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Chapter 6: Isn't This Fun?
I’d like to take a moment to thank whoever it was that invented beds; there are so many amazing things you can do with them. You can sleep comfortably, instead of having to make do with a cave or whatever humanity did before Mr. Bed Inventor came along. You can have pillow fights and use it as a trampoline. You can dump all your mess onto it and draw the curtains so you don’t have to make your poor eyes suffer. And most importantly, you can burrow down into the mattress and wrap the covers tightly round your body and hide from the world when you’ve managed to make everything go wrong yet again. Daniel Wood? What was I thinking?
“Marlene McKinnon, you come out of that bed right now!” sighed Lily from somewhere way outside my cocoon of blankets.
“It’s all your fault!” I yelled back in a slightly muffled voice, “You started talking about rebounds and all that shit!”
“Well you don’t have to always be such a drama queen about everything!” yelled Lily, yanking the blanket off.
“Hey! I’m only wearing my underwear!” I grabbed the blanket back and we wrestled over it, probably for too long to be cool. There was a loud ripping noise and it split in two, showering us with feathers and jellybeans. Lily wrinkled her nose,
“Ew! Why are the school filling our blankets with…that?” I picked a jellybean up off the floor and popped it in my mouth,
“Yum.” Lily pretended to be sick and tossed the remains of my beloved blanket on top of me.
“Who are you going to Hogsmeade with then?” I asked with a cheeky wink, “Jimbo? Jamie-poo? Jimmy boy?” Lily sniffed primly,
“Certainly not! I’ll probably wander around with Mary and Alice for a while, until you eventually come running to me.”
“I’ll be running, but in the opposite direction to you.” Lily mock glared and started brushing her hair as I began moaning like a wounded animal and ripping my blanket into even smaller pieces.
“Shut up and get dressed. He might not even turn up.” I snorted,
“He’s been in love with me forever. He’ll be there.”
“Don’t flatter yourself. He fancies you.”
“He loves me!”
“Psh!” I flaunted into the bathroom and turned on the shower, “loves me!”
I ambled as randomly and slowly as possible all the way down to the Three Broomsticks. I usually ran down here, excited to start window shopping, but I had to go and ruin everything. What would Daniel want me to call him? Danny? Dan-Dan? I started to feel really sick.
It looked like he’d been waiting for me for a long time, because his lips had turned blue and he had frost in his hair. I approached cautiously before shrieking in what I hoped was an enthusiastic voice,
“Hi Dan!” He leapt out of his skin but soon recovered when he saw who it was, and grinned happily,
“M…marls! You l…look beaut…beautiful,” his teeth wouldn’t stop chattering. I looked down at the ugliest pink denim skirt I owned with a bright yellow top and bogey green coat. Wow he is either blind, or colour blind.
“Aw. That’s sweet. How long have you been out here then? You look freezing!”
“Only an…hour or s…so.”
“But you were way too early!” I protested, even though he was not at fault whatsoever, “Let’s go get a drink then, before you freeze!” I thought I was doing pretty well at being enthusiastic about this date. Daniel beamed at me and took my hand. He led me over to a table for two in a dark corner of the Three Broomsticks.
“So how’s your day been?” he asked, pulling out a chair for me and taking my coat, folding it neatly.
“Until you met me, of course!” he smiled and laughed. I joined in. Funny. I checked the clock. We’d been together for 3 minutes and 50 seconds exactly. How time flies when you’re having fun. There was a silence between us as we each drank deeply from the Butterbeer bottles.
“Isn’t this fun?” he beamed. He wasn’t kidding.
“Very,” I nodded, my thoughts starting to drift.
“Looking forward to the first Quidditch match of the season then? I’ve been training over the summer too, so I’m in really good shape. I think we’ve got a great chance of beating Slytherin!” I’d forgotten that our first match was against Slytherin. We had to beat them. That’d show Regulus that maybe he wasn’t quite so perfect all the time. It wasn’t in our favour though.
“Ha!” I scoffed, “We haven’t beaten them in the last three years.”
“Come on, be optimistic!”
“No that’s your job, isn’t it.” Oops. I hadn’t meant it to come out quite like that. You bitch, McKinnon!
“I’m sorry, pardon?”
