A/N: Anything you recognize belongs to JKR. I'm unfortunately not her. Anything else you don't recognize was inspired by the novel And Then There Were None by the wonderous Agatha Christie, and my own imagination. Big thanks to NGseries, CherryBear, keroberros, and ohcrapidroppedmybrain over on the forums for their input into the the title and summary for this story. Also, a shout out to Femme_Fatale for creating a challenge that allowed me to write this story. Now...I welcome you to the darker side of FannyPrice..muhahahahahaha!
Haunting Chapter Image by Jesi @ TDA!
"Molly," I called as I knocked gently on my sister's bedroom door. I paused for a few minutes, half-heartedly listening to sounds of the Wizarding Wireless Network that floated up the stairs from the kitchen where bangs and clacks indicated that my parent's were making breakfast. I might be three years younger, but I was a morning person and always up and dressed long before Molly was, who would stay up late into the night scratching stories and poems into her journal.
"Molly," I called again, my knock a little more persistent this time. When there was still no reply, I sighed annoyed and knocked harder.
"Molly! It's time for break--"
My voice died in my throat when the bedroom door swung open of its own accord. I felt the cool morning breeze filter in from the open window, and it sent goose bumps up my arms. But the bedroom was empty. The bed, the nightstand, the desk, and other furniture remained, but the neatly made bed, the absence of clothes from the floor made it all felt empty and devoid of life. Molly was nowhere to be seen. A deep feeling of unease took control of me, and I ran downstairs to find my parents.
At first, everyone was calm and reassuring. Maybe Molly had gone out for a walk or had decided to stay the night at our cousin Dominique's. But, when Bill and Fleur insisted that Molly was not at Shell Cottage, and Molly never walked through that front door a dread began to consume the family. The Aurors, led by Uncles Harry and Ron, were there by nightfall after a search of Molly's room revealed that all the drawers had been emptied and her school trunk was gone.
I sat on the couch with my mother, who held me tight to her as though afraid that I too would disappear. My Uncle Harry asked me questions and I tried my best to answer them, but there was so much happening around me that I found it hard to focus.
"Did you notice anything else missing from Molly's room?" He asked, repeating the question from moments before.
I snapped my attention back to the task at hand, and tried to clearly remember every detail of my sister’s bedroom. "All the pictures were gone from the nightstand."
"Do you know who the pictures were of?”
Of course, how could I not remember the purple picture frame that said "Sisters" across the top in block letters, a picture of Molly and I contained within. Or, the pink one of the same style except that it said "Best Friends Forever".
"...the other one was pink, and it was of Dominique and Molly." I answered solemnly, my brown eyes wandering over to the corner where Dominique stood talking to an Auror, her boyfriend, Lysander, and his twin brother, Lorcan, standing next to her. They had all been hanging out with Molly at Shell Cottage the night before, and would seem to be the last members of our family to have seen her.
"Did Molly seem to be acting strange last night?" I heard the Auror ask.
Lysander shook his head along with Dominique, who said, "No, she just kept talking about how much she wanted to go to India, like usual."
I turned my attention away from my older cousin when Teddy Lupin came down the stairs with another Auror. He carried Molly’s journal in his hand, the pages stuffed with pictures and scraps and the cover drawn on. And that's when I knew.
That's the moment I knew that my sister was dead. And as the pain ripped through me, I remember thinking it was ironic hearing my Uncle Ron say, "We'll find her, Perce," and clap a bracing hand on my father's shoulder. They never did find Molly.
How could they, when she is dead?
Of course, no one believes me. The consensus is that Molly ran away, taking her clothes and other personal possessions with her, maybe thinking she could make it to India someday. I know my parents need to believe this in order to heal and keep going with their lives.
But don't they get it? Don't they understand? Molly would never leave without that journal. Nor would she ever leave without saying goodbye to me.
I asked if I could have the journal when they were done with the investigation, and Uncle Harry delivered it to me as promised, with a sympathetic smile on his face. I scoured the thing, pored over every page, but there was no word of goodbye. While her obsession with all things Indian littered nearly every page, there was no sign that she had been planning on running away. I looked in her bedroom once more for a note or something that would let me know that I was wrong. Anything that would let me know that she was alive, and that she had just walked out like everyone said.
I found nothing.
Everyone told me to move on. Hope for the best and move on. I must have heard it a thousand times. And, I suppose that they’re right in a way. If my sister ran away, I have to hope that she's in Bombay sipping a gin and tonic and writing in Sanskrit. And if she is dead, well, then, I have to let her go sometime.
At some point, we all have to let go.