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Chronophobia by never_too_old
Chapter 1 : Fear of Time
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6


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I was lying in the corner of my cot, curled up in a fetal position, leaning as close as I could against the wall behind me. My body was shaking, as I listened to the mournful cries of my fellow inmates.

Five years. Five years I have heard the same thing, done the same thing and said the same thing. The routine has never been broken, in the five years that I have been here. 

6:00 A.M. – Wake Up.

My muscles tightened, as I heard one of the guards walking toward my cell. It was always the same time, always the same thing. The rubber soles of his shoes squeaked along the tiled floor, as he made his way closer. One step, two steps, fifteen more to go. I kept my eyes tightly shut, as I continued to hear his shoes move across the floor. One squeak, two squeaks, dreaded fifteen more to go.

I cringed, as I heard that same soft melody whistle out of his mouth. Another minute must have passed now. Five years of this constant schedule. Twenty more, if I was unlucky.

Rise and shine. Shower time, then breakfast.

“Rise and shine. Shower time, then breakfast,” the guard said, while turning the key into my cell and opening the door. I held my breath, as I waited for the creak of the bars to sound.

I clenched my teeth, feeling my breaths become shorter, as I stood up from my filthy bed and walked over toward the guard.

One, two, three, I began to count in my head, stopping on five, when I felt the magical cuffs wrap around my wrists, as I followed the guard to the showers. Merlin, I couldn't take this anymore. And it had only been five years, ten months, three weeks, two days, six hours, four minutes, and three seconds. Not that I was counting or anything.

6:15 A.M. – Shower. 

After being stripped of my clothes, leaving me openly vulnerable, I moved to the same corner of the room I have stood in for the past five years. I turned on the shower, reaching for the soap in front of me. My fingers began to twitch, while I washed myself.

I turned to my left and nodded my usual morning greeting to Yaxley, before turning to my right and giving Nott the same. I then leaned my head back, as I allowed the warm water to cascade down my body.

“Breakfast,” I grumbled, after hearing Nott’s shower turn off.

“Pardon?”

I turned toward the Death Eater and sighed, noticing his confusion. I didn't understand what he was so confused about. He had asked me this every fucking morning, for the past five years, at the same exact time. Well, perhaps me saying it first disrupted the whole chain of events for him.

“Time’s up. Breakfast,” another guard spoke out, from across the room.

6:30 A.M. – Breakfast.

My hand shook, as I brought the disgusting porridge they tried to sell off as being edible, toward my lips. I closed my eyes, when the cold mush entered my mouth, hearing the other inmates at my table grumble their discontent, like they did everyday for five years, ten months, three weeks, two days, six hours, thirty minutes…

My heart rapidly sped up, and I could feel my body tremble some more. I placed my hand on my forehead, feeling a throbbing pain come forward. What was wrong with me?

I looked around the table, noticing Mulciber and Rookwood in a quiet conversation with each other, Dolohov and Avery in a bit more heated discussion, and Rodolphus Lestrange staring absentmindedly at his porridge.

My chest tightened, and I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I could hear faint whispers around the table and knew their eyes were upon me now. Perfect. I was probably having a heart attack, where they would all be bloody witnesses to the weak downfall of Lucius Malfoy.

The pain started to fade, allowing me to open my eyes again. I took a long, deep breath, glad to feel the normal stability of my breaths come back. I chanced a glance around the table, realizing they were all still looking at me with curious eyes. I cleared my throat, as I once again took a bite out of my appalling porridge, pretending nothing had just happened. It seemed to work, as the Death Eaters returned to what they were doing prior.

7:00 A.M. – Back to Cell.

I stared at the wall in front of me, thinking of nothing important or meaningful. I was just staring at it, following each line of crack I found, curious to see where it would end. Forty-two cracks I’ve counted. Forty-two cracks I’ve always counted, for five years, ten months, three weeks, two days, seven hours…

I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the wall, as my heart again sped up. I tried to concentrate on my breathing, hoping it would go away like it did at breakfast. Breakfast, which was only thirty-three minutes ago. Thirty-three minutes and forty-five seconds ago.

“Fuck,” I cried out, as I pounded on my chest, near my heart.

I quickly opened my eyes, as I stared up at the ceiling. Seventy-two cracks I have counted up there. I shook my head, as I returned my attention to the wall, feeling my head throbbing in more pain. Something was definitely wrong with me. Where was the guard? Oh right. Not until two more hours and fifty-six minutes.

10:00 A.M. – Exercise.

Well, if you want to call it exercise. Mainly we just stood around outside speaking to one another, which wasn’t much, considering we had nothing new to ever say.

Goyle’s son came to visit him yesterday, which made the man act a bit more lively than usual, but he would return to his sluggish ways in a day or two. And it wouldn’t be until another month, when we'd get to see this lively side again.

“He and Millicent are expecting,” he smiled at our little group.