“Nothing.” Ok, this was the moment. Time to end things before they got too serious,
“Daniel. I’m really, really sorry to tell you this but,” I took a swig of Butterbeer to steady my nerves, “I was kind of using this date as a way to get over someone. That wasn’t fair of me, so I think we should stop now before we get in too…deep.” As I had been talking, Daniel’s face had paled and his eyes had started to well up with tears. Dear God, please don’t cry on me! I prayed fervently. That would just not be fair if he got to use the ‘make them feel guilty by crying’ thing when I will never have the chance! Instead of crying, he drank the rest of the Butterbeer in one gulp and broke out into a coughing fit.
“That wasn’t a…nice thing to do Marls, but if it was the only way you could get over someone, then so be it,” he shook his head disappointedly. I could barely believe my ears-he was still being optimistic! You had to sort of admire it; he was taking this really well. He went on,
“Who was it?”
“Who were you getting over?”
“Oh, Reg-Remus,” I hastily corrected my mistake.
“Remus Lupin? The nerdy Marauder?” he smirked, which really didn’t suit him. Obviously he was now trying to act ‘cool’ and ‘bothered.’ I glared at him. It was only ok when I called Reems a nerd.
“How many other Remus’s do you know?” I asked bluntly, then added, “That was a rhetorical question by the way.” For some reason Daniel then burst out laughing, spraying Butterbeer in my face. I grimaced and wiped it off.
“Aren’t you precious!” he chuckled, “I do love you!” What did I do? I really couldn’t cope with people proclaiming their love for me in the middle of a pub right now though, so I quickly stood up and put my coat back on.
“Be seeing you, Daniel.” I left him gazing forlornly after me.
The only thought on my mind was to find Lily. I was focusing upon this so much that I didn’t actually look where I was going. I liked the way the snow parted with a soft crunch to make way for my foot. No-one else had a foot shaped quite like mine. Everyone is unique. It’s the one thing we all have in common. A shiny object on the ground caught my attention. I paused to pick it up and examined it closely. I recognised it; it was Regulus’s silver cross. He never told me why he used to wear it all the time; he’s not religious. But I had become quite fond of seeing it nestled on his broad chest. I slipped it round my neck. At some point I’d give it back to him, could maybe use it as an excuse to see him again. I really had to stop thinking that way though.
I soon realised that I was completely and utterly lost. Regulus, this is all your fault. I pulled my coat even tighter around me as I started to wander into the creepier alleyways of Hogsmeade. I didn’t want to be going even further down these ways, but when I took a turning that seemed to lead back up to the main street…it didn’t. It was like the crowded, lopsided houses were playing tricks on me, taunting me. At that thought, I started to get really freaked out. Mysterious figures were hunched over in doorways; ragged cloaks pulled over their heads. I tried to walk past them briskly, to seem confidant, but an old woman who had previously been slumped in a doorway was suddenly standing in front of me, cackling,
“What you be doin’ down ‘ere pretty? Lookin’ fer a bite ter eat?” I coughed nervously,
“Erm…no thanks, I’m not hungry. If you’d excuse me…” I tried to push past the wart-covered woman, but she held my arm in an iron grip,
“Oh, but I insist! There ain’t brew anywhere in the world like old ma Haggim’s. Come try a touch, we need to fatten you up!” I was distinctly reminded of the witch from the muggle fairytale Hansel and Gretel, and made to draw my wand, prepared to fight my way out of this corner. But it had gone. I must have dropped it when I picked up Regulus’s necklace.
“Oh yer won’t be needin’ a wand where you be goin’ dearie!”
“Where am I going? I’m going back to Hogwarts. Let go of me, you miserable hag,” I demanded into her face. Her breath stank.
“Oh no! We’re going to have so much fun. I do like the spirited ones an’ all,” her voice was gleeful, as if she was excited to start playing some sort of board game. Wild panic was starting to build as I backed up, with nowhere to run. As I filled my lungs for a piercing scream, a greasy hand clamped over my face with terrifying strength, and I was bundled into the house, kicking and struggling.
