As I opened my eyes, I felt a strange sense of relief. Yes, it was my mother’s funeral today but I had slept. It wasn’t a peaceful, nightmare free sleep but it was more than I could have wished for and I felt slightly better. James had been right, sleep did make things seem a lot brighter, but my heart sank as I looked outside to see that the heavy snow that last night laid on the ground had been turned into a pile of grey slush thanks to the torrential rain. I couldn’t help but think how much my mum hated the rain and I cursed out loud. Not today.
I managed to wrestle myself out of bed and I spotted the very interesting but respectable outfit James had looked out for me. I wasn’t ready to get dressed yet; I needed either an extremely cold shower or a brisk walk in the rain. I pulled open my door and jumped back in fight to see my brother sitting, curled up on the floor.
“Richard?” I kept my hand firmly on the door handle and I didn’t dare move just yet. I hadn’t spoken to Richard in days. I hadn’t spoken to him since he had collapsed in the middle of a corridor in St Mungo’s after hearing our mother was dead. I hadn’t hugged him or spoken any words of support. I had been cooped up in my room worrying about myself so much; I had forgotten he even existed. Lifting my free hand to my mouth, I let out a sigh before he looked at me.
“What!” He hissed, lifting a bottle of fire whiskey from the floor and bringing it to his lips. I stepped forwards and he lowered it, his eyes fierce. “Go away, Cora.” As much as I felt guilty, he was a little drunk . I would happily have joined him and downed the rest of the bottle but even I knew it wasn’t appropriate. Determined to start a fresh and to sort us both out, I marched towards him and grabbed the bottle out of his hands. He struggled to his feet in protest.
“Stop it, Richard. We can’t do this. Not today. We need to do this right. For Mum. ” I stopped and mentally kicked myself for sounding so much like James. Richard dragged his hands through his hair and grunted. I moved closer, wanting to embrace him but he turned away, walking towards the bathroom.
He quickly looked down the hallway towards our father’s office and I shuddered. I hated that dinky little room. I always had.
“You should check on him. He’s been in there…for days.” Richard rubbed his eyes and then turned his back on me. I then realised that if I had been in my room for days, and my dad had been locked up in his office, Richard had most likely been alone the whole time. I hoped that James had looked after him too. Stopping in front of the dark, oak door, I knocked and turned the rusty door handle, and with a gentle squeak, it dragged open.
“Dad?” I asked, the room was pitch black and all I could sense was the strong smell of cigar smoke. Coughing, I walked in and headed towards the direction the small window, knowing that if he was in here, the darkness and lack of oxygen wouldn’t be making him feel any better. As I pulled the curtain back and pushed the window open, I heard a strong groan from behind me. I was expecting my father to be there, but I still got a fright and spun around. He sat in his old leather chair, his face pale and his eyes straight.
“Nice of you to make an appearance, Cora.” His voice was full of bitterness and I felt my eyes start to water. I had only been in his presence for no more than two minutes and he had made me feel like a little girl again. “A bit late don’t you think?”
Taking a deep breath, I tried to avoid his awful nerves.
“Richard said that you should start getting for the funeral- for today.” My voice sounded shaken and I couldn’t force back the tears gathering in my eyes. I didn’t even have the energy to prepare myself for what was about to happen next.
“Oh, Richard made you come, did he? Thank god we had him, Cora or else your mother and I would have been severely disappointed.” The words were like acid, they were starting to burn my skin before they were reaching my insides – my heart. He stood up and stubbed his cigar. Walking towards me, I avoided his gaze and let out a muffled sigh. “You’d better behave yourself today young lady or else-”
“Or else what?” I don’t know where on earth I got the courage to say that from, but he clenched his fists and for I second I wondered if he might hit me. My father had never been a violent man, he never raised a finger to any one of us as he preferred and was particularly skilled at mental torture. But everything was different know and I knew why.
“What did you say? How dare you speak to me like that? Just because your mother is gone it does not mean that you can just start acting like an arrogant little child,” My father was also a complete utter hypocrite. I was not acting like a little child; he was treating me like one. I wondered if I had enough courage left over from my last outburst to correct him. But what he said next, I didn’t expect at all. Not even from him. “Do you have any idea what you have done, Cora? It was all of your fault and you have the arrogance to come in here and speak to me like that!”
I knew my father had never been proud of me in any way shape or form, but I felt like this was a whole new game. I screwed my face up and a few tears trickled down my face.
“My fault? But, I didn’t do- I tried to save her!” My argument sounded weak even though I shouted it at him. He turned away from me and Richard appeared at the doorway. “Richard, tell him. Tell him it wasn’t my fault-”
“You and your Order, that’s what the problem is.” My father slammed his hand down on his desk and out of the corner of my eye; I could see Richard retreat back out of the room. I quickly wiped away a stray tear and moved nearer to my father. It was a risky move, but I had to make it. I had to know why; my father blamed me for my mother’s death.
“You wanted to stand against Voldemort!” I screeched and my father shuddered at his name. “Mum wanted me to fight against him and that’s what I did, that’s what I’m still doing…” I trailed off, wondering whether I was still wanting to fight after this.
“And you willingly paid her life for your ‘fighting’.” I shivered, as I nearly believed what he had been saying. I almost let myself believe that I killed her. Sighing, I moved back towards the doorway, sniffing and sobbing, the possible truth being forced into my mind. “Don’t you dare mention his name in this household again!” Voldemort. I kept repeating it over and over in my head. I wanted to scream it at him; it was that vile creature that killed my mother not me. I tried to save her, I did. I tried to keep her safe, if Richard had gone a walked her home like we had agreed and if… I saw Richard leaning against the wall just outside my father’s office as the door was slammed behind me. He seemed to be crying as well and he could not look at me. I moved towards him, my arms wide. I thought he might be feeling guilty too but he suddenly moved out of the way. He rejected me, and I suddenly realised. He blamed me too. I watched as he moved down the hall towards the bathroom and he disappeared, leaving me completely alone with nothing but my father’s revelations to fill the eerie silence.