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Chapter 1: A Prologue: The Restricted Section
"May I go into the restricted section, Miss? I have a permission slip from Professor Mercer."
Rose Weasley stood nervously at the desk of the librarian, Madam Vincent, fiddling with a stray curl of hair which had come loose from her ponytail.
Madam Vincent held out her hand for the slip, regarding her suspiciously through those jam jar bottom glasses of hers. She reminded Rose of an owl, but not one of those cute ones with big amber eyes, but like one of those ones who would peck your eyes out just for coming within a metre of it. Her eyes narrowed as she read the slip, and then she reached under her desk to pull out a key. She thrust it at Rose, along with the slip, and nodded curtly.
Rose scurried away, gripping the cold metal tightly. She reached the door to the infamous restricted section, slotting the key and turning it with an echoing click. Walking through the rows of shelves cautiously, she wondered what order they were sorted in. After examining some of the books she discovered that they were listed alphabetically according to the surname of the author.
"Varkoztisch... V..." she muttered under her breath, striding along the rows until she was nearing the back of the room. It was then that she noticed a sudden change in the atmosphere. It was as if a dementor had just walked into the room, as if something were lingering in the air, something dark. Something terrible.
The lights flickered.
Rose turned the corner into the 'V' row, her breath coming out in heavy gasps and her heart thudding frantically in her chest. She hated this place. She loved libraries, but this was not a library. This was the restricted section. This was the place where people could go and never come back. This was the place that no one dared to set foot in.
Her foot was about to come down to form another step when she heard some paper rustle. She cast a look behind her to search for the source of the sound.
"Who's there?" she called, her voice wavering slightly.
Pandemonium ensued, and Rose let out a shriek. Books. Books were flying everywhere. Left, right, up, down, clockwise, anti-clockwise, diagonally - you name it, a book was being hurled in that direction.
"Peeves! Is that you?!" she yelled above all the chaos, hair whipping wildly around her face, having come out of it's elastic band. Out of the blue, a book came down and thumped her on the head, landing with a thud at her feet. Abruptly, the restricted section fell silent.
She breathed out, straining her ears for any sign of Madam Vincent coming to check up on her. Most probably not, she guessed - Madam Vincent was a deaf old hag who needed to be practically shouted at to be heard. This left the library a place to socialise and study simultaneously, unlike how it had been with the previous librarian, who'd left a year ago because she said the students of Hogwarts were putting a strain on her heart.
Rose picked up the book, turning it over front to back, examining it. It was a strange book - there was no title, no author. Just a plain, faded, green leather book with a silver buckle and yellowing pages. She undid the clasp, opening it up onto the first page.
Turning to the next page, Rose found a table of contents. The chapters were not named, instead just a simple list of Chapter Is and IIs. Chapter I began on the next page. Rose peeled the paper back, revealing it.
She dropped the book in surprise. A sort of mini whirlpool of air and smoke had started up, bringing forwards dust and loose bits of paper from the surrounding area. It was also bringing forward Rose. She couldn't help it - the pull was also emotional not just physical. There was a burning desire inside her to just step into the whirlpool.
No, Rose! NO! A distant voice in her mind was telling her. She didn't listen. Taking another step forwards, she let the whirlpool pull her in.
Updated 7th September 2012