Easing out of sleep into half-sleep, Raven remembers what she is waking into, while carefully prolonging her comfortable haze of mind a little longer. She’s lying in bed at home, with her sleeping boyfriend’s naked warmth against hers. It is early one Monday morning, not long before her alarm-clock will be going off, and bright sun is coming through the gaps around the window-blinds. Keeping her movements gentle so as not to wake him, she squirms around to face him and brushes her black hair out of her eyes. The white sheet fully covers both their heads as well as the rest of them, and the sunlight is passing through the thinness of the sheet, so she has a clear view of this familiar face and body that she loves, that she has loved deeply for a long time now, lying not quite on his back nor quite on his side—her best friend in the world, right beside her in shared comfort and silence here, just where he should be. As far as the angles of his position allow, she arranges herself so as to lie on her side and to feel his skin on her own in as many places as possible, up and down their bodies, but neither so as to wake him nor to result in any discomfort for herself. The result is something between a half-embrace and a simple proximity, touching in three or four places in several permutations of limbs or shoulders but remaining apart elsewhere, here under this warm sunny tent of sheet. The biggest area of space between them is somewhere midway down their length, where they happen to lie curved apart in an approximate mirror image of each other. Raven shuts her eyes and lets herself drift back down into her own haze. Then she half-opens her eyes once more, and in doing this she becomes aware of a third presence, as there flickers up the image of a being she has not seen before—a small white rabbit curled up peacefully upon itself, right here in the rabbit-sized space between her boyfriend’s body and her own, in a state of semi-sleep like their own, its eyes half-opening and its perfectly white furry head and ears making slight movements from time to time, before its eyes close and its head and ears become still. Smiling, Raven whispers to herself in words she soon forgets, then sinks back into sleep, smiling still.
An hour later she kisses her boyfriend goodbye, pulls her front door shut behind her and heads down a nondescript residential corridor past a series of anonymous doors, each bearing nothing but the number of the flat behind it. In the lobby at the end she summons a lift, and while it starts its ascent from the ground floor she wanders to the lobby window. Far underneath are the lower buildings comprising this development, which is the Lansbury Estate in Poplar, East London; and over there in the distance is the spectacular building she is heading for this morning. In the lift mirror she double-checks the appearance of her office suit, her make-up and her long straight raven-coloured hair, which are all immaculate. […] For Raven works on the 50th floor of the Shard, high above London Bridge station.
Throughout these work hours, although in physical comfort, she is much put-upon. Numerous people talk down to her, both on the phone and off it, and there isn’t much that can be done about this; it would seem to come with the position. The pay is not much and her horizons feel restricted. Still, there’s an economic downturn, the job is stable and it’s all she can access for the moment, so there’s no point in moaning about it. Nor does she forget that she wakes up every morning with a beautiful friend—the boy whom the sunlight lit so clearly through their clean white sheet this morning. Nor, this morning in particular, can she forget the enchantment of that white rabbit that appeared between the two of them.
No; when she contemplates the bigger picture or looks at the news, Raven knows her own luck is well above the average. She sees the desperate hopeless anger of many around her; she lives in the real world. Despite the functionality of her life, she hasn’t forgotten that if such functionality isn’t proactively maintained, then the world quickly reverts to its habit of pressing forcibly into people with its favourite latent quality—the relentless, hard-edged, physical violence of reality.
That’s the bigger picture. But there’s no denying, either, that the real world leaves a lot to be desired.
For more about "The Platinum Raven" by Rohan Quine, see
For some great reviews of it, see
And to pick it up from whichever retailer you may prefer, the retailers’ links for the audiobook are at
and for the ebook at
and for the paperback at