Craaven

After getting kicked out of his home, eleven year old Edgar Craaven, is transformed into a raven by a crazed nature alchemist and is forced to survive with the help of his friend William Tuck. But after an almost deadly plane crash, Edgar finds himself thrown into a land that seemingly doesn't even exist. Now he's forced to survive in a strange world while at the same time falling head over heels for a beautiful young girl. However when she is murdered, Edgar begins to struggle to keep his sanity together.

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5. Chapter 4: London, England 1977

I was awoken by the sound of a nearby cooing. I lift my head and stare groggily at a small pile of rats a few inches from my beak. I get up to investigate the strange phenomenon and once again, I hear the strange cooing. I call out in raven speak and the response I receive is a gentle caw. I walk up to the rats and nervously peck a head. I cringe at the smell before I jerk my head up at the sound of talons scraping. In front of me stands a female raven with ruffled, wild feathers.

She was a lot more busty than any male bird was and she stood a little more stooped then normal and stared at me with a twinkle in her eye as she urged me to eat. I again glanced at the rodents with an uncertain expression. The feminine bird cooed at me and stepped closer. I was hungry, but not hungry for something that could make a man sick. But I guess being an omnivorous bird, it wouldn't hurt. I kept my eyes locked on the other raven and took a nibble at a rat's ear. My stomach churned and I cringed in disgust.

The female stepped up to me and nuzzled my chin. She cooed appreciatively at me. I wasn't sure what was going on, but I didn't show my curiosity with the situation.

Just as I was starting to feel comforted, the raven cawed with alarm as yet, another raven appeared in front of us. this raven was clearly male just from his sheer size.  He was much larger than me and the other raven and looked far more malevolent.

"Matilda! Ya damn whore!" he yells with an angry caw. Matilda the raven flew away from my side and went to the front of the larger bird. "William, please don't hurt me! I was only giving food to this fledgling!" the raven pleaded in a whisper. The male raven scowled and growled at his mate with an evil glare before pushing past her and walking straight up to me...

"Wha' do ya think yer doin'?!" he asks furiously in my face. I stammer and whimper to find the answer to an impossible question. The raven shoves me hard with his chest and I hit the small, decorative back wall.

"Wait! Please don't hurt me, I'm just a kid!" I yell before the raven had the chance to fling me off the edge. "I'm only eleven...I don't even know how to fly!" I try convincing the murderous bird. He squints his beady black eyes at me and growls.

"You 'ardly look such a young age...nor do ya look worth it." the raven says finally, digging his nails into my feathers and dragging me back onto the roof. I breath in and out deeply, trying to regain my bravery over what had just happened. The bigger bird passes me and heads over to Matilda, who was trying her best hiding in the vent.

"Matilda! I won't forgive ya this time!!" The bird yells angrily, hopping into the vent as Matilda tried to fly out and run for her life. I started panting in fear, suddenly scared by what was happening as I heard loud growling and the piercing screams of the female bird. Feathers rapidly flew out of the vent opening as the screams slowly became gurgles then became the bangs in the metal as, what I presumed was dead Matilda as she fell deeper into the ducts of the church. 

The male raven hopped out of the vent with blood in his feathers and on his beak. He walked up to me expressionless and just stared at me as I lamely cowered against the back wall. I was terrified that this bird was after me next.

"Y-you... you killed her! You k-killed her! Why did you kill her!?" I whimpered pathetically

"So wha's a fledgling like ya doing on top o' the London Cathedral?" the bird asked, either not hearing my voice (which was so high-pitched it could be mistaken for a dog whistle), or not caring about my absolute terror.

"Uh...I...um...I was hoping to, uh...learn how to fly." I stammered, backing away from him slightly.

"Wha's yer name?" he asked me, his face still deeply without emotion. 

"Uh...Edgar...Edgar Craaven." I answered.

"William Tuck." the bird introduced, holding out a bloodied talon to shake. I stared at it, unsure whether to accept his introduction, or to just not shake cause his talon was covered in the blood of the kind bird who tried to feed me.

William made the first signs of emotion when he raised his brow in confusion at me blankly staring at his foot. He cleared his throat and brought me out my daydream, before wiping his talon on the floor and raising it again.

I eventually shook his talon and it officially sealed our acquaintance. 

Will cleared his throat and wondered, "So ya don't know 'ow to fly?... tha's a li'le 'ard to believe consid'rin ya look like a bloomin' adult" 

I nodded shamefully and looked at the floor, "I wasn't exactly taught." Will looked at me with a face that seemingly understood. "I tell ya what... I'll teach ya 'ow to fly, but you 'ave to pay attention 'cause I'm only teachin ya once and then I'm on my way." Will decided with the tone of tired, over-worked businessman.

I nodded in appreciation (since I couldn't exactly smile anymore), "Thanks."

Will stepped away from me and started to shake out his feathers and I stepped away from the wall towards the rats. I was really hungry and the rats started to look quite appetizing. I pecked the head of one of the rodents and cringed almost immediately, the sour, warm smell of death invaded my nostrils and made me feel like vomiting.

