MOONLIGHT

I cannot escape them. They haunt the echoes of my mind in my waking hours, and take terrible form in my dreams. That which I have known is maligned with dark reasoning, the sinister form that will enslave me until I have drawn my final breath. It is always worst when the moon rises, a silver orb across the trees that surround the castle. I once gazed upon the moon in wonder, held close in my mother's arms as she explained to me the wonders of the heavens, her slender hand pointing out the constellations. One tiny fist was entwined in her hair as I beheld the crescent, never knowing it would eternally shape my fate. I remember very little of that night, but it is not through memory charm or other magical intervention. There was blood, my blood—and gleaming fangs, the hatred behind those demonic eyes. It comes to me now, and I close mine in remembrance, my hand tightening against the railing. There are footsteps in the passage, the sound of voices as James and Sirius pass on the stairs, pushing their way through the students heading to the Great Hall for dinner. In pursuit is Filch, cursing them beneath his breath.

Watching them go with a faint smile, I turn as a hand falls on my shoulder, to look into a face weathered and old, but that I trust completely. There is kindness in the eyes glimmering behind half-moon spectacles, gentleness in his touch as he guides me down the stairs. Dumbledore understands. He cannot comprehend the agony, the pain, the horror of those moments when I am alone with my misery, the strange call the moon has over me like a siren luring a sailor to his death, but still he understands. There is no pity in his gaze as he leads me through the darkened grounds, darkness creeping in around us. Branches curl overhead, coming to life as we draw near, threatening any who approach the gnarled trunk of the magnificent old willow that guards the entrance to my domain... to my prison. My footsteps slow and abhorrence rises in my throat, misery apparent as the Headmaster halts the tree's posturing with a sharp word. The willow will listen to no one else.

It is beginning. I can feel it, in the depth of my soul, a warmth that causes my blood to pulse. Suddenly I can hear everything, from the voices in the castle to the softest whisper in the Forbidden Forest. My hands begin to tremble as I make the descent into the narrow passage beneath the willow. The moon is rising, casting glowing rays across the lake and transforming it to liquid amber. The trapdoor flies up at my touch, slamming against the floor and sending up little puffs of dust. The shack is in disrepair, the benefit of many such nights of relentless energy. All of the mirrors are smashed, lying in broken shards on the floor. Pillows are torn to shreds, claw marks run the length of the room. I remove my school robe and fold it neatly, placing it carefully on a high shelf where I know it will not be abused. There is just a narrow enough slit in the boards covering the window that I can see Dumbledore returning to the castle, his step heavy. He hates leaving me here alone.

Pain rushes through me, and I double over with its force. The room begins to shudder and moan, seen through eyes rapidly growing into two narrow pupils. I want it to stop, but it is inevitable. It is my curse. I cannot escape it. My mind begins to fade, to forget all that I know. The faces of my friends grow dim, washed away in a dreadful desire to obey the siren's call, to heed the wishes of the moon and be unleashed upon the night. I can no longer remember them. I am forgetting even myself. I must remember that, if nothing else. I am Remus. I cling to it, but that too escapes me.

What is my name? I no longer know.