Chapter 8 : Chapter IIX - Outcast
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Her birthday had come and past quicker than Merope expected it would; she had thought it would drone on forever and ever, with a little nagging voice in the back of her head telling her that today is a dratted day, it was all her fault, and just wait until her father and Morfin got home! Oh yes, then she'd be in for it; but when exactly would they be coming home? It had been another month and they still hadn't returned. The lone girl sat on top of her pathetic bed, looking at the swirls of light coming in through the deep cracks in the walls. She hugged her knees close, the cold family heirloom lock settling on her chest. What was she supposed to do? She had used up most of the money in the Gringotts bank in the family's vault. There hadn't been much to spare there in the first place and the most that was left was a few pathetic knuts and a thick layer of dust coating the bottom of the vault.
She decided that she was just as pathetic. She had acted pathetically and she didn't deserve him anyway. Merope was wrong to trick him, that's what her mind had firmly settled on the moment he had left. She never deserved him or her life or any other life to take care of. Merope had decided for the final time that she was worthless.
With a miserable scowl, and the light peeking through the cracks in her wall, she got up off of her pathetic slab of feathers sewn inside a cover and wandered over towards the door. Her hand was poised on the doorknob covered with rust, and her other on her stomach. She felt woosy and the room spun and faded in and out of clarity. The grimy hand she possessed snapped down onto the doorknob and leaned against the splintery portal into the hallway for support. Not again...Merlin, not again... 'Woosy' spells, as she had oh-so-perfectly called them, had been hitting her body at least once a week, or maybe twice if it was a bad week. The woman could barely endure them with her already weakened state, and the end result was normally a pounding headache and sore limbs from falling hopelessly to the ground. Now, she clutched onto the doorknob as if it were her last foothold on the face of the earth, and slid down the length of the door, feeling the wooden grain and splintered parts digging into her back with unneeded pain.
The girl hissed through her teeth and waited for her excuse of a bedroom to come back into clear view. Soon enough, the lines and contours of the room came into painful clarity and with her remaining strength, Merope pushed herself cautiously off of the floor and wrenched the door open. The hallway's darkness greeted her with open arms and she traveled down the length of the corridor until she reached that familiar, open one room. An empty mug with stains and rings around the bottom sat on the table, garbage piled around the sides of a chair and discarded pieces of food lay on the floor.
"I live in a dump," the of-age girl muttered, sighing and placing a hand at the base of her throat, her fingers brushing a smooth, cold metal. Slytherin's locket still hung around her neck, but it had been shoved into her shirt with wounded pride. She had let Salazar Slytherin and her own kin down and now was at the very bottom of her grave. She didn't need to dig anymore, and felt as though the tempt of freedom was a jest; a joke and nothing more. Maybe it had all been a trick of her insane mind, fooling her into thinking she could lead such a wonderful life? She picked up the locket from her chest and looked at it with her wicked sideways eyes. "I failed everyone," she muttered miserably.
She had no money, she had no support. What was she to do with herself, and with her life? Did she have a life worth leading? So many questions could remain unanswered because she was foolish enough just to assume everything was going to be okay. Freedom doesn't always come free. It comes with a cost, she reminded herself at this moment, traisping across to the sink and sighing as she diverted her gaze to out the window. His house, Tom's house could be seen from her window and she sighed.
How could she had even tempted him into a drink and had him agreed? How could she had lived with the guilt bubble rising in her chest every time he touched her, every time he said her name, whether in anger or affection? Merope felt like she could wither down to the core, and just be a shell without a soul, and not a single other soul in the world could care. The only thing holding her together was the tiny child in her tummy and at the mention of the child within her head, more topics and questions arose within the seventeen year old's thoughts.
Merope closed her eyes, blocking the majority of the stinging light from the window out. How was she to provide for the baby? She had no money, the home was a wreck, and if she had the child and her father and brother came home per chance, they'd most likely kill the thing in a heartbeat. No doubt to them it would show no promise, nor any magical bloodline at all. Her thoughts strayed and with a final, fleeting glimpse down at her slightly bulging stomach, she wrenched open the front door and padded down the streets.
It was a long walk to where she needed to be. Merope had considered even going and daring to show her face to Tom, just to see what the prat would do. A glimmer of hope still exsisted when she thought of him, hoping, despirately dreaming that he would have a speckle of love left for her. But there was no actual chance, most likely he had moved on and remained disgusted with himself...Linda was probably back in his arms, being caressed and maybe close to being wed. But with her thoughts diverted from where she was going, she didn't realize the old bartender asking her why she was back again, until he had actually spoken.
She was back within the Hogs' Head pub, the unconsciously chosen place her feet had led her to. "Oh? Sorry..." she mumbled, her hood absent from her head this time. She was sure that the bartender didn't recognize her, because he wasn't flirtatious as he had been the last time around. Either that, or she had potentially scared him.
The bartender gruffed and turned from the back cabnet, sending her an unfriendly glare. "I said, whaddya want, kid? But forget choo. Choo obviously gots better things on yer mind ter pay attention to a bloody bartender."
Merope began to open her mouth and protest quietly, but she already felt as though the man had one the unsaid fight and she got up and wandered over towards the portal that would lead her to the Wizarding World. If she didn't belong amongst muggles, then maybe she belonged amongst the witches and wizards, sorcerers and sorceresses. But already, as she wandered down the cobblestone streets, she felt out of place. It was crowded and many people had their significant other or a group of friends accompanining them. She had no friends, and her significant other hadn't truly loved her in return.
The girl felt rejected and she hung her head, not even noticing that a larger man was coming in her direction until he pushed her unceremoniously out of his way and conviently into a back alley, which wasn't really a back alley at all. "Knockturn Alley?" Merope asked herself after being pushed, reading the sign plastered crookidly onto the brick. She chanced a peek down the dark alley and saw more rows of dingy, darker looking shops, and the girl took a few cautious steps into the hub-bub inside.
This part of the cobblestone path was not as clean, friendly, chatting, bright or busy as Diagon Alley. It was like a complete opposite; people were in a hurry to get things done and rushed from shop door to shop door. The shops themselves had no tinkling welcome bell and looked dark and mysterious. Merope took a closer look, letting lonely curiousity snag her, at one of the closer shops.
"Borgin and Burkes," the sign read. "Your Source For Buying And Selling."
Buying and Selling, eh?
Author's Notes: Well, here Chapter 8 is. I apologize for it having been so long since I updated, and I hope you all like it. This one is more of a filler chapter than anything, and the actual 'buying and selling' will come withing the next chapter. =) Thanks for your patience!
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by Phoenix Quill