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Chapter 1 : Prologue
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Disclaimer- If you recognise it, note that it isn't mine.
Chapter 1: Prologue
Was a long and dark December
From the rooftops I remember
There was snow
-Coldplay, Violet Hill
A single slanted line of yellow light connected the dark gray night clouds to the white expanse on the Earth below, signaling the end of another night. It had only stopped snowing after midnight and the ground was caked with a thick layer of soft ice. The fading light kissed the snow delicately, grazing its surface and lending it a luminescence that the darkness had taken away earlier.
Two Muggles walked on the dented trails that were already carved into the snow. Their feet padded carefully along the surface, emitting muffled noises, only interrupted by the occasional attempts of the owners at making conversation. The world around them was tinted blue as the light, still breaking through the clouds, graced only selected patches of snow. It was an ethereal sight.
'Cold weather this time o' the year, don' ya reckon?'
The other man turned all around, as if inspecting the scenery around him, before saying, 'Yes, December is always difficult roun' here, Williamson. Did you move in this year?'
Williamson, if he had heard it, did not respond.
If winter was not meant to be cold, frozen white snow would not fall from the sky every year, strong winds would not blow against their bodies, and heaters and woolen apparel would lie unused.
They pulled their coats tighter around their bodies, in a meager attempt to trap their body heat in and trick it into forming a protective cover over their shivering skins. It would take only a few moments to walk straight through the grave yard, cross the village and move to the base of the small hill. They would go to their houses, turn the heater up and light up cigarettes as they discussed politics, sport and women, like all other men of their kind.
As expected, they walked into the graveyard and towards the second gate that would lead them out of it. Snow, like a deceptive veil, hid all the graying stones with teary epitaphs; it masked death in its beauty and obscured the vision of decaying bones beneath the earth.
The light was fading, making things harder to see. The two men walked at varying paces, the distance between them growing ever so slightly. An inexplicable chill ran through Williamson's being as he lost sight of his companion, shaking his insides, picking up his heartbeat and pushing it against his muscles, threatening to burst out of his frame. 'Gerard?' He called out into the dark.
Louder and louder till his calls were interrupted by a deafening scream.
Williamson rushed forward and fought back the urge to throw up the contents of his stomach when he saw what was lying in front of them. His companion's face was white and his eyes, the size of saucers. His mouth stayed open, as if in mid-scream. His breath came out ruggedly, uneven. Williamson gripped Gerard's wrist and pulled him away, rushing to find the second gate. Once they reached the wrought-iron structure, neither of them looked back. They ran past it and towards the secure confines of their houses as fast as their legs could carry them, making a silent pact to never speak of the incident again.
A few moments later, it began to snow once more, over more tombstones and graves and bodies. The pristine expanse of plain white was uninterrupted except for one spot in the graveyard. Two bodies lay there in the cold snow, as if their only purpose was to taint the otherwise limitless stretch of blankness. A man and a woman. They lay close to each other, as if fighting off the cold and the darkness together.
Drops of blood trickled slowly down the man's sides and dripped into the snow, where they mingled with the crushed icicles and looked like rubies. Like sick, splintered pink rubies. They formed trails in the snow and branched out like distributaries of a river; further and further away till they were sunk in the snow and visible no more.
The two bodies neither looked like friends, nor enemies. To a passer by, they would be two lifeless forms, thrown together and left for the skies to rain down more snow, covering up somebody else's dirty handiwork. Close to their unmoving bodies, a glint of silver revealed the hilt of a small hand knife, shining under the sparse light.
A single window in the entire street was alight on the first floor of an old house where an old woman stood at its frame, looking out through the glass. Her lips twitched at the sides, slowly pulling themselves up into a small, sad smile. Her skin was leathery and wrinkled; the folds coming loose, revealing thin, firm bones with no flesh around them. One of her hands lightly held on to the window pane, while the other poised itself on the window sill. She observed the sight before her with an odd interest. Having missed the initial happenings, she was in no position to recount the story with precision, but she prepared herself to give a story to the reporters, nevertheless.
If there was something reporters chased after, like a dog to a bone, she had noted that it was drama; it was intensity; it was misery, especially in this dark age where murder was commonplace. Nobody flinched at the thought of death anymore.
She had just adjusted her dressing gown, while continuing to formulate a good story for the writers in her mind, when she was interrupted by a figure entering the periphery of her vision. She turned her head, mechanically and slowly. At seventy six, her reflexes were not exactly speedy.
She observed, with interest that a handsome boy was walking towards her window. His walk held the kind of brisk importance that a high ranking official would employ while walking into a room full of his subordinates. He stopped right in front of her window and placed a palm, parallel to his eye-brows to shield his eyes from the bright light emanating from her window. After a moment, he signaled to her to throw open the window.
The woman twisted the stubborn latch slowly and carefully, biding her time as she surveyed the young man before her window. He had light brown hair and was rather tall and lean, although you could tell by looking at him that he was quite strong. His eyes were painted in the shade of dawn's golden light. His eyes reminded her of her dead husband, who was buried somewhere in the graveyard. She had the sudden urge to call out to him, aware that her voice wouldn't carry very far. She missed him.
The latch came loose with a squeaky pop, and she lifted the glass panel with her frail arms, supporting the heavy weight with great effort.
'Sorry to disturb you ma'am,' the young man said politely, but with an unmistakable edge to his voice,' But I was wondering if anything happened down this road tonight?' He called to her in a clear and crisp voice that cut through the cold December air.
'Something always happens on this road,' she said, her throat opening up in a croaky, uneven whisper. She had been accustomed to silence and her voice had been stored away in her larynx, like an old music box in a dust coated attic. Forgotten. She felt the smile on her face grow as she said these words and she relished the feeling of speech on her tongue.
His brows knit together. 'And why would you say that?'
Her smile was now splitting through her face, stretching out her flaky, leathery skin and hurting her jaws. 'Because Harry Potter lives down this road,' she answered in the same quiet, mysterious whisper. 'Right there, up the road.' She pointed towards a road that emerged from the other side of the square, past the graveyard, past the statute of his parents holding him as a baby.
The young man visibly gulped as a chill ran up his spine. 'So, did something happen here tonight?' He demanded; his voice stronger, more firm than before.
'Ask the winds, they whisper to us when we aren't listening. They whisper to us the most well-kept secrets and if you listen closely enough, you will hear them.'
The young man, she recognized from the papers, was Teddy Lupin, and he looked visibly perturbed. He turned on his heel, walking towards the graveyard when a thought seemed to strike him. He whipped back around and asked, 'And do you have a name, or will the winds tell me that too?'
She did not reply.
A minute passed.
And then another...
Teddy Lupin turned back around and walked ahead, up along the road.
'Maggie Bagshot.' Her whisper clashed with the sound of the closing window, but the winds carried her words up to Teddy Lupin's ears and in the same moment, he broke into a run towards the graveyard, towards the deafening wails. In that moment, he was sure, that as long as he lived, he would never forget the sound.
Hello! First of all, I want to thank you for taking some time out to read this. It would be of great help to me if you could leave me a review. Even just a line about what you thought of this would be alright. I think a thank you is in order to 'LumosWeasley2' for issueing this challenge. I loved it :) The lyrics at the beginning of this chapter are from a song called 'Violet Hill' by Coldplay. It's been an inspiration of sorts for me to write this novel!
And finally, a HUGE thank you to Lauren (FredWeasleyIsMyKing or Laurenzo7321) for beta-ing this and putting up with all my questions. You're so amazing! :)
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