I claim no ownership of J.K. Rowling’s work or the Silent Hill universe.
Chapter Eight Midwich Elementary
I saw the sign,
For she has foretold
And she has forseen,
Am I forsaken?
At the intersection of Finney and Midwich Streets, they made a hard left, Officer Bennett glancing stealthily around the corner to see if anyone was coming.
Draco disliked the silence that had settled between them since leaving the antiques shop. He rolled his shoulders and tried to get used to the weight of the cuffs binding his hands in front of him.
“You seem to know your way around this place,” he grunted.
Bennett tilted her head slightly, her scraped chin now showing signs of bruising. “We keep a map of Silent Hill in the dispatch office down at the Brahms’ Police Station. And besides, I’ve been here before. You’re not the first kid to wander past the no trespassing signs and get trapped.”
“But it wasn’t always like this, right?” Draco inhaled the sharp scent of smoke and soot.
Bennett stared at the bleak street before them. “No,” she said slowly.
Uneasiness squirmed in Draco’s gut. They had both seen the disfigured creature that had attacked him back at the fire house, but reality was a surprisingly precious thing and neither of them wished to let it go.
Clearing his raw throat, he mumbled, “What do you think that thing was?”
Officer Bennett’s face tightened. “I don’t know.”
“It wasn’t human.”
“It was dark.”
“There’s something wrong with this town.”
“Give it a rest, will you?” she snapped. Draco sensed that the cop was quickly losing her patience, and he wisely backed off.
Bennett drew back her lips in a nervous frown. “The only reason I’m taking you to Midwich Elementary is because it’s the tallest building in Silent Hill. If they bring the chopper in, we can signal them from the roof.”
“The helicopter. The Brahms P.D. doesn’t have one, but the neighboring county does. If the road is out, then it’s the only they can reach us.”
“If they even know we are missing,” Draco put in, once more rubbing her wounds raw with salt.
“Course they do.” Bennett sniffed loudly. “Course they do.”
Draco thought she sounded unsure. He shrugged his shoulders once more, dropping his gaze to the cracked pavement where serpentine patterns tore through the decaying asphalt. He thought of the coal mine fires burning below and felt a pang at discomfort when he realized Officer Bennett still had her flimsy paper mask on. Was he really sucking poisoned air into his lungs?
“How did the fires start?” he asked, his voice a pin drop in the overwhelming solitude.
Bennett readjusted the mask on her face as if the thought of the fires disturbed her. “Don’t really know,” she said. “My mom said it started at the hotel and spread… About a hundred people were killed, and some P.D. vets still tell horror stories of having to evacuate the entire population. Silent Hill used to be nice, quiet, a good place to raise a family and stay out of trouble.”
“That’s hard to imagine,” Draco replied, looking at the row of deserted cars parked by the curb.
Bennett didn’t say anything, and when Draco lifted his gaze, he saw a tall, faded brick building emerge from the fog. An involuntary shudder curved his spine. He stopped dead in his tracks.
“What’s wrong?” Bennett reached back and took hold of his arm.
Draco ran his tongue along his teeth, the words stuck in his throat, thick and burning like tar. He wasn’t one to believe in primal reactions, having subdued most of his natural impulses during his trial and subsequent exile in the States. To him, it all sounded too much like the dribble Trelawney had preached back at Hogwarts, nonsense related to auras and perceptions and the past.
But, bloody hell, he knew
there was something wrong with this building.
Something painful. Something lost. Something that only existed on the faint edge of an echo.
What had happened here?
“Hey!” Officer Bennett tugged at his arm, and Draco was surprised to find her features lax with concern. “Are you okay?”
Draco shook his head viciously, hoping to dispel the thread of unease that had suddenly settled in his mind. “Yeah. I’m just…tired…I don’t know.”
Bennett touched his forehead gently, peering into his eyes. “Mr. Malfoy, look at me. Do you feel sick?”
