After a long night, Professor Severus Snape muses over his life, past, present, and the future, which is coming all too quickly for his taste.
The paths that I once tread
have all but gone.
Only embers now smoulder
where bridges once burned.
I feel alive and yet I fear
what may happen now.
I know I can't return.
I tossed the mask onto the floor, not caring that the last spatters of blood now dripped onto my carpets. I could spell it clean later… perhaps this time, I could even get the scent out. I care not where I fall -- this room is my shelter, my only hideout from the insanity that is the outside world. This is my sanctuary.
There was another meeting tonight. He is becoming restless. It is no longer a mere one or two killings a week by unnamed Death Eaters-in-training, who hope to ascend to the ranks of the inner circle (of which I am already a part of), but rather one or two killings a night -- more if it is a full family. And now everyone participates.
I tried not to hear them screaming.
Sometimes, when I cannot rest (after becoming nearly immune to my own sleeping draughts) I think back to those first days, those first damning days of becoming what I am. A slave to the serpent. It was not necessarily my choice, although I did harbour a certain hatred towards the Mudbloods. I, however, unlike my father and the rest of my family (or most of them, at least), would have been quite content with leaving them alone. I was never the type to go off like this… no, I’ve never been a saint- but I never wanted to be a demon like him either. I was forced into that.
Somewhere along the way, the line between my act of hatred and loathing for everyone not of pure Wizarding blood, and the lust for their blood spilt on the ground became blurred. It must have been more gradual than I thought, because I cannot place exactly when it happened.
I thought by going to Dumbledore, I would have been all right. I might get a second chance. Maybe he wouldn’t turn me in to the Aurors, although I did beg him to. I deserved to rot in Azkaban. It was then that he offered me redemption. Being desperate, I accepted -- whatever I should get. I was hoping for maybe a simple teaching position, the Defense Against the Dark Arts. I could teach those imbeciles he calls pupils to actually defend themselves without accidentally cursing someone on their own side (or themselves). Ah, but he had something far more sinister up his velvet sleeves- sending me back to the madman. But not as the simple murderer that I was- no, I was valuable then. I became a spy for ‘the light side’. Whatever that is. I lost my faith in it long ago.
I hate them, really. I hate them both: Voldemort, such a ‘dark’ entity, someone whom one could tell before seeing that the being was evil… and the others, the parentals, and anyone who could have helped me then, for enslaving me. I hate them all. But I hate Dumbledore, perhaps more so than Voldemort.
I hate him because, through all of this, he looked like such a kind person, so forgiving and almost saintly in the eyes of the Wizarding world, and it’s a lie. Perhaps not entirely, but in all of that fame and glory, he’s made some huge mistakes -- one, letting Tom Riddle go to an orphanage (which he is currently repeating with one Wizarding World Savior, Harry-Bloody-Potter), and two, never actually stepping in when someone is looking for a sound judgment. It doesn’t look like it at first, but he is just as biased as I. Sometimes I think he has a Confundus charm built around him, so that people don’t notice it. They are so blinded by the few good deeds he’s served that they neglect the darker side, much like a candle covering a nick in the desk, provided that the lighting is perfectly set. Ah, but that is beside the point.
Why do I really hate Dumbledore? Because in all this light, good, cheerfulness he possesses, he promised me redemption. I was foolish still then, and somehow believed him… he was, after all, nearly the only one who wouldn’t kill me on sight, given the chance. I took that promise to redeem myself. What I really did though, was trade one form of slavery for another. I’m not sure which I despise more.
And I hear me say again
'oh let me not return'.
Damn the illusion of redemption
and the hopes that held me here.
I will oppose all that would befall me.
With this rage inside of me
I will defy what I would become.
I know that he is aware of my new position. He has me spying on Dumbledore now as well. But the information I receive is getting less and less now; how much longer can I keep up this act? I think he’s well aware that I’m no longer his loyal servant. Malfoy is just counting the days until I slip up. He’s always been the most loyal supporter… until he can take over the position himself.
I’d contemplate suicide, but I’m already ninety-nine percent sure that I’m going to what Muggles call ‘Hell’. And if that’s true, I’m not going to spare them a single free trip -- they’re going to have to take me. I still have a one percent margin of chance that I will live through this and achieve what I’ve been seeking: a real redemption. A life away from this damned school, away from wars and dictators, each as cruel as their opponents in their own ways. I know this sort of place does not exist, but at least I won’t have to deal with it. Perhaps I can get my manor back from the Ministry’s ownership. They seized my property when I was nearly put in Azkaban… I do miss the gardens, and the library, although the rest of the place brings back things I’d rather forget.
Care to know some secret of mine? No one would ever guess, I’m sure…
I hate being alone.
Even from the beginning, I’ve been alone. From the very start. How is that possible, one might ask -- after all, I did go to Hogwarts as a student. It is a vast school -- how can one be alone at any given moment? It is possible. In fact, it is very possible to be packed into a room like Filch packs brooms into a closet, or for a better simile, like Filch packs detention slips into his office drawers, and yet still be utterly alone. Not that your underdeveloped cranium could comprehend that. It is simply a matter of state of mind.
It’s simply that if, for some reason, you happen to be the only one with a certain mind frame, no one else will bother to notice you or understand you, and if they do notice, it’s usually the negative aspect of attention. Which led to shutting myself off more… not that I’m complaining too much; I rather enjoy my solitude. It’s just that I would rather it be solitude in the company of no one else. If I can’t have that, then there must at least be someone in the crowd who piques my interest, even for a moments’ worth of dry humour.
It’s a vicious cycle between imprisonment by force and imprisonment by choice.
Again, the desire to be free of this maddening atmosphere pulls at me… but I’ll be gone soon, right? He’s always saying how I’d best watch my step… next time…
The solitude and anger
that do battle inside me
will always guide me to the answers
that I know I may not see.
They are the bonds that hold me tighter,
they are the chains that weigh on me.
One day I know they will be gone.
I’m getting dizzier now… a good sign, I believe. Either that or I’ve developed a concussion from the time Lucius cracked a table leg over my temple. How long ago was that? A few days? A few hours? I cannot tell once this medicine begins to work its subtle magics… No, I wasn’t referring to some new sleeping aid. I’ve consumed nearly a third of a bottle of scotch. Then again, that is a sleeping aid as well, in its own right.
There’s a time-turner in my hand. I could go back so many years with this… I could take back all this madness, with only a few turns of this simple tool. I could do it… but I somehow have no desire to do so. It is too easy, which ultimately means that once done, the actual process of fixing the wrongs becomes much harder. No, I’d rather leave things as they are.
It looks like I’m not going to sleep for a while… how sad. I was expecting a form of release from this. Even if it’s only for an instant. But then again, if I get what he promised me, then I can sleep all I want to in the afterlife…
Sweet, blessed Anubis, have mercy on this heart of mine. It surely is much heavier than any feather you can produce- even if it were one of lead.
Can I start again and erase this pain
by casting doubts into the waters,
asking judgment of the sea?
Though fortune may guide to the fools
I have no wish to be free
until I am gone.