A Raven and an Eagle – A Forbidden High School Romance
A sassy Goth girl, Samantha Raven, meets a popular and easy-going football jock named Daniel Eagle in their senior year of high school. They quickly hit off into a relationship based on their mutual love of dark poetry and literature, but it is frowned upon by their social circles. Each of them must deal with the consequences of having a forbidden romance: Dan has to risk losing his popularity, his new friends and his place on the football team; and Sam becomes a victim of bullying. They find out not only who their real friends are, but what true friendship really means. Of course, love conquers all – but at what cost?
Part 1 – Polar Opposites Attract (Jul-2017)
Now that I am retired, I tend to look fondly at my years as a high school English teacher. Thinking back to those days, I try to think of the most interesting stories I saw in that Midwestern United States school.
If there was one that stands out, it was back in October of 2006 – it was five years since 9/11, and students still divided the school into cliques: the preppies, the jocks, the nerds, the hoodlums, and so on. But two of my students (I will call them Samantha Raven and Daniel Eagle) dared to break with the rule that social circles never mixed, and the school was forever changed because of them.
This is their story.
Chapter 1: A Raven and an Eagle
Samantha Raven is usually the last person to enter First Period AP English, right before the bell. Her teacher, Ms. Kathryn Mandrake, sees her as her star pupil of AP English for her excellent dark poetry. But the rest of the school sees her as a Goth – black T-shirt, ripped jeans with knee-high faux-leather boots, snaking black tattoos on her ivory skin, and large hazel eyes accentuated by heavy black eyeliner, black lipstick, a nose ring and a large plume of purple hair on top.
She sits in her usual seat at the front of class. English is the one class she loves and excels at, and is eager to share her latest poetry assignment. The tardy bell rings, but Ms. Mandrake doesn't start class this time – she looks to the hallway as if she is expecting one more to class.
One more arrives – a new addition to the class.
He arrives as if off the set of a teen TV drama. All eyes focus on the new boy: large and handsome, with bronze skin and muscles sculpted like a Greek god. He gives a warm, easy smile and an apology in a southern accent to the teacher as he purposely looks in Sam's direction and strides to sit in the chair right behind her.
She tries to ignore him. He must be a jock, she thinks to herself, and most likely got a pass to come to advanced English only because of his charm and his popularity with the school. As she takes a moment to review her latest work of poetry one last time, she can almost sense the new guy behind her is still looking at her. She feels a sudden wash of hot and cold, wondering if he is interested in her – then shakes her head in surprise at her own thoughts. Why should she care?
Ms. Mandrake asks the class to exchange poetry assignments to proofread – Sam is about to turn to Rachel, the Goth girl just to the left and behind her, but finds she is already exchanging with another girl just behind her. Sam is then presented a paper from the new guy behind her who smiles as her eyes finally meets his.
"Hi," he starts, "I'm Dan. Can you check my work? I bet you're real good at English."
Sam is unsure how to take the comment, but takes it quietly, along with his paper. She starts to hand Dan her homework. "I'm Sam," she replies out of courtesy, "but what makes you think I must be so good at English?"
"Because you're in AP English, and you're sitting in the front of the class. Only the best students sit in the front row, am I right?"
Sam nods, accepting the answer, and starts to skim Dan's homework. She sees his name at the top of the page – Daniel Eagle – just as the teacher calls her out.
"Sam, can you read Dan's poem to the class?" Ms. Mandrake seems to smirk purposely.
Sam reads Dan's poem.
"Today is the day I kill you, Jim Rize,"
Said the assassin, after wiping the tears from his eyes.
"For committing the unholiest of unholy sins
I condemn you to death. The execution begins!"
The assassin ran into the dwelling of Jim
With a gun in his hand and no one to see him.
As he closed the door, he removed his disguise
And leveled the gun to the head of Jim Rize.
He pushed the muzzle 'till Jim squirmed with discomfort
But the assassin had felt a far deeper kind of hurt.
For the assassin was a man who was driven insane
By the rape of his love – his Naomi Lane!
The assassin still remembered how she quivered with fear
From a touch so sublime – from a gesture so sincere.
The assassin still remembered the whimpers and cries
Of Naomi, his treasure – all because of Jim Rize!
"Her crying, Jim, still echoes in my ears.
And your crime will haunt her for the rest of her years.
For every night she sleeps, she remembers the pain
As she is violated and broken all over again!"
"You did this to her in a moment of lust
And sentenced her soul to a life of mistrust.
And now, I have come to sentence you as well:
To die by my hand, and be sent straight to Hell!"
The assassin looked straight into the eyes of his foe
And saw that Jim Rize was ready to go.
The melancholy that spoke of a man filled with shame
Had watered his eyes, for he was all to blame.
A shot broke the silence, and the Deuce had his prize:
The soul of a rapist – the soul of Jim Rize.
The abode then grew quiet; not another word was said,
For the assassin was Jim Rize – he had shot himself dead.
The room is quiet for a moment, before Ms. Mandrake continues. "Yes, class. Dan may be on our football team, but his writing skills are as good as anyone's here. So, let's welcome him to AP English, shall we?" She looks especially at Sam, who has always enjoyed being the undisputed class prodigy up until now.
After some more poems are read and critiqued by the teacher, the class gets some free time to continue revising their poems. Dan beams as he finally gets his poem back from Sam.
"Not bad, Dan," Sam admits, stealing a brief look at his gorgeous, strongly-chiseled face. "Reminds me of Poe."
She can see Rachel ogling Dan in the corner of her vision. Rachel is dressed in an Emo style – long red-dyed dreadlocks are sticking out from a black beanie cap, and her chocolate skin blends into her black T-shirt, dark jeans and white-on-black Converse shoes. But the fact that Rachel is suddenly so interested in a muscle-bound jock is beyond her, almost to the point of being annoying.
"Well, I'm a fan of Poe," Dan admits, his eyes drawn to hers as he speaks to her. "Most people think he's weird or depressing, but I find him quite romantic. His writing seems to imply that women are angels who only hide their wings when the boys are looking. And I think he's right."
Sam blushes and chuckles at the allusion and attempt at flattery, but is confident that girls are far from innocent or pure, herself included.
Dan chuckles as well. "Sorry, you must think I'm silly. Most people do."
Sam is quick to correct that. "No, not entirely at least. Poe is one of the great American poets, and for good reason. He's also a favorite of mine. But, you don't have to make everything rhyme like he does. Free-verse poetry can be quite good as well."
Dan shakes his head and smiles. "Sorry, I tried. I just can't make a poem that doesn't rhyme. Seems like cheating to me anyways."
Sam is about to disagree when the bell rings. Once again, she surprises herself – she feels annoyed at having her conversation with Dan cut short, as if she actually wants to keep talking to him. Why am I feeling this way, she asks herself.
After all, isn't he just a dumb jock?
Greetings, and thanks for reading Chapter 1 of my new story! My plans are to publish one part (four chapters) of this story before the end of each month, and have the whole story (6 parts, 24 chapters) published for your enjoyment by the end of the year. So, by the end of July, you should be able to read through Chapter 4 and by New Year's Day 2018 you should be able to finally get the dramatic conclusion of the story. I'm kinda new to publishing original stories, so I hope this story is as enjoyable to read as it was for me to write it. Take care, and please feel free to share comments!