We all murmured our congratulations, before trailing off on our own thoughts about our families and friends. It didn’t take me long to forget the memories that came into my head. Those memories were only a constant reminder of what I’ve lost, so why would I want to hold onto them? It wasn't like I would ever see my family again. My wife had died shortly after I was sentenced here, and Draco…well, I knew he had gotten married, but only because Goyle’s son had told his father a while back ago. Three years, six months, one week, five days, nineteen hours, ten minutes, and forty-two seconds ago. 

That familiar pain started to slowly move all over my body, and I just wanted to cry out from the torture. I turned away from the group, as I tried steadying my breath, but it was no use. My hands and arms started to tingle, and my throat was closing up. Merlin, I was going to die. And it had only taken me five years, ten months, three weeks, two days, ten hours…

11:00 A.M. – Back to Cell.

I stared at the wall in front of me, following all forty-two cracks. I didn’t die. I haven’t died for five years, ten months, three weeks, two days…

I clutched my stomach, as I leaned against the wall. I wanted to vomit; I wanted to forget my life; I wanted to die. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was wasting away in here, seeing my dreaded life pass me by every second, every minute, every hour.

I didn’t fear death in here; in fact, I longed for it. To finally rid myself of the same routine I was in, day in and day out. No, I didn’t fear death. It was time that I feared. Time I would never get back; time that would continue to move on without me.

12:00 P.M. – Lunch.

I took a bite out of my stale sandwich, as I watched the fight ensue between Macnair and Rosier. I sighed, as I glanced away, noticing the guards moving in on them. I have never seen a fight last more than a couple of minutes in here, which means I never allowed myself to get excited about it. I did in the beginning, when I was a bit more naïve, but that all left me now. Everything had left me.

12:30 P.M. – Back to Cell. 

I skimmed through the book that was sitting in my lap, already bored from just the first page. I had remembered when I couldn’t wait to read this story. But that was so long ago now, and it didn’t help that I only had five books to choose from in here. These stories held no more excitement anymore, especially since the first time I started reading them was five years, ten months, three weeks…

I slammed the book shut, as I stared up at the ceiling. How much longer could I truly go on? Why couldn’t death just come for me now? I was wasting away in here. Time continued to beat up on me, pushing me into an anxiety-filled state. I feared the waiting game; I feared my time here. One thing I continued to not fear? Death.

6:00 P.M. – Dinner. 

Again I was at the table with my usual group of inmates. Most had been called friends, some acquaintances, at one time or another, but now they were just beings. Their lives no longer amused me, just as mine no longer amused them. And our classes and ranks have long been forgotten, leaving us regretfully one and the same.

“You call this meatloaf?” a voice cried out.

I rolled my eyes, as I brought a heap of the meat into my mouth. I already knew it was Tuesday, but the meal liked to confirm it. And here was Jugson again, complaining about the pitiable food they continued to serve us. After all this time, you would think he would stop complaining. I mean they’ve been serving us this same crap for five years, ten months…

I dropped my fork and gasped, feeling my chest tighten. I turned away from the questioning stares, as I lowered my head and tried to take deep breaths. I could feel sweat running down my face, as I tried to steady myself. Bloody hell, if this was a frigging heart attack, then let it attack already.

6:30 P.M. – Infirmary.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

I shuddered in my bed, as I listened to the hand of the clock move around the dial. Not only were my palms sweaty, but I could also feel my back and head drenched, as well. Bloody hell, not again.

“Mr. Malfoy,” I heard a low, rather calming voice speak out.

I grunted my acknowledgement, still not ready to open my eyes, as the hand on the clock continued to move around. Merlin, couldn’t somebody just frigging turn it off already?

“Mr. Malfoy, you must wake up,” the voice spoke again, a bit more attitude than before.

I slowly opened my eyes and sighed, when I saw the familiar surroundings. It no longer surprised me to wake up in here, as it finally had become part of my routine now. I actually remember when I had first come in here. Crabbe had accidentally stabbed me in my side, while he was trying to fight off Greyback. Why they thought having a werewolf not chained up during a full moon would not be dangerous, I’ll never know. But that was four years ago, and since then, they’ve learned their lesson.

8:00 P.M. – Go to Sleep.

I was on my side, as I stared blankly at the wall in front of me. They had given me my usual dose of Calming Draught, while in the infirmary. I had refused the potion in the beginning, but now welcomed it each night. It was the only thing that allowed my fear to rest for the night. Sure it would return tomorrow, but for tonight, it would be nonexistent.

I shivered in my bed, when I heard the familiar squeaks on the floor; the Draught still hadn’t taken effect yet. The guard was doing his nightly rounds, checking to see if we were all still here. It wasn’t so much to see if we had escaped, but more to see if we had made it through another day. And alas, I had. For five years…

I closed my eyes, feeling my heart pound inside my chest. Why couldn’t time just let me be? Why must it always remind me of everything I’ve lost, everything I’ve done? Why did it torment me so? I was stuck in this hellhole for the rest of my life, as time continues moving forward. No, I didn’t fear death. I feared time. Time that has continued moving forward for five years, ten months, three weeks, two days, twenty hours, eight minutes, and ten seconds.




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