Chapter 4 : Invisible
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Something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong.
I think I’m losing my memory…or maybe my mind.
There are feathers everywhere! They’re all over my robes, and no matter how hard I try, the last two hours are a complete blank to me!
I glanced over at the clock on the mantle piece and shook my head, like a dog does when it’s trying to shake off water; except I was trying to shake the sickening feeling that two hours of my life have just disappeared. How can it be 2am? I closed my eyes and rubbed them with the heels of my hands, trying to bring back any memory of the missing time.
I remembered that I came up to bed early. I’d had a particularly trying Potions lesson at the end of the day. Snape had decided he hadn’t been harassing me enough lately so I was his helpless prey for the whole double lesson. I’d done my best to tune him out, a skill I usually excelled in due to my upbringing in such a noisy home, but it was one particularly scathing comment that he made towards the end of the lesson that had cut right through any shields I had built up. He was sweeping through the dungeon, muttering criticisms on the sneezing potion we had been brewing. I knew my effort wasn’t perfect, but Potions isn’t my strong point so I was still pretty proud of my work. Snape drew up next to my desk and peered into my cauldron. I kept my eyes focussed on the bench top, hoping he would just move along. He did, but not before hissing at me:
“Not quite right Miss Weasley. Your potion really should be a moss green, not lime green. I would just stick to being invisible if I were you, you do it so well.”
I had just wanted to cry as I forced myself to eat dinner and trudged up to the common room. Invisible. So I wasn’t imagining it then. I really was a great big nobody. I had worried about that all along, that no-one would even care that I existed. After all, nobody really paid much attention to me, I wasn’t special in any way. In the common room I had watched my brothers resentfully, Percy happily telling off some third years, Fred and George surrounded by giggling friends, even Ron, laughing with Harry as they did their homework. They seemed so happy, so at home, so…not invisible. Feeling dejected I climbed the stairs to my dormitory and slipped into bed, unnoticed, not even bothering to change out of my robes. One by one, I heard the other girls come in, change, get into bed and fall asleep. I lay still on my four poster bed, unable to turn my brain off. After what seemed like hours passing I decided I needed to talk to Tom. Silently, I pulled the book from under my mattress and tiptoed down the stairs to the common room. There was a warm glow coming from the low flames in the fireplace. The clock told me it was 11:45pm so I assumed that it hadn’t been long since the older students had made their way to bed. I sat down in my favourite squashy armchair and tucked my stocking feet underneath me. I flipped open the diary, took out the quill I kept hidden in there and began to write.
Dear Tom, just when I started to believe things might get better I realised they’re as bad as ever!
Good evening Ginny. Whatever could you mean? I thought you were feeling better.
I was Tom, but then one of the professors told me something today. He called me something actually, and it confirmed what I’d feared for months.
Dear me! What did your professor call you?
Invisible. He called me invisible Tom! And I am! Nobody notices me, not my own brothers and especially not Harry! I’m nothing. I’m no one. I’m invisible to everybody!
That simply isn’t true Ginny. After all, you’re not invisible to me…
I squeezed my eyes shut even tighter as my memory began to fade into inky blackness. After reading that line, the next thing I had remembered was standing in the middle of the common room, freezing cold with wet socks and feathers all over my robes. Oh, and two hours of my life missing of course! A strong shiver coursed through my body, causing several feathers to float from my clothes to the floor. I suddenly realised what this would look like if someone came into the common room right now. I would be in so much trouble and I doubted if anyone would believe about my memory loss. I found my diary, lying on the floor near the armchair, and quietly crept up the stairs. In the dormitory, I slipped out of my robes and hid them in the bottom of my trunk, my heart pounding with fear of being caught should one of my dorm-mates wake up. I wasn’t discovered though, and after pulling on warm pyjamas, I crawled into bed and fell into an exhausted, dreamless sleep.
Hallowe`en. This was something I had been looking forward to for a long time. Thanks to my brothers, the Hallowe`en festivities had a special place on my ‘Things I can’t wait to do at Hogwarts’ list, somewhere between Christmas Day and Visiting the kitchens to steal food. I had been waiting for this moment for years and it had finally arrived. I was finally going to go to a Hogwarts Hallowe`en Feast.
And I couldn’t care less.
Ever since those hours went missing from my memory I hadn’t been able to focus properly. I just didn’t understand what had happened. I had considered telling someone but couldn’t really decide who. Percy? No, he would write an owl to mum and she’d probably pull me out of school. The twins? No they’d make up some nickname like ‘feather head’ and tease me constantly. I considered telling Ron or Hermione, but they both seemed caught up in their own things and I wasn’t sure they’d take me seriously. There was really only one person I thought would actually listen and understand but the problem was, he was the one person I was completely incapable to physically talking to!
So I found myself at the Hallowe`en feast, barely even noticing the hundreds of floating pumpkins, emitting an eerie yet warm, orange, glow upon the four house tables. I absent-mindedly lifted a forkful of food into my mouth but I didn’t taste it or stop to enjoy its flavours. After I had swallowed enough mouthfuls to appease Percy’s watchful gaze, I made my escape, slipping wordlessly from the bench and out into the entrance hall. I glanced nervously over my shoulder as I began climbing the giant marble staircase, hoping no one had noticed my early exit and followed me. But the hall was empty, and the only sound was the contented buzzing of voices from the room I had just left. Of course. You’re invisible…remember? I bitterly told myself. Once I had reached the top of the stairs I broke into a run, wanting to get back to the safety of my dormitory.
“Wattlebird.” I mumbled to the fat lady and scrambled through the portrait hole. Within minutes I was on my bed, diary in one hand and quill in the other. I had written to Tom once since the feather incident, but he couldn’t tell me much, except that I had suddenly stopped writing. He had no enlightenments on the missing time whatsoever. But I was going crazy not being able to talk to anyone so I began to write.
