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Chapter 9 : Ice
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When I am found later that morning, just sitting there unspeaking, I don’t think anyone really knows what to do. I don’t even notice anyone for a long time until hushed tones break through my reverie and slowly bring me to the surface.
James is all intent on shouting at me, which he does, but it just sends me sinking again, turning my head back to its original spot as he tries to loudly reason with me.
Isabella and Harriet (Edie is still trying to wake up) try to persuade me to go back in tones you would use for a toddler, gently tugging on my arm. It doesn’t work though, and the mist stays where it is in my mind.
Dan tries bringing me food, but its Rose and Lily whose efforts I appreciate.
“Just leave her alone!” Lily shouts at her assembled family. “Can’t you see how much she needs this solitude, huh?”
“I know I’d want to be left alone in this place”, Rose agrees fiercely. “Let her break down the barriers in her own time. We’ll only be making it harder for her to do that, and building extra ones on top if we hang around!”
I’m grateful for that. Rose and Lily come either side of me, and Lily just whispers in my ear that she’ll take care of it all for me, whilst I manage to make my mouth smile slightly in response to Rose’s comforting hand squeeze. All that anyone does is move me to the window seat, head still in place, but where I can gaze at the forest. Then they leave me.
As I sit, I suppose that people go past, on their merry ways to wherever they are going. It’s not like it matters. Like anything matters any more. Instead, I sit, head to window, watching as the rare January sun comes up and starts to bathe the Forbidden Forest in light, then start brightening up the day. The grass actually looks green, with the frost burnt off for the first time in months.
People pass below, coming and going, never stopping in the chilly air. Only I sit and watch as the top of the forest gradually brightens up and comes alive, with first a shiver, then a sigh, then squirrels and swaying and they all wake up.
I sit, with my mind and soul trapped, seeing the view but not really taking it in. Nothing can really get in or out. The barriers I build are far too effective for that. All I see really see in my mind’s eye is black and white.
I must look odd to passers-by, in my red heart pyjamas, hoodie and slippers, just staring out and not moving. But some people must feel the absence and the barriers, because I go undisturbed. It is easier, although it wasn’t hard before, to just sit when there is nobody. Even during break only a few people come, and more at lunch, but only for books, then they’re out again, out of the door and back into the mayhem and chaos that reins in their lives outside.
And I sit. Nothing gets in. Nothing gets out.
I am alone.
Ugh, even the word sounds like a piece of isolated crapness on a plate. Coz that’s how I feel, and my mind is shutting down it feels so abandoned, and although my BRAIN is telling me all about my Weasley relatives and merrily rambling about how Nana and Grandad Weasley will take care of me just fine, just like at Christmas, in fact!, my MIND is freaking out.
I sit. I watch the black and the white, and the emerging forest. I feel like a block of ice, and I relish it. Nothing can melt me now, because there is no such thing as fire, and feelings, and heat, and emotions. They are an incomprehensible thing, so I am all prepared.
In front of my eyes, all I see is blue ice. I have long ceased even being able to feel my breathing, or my dead leg, or the drips onto my head. I am locked inside.
The blue ice grows and intensifies, and then it puffs out suddenly into smoke and mist. There is pink fog too, now, and all I feel is confusion at the déjà vu of it.
…and then I’m swooping down to a melted-ice river, and I’m shrieking because I DON’T WANT MEMORIES. I know where I am, but I can’t pull back to rip that cursed tube out of my chest!
I want to stay here, locked up, thrown away the key. I don’t want to look back at all the things that I’ve done. I don’t want to know anymore. I don’t want to stay here, be here, to discover me, because I HATE ME.
I DON’T WANT TO DISCOVER WHO I AM!! It’s melting my ice and I’m screaming because I can’t go back, I mustn’t go back, I CAN’T GO BACK…
But there isn’t much that I don’t understand this time…
I walk through the streets of Hogsmeade arm-in-arm with Aidrian. We’re laughing, and I’m having the best time.
