Chapter 1 : Saying Goodbye to Life
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Locked inside a room.
No one will come before I’m dead.
I’ve been tortured by the Cruciatus Curse, I haven’t eaten or drunk anything in days. I know I am about to die.
I have now faced evil. I knew all about it, I knew all about him. Or I thought I knew. It’s not the same to read it in a book or hear stories from others.
Lord Voldemort. Tom Marvolo Riddle. The Dark Lord. He Who Must Not Be Named. You-Know-Who. You don’t really know what he’s like until you have faced him. You hear stories of what he’s done, of how evil he is, but you don’t think it can happen to you. You can deny it, as most people do, but almost everyone thinks that it can’t happen to themselves. Even if it’s deep, deep inside of the soul, you think you have a life in front of you. A future. You don’t think it can happen to you. Until it does happen.
I didn’t know what pain was until I heard the word “Crucio” being hissed from him.
“Are you afraid of me, Mudblood?” Voldemort asked her silkily.
“No,” Hermione said. It was a lie. Of course she was afraid of him. She couldn’t tell him, though. She didn’t want him to know that she was scared, terrified of him. He probably knew, anyway. She understood that he was an extraordinary Legilimens. She looked stubbornly into his eyes, but felt her knees shake slightly.
“Really?” Voldemort said, pretending to be interested. He did not bother to hide his sneer. “Crucio!”
Hermione did not believe the curse would hit her. It couldn’t happen to her… But then it did hit her. She screamed. The pain was unbearable. Knives were cutting her up in million of parts. She burned. Flames were eating her alive. Needles pricked her in the eyes, down the throat, inside the nose, inside the stomach… everywhere. She hadn’t known that such pain existed.
And then the pain was… gone. She gasped for breath while the tears streamed down her cheeks, down to the ground.
“Up!” Voldemort hissed.
She knew he used the Imperius Curse on her as she was forced to stand up. She bit her lip, and now she felt the taste of blood.
“Are you afraid of me?” Voldemort asked again.
Hermione did not dare to meet his eyes. She still cried, but now quietly. She was afraid of him. Now more than ever. But the pain was gone now. It did not hurt any more. He would not do it one more time. “No,” she whispered. “I – I’m not afraid of you.”
It all hit her again, only worse. She fell down to the ground again, twitching and screaming. Her eyes rolled. She vibrated. She couldn’t control her body. The pain steered it all.
Then it was gone again. And now she understood. This man was evil. He would torture her to insanity or death. He did not care for anyone but himself. He had never loved and he had not been loved. He would kill her. He would not let her escape.
He walked slowly towards her trembling body. “Tell me now,” he said in a whisper which was barely a hiss. “Are you afraid of me?”
The truth escaped her lips now. “Yes. Yes, I’m afraid of you, you terrible monster!” Hermione shouted.
Voldemort watched her for a couple of moments with red eyes. His appearance was so cold that it stole life and happiness from his surroundings. “I knew that, filthy Mudblood,” he snarled at her. “Of course you would be afraid of me. You are disgusting, do you know that? And do you know how you will die? You are going to die in an empty room. A room without anything to eat or drink. You are going to die alone, cold, tired, unloved and afraid.”
Those were the last words Hermione heard before everything became black.
And then I woke up here. I was cold, tired and afraid. But I was not alone. A Death Eater stood over me. He had a message from the Dark Lord.
The Death Eater read a letter out loud. “Mudblood. I am so sorry I am not with you now. But I do know you will fear me for the rest of your little life, and that is a comfort.
“I am sure you have wondered why I have not tortured you to get information about Harry Potter. The answer to that is simple. I know where he is. I know where the blood-traitor, Weasley, is. I just decided that I would take you first. While the end of your life approaches, think of how your friends will die an even more painful death.
“Lord Voldemort.” The big Death Eater stuttered and grunted while he read this. He reminded Hermione of Vincent Crabbe, and she was quite sure this was the Slytherin’s father.
Crabbe walked slowly out of the room.
Hermione’s throat was oddly dry. “Water,” she whispered, glad that she at least still could speak.
Crabbe only stared at her stupidly for a couple of moments before he was out of the room. She heard some mutters from the other side of the wall, and seconds later, the door was gone.
Hermione closed her eyes. There was no possibility of escaping. She understood that. The walls around her were solid. There were no windows and now there were no doors. There wasn’t even a tiny chink. She had no wand. She had learnt a little wandless magic, but she was too weak to try it now.
Tears made their way from her tired eyes.
I don’t know how long I’ve been here. I don’t have a watch, so I don’t know if I have been here for minutes, hours or days. It certainly feels like several weeks, but it’s impossible to live without water for such a long time.
I can’t cry any more. I’m dry. If I could cry, I would drink the salt tears. I could drink anything now. I have considered to bite through my skin so I could drink my own blood, but I can’t do that. I can’t even imagine being such a disgusting mixture of vampire and cannibal.
