Dedicated to the memory of Rikki Feral
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I worked, weak and weary, Under many a volume of wires underneath the Turbokat’s floor, While I toiled, under piles of wrapping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some kat gently rapping, rapping at the hangar door. “‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at the hangar door- Only this, and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak November, Fixing the damage after a fight with Dark Kat the day before. Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the she-kat I adore- For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Rikki- Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each yellow curtain Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic horrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating, “‘Tis some visitor wanting entrance at the hangar door- Some late visitor wanting entrance at the hangardoor;- This it is, and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, “Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was working, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at the hangar door, That I scarce was sure I heard you”- here I opened wide the door;- Darkness there, and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Dreaming dreams no foolish mortals ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Rikki!” This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Rikki!”- Merely this, and nothing more.
Back into the hangar turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window : Let me see, then, what that is, and this mystery explore- Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;- ‘Tis the wind and nothing more.”
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately creepling from the battle the dat before; Not the least respect had he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with respect of lord or lady, perched above the hangar door- Perched upon flood light just above the hangar door- Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this pink creature deceived my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore. “Though thy master rotting in prison” I said, “what is thy business here for? Ghastly grim and ancient creepling wandering from fight before- Tell me what is thy business, be it peace or be it war!” Quote the creepling, “Nevermore.”
Much I marvelled this ungainly creature to speak so plainly, Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living feline being Ever yet was blest with seeing creepling above his hangar door- Creepling or beast upon the flood light above his hangar door, With such business as “Nevermore.”
But the creepling, sitting lonely on the flood light, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing further then he uttered- not a leathery wing then he fluttered- Till I scarcely more than muttered, “other friends have flown before- On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.” Then the creepling said, “Nevermore.”
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, “Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore- Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of ‘Never- nevermore’.”
But the creepling still deceiving all my fancy into smiling, Straight I wheeled a wooden stool in front of creepling, and light and door; Then upon the cedar sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this creature upon the door- What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and creature upon the door Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To whose fiery eyes now burned into my mind’s very core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the jet’s fuselage that I was working on before, But whose metalic covering that the Turbokat wore, She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Perfume that I remembered smalling many times before. “Wretch,” I cried, “thy lord hath lent thee- by these angels he hath sent thee Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Rikki! Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Rikki!” Quote the creepling, “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!- prophet still, if creepling or devil!- Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted- On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore- Is there- is there life on Earth?- tell me- tell me, I implore!” Quote the creepling, “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil- prophet still, if creepling or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us- by that the lord we both adore- Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, with thy lost maiden, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Rikki- Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Rikki.” Quote the creepling, “Nevermore.”
“Get thee back to my master,” I shrieked, “And bother me no more! Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore! Leave no signs as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the light above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off the door!” Quote the creepling, “Nevermore.”
And the creepling, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the flood light just above the hangar door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming, And the lamplight 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!
Upon the floor I lay lying, my heart and soul slowly dying, And still the cursed creepling perched above the hangar door Continuing it’s tormentious glarin, it’s unending evil staring It’s wicked eyes piercing through my heart’s very core Staring from its perch above the hangar door. Quote the creepling, “Nevermore.”
Suddenly it unfurled it’s wings, It’s attention turned to other things, It took off leaving it’s perch above the hangar door- Towards a small shelf it did soar, and knocked an object on the floor, The silence magnified the sound of a ring clattering to the floor A diamond and gold engagement ring that Rikki once wore. The she kat whom I will see-nevermore.
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