Merlin's Academy for Excellence
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     In The Dark (one-shot)

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    Amerix Skye
    Aurors In-Training
    Aurors In-Training

    Posts : 180

    PostSubject: In The Dark (one-shot)   Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:18 am

    Timeline: Nine days before the start of classes

    Amerix strolled down the street on her way home after spending the night having dinner and catching a movie with Haley. A contented smile graced her face and her gait was light and bouncy. This was her first time back home after spending two years at the academy and she didn’t realise how much she had missed the quaint little town and its people. And waking up to the sight of the Swiss Alps.

    The first few days back home was spent in a frenzy of hugs and chatter as her parents and best friend bombarded her with questions and the latest news in town. They’d spent hours catching up and Amerix was relieved to find that two years away from home in a country whose people spoke a different language did nothing to take away from her native language. She answered questions about life at the academy and how her studies were progressing and in turn, listened to her parents’ latest adventures as Aurors.

    The next few days were spent visiting places she frequented when she was living here: the bakery, the library and her favourite cafes. Of course, there were sleepovers at Haley’s home where they would talk through the night and wake up late the next morning. Then there was the quest to eat every delicacy that the academy just could not replicate. How she missed Swiss food! Every available time was spent with her parents and with Haley.

    “Amerix! So nice to see you!”

    She turned at the voice and a grin broke across her face. “Mr. Baker, hi!” she greeted, remembering to speak in German.

    “I heard you were back from university,” the short rotund man said. “How’s life there?”

    To preserve the secrecy of the university, Amerix had told anyone who asked that she was studying to be a cop at a private place. It wasn’t technically a lie since an Auror could be considered the magical version of a muggle cop. Most people were surprised that she chose that career path given her tendency to introversion and dislike of confrontation of any sort.

    “It’s great,” Amerix replied.  

    “Good, good,” the man said with a laugh. “My daughter, she, well, she can’t decide what she wants to study and I tell her to do baking. Can’t go wrong with that. But she doesn’t want the heat and the hard work.”

    Amerix half-listened to the baker drone on about his daughter, keeping a smile on her face, nodding and giving the occasional ‘mhmm’.

    “I won’t worry about it, Mr. Baker,” Amerix said with a small smile. “I’m sure she’ll find something she enjoys doing. If you don’t mind, my parents are expecting me back home.”

    They said their goodbyes and Amerix turned the corner and hurried down the quiet road. It was getting dark and she didn’t like walking alone in the dark even though their town was relatively safe. In about five minutes, she stopped in front of a rustic stone home and took a minute to appreciate the familiar sight. She would be heading back to the academy in about a week’s time and she was already missing the sight of home.

    As she took the first few steps up the driveway, her dog – the one she found on the Rocky Cliffs – ran up the path to greet her. Amerix frowned. Instead of the usual joyful eyes that Amerix knew so well, she was greeted by panicked eyes. Tiqvah stopped at her feet and ran in circles before running a few paces to the house and turning back to her, all the while barking urgently. Tiqvah rarely barked.

    Something was wrong. Very wrong.

    In the dim light of the street lamps, Amerix caught sight of something staining her dog’s usually spotless coat.

    “Is that…blood?” Amerix bent down and caught hold of her agitated dog.

    “Oh mein Gott,” she said under her breath, when her fingers came away stained with blood.

    Getting up, she ran as fast as her feet could carry her and found the front door open.

    “Papa! Mama!” she called.

    It was pitch black in the house. Her hands reached to the wall but the switch did not work. She slipped out her wand.

    “Lumos,” she whispered then gasped as the living room was illuminated. “Oh, nein.”

    The usually cosy living room was trashed. Stuffing from the sofa floated around the room, tables were over turned, her dad’s coffee mug rolled on the floor, the dark liquid staining the rug in front of the fire place. Torn books lay miserably on the wooden floor and the few porcelain decorations on the mantel piece were smashed. There were burn marks on the wall. The most alarming thing however were the drag marks staining the polished floor a dark red.

    “Papa! Mama!” she called again, following the marks leading her further into the house to the kitchen.

    The kitchen lights did not work.

