A little vignette.
Things are not what they seem
I am not alone
~"Delirium," Emilie Autumn
She always knew when she was dreaming. This time was no exception.
The sky was a shade of crimson she'd not seen since her parents had taken her on a trip to the Painted Desert. Red merged into silver merged into blue-black and the pinpricks of stars were growing brighter toward the apex of the sky.
She was barefoot.
She was always barefoot in her dreams, but nowadays the textures beneath her feet were much more prominent. She could feel the sharp tickle of the grass blades as she walked, the crumbling earth, the occasional jagged edge of rock or pebble unearthed from the soil. She could smell the rain dampened trees. Feel the ephemeral breeze that stroked her skin. And she could move herself along whatever path she chose, explore the shadowed corners of her ephemeral world at her choosing.
Lucid dreaming had been a practice she'd put time into for the last two years. Since the Department of Mysteries. Since the nightmares she'd found herself facing most every time she closed her eyes, nightmares that locked her down, froze her mind.
And if there was one thing Hermione Granger detested, it was not having her mind under her own control.
And so she spent many late hours in the depths of the Hogwarts library, researching sleep and dreams. A few complexly-simple charms and she found herself, if not able to prevent the nightmare, to at least wake herself up before screaming became necessary.
Tonight, she glanced behind her dream-self, saw the world drop off into a smoky abyss. Before her lay stone studded ground, a mesh of wrought-iron surrounding it, silhouettes of tombs rising out of long grasses like slivers of bone.
She felt it then, that tug in her belly, an invisible chord wrapped around her abdomen, pulling her toward whatever she was meant to see.
Time eclipsed, as it often did in dreams, and she found herself further along the sandy path and moving into the grass, toward a hulking shadow of a tomb.
Death in all his dark glory spread his angel's wings and held his scythe close to the tomb as though protecting against any who might draw too near, or guarding against that which might leave. She moved closer, ran her forefinger along the granite, traced the dagger sharp edge of the lettering that was so dark and shining it seemed to swim just above the stone.Thomas Riddle
Witch mother, she thought, tracing the letters of the name, dead at his birth. Muggle father. Patricide.
Death, she thought, recalling a quote she once read, is terrifying because it is so ordinary. It happens all the time.
She flinched as long, cool fingers swept along her neck, drawing her hair back, gathering it at the nape.What do you think, Hermione?
came the voice over her shoulder, a mere whisper, chilling her skin.
"I think you traded one kind of ordinary for another," she said. "How uncommon is a serial killer who was abandoned as a child, bullied, abused? Really. There are myriad profiles for this sort of thing."
Silence followed. Then...You've an answer for everything, don't you?
Fingers curled hard into her collar bone, making her wince and she wondered if she'd ever be able to keep her mouth shut at appropriate moments. But that's alright
, he continued, his breath was scalding her skin as he spoke, flowing down the line of her exposed neck. Just fine. Muggle science, he spat, and even magic theory can't even begin to ken the things that I do...
Rush of warm air and she felt his teeth close on her. Vicious bite into the oh-so-tender skin at the juncture of her neck and shoulder and she opened her mouth to cry out only to find his hand pressing tight to her lips. He pulled back, tongue laving over the wound he'd made; he blew air from his mouth making it sting. Warmth trickled down her skin, slipped between her breasts; she knew she was bleeding.Go now
, he said, wake, seek your answers. I'll be seeing you, soon.( The rest... )