art by Junior McLean
N is for Nevermore Nevermore Land
by Tim Pratt, Jenn Reese, Heather Shaw, Greg van Eekhout
The young woman sitting on Ember's windowsill was dressed in a black tinkerbellish leotard. A black raven perched on her shoulder. Ember regarded her with suspicion. The sun had finally set after a hot day in San Francisco, and she'd made an executive decision to leave her window open while she slept, despite the potential for her parents to freak if they found out. Now there was this chick ruining her theory that no one would climb up to the third floor just to screw with her.
"I guess you're going to take my laptop."
"What? No! Oh, no, Ember! I'm here to take you to Nevermore Nevermore Land, where you will stay eternally young."
"Uh-huh. So you're a crazy person. Great. If you're not going to steal anything or threaten to hurt me, would you mind climbing back down and letting me get some sleep?"
"Nevermore!" the raven said.
A crazy person with a confused literary identity, Ember thought.
"I don't climb, I fly," the girl said, and demonstrated with a quick flight around Ember's bedroom ceiling, the raven flapping right behind her. A black feather fell on the covers near Ember's hands.
"If you hold the feather in one hand, and my hand in the other, you, too can fly away with me to Nevermore Nevermore Land, where Raven and I live in a cave below a crypt with other lost goth children whose parents don't understand them."
"And I'll never grow old."