Water still dripped from Hugo’s clothes onto the dusty, wooden floor of the cottage, keeping up a grotesque beat with the flies that swarmed around the bodies, like the physical manifestation of the oppressing stench that filled the room. Unable to stare at her youngest cousin’s bluish, swollen face any longer her eyes roved involuntarily to the corpse of his sister, her neck ringed with bruises, and the beaten face of Scorpius next to her.
Dom didn’t know how to react as she looked around the room, her eyes taking in the old furniture and grimy, ancient clutter that filled the space without any of it registering with her. She hadn’t even known that Hugo, Scorpius and Rose were dead, and Lucy lay there too, as still and pale as Lily was next to her. And Louis—Dom choked on a sob—was already deteriorating, like he was just a piece in the collection of old cauldrons and groundskeeping supplies. How long had he lain there, dead and alone, without anyone realizing it?
They were all there—Albus, James, Louis, Lorcan and the rest— lined up against the back wall as though for a family photo with Teddy, his torso slashed, and Victoire, sleeping peacefully, in the middle, in some ghastly skeleton of a wedding portrait.
There were footsteps behind her, and she heard Lysander gasp.
“Oh, no,” he moaned, “Lorcan.”
Spurred on by Lysander’s arrival, Dominique finally tore her eyes away from the grisly scene to look at him. Tears rolled silently down her cheeks as she watched him slide down the wall, his eyes glued to the lifeless face of his identical twin.
It would appear that Lysander and Dominique’s search for their missing siblings was in vain.
“It’s all my fault.”
Lysander ignored her whispered words, and Dom turned back to look at her siblings. “I’m sorry,” she cried. And she walked forward without thinking and sunk to her knees in front of them. She repeated her apologies as she wiped flakes of dried blood out of Victoire’s beautiful hair and closed her brother’s eyes.
There was a war raging inside her, a hurricane ready to bust through the levy she’d spent years building inside herself, and it played out through her face. Shaking violently, she reluctantly pulled her hands away from her siblings and covered her face with them to hide her battle from the unseeing faces of her family. Her hands smelled of death. With a cry, she flung them away from her face and held them before her. She watched the tremors run up and down her arms, and saw those same shaking hands clutching at Molly, laying still and pale on a crowded bathroom floor. Flashes of past conversation ran through her mind, Molly’s obsession with India, telling her of the gods and dharma and that unshakeable, natural force, karma. She’d thought Molly was ridiculous.
Now, she stared at the corpses of her beloved siblings and believed.
Dominique didn’t know who was doing this, and, indeed no longer cared in that moment. She didn’t know what their motive was, or if they had one. But she understood, saw so clearly, why this was happening to her.
“It’s all my fault.”
Anguish poured from her in a sudden wail, and she rocked back and forth and screamed too late for her family to forgive her. And when her energy was spent, she collapsed forward and clutched at the bodies of her family.
She stayed that way until Lysander grabbed her.
“Dom! Dom!” He cried, as she struggled against his grasp. “Dom, we have to get out of here. We have to get off this island.”
“No,” she screamed. “No!”
“Dom! We have to; the killer will be coming back.”
Sobbing violently, Dominique broke free from Lysander’s arms. “Let them! Let them come back!”
Lysander reached forward and held her tightly against his chest. “I know, I know,” he whispered as she struggled, “I know this hurts, but they’re dead, Dom. They’re all dead!”
Dominique wailed again.
“But us,” he said, grabbing her face in his hands, “we are still alive, and we have to stay that way. We have to tell people what happened here!”
Lysander searched her face with his eyes. Dominique shook her head in disagreement, but he did not release his grip.
“No, Lysander, we should be dead.”
“They should be alive, and we should be dead!” She screamed.
He brought her close back to his chest, and her sobbing was muffled by the fabric of his shirt. “Dom,” he persisted, tenderly stroking her hair, “we can’t stay here and wait to die. We’re going to live, love, we’re going to live for our families, so that they can have their story told. It’s what they deserve.”
Dominique knew he was right. Normally, she’d hate him for being so, but she knew she couldn’t die here and let her siblings rot alongside her with no one ever knowing what happened to them.
“We’re going to live,” Lysander repeated, “ because I know the killer, and I’m going to keep us alive.”
Dominique stopped crying abruptly and took a deep shuddering gasp. Fear flooded through her as she considered Lysander’s words.
I know the killer, and I’m going to keep us alive.
Her suspicions came flooding back to her mind. Why was Lysander being so calm about this? After all, it was his twin lying there, too.
Slowly, Dominique pulled back from him to study his face. It was indiscernible. He seemed to be looking at her with the same caring expression as always, but that caring look did always seem reserved just for her.
But then, how did he manage to do it—kill everyone? And Teddy and Victoire, when she had been with him the entire day?
Then she remembered waking up on the shore of the river, thinking that the sun looked lower in the sky than it had just a few moments before. She remembered Lysander telling her she’d hit her head, and remembered watching his back as he led her to the cottage and thinking about the memory charm he’d performed on his brother eight years before.
Her heart began to beat rapidly in her chest, but she tried to keep her face as stoic as possible by clinging to the last desperate remains of the facade she had carefully crafted for herself for years.
“You know the killer?” She asked. “Who is it?”
Lysander nodded. “Yes, th—”
Abruptly, he fell silent and turned to look toward the doorway. Dominique opened her mouth to insist he continue speaking, but he covered it quickly with his hand. He held a finger up to his own lips to indicate the need for silence. Dom nodded, and her eyes widened when she heard what Lysander was listening to.
There were footsteps outside, the sound of twigs and leaf litter snapping and cracking as someone made their way through the underbrush.
Dominique no longer knew what to think. Was the murderer outside? Or was Lysander the killer?
Lysander removed his hand from her mouth as he stood. Staying out of view from the door, he silently made his way over to the wall next to it, picking up a small, iron cauldron as he went. A shadow crossed the lawn, and Dominique felt frozen in place as she watched the door.
Suddenly, Dex appeared there, bruised and hobbling but alive. She wondered what had happened to him, but still, she felt a rush of pleasure to see that someone else was alive.
Dex must have been thinking the same thing because he smiled, a genuinely relieved smile, when he saw her kneeling there on the floor. “Dom!”
There was a blur of movement, and Dexter collapsed suddenly when Lysander struck at his head with the cauldron.
Dominique screamed as Lysander continued to attack Dexter, hitting him even as he lay on the ground.
Lysander did not heed her, and ignored her pleas until Dexter stopped trying to get up. Then, Dominique watched with wide, horrified eyes as Lysander pulled out his wand and pointed it at the barely moving form on the floor.
Green light filled the small cottage, and Dominique shut her eyes and turned away from it’s brightness as the last bit of life was snuffed out of Dex, her mumbled protests weak and futile in the wake of the curse.
“No, no, no…”
A/N: So, were beginning our initial descent into the end of this story. Please, remain seated with your tray tables up and locked. Make sure all your predictions, questions, and thoughts are safely stowed in your overhead bins, and be careful when bringing them out as they may have shifted during flight. Check your seat belts, and hold tight. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and return soon for the next update! Thanks for reading, and hope to hear from you soon. :D