Twenty-Five

She was twenty-five and he was seven
when she told him a secret
that wasn’t a secret at all.

‘You are a wizard, Tom Riddle.’

Nothingness carried her away before
his very eyes, inches at a time, dust
taken by a breeze.

***

She was twenty-five and he was
fourteen when she told him an answer
to the secret question he hid from
everyone.

‘I can tell you about immortality, if
you just wait.’

Like smoke, she swirled into nothing
and was gone.

***

She was twenty-five and he was sixteen
when she asked if he had killed anyone.

‘Not yet,’ he said.

Her sad, amber gaze was the last to disappear.

***

She was twenty-five and he was twenty-one
when she appeared during office hours
and she would only stay for seven minutes
— he had counted the time before and
the time before that — seven and no more.

‘This is the Ministry of Magic,’ she said with surprise.

He nearly asked where she expected
him to be before he was alone again.

***

She was twenty-five, just like him,
when she saw him reading about
Horcruxes in his half-empty flat.

‘Tell me,’ he said from where
he watched her on the floor,
cross-legged and shirtless.
‘Tell me how to live forever.’

Pointing to the book he held as her own
fingers faded, she said, ‘Not like that.’

***

She was twenty-five and he was twenty-eight
when she found him at the New Year’s Eve Ball,
surreptitiously smoking cigarettes in the crisp night.

‘Not all of us have as much as time as you do,’
he whispered in her ear.

A shiver ran through her just as a laugh did
and then she was gone from the balcony of Malfoy Manor.

***

She was twenty-five and he was thirty-four,
numbers that weren’t divisible by
seven — but still added up that way —
when she straddled him in bed.

Between breaths and kisses, his heart
drumming from a curious panic and the
new, delicious vulnerability of his
naked body against hers, he asked,
‘How do I live forever?’

‘Oh, Tom,’ she said as something cool
and sharp slid between his ribs. Her
voice was nearly kind. ‘You don’t.’

***

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Instinct

” It is not what we are but the choices that we make that defines us” – Albus Dumbledore

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“Killing, it is the very definition of instinct. Everyone is born with the instinct to kill, but society and morals subdue it. War coaxes it out of the shell we force it into. War unleashes the instinct to kill.”
He stared at her with big, round eyes, his mouth slightly agape, “But where is the line between a murderer and soldier?”

“Survival. If I don’t kill them, they’ll kill me.”

She noticed the way he visibly tensed, a soft smile graced her lips, sighing quietly she squeezed his shoulder in a gesture of comfort, “In war you only have two choices, to become a corpse or to kill”

He looked up, “What about Law…what about honour?”

She smiled broader at his beguiling innocence, a part of her broke at the thought of how this very nature would altogether disintegrate, soon.

Too soon.

“There is no law, anymore”

He looked to be deep in thought before the grip over his weapon tightened, “I suppose not…”

Beyond the parapet, the vile cacophony of the bloody chaos could be heard once again

______________________________________________________________

A Little Girl From Just Another Day

Round and round and round
the three wheeled cart goes
round and round

It’s just another day

The man at the pedal is worn and brown, the journey of his lifetime etched in the lines of his callused hands.

Up and about, from dawn
Up and about, till dusk
he goes, hawking his hens and a chick.

Round and round and round
on the three wheels of his green cart,
which goes round and round

I saw a little girl today, up and about with the man.
Singing the hawking song.

A red pointy hat on her head.
She was a scrawny little thing,
In a blue sweater and green leggings.
Nimble hands and small bare feet,
grey with dirt,
and chapped skin, sporting a toothy grin.
She had the brightest of eyes,
twinkling and warm and nice,
accepting little tokens from strangers
with the grace of a queen.

If you ask her, she’ll tell
the story of her home,
of her mother and
her two sisters
and a brother long gone;
Of a shooting star and
the night she asked for a wish.

His wares sold,
he prepares to leave.
The little girl at his heels.
She’s smiling a little more,
her eyes are brighter,
and up and about she goes,
singing the hawking song.

The man at the pedal is a father,
an entrepreneur and
a hero to his little daughter.

In exulted tones they sing the hawking song together,

She is a dreamer,
Her eyes again a little brighter,
She is looking back, waving,
Her smile a little bigger
against the setting sun.

The token pencils in her hand,
held tighter.
She’ll draw her dreams tonight.
It was just another day.

Round and round and round again,
The three wheeled green cart goes.
Round and round, to another morrow.

Forgotten

Do you remember,
the last time their lonely eyes lit up
with mirth, the slow creeping smile?
Or that trek over the rickety bridge,
old with it’s years, coughing wooden dust?

Do you remember to hum to that tune
the now broken radio played.
That tune you said, reminded you of
sunsets and starry skies, of me?

Do you still revel in the smell the rain,
the pages from a new book,
freshly brewed coffee,
the winter air?

Do you recall the last time you
picked sea shells by your favourite alcove?
where the sun beat down on the sandcastles
and the seagulls sung over glistening waves?

Or perhaps all of it are a distant haze,
in an illusion of negative images, streaked with gray.

A lifetime of remembering and forgetting,
Leaving behind and being left behind,
Letting go and holding on.

A walk down the sepia lane
and idealistic nostalgia only age affords.

But I’m afraid they now have been long forgotten.