Chapter 9 : When Was The Last Time You Imagined?
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"Ron?" I whispered taking a step back, I blinked to clear my eyes but as they fell upon the spot once again it was empty, no red haired boy sat there, just my imagination creating things.
I took my seat in a daze, utterly confused as to what I'd just seen, it can't have been a ghost, it was solid or so I'd thought, it can't have been solid, it vanished into the thin air! But if it hadn't existed at all, if it had been just a figment of my imagination then it could come and go at will. What had me the most unnerved was the fact at who it resembled so greatly – Ron, even from behind there was no denying that unnatural height, that fiery red hair. It was Ron, no-one else here even came close to appearing that way. My eyes lingered longingly on the place where I'd seen him, as if I were hoping that he was just hiding beneath the cloak or some other ridiculous bewitched item, but deep down I knew it wasn't really him, it couldn't be.
I took my seat, nervous, worried and confused all at the same time. It felt as though I were going into some form of emotional overload, as though another emotion would tip me over the edge. I watched as Professor Carrow stalked into the room, there really was only one way to describe him – Squat. He would have to be at least as short as his sister, if not even shorter. He reminded me of Professor Snape with greasy black hair; however he shared no other feature with the Headmaster. His skin even from a distance was rather lumpy and he appeared rather unsettled in his new position. As he passed through the centre of the rows of desks he smiled strangely at all of us, his grin, or perhaps a more appropriate word – Leer, was lopsided and rather disconcerting.
As he took his place at the front of the class before the blackboard he let out a small laugh, wheezy just like his sister's, they shared their height, un-attractive appearances and their laugh, any would be able to assume that they were related. The similar appearance too close to deny. He glanced down upon us and drew up his sleaves carefully; I noticed the Dark Mark burnt into his skin, there it was for us all to see, dark as a moonless night. His smile flickered into overdrive as he noticed the flinching of several of the students in the class, one of which was Neville. I grasped the edge of the table nervously as he withdrew his wand from a pocket. A thought ran through my mind as if by habit – He's going to kill us all. But I realised that this would be the worst thing he could do at this particular time, evidentially magical blood was important. If only he knew what my blood really was, perhaps he would slaughter me on site.
I looked about the room carefully, not wanting to arouse suspicion. One slip of the tongue from any of these students could cause my life to be in danger, I glanced around hoping, praying, wishing that he wasn't in the class, my prayers it seemed had been answered, Crabbe and Goyle sat alone in a corner of the room, I breathed a huge sigh of relief thanking what ever higher power had answered my prayers. I noticed from the corner of my eye the tall red head again, this time I got a long, hard look at his face. I felt myself rising in my seat.
"Ron…" I whispered, there was no doubt this time, I had seen his face. His freckled beautiful face that I was so accustomed to seeing so close by.
"Ron?" I asked aloud, loud enough so that he would hear it. Closing my eyes momentarily, I opened them to realise that he had once again disappeared.
The attention of the entire class was upon me. Many were looking around in confusion. There was a whisper breaking across the classroom, "Ron?" closely followed by "Harry?" there were whispers behind, in front and to either side of me.
"What in Merlin's name are you doing Granger?" Asked someone from behind me.
I spun around to face the source of the voice, "You." I hissed, unable to withhold it, Draco Malfoy was indeed in my class, to make matters even worse – right behind me.
"Down in front." He hissed at me, and I quickly took my seat, everyone was already staring at me their eyes wide with confusion, Harry and Ron were nowhere to be seen despite my outburst. I took my seat and attempted to pretend as though nothing had happened, it was embarrassing enough without having to actually think about what I had just done in front of the entire class.
A loud wheezing cough brought me back to earth, the attention shifted quickly from me to the front of the classroom where Professor Carrow was looking rather annoyed at the sudden disruption to his class. He cleared his throat loudly and proceeded to walk slowly towards the blackboard. Shakily he pointed his wand at it and small scrawly handwriting began to appear suddenly across the board I read it slowly as it scribbled each letter slowly, P-R-O-F-E-S-S-O-R C-A-R-R-O-W D-A-R-K A-R-T-S. I looked carefully at the words "Dark Arts" surely it was just a mistake, but I could not shake the strange feeling that it was no mistake, that perhaps the class really had been changed. Were we really becoming like Durmstrang? A school which was not only to teach the Dark Arts, but actually encourage them?
I felt the barely deniable urge to stretch my hand into the air to question this, to ask why it is he had written this on the board, but to do so would raise questions as to where my loyalties lay; I knew I must hold my new place – The place I had been given. I knew it now; I could not step over the line for I knew my place, I was one of the lowest viewed people in this new society, to openly risk being caught would be like throwing Professor McGonagall's gift at a new life in her face, like saying I no longer wanted to hide beneath the safety of my 'Half-Blood' status, one I was aware I was non-deserving of, there were many others that would benefit from the protection I was being provided more so than I was. I forced myself to remain as I was in my seat – most importantly hand down.
