Chapter 1 : By the sweat on her brow
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Chapter 1- By the sweat on her brow.
Sometimes there’s nothing you can do in times of need, sometimes you cannot hold yourself back, even when it’s something you’ve never wanted. Or something you’ve always wanted. Sometimes there is something that eats away inside of you.
That’s how I felt when I found out, although I’d had my suspicions. The illness came first, the headaches and the “feline” feelings. Then the mood swings and the urge to play with string (I’m kidding about that one). But it was a painful process, rather like being bitten like a werewolf or, say, transforming in to a vampire.
I suppose there’s only way you can explain it; imagine someone has lit a fire within you, and you can feel the horrific scorching sensation travel through your body, yet you can do nothing to change it. You can feel its scorching flames eat away inside of you; burning away your humanity. It changes the way you think and feel.
Sometimes the way you eat.
When I found out I was absolutely terrified. I felt alone, isolated and more than anything else I felt different. I was in excruciating pain, I couldn’t control myself and no-one was there to teach me how. But soon I stumbled upon the colonies of us; hidden away in alleyways, caves and surprisingly, out in the open. But even then I was an outcast among those who were my “own kind”, I just didn’t seem to fit in.
I couldn’t go back to my previous life, even though my friends were more than willing to accept me. Not that I wanted to return anyway, some people wanted to use me for their own purposes. There was one girl, however, that had always hated me, loathed my every fiber of my being. And now it was no different, so perhaps that was a comfort.
You must understand that I hadn’t meant to hurt her, despite what you may think. I didn’t mean to steal her life away from her and cause her all that suffering. The fire had simply swallowed me and there was no way out.
But she helped me learn about what we became and, while we defiantly depended on each other for a small bit of reassurance, I learnt things about her in the process. We were not friends, and we will never be friends, but we need each other for that small scrap of humanity.
My name is Blaise Zabini; perhaps you would like to learn my story?
- - - - -
I’m wet. But that’s because it’s raining, which isn’t much of a surprise in England. I step off the side of the pavement and run under the shelter of a nearby tree, perhaps that’ll keep me dryer. But I doubt that, as raindrops seem to have mastered the art of soaking anything in sight. Shivering, I pull my coat closer to my body and pull my hood over my head. I can’t go back, not yet. So I suppose I’ll have to wait until the rain stops, if it stops.
I scrunch my nose up at a woman passing by. She has no umbrella, no coat in fact, and she’s holding the hand of a scrawny looking boy. She lifts her eyes from the littered pavement in front of her and caches me looking, eyes widening in surprise. She drinks in my appearance, taking in my hallowed cheeks, sodden clothes and chapped lips.
I shake my hair out of my eyes and step further in to the shelter of a tree. I don’t like people looking at me, despite what you may think. I don’t like to be noticed.
When I look back at her, she is looking at the ground once more, and I can see the red flush on her cheeks behind her filthy hair. You might ask what I’m doing under a tree in the pouring rain, considering who I am. Or what I am. The truth is that I myself don’t know. But I do know that can’t be in near them anymore. I can’t stand to breathe in the stench of sweat that plagues the tunnels, nor can I listen to the screams of despair that carry on in to the night. I will go mad if I have to stay in that hell-hole any longer.
A flash of thunder lights up the earth, transforming the trees in to black veins over the dark navy sky. I scuttle away from the tree I’m under and hurry to find other shelter.
Even I know that you shouldn’t be under a tree in a thunder storm. Shoving my hands in to my pockets I walk down the empty street, dodging the puddles and litter on the way.
This isn’t what I wanted. I never wanted this, never wanted the pain that eats at me every time I see her face. I can’t stand to think that she might die because of my selfishness. If I had listened to those who had warned me it might not have happened. I shouldn’t have gone back; I was a stupid, foolish idiot. If I had stayed in the tunnels she would be fine, not lying on her death bed like she is now.
I jump as another clap of thunder surrounds me. Perhaps it’s time to go back.
- - - - -
I push my way through the crush of fumbling bodies, scrunching up my nose at the reeking stench of urine and filth. The tunnels are actually passageways that lead off from sewers, so the smell of excrement always lingers. I push away the shabby curtain that separates the bedrooms from the rest of the tunnels. There is some privacy.
She looks dead. Her once fiery hair lies limp at her side, sticking to her feverish forehead. Her lips are red gashes against her pasty skin. I shiver. I have done this to her, I have made her this way.
I shuffle towards the make-shift bed that she lies on. This is so wrong. I don’t even like the girl, but I don’t want her dead. Oh Merlin, I really don’t want her dead.
“Blaise, you cannot spend all your time by her side.”
I turn to stare in to the concerned eyes of Cade.
“I don’t spend all of my time by her side. Is it so wrong to be worried about her?”
“Yes.” He answers, pushing his ash blonde hair out of his eyes. “She shouldn’t even
be here, you most of all should know that.”
I sigh. “Of course I know that. It was dangerous to bring her to the tunnels, but I couldn’t leave her there, dying.”
Cade shakes his head and glances at her motionless body.
“She might not make it, you know.” He says, turning to look at me.
We’re silent for a moment, both watching her taking shallow, shaking breaths.
“Here, you might as well make yourself useful.” Cade presses a wet flannel in to my hands.
I look down at the damp grey material. This is entirely my fault.
“Don’t worry,” Cade says “It could have happened to any of us.”
“But it didn’t, it happened to me.” I sigh, pressing the flannel to her forehead.
“Don’t be so stupid.” Says Cade, rolling his eyes. “This could have been much worse.”
“I know, I know. Still doesn’t make this any better.”
“Just be glad I was there to swoop in and save the day.” chuckles Cade.
“Of course, because it’s so hard to mix a few weeds in to a potion.” I joke mopping up the droplets of sweat visible on her brow.
“I’ll have you know that it’s much more than that.” Scowls Cade.
“Yeah?” I snort, watching him scribble something on to a piece of parchment.
“Yes,” Cade says looking up. “I also mix some flowers too.”
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