There was a secret meeting tomorrow evening and she absolutely had to be there. The notes had been left on her dinning room table the night before, a small calling card with a Raven printed on the front and an address on the back with small words written ‘Be there at 7pm.’
She had been waiting for this moment. Secretly hungering for the day that she would be accepted into the world that she had always felt to be on the fringe of. She was a small-time writer, a blogger who wrote on the lives of others. She had a small following, but nothing that would get her listed in the Oprah Book Club or talking to Ellen in front of hundreds of adoring fans.
She had been writing since she was a young girl. Half stories and undeveloped characters filled her mind and hundreds of notebooks that she kept hidden in the house. Her book shelves were filled with all the greats. Some she had actually read, some that she bought because other famous authors had them in their library’s, some she attempted to read but could never understand- like Shakespeare. Some were written by authors whose lives amazed her, and she bought then out of a sense of loyalty but never liked what they wrote. Then there was the 7 that she loved like family. The covers were worn, the pages were tearing, stains of coffee and midnight snacks filled the pages. They were her greatest friends and worst enemies.
She looked at the card again and gently set it back on the table. She needed coffee if she was going to think this through. Her excitement was overwhelming, tingling her fingers and toes. She felt like she could run a marathon, but knew that was a lie. Just that morning she ran 3 miles slowly and now felt like her knees were rubber and had an unrennetless desire for Ruffle chips and French Onion Dip. She walked to the kitchen, remembering the salad-in-a-bag that she had bought for dinner and instead made a peanut butter and nettla sandwich to go with her coffee. She just stared at the sandwich – unable to take a bit as she held onto her coffee mug.
Caroline looked around at her small apartment, filled with knic knacks and random pieces of art. Pictures and posters of time periods of long ago filled her walls. The furniture was mismatched and eccentric, some pieces bought for the comfort of the sitter and others to inspire the imagination. Her desk in the corner was filled with post-it notes of ideas and timelines, half filled notebooks were scattered in the drawers. A calendar sat on her desk top as a reminder of what she should be doing with her life, and not necessarily what she wanted to do. A large book shelf sat up against a wall, filled with the books of her life and some of her greatest memories of achievements. She did not place them there as a homage to her success, but rather as a reminder that she had so much more to accomplish.
She walked to the living room with her cup of coffee and the small notecard. As she looked out the window, rain began its soft patter of engulfment. There was to be a storm the weather man predicated, but who really took what they said at face value? The rain did sooth her pent-up anxiety as she watched the drips slide down the window panes. She looked down at the card once again while taking a sip of her not so warm cup of coffee.
It was a meeting of the greatest literacy minds of the decade and she had been invited.
Caroline had heard of the secret society only through whispers at coffee shops and by the ‘Book Store Book Club.’ A group of women that she had run upon while shopping for a new book to read months ago. She was never really invited into the group, but she was allowed sometime to regal them with little funny sayings or short stories if she just happened to be in the area when they meet. The leader of the Book Club was an older woman who was opinionated to the point of rudeness and yet beloved by all. Caroline thought it was mostly because the other ladies feared her, but then again- she had never been welcomed into the center circle to know what the attraction was.
“I have it on good authority that I will be receiving my invite anytime now.” Anne had told her friends while they gathered around the electric stone fire place in the middle of Barnes and Noble. Anne had been working on a book about immigrants, a highly researched book but dull and uninspiring.
“We all knew that your book was great Anne” one of the members said as she settled at the table with her Egg Nogg latte and brownie.
Caroline smirked while standing in line to order. Was it great? Was it a tale of all time to be told? Something in the back of her mind told Caroline that it was not, but who was she to judge. Her novels laid in the attic of her computer, only dusted off and worked on once in a blue moon. Caroline knew that she was an emotional writer, jumping from book to book as her mood dedicated.
“Yes, it is great.” Anna replied with that sly smile of hers. “It was a great novel that broke open the doors to the Raven Society. They should be so lucky as to have one such as myself. Too many writers today focus on the fantasy and not on the ‘how’ we came to be here. I plan on breeching that gap and bring the past to the present.”
“What is the Raven Society?” asked a young woman with the look of an extremely tired mother of young children. Caroline’s heart went out to her, she had overheard her order her coffee with 3 extra shots, and knew that she was forgoing a much-needed nap to have adult interactions.
Anne laughed and looked at the young women as if she was educating a school-age child. “My dear, the Raven Society is the elite literature group of the ages. Each member who is asked to join has made a significant contribution to the world of writing. It is a great honor indeed! The best part is that each new member assumes the role of one of their favorite literature characters. It is the final test to being accepted. Chose unwisely and we will be asked to leave, chose correctly and your career soars to new heights. I have been narrowing down my list for days now and have settled on three. Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, or Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility.”
The ladies all exclaimed over the famous characters that she had chosen, debating on the pros and cons of each one. Caroline silently admitted that they were all good choices, but would never have picked such obvious selections for herself. As she stood in line, she went over the women who had become important to her over the years. Women who had never existed, but have somehow formed young ladies lives through their words.
‘The easiest one for me would be Scarlett O’Hara’, Caroline thought to herself as she ordered her coffee. ‘The other two though? Who would they be?’
Caroline paid for her coffee and walked to a table not far away from the book club ladies, smiling and acknowledging their presence as she passed by. As the ladies argued over who Anne should identify as, Caroline pulled out her notebook of thoughts and started thinking who hers would be.
Months later, sitting in her kitchen Caroline still had not decided. She had at first not put a lot of stock into the idea of a secret society. That is things that movies were made of, not reality. However, the idea did make her do her research and she was surprised to learn about groups such as Bohemian Grove whose motto ‘Weaving Spiders come not Here’, from Shakespeare Midsummer Night Dream Act 2, Scene 2. Societies with names like Skull and Bones founded at Yale University based on a German occult society and the famous Illuminati and Freemasons. The world was shrouded in the mystery of secret societies it seemed, without them really truly being secret.