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A Handful of Dust

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Dust lay thick beneath his feet, and there was no wind to stir it. The barren slope stretched as far as he could see under the thin stars.

He who'd gone further than any other towards death without tasting it recognised death when it swallowed him.

They were wrong, he thought, those pitiful Muggles, the ones who'd warned him that he'd burn in Hell if he didn't say his prayers by his bedside each night.

He scratched his name in the dust.

I am Lord Voldemort, he said. I eat death and spit it out.

The words fell dull in the dark.

*~*

Exerting all his power he drew the occupants of this place to him. One by one they came, till they surrounded him, thousands upon thousands. The dead.

He who'd commanded armies of Inferi was not afraid of the dead.

I am Lord Voldemort, he said. I eat death and spit it out.

The dead paid no heed.

In the end, he let them leave.

*~*

Time passed, though beneath this changeless sky there was no way to measure it.

If he had to search this compassless land from north to south, from east to west, if he had to sift its dust with his fingers, grind its stones with his teeth, he would find the way back to life!

I am Lord Voldemort, he said. I eat death and spit it out.

His words in the dust had been obscured. Only four mocking letters remained. He scuffed them out.