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?
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…
what I call irony.
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.
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.
that he’ll arrive there before me… I’d be useless then, He wouldn't need me
But if Snape went to Dumbledore…
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…
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
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…
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.
has been ample proof of that.
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
faithful, believe me, Master, I am your faithful servant. I may be weak at
times, and 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…
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—
do it. Now.
including the title