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Chapter 4: Horse Head in Bed
I was staring at my plate with blank eyes devoid of hope. Maybe I am too eager to be in situations I don’t want to be. But, just because I don’t like thinking that, I’ll just assume Jerome’s fault.
Not because he forced me to be here or because these people that make me feel so cornered are his friends. No, it’s because he’ll tease me about it later, being the charming chap he is.
I honestly have no idea why a girl like Alice Pegg likes my best friend. Or liked. I really don’t know because ever I decided to be honest with her and tell her that Jerome wasn’t interested in her, we didn’t talk much. I wasn’t even telling it bluntly, I was just confirming!
Of course, the occasional tripe like; “Do you have a spare Quill?” or more frequently “You’ll be late if you don’t get up now.” didn’t stop. We just didn’t chat, didn’t gossip, didn’t discuss.
Silly me, having ideas like Alice Pegg wanting to befriend me. She only wanted to spend time Jerome but honestly, I expected at least a friendly “Hi Frankie, what’s up?”.
Anyway, I had a more pressing matter to deal with right now. A more pressing Alice, to be clear.
Alice Fisher, sixth year Ravenclaw, was staring at me with her shoulders back, neck exposed and she was keeping direct, probing eye contact. I was kind of starting to feel nervous. Why is she doing that?
“So, you’re this special girl of Jerome’s.” She tossed her hair back as I frowned at the things she suggested with that sentence.
Oh, Circe, why? Why did I have to make a promise to spend more time with Jerome’s friends? I was alright, just peachy, on my own when Jerome abandoned me. I’m not bitter, don’t get me wrong. I would be bored of Jer if he spent all his time with me anyway.
As I was being the cowardly Gryffindor I am and not answering back with an edgy retort, Jerome came to my rescue. He seemed as annoyed as I was about this.
Instead of snapping as I would if I was being brave like the rest of my house, I waited until he grinned and hung his arm over my shoulder.
“Yup, this is my best friend in the whole world.” He said cheekily.
I mentally applauded. And tried congratulating him telepathically but that didn’t seem to work.
Al, she liked to be called that, huffed and turned back to eating her black pudding. How could one even like black pudding? Alice obviously did but I find it simply gross! Next we’ll see her stuffing herself with jellied eels. Yuck!
Despite having a nasty taste in food, Alice Fisher was a doll. A living, breathing porcelain doll and that was quite scary. With her pale but flawless skin, baby blue eyes and straight blond hair, she was ordinarily perfect. You know; the kind that would be on the cover of a muggle magazine.
She was elegantly beautiful but predictable because an artist who has no idea who she is would be able to draw her. There was not a single flaw that would make her special.
That still didn’t stop her from going to Hogsmeade with Sirius Black last year. It was a big deal for the girls in my dorm. Emmeline Vance liked Black at that time. I remember seeing poor Al with boils in her face one day and green hair the other.
Not that I’m not close at giving her some nasty beaver teeth. She’s giving me weird, suspicious looks; like I’m shagging Jerome behind everyone’s back, or something very close to that.
I don’t like Alice Fisher; I don’t like her at all. How can a girl be so stupid while being so academically smart?
Other than Alice, I learned that my preconceptions weren’t accurate at all. I feel like a biased mean girl. Oh, I am so giving those Slytherins a reason to be prejudiced against my house. I acted so arrogant calling these people daft or indecent.
Frosine Harper was really easy to talk with. She did most of the talking and she made us laugh. She seemed reasonable and sensible. I almost cracked up with laughter after hearing her tease her older sister Zerbinette.
Zerbinette Harper, now graduated and a very successful healer had health phobia. How ironic is that? Think of a healer constantly worried about being sick while she is perfectly fine.
The Harper family has the weirdest taste in names, as weird as Al’s taste in food. At least there was a thing called nicknames. Otherwise, I would be damned too. My name is Francine, I can so be empathetic.
Frosine was called Frost by the majority of her friends and I think that nickname is wicked. How swell is that? Zerbinette liked to be called Z, simple and nifty. Not that I would ever meet her and have a chance to call her Z, I just wanted people to know that she wasn’t being called Zerbinette because that would just be dreadful.
Al and Frost being the only girls in the group, there was also the boys. I didn’t really have a chance to get to know them. Joseph Pembroke and Antonio Hughes were nice enough; they mostly talked about Quidditch and their studies. I warmed up to them enough to be comfortable in their company.
