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Reasons to Live by siren song
Chapter 3: Induction
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"Hi," I said timidly and wished I could just hide behind those nice looking drapes on the windows. The fifth years were sitting in a circle with all the fist years sitting with their hands bound and blindfolded sitting in the middle of the circle. I gulped loudly.
"Tessa!" Louis said and threw his arm wide open, "Glad you found us! This is Freya, Kelly, Ryan and Patrick." Louis pointed to each person.
Ahhh, so Whatsherface was named Freya.
"These are the first years," Louis said and gestured to the littlies sitting in the middle, "Gracie, Layla, Jules, Felicity, Daniel, Moose and Kieran."
"Isn't Jamie coming?" I asked.
"I don't think so," The one named Ryan said and picked up two strips of material, "Hands behind your back, Tessa."
I gulped again and turned around, wondering what on earth I had gotten myself into. Ryan tied my hands together and then covered my eyes. It was already pretty dim in the Room of Requirement but that didn't stop me from panicking when everything went pitch black.
"Are you sure I have to wear that?" I said and tried to wriggle out from under the blindfold but it was too late: it was tied firmly around my head.
"Sit down." Ryan walked me a few steps and then pushed my shoulder downwards. Sitting down with no hands is turns out to be a lot harder than you would think.
I swore softly as I landed painfully on my hip.
"Swearing is bad!" Some first year screeched.
"Shut up," I snapped and tried to sit the right way up.
"Welcome, first years!" A voice boomed around me. It didn't sound like any of the fifth years but more like an old man.
"Hey!' I protested when I realised that the voice had only said 'first years'.
"And Tessa," the voice quickly added, "Today is a very important day. Today is-Louis do I really have to read all this? Let's just skip to the exciting part!"
"You're supposed to give them the whole speech!" Louis hissed. I realised that it must have been either Ryan or Patrick with a voice changing charm.
"Well it's boring and pointless. Moving on," Ryan switched back to his normal voice, "May the odds be ever be in your favour!"
Someone grabbed my arms and pulled me too my feet.
"Come along, children!" Kelly cried gleefully, "It's show time!"
I take a seat on the shrink's cold leather couch.
Her office smells like new leather and industrial strength cleaner.
"Now, Tessa, tell me about yourself," Caroline says and cross her legs and gets ready to take notes.
I stare at a spot just above her head and I don't say a thing. After a while, Caroline coughs and puts her notepad down.
"How about I tell you about myself first, Tessa. My name is Caroline Swaney," Caroline begins, "I'm twenty nine and recently completed my Masters of Psychology, I love chocolate, spending time with my friends and in the future I would like to get married. You're turn!" Caroline says brightly.
I stare yet again at a spot just above her head.
"How about we just start with your name, then?" Caroline suggests.
"You already know my name," I say and roll my eyes. Belatedly, I realise that it's not my name Caroline wants to know but she wants me to talk.
"How about you tell me something else then?" Caroline says brightly.
"Fine," for the first time, I flick my eyes down and stare right into her eyes, "My name is Tessa Greene, I recently turned fifteen and I dislike people prying into my private life," I snap.
"Well, Tessa, I know you may feel like I am intruding, but I just want to help," Caroline says in what I'm sure is her calm and persuasive voice.
"I was told by my last shrink that even a rehab facility couldn't help me," I look away but not before seeing the small flash of triumph flit across Caroline's face.
I know what it looks like to her: a young girl who made a few mistakes but whose life could be brought back on track with a few good decisions.
But she was wrong. So very very wrong.
It's not that I didn't want help because I did but the plain and simple truth was that no one could help me but myself.
But I'm not strong or brave or powerful. I'm sad and angry and helpless- lost.
Lost is exactly how I feel when someone unties the blindfold from my eyes and I find myself standing at the top of Hogwarts' tallest tower.
"What am I supposed to do?" I asked and looked around.
"You've got to jump off," Freya said.
"You're kidding me, right?" I said and stared at her, "Don't I at least get a broom?"
"No, I'm sorry Tessa," Freya said sympathetically.
"Can't someone else go first?" I asked. I knew I sounded like a whiny brat but forgive me for not wanting to jump of a tower twenty storeys in the air.
"Oldest goes first," Patrick said grimly.
"What if I die?" I whispered. Julia's face flashed in my minds eye. It was all my fault.
"You won't," Freya insisted and then gasped slightly when Kelly not-so-subtly nudged her in the ribs.
"No one's died before, Tessa," Kelly said reassuringly.
