The Chocolate Raven’s hearing licks the dark, pushing fingers into corners, seeking anything… She shrinks within her body, but feels the latter follow her inside and shrink too, so she can barely breathe. She tries not to shrink further still inside her own frame, but cannot prevent it. Her skin shrinks again, so taut that it burns with the nerves’ dance pressed against her skin’s underside. Her heart thumps, ramming her corpuscles through capillaries that nearly cannot open, constricted as they are by the ever-mounting pressure from the skin pressing round them. The fluid in her ears sings a worm-song chorus, like a stream of vermicelli squeezing underneath her scalp. As her heartbeat mounts, a light flicks on; looking up, she sees a single stained light-bulb fixed to a ceiling coloured yellow by the years. A poky little washroom sways and yawns around her, two metres square, with a tiny barred window. Turning, she jumps as her gaze eats the image, in a mirror on her left, of her emaciated frame: her cheekbones stare from under black-ringed eyes of the worst kind of orange, which consume her watching self with a lust so naked, desperate and brutal that she cries out in panic and delicious fear, running her fingers over her emaciation in horror and delight. A scent of fucked-up dark devouring hunger stabs her nostrils. Transfixed by her own desperate eyes, she feels herself advancing on them, loins burning, legs wobbling into motion like a pair of stilts—then she freezes, seeing that behind her on the wall, in the image she’s approaching, is a great pink spider the size of a dinner plate, legs thick and soft like a set of human thighs… As it wriggles into horrid life, a sudden ring of hanged men drop against the walls and swivel jerkily, their necks snapped down at an angle by their ropes. A bath-water gurgle of suffocation bubbles; one hanged man launches up his head and writhes, bellowing and flailing on his rope, which begins to work loose from the ceiling. She spots a door located halfway up a wall. She reaches up to it and tries to turn the handle, but it won’t move. She locks both her hands onto it and wrenches, as if to kill it. The hanged man thrashes on, staring at her, fierce and bug-eyed, his rope very nearly worked free.
For more about “The Platinum Raven” by Rohan Quine, see
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To watch the complete chapter from which this little teaser was excerpted, or to find any of the 31 chapters that constitute the novella’s video-book format, see
For links to all of these short teasers, see
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