A/N: Written for the Hogwarts Writing Club Competition for the prompt 'pollution'. Word count: 220. Thank you to my lovely brother for beta reading this.

It is ancient, it is insidious, and, above all, it is senseless pollution. Whatever its proponents may claim, it only sabotages the society that they all claim to love.

But they're determined to stay true to it. The dogma is deeply rooted in their history, so ingrained in their way of life that they've never even entertained the notion that there might be other valid ways of approaching the issue. It's timeless, and that gives it its power.

Although many see it as nothing but a harmless belief for ideologues and philosophers to amuse themselves with, its influences are far-reaching and definitive. It stitches little scarlet letters into the jumpers of preteen schoolchildren and offers them up for public ridicule as a result. Then, over time, it pulls them apart bit by bit until all that's left is a wisping memory and a bright red M. It appears harmless, but its effects linger and consume the lives of those around them.

And it is everywhere. It is invisible and so easily disregarded, but it has seeped into their society, contaminating the streetscape with its odium and threatening to choke the country with its toxicity. If it continues to go unchecked, then, one day, it will succeed in tearing common decency apart.

It is ancient. It is insidious. It is pollution.