"Well, here goes nothing," I said and before my brain had anytime to register what I was doing, I stepped off the edge.
Free falling of the edge of the building isn't as bad as you think it would be.
I pretended that I was flying downwards in my broomstick.
I was performing the Wronski Feint in front of millions of withes and wizards! I would win my team the World Cup!
I could see the golden snitch!
I was falling at a gazillion kilometres per hour and I was going to land ker-splat on my face in about 10 seconds!
My hand instinctively reached into my back pocket for my wand, until I realised that I'd left it in the dorm. Gee, that was smart. My mouth opened and a huge scream came tumbling out of my mouth.
My brain went into full panic mode and I flailed my arms around, trying to stop myself from falling.
Goodbye cruel world. Maybe this was for the best. Perhaps I would be able to see Julia or my father again. Maybe I would be able to tell them that I am sorry and maybe they would forgive me.
I felt the wind slow down and my clothes weren't being tugged so hard.
Wait a minute, I was slowing down!
I dropped slowly for the last few metres and landed softly on my feet.
I looked into the air, confused about what had just happened. I looked into the sky and saw that at about the third storey, there was s slight haze or more specifically, a slight haze of a Motion Charm.
Oh those tricky Ravenclaw bastards...
Every single poor first year was made to jump of that tower.
Actually, that's a lie.
I'm pretty sure Layla got shoved off the tower. When she landed she was hysterical. She crying and screaming and sobbing all at the same time.
Ravenclaws were cruel.
"Hey, it's ok, Layla," I said and pulled her into a hug, "It's ok, everything is ok." Layla clutched onto me and hugged me so tightly I couldn't breathe.
When every first year had made their jump, the fifth years followed suit. They fell, whooping with joy when the first years had screamed with terror.
"I will never get tired of that!" Freya squealed when she had landed safely.
I felt like going up to her and slapping her. Did she not see the sobbing heap of first years who had been scared out of their wits?
"Everything's ok, Layla," I sad and rubbed the poor girls back. She just wailed louder and clung even more tightly to me.
I ended up carrying her back to the Ravenclaw Tower because she was sobbing too hard to walk straight.
I lie in the mud for what feels like a lifetime. Tears stream down my face while my fingers are too numb to do anything about it.
I think of all the people who I failed.
I began to slip in and out of consciousness; the deep gash in my side was taking its toll. I managed to twist my neck so that I could see my stomach. My shirt was steeped in blood which was seeping into the mud.
Far away, a clock chimes three times for three o'clock.
It signals the end.
The end of what, you may ask.
It signals the end of my three hours to save Julia.
It signals the end of Julia.
It signals that I have failed.
I played with fire but, in the end, Julia was the one who got burnt.
I sat by myself at breakfast the next morning. I refused to sit with the girls after what they did to the first years and the boys hadn't come down yet.
"So did you pass?" An excited Fred slid into the seat next to me. A calmer James sat opposite me.
"How did you know?"
"How did I know what?" Fred said and shoved a piece of toast in his mouth.
"How did you know new students had to do something?"
"Tessa, I'm pretty sure everyone including the teachers know," Fred said and rolled his eyes.
"You knew that every single Ravenclaw first year is being made to jump of the tallest tower without a broom or anything?!" I demanded.
"You what?" Fred whispered, "And keep your voice down."
"Did you know I had to jump off the highest tower at Hogwarts?" I demanded.
"No, I only knew that the Ravenclaws had some sort of initiation test or something!" Fred said, shocked.
"Did you jump?" James asked.
"Yep, but one poor first year got pushed off,? I said and glanced at Layla. She still seemed pretty shaken up but at least she wasn?t screaming any more.
"No way," James shook his head, "Louis is my best mate. No way he'd make first years jump off a tower just for fun."
"Fine then, don't believe me," I said and pretend that he and Fred weren't sitting there.
"Hey, Tessa!" Louis said cheerily and sat next to James. I glared at him.
"Woah, someone's not happy about last night," he said, "it really isn't that bad, Tessa."
"Yes it is!" I said, my voice climbing a few octaves, "Did you even see the first years?"
"Well...no," he admitted.
"Layla is still shit scared," I said grimly, "You could have at least told her that there was a charm to make sure she didn't die."
"Ok, I know it's mean," Louis said, a bit shame faced, "I was pretty scared too when I had to do it, but...it's tradition, you know." I shook my head.
"Layla ended up crying and screaming. I think you're stupid induction process is just plain cruel," I said grimly and walked off.
a.n. 'may the odds be ever in your favour'- a quote from the Hunger Games.
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