Chapter 1 : All Hallow's Eve
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“Urgh!” the figure grunted, shaking the leaves and twigs from himself, “I hate Halloween. Nothing good ever happens on Halloween.”
The hunched man walked down the empty corridor with a slight limp. Everyone in the castle seemed to be attending the Halloween feast in the Great Hall.
Large footsteps echoed behind him. The hunched man turned around and came face to face with a figure of gigantic proportions. This large man appeared to have recently fought his own way through the winds that howled outside. Twigs and other pieces of debris were tangled in his thick hair and bushy beard.
“’Ello Argus,” the large man beamed jovially, “On yeh way to the feas’ then?”
The hunched man merely scowled and limped off to his lonely dinner of tinned beans.
Unperturbed by his colleague’s rudeness, the half-giant headed towards the feast. As he approached the Great Hall, laughter and chatter filtered through the double doors and the enticing smell of roasted meat filled his nostrils.
Heads turned and looked at the large unruly figure as he made his way to the teacher’s table.
“I can’t believe Dumbledore ever employed that monsterous oaf,” whispered a pug-faced Slytherin girl to the blonde boy sitting next to her.
The girl, having finished her meal, arose from her chair and exited the Great Hall. She walked down the deserted corridor towards the girls’ bathroom and couldn’t help but feel that the castle felt strangely eerie on this particular night. She nervously tucked a strand of short black hair behind her ear before entering the bathroom. As she locked herself in the end cubicle, the pug-faced girl couldn’t help feeling as though she were being watched. Her heart began to beat faster as she heard the bathroom door creak open. The dark-haired girl held her breath not daring to make a sound. Footsteps echoed against the tiled walls as they came closer and closer. Finally the footsteps ceased right in front of the cubicle that the frightened girl was sitting in. The lock began to turn of its own accord, and then slowly the door eased open…
In a nearby classroom, a pretty girl with long raven hair heard a scream emanate from the girls’ bathroom. Suddenly becoming a little frightened at being alone in an empty classroom, the girl returned to its cage the bullfrog that she had been practicing transfiguration on. She gathered up her books and after checking that she had left nothing out of place, she headed towards the door. She reached her hand to the brass handle and tried to turn it only to find that the door would not open. The girl placed her belongings on a nearby table and tried turning the brass handle with both hands, however the door still did not yield. Becoming slightly frustrated, the girl heaved her delicate frame against the polished oak door. The door remained static. The girl pulled out her wand.
“Apriro!” she muttered, to no effect.
“Alohamora!” she tried.
Still the door would not open. The girl became slightly panicky, yet, she reasoned with herself, whatever had caused the scream she had heard, could not possibly reach her if she were locked inside a classroom. At least she was ninety-nine per cent positive.
The pretty girl sat down at a nearby desk, awaiting the sound of fellow students leaving the Hall, so that she might call out for someone to rescue her.
A sudden shiver ran down her back and the girl instinctively looked upwards towards the ceiling. The chandelier appeared to be swaying slightly, perhaps moved by an unseen draught. The girl lowered her eyes again and looked around the room, not really taking in any of her surroundings. But wait, was her mind playing tricks on her, or did she just see a book move out of the corner of her eye. Using her skills as a Seeker, the girl carefully scanned the room for any sign of movement. Then just as she was about to relax, she noticed words slowly etching themselves onto the blackboard.
There was a young girl named Cho,
It’s a pity she has to go,
She cannot escape,
Her horrible fate,
And no one will ever know!
As the final word was written, a horrible piercing sound of fingernails down a blackboard chilled the girl to her very soul. And as the words on the blackboard began to sink in she let out a terrible bloodcurdling scream.
The aged librarian looked up from her cataloguing and sighed grumpily. That was the second scream she had heard in the last half hour. How was she supposed to finish filing away this massive pile of books with all that noise going on?
The librarian piled the books onto her cart, and with a swish of her wand the cart began wheeling itself towards the restricted section. The old woman’s knees creaked slightly as she bent down to the lower shelves to start arranging the books back into their proper places.
A low moaning resonated from one of the far shelves, but the elderly woman was not disturbed, she was long used to the eerie sounds that accompanied the restricted section of the library.
As she continued placing books on their correct shelves, she heard another sound, this time it was a thud. The librarian wrinkled her brow in confusion, unlike the moaning, this was not a sound that she would normally hear in the restricted section. Shrugging it off, she continued her work. However, after several more unusual thuds, she decided to go and investigate. Weaving her way through the many shelves of books, she arrived in the darkest corner of the restricted section, which she was sure held the source of the disturbance. Looking down her nose through her pince-nez, she noticed several large volumes lying on the dusty stone floor.
“When will students learn that a library book demands respect,” she muttered angrily, as she bent down to pick up the aged tomes.
As she reached for the last volume, another book shot off its shelf and landed with a thud on the floor in front the librarian’s feet. Before the dust even had time to settle, another volume followed suit.
