“And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting,
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!”
- Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”
Quietly, Annabelle closed her book of poetry. The movements in the other rooms of the dormitory had long since died down. It was almost midnight, now. Soon Annabelle would be required to snuff out her candle. A teacher, or a willing honor student, would make a quick round through the hallways of both the boys’ and girls’ dormitories. If they spotted light coming from under your door, they would enter and ask what was going on. If you had accidently fallen asleep, or were doing homework, they usually let you off the hook, but Annabelle had been found too many times doing both. Next time, she had been warned, she wouldn’t be so lucky. And Annabelle was not one to push her luck.
Even so, Annabelle couldn’t help the thrill of fear she felt in her heart when she glanced at the dark corners of her room. The flickering candle, though flooding her small corner of the room with light, made the shadows deeper and more threatening. During her reading of the haunting poem, the young girl had felt an unexplainable feeling of dread, growing with each stanza. Biting her tongue, Annabelle’s eyes darted to the clock hanging on the wall. Five minutes to midnight. Should she risk it? Maybe if she just set up some books around the candle, and took them down when the patroller had passed-
No. Annabelle shook her head. Just as she was not one to push her luck, neither was she one to put books in danger.
Sliding her poetry book into her school bag, Annabelle pulled off her uniform and slipped into her pajamas – an oversized maroon sweatshirt and white shorts. She pulled her thick dark hair out of her face, gently blew out her candle, and clambered in to bed, just as the clock tower struck twelve.