She dreamt of big things once and she voiced them to dusty tapestries, to gilded frames, to the air in a subdued voice. Eyes following a shaft of wintery sunlight through the frosted pane enviously. Waiting. For something. She did not know what or whom, only that its arrival would complete a long cherished wish. She said the word deliberately, tongue lapping the sides of her mouth carefully, stringing it out breathlessly and her eyes would flash blue with hope.
Sometimes she wondered what it was. Love? Happiness? Freedom? It came to her, once in a while, a flutter in her stomach, relieving her of her cage, giving her wings to fly. She thought she was happy once, that it had come to dwell. But it had kissed her pallid features alluringly and had retreated into a shadowy alcove of the windless night. She told herself she would paint all the walls blue one day, a sign that all her hope and dreams had come to be.
But, she is tired now. Her swollen eyes watch the moon overhanging ahead of her, a giant tear. Her bones are withered from work, her eyes drained of blue. The walls are now left gray and bare. She would spit on it all if she had known what would come to be. That they had all lied to her. That love and position were not so enticing after all. Her hands shake the starchy pillow and flecks of dust arise, and illuminated in the light, float around her like cloud wisps. Disappointment washes over her. She watches the moon begrudgingly. She will sleep tonight under the moonlight, walking through the filmy memories of ball rooms and galas, her voice echoing emptily and she will regret and regret. She wonders what life is like on the other side, under the sun.
In retrospect, she thinks sleepily, turning on her side, it is too tiring to hope. After all, you cannot fall down if you do not have wings.
The sun burns her arms and angry red streaks appear on the sides. She watches her child’s eyebrows knit in concentration.
“Mother? What is that?”
Two feet step forward on the dirt and a finger points in front of the grass ahead.
“It’s a bird, darling.” she says quietly, her hands fluttering around her neck.
Solemn eyes meet hers and she jerks her head encouragingly.
What had she done to deserve this? She was supposed to be so much more. Was this what love had given her? Empty days under a blazing sun and forced smiles through dinner? She did not need this. Not anymore. She was supposed to be happy – married and with a lovely child.
“It’s dead.” Eyes follow a feathery clump on the ground, writhing silently. A hand pulls at her side, “It’s dead.”
Regret washes through her today. It’s an amiable companion now. Her feet rustle lightly in the grass and she thinks about walking home and wrapping herself in old blankets to reminisce and watch the moon rise.
She kneels and her arms scrape the dirt as she pulls her child away, her eyes fixed on the small clump of white. A broken neck.
“Stupid bird.” she murmurs, “It tried to fly too far.”
She thinks she will scream today, scream into her open window. If just for a moment, to hear her own voice echo back from the outlines of the blue hills. At least somebody would hear her. Hear her frustration.
Life was supposed to be so much more! Why wasn’t she happy? She had a child and a husband! Why did she feel empty? Why did the nights seem so long – and why couldn’t she laugh anymore and why couldn’t she stop regretting and finally speak – and why -?
She sighed. She daydreams idly of walking away, freeing herself from her tortuous path and cutting the hedges and strolling into the sun, arms embracing the heat. And she smiles. She spends that morning fitting in old, musty ball gowns into a small bag. She tells herself she will walk away right there. In the daylight. If anybody should stop her, they would see the gleam in her eyes and be silent.
She clasps the bag and breathes deeply. She will not return. Not to this place where her hope replaced the air and she found she could no longer breathe. She walks out briskly, bag in hand and the wood crackles under her feet. Her family can wait for her, she tells herself, as she waited for her own happiness. They can follow her.
A narrow shaft of light gleams from underneath the wooden door. She clasps the handle firmly and flings it open.
It is night outside.
It is blissfully windy today and invisible hounds breathe at her side, making her cloak rise and fall. She and her child are back on the same hill today. She is not surprised. Even under the breeze she feels stifled. She cannot breathe.
She watches the last streaks of pink and orange disappear. The sky is an angry gray. Soon it will be nightfall and she will have to return to shadows of her home. She beckons to the small figure ahead of her.
“Come! We must leave now!”
The figure does not move and silhouetted against a background of orange, swivels lightly to face her. She sees wide eyes.
“Look!” A finger points to the ground ahead.
She walks forward impatiently and the grass crackles underneath her feet. Fireflies dance around her like tiny suns. Even at dusk, there are suns near her.
“What is it?”
A small hand bends down and plucks something off the ground. Wildly, she wonders if it is a cloud. And, in the unfamiliar darkness, her eyes focus.
“The bird,” says a voice full of wonder, “it flew away.”
She pulls her child off the ground and kisses a cheek, rosy with excitement. They walk home silently and as she turns the last corner, a small shaft of moonlight hits her. She revels being under the moon again, if only for a moment. She quietly pockets the feather as a silent reminder.
For if a bird with a broken neck could fly then perhaps the mountains would spit cold fire and the stars would glow for her once again and a forest would rise in the middle of the ocean and poison would turn to nectar and she would be happy.
Author’s Note: Well, this was my third one-shot ever. I’m still relatively new to the fanfiction arena, so have mercy on me! XD
This piece was written in one go around midnight, so I apologize for any grammatical errors and ask you to overlook them for now. The main characters were Andromeda and Narcissa and the narration did follow both of them, without ever revealing which was which. I hope it wasn’t too obvious.
The husbands mentioned in either one could be Ted or Lucius and the child either Nymphadora/Teddy or Draco/Scorpius, so don’t assume one over the other.
Please leave a review telling me how it was. Was it confusing? Does it have potential? I hope you enjoyed reading it! Thank you to everyone who reviewed and favorited this - it means a lot.
Edit as of 11/03/2010: I up polished a few lines. This one-shot is one of my oldest, so forgive it's lack of action. Check out my newer fics if you liked this! ;)
- xoxo –
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