Once more, Draco was lost for words. He stared over her shoulder at the unattractive, three storey structure. It had the look of every cookie-cutter public Muggle school he had encountered in England during trips to London with his parents. The grimy windows were high and narrow, the sills made of mottled wood. A squat staircase led up to the front door, nearly hidden behind the obligatory sign on the lawn that read MIDWICH ELEMENTARY GRADES K-8.
A flurry of motion finally distracted Draco. Bennett had removed her mask and was fitting it over his face.
“Breathe,” she said, “through the mask, okay?”
He blinked, shocked by this sudden self-sacrificing act. “What about you?” he asked.
“I’ll be alright.”
Draco felt the sense of awkwardness thicken between them as they started down the street again. Breath muffled and hot against his cheeks, he sighed deeply.
“What’s your name?”
“Huh?” Bennett was obviously pretending not to have heard his question.
“Your name.” He repeated, feeling horrifically uncomfortable.
The cop scratched her nose. “Cybil.”
“Oh.” Draco almost wished he hadn’t asked, as now he felt even more at a loss of what to say.
Fortunately, Cybil spoke for him. “We have to be careful,” she said, as they drew even with the school. “Half of these buildings should be condemned. Stay close and don’t go tramping all over the floor.”
Draco followed her up the staircase and watched as she forced the front door open. In his pocket, he noticed the weight of the brass doorknob striking against his thigh. The image of the Dark Mark sent a shrill wave of fear through him. What was it doing here?
The door gave way after Cybil struggled with it for a minute. She helped him inside over a pile of rubble that crowded the foyer. To their left was an old desk which sat guarding the school office.
“Wait here,” Cybil instructed and she disappeared into the room.
Draco stood in the hallway, gazing up a set of stairs that led to the second floor. He closed his eyes and tried to imagine dozens of children rushing through the corridor to their classrooms, but found he could only picture vague shadows and whispers of forgotten taunts.
Maybe it had been a bad idea to come here after all, he thought. He wondered if he could talk Cybil into leaving when she came back into the hall, another flashlight in hand.
“Look what I found in a desk drawer,” she said and waved it in the air triumphantly. “I tried it and it works, so put it in your pocket. I can’t carry two flashlights and you never know, you might need it.”
Draco took the flashlight from her, maneuvering his cuffed hands just so he could stuff it into his pants’ pocket.
“Thanks,” he muttered, still wishing he had his wand to light the way.
Cybil moved down the hall and tested the first few stairs carefully, shaking the skinny banister with all her might.
“It seems sound,” she concluded, “and it’s the only way to the roof.”
They took the stairs slowly, stopping once on the second floor to check the strength of the next set.
Draco disliked the caged feel he got from climbing through the school. The spaces between the banisters had been blocked with heavy chain link to keep any student from falling. But to him, the safeguard seemed more sinister than anything else. He thought back to Hogwarts and the magical shifting staircase that certainly had a mind of its own. For once, he almost wished he was back there, even with Potter and his Mudblood lot.
On the third floor, the stairs ended abruptly and they were forced to make their way along the dusty corridor. Empty classrooms seemed to watch them as Cybil looked for the door to the roof.
Draco felt awfully vulnerable walking down the hall so blindly, so he nestled himself against the wall space between two classrooms and waited. But across the corridor, through the cracked glass window of a door, he saw something that made his heart drop straight down to his toes.
The Dark Mark.
It had been pinned up above the blackboard, in plain sight, slightly distorted by the dirty glass.
“Hey,” he called to Cybil.
She came back down the hall to join him.
“What is it?”
Draco didn’t reply at once, but struggled to fish the door knob out of his pocket. “In there,” he said at last. “Look.”
Cybil followed his gaze inside the classroom, nodding sharply as soon as she saw what hung above the blackboard.
“The marking on your arm,” she said.
Draco twisted his hands and managed to extract the door knob from his pocket. Stepping forward, he easily inserted it into the empty socket with a secure click.
Cybil exhaled. “Well, would you look at that. What a coincidence.”
