Bellatrix, Narcissa and Andromeda Black. Three beautiful sisters living under one dark roof. One is dangerously obsessed with the Dark Arts, one is vain yet protective of her family, and one is misfortunate enough to fall in love with a muggle. Our story starts when Bellatrix is 17, Narcissa is 13 and Andromeda, 15, around 1968. The Dark Lord is rising and each girl must chose their own path. The only question is: will the path they take lead them to love and life, or to death and destruction?
Chapter 1: Rotten Flowers
The manor was quiet. My mum and father were sleeping, even though it was nearly noon. I was sitting in my room, lying on my huge bed, staring at the ceiling. My covers displayed a brilliant green and silver snake. A single white rose lay on the floor of my room, wilting. My head wasn't on the white and green embroidered pillow: my feet were. My long brown hair was cascading down to the floor from the foot of the bed, my dark eyes hazy with thought. In my pale hands I gripped a slender mahogany wand, rolling it around my palm. I couldn't wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow at last, I'd be going back to Hogwarts, back to a place where I belonged.
"Andy? Andy come on, let's go to the garden," a voice called from the broad hallway outside my room. I moaned, recognizing the pleading and piteous voice of my younger sister.
I heaved myself up on to my elbows and glanced around the room. The stone fireplace was empty. The drawers to my dresser were wrenched open, clothes spilling out. I hadn't finished packing. An excuse.
Narcissa, without knocking, darted into my room, her deep blue eyes shining. I looked at my sister with a pang of envy. Even at thirteen, she was prettier than me. Her long, wavy blonde hair blew around her face like heather in a meadow. Her body was slim and well-proportioned already, even in her young years. Her skin was smooth and light, as creamy as milk.
Her button nose wrinkled at the sight of the mess in my room.
"Andy that's not like you," she commented, staring at the open trunk on the floor. "You're the neatest person I know."
I sighed. "Yes I know Narcissa, I'm packing. I can't go out."
"Andy, please come out with me and Bella! She said she has something important to tell us," Narcissa pleaded, her white fingers clasped together. She squinted up at me with concern. I grimaced. There were few people in the world who could say no to Narcissa's begging face and one of them was outside waiting for us.
"Fine, but let's make this quick," I said, rolling out of bed and placing my wand on the stubby table by the dresser.
Narcissa beamed at me and then walked purposefully out of my room, her head held high.
I was no idiot: Narcissa had gotten exactly what she wanted. Her appearance and general demeanor gave people the impression that she was a sweet, if not simple, girl. But they were wrong. Narcissa was just as scheming and secretive as Bellatrix, if not more. The little thirteen-year-old had a knack for getting whatever she wanted and she was quite clever too. Apparently (she had told me) the Sorting Hat had an awful time trying to decide whether she belonged in Slytherin or Ravenclaw.
"Hurry up Andy," called Narcissa's voice from the hall.
I stepped out of my room and shut the door tight; I didn't want Kipper going through my stuff again. The batty old house-elf had taken to fooling around with my wand whenever he had a chance.
I buttoned the top of my black robes and followed Narcissa along the carpeted hallway floor, passing the familiar dreary portraits on the wall of ancestors. We reached the enormous staircase leading to the vestibule and the double doors.
Narcissa glanced around swiftly and then, with a whoop of joy, hopped on to the banister and slid down to the first floor. I rolled my eyes but copied her, leaping on to the smooth granite stone of the railing and sliding along the stairs, enjoying the feel of the breeze in my face.
I landed softly at the bottom and Narcissa, waiting for me with a knowing smile, beckoned me to the doors. We both seized the left door, gripped the serpent handle and shoved. The door was heavy.
"I don't see why mum needed such big doors," I grumbled, tripping out of the house and into the sunlight.
I blinked, trying to become accustomed to the blinding light. I glimpsed Narcissa rubbing her eyes with her slender fingers. When I was finally able to look up, I first noticed the fountain sitting where it always was, in the center of the courtyard, bubbling and sparkling prettily. The Black family motto, "toujours pur", was etched on the stone wizard standing in the middle of the fountain, water pouring from his wand.
The next thing I noticed was my eldest sister.
Bellatrix was sitting on the side of the fountain, her black eyes shimmering from the reflected water, her thin mouth curved upwards into a disdainful smile, a trademark of hers. Her silky black hair was lying wild and untamed on her back, rippling in the wind. She was twirling a red flower around in her hands, making it look like a blur of crimson. Her features were outlined and heavy. She looked completely different from Narcissa's fragile prettiness, but she was beautiful none the less.
"Andromeda, you decided to join us, how pleasant," Bellatrix remarked, her voice high-pitched and cool.
I stared at my sister, hoping my dislike for her wouldn't come through in my voice.
"I could barely wait to hear your news," I replied.
Bellatrix laughed, a surprisingly deep and throaty noise compared to her voice.
"Well then, let's walk," she said, rising to her feet, her dark green robe swirling around her feet. As she stood, Bellatrix drew her wand from her pocket and tapped the rose she was holding. The deep red color of the rose faded and darkened until it became black. Then Bellatrix dropped it to the ground and I heard it crunch under her shoes as she stepped on it.
I attempted a smile and then strode over to Bellatrix, Narcissa trailing behind me.
The dark-haired witch bared her teeth in a grin and turned silently, walking into the garden. I had no choice but to follow her, a rose caught amongst a snarl of thorns.