Must escape… stay in the shadows,
the darkness… the Dementors… they’re looking for you… now RUN!
Black didn’t think twice as he tore across the darkened lawn of Hogwarts. The only thought in his mind was escaping, getting
away from the Dementors at all costs.
charged into the Forbidden Forest, still running full tilt. He saw nothing of his surroundings as he
hurried through the black woodland, darting around the towering trees and
stumbling over brush.
his legs could take no more and his lungs were screaming in protest from their
unexpected workout, Sirius finally jerked to a stop.
glanced about him, turning in a nervous circle like a cornered animal,
expecting to see the dark amorphous beings he was so familiar with to come
slithering out of the shadows. But
there was nothing in the darkness of the forest except the rustling of a cool
I got out, I escaped!
flooded every fiber of Sirius’s body.
He slumped against a tree, trying to slow his ragged breathing, and
thought about the night.
had been trying to get into Hogwarts… trying to get Peter… Peter the worm, Peter the traitor! Peter the—
hands convulsed into fists, anger overtaking his gaunt form, his expression
twisting with hatred.
plan hadn’t worked, however. He had
been discovered, and forced to run, run not for his life, but for his very
soul. The Dementors would do far more
than merely suck out his happiness if they captured him this time…
involuntarily, he turned his hollow eyes to survey his current surroundings,
worried about finding his way.
the darkness, something hidden in the trees let out a sighing breath.
leapt wildly into the air, his stomach giving one huge leap of terror. He fell backwards, tumbling to the ground in
a heap, his right ankle wrenching with pain.
words flashed in Sirius’s mind like a neon sign, dripping with peril. But the pain in his ankle held him down.
sighing noise came again, and several large black shapes moved forward, barely
visible in the meager moonlight that was filtering from above
couldn’t help it. He screamed.
shapes seemed to hesitate for a moment.
Sirius could feel his eyes bugging as one finally stepped out and into plain
he sputtered hoarsely. The fear of
dementors faded, replaced with the fear of the creature now before him.
thestral cocked it dragonish head and blinked.
Then it abruptly leaned almost comically forward, just enough to sniff
kill me!” Sirius croaked, sending the animal’s head jerking back. He could see the almost hopeful way those
dead white eyes were staring at him… well, they could get on with it for all he
thestral snorted and spread its wings indignantly. Sirius cowered down, aware that several more of the horse-like
animals were surrounding him. One
darted forward and grabbed his tunic in its mouth. A moment later he was swinging in the air.
it! Just eat me,” he cried, “I have nothing to live for,
anyway! I failed tonight! Failed!”
thestral trotted serenely over to a nearby stand of birches, ignoring Sirius’s
protests, and deposited him there. The
other thestrals made choked whinnying noises of impatience.
sat. He just wanted these creatures to
kill him… to finish it cleanly before the dementors found him. He had failed James and Lily once, and now
he had done it again. Peter was still
free. He, Sirius, didn’t deserve to
If I don’t die here, he thought, I’ll finish it myself. No point going on, living in fear. I can get my hands on a Muggle gun… or rope…
thestral interrupted his morbid thoughts.
It nosed a small lump towards him.
felt himself gasp incredulously as the lump raised its head. An Aethonan
filly! They adopted it!
winged foal gazed at Sirius through her dark eyes, but they were full of
pain. The coppery chestnut coat seemed
to glow against the darkness of the forest, reminding Sirius painfully of Lily. It struggled to its feet, flicking its
bottlebrush tail and stirring the tiny protuberances that were growing out of
its withers… its future wings.
saw that something was wrong. The filly
could barely get to her feet, and now she was resting her left forefoot, trying
not to put pressure on it. Without
thinking, the man reached his skeleton-like hands out to help. The group of thestrals stirred
uncomfortably. Sirius didn’t
flinch. Looking at the ethereal animal
before him, he was sure he would give his life to save it.
took the aethonan’s tiny hoof, immediately seeing the problem. A sharp pebble was packed tightly into the
fleshy frog¹. His thin finger began to
pry it out instinctively.
he did so, he reflected. A moment ago
he was almost welcoming death, and now he was ready to do anything to stay
alive, as long as it meant he could help the aethonan. Can’t die now, he thought resolutely.
thestrals watched as the small stone was removed and the air was quickly filled
with snorts and grunts, of which Sirius did not know the meaning. A new hope swelled in his darkened
heart. He had helped the foal… and he
couldn’t stop at that. He must help
thestral butted his shoulder brusquely and he turned, ready to fight if he had
to. But the creature merely bobbed its
head and lowered itself to its knees, staring meaningfully at Sirius. His eyes narrowed warily, but the thestral
Sirius limped over to the large animal.
His hands s he grabbed hold of the long black mane and clambered
unceremoniously on. It rose and Sirius
immediately felt his stomach give a small jig.
What did he think he was doing?
below, a minute nicker interrupted his thoughts. He looked at the aethonon filly.
The thestrals were now crowded around, licking her chestnut coat. Her warm eyes gazed up at Sirius and he felt
his heart tug again, this time with the beginnings of affection.
you,” he whispered. “Thank you for
making me see that I still must live, if only to help others… to help Harry.”
aethonon blinked wisely.
always be my secret, the thing that will remind what’s important...”
thestral he was mounted on pawed the ground with annoyance, so Sirius squeezed
his legs clumsily, giving it permission to leave. He now understood that it wouldn’t hurt him.
took a few jarring steps at the trot, then lifted from the ground in
looked back as his thestral glided silently at the treetop level. He caught one last glimpse of the red filly.
you… Evans,” he whispered in a strangled
turned his face to the wind then and allowed himself to be carried away.
Author’s Note (please do
not count as part of the story!) – The word count here is 1162 words. However, on the forum it was said that a
story 150 words over was fine, so 162 over isn’t much more, right? Right?
Oh, please say it’s right!
¹ - The frog is a
sensitive, weight bearing part of a horse’s hoof.