The whisper cut her so deep, she could feel it in her bones. “Dorcas...” it whispered, echoing off the cold stone walls of her prison. “Dorcas...”
She was huddled in the nearest thing she could find to a corner. It wasn’t really a corner - just a little indent in the wall - but it was close enough.
From this not-quite-a-corner, she couldn’t see the mirror, and that was the important thing.
It was an old mirror. The curving metal frame of vines was tarnished and dented, and even the mirror itself had scratches, if you were brave enough to look at it closely. She didn’t know exactly how old it was, and she didn’t particularly care, either.
But it was old.
And when she looked into it, she saw terrible things. She wasn’t sure if the mirror showed the future, or a present she wasn’t aware of, or a past she’d just blocked out... or maybe even something else entirely.
But it certainly didn’t show her reflection, and that was probably its only mercy.
Sometimes, all she saw was a flash of green light.
Sometimes, she saw bodies lying motionless on the ground.
And sometimes - not often, but sometimes, usually when she was at her worst - she saw herself, writhing on the ground. She wasn’t sure if it she was seeing the effects of a potion or the Cruciatus Curse.
She supposed it didn’t much matter.
She huddled closer to the stone. Today she could not face the mirror.
It occurred to her, for the first time, that the little crevice she was burrowing into might have been made by others - by previous prisoners of this dank, dark cellar - trying to get away from the harsh reflection of the mirror.
Maybe others had tried to break the mirror, as she had. She had hit it, kicked it, even thrown the only rock she’d found in this horrible, empty room at it. She had been more than willing to take the years of bad luck you were supposed to get for breaking a mirror just to get it out of her sight. She doubted she would be living long enough for it to matter, anyway.
But it just wouldn’t break, and even the scratches on the mirror had not been caused by her.
Was someone really whispering her name, or was she madder than she thought? The room was so empty and hollow that she couldn’t tell where the voice was coming from... if it was coming from anywhere at all.
The door at the top of the stairs creaked open, and she scrambled up as the person descended the stairs. When she saw who it was, her heart leapt, and for one wild moment, she thought she had been saved.
Then the figure lifted its wand, and she felt felt her stomach give a violent lurch.
She knew what was coming.
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