I wasn’t going to be best friends with them suddenly and start to hang out with them; it was just nice knowing that Jer was in good hands when I wasn’t with him. Also, if I ever feel lonely when Jerome is hanging out with them I could simply go hang out with them.
“So did you like them, my precious?” Jerome asked with a smug smile on his face, like it was impossible for me to not like his friends.
“Well, I don’t know dearest…” I said smirking but he wasn’t buying it at all. “Merlin’s saggy pants! I already feel popular. They were nice, you know.”
I don’t know how or when Jerome’s smug smile turned to modest.
“You don’t have to hang out with them you know. I only hang out with them to pass time.”
Look at Jerome, all cute and adorable, trying not to make me feel uncomfortable.
“Also because we would both go bonkers if we only had each others company.”
Even tough I said that and it was completely true, the next day all we had was each other’s company in Hogsmeade since we were both inexperienced in dating.
Jerome only took some girls to Hogsmeade and nothing lasted more than a few weeks.
I only ever had one boyfriend, Geoffrey Howard. He was swanky but courteous. Sometimes he felt genteel. I like thinking it was because he was much, much richer than me.
When he took me to a cinema or a café, I would not only be out of place because I was a witch. Those places we went could be seen as average to many people but to me they were just posh places with extremely high prices, especially for someone with my pocket money.
He paid for me, thinking that it was the right thing to do; he was trying to be a gentleman. His intentions were good, but I took it all as an insult.
That didn’t matter because I had to go back to Hogwarts when the summer once came to an end. For all he knew, I was going to a boarding school and he probably thought that it was some place for all the poor people to send their children to school since the normal school life would be too expensive.
If Geoffrey was a Hogwarts student, I would pay him no attention. He would be just a snob. But he was just a summer fling and with his boyish charm and nice blue eyes, he was enough to sweep me off my feet –or what ever that is called and be my first kiss.
As I was thinking about my first boyfriend while idly looking at books in Tomes and Scrolls with Jerome, someone woke me up from my daydream.
“What do you have over there?”
I looked up from the book that had a corn coloured cover to see a boy with thick, long and very red hair. His hair was longer than mine and resembled Lily Evans’ hair. If Potter saw him, he would ignore his muscular built and run to him, declaring his love.
My eyes met with his gold coloured ones and I recognised him.
“Charm Your Own Cheese by Gerda Catchlove?” I read out loud looking at the cover. It came out like a question as I couldn’t believe my stupidity and I couldn’t help but blush.
Richard, not the cat the bloke, raised a red eyebrow, smiling. He looked amused. Well, bloody hell, it’s not my fault to be lost in my own world and pick up books randomly just to be doing something with my hands.
“Into cooking, are we?” he asked, clearly mocking me. I was about to protest but- “Richard Davies.”
He held out his hand for me to shake, smiling a dazzling smile. I panicked as I couldn’t think of anything to say.
“I know.” I blurted out. Blushing, I gripped the book tight against my chest. “I mean- uh, you have the same name with my cat!”
I mentally slapped myself, kicked myself, bit myself. As I was mentally doing anything in order to stop myself from word-vomiting again, Richard, not the cat, chuckled.
“I remember. So have you found your cat?”
No, Merlin’s beard no! Don’t go there boy. Just don’t.
Since you did anyway, yes I found my cat right after I barged in your compartment and demanded to know if my cat was there. Then your friends, being the sweethearts I assume they are, laughed at me since you shared a name with my cat. Who is a female, but I think I already stated that on the train.
You know, a normal lady would only humiliate herself only once in ten minutes. Yet I had to go and embarrass myself in front of the Metamorpmagi and quite fit seventh year old Ravenclaw Richard Davies and the Marauders.
Just let me get eaten by a basilisk. Just to ease my pain.
I was blushing like a tomato but I still managed to get out an answer.
“Uhm, y-yes.” Great. Just peachy. I manage to get out an answer but stammer even though the only word I used was ‘Yes.’. I wished I went with just a nod. That would be safer.
I looked down in horror to see that I was still shaking his hand. I wasn’t even just holding his hand; I was shaking it up and down.
“Frankie Malloy.” I introduced myself and released his hand.
I searched the store with my eyes to see where Jerome was. He was lost in some books and I couldn’t catch his eye. I couldn’t exactly shout out to him and ask for salvation, while Richard bleeding Davies was still trying to contain his laughter in front of me.
“Aren’t you amusing?” He grinned; I glared and blushed at the same time.
