- Story Summary:
- "You failed her, you know.."
"You failed her, you know..." Kreacher paused, hand and duster halfway towards the curtains hiding the portrait of his late mistress.
"She hates you now. She told me." The voice was cold, almost mocking. Out of the shadows by the stairs, a tall woman stepped out, her long, scraggly hair as black as the dark she emerged from. She reminded Kreacher of his late master's pet snake. The snake used to slither silently through its large tank, stalking him, each slide calculated. The way she slowly, deliberately stepped towards him, was similar to how the snake looked moments before it lunged at Kreacher. Her half-mad eyes were wild, and he didn't even recognize one of the esteemed Black sisters he had once served regularly.
"My mistress is dead. You do not belong in the house of Black. Leave now." He turned back towards the curtains, not concerned with the visitor anymore. Her lips curled up, and she simpered, "They said you were mad. I wasn't ready to believe that wittle Kreacher was still there, but, loyal to the end, aren't we?" His head turned back towards her, recognition dawning in his eyes.
"Mistress Bellatrix-" He began, but she cut him off with a shriek, "Silence! You dare speak back to me?" Snarling, she brandished her wand, waving it sideways with a practised ease. Kreacher flew towards the opposite wall, a sickening crunch barely causing a blink in her eye. She laughed again, angry demeanor changing instantly back to a cold smile. Kreacher moaned, "Mistress is not speaking to you! You lie! I keep house from filthy, filthy little mudbloods-"
"Keep it from mudbloods?" Bellatrix laughed the sound ringing through the musky, silent house. "I had to finish my disgusting, mudblood-loving cousin myself! And letting Potter and Dumbledore's little Order in..." She clicked her tongue twice, and sang in a high-pitched tone, "Three strikes, elf. One and two and three!" Aiming her wand once again towards him, she barely finished saying the word 'three' as she muttered a word that made Kreacher's head spin in pain.
His strangled cries burst from his tiny chest, arms and legs withering uncontrollably. His face turned a dark shade of pink with the efforts to breathe, and free himself from her grasp. Yawning, she flicked her wand again, ceasing the spell. Kreacher lay gasping for breath at her feet.
"K-Kreacher not bad, Kreacher good, keep house from filthy mudbloods... Yes, Kreacher good-" She cut off his stammering with another curse, different from the first, but causing him to emit the same scream. She laughed as he scrambled to his knees, bending over and holding the place where his left ear had just been. He looked down, seeing the ear lying on the floor in a small puddle of blood.
"Bad elves need punishing. I thought I would give you a hand," she stated, as if it was the simplest explanation in the world. Kreacher tottered back and forth, muttering strings of unintelligible words, and his eyes began to droop. Bellatrix reached down and curled her fist the front of his grimy pillowcase, lifting him up to her height, close to her face.
"Oh, done already? I was hoping you would last a bit longer, there was so much for fun we could have had..." She sighed, as though he had caused her a great unfairness, and threw him back down to the floor.
A flash of green light, from which she didn't shield her eyes, but instead watched intently the last expression on his face. It was always the same, with every victim. The same look of realization, wide-eyed and gasping for another breath before you could do so no longer. She kicked his still body, watching his limp head roll to the side, and wiped her dirty hands on the curtain covering the portrait. The curtains fell open slightly, and she looked into the expressionless face of her aunt, who was watching her, the quietest she had been without a curtain over her in years.
"Sorry, auntie dearest, I just couldn't help myself..." She laughed once more, reveling in the echo it created through the empty house. Without casting another look at the dead elf, she sauntered away, humming an erratic, off-beat tune under her breath.