Hi, Grace! I'm tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.
I think you have a pretty good command of the horror genre. I'm not normally one to feel a great deal of sympathy for Snape, but it's hard not to have a few pangs as his persistent nightmare gradually steals his nights then his days and eventually his sanity in this poignant vignette. You did a good job of writing his physical reactions to the intensity and fear of his nightmares. Gradually, bit by bit, the severity of his reactions grows and the dreams become more debilitating. I thought you paced the story really well, balancing his attempts to understand the dreams with his physical decline.
But he did not ask for help, or advice. No-one would answer, anyway. -- That was a great line. It really captured the proverbial island that Snape became after Dumbledore's death.
I have to say that I was really surprised when the red-headed woman turned out to be Charity Burbage and not Lily Potter. Severus contributed indirectly to both of their deaths, less so with Charity, I suppose. I really like the way that you tied Charity's words in with her final words to Severus before Voldemort killed her at Malfoy Manor. I appreciate what you're saying in your author's note, but depending on whether you see the moment where Charity stabs him as really happening or just part of another nightmare, I think it's possible to interpret this story as happening completely within the timeline of events from Deathly Hallows.
There were a couple of things that bothered me in a nit-picky sort of way. First, you keep mentioning Snape being in a classroom. I doubt that, as Headmaster, he was still teaching during the events of Deathly Hallows. Slughorn was teaching Potions and Amycus Carrow was teaching Dark Arts. Second, the idea that he would have put McGonagall in charge rather than the Carrows seemed a bit odd, since they were made out to essentially run the school whenever he was off doing the Dark Lord's bidding. Again, not major things, but they jumped out at me.
Also, I saw a few things that might have been typos:
The flashes and riddles given to him was only beginning to confuse him further; he was not able to connect the dots. -- were only beginning
It had begun to a mental and physical struggle for him to leave his dungeon chamber. -- begun to be a mental
Also, I saw several places where you say 'alluding' when I think you meant 'eluding'.
Overall, you write very nicely. You have a knack for description and imagery. This was a very enjoyable read!
Author's Response: Hi hi! Thank you for reviewing! And I apologise for taking so long to reply, real life ended up taking over, so thank you for your patience :)
I'm really glad that you thought I did Snape well. He is a character I have struggled with, and had never thought of writing about before this challenge, but in this instance really enjoyed writing him. I thought showing that the line between real life and his nightmare begin to blur would be an effective way of showing that Snape can be harmed too, but it must be in a severe way.
I originally had the character be Lily, but when I discussed my story ideas with my beta she said that Lily may be too obvious, and we looked into less obvious characters. We decided on Charity purely because she has several similarities to Lily that Snape shared with them, and it seemed to work in really well. I have had a few comments about the author's note, so i think I may just 86 that :)
I ever really thought into those ideas you mentioned, they make a lot of sense, so I will go back and change them, and the spelling mistakes that you picked up. Thanks for pointing them out!
I am really glad you enjoyed this, and thank you for all your comments, I really appreciate them :)