If I ignored him he would go away and then I would be saved from being an awkward Plimpy.
To test my theory I picked up another book and crossing my fingers for it to work, I directed my attention to the book with the lilac coloured cover. In front of the cover the name of the book was written in gold letters.
I let out a silent groan and hoped it didn’t get heard as I placed Enchanted Encounters by Fifi LaFolle to its place.
I picked up another book with a woad blue cover. In my mind dozens of pixies were cheering for me. Finally a book I would like to read; Merpeople: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Language and Customs by Dylan Marwood.
“You like Merpeople?”
I grinned like a madwoman.
“Yes! Aren’t they just amazing? A community living in the deep denizens of the water, they socialize and they have rules. They have a life style. Under the Great Lake! Please don’t tell me you never wanted to be a Slytherin just to have the lake view!”
He looked confused and I blushed once again as I realised I was rambling.
“I actually never thought of it like that.”
I started looking at the book in my hands but I was merely paying attention. I was too embarrassed. How do I get myself into these situations? I request an instant death in the hands, or fangs, of a Basilisk. Or better; I’ll just shove my head down a toilet and flush. I could be like Myrtle and haunt Jerome’s ass for all eternity.
Speaking of that bugger, where the bloody hell is he?
The silence between us was uncomfortable and I wished Davies would just leave. I figured it was appropriate to call him Davies because it would be confusing for me and Richard, the cat, to call him Richard. You see my reasoning, don’t you?
I couldn’t stop myself from breaking the silence with the weirdest remark of all time.
“Your new hair looks nice. But I think you should go back to blue.”
Davies turned to me his eyebrows drawn together and in less than a second his very long hair turned electric blue once again, still keeping its length.
I smiled, feeling comfortable for once in this bleeding conversation.
“Frankie, for Merlin’s sake, budge up!”
And it just had to be ruined. It was asking for it you know, the moment was too nice not to be ruined. Before following Jerome out of the shop, I sent a little wave towards Davies.
“What turned you into a blithering idiot?” Jerome asked after I was caught daydreaming for the millionth time that day.
I sent him my most intimidating glare. It wasn’t scary at all, judging from the reaction Jer gave.
“Ickle Fannie has a shifty.”
“Stop being so charming.”
At least he wasn’t going to ask me once more. He probably knew that there was something unusual going on, he was an egg-head Ravenclaw after all, but he was going to be the most loveable pillock in the world; he was going to wait until I grab him, push him into some secluded place of the castle and spill everything to him.
The most loveable pillock is a compliment, if you were wondering.
Why would Richard Davies, of all people, want to talk to me? He was one of the popular chap. The blighter is a seventh year, for crying out loud! He wasn’t a celebrity but he was definitely one of the cool blokes.
Luckily after dinner all that questions were semi-forgotten and the annoying voice of reason doubting Davies’ intentions was somewhere at the back of my mind, not disturbing me while I was reading a book in the common room.
My Godfather, I mean my book not my Uncle Thomas, was still lost and I was reading Dragon Species of Great Britain and Ireland. Brilliant book, but when you’ve already got it memorised it’s not very entertaining. With an annoyed sigh, I placed the book down.
Only then I realised it was late and there was no one left in the common room. I grabbed my book, not wanting another lost book and started lazily walking towards the spiral staircase leading up to the girls’ dormitory.
I was almost there when the portrait hole swung open and my posture stiffened as I turned around, jumping a little.
The shock and fear still visible on my face didn’t fade away when I saw who was coming in. The Marauders; Potter followed by Pettigrew, then Lupin a moment later and lastly Black.
They spotted me two seconds after getting inside. I wasn’t exactly blending in with the furniture so it was quite easy to spot the only person in the common room. They looked at me and I stared at them like a rabbit caught in headlights.
I was brought back to life with Black’s menacing grin. My eyes widened and I did the only thing that came to my mind, I fled.
This was one of the rare moments where the first thing that came to my mind was the thing I would most likely be doing anyway. I congratulated myself for doing a runner.
I ran all the way up to my dorm and when I entered with full speed, I wasn’t thinking about the people I might wake up. I immediately regretted barging in like that but then I saw that there wasn’t anyone to wake up, anyway.
All the girls in my dorm were standing up with their hands on their hips.
“What’s going on?” I asked when I steadied my breath.
Mary McDonald let out a shriek of irritation, looking pointedly at her bed.
