Chapter 1 : One of Three
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One of Three
If there was anything left of you, it was in the ground still. It was blanketed in soil and it was comfortably warm. If I closed my eyes and I lay where you lay, we were almost touching. We were separated by a few metres, but that was okay, because I was close to you. Closer than I'd ever been.
When you left me, I didn't think that I would never see you again. You were foolish. You lied and you giggled and you painted your stubby fingernails and you never, ever grew up. I watched you stumble through adulthood; a neglected lamb, shuffling into situations you shouldn't be in and keeping your stare vulnerable and innocent. You escaped to foggy Albania on a whim, for no reason but to satisfy yourself, and I didn't think you'd be there long. I worked in the summer heat, eventually stretching to autumn wind, and I heard the cruel laughter, because you were always the brunt of their jokes; silly, forgetful Bertha Jorkins. You'd been gone a long time, and every worker had words to say about it, and yet it was I alone who recieved the owl at my desk, and I alone who cried for you.
We'd never been close as siblings, yet it struck me how we needed each other in sadness, for we became torn upon your death. One paper napkin, ripped into delicate shards. You were one of three, a third, a fraction. Faded memories of three children with curly brown hair were forever nestled in my mind. There was a remainder in your absence, a balance that could never be restored.
When he killed you, I wondered whether he thought about that; that maybe, somewhere out there, a sister and a brother would be waiting on your word with bated breath.
I apparated to the forest for the first time in April, the air heavy and my shoulders hunched from something stuck between despair and denial. The evergreens towered over me ominously like guardians to the Underworld, tiny beads from the rain the night passed greeting me, clinging to my robes as I pushed past the branches. They decorated the cotton, rich like pearls. As the light faded, the great trunks seemed to have clustered together, as though they were cowering under their canopies, children beneath their blankets, hiding from the approaching night. I found you easily.
The dark soil still lay disturbed, raised only slightly amongst the mossy pebbles and scattered, soggy leaves. It made me wonder how neatly you lay, whether you were a tangle of ivory or whether the Ministry worker who had found you had respected your broken stature. I tried to imagine the colour of you, whether you were yellow like the starshine or white or brown or not even there at all.
I'm glad they buried you here. It was your last adventure, your last mistake. If I close my eyes and I lay where you lay, we are almost touching.