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Against the Dying of the Light by LittleWelshGirl99
Chapter 2: raw
Just tired souls
Who were told that they deserve this darkness.” –G.G
The days blur. The Monday flows seamlessly into the Tuesday, which spins round to a Wednesday and glides across to Thursday, and none of them are any different apart from their names.
Nothing seems real.
But the anger is a constant, simmering beneath my skin, chained to me with no route of escape. There is a cut on my finger and the small, jagged hole in my skin throbs and pulses - and I know that it is because of my poisonous character trying to squeeze its way through. My body is trying to save me, constantly. But sometimes I think it would be better if it didn’t. This is what I am. I’ve come to embrace the fact now, I would even miss it; the sense of identity, of separation from the normals.
Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. So you have to learn how to conquer it, control it, because then it will give you power.
I eat mechanically, tearing out the fleshy insides of a potato with solid teeth, so perfectly designed. I imagine that I am chewing the hearts of my enemies, and briefly wonder if there is, perhaps, a limit to imagination. But it’s stupid to dwell upon the unknowable.
No-one sits near me, for they have learnt by now not to take unnecessary risks. I subconsciously count how many are sitting at the Slytherin table at this moment in time.
I shudder; thirteen is not a good number, not a safe number. I only let out the breath I didn’t realise I was holding when Roxanne Weasley joins the table, sitting down opposite me, and then there are fourteen. Fourteen: two times seven, twenty-eight divided by two, even, ten add four.
I ignore Roxanne, despite the fact that she is the only person I can truly bear to be around. The rest of them I find intolerable.
“Morning, weirdo,” Roxanne says and merely rolls her eyes as I glare. Saying ‘good morning’ to someone is presumptuous and I despise it. “You have gravy in your hair.”
“Does it look like I care?” I spit, though perhaps slightly less harshly than if it had been someone else.
“Not really, no, but I felt like telling you. Got a problem?”
“More than one.”
We eat in silence, Roxanne constantly looking over her shoulder for something or someone; real or imagined. I radiate contempt and irritation for the world liberally; she tries to hold her emotions in. Eventually, she will implode.
“Why do you keep doing that?” I ask, knowing that it will annoy her.
“Don’t play dumb,” I snap.
“Shut up then. You don’t know anything.”
I snarl. She smiles.
The castle walls are prison walls, trapping me, caging me, trying to mould me into someone that I’m not, someone good and respectable. I don’t want it, any of it. I crawl out of a window and climb onto the roof, light a cigarette that I stole from the history teacher. The bitter choke of ashes and tar fills my mouth, but I do not gag.
Professor Teller isn’t like any teacher that I’ve ever seen. He's different. He doesn't seem to care about the classes he's teaching, the pupils. He has a muggle gun in one of his desk draws. It was locked in of course, but locks are no obstacles.
I want that gun. I want to know what it would feel like to aim it at another person, see the fear clouding in their eyes, see the way their limbs would begin to tremble. And then the beautiful sound of the hammer being pulled back, the trigger pressed, and the bullet exploding from the barrel and nesting itself inside the warm flesh of an opponent.
My mother used to carry a gun, for ‘protection’ she said, but I was never sure from whom. Then the muggle police took it off her and tried to lock her in a cell, but she escaped and ran and had almost made it home before it happened. He found her. And she didn’t have the gun. And I was powerless to stop it. And all I could do was watch.
I was powerless.
I stub the cigarette out on my arm, smiling into the pain.
The day is bright and pretty and blue-skied, but I want thunder and lightning and torrential rain to rip it apart. I want to scream into the air and have my breath whipped away. I want the rain in my eyes and my hair and my soul, making me feel alive, washing away the ashes of a semi-existence.
My arms look paler than death in the glare, and my hair is a yellow halo framing my sneering face. They will find no compassion here, no weakness. As if sensing this, the sun hides its face behind a cloud and I feel powerful. I can control the sun. I can kill the light, and let in the darkness.
I can never be powerless again.
My desire for destruction needs feeding, so I roam the corridors like a ghost, but a lot more dangerous.
The shadows frame my face, and I draw my cloak around me more tightly, determined not to feel the chill. My heart may be cold but my blood is warm, and that is a weakness. My footsteps are quiet, and I feel as if I am watching this moment, captured within a larger moment, from somewhere high above and detached.
For a second, I can see the mould growing beneath my fingernails.
