Written for 'Weekly Challenge - #9, Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry'

name of student: extramundane epeolatry (victoria)

house: horned serpent

prompt: 1 (dementors)

word count: 1046

level: easy

title: happenings in the haze

a/n: i've always loved dementors and been fascinated by them, so i jumped on this prompt and kind of word vomited; this is not in any particular order

. . .

They aren't people, necessarily. Once upon a time they might have been, but they aren't any longer. Humans — what are those? Souls, just souls, more for us — sometimes speak and sometimes the Dementors understand:

The Dementor is a vile thing...

...Origins unknown...

Truth be told, they know they are vile. Truth be told, they're not that unhappy about it. Truth be told, they don't know if they can feel at all. Truth be told, they're trying to fill a void — this void that's just been there for a long time, this void that's been there for eternity.

Truth be told, the Dementors know nothing about their origins, either.

. . .

They like to drive the humans insane. Some of them look at the Dementors with empty eyes, and some of them look with hatred, and some of them scream, scream, scream.

Those screams fill a bit of the void. Dementors know nothing but the filling of the void — the emptiness that's always there is a little bit less empty when they hear screams. The screams would be enjoyable if Dementors were aware they could feel screams, but it's all a bit of a haze, really.

They frequent the screamers; the Dementors swarm the screamers but can never Kiss them, for then the wizards shoot happiness at them, light, wonderful things that make the dementors themselves scream. The emptiness becomes more empty, more hollow, and it's such a hazier feeling than normal they need to leave.

They frequent the screamers; soon the screamers can't scream anymore and the Dementors have to live with that emptiness for a while until they can return for more blissful screams.

. . .

Kissing is a thing Dementors 'like' to do.

(They don't know if they can like, of course, but they know if they could like, they'd like Kissing.)

It fills the void in a way nothing ever can, but Kissing is so strictly monitored by the human wizards and if they go too far they get shot with that happy light, that terrible thing.

There's one year — and they don't know how, they think they might've been herded with that weird happy light — that they're not in the dismal gray stone place they've come to recognize as Azkaban, and rather they're out in the sunlight and they see, with black unseeing eyes, something bursting with color, green grass, and some humans call this place Hogwarts.

And at the end of the year one of them gets so so close to Kissing a small boy; he's got a weird scar zigzagging across his forehead, and when they get close to him, he faints; sometimes, he cries, "Mum!" — something or the other. This small boy is a little fainter, he is, and he pokes around in odd places, and then —

Then there is that light and that happiness and that bursting little thing where the emptiness becomes more empty and hollow —

Then there is the void, truth be told.

. . .

It's hazy for them, but it's always hazy for them. When they know something for sure — and Dementors seldom do — they remember it.

Faces blur into the fog; a pale man with a pointed nose and gray eyes; a woman with a maniacal smile that they work hard to erase (spoilers: they do); a sad, sad man with long hair and a distinctly canine demeanor who sometimes cries, "James!" and "I'll kill him when I'm out!"

They like to be near him but then the Dementors drain him of screams and they've got to take breaks.

There's a boy, one day. He looks like the pale man with the pointed nose with gray eyes.

"Leave, please," he whispers with such a sadness they stay. "No —"

The boy soon leaves Azkaban, though, and he doesn't come back. The pale man cries.

"Draco, come back, I need you, even if this is a terrible place...get out of the Manor for a day, Draco..." he mourns, but they can tell he feels nonsensical, and through the haze the Dementors swarm near him to feed into the void.

. . .

They manage to Kiss one man, though.

Bartemius Crouch is his name (there are two. The Dementors don't remember which one they Kiss, but they remember the name and the feeling. If Dementors were aware they could feel wonderful it would have felt wonderful) and he cries, says, "Please," but eventually he goes limp in their hands and when they take turns with his soul (because they share, of course, they all want the void filled to some extent, and it doesn't last anyway, so they make the most of it) and press chapped lips to his skin and suck the soul and the life out of it; it feels wonderful if they could feel wonderful.

. . .

The Dementors can hear small snippets of conversation.

"Have some chocolate..."

"...Harry, what's happening...?"

"Narcissa, you have to survive, take Draco..."

"...Bella, you're being stupid, you'll die in here!"

"I am devoted to my Lord..."

One of them strikes out, however.

"Peter Pettigrew...Wormtail...you're a worm after all...someday, I'll get out and you'll die, I promise..."

See, no one tells themselves that they'll get out. Everyone knows, and everyone accepts.

Not this man, though. He has hope — the Dementors always try to suck it out of him. Somehow, and they don't know why, he retains it, that small ray, a glimmer of hope.

. . .

For some reason the Dementors can perfectly understand the snake-man. With his eye-slits narrowed, he says, "I can give you better...better than the haze..."

Better than the haze? they're all wondering, and they jump at his chance.

They get thrown back in, of course, and their hope is quashed, of course. The haze and the void remain.

. . .

The Dementors don't know if they can wonder. But if they could wonder they'd most certainly be very curious creatures.

Why is there this haze? they think, sometimes.

Sometimes, it's What do the wizards want with us?

Were we once wizards? Human at all?

Other times, they think, Are we alive? Dead?

...Are we even in existence?

Some things they know for sure. If we exist, we exist in madness. This is madness.

...Is there a point to this madness?