Round 12: Appleby Arrows

Chaser 3: The Red Shoes

Prompts:(word) underhanded; (poem) The Crazy Woman, by Gwendolyn Brooks; (quote) "God doesn't need to punish us. He just grants us a long enough life to punish ourselves." Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible


I'll wait until November
That is the time for me.
I'll go out in the frosty dark
And sing most terribly

- The Crazy Woman, by Gwendolyn Brooks


Your eyes glance at your reflection in the windows of the many shops you pass as you stride down Diagon Alley. You could feel eyes burning into your back, and you know that there are several pureblood children glaring daggers at you. They had been doing that ever since your introduction into the Wizarding World by the Greengrass family only months ago.

It had been an unsettling feeling in the beginning, knowing that at any moment any one of them could whisper a spell at your turned back. It would be underhanded of them, but you had been warned to be careful of that from the other children. You had grown used to the feeling, and had quickly learned everything necessary to protect yourself from any attack. You had found that extremely necessary, and your new parents had been most impressed.

They had begun showing you off as a star child, perhaps casting you further and further away from your peers, but that didn't matter if you were more powerful than them.

They would never dare try anything again.

The last attempt had led to the Malfoy heir unconscious on the floor.

Your father had told you that the boy had been trained since childhood in duelling, and was embarrassed by his loss. Your father had warned you to be careful: Malfoys held grudges and had a wide sphere of influence, wider than that of the Greengrasses.

It hadn't mattered too much. You had seen the fear in their eyes every time they saw you. They would never try anything for fear of the consequences. Your father didn't need to know that though.

Just like your peers didn't need to know of your past. They had seen you enter Diagon Alley in the rags that you had worn at your mother's funeral. You had been one of only three people who had attended. No one else cared, no matter how well you remembered your mother had treating them.

Your mother had always been kind to everyone. She had always tried to help everyone she could despite never having enough to feed both of them well on several occasions.

When she died, you promised yourself that you would never be like her. Kindness and caring had gotten her nowhere but a cheap grave that was nothing more than a hole in the ground, with a piece of rock and stone to mark it, on the edge of the village. You had learned the truth of human nature in that empty funeral under a tree. You had learned that humans were selfish creatures that cared only for their own comfort.

You had waited though. You waited until they were at a disadvantage and you held the power that you had wished for through childhood.

"God doesn't need to punish us," your mother had whispered to you one day when you had been covered with the bruises of your classmate's anger, "he just grants us long enough life to punish ourselves."

You had held those words close to your chest as the last breaths had filled your mother's lungs, the anger that should never have been the price of her kindness finally forcing her into an early sleep. She had waited for the day they would punish themselves, the day when their conscience would be their undoing but the day had never come. Not in her short lifetime.

You weren't that patient. You had never been, even when your mother had still lived. She hadn't said a word about the bruises that laced your knuckles whenever you came home after a fight. Perhaps she had known more than she had let on but she had never judged you for your unspoken actions.

You desire to defend yourself had grown into the desire to return all the pain your mother had felt to its source. You would be the one to ensure those vile muggles punished themselves, perhaps not of their free will, but the lesson would be learnt nonetheless.

You would be the one who would teach it to them. That was the only way they would learn.

You were not willing to watch the people responsible for your mother's death live their lives without facing their punishment.

Your adopted parents never said anything during the days you visited the muggle world. You weren't sure what they thought, maybe they believed you were visiting your mother's grave. You were, but that wasn't the only reason behind your visit.

They had once worn their power proudly, those muggles. They knew no better. They could no longer stop themselves from scorning anyone they believed lower than them, ensuring that everyone else "understood their place."

You could only return the favour.

You had caused their thoughts to intensify. That was all that had been needed to cause squabbles to break out between them. They believed they were just in their judgement of themselves, each other, and everyone else.

You would only be able to truly become part of the Wizarding World when you had wrapped up all ties to your muggle one.

If your observances were correct, then you would soon be able to leave the muggles behind. Their fighting had become incredibly violent as each believed everything they did to be justified, but it only was in their own mind.

You watched with a cold smile as the sounds of an argument reached your ears.

You were once again on the edge of town, sitting on the tree above your mother's grave. You had found that this spot gave you the best view of the village only a few weeks ago. You watched as the two figures began butting heads, shoving each other backwards, their bright clothing making them easily visible against the snow.

Those two men had once been part of the elite of the village and best friends. They had been common visitors in each other's homes ever since childhood, occasionally their mothers had been seen cooking a meal for both families to share.

It had all ended a month ago, now they were reduced to being the 'vicious animals' of the village because of all of their fighting.

You watched with glee as one of the figures fell. The ring of people that had grown around the two gasped as they waited for him to rise.

He wouldn't. You knew that.

The enchantment had been created to exist only as long as he existed, as long as your father existed.

Your mother had still held her fond feelings of love towards you father, but you had held no warm feelings towards the man who had left your mother in the situation he had: dirt poor and with child. There was simply no mercy for that in you mind.

The screams and cries that reached your ears allowed the feeling of satisfaction to fill your body as they realized the man would not wake.

The enchantment took with it your last ties to the muggle world.

You were free of your past.

Finally.