The voices in Tony’s head, crying out desperately, suddenly ceased. His eyes grew lifeless, muddy brown turning tundra. “I don’t quite understand.”
“I suppose it’d be best if I told you everything from the beginning, although heaven only knows where it began and how it will end.”
Tony, who wasn’t sure if his voice would crack, shook his head. “Tell me the identity of the person who killed them.”
“Unless I tell you who I am, and what your father was doing, you wouldn’t be able to understand the nature of your parents’ murderers and how dangerous they are, even if you learn of their identity.”
“Ms. Evans, I’m not sure if you understand the position you’ve… Wait, are you imputing there’s more than one person involved in the alleged murder of my parents?”
“My dear boy, you don’t know what we’re facing, what this world is facing. It’s an inevitability that we must face and try our best to conquer. We must be prepared for it when it comes because it’s going to be nasty, and it’s going to hit us hard where we’ll bleed the most. Now, should I tell you what you need to know or are you going to sit here bleating pathetically and waste my time?”
Tony nodded, defeated. “Alright, but before you go on, I have a question for you.”
“What is it?”
“Why did you disappear that day, when we met? One minute, we were playing around and making fun of your sister, the next, you’d left.” Tony asked, still bewildered by the memory.
“We left the country and settled far away, in Cokeworth, in England.”
“It was because of that letter my sister received. It changed everything.”
“What letter? Oh, the one that an owl dropped on her head? I still remember how bizarre it was. To be quite honest, that day was a very strange one.”
“Yes, that letter. It told us what she was.”
“What she was?” Tony echoed.
“Yes. She’s dead.” Petunia said shortly.
“I’m sorry to hear that. She had lovely eyes.”
“She got what was coming to her, marrying that Potter chap! That little witch!”
“Do not abuse the dead in front of me!” Tony thundered, in anguish.
“I’m not abusing her. It’s the truth.”
“That she’s a witch.”
“A witch? What do you mean, a witch? That is historical nonsense that you are spouting.”
“My dear boy, you’ve got it all wrong. This world isn’t all that it seems it is. They exist.”
“Who? What are you saying?”
“I used to think they’d be bizarre aberrations, standing out, like that man in the violet cloak. Now I know better. They look just like us. When they’re amongst us, they dress like us, blend into the crowd and vanish. It is almost impossible to detect them. Yet, they’re there. Living in the shadows, waiting for every opportunity to strike us. They exist. Their world exists.”
At the mention of the man in the violet cloak, Tony’s throat had gone dry. “What world? Whose world?”
“The magical world. The world of witches and wizards. And my sister was one of them.” Petunia smiled sadly, looking at Tony Stark’s dumbstruck face.
“Now, do I have your attention? Will you allow me to proceed with my story and the reason why I’m here, or do you wish to whine some more?”
Tony’s mind was still reeling from the effects of that last statement. “Go ahead.”
“My name was, indeed, Petunia Evans. I went to London when I was seventeen years old to pursue a typing course. Eventually, I was able to get into Grunnings as a minor secretary and I met Vernon, who eventually became my husband. We settled in Little Whinging and geared up for a happy, domestic life.” Petunia sighed.
“I’m guessing there’s more to the story?”
“Well, you need to understand that growing up in a family that adored Lily, the accomplished witch, was a little more than frustrating. I had to work twice as hard only to be noticed. My parents wouldn’t even look at me, so ashamed were they of having a muggle daughter, despite themselves being muggles! If ever there was an aberration, it should’ve been Lily! However, one day, quite by accident, I discovered my calling, the job that I would do for a long time to come.
It happened over one of the summers that Lily was home. I was still in high school, going to soccer practice. Lily, the interminable pain in the ass that she was, was adamant on accompanying me to watch the game, talking all the while about her precious Potter, who was such a great Quidditch player. Anyway, it had been getting dark and we accidentally turned into the wrong alleyway. Lily kept assuring me that we were going the right way and I, like the blind fool I was, trusted her judgement, thinking inwardly that her ‘witch’ powers must have made her senses keener than mine. We kept going deeper and deeper into the darkness until we hit a dead end, and then even Lily realised we were lost. Turning to me with a sheepish grin, she said, “Er, I think we’re lost. Do you have any idea as to how we can go home, Tuney?”
“You’re a miserable freak. Just use your magic to get us home.” I growled.
“What do you mean, you can’t? Have you just been fooling us all along?”
“No, I meant, I can’t use magic outside of the magical world. It is forbidden, they’ll expel me.”
“Oh, will they? Why didn’t you tell me this before?” I had just got a brilliant idea. If I persuaded Lily to use magic, we’d get home and she’d be expelled from that good-for-nothing school. She wouldn’t be the apple of my parents’ eyes any more.
“Well, it wouldn’t have been much fun then, would it?” She winked.
I felt uncontrollable rage rise within me as I remembered the countless times she had threatened to use magic on me when Snape, that slimeball, and I gotten into fights with each other. Quelling the desire to throttle her right there, I said, “Lily, you’re a fucking asshole.”
“Arguing, are we, ladies?”
We sprang around, our backs against the wall. A lone man crouched, leering at us from the corner of the alleyway. Having found us alone, he slowly began to come closer, his platinum blonde hair gleaming in the dull glow of a brazier. I was frozen with fear. Sweat began to trickle down my forehead. Lily took my hand and began to walk silently past the man. We had walked halfway down the alley and I began to breathe freely, when four men suddenly darted in front of us, blocking our path. All of them were carrying guns.
“Not so fast, darlings. First, empty out your pockets. Let’s see what you have. I’d like those earrings too, if you please.” Silver-Hair said.
We handed out our loose change and Lily said, “Can we go now?”
“Not yet, love, I haven’t even started. My my, what lovely eyes! The anger they carry! They’re piercing me, oh the agony!” He screamed delightedly. He grabbed Lily by the hair and pulled her close to him. “I’m not letting you go, darling. You’re a fine piece of china that I’ll be collecting tonight.” He smiled and knocked her out. He motioned to the others, “We don’t need the blonde. Kill her.”
“Lily, do it!” I screamed, as the other men began advancing towards me. But Lily couldn’t hear me. Blood was pounding in my ears. Was this it? My face was streaked with tears. Would I die here? My palms balled into fists. I wasn’t going out like this. Not like this. Not here. Not now.
“Don’t you dare touch her, you freak”, I growled. My legs began to carry me forward. The concept of time and space had ceased to exist. Everything began to blur, as I moved forward one step at a time, and then quicker. It was as if my legs were on fire. I wasn’t dying here tonight.
“LILY! GET THE FUCK UP!” I screamed as I jumped and roundhouse-kicked the man closest to me. There was a loud crack, and I felt a rib break under the pressure of my foot. “You filthy little bitch!” The man howled with pain. He punched me in the gut repeatedly, and I felt blood rising up to my mouth. My eyes zoomed in onto the gun as I wrenched it away from his hip. It was already cocked. Not knowing what I was doing, I fired.
It was as if that gunshot awoke me. I was no longer Petunia Evans. I was no longer anybody. I was faceless, nameless. I existed to kill. That sound would later become the very reason for my existence. It would become my guide and saviour. That was the moment I was born again.