"Welcome students," he wheezed, "I am Professor Carrow." He paused for breath. "I shall be instructing you in the Dark Arts this year."
I watched as before me a Ravenclaw slowly pushed her hand towards the ceiling. He nodded at her, indicating that she was free to speak.
"Sir, do you not mean Defence Against The Dark Arts. Surely we aren't learning the Dark Arts." She asked timidly. I had to admire her nerve – She surely couldn't see the implications of what a question such as hers could cause.
A small thin lopsided grin spread across Amycus Carrow's unnatural features. The pits of his black eyes seemed to glow suddenly at her words, as though Lord Voldemort had waltzed right into the room and was handing him a reward. He let a small unpleasant laugh, that had me flinching in my seat. He wasn't honestly going to punish her for asking a simple question was he? I wondered to myself the fear for the girl spreading rapidly through my veins. The temperature in the room seemed to be dropping rapidly, the air becoming difficult to breath causing a large portion of the class to hold their breaths in hope that the girl would not be punished as we all knew it could have been any of us – we were all thinking the same thing.
"Dark Arts, not Defence Against the Dark Arts. That is what I shall be teaching." He said sneeringly. "Has anyone else got any moronic questions before I begin?"
There was silence; no-one dared speak for surely any statement or question would be regarded as moronic and would earn us a detention. He looked hopefully around the room almost inviting us to express our opinions. I could see the longing to punish, to torture in his eyes, a disturbing feature that seemed to be visible above all else on his unattractive face. "No takers…" he whispered under his breath before pacing towards the front of the classroom.
"Come up here you." He said pointing to a tall Hufflepuff girl in the front row, I watched as she sat up in her chair and looked to her friends either side of her. He outstretched a hand and beckoned her towards him.
"Here now." He said pointing to a place beside him.
I watched as she slowly and shakily stood, and moved slowly towards the front of the room. She took her place beside him, the look of fear within her eyes almost unbearable to witness, her eyes showed us that she was on the verge of tears. Glistening brightly the fear of what was to happen to her causing her to bite her lip and fidget uncomfortably.
"A classic example of disobedience." He drawled to us.
"W…w…what?" She stammered taking a large step away.
I sat closer to the edge of my seat all around me people where glancing nervously as he advanced towards her his wand drawn.
"Want to make people do what you want?" He asked us. "Simple." He slowly pointed his wand at her as she backed into the cold stone wall and muttered "Imperio."
No-one gasped or flinched this time, we'd seen the affects of an Unforgivable Curse upon both spiders and humans numerous times, and even at the hands of a mad-man had them used upon each of us. No-one had never seen the affects of such spells before. Immediately her eyes went blank the fear that seemed to be leaking from them vanished, replaced with a blank, emotionless expression. I watched as yet another smile broke across Amycus Carrow's face. "What to do… What to do…" He muttered to himself. "You," He said harshly to her, "bring him to me." He said pointing directly at Neville.
The girl did not hesitate to move, immediately she begun to advance upon Neville. I watched as slowly he drew out his wand from his robe pocket. I was beginning to panic, what would the poor girl be forced to do under the influence of such a spell, would she be forced to use magic she had not intended to use, even using an Unforgivable curse upon a fellow student? I watched as a figure rose from his chair his messy black hair pointing in every direction possible, as he slowly turned I recognised those brilliant green eyes, face and of course the defining scar of Harry Potter. This time I knew I was imagining things, perhaps I needed fresh air or more sleep, because if I knew one thing for certain it was that Harry Potter would not dare in the current climate set foot within Hogwarts Castle. He waved to me momentarily before taking his seat once again and vanishing from sight.
By the time I focused upon the front of the room Neville was struggling to free himself from the grasp of the Ravenclaw girl. I watched as a sudden fear flooded into his eyes as Professor Carrow walked up to him wand pointed at his chest. He gasped Neville's robes roughly lifting him entirely off his feet and smiled strangely at him. I could no longer help myself.
"Stop it! Please!" I cried standing in my seat.
There were several loud gasps, the room went suddenly silent and every pair of eyes in the room was upon me, staring at me.
"Let him go!" I cried again.
"As you want." Amycus growled releasing Neville onto the ground. He felt with a sickening thud and lay motionless in a small heap on the ground.
As if I knew it the figures of Harry and Ron slowly walked to the front of the room, I was transfixed upon their slow graceful movements and despite I knew that it was entirely my imagination I was glad to know they were so close by in a sense. So close I could almost touch them. I watched as the figures stood aimlessly at the front of the class, only visible to myself they were a comforting presence as Professor Carrow turned upon me and uttered a single word that rang across the entire classroom, a word which sent shivers down my spine: "Detention."
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