“What the…!” the librarian exclaimed, dumbfounded, as many more volumes began flying off the shelves all around her.
The old woman had never run so fast in her life. She bolted out of the library and down the corridor, yelling hysterically.
A group of first year girls leaving the Great Hall giggled as the librarian ran passed. An older girl and her twin sister merely wondered what she was running from.
“We had better get up to the owlery before it gets too late,” suggested one twin.
The two girls walked side by side towards the owlery. When they reached it they huddled together against the icy wind that blasted through the open windows. The older of the two coaxed a tawny owl from its perch and attached a letter to its right leg.
Linking arms, the identical twins left the owlery with intentions of heading to their separate dormitories. Neither of them made it very far, however, before a coat of armour came crashing down in front of them. Fortunately they were able to leap backwards without being hit.
“That was lucky,” sighed one twin, the other nodded in agreement.
Then a strange thing happened. The various parts of armour began to rise up from the ground and surround the two girls. The twins held on tightly to each other in fright as the armour encircling them began to spin around, faster and faster.
A house elf that happened to be passing by, cocked its head to one side as it gazed upon this strange sight.
“Winky is never seeing armour behave in such a strange way before,” the house elf muttered to herself, before hurrying on her way, afraid that the armour may decide to come after her next.
The house elf wandered through the double doors that led to the Great Hall in order to begin cleaning up with the other house elves now that the feast had finished. Upon entering, she noticed that two students remained. They were two large beefy boys, sitting at the long Slytherin table, still stuffing their faces. Slightly annoyed that she could not commence cleaning the hall until the last two students had left, the house elf turned on heel to attend to other matters.
The two large boys were oblivious to the fact that they were the last two remaining students in the Great Hall. The taller of the two was currently cramming fistfuls of chips into his mouth, while the shorter boy was chewing loudly on a Pumpkin Pastie.
As the two gluttons gorged themselves, they were unaware that the enchanted pumpkins that decorated the Great Hall had begun advancing upon them. It was not long before thirty-four individual Jack-o-Lanterns, all glowing bright red, had converged upon the unsuspecting boys.
It was the shorter one who first noticed them. He looked at the pumpkins with his mouth gaping open, a large portion of treacle tart still half-chewed inside his mouth. Unable to make any words come out, he elbowed his friend sharply in the ribs.
“What?” his friend grunted, shoving yet another liquorice wand into his gob.
Still unable to form sounds, the shorter of the two again nudged his friend in the ribs. Finally the taller one looked up and saw the twisted leers of the Jack-o-Lanterns looking at him from every direction. The two boys slowly arose from their seats, then pushed and shoved each other as each tried to be the first to run for the door. The Jack-o-Lanterns began throwing themselves at the two boys, smashing on the floor all around them. The boys slipped and skidded upon the broken pumpkin pieces as they ran out of the Great Hall. As they exited the door and ran into the corridor, one of the boys trod on the tail of a mangy cat that had been skulking around. The cat let out a horrific wail.
The disgruntled man with the slight limp came hobbling around the corner several minutes later.
“What’s wrong Mrs. Norris?” he asked the cat, “Have those nasty students been torturing you again?”
The man scooped up the mangy feline and petted her fur lovingly.
“It’s okay Mrs. Norris,” he crooned, “I’ve had an awful night, too. First I had to clean up one of the girls’ bathrooms that had been flooded. It was a horrible mess. You should have seen the poor girl who was in the bathroom at the time, she looked right frightful. Then I had to find Professor McGonagall to unlock her classroom after I heard screams coming from inside. We found this hysterical girl in there crying her eyes out and pointing at the blackboard, of course the blackboard was blank. I don’t know how the silly girl managed to lock herself in. After that I was called to the library to assist Madam Pince picking up all these books that had been thrown all about the place. Of course I am always happy to help out Madam Pince, as you well know Mrs. Norris.”
The man gave his cat a knowing smile, before continuing his recount of the night’s events.
“I was then required to reassemble a piece of armour that had fallen to pieces all over the floor not far from the owlery. Two girls claim the armour was flying around them.”
The man let out a derisive snort. He let the cat back down onto the floor, and noticed through the open double doors, the state of the Great Hall. The floor was littered with smashed pumpkin. The man scowled, cursing his further misfortune at having another mess to clean up before he could turn in for the night.
“There’s only one thing that could be responsible for all these catastrophes, Mrs. Norris,” the man said, decidedly, “Peeves!”
Invisible to the naked eye, a poltergeist was floating above the disgruntled cleaner. Feeling a sense of accomplishment at causing so much mayhem and thoroughly annoying the man beneath him, the poltergeist cackled nastily before flying up through the ceiling.
The man scowled as he began mopping up the mess of pumpkin upon the floor.
“I’ve said it many times, Mrs. Norris,” the man muttered as he cleaned, “Nothing good ever happens on Halloween.”