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Chapter 1: Terrors
Sleep terrors are episodes of fear, flailing and screaming while asleep. Also known as night terrors, sleep terrors often are paired with sleepwalking.
Very little had known this about Alice Prewett, but she wasn’t stable.
As in, not mentally stable.
Her dorm mates were notified. Her parents and close family of course, knew. But only that handful of people knew that Alice Prewett confused reality with dreams, even before she was tortured.
Frank was doing rounds, and he was peeved. They weren’t his assigned rounds, and he’d much rather be sleeping, rather than be patrolling the corridors of the castle. But Finch was his best mate, and Frank was a very loyal person. Maybe too loyal.
He lazily flicked his wand, and the light went out. Flicked it again. Light. Flick. Dark. Flick. Light.
Then, Frank heard a noise. He couldn’t discern exactly what it was, but he had definitely heard something.
Flick. Light. Frank knew that illumination wouldn’t do anything, since he was fairly certain the noise was issuing from far away. But Light always helped him think.
There it was again. Louder, this time. Frank listened, hard. It was a scream. A girl’s scream.
Frank started running down the corridor. It had been coming from above, he was sure of it.
There it was again. Frank raced up the staircase, leaping onto the landing as the stairs shifted.
Another scream. Down the corridor. Frank sprinted toward the it.
He rounded the corner to see two figures sitting on the ground. He raised his wand and advanced. “Who are you?” He asked, trying to make his voice steady. “Show yourself!”
“Frank?” A familiar voice asked. Lily, Lily Evans, the redhead girl from the year below Frank. The smart one, the one that Snape called a mudblood.
“Lily? Was that you screaming?” Frank asked urgently. “Is everything okay?”
“No, it was Alice. We’re all fine. She’s just—scared.” Lily responded.
Alice? Who was she? Oh, Alice. Alice Prewett, the quiet girl in Lily’s dorm. The one with the short black hair, rounded face, and big, brown eyes.
Frank leaned in to get a closer look at the sixth year. She had her knees pulled up to her chest. She was rocking back and forth and muttering to herself. Suddenly, her eyes widened, staring at Frank, but not staring at Frank. Staring through Frank, at something he couldn’t see.
She opened her mouth and screamed.
“What’s wrong with her?” Frank bellowed over the screaming.
Alice stopped screaming and started crying, wailing hysterically.
“She’s just having a bad dream.” Lily said while patting Alice’s back soothingly. “They’re called—night terrors. She gets them every once in a while.”
“What the hell’s a night terror?” Frank asked.
“It’s just a bad dream.” Lily said. “It’s a common occurrence in children, but Alice’s case is chronic. She’s had them since she came here and before, it’s no big deal.”
“Seems like a pretty big deal.” Frank said with a frown. Alice started whimpering, her eyes still staring at something that neither Frank nor Lily could see, rocking back and forth. “Does she remember the dreams in the morning?”
“Terrors.” Lily corrected, almost automatically. “And, yes, she’ll remember a snippet of the dream here or there. Maybe something someone does or says will trigger the memory, and she’ll space out and start acting like this.” Lily motioned to Alice, who was still whimpering. “In muggle cases, you don’t remember your terror.” Lily said, frowning at Alice. “But she does. I’m not sure if it’s because she’s magical or something else. But there’s no cure.”
“So when she—spaces—” Frank began.
“I call it Confusion.” Lily said promptly.
“What do you do? You know, if she’s in the middle of a class or something?”
“I put a Silencio on her and take her to Pomfrey.” Lily said. “Then I go back to class.”
“You said there wasn’t a cure.”
“There isn’t. But she isn’t disturbed in the Hospital Wing, and she can wake up in a calm setting, which helps.” Lily explained.
“Why don’t you Silencio her now?” Frank asked as Alice spontaneously let out another scream.
“I don’t have my wand, and she doesn’t have hers.” Lily explained, clapping her hands to her ears.
“Silencio!” Frank said, pointing his wand at Alice. “You should be getting back to the Common Room. Is there—er—anyway to wake her up?”
“No,” Lily answered sadly. “It’s almost a whole other terror to not be able to help her. But trying to wake her up only makes it worse.”
“Well,” Frank knew what he would have to do, although he wasn’t looking forward to carrying a thrashing sixth year girl through the corridors to the seventh floor, where Gryffindor Tower was located. But, being a prefect, he had to do what he had to do, so he scooped Alice up in his arms, and started walking back to the Tower.
Frank and Lily walked in silence to the Fat Lady’s portrait. As they traveled, Alice seemed to get over the worst of the terror, and calm down. Her tiny hand made a fist around Frank’s shirt, as if to hold on to something real in the world, something to ground her.
Frank didn’t blame her, although when Lily voiced this theory, he was a bit embarrassed that she had chosen his shirt.