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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/

Cover and Layout Copyright © 2017 by Kickit Press

Cover Art Copyright: SipaPhoto/

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 stupid.

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.


Copyright © 2017 Valerie Brook. All rights reserved.


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