    She pointed her wand around the room to see knives on the floor, two of them stained with blood, and shattered plates and cups decorating the tiled floor. Tiqvah whined from the bottom of the stairs. Not wasting a second more, Amerix turned around and rushed up the stairs.

    “Papa! Mama! Wo bist du? (Where are you?)” she cried as her feet thundered up the steps. Her toes landed on something sticky. She pointed the wand at it and the light showed a smear of blood. Her gaze dropped to the floor and she let out a horrified yelp. There was a puddle of blood on the floor.

    She burst through the bedroom door and saw the mattress slashed and her parents’ clothes strewn about the room. The bed side lamp was broken and the wardrobe in smithereens. Mama’s dresser was a mess; the mirror was broken, her perfume bottles shattered and her jewellery in pieces. A stain on the wall caught her eyes and she pointed her wand at it.

    A word was written in blood on the wall above the bed.

    RACHE

    Revenge.

    Her breathing increased and she felt panic setting in. Tiqvah’s warm body brushed against her legs, bringing her back to the present. Her bedroom proved as empty and as wrecked as the rest of the house. Where could Mama and Papa be? Her dog whined again and bounded down the stairs.

    “Tiqvah!” she called after her dog, following the animal out through the back door where there was a swimming pool behind her house.

    Tiqvah sat where the back porch ended and pointed her nose in the direction of the pool. Amerix took a step forward. Her wand clattered to the floor and screamed and screamed and screamed. Papa and Mama were lying face down in the pool, their blood staining the water red. Tears streamed down her face as she ran to the edge of the pool. She sank to her knees as both hands came up to cover her face.

    “Papa, Mama,” she cried hoarsely. Who would do this? Papa and Mama could not be dead. They just couldn’t. She was so happy. They were so proud of her. Sobs wrecked her body, making her tremble with grief.

    Tiqvah barked but Amerix paid no attention to the dog. Her beloved parents’ were dead and it was her fault. If only she hadn’t gone to see the movie and have dinner with Haley. She could have helped her parents survive. If only she hadn’t stopped to talk to the baker. She could have been home sooner. If only, if only. Tiqvah barked again and the sound was accompanied by her the sound of her nails against the wood as she scrambled down the porch.

    Amerix felt chills go down her neck. Before she could turn her head, a strong hand pushed her into the water and held her down. She forced her eyes open as her hands came up to grasp the attacker’s hand, trying to wrench it away. Her struggles were futile though. Her lungs burned for oxygen and she had to close her eyes to keep the bloodied water from stinging them. She began seeing stars behind her eyelids and felt the pull on unconsciousness tugging on her. Just as she was going to pass out, the man’s grip loosened and Amerix summoned everything she had to break the surface and take a gulp of air.

    “– stupid dog!” she heard, together with Tiqvah’s growl.

    She needed her wand. She scrambled to get out of the swimming pool and to the porch where she’d dropped her wand but the man had freed himself from Tiqvah’s teeth and to her horror, he had his own wand.

    She rolled out of the way and the bolt of light shot past her ear. She heard the man let out a yell as she scrambled for the porch. Just as her fingers closed around her wand, she heard Tiqvah’s yelp as the dog was flung to one side by the man’s spell and out of the corner of her eye, she saw another bolt of light on its way to her.

    Amerix said the first thing she could think of. “Protego!” The spell bounced off the shield and she froze, not knowing what to do next. Everything she’d learned during her two years at the academy fled her mind as the masked man approached, his wand pointed at her sending off spell after spell.

    She prepared herself to fight a losing battle but a thought popped into her mind. She could apparate. And leave Papa and Mama and Tiqvah? But what choice did she have? She was certain she could not hold her own against someone who managed to kill her parents and they were skilled Aurors. She wouldn’t last one second.

    I’m sorry, Mama, Papa, Tiqvah. She pictured Haley’s bedroom and apparated.

    “Oh mein Gott!”

    Haley’s voice was the first thing Amerix registered.

    “Are you okay? What happened?”

    Her best friend’s voice was a comfort to hear. The girl rushed to where Amerix had landed on the floor, her entire body stained with her parents’ blood from being pushed into the swimming pool. She couldn’t speak. Her voice refused to work no matter how many times she tried to explain. The only thing that spoke were the tears running down her cheeks and dripping on the carpet.