Lily jumps in on us, and surprises Rose, Lucy and I, who are in the process of reading her diary. Somehow she manages to hex us, although she hasn’t even learnt how to hold a wand yet!
I am with my friends in our dorm, and we are having some kind of bed war, involving pillow fights, duvet caterpillars and tying our bed-curtains to one side.
A brown-haired girl is being pinned by me up against the wall with my wand at her throat.
I lie in the snow, with it twirling and swirling around me. I can escape here.
I dance with eight other people on top of the Gryffindor table, with that one MRTNTA song blaring, a thick thumping beat, and laugh as I feel on top of the world at all their faces.
I feel fear and shock as I see what is under the bed and realise the implications. I try to fish the toad out, just to try, but I already knew I would not be able to get through. The caster did their spells well, and they want to frame me, I know. Panic bursts through my veins.
Ropes shoot out and bind me all over, so I skid along the floor head first. My front teeth have smashed painfully, and my nose broken, I can feel. My hands are bloodied and my legs deadened from the colossal crash onto the ridiculously hard stone floor. I can hardly register how silly this is before I am hoisted up into the air by invisible hands, and left to hang there while they begin their humiliation of me, gleeful shrieks echoing off the walls.
I run and run, up all the staircases in The Burrow with James not far behind and screaming bloody murder at me for dying his hair green with one of Dad’s potions that doesn’t wear off however many spells you put on it. I run to the top floor, and leap over the banister down to the landing a floor below, with James halfway up the top one I was previously on. It is too hot to be doing this! But then James thumps down beside me, and I have to run upwards again. I don’t hesitate to climb into the attic this time, and as James careers up the last steps, I heave myself out of the tiny window, and down onto the guttering. I hear James thump into the room, pause, and head for the window as I edge along the guttering. He pulls himself out too, nearly falling, but closes in on me at the corner. I look back, and before he can react, I jump, and fly.
As soon as he comes up to me, smirking, I know what I have to do. Even then, as I try to get the words out, he shoves his mouth on mine, and I shove him off me with difficulty, disgusted. Still, he tries to grab my arm and parade me to his stupid friends AGAIN, but I resist, my stone face slipped into place. I have been struggling to get the words out as he mauls me around, but I manage to shriek “Get OFF me, Adrian!” He frowns, looking that puppy-dog-hurt face that would surely melt most of the girls in the school, but I only sneer at now. He is just a silly bimbo airhead, with half a brain cell in between those two ‘perfect’ ears.
“What’s this about, Roxy?” he whimpers. I glare, merciless. I am sick of his games, and being his trophy to boast about and show off.
“We’re through” I hiss. “You don’t care about ME, for who I am, at all. All you ever want to do is show me off as your new cardigan to drape across you. Goodbye, Adrian Finch-Fletchley!” I spin on my heel and angrily march away, seething, and barely containing my roiling emotions. They clearly show across my face, but I sweep through the crowd without muttering anything more except “Good riddance!”
I see mum and dad being called away, but as Fred and I wait with Grandma, she gives us bug-eyes and strains her hands. We don’t get it for a while, no matter how hard we try to interpret her charade, but after half an hour of waiting, we start to realise what she means. It feels like a creeping – pain shoots through me, all stiff, but I cannot stop seeing my Grandma, convulsing and so scared it is like someone is wrenching my heart out.
The ice inside of me is twisting and shattering, but piercing all through me as it explodes inside of my heart.
It is so painful, I am screaming like there will never be an end to it.
I scream and scream, trying to lessen the pain as I blindly throw myself up and try to stumble-run away. I barely know I am moving, but I am blind from seeing her still, in so much electrifying, numbing agony.
I try to wrench the picture away, but the blasted tube is set in me, and while it cannot be pulled out, I see my beloved Grandma glued to my mind.
If she is in so much excruciating agony just showing us this, somehow, what will they do to Mum and Dad?
