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The clock struck twelve
when I glanced at the time
The cicadas chirping
to the first summer night
Vision filled with green
I shook my head
Colors spinning faster
into the palette of black


First of July.

 

The last ticking sound woke me up from my slumber, then I sat upright at the vibrating clock under my quilt blanket. The Burrow was eerily quiet sans the cicadas buzzing outside of the window. I wiped the sweat off my forehead and slicked back my ginger fringe with the wetness. Not a pleasant way to welcome the beginning of summer, but at least I was still alive.

 

The Battle of Hogwarts felt so surreal to me, like a broken recorder replaying the nightmare in my dreams. Hermione was the only ray of sunshine that pierced through the sweating fear trying to drown me. I remembered the fleeting kiss I had shared with her down in the Chamber of Secrets when we went to grab a Basilisk fang. Even so, it wasn't enough to drive away the heavy darkness engulfing me, numbing my senses… trying to bury the little bit of hope I wanted to have for the new era without You-Know-Who. Or Voldemort, now that he was as dead as he should be after the climactic duel with Harry Potter.

 

The Boy Who Lived. The Chosen One. The Hero Who Saved the Wizarding World.

 

My best friend.

 

I pulled out the alarm clock from under the blanket and placed it on my bedside table. The silence was unnerving—empty house, sure, but not even a sound could be heard from the ghouls that lived in the attic above my room. The lack of the usual scuffling noises felt weird. It didn't sit well with me.

 

It's okay, I told myself. They will be back home tomorrow. Mom, Dad, Ginny… with Harry and Hermione. I won't be alone anymore.

 

I decided to get out of bed and made my way down the staircase, poking a head cautiously around a corner to sneak a peek at the kitchen. No one. I tiptoed through the dining room and glanced around in the dark house. Nobody.

 

I navigated through the armchairs in the living room and pulled open the front door before I was greeted by a blast of hot summer wind right into my face. I realized how isolated the Burrow was—a strange home, built with magic, standing all alone in the middle of a huge field that stretched on for miles, with grasses taller than my own height. I could barely see the faint silhouette of the Lovegoods' tower a long way beyond the isle of meadow.

 

I looked up at the night sky, right into the Milky Way that seemed to cut the heaven into two. I remembered Hermione telling me about the mythology and folklore about the galaxy; one in particular stood out to me, the East Asian legend about the stars, Vega and Altair, at their closest on the seventh night of July. A sudden rustling sound from the field jerked me out of the trance; curious, I walked further away from the door and deeper into the labyrinth of tall grass. I froze when I caught a shadow from the corner of my eye, and my hand slipped into my pocket.

 

Before I could curse at myself for forgetting to bring my wand, my vision was filled with ghastly green light, like an aurora that painted over all the twinkling lights dotting the starry night sky…


The clock struck twelve
and I sprung up from my bed
The night was silent
sans the cicadas' song of summer
I glanced up at the starry sky
but everything looked green
Even with my wand
back to the beginning of the end


The last ticking sound woke me up from my slumber, then I sat upright at the vibrating clock under my quilt blanket. The Burrow was eerily quiet sans the cicadas buzzing outside of the window. I wiped the sweat off my forehead and slicked back my ginger fringe with the wetness. Not a pleasant way to welcome the beginning of summer, but at least I was still alive.

 

Alive?

 

I threw the blanket aside and snatched up the alarm clock. First of July. Back to square one. What happened to me last night?

 

A low groan left my lips as I raised a hand to my head. It throbbed to the crescendo of the noisy cicadas outside the window, drowning out the unnerving silence with chaotic chirps. Shut up, shut up, shut up… I continued to chant until it was loud enough to block out the din, then I snatched up the wand on my bedside table and headed for the door.

 

The feeling of déjà vu gnawed harder at my sanity as I descended the stairs to the ground floor, drifting through the kitchen and the dining room, hoping I would find someone—anyone—at home. None. I was all alone in this dark house; not even an attic ghoul or a garden gnome in sight, not even the ancient house owl Errol in his cage near the living room window. The fireplace was cold and dead, but my shirt was drenched in the sweat from the sunless, summer heat. Mom and Dad said they would be back tomorrow with Ginny. Harry and Hermione would come via the Floo Network after my family.

 

I walked out of the front door and looked up at the starry sky. Hermione's voice in my memory filled my ears with the story of Vega and Altair; my vision was fixated on the Milky Way that split the night, until the rustling noise from the field surrounding the Burrow distracted me from the moment of bliss.

 

I rushed into the grassland, breathless from the run and a sense of dread. I pulled out my wand after catching sight of a shadow that flashed before my wide eyes. Before I could utter a spell, a brilliant green light encircled me. I felt colder, darker…

 

Then I felt nothing but dead silence.


The clock struck twelve
and I woke up from a nightmare
The cicadas sounded far away
in the dead of the night
The stars winked down at me
and I reached out for their light
To escape the halo of green
towards the sunrise I'll never see


Tick-tock, tick-tock…

Tick-tock.

 

I slammed a hand on the alarm clock before it could buzz to the chime of midnight, of a new day. The first of July. I sprung up from the bed and ran a hand through my red hair that glistened with sweat. Not again. My hands trembled as I placed the clock onto the bedside table, the haunting familiarity of whatever was happening to me shook every fiber in my body, even my bones.

 

It can't be. I remembered my displeasure at Hermione in our third year, about how she didn't tell me and Harry about the Time-Turner. It can't be. In our fifth year, we had put all the Time-Turners in the Department of Mysteries out of commission, trapped in a time loop that could not be undone. It can't be.

 

A time loop.

 

This time, I grabbed the clock instead of my wand and bolted out of my bedroom, thundering down the stairs to the ground floor. I dashed through the kitchen and the dining room, then through the armchairs in the cramped living room before I reached the front door. I threw it open and stepped out of the house, grimacing at the blast of hot breeze that smacked right into my face.

 

The night sky still looked the same every time I tilted my head up at it. The Milky Way, Vega and Altair, all perfect for stargazing if it wasn't for the disturbance that came from the meadow surrounding the deserted Burrow. The hazy silhouette of the Lovegood house brought nothing but the dreadful feeling of solitude, like I was a last king left to fend for myself in a queer fortress cut off from the rest of the world—from time and space.

 

"W-Who's there?" I said, my voice quivering in fear. "Show yourself!"

 

The grass continued to rustle in the windless night.

 

"What do you want from me?" I continued my monologue, lumbering towards the field. "What the hell is going on here?"

 

No answer, except for the restless chirping of the cicadas that was making my ears bleed.

 

"G-Go away… Just l-leave me alone," my voice broke as tears began to trickle down my cheeks. I raised my alarm clock above my head. "Stop this already. I've had enough."

 

I shut my eyes, and I felt the grass leaves cutting my outstretched arms. I squeezed my closed eyes, but it did nothing to block out the green haze that filled my vision.

 

With a scream of pure terror, I smashed the clock on the ground, and the darkness swallowed me whole once more.

 

When could I see the sunrise that would never come?

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