On her bed, on all the beds, were the head of a black stuffed horse toy and the beds were all wet because there was water coming out of the severed head.
“The Marauders’ first prank of the year, that’s what’s going on.” Alice said, she looked close to tears.
I felt my blood turn ice cold, my posture stiffened and my eyes grew wide.
This scene in front of me was familiar. Much too familiar.
On this Thursday morning, for some reason, he awoke early. The light of dawn made his huge bedroom as misty as a foggy meadowland. Far down at the foot of his bed was a familiar shape and Woltz struggled up on his elbows to get a clearer look. It had the shape of a horse’s head.
I gaped as I recalled one particular part from my favourite book. The one that’s lost. The one that’s Godfather by Mario Puzo.
Still groggy, Woltz reached and flicked on the night table lamp.
I knew my book in wrong hands would cause a tragedy. I just never predicted that it would play a part in a Marauder prank. The little amount of things I knew about the case of the lost book were suddenly making sense.
The shock of what he saw made him physically ill. It seemed as if a great sledgehammer had struck him on the chest, his heartbeat jumped erratically and he became nauseous. His vomit spluttered on the thick bear rug.
The only thing that doesn’t make sense is the reason why the Marauders decided to pick up a book and plan a prank based on it. If they don’t know about the book, Godfather may seem very boring. Just a book with a plain black cover and nothing magical about it, why would they think that it’s interesting?
I somehow couldn’t believe that they knew about the book. For all I knew, they didn’t even know about any of the Muggle books. I was expecting them to think that Oliver Twist is a Quidditch Player, let alone doing a prank based on Godfather.
Severed from its body, the black silky head of the great horse Khartoum was stuck fast in a thick cake of blood. White, reedy tendons showed. Froth covered the muzzle and those apple-sized eyes that had glinted like gold, were mottled the colour of rotting fruit with dead- Alright, that’s quite enough. I think you understand the situation perfectly.
I’ll have you know, for a Gryffindor I am very easily scared. The prank may not be anything creepy like a real horse head or something to be afraid of like a threat note but the expression, the creepy, maniac like grin that Black had on his face when he saw me…
I just fear for my own safety.
I bet Black is rubbing his hands together and his handsome but sadly insane face is twisted with a crazy expression.
Lupin is usually so nice but he is the mastermind behind my execution. He is very systematic; I bet the plans are going well organized.
Potter is admiring his Quidditch made muscles in front of the mirror, now that may seem like a Sirius Black thing to do, but instead of just being arrogant, he is thinking about the million things he will do to me with those muscles. You know, we all thought he was coming from a nice family. But I’d like to quote my favourite book; ‘Behind every great fortune, there is a crime.’ And the Potter family is ridiculously rich.
Pettigrew is… Well, he is just excited.
Besides he adores the other three boys, he would execute Dumbledore if Black, Potter and Lupin wanted him to.
I am dead, I thought.
Oh, Merlin, why did you let me humiliate the Marauders in front of the students on the Hogwarts Express? I was also embarrassed too, but that’s fine. Something I’m used to. But everyone I talk to asking me about the Fwoopers Incident is neither fine nor usual. That means the whole school is talking about it. I should’ve known that the Marauders wouldn’t like that.
“Who do we tell?”
Emmeline Vance’s frantic voice took me away from my panic-stricken thoughts.
“McGonagall, I guess.” Alice said.
I couldn’t help but intervene,
“We can fix these,” I gestured towards the beds, “ourselves, we don’t need Professor McGonagall.”
We are witches, right? With a flick of our wand the beds would be dry once again and we would be able to sleep in them once more. If you don’t count the message behind it and the Godfather pun, this was a pretty lousy prank.
“Of course we can,” said McDonald as if it was obvious and I was being thick, “But the bleeding pranksters need to be punished.”
Vance shook her head furiously while Alice seemed to be down. Vance agreeing with McDonald so strongly was a little strange since she used to have the biggest crush on Black once, like I mentioned before. I’m usually not exceptionally observant but judging by her blatant reaction she still likes him.
Maybe that was why they took this prank so bad. They thought it was personal, with Vance fancying one of the charming chaps soaking our beds with water coming out of a toy horse’s head –that’s so absurd, I can’t stop repeating myself- and the other girls being her best friends.
I could only hope that it was about them but I kind of doubted that since I saw that maniacal grin on Black’s face. Fortunately, this should be their revenge.
Relief washing over me as I realised that they weren’t trying to kill me and this stupid, negligible prank was all there was to it, I settled on just nodding in agreement instead of arguing.
