Chapter 8 : Alone
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This cold took hold of something inner, and I could barely breathe, in the dark, feeling coldness freeze me from the inside, and sensing that something were being pulled apart from me.
The tension built, the sensations intensified, and continued until I thought I would scream.
But no one would hear me.
And with such a thought, I again had a body, one that was warm, to the point of burning, and I had a heart. A live one, terrified for its life and hurting the inside of my chest with its knocking.
Breathing came hard, and when my eyes were finally opened, only a soft blue glow provided light to see.
All I could immediately discern was that I was lying on stone floor, and that sweat was sticking my face too it. The only thing that really got me awake was the fact that I noticed that my hair was not doing the same, sticking to the sweat and all over the place.
If my hair had been in a bun while I had been sleeping, I had not been intending to lose consciousness.
Something was wrong.
My thoughts brushed to Harry, and a flash of Ron. Acid green. A tired face. A stillborn tear in Hermione’s eye.
But it was painful to remember. All I knew was that wherever I had been before I had come to be…here…there had been some sort of trouble with….but no, it didn’t matter now.
Someone, I realized, was weeping. I recognized the sound of hated sobs overtaking a choking throat, and I could almost hear the tears falling, and the face burning red.
I struggled to stand, weighted down by robes that were not mine and sluggishness. My legs felt insubstantial, and I distrusted them but allowed them to carry me through a mist of darkness towards the blue light, which was blinding if stared at directly.
Through this new brilliance I reached as if through dark, groping for support and substance.
I touched a warm layer of cloth over a shoulder and, upon impulse, held it tight, knowing internally that it belonged to the boy I heard weeping.
With the rage of a beast a hand tore mine from the shoulder, and I was cast upon the ground.
I, however, could not have cared less. Nothing seemed to really matter at that moment, and I righted myself immediately.
“Who are you?” A voice snarled, with still a tear or two swimming underneath the ice. “What are you doing in here? Don’t you ever touch me again!”
“I’m sorry,” I said quietly, not meaning it in the slightest. “What are you doing here?”
“None of your business! Now leave me—this is my place, a place for me alone. You are not welcome here. Are you a wizard?” The last question was brought up sharply, with something like fear whispering underneath. I answered calmly.
“I’m a witch. The same.”
“A girl,” he muttered darkly to himself, though his words were clear. “A girl got in here…”
“Where is here?”
“This is where I rule. Now get out! And if you don’t do it now, I will have you killed.”
At the last word, a collective, chilling hiss rose about all around me, around us, though I could still not see my companion for the blinding light, though I knew he was right beside me, perhaps sitting.
“How do I leave?”
“I don’t know, but you must do it now, or I will make them attack!” The hisses grew more menacing, a darn good trick in my book.
“I would if I could. I’m sorry. But if I die, it would be the same thing, right? I would still be here.”
The boy laughed coldly, without mirth, and much, much emptiness in its place.
“No, this is not the place of the dead. Those dead get to move on. I…I will never move on, not until I die. Oh, hell, I want to die…”
I allowed him a moment to enjoy the immaculate misery he had achieved, as I did. I, too, felt miserable, and to hear it expressed so soundly felt nice.
“Who are you?” I finally asked. The hissing, I perceived, had subsided.
“Me?” I heard a faint chuckle, this time with some bitter enjoyment. “I am nobody.”
“You must be somebody!” The most expressive thing I’d said yet.
“You are wrong. You are stupid. I, at the very least, know more than you do, you pathetic waste. It is you who is the beast. Not I…” I waited for him to finish, to answer the question, as he and I both knew he truly wanted to.
“I am an unwanted piece of the soul of Tom Riddle. I believed I was loved once, or needed, but no. I was proved quite wrong, don’t you think?”
“I don’t think so. Voldemort put you here to keep you safe from…a person, I guess. Maybe someone who might want to kill you.”
“No, that fool will never understand.” I could actually hear a bit of a smile now. “It was I he needed, not that boy’s death. It was I he needed all along…Tell me, girl, do you have anything useful on you?”
“Enough to kill me. I know that’s what you want. It’s what you all want. And if The Great One thinks it will hurt him for me to die, then, perhaps I shall comply with that…I do so want to hurt him. And to die…”
“Well…I don’t know what I have…”
“Enough breath to blow?”
“Then see, girl, if you can blow me out. I sit here human and I flicker here candle. Snuff me, dear, and we’ll see if we can take a limb from that fool’s tree.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of nothing more so.”
“And what of me? What will happen to me if the light goes out?”
“Perhaps you’ll go back. Perhaps you will stay and die. I don’t really care about you, you know. But you’re useful.”
“And the snakes in the shadows?”
“There were never really there, you fool.”
I tiptoed up, reached out and touched his collarbone. He cringed, but let me. I moved to his front, where the light was the brightest, and blew with all my might, already feeling his warmth disappear under my fingers like sand in a summer wind as shadows crept and settled upon the empty stool, the stones, and me.
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