Chapter 36 : Adversus Anima
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Don’t own anything you recognise. Adversus Anima belongs to me. (Congrats to all who guessed what it pertained to.)
36. Adversus Anima
And there it was.
Two from the top of the list, the words looked oddly simple as they sat in front of me. As though the thing that had changed my entire life was just two tiny words that had been printed in a book.
Adversus Anima. (Pg. 79)
I snapped the book shut with a slam.
I flushed slightly as I noticed everyone in the room turn to look at me in interest, trying to figure out where the loud noise had come from. Natalie had jumped with the noise and was now looking at me while I was insane—while I stared straight ahead. Even Professor Macmillan was looking at me oddly, frowning slightly.
He pushed himself to his feet.
I quickly looked down again, managing to hide the book underneath some of Nat’s parchment of notes. I then pulled my real textbook to my lap and lifted a quill.
“Everything alright here, Miss Dalton?” Professor Macmillan asked, as he stopped at our desk.
I looked up at him.
No. No. No. No. No. No. No.
Everything was not okay.
“Yeah,” I said quickly. “There was this bug in my book and I squashed it.”
I motioned down to the opened book on my lap.
Professor Macmillan frowned. “So you’re telling me there is now a dead bug’s acidic insides eating through the pages of your text book?”
“Uh,” I said lamely. “...yeah.”
I should have seen this coming. What was I doing researching this thing if I hadn’t expected to actually find it? This was it.
I should have been happy about my discovery.
I should have excitedly turned to page 79, like the book had told me to, and I should be busily reading away about what it was that Walden Macnair had done to me. I should be totally excited about this. This was another of my problems that I was almost done with.
No more researching.
No more mystery.
It was there. It was all simply sitting there, beneath a few pieces of Natalie’s homework and my wrist—where I had put it when Professor Macmillan approached, as some sort of subconscious defence mechanism.
He was not taking this book away from me.
It seemed I didn’t have anything to worry about. Professor Macmillan was just chuckling to himself. He sighed, looking back at me.
“Alright, Dalton,” he said well naturedly. “Just scourgify it before you leave, will you?”
I nodded obediently.
Still chuckling, Professor Macmillan turned on his heel and headed towards some other students to make sure they weren’t making paper planes (which they were) three seats ahead of us.
Nat turned her accusing gaze to me.
“Okay,” she said with narrowed eyes. “What the hell was that?”
I stared at her.
“Uhm... a bug?”
She glared at me.
I stared back at her, wide eyed.
“Fine,” she breathed out. “It was a bug. But whatever it is that you’re reading in that book that’s making you spaz out like this? Maybe you should stop. Macmillan’s getting suspicious.”
I licked my lips, but shook my head.
“I’ll be quieter, I promise.” I told her. “But I’m not stopping reading.”
“Ah, Katie Dalton deciding vocally to not stop reading... who are you and what have you done to the real Katie?”
I found it in myself to crack a smile, before turning back to my book.
I opened it up again, and stared down at the page. Page 79. Page 79.
Adversus Anima. Curse. Casting Incantation: ANIMAUS CARITAS ADVERSE (pronounced: AN-EEM-OU-S CA-REET-A-S AD-VER-S-US)
I was about to let out another loud breath and close the book when I remembered what Nat had said mere milliseconds ago.
I was in my Transfiguration class.
I couldn’t have a spaz out in here.
I had almost closed the book again, deciding that it wasn’t safe to read it in here because I really couldn’t react, when I glanced back at the page.
Created by Castranoth Miles in 1849.
That was enough for me.
The smallest piece of information on this thing was enough to motivate me to find out more. It had been created? Who would create a curse? What kind of sicko...?
One of the most popular long term curses, Adversus Anima is, ultimately, a curse of constant bad luck.
No. That couldn’t be it.
Bad luck had been with me my entire life. It couldn’t be bad luck. That was just who I was. I was fine with the bad luck.
I couldn’t be getting away from this that easily.
I could handle bad luck.
I already have handled bad luck. My entire life.
And while that may be exactly what the author is trying to say with all this long term stuff and danger talk, bad luck wasn’t that, well, bad.
It was used frequently in the years following the Second Wizarding War with the specific intention of causing intense emotional pain to the victim.
Intense emotional pain to the victim.
Intense emotional pain.
How was bad luck supposed to do that? My parents had never seemed that worried when I fell down the stairs at home, or when I broke bones. They just shared a look.
Reminding myself with a sharp pinch to my own arm that I couldn’t be stupid about reading this, I took another deep breath in.
On the other hand, I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking, and as hard as I was trying, it was becoming harder and harder to control my own breathing.
In a typical scenario, the caster of this spell would curse a relative or a close friend of the person they actually wish to harm. Aside from being physically dangerous to the actual recipient of the curse, the psychological effects on the people around them are one of the reasons that this curse became so popular.
That was it.
That was me.
I was the typical scenario that the author was talking about. That was what had happened to me.
Walden Macnair had wanted to make my parents feel intense emotional pain.
By giving me bad luck?
A person underneath this curse will experience many symptoms steadily since being cursed, but will not usually know it. This is one of the reasons that Adversus Anima is so dangerous. Many of the symptoms can be easy ignored because of their seemingly harmless nature, and by the time they are recognised to be dangerous it is usually too late to do anything about it.
