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Chapter 1: If All Time is Unredeemable
If All Time is Unredeemable
I’m sitting in my house.
Actually, I’m sitting in my prison. The old woman has found me finally, after all these years. I knew she would. I knew she’d visit, one day. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide here in this house until I died, just like I wanted. We sit, I throw her a cup of cold tea and a biscuit, and she asks me the inevitable question that’d been trying to escape her lips the moment she walked across my broken threshold.
“Do you want to go back, Ivy?”
I feel a sense of deja vu as she stares at me with sharp eyes and purses her lips over yellowing teeth. The question is a soft whisper, like if she speaks too loudly the old house will crumble all around us and crush us with a deafening final shriek. As she stares I remember the first time I saw her and tears stream into my deadened eyes. I remember, and I want to go back. So badly. I remember when it all started, the day I learned that magic wasn’t just in fairy tales. I open my mouth, I start to nod. I stop, and I remember.
It all started with a school.
My first day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been so heavily branded into my memory that I doubt I’ll ever forget it.
I refuse to remember my time there through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia like I so want to, because that’s not going to help anything. I won’t ever look back on it happily. I won’t, because that’s not what I’m searching for.
Every time I remember that day, I look at one thing only. The faces of my friends. My fellow Gryffindors, eleven years old, young, filled with hope. I look for hints, even little ones, which could have warned me what together we’d manage to accomplish and destroy in just a few short years. Every time I dream about that first day, every time it flashes through my mind like little lightning bolts...I look at their faces and try to work out why we became who we did.
We were destined for tragedy, and looking back I can see it clearly. Five girls and five boys, all bright eyed and looking forward to seven years of knowing one another. One boy wouldn’t see the implications of his Sorting before it’s too late; one girl won’t even question her choice in boyfriend. Another boy doesn’t think about himself when he helps others, and a similar girl won’t think of others while helping herself. A boy will let people become his friends after seven years of self-exile, and he will be magnificent. A girl will keep her secrets locked away in a box and bury that big, locked box deep in the ground, not to reappear until it was too late. So many decisions. So many choices we made while at Hogwarts.
So many wrong decisions.
So many wrong choices.
In seven short years the shockwaves of a boy breaking his glasses would still be felt. He'd just let them slip through his fingers without a thought for the repercussions. They were smashed and smudged and squashed by the time he bothered to pick them up. The glasses broke – and the world forever changed. It might seem silly to think something so small could change the world forever, but it did. It really, really did. A girl wears a pink hairclip instead of a blue one on a fateful Saturday morning. She changed the course of the world too, but don’t ask me why. Not yet. Because where I start my story I’m eleven young years old. I didn’t look at smashed glasses, locked away secrets and pink hairclips like they’d suddenly changed the world – I didn't look because it wasn't important to me. Not then, at least.
But I’ve had plenty of time to think about that up till now. Plenty of time to look back and torture myself endlessly, analysing every memory like a scholar would a great classic novel. This, on the eve of another decision, another choice I have to make.
“Stay or go? Which will it be?” the old woman asks. I don’t want to go, the safety of my prison has smothered me so completely, sometimes I forget there was a life before my self-imposed exile. Yet there’s something, something buried deep down inside. A niggling feeling telling me to follow the woman out of the door and meet whatever fate awaits me.
I've decided. I get up, and the woman smiles as I proceed to the door, my lips set in a determined line and my bony fingers reach for the rusty handle.
I stop dead, my hand only a few agonising inches away from the doorknob, because I've remembered.
I’m the worst of all the Gryffindors, all of my friends were better than me. Yes, they all made their choices, but I made mine as well. If I’d said no the day Professor McGonagall asked me if I wanted to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry then everything might have been avoided. I might’ve grown up an upper-middle class lady, just like my mother wanted, and gained a suitable husband, and I would have hosted my own parties and had my own daughter to bully, one day. Sacrifices wouldn’t have had to be made if I’d submitted to the boring path laid out for me. Instead of five Gryffindor girls there would’ve been four, and they would’ve been happy enough. They wouldn’t have known me.
Maybe they would’ve been better off.
Then again, maybe it wouldn’t have made any difference. Maybe the decisions we make in life are what define us, and to wish even one hadn’t been made is something of a sin against ourselves.
But personally, I think we never really make decisions for ourselves. We Gryffindors decided to stand up against Voldemort and his evil followers, but Voldemort made the decision to purge muggleborns in the first place, and the Death Eaters made their equal decisions to join his ‘cause’... and if they hadn’t made their choices then we wouldn’t have had to make ours. So was it really our choice to make in the first place?
If Voldemort’s mother had taken him to a different orphanage all those years ago then he might have went to Hogwarts happier, healthier. He might have lived as Tom Marvelo Riddle and had a wife and had some kids and had a steady job at the Ministry of Magic and friends and a life. If Voldemort’s mother hadn’t died at all maybe we, years and years and years later, wouldn’t have been forced into the decisions we supposedly chose to make.
But the thing is, however sad, the past is the past and the past can’t be changed.
And the past to me is that Voldemort became evil. His mother died and left him at a crappy orphanage and he and other idiots decided to put on masks and follow his smelly arse all the way to damnation. We Gryffindors united, became friends. We duelled with Voldemort’s followers. We refused to back down against the tirade of hate and evil and blood, even when it seemed hopeless to continue resisting. McGonagall chose to reward us points instead of constantly taking them away. Dumbledore choose to ask us to join his Order.
We chose to say yes.
But all this was all in the future, for my eleven year old self. My little tale begins on August the 30th 1971, the day I found out I was magical.
It’s a magical feeling being magical.
Hey there folks. I'm Aimee, and I'm here to tell a story.
Firstly, thanks for clicking onto my story at all - I want to let you know that I appreciate anyone who even reads this. If you could leave a few words in the review box below then that would make my day, and I'll be sure to respond. ;P
The Harry Potter series, its characters, settings and plots are owned by J.K. Rowling and her publishers. Hugs and kisses for letting me take them out for a dander.
And lastly, if you loved the fabulous image at the top of this chapter, please go over to The Dark Arts and check out lilscratchy. She really is a brilliant artist. ;)
Thanks for reading! And-