I woke still in my room, a good sign. There were new scratches in the door, but the lock had held again.
There was blood in the room though. A small window provided necessary ventilation when I changed, and there could be no glass in case I hurled myself against it. Small gaps in the wall were perfect, and they fitted with the ancient features of my cottage, but they did allow small creatures through. Not that a wild creature would enter a room containing a wolf. Only a creature under compulsion would do that.
There was a single claw on the floor, and enough feathers around to tell the rest of the story. An owl had visited.
I searched the room for a message, but there were only a few scraps of parchment left. I could smell his scent though. Sirius.
He must have written the letter a few days ago, before he killed Peter. He wouldn’t have had the opportunity after he was taken to Azkaban, and he’d have known better than to write at full moon anyway. The owl must have been held up somehow. Not that I cared. Not that he could possibly have written anything I’d want to read. Probably explaining why did it, or attempting to persuade me to join his side. That’s always been my role. The understanding one. The one who tuts but always forgives.
Not this time though. All my friends were gone because of him.
I could still taste blood and feathers, but even above them I could smell Sirius. I reached above the doorframe for the key, and opened the door. Automatically I washed the blood away from myself and my cell, dressed myself and tried to behave like a normal wizard. A wizard who didn’t have a lot of funerals to attend, a wizard who didn’t eat his post if it came at the wrong time.
I’d kept the bits of parchment, but I couldn’t make them say anything. They were too tiny, and most of them were smeared with blood. Here and there I could see the odd quill-stroke, but that was it. Nothing like whole words. I don’t even know what I was looking for, what could possibly have made me feel any better.
Maybe it was for the best that I didn’t see the letter. When there are no words that can make it better, perhaps it’s best not to try. I don’t want to know why he did it. I don’t want to know how he feels about it.
I don’t want to understand him this time.