    “Come, let’s get you cleaned up,” Haley said softly, pulling Amerix up and leading her to the bathroom attached to the bedroom.

    Amerix bathed, her mind and body numbed. Really, the only thing working in her body was the tear gland. She changed into one of Haley’s pyjamas and flopped beside her friend on the bed. She didn’t speak for a whole hour, instead just crying and waiting for the shock to abate. Her entire body trembled with the ordeal she’d been through.

    Haley, having seen Amerix through her bad breakups, knew that she would speak in her own time. She was a muggleborn and attended the same wizarding school with Amerix although she chose to go to a different university. Her friend was not one to cry easily so when she did, Haley knew it was something very terrible.

    “Papa and Mama are dead…murdered,” Amerix spoke in her native tongue, her voice hoarse from all the crying.

    Haley was speechless for a moment – not an easy feat for someone who was naturally talkative and bubbly. She teared up and gave Amerix a big bear hug, squeezing her tight.

    “I don’t know what to say…” Haley trailed off as she pulled out of the hug. Amerix’s parents were probably the nicest and most helpful people she knew. They were qualified Aurors too so the person who killed them had to be…very good.

    “I don’t know what to do!” Amerix wailed. “I can’t go back to university, I can’t leave my Papa and Mama!”

    Haley gave her friend a firm shake. “You listen, Amerix and you listen good,” she said sternly. “You will go back to university and finish your studies. As far as I know Mr. and Mrs. Skye would want you to do that.”

    “But I can’t. I can’t study anymore, I can’t be an Auror, I don’t have what it takes!” Amerix cried before relating the whole thing to Haley.

    “Look, you couldn’t fight him because you’ve only studied for two years,” Haley reasoned. She refrained from mentioning that even Amerix’s parents couldn’t take him down.

    Amerix’s violent sobs subsided into sniffles as she used the tissues Haley gave her to wipe away her tears.

    “The best thing you can do right now is get some sleep,” Haley said softly. “We’ll figure things out in the morning.”

    Amerix nodded but her dreams were filled with masked men, suffocating underwater and her parents’ dead lifeless bodies.

    The next day was spent giving her statement to the Aurors who came to investigate and planning the funeral for her parents – something she never in a million years she dreamed would happen to her when she was twenty-two years old. She refused to go back to the home and went instead to the hospital where her parents were brought so they could be properly prepared for burial. So marred were their faces that if Amerix didn’t know they were her parents, it would’ve taken her some time to recognise them. Their bodies were severely tortured with knife wounds and wounds from spell that hit them. Tiqvah was relatively unharmed except for a few bruises.

    The two Aurors assigned to the case explained to her that her parents had recently closed a very confidential case and coupled with the writing on the wall, they thought it must be someone who wanted to get back at them for their success in apprehending the criminals. Amerix listened to it all through a fog, not much of their words registering in her brain. How could it when both her parents were brutally murdered in one night?

    Amerix moved through everything as if in a daze and she went to the funeral two days later. She watched as her beloved Papa and Mama were lowered into the ground, nodded absently at the sympathy the townspeople offered, received visitors who came by to gossip more than to comfort and blocked out the rumours going on about the cause of their death. She didn't cry at the funeral. She couldn't when everyone was watching with their pitiful gazes. She didn't need pity. She needed her parents back, alive and well and laughing and smiling.

    But cry she did at night in Haley’s spare bedroom. Her world became dark, lonely, silent and rife with nightmares. For the next four days she stayed in her hometown, she managed to sleep only a couple of hours and woke up screaming and crying each night. Not even Tiqvah's company in her bed could prevent the howling that tore from her throat each time her parents' dead body filled her dreams. She began taking sleeping pills. First one at a time. Then two. Then three.

    Haley managed to convince her to go back to university and finish up the rest of the course. Amerix relented, vowing to find the man responsible and avenge her parents’ deaths. She arrived at the academy two days before classes started with a new bottle of sleeping pills.

    The medicine provided her temporary relief from the nightmares but it was the starting point of a downward spiral, a dark abyss into which her soul descended where no light could reach.

    _________________________________________________________
    All credits for this incredible Sig goes to the amazing Alley!

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