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Friday, September 6, 2013


My friend, Spring, has a great blog:  "Write Now Anyway," where she posts writing prompts.  I've had some fun ideas come to me as I use her blog to help inspire me to write.  Today I've decided to share something that Spring's blog helped me create.  The prompt was the first line of the short story posted below.  Not sure where I was going with it, I just started to write, and ended up with something I rather liked.  (It's perhaps a bit on the creepy side.  Don't judge me too harshly)!  :-)

Here' a link to her blog:

Here's my story.  You'll know right away that I went with a rather "Harry Potter-ish" theme.  Happy Friday!


Her head throbbed with excruciating pain. 

Perversely, even as she moaned, Ilaria couldn’t help but dissect the word “excruciating.” The Latin term, “cruciare,” meant to torment, or…Ilaria grew dizzy as a slight shake of her head shot jagged pain, like lightning, through her head.  Oh, yes.  It also meant “to torture.”

While she fought to ignore the violent pounding that felt like a booted thug was stomping on her skull, Ilaria struggled to make sense of her surroundings, and to remember how she’d arrived at this place, which was dark, cramped, and smelled of used kitty litter.  Panic rose as she tried to sit up and fireworks ignited in her skull as it met a hard surface.  She was in the trunk of a car!  How?  She fell back and tried to think.  Her body swooped and swerved, and for the briefest of moments, Ilaria imagined she was a Quidditch player zooming high above the pitch.  Quidditch?  What in the world?

Still reeling in a fog of confusion, Ilaria ran through the past few weeks, which were finally coming back in bits and pieces.  Her agent wanted her to “polish” her novel and do more research before he tried to push it on publishers. 

“It’s brilliant, Ilaria, but it takes place in England, girl!  England!!  And you’ve never even set foot there,” Greg had said.  So she’d emptied her savings and booked a flight.  Quivering images flashed through her brain:  the plane landing in an “English-y” fog; a tiny room in a not-so picturesque inn; greenery so lush it seemed fake to a girl from Arizona; that delicious English accent, spoken by the good looking guy with black hair and flowing robes…

That’s it!  The man from the Festival!  Ilaria, thirty-something professor of Latin and a few other dead languages at a small private university, had loved J.K.’s books from the very first spell.  (Oculus reparo, to be exact).  She’d been excited, no, ecstatic, to discover that a Harry Potter Festival was in full swing during her stay in England.  She’d driven precarious roads, found the village where the festival was held, happily joined in the festivities and gotten sorted into her house.  Hufflepuff.  Ah, well.  She’d purchased a wand at Ollivander’s.  She’d joined a crowd of cackling teenagers who took turns performing their impressions of a young, soprano-voiced Harry as he opened his very first letter from Hogwarts.  Ilaria had giggled along heartily with the group as she sipped her Butterbeer in absolute geeky bliss.  Then, she’d spotted him.  Severus Snape! 

Ilaria, who had secretly harbored a crush on Alan Rickman for about fifteen years, felt her heart turn over for a moment.  In seconds she stood before him, panting like a pathetic teenager.  And of course, he wasn’t Alan; but the guy wasn’t bad.  Gleaming black hair sprouted from his scalp and fell perfectly onto his broad shoulders.  His robes were custom-tailored, with decorative embroidery on the long sleeves.  Ilaria felt like someone must have slipped a love potion into her butterbeer when the man had looked down his long, sharp nose at her and her insides melted.  His eyes were a surprising, pale blue. 

They’d chatted, she and Severus.  He’d insisted that was his real name; and gamely, she’d gone along with it, blushing a tiny bit when he’d told her that her green eyes were bewitching.   They’d wandered over to the local high school gym, which for the festival had been converted to the Great Hall at Hogwarts.  Severus had found them seats at one of the long tables.  The pumpkin juice was disgusting, but the cake, decorated with tiny chocolate frogs, was fantastic.  They’d eaten, they’d laughed.  Then, Severus had turned to Ilaria, leaned in close, and kissed her.  His lips were warm and strong on hers, and Ilaria felt herself wanting to wrap her arms around his neck and kiss him back.  And why not?  So she did.

And then, he’d whispered in her ear.   “I love you, Lily.  Always.”  And something had pricked the back of her neck, and that was all she remembered, until she’d awakened with a dynamite explosion of a headache in the trunk of her rental car.

He’d called her Lily.  Merlin’s beard!

The car slowed to a stop.  A door slammed.  Footsteps crunched outside.  Light burst into her eyes as the trunk was opened.  Ilaria fought to keep from crying out as she was lifted.  Instinct told her to pretend she was still unconscious.  She was in no shape to struggle.  Severus, or whoever he was, murmured in her ear as they moved: “Soon, my love.”

Think, girl!  A new emotion warred with the terror twisting inside Ilaria:  rage.  Crucio! Ilaria imagined herself yelling as she pointed her wand at her captor.  That’s what the Death Eaters shouted as they pointed twisted wands at poor Harry and his friends, and the good little witches and wizards would writhe in agony. 

Ilaria gasped.  She’d never finished dissecting the word “cruciare!”  The root of the word was the Late Latin word “crux.”  Cross.  Hanging tree.  Impaling stake.  Her hand fluttered to her neck.  The silver cross her grandmother had given her was quite ordinary-looking, but inside was something special.  Twist the cross and the bottom part came away.  It was pointed at the end.  Razor sharp.  “Just in case,” Nonna always said.

Shifting her fingers until they felt the cold metal of the cross, Ilaria succeeded in freeing the shaft from her necklace. 

Sorry, Severus, she thought to herself.   But you’re one sick dude.   As she jabbed the sharp metal into the man’s chest, a word burst from her lips: 


Ignoring the sobbing screams behind her, Ilaria fled back to her car. 

“Lily!” the voice behind her howled.  “Don’t go!”   Ilaria put the car in gear, thanking God that the man had left the keys in the ignition, and roared down the cobbled lane.  Her head still throbbed with excruciating pain, but she was free. 

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