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Chapter 6 : I Want to Go Home...
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I don't own Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, Hogwarts or anything else you recognise. The toys all belong to JK Rowling...I'm just playing with them!
Harry's quote, marked with an asterix, is from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, pg 212 (Australian paperback edition).
I am a monster.
There is no other explanation for it. Something about that diary is turning me into a monster and I’m going around the school attacking people.
I’m going to be expelled. Forget expulsion you idiot! They’re going to send you Azkaban! The voice inside my head screamed. No…no, there’s no way they would...I’m just a little girl! Somewhere in the back of my mind I noticed the irony: for years I had rebelled against being called ‘little girl’ and now I was blindingly aware of just how little I really was. Little…and frightened. Tears began to roll down my cheeks and I brushed them away with the back of my hand. I was hiding in a corner of the common room, pretending to write a Potions essay, but there was no way I could focus on anything but my own horrible fate. I had wanted to come to Hogwarts for so long, I couldn’t even remember a time when it wasn’t my dream. I had waited, and listened to the stories and suffered through that last year alone at home, and finally I had made it. It was supposed to be the place where I made something of myself, and all I had done was ruin my life. The tears were flowing faster now.
“Ginny, you ok?” Ron was standing in front of me, a forlorn look on his face. I couldn’t hide the tears from him so I just nodded.
“I just miss Hermione.” I replied. Ron sat on the bench next to me and put his arm around my shoulders.
“Me too.” He sighed. I leaned on my brother’s shoulder, letting the tears fall. I could just tell him, tell him all of it right now. He’d understand. I opened my mouth, willing the words to come out, but Ron beat me to it. “Not long now and they’ll be able to make that Mandrake Potion thing and she’ll be able to tell us exactly who attacked her.” My mouth closed with a loud click from my teeth. Yeah, sure he’ll understand. The voice hissed. Understand that you’re the monster who tried to murder one of his best friends. I shrugged out from under Ron’s arm and gathered my things.
“I think I’m just going to go to bed.” I replied, and without another word I turned and ran upstairs.
The fact that Hagrid had been framed for what I had done or that Dumbledore had been asked to leave the school did not help improve my mood. Every time I glanced out a window and saw Hagrid’s hut and or looked up at the headmaster’s empty chair in the Great Hall, I felt the tears welling up again. When I wasn’t in classes I spent most of my time hidden in the dormitory or a corner of the common room. I tried to stay away from people as much as I could, partly because I didn’t want to hear their monster theories and partly because I thought I might hurt someone. I wanted now, more than ever, to tell somebody, to own up now before someone else got hurt but I just couldn’t bring myself to say the words. And so I waited for the axe to fall.
It happened three weeks after Hermione was attacked. At breakfast, Professor McGonagall announced that the Mandrakes were ready, the potion would be made and the culprit would soon be revealed. I felt my palms go clammy and I couldn’t seem to get enough air into my lungs. Then they’ll know it was me, and I’ll be taken away! I glanced down the Gryffindor table and saw Ron with a big smile on his face, and Harry next to him. The old feeling that Harry was the one to tell crept back into my mind. With shaking legs, I stood up, walked down the row to the two boys. My insides felt like jelly, but somehow I managed to sit down next to Ron. He and Harry both looked curiously at me, the former making some sort of query about what was wrong with me. I glanced up and down the table quickly, making sure no-one would overhear. Ron’s face was impatient but when I peered over at Harry, I saw only concern in his green eyes. I looked back down at the table top, willing myself to speak. Come on! Just say something, he’ll understand.
I opened my mouth and managed to squeak out: *”I’ve got to tell you something.” I kept my eyes focussed on a mark in the wooden surface. Harry and Ron were both listening intently now, so I opened my mouth to say something else, but I couldn’t seem to form the words.
*“Is it something about the Chamber of Secrets?” Harry’s voice was very quiet. I turned my head and saw his face, bent low, staring at me with compassion, worry and urgency. Something in his expression strengthened me and I took a deep breath, finally ready to tell him everything. But before the words could form on my lips, Percy was there, barking something at me about eating breakfast. I jumped back in surprise and as I did, the doubts came flooding back. He’ll never believe you’re innocent. Once he knows it was you who petrified Hermione he’ll never be able to forgive you! I leapt up, turned on my heel and bolted from the room. The tears began to sting my eyes as I ascended the stairs. I didn’t stop moving though, until I had reached the empty Gryffindor common room. I stood in the centre of the room, taking it all in. The squashy armchairs by the fire, the rounded walls of the tower, the notice board, featuring a mess of coloured pages and the odd photograph clipped from The Daily Prophet. A tear rolled down my cheek as I became aware of how much I was going to miss this place. Despite all of the bad things that had happened this year, Hogwarts really did feel like home.
As this thought occurred to me, I looked down at a nearby table where somebody had left their homework. A grey flecked quill was resting on the edge of the parchment, a few drops on ink next to it. The image reminded me of another quill, tucked inside the diary upstairs. I hadn’t touched it since the day of Hermione’s attack, but now, as I thought of it, I felt an uncontrollable urge to go and find it. My legs seemed to move towards the dormitory of their own accord and I was too exhausted to try and resist. I had the sense that I had a reason for wanting to open the diary, but as I reached under my mattress, I couldn’t really identify why. I sat on the edge of the bad, as I had so many times before, with the worn, brown book in my shaking hands. I felt the old urge to get up and throw it down another toilet, but before I could move, the diary flew open and the pages began to blow, as though the invisible hand was turning them.