I am so scared at so much pain inside of me. The agony is tearing me up, and the one person who can hold me together is gone, left me to cope alone. Has Fred’s ice gone too, or has he just added his to the pile of ever-exploding shards inside of me?
I scream and scream, because I am being fast pulled apart, nerve from nerve, inside my heart and mind. I cannot escape, and the blackness is trying so hard to pull me down, but the needling hooks above suspend me as they stretch me hard and rip my flesh.
I scream and scream as I wish I could die. My mind is screaming, my limbs are screaming, my heart is screaming, and so many tears are running down me, mingled with blood as I scratch myself hard to relieve the pain.
But all I see is the red light coming towards me and surrounding me.
I don’t know how long I am screaming in pain for before I stop. I don’t know who finds me or why they have discovered me. I just feel this awful pain all through me, shattering my ice again and again and again, into ever-smaller, needling pieces that work their way all through me and back again.
It was halfway
through fifth lesson when Scorp and I were on our way to fetch Chang’s textbooks for her from the sixth floor. We were just on our way up the sixth set of stairs in a secret passageway when the most awful screaming was heard coming from somewhere the other side of the tapestry.
It sounded as if someone had the Cruciatus curse on them, and I barely knew that I was running down the few stairs and rounding the tapestry, before skidding round the corner and stopping, Scor hot on my heels. I was kind of surprised, but didn’t stop for more than a moment.
Because instead of the troupe of evil wannabe Death Eaters we were expecting, it was just cousin Roxanne, screaming in pain and writhing on the floor, tears streaming down her face, and scratch marks all over her face, legs and arms, as she clawed at herself, probably to try to stop the pain.
She had a weird contraption around her, involving a gas tube out her chest and an odd metal headdress. It looked a bit like a Scamander contraption, especially with the candyfloss-fog-bag on the end of the tube.
I tried shaking her, and grabbing her, but it was as if my hands were burning her. She couldn’t open her eyes. We tried stunning her, and body-locking, but neither worked.
Eventually, I knew I’d just have to go for it and pull the damned tube out. It wasn’t like I had a choice, because she sounded like she was in so much pain; being tortured by her mind.
Roxanne had certainly had her fair share of horrible things.
And so, Scorpius held her down - as much was as possible with all the writhing - and I leant forwards and pulled the tube out of her chest as fast and hard as I could.
She kept of screaming for a bit, but her limbs started flailing less and seemed to become as heavy as lead. The screaming lessened, and went down for a minute, but then she was panting heavily, in a hurting way. Roxanne couldn’t get enough breath.
Then Scorpius started swaying next to me. The tube was in his hands now, and pink-and-blue fog drifting out menacingly, tainted with Roxanne’s blood. Scorpius had obviously inhaled some, and I, I…
The picture of an old woman, obviously a close relative of Roxanne’s mum, floated in front of my eyes as I struggled to stay upright and in control. She was writhing in agony and silently screaming. Tears were pouring off a younger Roxanne’s face as she stood up and banged on the healer’s door, screaming for her parents.
I knew the younger Roxanne’s thoughts in that moment, and she felt so much fear for her confined parents. They had been taken away, for testing, whatever that meant.
How much pain would they put them under, and how much torture? What would they rip from them for this information and security?
If so much fear was in her Grandma, the bravest person she knew, it would be more pain than imaginable.
I was collapsing against the wall now, with Scorpius twitching on the floor beside me, and I was struggling to see past this picture wall and into the present.
“Help..” I whispered. Not loud enough. “Help me. Help. Help! HELP!”
The world was spinning as I tried to stay upright. The two sides, reality and Pain Movie, were vying for my attention. I had no control over which would win. Instead I shouted, aware that I had only seconds before I succumbed to the blackness and lost reality.
How much worse must it be when that thing was plugged into you? I had only inhaled some and I had stuck because of Roxanne’s blood on my hands, the same with Scorpius.
I shouted for the last breaths I had.