Dear Tom, something is really not right. I still feel funny about that night when I blacked out.
Ginny, I do wish you would calm yourself. Granted it is a strange situation, but surely there is a plausible explanation?
Plausible explanation? I can’t think of any.
Well you are under a lot of strain at the moment, having started at a new school and learning a lot of new skills. Perhaps you simply fainted from exhaustion.
Maybe…but that still doesn’t explain the feathers Tom!
Yes, the feathers…Oh but of course! Now I see!
What? What is it?
My dear Ginny, you must have been sleepwalking! That explains the cold feet and as for the feathers…well perhaps you went down to the chicken coop?
I stared at the words as they faded, the weight in my chest feeling lighter than it had in days. Tom’s theory seemed to match. Could he be right? Was I just sleepwalking?
You know Tom, I think you’re right. That must be it. I feel so much better now, I think I might go to bed, I feel as though I could sleep for days! Thankyou for listening to me.
It is my pleasure Ginny, you don’t know what our little chats mean to me. Oh and one last thing before you go…
“Ow!” I had walked into something in the dark. I rubbed my knee where a small lump was forming. I still couldn’t see anything, but I could feel the open draughtiness of the room, as though it were an empty classroom. I glanced around and noticed the pale patch of moonlight only just dimly illuminating a small window. Yes, it must be a classroom. I told myself. Wait. An empty classroom? How could I be in a classroom? I was just sitting on my – I felt a horrible twinge in my stomach. It’s happened again. I thought fretfully. I raked my hands through my hair in a panicked motion. It can’t have happened again. No, I must have just been sleepwalking again, like Tom said. But any chance at a calming mantra was chased from my mind when I lowered my hands to my robes. I felt something sticky on the fabric and pulled my hand away in surprise. I moved quickly to the window and held my hand up to the dim glow. There was something smeared across my skin. Still wet and glistening slightly in the moonlight. It seemed to be some sort of paint and, looking down, I could see that there was quite a bit of it spread across the front of my uniform. I glanced back across the classroom and from my place under the window I could just make out the shape of the door. I headed quickly for the exit, wanting to get out and clean myself up before anyone else found me. I pulled open the door and slipped down the nearest corridor, but what I saw there stopped me in my tracks. Mrs. Norris, Filch’s cat, was hanging from a torch bracket by her tail at an odd angle. She wasn’t moving – she looked like a statue. And behind her, on the wall, was scrawled a message about the Chamber of Secrets. I didn’t pay much attention to the words though, because I was experiencing the horrible realisation that the words on the wall were written in the same colour paint as that on my clothes.
At the end of the corridor, I heard the scuffling noise of approaching feet. Not wanting to be discovered, I flew down the hall in the opposite direction and made my way back up to my dormitory. With a sickening sense of déjà vu, I pulled off my dirty robes. I ran to the girl’s bathroom, not knowing how much time I would have before everyone else returned. I scrubbed the robes frantically under the tap, tears running down my cheeks as the red tinged water swirled down the drain. When I had cleaned the robes as best I could, I buried them amongst a pile of other dirty robes, hoping that no-one would notice.
The months leading up to Christmas just seemed to get from bad to worse. Firstly, the situation with Mrs. Norris was all over the school and everyone was buzzing with rumours about the dreaded Chamber of Secrets. I tried my best to pull off the façade of a typical excited first year, whispering about the excitement of it all, but I couldn’t seem to muster any emotions other than fear or distress. Acting under the assumption that I was simply a sensitive girl, my brothers tried, in their own ways, to cheer me up. Ron was particularly persistent, and every time he spoke to me, Harry seemed to be standing behind him, giving me encouraging smiles. This only caused me to dissolve into tears however, and so I added the humiliation of crying in front of Harry to my list of worries. Percy also tried regularly to console me, although he had never really developed the knack for being comforting and affectionate, so he usually left me with the impression that I had just been scolded.
If I thought that would be the end of it, I was sorely mistaken. My memory mysteries began to increase at an alarming pace. More and more, I found myself in odd places, with no memory of where I had just been or what I had been doing. But the worse thing was the attacks. You see, Mrs. Norris was only the first victim. The day that Harry returned from the hospital wing after being hurt in a Quidditch match and told us that Colin Creevey had been petrified, I nearly made myself sick. I felt guilty for all the times I had gotten irritated with Colin. Worse still though, was the fact that the night Colin was attacked, I had lost at least three hours from my memory.
And then a Hufflepuff boy and even Nearly Headless Nick were taken in too. A ghost! Whatever was doing this could hurt a ghost? The panic I had been feeling for weeks was starting to border on hysteria. But still I could tell no-one. I couldn’t shake the feeling that Harry was the one I should be confiding in, but when people started whispering that he was the heir of Slytherin who had opened the Chamber, I lost any nerve I’d mustered. I couldn’t bring myself to make him feel worse. Fred and George, finding the rumours ridiculous, were acting out the most outlandish farces, pretending Harry was going to kill us all. This only served to stretch my nerves even tighter and I found myself more than once pleading with my brothers to stop the silly behaviour. I was slowly losing my mind, and there wasn’t a person alive that I could talk to about it.
So I continued to confide in Tom, the only person who seemed to have time for the worried, frightened, invisible girl.
AN: Whoah! so crazy how ast these last few chapters have gone up. The Staffers here are truly awesome.
Please review. They make me smile like an idiot and do my little happy dance. I call it the 'Jellyfish Twist.' It is truly a sight to behold.
If you are reading this then I think you are wonderfully awesome and deserve sherbert lemons and cookies...lots of cookies!
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