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Sometimes it’s just one thing that can change a person’s life.

If you haven’t experienced it, you’ve at least seen it; in the lives of those around you, in books, in the serial life of a TV character or in the short span of a movie. It could be a glance across a crowded room, turning left on a street instead of right or the first wail of your newly born child. It’s different for everyone.

For me, it was having the Dark Mark carved into my arm.

I’d been driven by duty to my Pureblood lineage; by fear of my father’s wrath if I did not do as I was expected; my wish to not see sadness and disappointment in my mother’s eyes; all of this drove me to take this permanent scar, to be forever branded as a Death Eater, a slave to my Master’s wishes.

I felt I had no choice. I felt that my life had been leading to this moment which found me kneeling in front of the most powerful Dark wizard of the age, his pitiless eyes looking down upon me. The gaze seared me, stripped me down to the core and found me utterly lacking. The disdain seeped from the edges of his black cloak, slithered across the floor and wound its way up from my aching knees and tightened around my throat, making speech impossible for me.

“You are scared.” The statement wasn’t a question and it came out on a hiss.

There was no right answer for this.

“No, Master.” My voice pitched low, a false hope that he would interpret it to what he wanted to hear.

He chuckled, his laughter filled not with mirth but with a jagged edge that cut straight into anyone who heard it. “This boy thinks that he’s a friend of filthy Muggles!” He continued to laugh and the others in the room join in, even if they don’t think it’s funny.

Images of summers spent with the other kids’ in my neighborhood, muggle friends I’d watched movies with, played in the streams with, had fun with, flash before my eyes as they are ripped from me to be thrown out in front of the others and mocked.

I heard my mother’s sob behind me; my father’s harsh words to shut her up.

They will die if I do not do this.

I flung myself before the Dark Lord. “My lord! I swear fealty only to you! I would have you purge the impurities of these Muggles from me!”

I held my arm out in offering, the sleeve pulled back, revealing smooth, unmarked skin. His eyes flashed – in anger or with satisfaction, I didn’t know.

His wand came up and I flinched, trying desperately to hide it, but still his sharp eyes caught it.

“This cancer will need to be burned out.” The tip glowed and a black stream issued forth, touching my skin, burying bone deep into my arm.

I was set on fire. 

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