“HELP! HELP!!!” I was rolling now, right over, and grunting from the slight pain as I also felt the ice inside, starting to harden in my heart, collecting there.
Vaguely, with the last insight into reality that I had, I saw pounding feet with a single person behind it. I was being dragged along a floor for only a few metres and then thrown into freezing water.
The images kept on playing, but as water filled my lungs, they faded as I spluttered and coughed my way up, trying to get to the surface. Just as my head broke it, blondie was dunked in next to me.
And the dunker… James, my pisshead of a brother.
I coughed and spluttered, and James had to sit on me very suddenly before I could breathe again. Then, when Scorpius surfaced, I did the same for him.
It was a very cruel method James had used, but it had worked our minds clear.
Then, Roxanne was thrown in too.I suddenly realised the implications of this, too late.
“Fuck, James! You can barely breathe under there; you saw what happened to me and Scor! AND WE STILL KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON, AFTER ONLY TWO MINUTES UNDER! SHE IS GOING TO DROWN!!!” I shouted.
James’s smirk slowly dropped off his face and his eyes widened as he realised what he had done. Rox had been under for nearly a minute already, and he quickly threw off his robe and kicked off his shoes before leaping in as fast as he could.
It was a nice bathroom, really. But I couldn’t notice it as the seconds ticked by and neither resurfaced, or even disturbed the plate of water.
I was surrounded by something else: wet and warm. But the ice was still needling and hooking and cutting all through me. I couldn’t move, and no matter how hard I tried to wrench my mind away, it was strapped to the horrific scene I remember from not-so-long-ago.
I felt lighter after a while, and different inside. Maybe my mind was subconsciously flushing the ice out…? I didn’t think that would work, but it was worth a try.
Then, a giant wave next to me caused my body to drift a little to the side. My mind was in just as much pain as ever, but my body had been happy, if burning a little extra, until now. Yet I was being towed, and pulled.
I didn’t want to be taken away, and my mind finally let my body move again, although I wasn’t allowed to control it yet. I would be allowed that later, when my brain was done.
Someone was trying to pull me away. I tried to wriggle away, but they were trying to pull me up. I just wanted to go down, and we struggled for a few moments, until he suddenly stuck a finger inside a bloody hole in me.
I had never felt so much pain, before my mind’s session today. My brain and chest burned, most of all my chest-hole. The puller forced me to the surface and dragged me up, into the boiling air that burned just as much as the water.
I think I must have blacked out with pain then, because the next thing I knew, I was upside down and blinking. My eyes hurt from the light after so much darkness. I blinked, and someone was cheering.
I was swept up into a big hug, which I resisted at first, but then relaxed into. It felt better than anything else today, here as I kneeled on the floor of a bathroom being hugged by Albus and James. I could see, and I laughed and cried, despite the pain from the wound in my chest.
It felt so good to be safe in my cousins’ arms, and know I wasn’t entirely alone.
The ice was collecting and hardening again though, but would go mostly unnoticed for a while.
I was safe. For now.
But this bubble wasn’t going to last for long, or so I later discovered.
Roxanne’s Memory Book
I can certainly say I discovered the ice within. I know where it all properly formed now, which gave me my ruthlessness and my unbounding non-fear, leaving me unafraid to try anything these past few months.
Fred always won at Fire, Water, Ice, that Chinese sensei game that is basically an Oriental version of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Because Fire melts Ice, which freezes Water, which douses Fire. A little circle of beating and winning, forever circling…
And I know now why I feel abandoned all the time; because I AM. Although I denied it when I thought I was otherwise; I felt selfish and stupid and forgot about it. I was so right.
I need to trust my instincts more.
*A/N: So before you guys kill me (hides behind desk), I would like to say that I know this is a pretty bad chapter. I’m about 35% happy with it, tbh. But right now, inspiration for other ways of getting this scene across is zilch :(
I know it was confusing, maybe a little boring, but I need this bit in for later – although there won’t be another scene like this!
What did you think of Al's POV too???
Thanks for everything :)
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