The Sugar Quill
Author: zzzFF Susanna/pigwidgeon37  Story: Mars Is Bright  Chapter: Default
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They fear me




They fear me. Of course they do. They are unicorns, after all, and I’m a man. But that is not their only reason to roll their eyes so that you can see the white shimmering like mad crescent moons. They rear up and whinny, their soft snouts are covered in foam. They want to flee but cannot. How they remind me of myself, how afraid I was and how irresistibly drawn to…




Him. It was night then, just as it is now. Warmer, because it was summer, and also because Albania lies so far south. There was that spot in the darkness, where it seemed to have condensed into something so impenetrable, icy-cold and frightening that—yes, I felt the impulse to run. Just run, as fast as I could, unheeding of the injuries I might inflict on my limbs… The body is not important when the soul is in danger. So why didn't I yield to that urge? Why didn't I follow my instinct that told me, Get away, as fast and as far as you can?


I know why.


The unicorns are animals, if powerful ones. Powerful magical creatures, but they would obey their instincts. If they could. If I hadn't cast a spell on them, a powerful incantation that was suddenly in my mind. In the mind that isn’t mine anymore. Has not been mine since that night when I didn't run. Instead, I approached the coiled darkness. I could feel that it was prodding me with invisible tentacles, gauging me and drawing me closer at the same time. It was… oh, I still don't have words to describe it. A sensation like… like returning home, you stand in front of your house, wand ready to undo the wards, and somehow you know, it's irrational, insane, but you know that when you open the door you’re going to stumble over mutilated, dead bodies, and the floors and walls will be covered in blood, and across one wall there will be written “You’re next”, in blood that is already coagulating and dripping to the floor in thick, glutinous clumps… but you enter all the same. And inside, there's something more unspeakably horrible than you could ever have imagined.


Young and foolish…


Yes, I was young and foolish. As a matter of fact, I’m still fairly young. Thirty-two, that's nothing for a wizard. Such a promising young man, such talent, such brilliance… That's what they used to say, the teachers and even my fellow students—they weren't envious, because, apart from being brilliant, I also was such a nice guy, always ready to help, easygoing. Maybe Dumbledore wouldn't have hired me right away, because I was only twenty-two when I joined his staff. But he didn’t have much of a choice, not after a war that had taken the lives of the best. So he invited me to become a teacher at Hogwarts, even though my knowledge of the Dark Arts was a merely theoretical one. Therefore, after a few years, he offered me a sabbatical…


That's what I call irony.


Irony, yes. Absurdity, even. Sometimes I blame the old man, for not having known me better, for not having guessed that there was a part of me that welcomed the Dark. Yes, I’m becoming increasingly angry with him.


A laudable emotion.


An understandable emotion, I think, considering that he’s sitting at the same table every goddamned day, at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and he's supposed to be a powerful wizard, and near-omniscient, and still he doesn’t see…


Or maybe he does?


Or maybe he does, but I can’t bear to even think of it. Snape knows. I wonder how he can be so sure. It seems that he, too, wants to get to the Stone—well, who wouldn't? Riches beyond imagination, and immortality. That's enough to seduce anybody. I’m afraid of him, although I’m not sure what I dread more: that he might tell Dumbledore, or that he might get past the Cerberus before me.


The latter, probably.


Probably that he’ll arrive there before me… I’d be useless then, He wouldn't need me anymore.


But if Snape went to Dumbledore…


Would I feel relief? Is that maybe what I want? Perhaps there's still a part of me that craves to be released. Even if release meant death, the ultimate freedom. But after tonight, death won’t be an option anymore. My body is still my own, and once I’ve pronounced the Killing Curse and sliced open the thick, pulsing vein at the unicorn’s throat…




Not pulsing, no, because it will be dead. A unicorn’s blood is silvery, not red. It won't come in a violent gush. It will seep out quietly, a silvery pool on the white fur.


How poetic.


The thought of drinking blood is repulsive. Warm blood… I wonder how it tastes—sweetish, maybe? And after the first sip, what will happen?


Maybe it causes pain…


Not pain, please, I don't want to feel any more pain. I’m afraid of pain, more than anything else. The threat of inflicting pain on me would make me do anything.


There has been ample proof of that.


I can't bear it. I simply can’t resist it. I… probably I’m weak, and despicable, that's what Snape thinks, too. He doesn't look as if he feared pain. Or anything, for that matter. He’s cold and unfeeling, a creature without pity, incapable of any emotion.




I am faithful, believe me, Master, I am your faithful servant. I may be weak at times, and I confess…


Confess, child.


I confess that sometimes my courage falters, but… Have faith in me, Master, trust me. See, the unicorns are rooted to the spot, they cannot escape, although they strain against the spell, and I only have to say the words…


Then say them.


I only have to say the words, my right hand already holds the wand, and the knife feels cool against the fingers of my left. I can do this, I—


You must do it. Now.


“Avada Kedavra!”




1010 words, including the title

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