Chapter 1 : Their Secrets Keep
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She was made fun of like me and considered her ugly. It couldn’t be further from the truth though! Myrtle hid behind her glasses, making her beautifully round brown eyes disappear. What others saw as a mess of long thick brown hair, I saw as the wonderful chocolate tresses that they were. Her fringe shadowed her face and further hid her eyes. Compared to my sometimes overwhelming height, she was small but she was, in reality, perfectly amazing.
However Myrtle was protective and to her I was just another person to make backhanded comments and hurt her. Fellow Ravenclaws, especially by Olive Hornby, constantly ridiculed her and as a result Myrtle never believed me when I was complementing her. I would often comment on her hair or eyes which she ignored and brushed off. I didn’t care as long as I was able to tell her what I truly thought, remind her of her beauty. As the years past she finally started to let me in. This beautiful, incredibly guarded girl let me into her life and I was thankful everyday for that.
Staring at the barren end of the table I could not shake the thought of the Ravenclaw girl from his mind. Where was she? I remember I just wanted to see her and find out what happened this morning. Myrtle always had a story about her morning and no matter what the story, I loved to listen to them. Really just to hear her talk and to see her relax, that was enough for me. Finally she was finding a voice of her own and breaking into her own. She was standing up for herself and asking questions in class! Small steps, but huge improvements.
My eyes searched for her as I exited the Great Hall. Soon I spotted the back of her head at the top of the stairs. Her hair was in pigtails. It was adorable and something she had only started doing this year. I couldn’t help the smile as I thought about her with the pigtails and how they allowed me to see more of her face.
Heated voices were bounced off the walls and soon I spotted the cause as I approached. The blonde hair of Olive Hornby. My pace quickened to get to Myrtle before Olive could break her down again. However it wasn’t fast enough and when I was a few feet away, Myrtle tried to run away only to run square into my chest. She refused to look at me, let anyone see her eyes were brimming with tears. Before I could even respond and try to comfort her, to wrap my arms around her; she was gone down the hall.
Myrtle refused to let anyone see her like that, including me. I may be her best friend, but to her was still a person… a boy too. I knew that to her that just made it worse.
Whatever Olive had said must’ve really set her off this time and Myrtle had missed two classes before someone was sent to try to find her. The next thing any of us knew, classes were excused for the rest of the day and everyone was under strict orders to return to their common rooms. I searched on the way, trying to find her, spot her through the throng of students that swarmed the halls fighting their way through, half trying to go up while others tried to descend. Despite my height advantage, I couldn’t find her anywhere.
That night we gathered in the common room and got the news that another student was attacked. This time was different though. This time someone died. Myrtle had died.
The news hit me like a stunning spell as Professor’s words spilled from his mouth only to hang in the air. Soon heads were turning towards me and my heart stopped. I could feel the hand on my shoulder gently guiding me out of the common room. My body took over as my mind couldn’t process anything at the moment. I don’t know how I was walking. I don’t know how my heart wasn’t jumping out of my chest. I couldn’t even tell if I was hot or cold at that moment.
She was dead. How could she be dead? She was only in her fourth year. She….she was dead. And with that, I felt the tears build up, threatening to stream down my face. Soon they were.
Professor Dumbledore continued to guide me to his office. Something about him, about his sense of calm, his confidence, was comforting.
“Professor?” I managed to get out with a crack in my voice as I did. “Professor why? The peop’l I care ‘bout, I don’t understand. They just keep dyin’, Professor, all o’ ‘em. They…” my emotions were high and Dumbledore cut me off.
“Hagrid, death is not something that we can understand. Not in timing, or any other way. I believe that you have, for one so young, experienced it more than most and for you that burden is unfair. Keep in mind though, that for those who have died, death is their next great adventure.”
We talked on death and loved ones for a long time. Professor Dumbledore was always good to me and that night…that night I owe him everything.
For the next week I retreated to my hiding place. My one friend that remained, Aragog, my pet acromantula, would be there for me. Myrtle had died. My best friend! My only real friend! I was a mess, crying and trying to organize my life, trying to get her out of my mind. I didn’t know what to do but what was more important was no one knew where to find me.
The castle was buzzing with rumors about how Myrtle died and as much as I wanted to ignore them, I couldn’t. I couldn’t escape them! The whole school had heard the news and now some how, found out about Aragon. With the news of Myrtles death and the fact that I had an acromantula, people were blaming one on the other. They were saying Aragog killed Myrtle, at MY word. That hurt me more than her death itself.
Begrudgingly I made my way to the great hall every morning knowing what the whispering that filled it were about me. I knew that they all thought that I had killed my best friend. It was only a matter of time before those whisperings became actions though.
Tom Riddle was the first to follow me and find where I held Aragog. Riddle attempted to kill Aragog himself and I knew that the only way Aragog would live, would be without me. While holding off Riddle, I made enough room that Aragog could escape to the Forbidden Forest. Just like that, within the span of a week, I had lost both friends, my best friends. They were truly and simply gone.
