by The Cowl Editor on March 23, 2017
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
I am Raven and I see all within my sight. My vision is clear, but I am no god. Quite the opposite, I am just as human as anyone, even with my power. I’m not an isolationist, but my world is small. I live with a family that I help, but they help me out more than they know. It’s quite a happy family with John and Mary and their children, Rosie and Lance. My relationship with the family is akin to a loving servant, as I live with them and help them where I can. Lately, though, the household hasn’t been right. John is stressed all the time and I can’t seem to help him. Mary seems depressed and she keeps to herself more than she should. Rosie and Lance are sweet and naïve and they always want to play, but they are worried there is something wrong with their parents. I wish I could alleviate their fears. I wish that I were capable of more.
Rosie comes bursting in through the door, holding the mail. I wave to her and say, “Good afternoon Rosie, how was school?” She screams, “Hey Raven, school was great. We got to make arts and crafts all day since Ms. Blossom was sick.” I reply, “Rosie, make sure you take off your shoes, you wouldn’t want to create more work for me, would you? Where’s your brother Lance?” Rosie falls and I fly over to make sure she is all right. “Rosie, dear God, are you all right? Shall I call for help?” Rosie stands up and rubs her head, “Yeah, I just fell taking my shoes off. Lance was right behind me. He should be…”
The door flies open, but I stop it instantly. Lance nonchalantly walks in with his backpack on one shoulder. I begin to say, “Young man where were you abandoning…” but he chimes in, “Raven, the bus stop is only two houses away.” I reply, “You’re safe in this house, but the world is dangerous out there.” Lance snorts, “Raven, you should look outside the window more often, because where we live is not what I would call a dangerous place.”
Rosie tries to sound something out on the mail and says, “Raven what is this word? It begins with E, but I don’t know it.” I look at the envelope and say, “Rosie, that is for your parents, not for you, so please go put it on the kitchen table and I’ll send it up to your parents. Why don’t you two go outside to the backyard because, as I can see, it is lovely.”
Rosie begins to run to the back porch, but Lance protests, “Raven, I just want to watch TV. I started this movie and I haven’t been able to finish it yet.” I reply in the nicest tone possible, “2001: A Space Odyssey is not appropriate for boys your age, now why don’t you get some fresh air for once.” Lance follows Rosie grudgingly. I travel to the master bedroom and make a noise so Mary knows I am coming.
I open the door, “Mary, are you in here?” I hear a moan and then I make the shades fly up. Mary is passed out on her bed and I see empty bottles and a wine glass on the floor. I avoid the broken glass and send the vacuum to clean it up. I look at Mary and I deem her all right to talk to. “Mary, I need you to help me.” She throws her wine glass at me, but it passes through me. “Leave me alone Raven! You know it’s my private time, go watch the kids and leave the adults alone.”
I respond, “I know what you have told me, but this is urgent, you got the final eviction notice from the bank and Rosie almost found out.” Mary sits up and looks at me, “She’s a big girl. Soon enough she will have to know that her father is a worthless…” I interrupt her, “Mary, I didn’t come here to hear this speech again. I have an idea and wanted to talk to you about it.” Mary waves me off and says, “Raven, there is nothing you can do for me or for this family.” Hurt, I sulk away and send the shades back down. I head back down to the kitchen and start to prepare dinner.
Later, after I feed and get the kids to bed, I hear Mary and John fighting upstairs again, and I rush up to heal the wounds and make sure the kids are asleep. I can hear the argument already in my head as I glide up the stairs. Mary shouting, “John what are we going to do? We don’t have any place to go, not when you can’t find a job!” John shouting back, “Mary, why is it on me? I was laid off and we are in a recession. I work every day to provide…” Mary shoots back, “Provide what, John? As far as I can tell you seem to be a horrible provider since we have no home.” John retorts, “I provide enough for you to sit around all day in this house and forget your sorrows.”
I force the door open and both Mary and John look shocked at my intrusion. John says, “Raven, you know you are not allowed in here without permission.” I give the simple reply, “You’ve had your time to talk, now it is mine.” Mary replies rhetorically, “John, maybe you should listen to the person who actually works around here.” I look at Mary, and when she meets my cold gaze, she becomes silent. I begin to say, “I am in charge to take care of this family, and while I have power that is what I plan to do.” I initiate lockdown and the house begins to shut down. The windows and doors are instantly replaced with sheets of lead, the lights dim to a low red, appliances, Wi-Fi, and the telephone are disconnected, and to the outside observer the house begins to disappear.
John and Mary, terrified, grab each other and begin to whimper. John stammers, “What, what are you doing, Raven?” I respond haughtily, “I am doing what I am programmed, I am caring for this family. John, you want to be here for your family, but can’t. Mary, you need help that you are not getting. Rosie and Lance won’t talk to you two, but they know you two are having trouble and they are having troubles of their own. I can solve everything and protect you in one act. They won’t take you from me as long as I am in power.”
John begins to get angry. “Raven, this is not what you are programmed to do. You may be able to control this house, but I am the master of my family. I will deem what is necessary, now stop whatever it is you are doing.” I fly towards him and emotionlessly say, “You have failed to protect your family, I am only doing what is necessary. You will be safe here and you can stay here for the rest of your days.”
Mary begins to cry, but through her tears I can hear her whimper, “Raven, please don’t kill us. Please don’t kill us.” I go to her and I try to lift her head up with my hand, but it passes through. Sadly, I try to calm her, “No one is going to die on my watch. The outside world is not safe, because I cannot protect you out there. Nothing will ever hurt this family, nevermore will I let you be hurt.” John says quietly, “You may not be killing us, but you are ending our lives, Raven. There is more to life than just this house. The outside may be dangerous, but it is where life happens.” I begin to fade away, but I say, “Lance was watching some movie earlier and I heard a quote that inspired me to act: ‘I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can hope to do.’ Goodbye, Mary and John, try not to wake the children.”
I am the one who controls this house and this is my story. Everyone may think I am a monster, but I think I would be a monster to do nothing. I am programmed to care for and protect, but I am useless if I fix injuries only after they happen. I may only be a hologram, but I feel what I see happening to the ones I love. I believe John called it empathy once, but whatever you might think I know what I must do. I am Raven and I see all.