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The Timer by TheGoldenKneazle
Chapter 1: Is this the end?
THE TIMER: Is this the end?
My name is Rose Nymphadora Weasley.
I am sixteen years old.
And I am dying.
Nothing can stop it. No wizards of witches know of a cure for cancer, do they? And so I’m here, with my time ticking away, a countdown to my death.
All I ever hear is the timer ticking in my ears, my heartbeat counting down to The Day. It seems to ask, “Is this the last? Is this the last? Is this the last?” and I forever hold my breath, attempting to hold together this façade of normal.
Nothing is normal, not any more. I was normal, once; my life was normal, my family was normal, everything progressed in a normal fashion. But suddenly I contract this disease and everything about me becomes different... all because I've got a timer set beside me, counting down to my imminent death.
I hate not knowing when the timer is going to end. It is the shrill bell ringing in the kitchen that forces you to cover your ears and slam your hand down on, trying to end it as fast as possible, because while it shrieks to warn you that you have finished, nothing else can be heard.
So you run, and you end it, and you breathe a sigh of relief as the silence envelops you. Then maybe you have to set it for a little while longer, adding a few extra minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years.
It will eventually. It always does.
I resent having to sleep. It wastes so many precious hours that I could be doing anything else in, although during the day, all I feel is angry, moody and tired anyway. I am always tired, progressively more so. The doctors say I’ll be sleeping more and waking less from now on, spiralling downhill in an unstoppable whirl of heartbeats and breaths.
Instead, I prefer the night. Somehow it is full of a pulsing energy, and the moon and the wind and sometimes even the rain call to me. The wildness is appealing, and I can be someone, anyone, else out there, when I am swallowed up by the black and hidden from the world amongst rawer, infinite forces.
I hate the daytime. In the light, there’s no mistaking that it is Rose Weasley, cancer patient of St. Hope’s Hospital of nowhere, that stares back at me awkwardly in the mirror. What a completely messed-up name for a haven of death, disease and unhappiness St. Hope's is.
Once upon a time, I wanted to be Healer when I grew up. How ironic is that?
Now, of course, I know better. I know better than to think I will ever realise dreams or grow up. No, I will leave only a legacy of dark scowls and black moods behind me.
In the sunlight, it exposes truths I don’t want to realise, condolences I don’t want to recognise, and sympathy I don’t want to receive. I have to sit and pretend I care for people I don’t, while they try to pretend they understand what I’m going through, and offer my family their weak and pathetic apologies for me.
Do they honestly believe that a ‘sorry’ from someone’s parents - someone who has beaten me down all my life - is going to repair the damage now? That all will be forgiven and forgotten, because I’m leaving for the Other Side and they had warning, unlike others? That what is said at the end eradicates all other action from the rest of my life? That the end justifies the means?
Just because my life is ending does not mean that the meaning and memories of it will wash away.
Magic has not, can not, stop, help or in any way change this biological problem that is taking me over. The muggle doctors can do nothing of any use any more, and my family all sit as statues, looking strained and as trapped as I feel.
Perhaps it would be better for them if I was already gone. This blight on the pages of their lives will forever stay, blurring some words underneath, but in time it will fade and the words around it become clearer. I will fade.
Already I stain their lives with my constant recklessness, restlessness and surliness. They deserve better.
Maybe I deserve to die.
Even when I wish my destiny to be anything other than this, I still cannot help but listen to my fate as it drums in my veins every night, whispering “Is this the last? Is this the last? Is this the last?”
Every second more feels like hell. I hate to live. But I am scared to die.
And so we are all forced to pretend that we are getting on just fine, holding our breath, as the meaningless words pile up at the door and we wait for the timer to shriek with its shrill ring. Nothing has meaning, but everything does; every move is weighted heavily, dragging towards the last.
Is this the end?
Is this the end?
Is this the end?
*A/N: I own nothing.
This was written partially for huffleherbs’ “One-Character Challenge”; I wrote half of this on a whim from an idea that sprung into my head, then started writing it for the Every Word Counts challenge, then remembered I had wanted to do this one.
Also, as you may have noticed, this is actually 689 words of fic, not 500. So it’s not for the EWC challenge any more, because I couldn’t get it down any further.
This may say it’s about Rose, but it could be about anyone. I suppose Huffleherbs’ challenge really made me see that about one-person narrative; it works for most situations… we’re really not that different.
Just a (slightly morbid) thought there.
Edited 19th August 2012.