Everyone knew Riddle’s story by the next morning. Everyone knew that Riddle and I fought and that ‘the monster’ had escaped. Silence. That’s all I heard was silence as I made my way about the school. I knew what they were thinking just by how they watched and avoided me. I knew that they all thought that I had killed Myrtle and that they were all scared they’d be next. I tried to make myself invisible, make myself shrink but in the end I just ended up looking like a large mess.
Tired of prying eyes and feeling sick to my stomach, I decided that it would be best to avoid them. So I trudged my way up the stairs to the common room. The Fat Lady wouldn’t open. For a painting fear was apparent in everything thing she did. From the slinking away to the timid voice that denied him access. She kept saying that only true Gryffindors were allowed in the common room.
Fed up and angry with her tedious riddles I gave up. I couldn’t figure out how she could say that? Did she not recognize me? Wasn’t I a member of Gryffindor? She’d been opening the door for the past 4 years to allow me access and suddenly she seems to have forgotten that.
Professor Dumbledore redirected me, whilst in the middle of trudging about the grounds, towards Dippet’s office. The head master stood in the middle of the office listening to others who were littered about. I recognized few faces but knew that something big had happened, seeing as the Minister of Magic was there. There was speak of expelling me and how the Ministry, along with many parents, wanted me gone from the school.
I stood there listening as they continued to talk about my fate as though I couldn’t hear them. I attempted to pled my case, but everytime I spoke, it was as though nothing came out. No one listened. Things got more and more heated and I didn’t want to be there. Not anymore. I thought that I might have been called hear because they wanted to help, but clearly that was not the case.
I wanted to run. I’d gotten over the being sad, now all that was left was anger. Anger that no one would listen to my story. Anger that I was being framed for a death, my best friends death! Someone had framed me for this…this vile death of…Myrtle. It’s cruel to be framed for a death, but the death of your best friend is heartless. I would never hurt her and now I was being told in no uncertain terms that I had killed her.
I knew that Myrtle deserved so much more then what she got. She was a truly brilliant witch that had to fight with people each day just because her appearance was different. Just because she didn’t fit everyone else’s standards. Anger continued to build and I was about to tear out of the office. Go to the Forbidden Forest. Try to find Aragog, find something left of my life that had just fallen apart around me. Then something caught my attention. Someone stated that Olive had been saying that Myrtle’s ghost won’t leave her alone.
Now she was a ghost and if she found out the rumors…my thoughts froze as if stuck in time. If Myrtle heard the rumors…I didn’t want to think of it. I had to let her know that I didn’t do it. Make sure that she understood that all of that was just rumors. I had already lost her in life, I was not going to lose her in death as well.
I was leaving. Right then and there, I was gone. I didn’t care anymore what they were talking about in the office and clearly they had no interest in making me apart of the conversation. Voices pulled me from my thoughts along with the sound of pops. I was standing alone in the room with Dippet and Dumbledore, who were both staring at me as though waiting for an answer. I didn’t know what they were waiting for but I hastened a yes before rushing off. As I descended the stairs I heard talk of grounds and the word gamekeeper.
Quickly the conversation left my mind as I tried to remember Myrtle. They had said that she could still be heard crying from outside the second floor girls room making the lavatory rather off putting for most. But for me…well as I approached, I’d never been happier to hear her cry.
My pace slowed as I stepped into the girl’s lavatory. “Myrtle?” her name barely escaped the my rough lips when then sobbing reduced to sniffs. “Hagrid?” My mind buzzed. Her voice! My heart pounded harder and I could feel my eyes swell with tears as I saw her float out of the stall.
She just was staring at me. I couldn’t find the words and then suddenly, was unable to stop them. I was talking, uncontrollably, almost yelling at her.
“Myrtle I didn’t kill yeh! Yeh know that I..,I care bout yeh n’ I don’t want anythin’ to happen to ew! People are sayin’ that I killed ya an’ I didn’t. I swear it Myrtle I didn’t kill ya! I love yeh and I didn’t kill yeh! Yeh know I didn’t kill ya right Myrtle?”
“Hagrid? You…” her voice cracked and it was apparent that she was about to cry. “You! You did this to me?!” My heart plummeted. “You killed me! I trusted you and thought you cared!”
I didn’t know what to say as she continued to yell. I wasn’t sure what to do other than get away. She may have been a ghost, but she was still Myrtle and with her temper, who knows what damage she could do.
So I was going to run. They had taken my friends, the only family that I had left. Riddle took Aragog away and some one, some monster, had torn Myrtle from me in life and death. So I ran and retreated to the only place that I could belonged, the only place where he could be left alone.
The Forbidden Forest.
Before I did, I was able to choke out my final words to her. I said it in a rush that they all ran together, but at least I let her know.
“I think I might loveyeh Myrtle,” and with that, I ran.
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