Chapter 1 : Drowning in Cold Diamonds
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My low cut black satin dress shimmers in the moonlight as I leave the manor and enter the extensive gardens. The cool spring air feels wonderful as it flows over my exposed skin. I always find the formal parlor of Malfoy Manor stuffy when it is filled to capacity, and as always nearly every pure-blood family is accounted for at the gala. I closed my eyes and breathe in the night. The cool air races over my tongue and into my lungs filling my entire being with the essence of Moonflowers and Evening Primrose. I hold the breath as long as I can, unwilling to release the peace the scent brings to me. After a moment I slowly empty my lungs allowing the evening air to flow back out, taking a piece of my being with it. I shiver as goose bumps break out over my smooth, white skin and I wish I had remembered to grab my wrap from the coat room. I wrap my arms around my self, rubbing my chilled arms, and walked further into the gardens.
As I walk down the wide path that snakes between perfectly trimmed green hedges I smile to myself. I remember spending summer days running through the mazes of the Malfoy gardens with Draco. As young children we spent the warm days in the gardens playing Broom Tag and chasing lawn gnomes, then later as teenagers we had learned to take advantage of the privacy the tall hedges offered. I turn a corner and come across a clearing surrounded by night blooming roses. In the center of the clearing a white marble bench shines brightly in the moonlight. As I walk towards the stone seat I feel the diamonds oppressive weight pull against my neck. I run my hand over the cold marble and let the memory fight through the weight of the diamonds.
This was the spot where Draco had kissed me for the first time. That was nearly three years ago now, though it felt like a lifetime had passed since that warm summer evening. In those days the Dark Lord had still been in hiding, and Draco and I had been able to live as normal, carefree teenagers. Now the weight of the approaching war lay heavily on our shoulders, strangling us like the ropes of cold diamonds that lay against my skin. In the blind eyes of our parents and classmates Draco and I are still the “perfect” couple we have been since third year, but in the months since term began Draco has changed and so have I.
The pressure to live up to the Malfoy name sits heavily on Draco’s shoulders. He tries to hide it, but I know him better then he thinks. He has been given responsibilities, assignments if you will, that are far beyond the capability of a sixteen year old wizard. The weight of it hurts him, and it shows more then he knows. I pass the bench that holds memories of a happier time and continue further into the gardens. Above me the stars shine and twinkle as brightly as the stones I wear. How I wish I could throw my diamonds into the sky and watch as they place themselves among the stars, then I would be free of the weight of them. I turn another corner and suddenly I am standing at the edge of a small pond.
The still dark water reflects the night sky making the full moon look like the world’s largest pearl surrounded by diamonds. Without thinking I tear the stone covered chain from my neck and throw it as hard as I can into the center of the pond. I stand on the banks and watch the diamonds sparkle in the moonlight as they descend in slow motion before landing with a splash in the dark waters. Their harsh light is extinguished as they sink to the bottom. In my mind I see the necklace floating through the darkness as it joins the sparkling stars reflected in the pond’s pristine surface. My mother will be furious over what I have done, but there is nothing she can do about it, the weight of the cursed stones is gone forever.
I finger the clasp of my bracelet, wondering if I have the courage to free myself from its weight as well. Without the necklace I already feel lighter then I have in months, perhaps years, and I claw open the clasp with shaking fingers. The chain slides through my fingers like water and I am forced to tighten my grip before I drop it. I stare at the silver bauble covered with shining stones in my hand and feel it drawing the very warmth of my body into itself, but the bracelet remains cold to the touch. I can no longer bare to hold the cold weight of it and I whip my arm in a wild arch sending the bracelet to join its counterpart at the bottom of the pond. Once again I watch as the small waves crash against the banks before receding back into their dark center.
Anger fills me as the water calms once again. My life had once been like the pond before me. Calm and cool on the surface, a flawless mirror of the night covered in diamonds. Now the waters below the perfect surface roar and boil with malcontent, the perfection marred by the very thing that had once made it beautiful. I step out of my satin shoes and onto the muddy banks, gazing into the dark water. I can not see below the surface, and my own pale face stares back at me. I study the image and notice that hot tears are streaking shimmering trails down my cheeks. As I stared at my reflection I realized for the first time that I hate myself, I hate who I have become, who they have forced me to be. War is coming, it is inevitable, and I know before long I will be forced to do things I never dreamed possible. I will be forced to forget who I am, who I was. I will be forced to follow a man I do not believe in for a cause I have no desire to fight for.
My entire life I have begrudgingly worn a mask that has never quiet fit, and one I longed to discard. The cold water laps against my feet as they settle into the mud. I take a step further into the dark water as I finger the stones left at my ears.
I do not want to fight. I do not want to kill. My only wish is to escape this gilded cage of privilege. To never again have to wear diamonds and a plastic smile. The dark water is up to my ankles now, and I take a step further. The pond before me still reflects the night sky, intensifying the twinkling stars. A breeze ruffles my perfectly arranged hair and I shiver. If only the Dark Lord had stayed in hiding I would not be in this position. I would not be standing in the moonlight considering taking another step into the dark water. But I am, and I do.
The water is nearly to my knees now, soaking my dress. It pulls on my neck and I reach back and undo the clasp. As the silky material slides down my body I notice that there is yet another diamond hiding the clasp at my back. In the moonlight my pale skin glows and I take another step forward.
In my mind I see a burning field covered with bodies. I am not psychic, but I know this image will come to be. I see myself standing among the dead, wand in hand, knowing that I have taken more then my share of lives. It is not a future I can live with, and now the water is nearly to my waist. More images flash by, Draco pleading with his father to see reason, as he has so many times before, and as always his pleas are ignored. I see myself telling him we should run away. I was foolish. Now I know there is no where we can run to escape the Dark Lord’s wrath. Betraying the cause is betraying the Dark Lord himself, and that is not something he allows. We have seen what happens to those who believe they can outrun the Dark Lord.
The water ebbs softly at my chest as I look around. The surface of the pond is still and it looks as though I am standing in a giant black mirror, a mirror reflecting a heaven full of cold diamonds. Noise from the party reaches me in ghostly whispers, voices and music floating on the night air. I know I should go back. I should fish my dress out of the beckoning water and charm myself until I am presentable once again, but instead I take another step forward into the darkness. The water is to my neck now, and a calm flows through me with each ripple. This is where I am meant to be, and I have accepted that. Here there is no fear of war, no fear of punishment, only the cool water lapping gently against my skin. The water brushes my chin now and I think of Draco. I know he will miss me, he will always wonder if he could have saved me, and the answer will always be no. I know that now, there is no saving me. I was not meant for this kind of life, and it’s time to embrace my destiny. With open arms I take the last few steps forward breathing deeply as the cold dark water covers my head.
As the dark, icy liquid enters my lungs I resist the urge to struggle. I close my eyes for a moment as dizziness washes through me. When I open them again I am floating far below the surface of the water. Above me the sky sparkles with cold hard diamonds, they are all around me and I know I can not escape them. My vision begins to blur as the cold water floods through my veins, taking me over. I blink to try and clear my vision and when I open my eyes I am surrounded in the light of a million diamonds. As I close my eyes for the final time I think to myself, how appropriate ending my life drowning in cold diamonds.