She sits chained in her cell and faces fear in its rotting, empty eyes.
It is just barely dusk outside the one tiny barred window in her prison. The sky is deep velvet tainted with blood, and the icy temperatures bite at her face and fingers with frozen, pointed teeth. She shivers violently, tries to rub warmth into her arms with her pale thin hands. There is one torch on the outside of her cell, one solitary light flickering against the door, but it does nothing to warm her.
The walls around her are steely, unforgiving stone. There is a rough cloth cot to her far right, crisp and beige. It is the one thing that is not gray in this room--besides her, of course.
Her deep black hair is messy and tangled and quivers along with her fragile body. Her gaunt brown eyes are open wide in fright, and her black-and-white striped uniform only sets off her paleness farther. She is huddled in a corner, limbs gathered up for warmth. She wishes she could stand tall and strong and proud, but when the time has come she has found herself to be nothing but a coward.
Her breath is coming hard and fast, frantic puffs of fog in front of her face. The fear and the cold will overwhelm her soon, oh, the cold. It plunges down her throat and tears at her lungs and her sane mind. It ices over her brain, or maybe that is the fear, or maybe the cold and the fear are both one.
She quakes against the stone wall, but she cannot stop the voices that whisper cuttingly in her mind. You will never get away, silly girl... they sing with glee, each syllable like a stake driven into her heart, cutting away at her resilience. You will die here, you will die, die, die die die die... Her panic meshes her thoughts into one never-ending refrain of her worst nightmare. The razor words slice through her brain and mercilessly hack at any hope she’d ever had.
A tear rolls down her face, leaving a frigid wake that shimmers subtly in the fading light. The choking, heavy silence blankets her, and her breath expels from her lungs in a sob. The chill rips gooseflesh up and down her arms, and she sinks deeper into herself. She cannot think, cannot breathe because of the desperate bitterness. Cannot.
Looming in front of her is despair, personified.
Its robes are long and grayish, tattered and torn. They sweep the floor, the shredded ends dusting it in the slight breeze swirling from outside. Its deep hood completely cloaks its face, but one sleeve is shaken up ever-so-slightly to reveal a thin, bony, scabbed hand. She wonders what this monster will look like under its robes; will it be a skeleton? A human so shriveled and rotted away that there is no light left, no life?
She cries out--the smothering fear is too much. Her fright folds claws around her heart, the frantic beats of which thunder deafeningly in her ears. She knows the creature can sense her fear, and this stirs it. One grayish hand extends from its side, reaching out towards her achingly slowly, its skin cracking as its scabby thin fingers spread apart. She screams, and the scream ricochets off the walls of her brain, never ending. It wrenches at her chest and she jerks forward involuntarily.
Oh Merlin oh Merlin oh Merlin oh Merlin oh Merlin... the mantra pounds itself into her thoughts.
But it cannot keep away the finality of the voices that whisper hopeless truths to her. Merlin cannot save you now.
And the monster is close, too close, and one hand grips her face and it’s rough and it hurts and oh she’s screaming, screaming, one long scream because someone has to hear and come save her from this nightmare--
And the dementor’s other hand grasps the top of its hood and pulls it back and oh Merlin it’s not human.
Her terrified wild eyes take in its thin face, the brown-gray skin stretched tight over protruding cheekbones. It has no eyes or nose or lips... there is simply a wide-open aperture for a mouth, a hungry black hole.
She does not break her scream as the dementor’s face comes closer, not when it covers her mouth with its own, not even when she begins to feel her soul being pried away from her body.
It feels as though her heart is being ripped out of her chest--
The pain, the pain, it shatters her and tears at her--
And she chokes on her own hope as it comes rising out of her chest, her light is leaving her, her life...
And then nothing, nothing, nothing but despair.
The dementor moves away, satisfied, as she sits, still huddled, her empty eyes boring into the wall.
She stays there for a second minute day month year eternity. She does not know and does not care.