to escape, but the moon transformed into the beautiful white light.
The portal between worlds.
I wanted to die after what I’d just done. Ached and yearned to die.
I felt the promise of returning to my true home as a soul, through the portal, and my pain being gone.
My own black feathers transformed into white feathers, until I was no longer made of anything but love and light, too.
Then I was yanked to a total stop.
Looked down and from my feet those nasty black chains dangled, still weighing me down all the way back to Earth, going to that private ocean beach and the raging bonfire and the rulers of the world.
And their children.
Who held the chains.
I said to the portal: Let me come home. And these spirit beings came around me glowing and ethereal, and with compassion beyond my ability to understand, and I just begged and begged please take me home with you.
Just eight years old.
And back then, it wasn’t my time to die.
There are things I still can not really say—
* * *
I know you feel like you’re making your last stand—if you jump off this bridge it puts an end to your tortured pain. How you’ve been wronged. But the truth is, there never really is a last stand.
It’s about always standing. It’s about what you stand for.
Hey no, it’s okay to cry.
It’s okay, Little Bucket, don’t turn away.
Just let it out.
Let me hold you. There we go.
I promise it’s not too late to change your mind.
We’ve got time, that’s what we’ve got.
You can go back up to that university and find professional help.
Life is worth living, I promise you. The whole world is worth the hard of saving it. I promise you.
And I would let go of this New York bridge if you let go, follow you right on down to the ground after you jump, but I can’t—because I already jumped off this same damn bridge long ago and killed myself and dammit my love, if you let go now I’ll have failed everything.
It’s not your fault, my love.
It’s my fault because I’m your grandfather, and I should’ve done better.
Now you got me going, too.
Maybe it’s good to cry together.
Your hands are getting very cold, my love. You’re shivering too much.
Hey, don’t lean out more over the edge like that.
You hear me!
Dammit put your hands back on that truss! Don’t you lean out like that don’t you damn well let go and kill yourself!
I love you! I love you! I love you!
* * *
I’ll hold your hand all night, Little Bucket.
I’m right here. You just keep crying it out. I’m sturdy as this wooden beam, strong as this whole bridge holding you up.
All these things I’ve said, these are all the things I would tell you if I was still alive.
I can’t let you make the same mistake I did, my love.
I can’t let you give in to the lies of the dark side.
Because you are filled with light.
And the light is stronger than the dark.
I’m right beside you right now and I’m talking through the elements, talking through the mist and the pines and the wind. I know you hear my spirit voice in the wind. You have the same psychic gift I had and you hear me.
I jumped to my death long ago and I shouldn’t have.
I knew it too late, after I struck the tracks, spilled my brains everywhere. I stood beside my body and wept.
And my soul’s never been right since then. I’d failed my own destiny. I was so guilty with shame.
I should have been alive for all your growing up years. You’re my granddaughter, my only one, and I should have been alive to protect you.
Instead—I’m a ghost for forty years.
If I could tell you how sorry I am in my most deepest heart, and how if I could redo my life I’d never have jumped.
Guess some things are just so hard to say—
* * *
No child wants to become the thing he fears. That night under the sick yellow moon, when they made me kill the raven—I turned on myself.
We’re all just looking for love, trying to fit in.
We’re all trying to survive.
When my spirit flew back into my physical body, they’d manacled real chains tight on my own ankles. All my father’s men laughed at me. They were truly evil men. Had demons inside.
Belonged to a secret society called The Order.
They made me walk the beach like a slave, dragging those heavy chains on my ankles and the dead bird, too.
Its wing feathers broke back. Its sad dead eyes filled with sand.
They were smart men.
They kept that bird I’d tortured preserved in a glass case. Brought me to it to bend on one knee when I misbehaved.
Haunted me. Over and over, haunted me.
Even though I didn’t die that night on the beach I always wished I had, and that’s what they wanted me to wish. They said they owned me from that day on, and even though it was a lie, I believed it, too.
I turned away forever from my animal friends.
I turned away from nature.
I turned from light.
I believed I had to turn, I believed I had become an evil person. The men had forced me into wringing the raven’s neck, and then tricked me into believing it was my own choice, my true nature. That I was a killer just like them, too.
That’s child abuse for you.
I know you understand.
I grew up in their international cabal and I killed people for them.
I grew up until I couldn’t kill for them any more.
* * *
Look at those beautiful twinkling green eyes.
There you are.
You’ve got the light still strong in you, yes you do. Eyes like the coals of a deep and powerful and knowing fire.
The eyes of an old soul.
You wore the Indian Head nickel tonight. That’s the year I was born. I handcrafted this pendant for you on the day you were born.
Helped me find you tonight, Little Bucket.
I’m so grateful you wear the necklace. Keeps us connected.
If all the mistakes I ever made in my life led me to this very moment, sitting here talking with you on this bridge, then all those mistakes were signposts along the way, and I’ve arrived at my final destination.
All along I thought all hope was lost, and I’d wander as a lost soul forever, but now I know I’ve been found.
Maybe I ended my life so you wouldn’t have to end yours.
Maybe I became married to the dark side so I could be here tonight to steer you back toward the light.
You’re the strongest most brave person I’ve ever known.
* * *
Let’s find you professional help.
Don’t keep your abuse secret.
You’ve witnessed more than even I know.
The world needs to know.
You will tell. And you will heal. And one day help all the other ritual abuse survivors’ tell and heal, too.
Let’s walk off this bridge together. I’m right beside you.
Just keep climbing back up to the railing with your hands holding tight. There you go.
Everything finally makes sense to me.
I’ll stay visible as long as you need me, my love. Don’t worry. Just as long as you need me and no more.
It’s finally time for me to go up into the portal of white light. I see it now, waiting for me, above me.
I couldn’t see it after my suicide.
But you belong in the hands of the living.
Your own destiny is calling and phew—I know you’ll help millions of people with your gift of the truth.
Your courage to testify to what you’ve witnessed. Names, dates, faces—all the places.
I know you will become one of the most powerful leaders for healing the world has ever known—because that’s the destiny the raven spoke to me that fateful day.
That I would one day save you.
I thought I’d failed.
Because I was dead.
My love, I haven’t failed after all.
Copyright © 2017 Valerie Brook. All rights reserved.