I screamed as pain racked my body. It was like no pain I had ever felt before. My fingers felt like they were on fire. My head pounded with blood that rushed through me, spurred by adrenaline.
“Itty bitty little baby. He cries when his ickle mommykins screams. Go on Alice. Scream. Tell me not to touch your son.”
I screamed again as the pain worsened. It ended quickly, letting me breath. I opened my eyes and saw a witch, dark curly hair falling around her shoulders. Her eyes were crazed, shining like nothing I’d ever seen before. Like a spider when it sees a fly in its web.
She crouched down beside me, her black skirts ruffling and kissing my screaming skin with cold fabric. She began to trace her wand around my face, coming to rest between my eyes.
“Scream. Scream like the bitch you are. Crucio!”
I screamed again, pain racing through my veins. My head swam as black pulsed at the edge of my vision. A harsh shriek pierced through the pain and a baby’s cries reached my ears.
I strained to open my eyes and saw the witch’s followers, silver masks covering their faces. One was short but the other was tall and was holding a small baby in his hands as if it was a sack of diseases. Another was standing near the dark-haired witch protectively.
“Neville!” I shrieked. “Not my baby! Don’t touch my baby! I’m the one you want! I’m the one –” The pain consumed me, cutting me off.
“You treacherous little bitch. Don’t you dare try and talk to me while I’m torturing you. Don’t you know your manners?” The witch walked over to the baby – my baby – and began trailing her wand over his chubby cheeks. “Should I teach your bastard child manners myself, because you obviously haven’t?”
I screamed, trying to get up and throttle her. She put her foot out and ground my face into the ugly pink carpet I was laying on. She said something and the pain began again. I screamed and writhed, the sensation that all my bones were breaking in my body screaming back at me.
Then the worst thing I could ever imagine happened.
“Ok Frank, I’ll come back on Tuesday so that you and Alice can have your date night. But remember, I’m the little monsters grandmother, so I expect the ability to shower him with gifts.”
“Of course Mum, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
My heart stopped. “Frank! Augusta! Get Neville! Help Neville!” I screamed when the death eaters went silent.
The witch kicked me and I stifled my cries as more pain flamed in my side. I saw Frank and Augusta’s faces in the doorway, fear and shock easily written on them. Suddenly, jets of light flew from Frank’s wand and Augusta soon joined in.
Neville was thrown on the ground, crying from the impact. I crawled over to him as the death eaters turned their backs on me to attack my husband and his mother. I grabbed my baby and turned.
“Augusta!” I shrieked and she raced over, shielding herself from curses and dodging those that passed through her defenses. “Take Neville. Go. Now!”
She nodded and grabbed him. Disapparating, she turned with a crack and I quickly got up, ignoring my aching body. The four death eaters had turned on Frank although the witch shot jet after jet of light at me. I grabbed the wand that I had dropped and attacked.
Soon, Frank and I were next to each other, defending ourselves, too occupied in keeping ourselves alive to disapparate.
I grasped his hand and jerked him out of the way as a killing curse whizzed by his head, barely missing him. I sighed with relief and turned, but was too occupied trying to save Frank to see the curse that the dark-haired witch had aimed at me.
I gasped as it hit me and I went down. A second later, Frank hit the round next to me and we began shrieking with pain.
It went on for a while. I stopped looking at the clock wondering when they were going to stop. I only thought of Neville. Wondering if he was okay.
At one point the edges of my vision began to blur and my screams were the sounds of mice squeaking. I had cried before but I didn’t now. All I did was heave when the torture stopped.
The witch had looked at me in disgust when I had stopped screaming. One her partners had taken over. He had called her Bellatrix.
I knew Bellatrix. I had known her at Hogwarts. Although she wasn’t the nicest person, she was not as unstable as this witch. This woman was feral. She rejoiced in pain.
But I guess You-Know-Who had changed her. He had changed all of us. And now I was an auror, a mother, a wife. And Bellatrix was a heartless murderer.
I sighed as the black dancing at the edge of my vision flared up and threatened to engulf me. It would be peaceful, wouldn’t it? I closed my eyes.
I heard them yell Crucio several times before my hearing was also impaired. But I knew I wasn’t asleep or unconscious. Because I could still feel.
I began to cry once more. I wept as warm hands gripped my shoulders and pulled me up. As they began to pick me up I knew it was the last time I would be conscious. That I would be alive.
I wept for my son who would never know how proud I could be of him, even if I didn’t know what he could do yet.
I wept for my husband whose fate I could not foresee.
“She’s cold. Too cold. St.Mungo’s might not save her.”
“They must. She is too invaluable. Her memories could serve as evidence against You-Know-Who.”
“Oh shut it Prewett! She’s dying and all you can think of are her memories?”
“My uncle’s entire family died because of that man. My cousins were wiped out because he wouldn’t join them. Is it so wrong for me to hope we may be able to lock this murderers up, Bones you old toss pot.”
“Bones, Prewett. If you must bicker, allow me to escort Mrs. Longbottom to St Mungo’s. While you are right Mr. Prewett, her memories will never serve as evidence as the torture has undoubtedly had some kind of effect on her. She will never be the same again. We may only hope she recovers. Now off you go.”
“They’re stable although we aren’t quite sure what the outcome will be when they wake up. From our tests, it seems as though the brain damage could be quite damaged.”
“Oh dear. What…What does this mean for Neville? For me?”
“I’m sorry Mrs. Longbottom, but it seems unlikely that Frank or Alice will ever wake up from their comas and if they do, they may never be in good enough condition to even recognize their own faces let alone their son.”
“Hey mum. It’s me. The doctors say you had another episode while I was gone? They had to place some enchantments on you and they got you to ingest a calming draft. That’s okay though. It’s nice just to talk to you like this.
"They say you can hear me. I’m doing well at Hogwarts. I was sorted into Gryffindor. And Harry Potter’s in my year mum! He’s in Gryffindor too. He’s much braver than me though.
"I don’t know why I’m in Gryffindor. Some of the Slytherins have told me I belong in Hufflepuff. I think they’re right. Well, I have to go. Dumbledore says I can only visit for twenty minutes and I still have to talk to dad.
"He’s awake, you know. He’s doing much better. Better than you at least. I love you mum. I hope someday, somehow, you’ll be proud of me.”
I already am.