A girl rounds the corner and starts when she sees me. I recognise her as Lily Potter, but I do not care for things like status or implications. At first, I let her pass, anticipation quivering on my tongue. Then I wheel around and follow her. She notices, and quickens her pace, her heartbeat. I match her actions easily.
Then, when she realises that I mean harm, she begins to run- hoping to reach the end of the corridor, to reach help. But I lazily gesture with my wand and she is in my power, dangling upside down, helpless. I hover in front of my victim, lapping up the situation, relishing the fact that I can do anything right now and no-one can stop me.
I depend on these moments for survival.
Suddenly I lash out with my wand and she cries out as she falls through the air and hits the floor, her head knocking against the wall with a dull thud, flopping like a rag doll, so easily broken.
Albus Potter confronts me later the next day. I knew he would. I remain undaunted, despite the fact that he is taller and can look down on me and I hate that. It’s as if he’s in control. And, in a way, he is – for he knows what he is about to say, and I do not.
“You know, I used to think that you were just a bitch,” he says to me. “But now I can see that you’re more than that. You’re a monster, Lila Brown.” He steps forward and I find myself backed against a wall, vulnerable, trapped. His words are ringing in my ears and, unsurprisingly, I feel nothing towards them.
Albus’s body presses up against my own and I dread to think that he can hear the wild thump of my heart, banging its drum in a chest of stone. He leans forwards and whispers into my ear, his lips brushing my neck and I loathe the fact that I am tingling all over. I feel as if my body has betrayed my mind, and the internal war between two indispensible parts of me might drive me mad unless I am very, very careful. For a surreal moment I think he might kiss me, but then he whispers into my ear,
“I despise you.”
My reflexes kick in far too late, and I shove Potter off me so that he crashes into a cupboard. My wand is out and at his throat, a wild fire is kindled in my eyes.
“Stop walking around as if you own the whole fucking world, Potter,” I spit.
“Stop walking around as if you hate the whole fucking world, then.”
“I do though.” I smirk.
“I pity you.”
“You’ll be sorry for what you did to Lily you know.”
“Trying to play the overprotective brother role now, are we? I must say, it doesn’t suit you.” I snort and put away my wand.
Potter shoots me a derisive look. “Go to hell.”
I cackle, “Oh, but I’m already there.” Potter shakes his head and starts on his way back to light and company, already worried that he has spent too much time in the shadows with me, and that some of the poison might have rubbed off on him.
“You won’t get away with this forever. Be careful, Lila, be careful of the people who will eventually get tired,” he says quietly but intensely, as if he’s warning me about something, holding my gaze for three long seconds that last an eternity. "A reckoning is coming." I break the eye contact and stalk off.
We go our separate ways; the ways of light and darkness. And the sudden knife of loneliness drags my tired soul even further down, down into the bottomless pit.
“What are you doing Lila?” Roxanne asks. I look up from the table that I am scribbling concentric circles onto, covering the rough wooden surface in infinite lines.
“What are you doing, Roxanne?” I mimic, watching as she stabs a needle into the skin of her arm repeatedly, making it raw and bloody. A lock of her dark purple hair swings across her face, but she brushes it away irritably.
She snatches a bottle of ink from the bag of a passing third year and begins to pour it onto the wound. The ink runs unevenly over lumpy flesh, staining it purple, blue, black. Roxanne laughs happily, despite the fact that it has not worked and her arm is bleeding and the ink has somehow covered her whole body now, and it’s still going, creeping up towards her neck, her throat.
“It’s a good look for you,” I roll my eyes and grab the needle, carry it to the window and throw it out. I can see it on the ground just below, the silver metal, the purple ink, the red blood. They complement each other.
Roxanne comes up beside me, her black nails, filed to points, scrape along my arm like knives. My hairs stand on end, straining against the skin, yearning to rip themselves free of my body.
Roxanne’s shadow covers my shadow, and it unnerves me. She climbs out the window, into the dying light, and her body is silhouetted against a tree and for a moment it looks as though she has wings and a halo.
“Come on, Lila.”
“Make me.” I smirk.
“Maybe I will,” Roxanne’s face is right in front of me again and I don’t know how it got there. My eyes find the ink on her arm, a permanent bruise. And before I know it, she is kissing me.
a/n: hello! I was so pleasantly surprised by the reaction to my first chapter, and am enjoying writing this so much that I went off and wrote the next one in double-quick time! There will be a proper plot emerging, I promise, just hold tight. ;D thank you for reading! ~Annon