The Sugar Quill
Author: Arya (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Breaking the Chains  Chapter: Default
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Breaking the Chains

Breaking the Chains

 

Author’s Note: Lots of thanks to my beta, Zsenya, for helping me with some small details in this fic as well as the title.  Also thanks to my copyediting class for inspiration.

 

            When I was a child, they told me I was different.  Mummy’s face looked strange and wet, and I reached up with my stubby fingers to feel her soft, warm cheeks.  The water dripped onto my hands, and Mummy gently pushed me away.  Why? I asked, scrunching my eyebrows together like I had seen Daddy do.  But Mummy’s face was sad, and the wetness wouldn’t let her answer.  I let her wrap her arms around me, the wetness dripping on my flannel pajamas, knowing that she needed to hold onto me.

 

They kept me at home, and years later I wondered if it was for my protection or for the protection of the other children.  I didn’t mind – inside the house there were books and pictures.  At night, when my parents had retreated to their warm beds, I looked out my open window, letting the cool night air chill my thin body.  My parents’ fear of the darkness fascinated me.  I knew that the night should be feared, yet I found it soothing and calm, much more so than the day.  I knew the things the night held, and understood that they were terrible and should be feared, but as I stared at the crescent moon and surrounding stars, I knew that the night things were simply misunderstood. 

 

            I was seven when I began to understand what different meant.  One day as Mummy made lunch in the kitchen, I went into Daddy’s office and saw that he’d forgotten to put his special book away, the giant one covered in soft leather.  It sat on his desk, instead of its usual space on the shelf.  I wasn’t supposed to touch it, but Mummy was in the kitchen, and Daddy was at work.  They would never know if I looked in it, just this one time.  The book fell open to a page that had obviously been read many times, and my eyes were immediately drawn to a word written in fancy letters at the top of the page:

Werewolf

The word made me curious.  I’d read about wolves in my little books, and I knew they were wonderfully fierce creatures.  But I’d never heard of werewolves, and I wanted to know more.  Mummy was still in the kitchen, so I read more.  One, two, five pages were written about these strange yet interesting creatures.  I felt the hairs on my arms lift as I read.  The stories seemed familiar to me, like dreams I’d had.  They spoke of a full moon and a human changing into a Dark creature, a creature who roamed in the night.  But Mummy called me to lunch before I could read more, and I had to leave the book on the desk.  I wondered about the werewolves, though, and knew that next time I had the dream, I would pay better attention. 

 

            The dreams came once a month, I noticed, and every time I had one, I scribbled it on a little piece of paper that I kept in my favorite book.  Mummy and Daddy would never look there, I decided.  Every night I watched the moon, soon realizing that my dreams always came on the nights when the moon was full.  I would wake from the dreams feeling sore and slightly ill, and Mummy always let me sleep later than she normally did.  I wrote it all down on my paper, the book getting thicker each month as I noticed more and more strange things that happened around the full moon.  At eight, I realized that the nights I had the dreams, my nighttime drink tasted sour, and I fell asleep quickly. 

 

             They had to have known that they couldn’t keep it a secret forever.  I was always bright.  Dad called me “Mum’s little Ravenclaw,” which made her blush with pride.   I didn’t tell him about my fascination with Dark creatures, or the book of funny curses I’d found in a hole in the wall, left over from the previous owner.  I was nearly nine when I found Mum in the kitchen mixing the dream potion.  That night, after Mum left to get me a tissue, I switched the potion for a glass of water.  I understood, now, the strange rules and full moon dreams.  I awoke as the moon rose in the dark sky and found myself locked to the wall of our cellar, chained to the wall so that I wouldn’t hurt anyone.  A strange feeling built inside of me as I watched the white orb in the sky and felt my body change.  The chains kept hold of me no matter how hard I struggled, and as my mouth turned into a muzzle I howled loudly.  With my newly formed wolf ears I heard a shriek, my mother’s shriek.  I let the Wolf take control of my thoughts and mind, and disappeared into the world that had always before been a dream.  It was real now, and I knew I had to experience it to find some reason in my parents’ decision to lock their son up.  When morning came, I had found none.

 

            They would not let me go to Hogwarts, but I did not argue.  I rarely spoke to them, and refused my nighttime drink even when it wasn’t the full moon.  Mum took me to Diagon Alley one day for ice cream in hopes of finding the son she had lost, not realizing that it was her own fault that he would never return.  I disappeared as soon as she turned her back, loving the feel of the cold November wind on my pale skin.  I flew past the shops, my eyes looking for the one place where I knew I would find answers.  Knockturn Alley appeared before me, and I raced down it, knowing I had little time before Mum found me.  I needed books, books that would tell me what I was and what I could do.  Mum had given me a wand at my eleventh birthday, but she wouldn’t teach me the curses I longed to know.  I wanted revenge, but at twelve years old, I was sensible enough to know I couldn’t run away and live by myself.  I would survive with them for a few more years until I was older.

 

            At sixteen, I yearned to know the world.  My parents ignored me, and I them.  I knew they feared me, saw their fear and hatred with every glance my direction.  My mother no longer came to my bed each night to bid me goodnight, and my father had ceased to allow me into his study to borrow books.  My world as I knew it was in my bedroom, but I knew that there was an outside.  I knew there had to be others like me, those bitten by as children and changed forever, their family and friends turned against them because of one simple bite.  I knew werewolves were hated by the world, and decided that I would hate the world more.  My hatred burned within me each passing day.

 

            As the full moon rose over the house on the evening of my seventeenth birthday, I allowed the Wolf to overcome my body, but not my mind.  The Wolf snarled, and I snarled back, knowing that on this night I would need part of a human’s mind to act out my plan.  The chains that kept my parents safe shattered easily thanks to a rusting charm I’d placed on them earlier that week.  My claws tore into the wood door of the cellar, and I snarled at the blinding light of the moon.  I wanted out, needed out.  My teeth bit into the wood, ripping it to shreds, and finally I found an opening that my wolf form could fit through.  Across the lawn, onto the porch, toward the light.  I ran with speed, my legs glad for the exercise that they’d been robbed of for fifteen years.  The back door broke down with ease, and from upstairs came the scream I’d awaited.  I bounded up the stairs and toward the light that had turned on suddenly.  My parents waited in their locked bedroom, believing that charms and spells could keep a full-grown, angry werewolf from killing them.  I howled toward the sky and tore through the door.  My claws found the throat of my mother, and her screams ended.  My father stood speechless in the corner, his hands up against his mouth.  He looked like a child, a frightened child.  I snarled at him, and bit him once on the leg.  He would suffer, but I would not.  To him, a werewolf was a child with a terrible and incurable disease, a family member to be ashamed of, a word not spoken.  To me, a werewolf was power. 

 

            That night as I tore apart the house, venting my anger on the place that for so many years had been my prison, I found comfort in the cries of my father.  When I heard of his death a month later – jumping from a bridge into the cold waters below – I was pleased, and ordered myself another Firewhiskey from the bartender.  I’d changed my name, not wanting to be associated with the man who was too weak to accept the life fate had given him.  Greyback, I called myself, for the streak of grey fur that covered my back.  I smiled and lifted my bottle of Firewhiskey.  It was a name yet unknown, but soon to be feared by all. 

           

 

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