I think, think and think. That is all I can do. I think of everything possible.
I think of Harry, Ron, Ginny, my parents, Neville and Luna. I hope they will all survive, but what Voldemort said in the letter concerns me. He knows where Ron and Harry are. Perhaps he has already killed them.
I think, or more like daydream, of scenarios where I’m rescued by Harry and Ron, where Voldemort is dead, where we all live happily ever after.
I think of silly, little things, like how I didn’t get to finish reading a wonderful book which can have several endings. I spend time thinking of what ending I prefer.
I think of my whole life. When I got my letter from Hogwarts, when the troll came into the girls’ toilet, when I became a friend of Harry and Ron’s, when the basilisk Petrified Muggleborns and other creatures, when I used to spend my day with homework and bickering with Ron, when I had the Timeturner, when Harry and I saved Sirius, when Harry became Triwizard Champion, when I experienced a confusing rollercoaster ride at the Yule Ball, when I knitted hats for the poor House Elves, when I got to know that Sirius was dead, when Lavender was snogging Ron, when Ron was poisoned, when I understood that Snape had murdered Dumbledore, when Harry, Ron and I went off to search for Horcruxes and the rest of the life.
I think of Ron’s promise.
Harry slept peacefully under a tree.
Ron and Hermione sat by a river, gazing up at the mysterious stars above them. Hermione rested her head on Ron’s chest. He had his freckled arms around her waist. How she wanted to stay like this forever…
“Hermione,” Ron murmured suddenly.
“Yes?” Hermione turned around to face him.
“I’ve wanted to say this for a while,” he mumbled, not meeting her eyes. “When this is all over… woudyoliketomarrye?” he said quickly. He was so relieved that he had finally said it, that he didn’t notice it was impossible to understand him.
Hermione frowned. “Sorry?”
Ron looked disappointed. “Oh. I understand if you don’t want to. It’s OK.”
“What? I didn’t hear what you said!”
“Oh,” Ron said again. Hermione could see him redden even though it was quite dark. “I just wondered… when we’re done with this, and You-Know-Who is gone and everything… will you marry me? I – I know we’re young, but we’ve gone though some pretty tough stuff, and we’ve probably done more than several wizards twice our age. It’s OK if you don’t want to, completely OK, but I just wondered… I mean – it would be great if you wanted to, but we don’t have to, and-” He finally shut his mouth.
Hermione’s jaw had dropped a long time ago.
Ron began to mutter again, but this time it was impossible to catch anything of what he said except for “all right”, “don’t want to” and “it’s OK”.
Hermione hugged him tightly to her body.
Ron looked down at her head, surprised. Did this mean that she wanted to or that she just gave him a comforting hug which meant they would at least remain friends?.
She let go of him. “Of course I want to marry you.”
“I – I – what – sorry?” Ron stammered.
“I want to marry you, you stupid prat!”
“Really?” Ron asked hopefully.
“Yes! As you said, we have experienced lots of things. We’re still young, but we are, after all, of age, and – and I love you.” Hermione flushed slightly. “But can you promise me one thing, Ron? Promise me that if I make it through this, you’ll still want to marry me.”
Ron looked into her eyes seriously. “I promise,” he said. “But that’s an easy promise to keep. And you’re not going to die. But I –”
“You’re not going to die, either,” Hermione said.
“That’s good. You’re not going to die, and I’m not going to die. That means you’re Mrs Hermione Weasley!”
That wonderful moment was just two weeks before I got captured by some Death Eaters. Now we’re both likely to die. My fate is certain; I’m going to die. But I really hope Ron will survive. Even though it pains me to think it right now, I hope Ron will marry someone and live happily with her. It would be selfish to hope he will die old, unhappy and unmarried.
I’m not going to die old. Yes, unmarried and unhappy, but certainly not old. I’m going to die before I’m twenty. Like that’s a comfort.
I wish I was inside the walls of Hogwarts now. I know the end of the school year is around these days. I could say goodbye to everyone, everything in the castle. I would finally say goodbye to the place where I got my first friends. I would say goodbye to Harry and to Ginny. I would say goodbye to Ron, knowing I would see him again soon. I would say goodbye to the library, the dormitory, the common room, the teachers, the students, the lake, the grounds… I would say goodbye with a smile. Perhaps I would cry.
I can’t cry here. I’m empty for tears.
I can’t smile. I have tried several times, but I’m too weak.
Death is slowly taking over my body.
I never got to give Hogwarts a proper goodbye. And now I can’t. I can only do it in my mind. I’ll say goodbye to everything I can see now, though.
I’m saying goodbye to the grey, dull walls.
I’m saying goodbye to the floor, to the ceiling.
I’m saying goodbye to my body.
I hope there is a life after death, because now I’m saying goodbye to life.
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