2-1-10. I've been trying to upload this for the past two days. Was anyone else having trouble with the Document Manager?

Sorry, but my author's note is going to be a tad bit on the long side. Be a nice person and don't skip it, please!

I took inspiration for this one-shot from numerous sources. First, from Sandra Cisneros' writing style in The House on Mango Street. Yes, there is a reason why I don't use quotation marks. Don't crucify me for it, please. I had to read The House on Mango Street for summer reading before sophomore year, and I fell in love with Cisneros' flowing, playful prose. It's kind of ironic, actually, that I applied it to this particular story, since the plot is so dark. Second, from Erik Larson's portrayal of the twisted man that is H.H. Holmes, in the book The Devil in the White City. This was also an assigned book for me, my freshman year. Half of the book tells the story of Holmes, a real-life serial killer during the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. An excellent read – although some of the descriptions of killings prevented me from having a good night's sleep, I must admit. Lastly, from Heath Ledger's Joker in the movie The Dark Knight. If you haven't heard of it, you're obviously not from planet Earth. I'm trying to convey to the reader why Voldemort killed all the people he did. Yes, some he murdered because it helped fulfill a purpose for him: his (failed) attempt to kill Harry Potter, for instance, was brought on by Trelawney's prophecy; but, if you look at the bigger picture, you'll find that he was a severely corrupted fellow who took sick pleasure in ending people's lives, much like the Joker.

Okay, I promise I'll shut up now so you can read the story. Well, after my witty little disclaimer, that is.

Disclaimer: Hi, I'm J.K. Rowling, and I'm the mastermind behind the entire Harry Potter series. Yeah, be jealous. Now if only what I just stated was true. . . .

Why, a Voldemort one-shot

His insides hurt. He didn't know what had happened to him, why he felt this way. He cursed as shooting pain ran through his body, causing him to spasm and fall to the floor. He writhed on the ground, twitching and yelling and shaking and screaming for the pain to go away, for it to all be over, and then it was.

Stop, he heard. Drop your wands. He twisted helplessly on the cold stone floor, hoping to get a glimpse of the kind man who had made him stop hurting. His eyes widened in horror and his jaw dropped, mouth opened so wide a Quaffle could fit in there, because when he twisted and turned to see his savior, he found himself staring into the blood red snake eyes of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named himself.

He didn't know what he did to deserve this. He had been a good wizard, a neutral wizard, staying out of the rift brewing between the Dark and the Light. Every day was the same for him: get up, go to work, come home, go to sleep, repeat. He liked the similitude, the fact that there was nothing special whatsoever about his life. It kept him and his family safe.

But now, now he was in for it. Grab him, You-Know-Who ordered. Grab him and put him in the dungeon. And so they pulled on his arms, grabbing him like the obedient Death Eaters they were, and dragged him down the long flight of stairs to the dungeon. The dark, scary dungeon, inhabited by spiders and rats and Merlin-knows-what-else. He allowed himself a small whimper of fear, a sound he regretted once it escaped his lips. The masked man on his left gave him a firm kick in the stomach, the kind of kick that could knock the wind out of you for ten minutes straight. He keeled over, dry heaving after being shoved to the ground and finally left alone.

In a way, the deathly quiet was worse than the torture he had endured upstairs. At least then he knew what was happening. And at least then he didn't have to grope in the dark. He thought about why this was happening to him, of all people. Him, the man who worked in Flourish & Blotts, who wasn't even a manager, who just worked away at the register, trying to scrap together enough galleons to support his wife and children. His wife and children who were, judging by the screams he heard before he was snatched from his household, no longer living.

He strained to make out the murmuring from above, but no such luck. He fiddled with his hands and felt around the room, discovering it was not much larger than a broom closet. He tapped his foot, twiddled his thumbs, and mussed his hair, doing anything and everything to pass the time as painlessly as he could.

Finally he heard footsteps, trudging down, down the dungeon steps. There was slight grumbling from right outside the door, and all of a sudden light stung his eyes. He scrambled up from the ground and let whoever was sent to retrieve him lead him back up, up the dungeon steps and into his own personal torture chamber. To everyone else, it looked like a sitting room.

Kill him, the Dark Lord said, as casually as if he was ordering a cauldron cake sundae at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, hold the nuts, just as his daughter liked it. Kill him now.

But wait, he whispered, surprised at the sound of his own hoarse voice. Wait. And this time it was the Death Eaters' turn to widen their eyes and drop their jaws. No one told You-Know-Who to wait. No one.

The Dark Lord stared at him long and hard, like a disappointed mother scolding her guilty child. What do you want, he questioned, not softening his gaze. What could you possibly want?

To know why, he answered, and his eyes glazed over in shock of his own response. He gulped and took a deep breath, squaring his superior with a firm gaze. To know why I have to suffer when I did nothing to deserve this.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named merely smiled, a maniacal, wicked smile, the kind of smile a serial killer gave his victims before chopping their bodies in halves, the kind of smile a pyromaniac flashes before setting a building to flames, the kind of smile that made him realize that You-Know-Who had no logical answer. You-Know-Who had no reason to kill, and You-Know-Who didn't need a reason to kill. The only plausible explanation was that You-Know-Who enjoyed killing, and that was that. You-Know-Who enjoyed hurting people, innocent people, enjoyed ruining lives and tearing families apart. It was all just good sport to him. He just wanted to watch the world burn at his expense.

The realization came just as a flash of green light hit him, and he passed out cold on the sitting room floor. Just another victim for You-Know-Who, all in good fun.