How many times have I promised the final rewrite of Shards of Abyss? Too often. I came across the initial premise and draft of the story lately, and it's unreal how much the story has changed. Revamp is a more accurate term. Indeed, this opening chapter bares little resemblance to the current version on , let alone the initial one. Consequently, I decided to make it a new story.
To any old faces, I wanted to say thanks for sticking with me after all this time. If anyone hasn't read Shards, feel free to amble over and check it out, but it might be more enjoyable and less confusing just to stick with this version (if you have patience of course.
"So – back again, Ginny?"
Ginny's insides turned to ice. It was warm outside. The heat was suffocating, squeezing in on her from all angles: the sharp blue sky, the dry wind and worst of all the sand. Her untamable mane of hair was sweaty and heavy on the nape of neck. The coldness, which twisted and crackled in her stomach, had nothing to do with temperature.
"This - this is it?" Ginny asked with an expansive sweep of her arm at the tomb. It was, well – just squat and small. It hardly seemed sinister at all. Mum hadn't even started muttering about Ginny being too young and impressionable to go inside or anything like she had been for the last week.
"Tada!" said Bill without a trace of enthusiasm. He gave the tomb a rather sour look.
Dozens of experts had spent the last 3 years examining it in painful detail, going over every inch repeatedly, but nothing they did worked.
"Is it safe?"
Of course it was safe, but that wasn't what Ginny was really asking. Bill wouldn't have been allowed bring them here if was dodgy. It was a hotspot for the tourists actually and D.I.Y curse-breakers, but they all left disappointed while the balding middle-aged guard kept an eye just-in-case. Nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nada. Harmless.
"Allegedly – yes. There's only ever been one recorded case of a curse despite all the tampering. A fluke, maybe," said Bill. He chose his words carefully, eyes shadowed.
That was all well and good, except that one case, yeah, that had been Ginny. She was the only person to activate the tomb in centuries. It was literally dead except for her presence. Her accident. Jasper would jump at the chance for her to re-enter and investigate, but he was fired long ago for recklessness. Ginny didn't know what she had done. Hundreds of scenarios and permutations were performed without success. The final muttered conclusion was a fluke.
"I'm not going in there," Ginny said, finding her voice was steady and resolved. She didn't feel half as confident inside. She wanted to hurl herself in there and demand answers, had craved it for so long that it felt surreal to stand outside less than a hundred yards away and not step a foot closer. What kind of Gryffindor was she anyway?
Ginny nodded. "I won't stay away forever."
Someday. When the finely honed instincts of danger muted, and didn't flare up like phantom pain from an old burn warning her not to touch the fire again, against repeating the foolishness of her action; she'd be back.
"But I will today. Go! It doesn't matter." Ginny struggled with a bright brittle smile.
Bill meet her eyes -a long, dark stare. His eyes were a deep brown. The Egyptian sun made specks of gold flash in them. Curse-breaker. Gold-digger. His job went by many names. That wasn't important. It just hid the truth of the work he did. Mum and Dad didn't know. Not really. Bill lied. Not about the little things, he was blunt when it came to white lies. But the big stuff? He lied his ass off. Ginny knew. And he knew she knew.
Chewing on his lip, he nodded slowly. "Right."
Ginny's smile twisted into an ugly curve. "Yeah – right."
Bill sighed. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but thought better of it and turned away. "I better go play tour guide."
Breaking into a jog, he crossed the half dozen yards between them and the rest of the Weasley clan hanging at the entrance of the tomb. Whatever lie Bill casually spouted didn't arouse any suspicion or discussion. They just disappeared inside.
Bill was a good liar…
…But he wasn't as good as he thought he was.