Will stepped up to the pile and inhaled the smell like he was smelling a nearby pie baking. I stared at him like he was weird, but I realized he was the raven and I only became one a few days ago, so I turned back to the rats and tried to ignore the putrid odor.

William grabbed a rodent by the head and effortlessly swallowed it hole. I tried to copy him but the rat I picked was just to large, so I had to peck at it to get chunks out...I...was...disgusted...

* * *

After most of the rats were gone, and I managed to get down one rat, Will started to teach me about aerodynamics. I was bored mostly, but I surprisingly convinced Will that I looked interested. I was lost deep in thought as he was talking about the how wind moves over and under a wing. 

Eventually came the part where I had to actually learn how to fly and I have to say, honestly, I wish I payed attention to Will's lesson. He kept repeatedly scolding me for not "embracing the power of the wind".

After many tries on getting off the floor and staying in the air, I finally managed to do it. It was hard, and unbearable to keep flapping again after the first time I was airborne, but at the same time, it was relieving knowing I could finally get around like a normal bird. I have to say, I was quite proud of myself.

 

Will and I were taking a nice long break in the afternoon after the lessons and practicing flying. I was on my back peacefully resting while Will stared down at the cars below us. I sighed, "I'm in the mood for some hot tea and biscuits." I stated. Will grunted in agreement as I rolled onto my feet. 

"That was good practice." I stated. 

"Yes...yes it was." Will agreed.  We sat silently staring at the cars for a while until, suddenly, we heard a dreadful screech behind us. The both of us jumped in surprise and darted our heads in unison towards the source and what we saw made our blood run cold. Will gasped at the monstrous shape and ushered me to fly off, leaving me behind as he launched himself off the roof and into the air.

"Edgar! Fly!" He yelled urgently and started to fly away. I was insanely confused with the situation but the urgency in Will's voice made me fly away without question.

"Will, what's going on!?" I asked, fear in my voice. What could've possibly scared this brute bird so much that he flew away from it.

The loud screech was heard from the shape behind us again and Will flapped his wings even harder. "Will! What's happening?!" I yelled again. He gave me a look that held true fear and said to me, "It's that damn 'awk!"

Now there was a reason to be scared. I realized now Hawky only changed me into a raven so that I was easier to kill, and he apparently was also quite well-known among the other birds as well and that worried me greatly. I beat my wings harder to catch up to Will. The large hawk behind us screeched again and also flapped harder to speed up.

I was running out of air as I struggled to keep up with Will and his sharp turns and dives. "Will, wait up!" I yelled, flapping my wings as hard as I could. Hawky was closing in on me. He was so close he had outstretched his talons and prepared to snatch me right out of the air.

Thinking quickly, I shot straight up into the air before Hawky could grab me. The monstrous hawk screeched in rage when he realized he missed me before he flew upwards as well. I continued to fly as high as humanly possible to try and escape the large hawk bent on killing me.

The wind whipped at my face and stung my eyes, making my eyes water. Hawky screeched behind me and practically torpedoed towards me. I, on the other hand, evaded his talons again, and free-fell back to Earth.

I managed a laugh at Hawky's inability to catch me... old bag of worthlessness... His anger was amusing to me as much as it was frightening. The hawk dove after me, determined to catch me and each time he failed, he got even angrier.

The speed I was falling at was practically tearing my feathers out and the ground was coming closer and closer. Eventually, the city streets were mere inches from my face when I pulled up sharply and blindly ducked into an open window.

I crashed onto the floor, knocking some shelves over and alerting a nearby store owner. I quickly hid under a table as the clerk looked around curiously before putting the shelf back up and beginning to put the items back up.

Meanwhile, outside, Hawky hovered over the busy street searching for me. After several minutes, Hawky left and I reappeared from under the table.  I cautiously flew out of the store and into the crisp afternoon air.

* * *

It took surprisingly only a few hours to find Will again. Or rather, he found me.

"Edgar!?" he called from behind me. I turned my head at the sound of my name and saw Will panting for air and beating his wings as hard as he could to catch up to me.

"Will, you're alright!" I exclaimed, truly glad to see him in one piece. "I guess so. I 'id in a tree and when I saw the 'awk fly away I decided it was safe." he exclaimed.

I scowled, "Nice to know you don't really care..."

William chuckled, "I don't. I don't sudd'nly care fo' the firs' fledgling that I come across... that'd be a waste o' time, ya know wha' I mean?"

"How did you find me?" I wondered, changing the subject so I didn't have to hear how much I'm a "waste of time". Will started to laugh, "There's only one raven I know that flies as clumsy as you do and that's you you-self." he insulted playfully. I laughed halfheartedly. It's not my fault I suck at flying!... well... it is... but it's not my fault I'm not used to being a bird!

"So... Where are we going to sleep?" I asked, starting to feel the aching sensation in my wings. Will clicked his beak in thought and ordered me to follow him. I did so without objection and together, we headed in the direction of the London park that I woke up in.  

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