As I read I was slowly becoming more and more relaxed.
This was all just bad luck.
I was going to be FINE.
It was bad luck.
I didn’t mind bad luck.
Bad luck was just part of who I was.
A giddy grin began to creep on my face and the shaking in my hands began to relax.
This was stupid.
This Castranoth Miles guy had made up from stupid curse of bad luck that Walden Macnair had stupidly selected from a book just like this.
Bad luck that is brought on by Adversus Anima is not simply what every day people would call bad luck (eg. never winning a lottery, or losing one’s wand.) Instead, it is far vaster. Personal lives and business lives are affected in the same way, and situational bad luck is very common.
Was everything in my life that was happening all because of this stupid curse?
Todd Williams blackmailing me? The Malfoy’s New Year party? Emily and Eric hating me? What had happened to Eric?
That couldn’t all be because of the curse.
It had all only just happened. The book said it was a steady curse. Just, constant, ever present bad luck.
That couldn’t be because of me.
I was fine.
I was fine.
I was going to be fine.
As with many long term curses, Adversus Anima works slowly and gradually increases with time. What may have previously been regarded as simple bad luck begins to worsen, with deadly consequences. These symptoms will persist until they culminate, usually within the 30th year of being infected and the curse becomes fatal.
However, in recent studies of those affected it has become clear that other factors of the life of those who have been cursed have a dramatic affect on the curse. Adversus Anima focuses on emotion as a catalyst for effect, making it very unique. Studies have shown that the happier the infected are, the quicker the curse works, bringing the thirty year survival average down. People infected have died as early as ten years after being cursed, because of this particular acceleration process. To this day, there is no cure.
Fatal. No cure.
...I was not going to be fine.
I had no time to process.
It was whirring around in my head so quickly I couldn’t focus—I could only watch as the words popped out in front of my head.
Second Wizarding War.
“Miss Dalton, are you reading the text?”
I looked up to see Nat looking at me as though I was insane. I only then registered that she had been tugging on my arm for the last few seconds, looking at me urgently.
I turned my head again—this time to the front of my desk—to see Professor Macmillan standing back in front of me, smiling down at me with an amused look on his face.
I stared at him.
Died as early as ten years.
I could barely hear him now.
I could hear everything else with perfect clarity. I could hear the screaming of my blood as it pounded through my veins. I could hear the beating of my heart as it pushed it. I could hear the hushed whispers of everyone around me. They had stopped studying and every face was trained on me now.
My gaze remained trained on the Professor’s.
The expression on his face changed.
“Miss Dalton, answer me.”
I could barely breathe. The one thing I couldn’t hear was my own breath.
I only then became aware that I was holding it in.
Exhale, my brain told my lungs. Exhale now.
My lungs refused.
Silently I stared up at the Professor with wide eyes.
“Oh, my god Katie, say something...”
I didn’t move to look at Nat—although I faintly registered that she had begun tugging on my arm again.
No one’s POV.
Nat stared in horror as her partner stared vacantly up at their teacher. She tugged persistently on Katie’s arm, trying to get her to respond to something.
“Oh, god,” she said frantically, when Katie’s eyes stopped focusing altogether. She wasn’t seeing anything now that much was clear.
Professor Macmillan leapt into action.
“Everyone stand back.” He said—looking at the students who were slowly creeping forward to see what was going on. He looked urgently at the student nearest to the door. “Sabriel. Go and get the matron right now. Tell her that she is required immediately.”
Sabriel, who was staring at Katie with a pale look on her face pulled her gaze away and stared up at the Professor. She took a second to register what Macmillan was saying before nodding and leaping to her feet. She disappeared out the door, pulling her heels off as she exited, and leaving them to clutter to the floor.
“Natalie. Stand up. What happened? What do you think triggered this?”
Nat wasn’t even sure what this was but she knew that it wasn’t time to think about that. She shook her head, trying to think.
“She was reading a book,” she said. “I made it look like the transfiguration text because I thought she’d appreciate it.” She looked down at the desk. “It’s that one, there.”
Macmillan reached for the book, and pulled it off the table.
Katie’s hands, faster than Nat had noticed, flew away from hugging her own body to the book. She pulled on it furiously, pulling it away from Macmillan’s hands and hugging it to her chest.
Macmillan pulled on the book, but Katie wouldn’t let go. Sighing, he gave up.
“Pull the chair away from her,” he said quickly, glancing at the door. “We don’t have time to wait for the matron.”
And then he pulled out his own wand.
Levitating Katie into the air, he motioned for someone to open the doors.
“You will all stay here.” He ordered to rest of the class—while Nat stood beside Katie, grasping at her wrist—as Katie’s hands remained clenched around the edges of the book. “You will not leave this classroom until I have returned. This is not gossip. You won’t spread rumours about this. Am I understood?”
The entire class nodded, even though the Professor hadn’t waited to see their response. He was out the door in second, walking quickly and calmly after Sabriel Malfoy.
Naturally, everyone had heard by the end of the day.
And an even WORSE cliffie.
Hahahahaha. Review and I’ll update.
I definitely need feedback on the 3rd person segment at the end because I might need to utilise that story telling device in the future. From now on, POV changes will be marked.
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