Somewhere nearby I could hear the soft echo of water dripping as though a leaky tap was being amplified. The air was cold and had a wet, musty smell to it. Everything was dark, but I soon realised that was only because my eyes were closed. I slowly opened them and took in the scene around me. I was in some sort of vast stone room without windows. It was freezing cold and everything had a greenish tinge to it. I wondered if I was underground somewhere. I could see some sort of tunnel stretching out before me flanked by huge stone pillars and, as I turned, I realised I was standing at the foot of a giant statue of a very frightening looking wizard. Where on earth am I? I wondered. Whenever I had blacked out in the past, I had always turned up somewhere in the castle, but this was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Not at Hogwarts, not anywhere.
“Hello Ginny.” A soft, eerie voice echoed through the chamber. I gasped in surprise as I looked to the left of the statue where someone stood. It was a boy, about Percy’s age, with dark hair. He was wearing a Hogwarts uniform, and had the transparent look of a ghost but I had never seen nor heard of a ghost like him at Hogwarts. The only student ghost I knew of was Moaning Myrtle. He was looking at me with a sort of amused smirk on his face as though he were waiting for me to respond. I shook with fear and cold, unable to speak until I remembered what he had just said.
“Who are you? And how do you know my name?” My voice was stronger than I had been expecting, but it was quiet and there was no denying the frightened tremble in my words. The boy laughed softly.
“My goodness Ginevra, are you telling me you don’t recognise your dear old, understanding friend? Although, I suppose this is the first time we’ve met outside the pages of that book, so I will excuse your rudeness.” He made this entire speech softly and calmly, as though we were standing in the middle of someone’s living room rather than a cold wet dungeon. He laughed to himself as though he had made a very witty joke. I glanced down at the book he had referred to and realised that I still held the diary. Realisation dawned on me and I looked up at the smirking face once more.
“Tom?” The fear was more than evident in my voice now, the word barely a whisper as it escaped my throat. My whole body began to tremble and I realised how tired I felt.
“Well done my dear. Although I must say, you certainly don’t appear to trust me like you used to. I’m hurt Ginny.” He made a mock expression of sadness before continuing. “But you trusted me for long enough, so I can forgive you. I’ve achieved what I needed to with you in any case.” My arms were feeling heavy and my legs were fighting to stay steady, but I still found the strength to speak.
“Why have you brought me here? What do you want with me?” I asked warily. Tom laughed again, the sound bouncing horribly off the stone walls.
“You, Ginny? I don’t want anything with you. You are, to use a crude term, bait! I had you write a message on the wall of the castle, telling everyone you were down here. He won’t be able to resist!” My heart was pounding in my chest as Tom stepped ever so slightly closer to me.
“He?” I whispered. “He who?”
“He who?” Tom scoffed. “Goodness me Ginny, you never seem to stop talking about him and now you can’t even guess who I might mean? Harry Potter my dear, your precious Harry Potter!” I was shaking violently now, but only partially from fear. Bubbles of anger were bursting behind my eyes. “Oh I know his type.” Tom was continuing. “Loves to play the hero. You might be invisible to him, but when his best friends little sister is taken, you can bet he’ll want to save the day.”
“You leave him alone.” My voice wasn’t a whisper anymore. I felt my fingers clench the diary tightly, but Tom didn’t seem perturbed.
“Oh, I thought you might react this way. Really Ginny, where is your self-respect? The boy ignores you all year and yet you still stand here defending him?” Tom’s words were biting now. “I’ll be sure to mention how loyal you were to him though, when he comes.” He went on. “Of course, you’ll be dead by then I imagine.” He said this calmly, as though he were telling me what was for dinner. My eyes widened in shock and I heard the gasp issue from my throat. Tom simply smirked again as I felt the tears begin to roll down my cheeks. Suddenly, I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye. I looked to my right, away from Tom. Something was moving in the darkness there; something big. I strained my eyes, trying to make it out; it looked like a snake, only much, much bigger.
I was shaking uncontrollably now, and as my captor looked on, amused, my legs finally gave way and I collapsed to the hard, stone floor. My head felt as though it was made of lead, and it throbbed painfully where it had hit the ground. I could see the diary, a few feet away where it had fallen from my hands. Unable to move, I began to sob. I want to go home. I thought desperately. I just want to close my eyes, fall asleep and wake up in my own warm bed back at the Burrow. Mum will be there with hot cocoa and her homemade fudge. My eyes fluttered and then slowly closed. I don’t want to die, the voice in my head sobbed into the darkness. I want to go home…
AN: I hope the speediness of this chapter going up will make up for the wait with the previous one (meanwhile how awesome are the validators? So great!).
Please review, I found this chapter particularly tricky to write and I would really love the feedback. Thank you to everyone who is reading this story...you're fantastic!
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