I would have liked to have been able to look back over the experience and say that I had fought wildly with unimaginable courage, finally freeing myself of the abductor and falling back into the arms of Prince Charming. In real life, things like that don’t happen. I knew that much about the world at least, no matter how much I drifted into a dreamland. I could always separate the lies from reality. That doesn’t mean I didn’t wish for it, though.
I woke with my face pressed into something solid, wet and cold. My immediate thought was one of terror. Was I dead? Had the hag stolen all my belongings then murdered me with a flaming pitchfork? A light breeze was lifting the edge of my skirt up and I jerked my hands behind my back to secure it down. I blinked down at whatever my face was pressed into. Grit and mud got into my eyes and I winced in pain, wiping it away. It occurred to me that my limbs were hanging down either side of a slanting, triangular object. A dirty one. Where the hell was I? I attempted to lift my head and the sky rocked in a whirl of blazing red and purple from a particularly vivid sunset. I didn’t have time to appreciate the view as I flipped off the apex of a roof and started rolling down the side, hands scrabbling to break my fall to certain death. My body was gripped in a seizure of fear; the ground flashed in front of me before being replaced by the sky as I tumbled with gathering speed towards the edge. Ground, sky, ground, sky, my head span and I screamed with terror. People looked up, gasping, but I only caught a fleeting glimpse of their faces before once again my vision was filled with purple. My body was a writhing mess of limbs until finally, my ankle latched onto a small chimney half way down the side of the slate. I was hanging merely by the strength of one ankle, the rest of my body dangling down the slant of the roof, inches away from slipping right off. I was more terrified than I had ever been in my short life. The earth was such a long way away; my muscles refused to move, screaming in protest. I did not do heights. I saw people moving down below, rushing to try and help. I prayed to every god I had ever heard of to save my life, send an angel to carry me down. No such luck. A loud, agonising crack filled the air and pain flooded through my body, numbing the leg I was hanging from. My body was now being supported by a broken ankle. I looked up to see the most sickening shape that I never wanted my leg to be in again, before my vision blurred and I passed out, letting the pain slowly ebb me into unconsciousness.
My ankle felt kind of fuzzy. Like it was made of noodles. It was horrible, and I just wanted to squirm with pain. But that made it more painful.
“Stay still, dear!” came a firm voice from somewhere in the sky. Icy snow was heaped onto my whole leg, numbing the sickening pain slightly. I groaned and blinked to find Mrs. Harbour carefully pouring a hot liquid down my throat. I spluttered and coughed,
“Mrs…Mrs Harbour. What are you doing here?” I was mortified to hear how shaky my voice was. Alice’s anxious face popped into my line of vision,
“Mum was shopping round here when you fell…off the roof of the Three Broomsticks. Marls? How?”
“Maybe now is not the time to interrogate her, Alice!” suggested Mrs. Harbour before turning to me, “What symptoms do you have, dear?”
“I’m suffering from confusion-it is and embarrassed disease,” I admitted, “How many people saw me up there?” Alice blushed,
“Just about the whole of Hogsmeade. Lily, Mary and I were over in Honeydukes and I heard your scream from there.” Lily and Mary finally reached us, out of breath and panting. Alice was an amazing runner. My ankle was feeling comfortably cold now, almost not broken at all. My head started to clear slightly.
“Lily! Mary…” Lily beamed to see that I was alive and talking. Mary had tears in her eyes for some reason.
“Marlene!” sighed Lily, “You big, fat idiot!”
“Hey! I don’t even know how I got up there… Mary, what’s wrong?” Mary sniffed, “I’m sorry, I just…I thought…You could have died! And I was all angry at you for no reason! People shouldn’t get angry…it only makes bad things happen…” tears were sliding down her cheeks. I smiled at her sadly,
“And I’m sorry for being so caught up in my own sorry life and ignoring you to insult Sirius. Then not trying to make it up to you. I’m so sorry, Mary.” Mary hugged me awkwardly.
“Well this is lovely!” beamed Mrs. Harbour, “Aren’t you girls just adorable!” We grinned at each other and laughed. I didn’t even feel the pain as Mrs. Harbour mended my ankle with a simple spell. I didn’t care that I’d lost my wand, and couldn’t feel the cold reminder emanating from Regulus’s necklace for just a few minutes, because I had the best friends ever. I know it's cheesy. So what?