Draco knew what she was suggesting, her innuendo ringing clear in his strained ears. She thinks I’ve been here before
, he thought, nudging the door until it opened with a tortured creak.
He made to move inside but the cop stopped him.
“I’ll go first,” she said and she tested the floor of the classroom, her footsteps muffled by years of grime.
At last, she looked up at the blackboard at the Dark Mark, face screwed in a thoughtful frown.
“The righteous shall devour the wicked.”
“Huh?” Draco walked inside and tried to get a better look at the mark. It was picture, printed on yellowed paper and stuck to the wall with a rusty thumb tack. A green, poisonous looking snake slithered inside a man’s open mouth and beneath the head was scrawled ‘The Righteous Shall Devour The Wicked’
He swallowed, hard. For all the similarities between the picture and the brand on his arm, he couldn’t properly reconcile the two images with each other. For one thing, the man’s head was not a skull, but a wide-eyed, fearsome looking fellow with the pale skin of the moon.
“It’s not the same,” he said aloud.
Cybil turned on him. “What do you mean?”
Draco shook his head, frustrated. “I don’t know. The picture, it’s different somehow…”
Cybil crossed her arms over her chest. “What are you not telling me?”
Her voice was insistent, and Draco knew he wouldn’t be able to hold out for long. He strolled down one aisle of dusty desks.
“I think I’ve been more than fair with you,” she continued, now sounding angry. “Can you at least have the decency to ‘fess up and let me know what’s going on?”
Draco didn’t like the way the desks were so neatly lined up. The inherent sense of order, of strict routine made his fingers begin to tremble, wishing he had his wand to blast his way through the filthy building. Old floorboards creaked beneath his stained trainers and for one insane moment, Draco thought he heard a child moaning.
“Look at me,” Cybil demanded, her voice edged with a new frustration he had not heard before. “I’m trying to help you here, alright. If you’d just…”
But Draco wasn’t listening. He’d come to the end of one aisle and stopped by the second to last desk. Unlike the others, the smooth wooden surface bore more than dust.
Draco dared to touch the top of it, cold terror slithering through his veins like venom. The carving was crude, no more than mere scratches, but he could still make out the word.
He clutched the edge of the desk with his cuffed hands and tried to steady himself. The world was tilting, his eyes rolling back from exhaustion and fear. Draco bit his lip until he tasted blood.
The word was more than a title, it was a charm, a mental portkey that pulled his mind, down, down, down into the darkness, into smoke, into fire, into pain.
Sweat beaded his brow, and before Draco knew what he was doing, his fingers were struggling with the lid of the desk, lifting it up, revealing what lay inside beneath the unremarkable exterior.
At first, he thought his vision was blurred, and he was seeing little more than a mass of blank paper. But after a moment, after blinking away the sting of soot, he saw the wand.
It was made of yew, and what the core was he couldn’t tell. And unlike his wand or any other wand he knew, did not have a handle.
Slowly, he reached for it, elated by the prospect of once more being able to produce magic but strangely haunted by the eerie sheen of the thing.
The Dark Lord’s wand, after all, had been made of yew….
“Hey!” Cybil was striding over to him, her eyes narrowed with annoyance and just a drop of trepidation.
Draco snatched up the wand before she could see it.
“I don’t appreciate your attitude,” she muttered and when he had stepped back, slammed the lid of the desk down.
In doing so, Draco once more had a clear view of the classroom and the hall outside.
Standing in the shadow of the door he saw a girl.
It took a moment for him to actually marry reality and confusion in his mind, but when he did at last, the child turned and fled.
“Wait…hey, come back!” And then he was barreling out of the room after her, ignorant of Cybil’s order to stop.
There you have it, another chapter ^_^ Thank you so much for taking the time to read. I’d also like to thank my amazing beta, Renfair, for all her help with this chapter. If you have a free moment, please leave a review. I’d love to hear from you. Chapter Nine has already been betad and will be posted in a week or so. Have a great week!
 Taken from “Forsaken” by The Dreamside