The next morning, I thought that this prank wasn’t so negligible since we all had to stay up late because of it. I was extremely sleepy and it was Vance waking me up; even tough it was her saving me from being late; waking up to her unfriendly voice wasn’t pleasant.
I was grunting to myself about things that didn’t make sense as I walked to my class. My eyes were half closed so when I collided with something solid, I immediately thought that it was the door to my Charms classroom.
I tried to grab the handle to open it and when I couldn’t find it I opened my eyes to meet with a pretty awkward situation. I stared into stormy grey eyes with an insane glorious glint. Then muttering something that was meant to sound like “Sorry.”, I ran away from Sirius Black and his psychopathic grin.
I could imagine it already, I was there last year. When Black and his mate Potter were tormenting Severus Snape, I was there outside cheering crowd, amongst the people who were apprehensive but didn’t have courage to do something about it.
I remembered watching as Potter and the others approached Snape, Potter asking Snape if he was alright. Snape’s reaction to hearing his nickname Snivellus could or could not be the reason why Potter felt the need to disarm him but not five seconds later Snape had no wand and was knocked off his feet.
Lily Evans came to his rescue; I remember her eyes filled with hate and fury even today. But that was usual for her in the presence of Marauders. What was both shocking and horrifying was the things Snape did that unpleasant evening.
From pink bubbles coming out of his mouth and to mean names those arrogant blighters called him, perhaps Snape was not all that guilty about having a moment of anger and defending himself. The gash on Potter’s face didn’t do Potter any damage other than the blood on his robes. His revenge, proving that I had the right to be afraid, was ten times worse.
Within a second Snape was hovering upside-down in middle air and us the innocent souls could see his skinny legs and his old, greying underpants. There is a reason male students should wear their pants under their robes at all times, but that fact didn’t make Potter any less guilty.
As you can guess, Lily seemed to agree. She threw a fit defending his friend. What did her beloved friend did?
“I don’t need help from filthy little mudbloods like her!”
The venom in his voice struck Lily like a lightning and that day I started calling her Lily instead of the unfriendly Evans. The chance was only in my mind, but I was more sympathetic towards the girl I used to find snobby and nerdy.
That day, Lily called him the crude nickname the Marauders invented for him. It was as insulting as the name he called him.
His only friend was lost, his life was ruined. The person who loved him, hated him. That was their revenge for Snape, ruthless and painful. They were cruel and I was scared for the revenge awaiting me and disappointed in my own house mates. How could a Gryffindor name a Slytherin evil while a Slytherin is a victim of that said Gryffindor?
Not that I am fond of Snape; he showed what he believed in with the name he called Lily. How I could still kind of feel sorry for him was beyond reason. I am a mudblood for him and he thinks I deserve torture and death.
But ever since he lost everything, I felt bad for the sulking Severus Snape. He believed in false ideas, he was living in a dark and cruel world of Slytherin. I couldn’t exactly say that he deserved anything, while there wasn’t anything else but the ideas of the ones around him for him to believe in.
Also, there was something about Snape. The mysterious sixth year with his feeble and pallid looks and his jolly as a dementor personality strengthened by his pained, black eyes he is a little creepy. He looks like a vampire, while having nothing against them; I would feel uneasy around a vampire.
But I don’t think I’ll ever be close to a vampire, I don’t live in the Middle Age. Vampires in our year are merely a shadow amongst us, they live in our stories. Even in my future as a magizoologist I doubt I’ll ever encounter a vampire, they don’t like being worked on like Nifflers.
I wonder if I am jinxing it, I seem to be predicting a lot of things lately without even a second doubt. That can’t be well.
My whole banter on vampires was more interesting than the vicious, blood-thirsty Chimaera creature in Greece but I’m getting off point.
There are more important things like Black looking a little unsatisfied with the Marauders’ revenge. I mean, I don’t want to sound conceited; like the Marauders would ever consider me important enough to make such an effort to destroy me, but I can’t find another explanation. Maybe humiliation was too much of a blow to their pride.
Holy Hippocampus, I am going to die.
A/N: You honestly didn't believe that the Godfather would only take a part as a book in this story, did you? Frankie isn't the only one obsessed with the greatest book ever, I am too and I am the author so... yeah. Get ready themed pranks and quotes, there'll be a lot of them.
You know, it would be nice to get a few reviews from time to time. It's depressing to write without them. Take care. :)