For a while, I had nothing but time.
“So many fail because they don't get started - they don't go. They don't overcome inertia. They don't begin.”
And the voices. They provided me with quotes from worthless speakers, Professors, fools, and Mudbloods. They were nothing but the shredded relics of my memory, passing occasionally under the magnifying glass that was my consciousness, my will, and my intent. That is to say, the very thing which kept me alive for ten years when everything else was gone. Purpose.
“Are you calling me inert?” I asked the voice. Perhaps it was madness to talk back to voices, to memories, but I had never shied from madness. Anarchy. Chaos. The idea of it tantalized my consciousness, electrifying that will to live—no, to exist, for living was weak. Flesh was weak. I was so much more than that. I was no longer human, but I was still a being.
“Don’t seem to be up to much, these days,” the voice replied with my own scathing drawl. Why shouldn’t it have my scathing drawl—it effectively was my voice.
“I lack a body,” I replied to it.
“So very inert indeed.”
“But not a failure.”
“Oh no?” the voice replied; this fraction of myself, this splinter of my being. “Inertia leads surely to failure, but so do many other roads. Duelling with infants, for example.”
I hadn’t been aware I possessed any sense of humour whatsoever. It was something I prided myself in, yet in this abstract fragment, I dared to be ironic.
“Those who do not begin certainly fail, but those who begin fail quite often as well.”
“Not I,” I told the voice.
“You have begun, and you have ended short of your goals. You have failed.”
“I have not ended. I have not failed.”
“The boy still lives, life goes on for the Mudbloods, intermingling with purer stock, tainting wizardkind.”
“The boy still lives, true, but I still…am
“But you are
“No,” my conscious self raged at the voice. “I am everything
.” I could feel my spirit swell. Somewhere at the mouth of the cave, a creature stirred. A sheep or a salamander, I did not care. I pounced on it, sinking my spirit into its weak material flesh, invading its thoughts, its mind, its soul. Its human soul.
A rattling gasp escaped the human’s mouth and I instantly became aware that I was luckier than I could have hoped. A wizard; his thoughts spelled that out to me.
Pleased, the voice hissed to me. “You will fail if you do not finish that which you’ve begun.”
“I will finish that which I’ve begun,” I told it, and as the world slid into focus, the voices slid out, and I made that human’s flesh my flesh, and was
“Hello, Mr. Quirrell,” I whispered into the flesh ear that, from this day on, would also be my own. Sweet, glorious flesh.