Chapter 3 : An Unsettling Truth
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I’m running. I’m running through a forest and I don’t know where I’m going. They’ve blind-folded me, and I can’t see a thing. The adrenaline pumping through my veins isn’t enough to lose them; I am not fast enough. And then my brain screams out: I am not a lot of things. I am not safe. I am not dangerous. I am not good. I am not bad. I am not a part of them.
I am not me.
The twigs and the branches hit me left and right; I can’t see where I’m going or feel like I can keep going. I hear their snickers and laughs behind me. There’s no way out. I trip over a fallen tree trunk and land painfully on the ground. They are surrounding me now. I can feel them circling me. Their presence does not go unnoticed by my sixth sense. They rip off my blind-fold and the result of me opening my eyes makes me scream. I cannot see them. Or anyone. Or anything.
I am blind.
It did not matter if I was running with a blind-fold or not. I have no visual abilities. No sight at all. And they laugh.
I wake up from my nightmare in a heap of bundled sheets and sweat. I pant, and pant, and pant. I look around my dormitory in haste; I can see. I can see it all. I’ve opened my eyes to find that I am not blind – the nightmare was just that. A nightmare. I sit up and rest my head into my hands.
“Woah, mate. You alright?” Antonio asks from his four-poster.
I blink rapidly, making sure he’s really there. “Yeah,” I choke out. “Just fine.”
Today was a rainy and unpleasant day. I welcomed it.
I heard the window panes getting smacked by the hard droplets of rain as I got dressed. During Herbology in the greenhouses, I saw the flurry of water outside and I shook what remnants of rain I had fallen into my hair. I heard the rumbling of thunder while I ate lunch. By the time Potions came around, the sun had still not shown itself, nor did it fix the weather. I welcomed that, as well. Nothing could make the sun shine on the fact that I still had an assignment from Lucius – to stalk a member of the student body.
“We’ve got to add Bucksroot,” says Annabelle, handing me the stirring pot while she gets the supplies out of Professor Slughorn’s supply closet.
We’ve been assigned a month long project: to make Veritaserum. The whole class is going to be working on the study of serums in general, then we all have to write 2 rolls of parchment about the founder/inventor of Veritaserum (including the potion’s vices and side effects), and lastly – our final draft of Veritaserum will be graded for our major term grade.
“You’re very quiet,” Annabelle comments. The room echoes the noisy clicking of vials and stirring utensils coming from working groups.
“Yes, well, I don’t have much to say,” I respond huskily. It’s the second time I’ve spoken all day.
“Really,” she smirks.
I look her in the eye. “Yes.”
She cuts the Bucksroot in pieces with a knife. “I think you have a lot to say,” she mumbles to herself.
My head snaps up again from the cauldron as I stare at her profile. What am I supposed to think of that? Do I have nothing to say, or am I just hiding too much to talk?
“Are they your family?” She asks suddenly.
“Those Seventh Years in your House. The ones you sit with in the Great Hall.”
Annabelle looks at me hesitantly; her eyes want answers. She doesn’t seem ashamed at all that she’s made this observation.
“Close friends, then?”
“Something like that.”
“I don’t understand…”
“What?” I look at Annabelle and she seems a bit torn between telling herself to shut up, and asking me more questions.
It’s funny, how she’s talking to me like this. Any other Potions partner I had didn’t speak to me; whether out of fear of my last name or not, who knows. But this Potions partner…she wants to get to know me. And I’m just not used to this.
“It’s not like I have the right to ask you this, but I can’t help noticing…you seem like you don’t like them sometimes. Regulus, don’t you like your friends?”
They’re not friends.
"Sure. I guess I just live in my mind too much and don’t notice my surroundings."
I sneak a peek at her face, and I catch her staring at me. She looks away, embarrassed.
She couldn’t possibly be looking…at me? I lift my eyebrow, perplexed. “Tell me about yourself.”
Annabelle seems shocked. And I am, too. I have no idea where that came from.
“Well, my mum’s name is Beatrice and my dad’s name is Connor. I live in Bristol.”
“Ah, you’re a southern.”
“Yes,” she smiles.
“Have any brothers or sisters?” I pour the contents of our cauldron into a glass vial.
“Yeah, two sisters and one stepbrother. How about you?” Annabelle brushes a lock of her hair away and tilts her head to the side, letting me see her wonderful eyes.
“One brother,” I say groggily. At least, I think he is. Who knows what Sirius is anymore?
“What House?” She asks.
“Gryffindor. Seventh Year.”
“Oh,” she acknowledges. After filling the glass vial to the top, I set the cauldron back down. Annabelle puts away the Bucksroot.
“What about your sisters and brother? Do they go to Hogwarts?”
“No…my sisters graduated three years ago, they’re older. But my stepbrother is in Hufflepuff, he’s a Seventh Year.”
“Oh, really? What’s his name?” I reach for the vial’s lid across my desk.
“Aiden Winthrop.” Lucius Malfoy’s voice instantly echoes in my ear.
Keep tabs on the boy. He’s in Hufflepuff, Seventh Year; Aiden Winthrop. Brown hair, blue eyes, on the tall side.
And just like that, the vial in my hand slips and lands on the ground; the glass shatters into a million pieces.
Author's Note: This chapter is so short... I want to punch myself. But, alas, it was important, and I needed to update this ASAP. Reviews? :)
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