The Sleeping Man

A dark haired man sat alone in one of many of the ruined towers of the castle. To the casual observer, he would appear dead, if not for the slight pulsing of blood up his neck within the jugular. So still was he, that he looked like a statue. Only his pale face could be seen coming out of his frayed coat and long unkempt hair.

Suddenly, his eyes opened revealing startling green eyes that seemed to glow with light. He slowly sat up cracking dirt and releasing billows of dust that had collected on his form over the years of inactivity. The man did not seem to mind, however, and merely raised his arms over his head, stretching his joints and spine releasing several satisfying pops. The man looked around his setting and a small frown marred his pale features.

"Death." He croaked, his voice sounding as if it had not been used in years. Which in this reality, it had not. Even though the words he spoke came out as a whisper it left a strange ringing in the air that reverberated to the far corners of the castle and beyond. The moment his words left his mouth, a dark, human-shaped shadow appeared before him. The shadow smiled and offered his hand to the sitting man.

"It's been a while." The shadow said, pulling the dark haired man to his feet. "You managed to live long enough for me to grow restless. I got bored of watching you sleep for the first 10 years. And once the candles ran out I needed more entertainment than watching wax melt."

"I don't blame you." Replied the man, stretching out his legs. Now that he was standing his form towered over the shadow. The last remnants of dirt and dust slid off his body and pooled around his feet. The shadow stepped back to avoid most of the downpour. "I was surprised myself that I lived as long as I did…" The man paused, looked down at the dirt and dust at his feet. "I don't remember going to sleep with dirt on me before."

"Oh, my mistake. I forgot to clean up after trying to grow some grass on you." The shadow said, a smile full of jagged teeth slowly forming.

"You know that nothing ever grows here." The man said giving an annoyed look at the shadow before stepping away from his chair and towards the steps leading up to his tower. The shadow did not follow the man as he made his way down. Only once the man had reached the open gates of the castle did the shadow appear by his side. Outside the castle gates, the land was barren. Nothing had grown here in hundreds of thousands of years.

"How was it this time?" The shadow asked.

"Not so bad this time. I had forgotten how much I hated wizards." The man said as he and the shadow strolled towards a dried lakebed. "They always seem to be so backwards in every dimension I visit."

The shadow nodded and shifted his gaze to the man. "I recall you saying that you hated not having your magic the last few times you woke up."

"True." Said the man, as he stopped at the edge of what was once, in his memory, a beautiful blue lake. "I guess there is always a tradeoff…"

The shadow must have heard some slight melancholy in his voice because it turned to face the man and asked, "Do you want a break?"

"I think I could go for a vacation." The man replied, as he lay himself down on the ground putting his head on the root of a large stump. The stump had long lost all its color and all remnants of life, more resembling a smooth stone than a tree. "I'd like to go somewhere where you won't care if I don't fulfill some role."

The shadow chuckled. "I don't think that's my fault. You always had a problem with injustice. A saving-people-problem if I recall your friend saying correctly…"

The man scowled. "I wouldn't be so damn tired if you stopped sending me back as myself or my friends."

"I guess that's true." Admitted the shadow. "How about I send you somewhere with no wizards? A place you have never been before and nothing like what you've experienced already?"

The man stayed silent for a minute mulling over the offer. Finally, he pulled his arms up, laced his fingers behind his head and closed his eyes. "Sure. But, I want my magic. At least some of it if you can manage."

The shadow nodded. More to itself as the man had already started to relax and drift off to sleep. The shadow concentrated and put its finger on the man's chest over his heart. A sudden glow enveloped the two figures and an orb of light shot out of the man's body straight into the sky, curving towards the hazy horizon like a comet. The shadow gazed after the shining light and smiled.

"Good luck, Harry Potter."