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Chapter 13 : Chasing the Glowing Hours
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The cold eyes carved from stone, devoid from all life, glared at me as the Head Boy thought of the password of the Headmaster's, Dumbledore's, office. During our long walk to this place, I had described the events that had taken place. The students, who always believed that one's personal business was also theirs, in the corridors whispered to one another whilst staring with wide accusing eyes at the blonde girl with her eyes glued to the floor, dragging her feet next to the floating Head Girl.
It was all a blur that seemed to be more of a bad dream rather than reality. I sat in the plush arm chair of the Ravenclaw common room in complete silence as the sun began to slowly climb above the distant horizon and painting the sky in pastel. And I began to ponder about something that was utterly terrifying to me....
Who had I become? When I thought of these past few months spent here in Hogwarts, my home for six long years now, I couldn't help but think that I didn't recognise this girl. I had changed, I had begun to reveal my soul to people that I had barely muttered a single word to in these past years... and it scared me.
I wanted to run away to the comfort of the warm, safe place that I had built within me and retreat back in, to close like a telescope and return to my old routines which had allowed to be rely on something, to know that the next day would be the same as the one I had lived provided a certain comfort for me. I unable to trust, things change all the time - people change from one day to the next. I needed something to cling to, to rely on, to provide me security.
But one never truly lives life like that, when everyday blends in with the last.
I was torn.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. I am awfully clumsy," I automatically said as I awoke from the scramble of my thoughts.
Lily laughed with a certain air that reminded me of spring.
"I dozed off, didn't I?" I quickly said, embarrassed, as I felt my cheeks rise in temperature. Lily's face was lit with a soft smile and she said, "It's okay, I doze off here and there sometimes too. If you don't tell, then I won't."
A small laugh escaped my lips and I nodded, "I swear I won't."
Silence flooded the room as we worked in peace, flipping through the ancient pages that had been skimmed by many over several centuries, and I gained a certain state of content. I was doing something I was familiar with, a routine that I had come to rehearse everyday. I clutched it with a certain fear that it would slip away, it gave me security.
I gaze out the window, watching the branches sway in the wind. But there was something odd in the corner of my eye. It was a small glimpse, nothing more but a mere shadow but it disturbed me. I couldn't ignore it, there was something odd about it because when I looked at the spot, there wasn't anyone in sight. The grounds were empty. Besides, it was far too cold and late for one to be taking a stroll around the grounds.
It was odd.
"Alice, are you all right?"
"Y-Yes, I am fine, just a bit tired, I suppose," I said, tearing my gaze away from the window. Lily examined the spot I was looking at but I began to gather my books. "Well, I'll see you tomorrow, Lily! Good night and sleep tight!" I said, a bit in a hurry. Lily began to look a bit nervous as she kept looking at the spot and the sky outside before glancing at her watch.
"Yes, good night, Alice!" Lily said with a sincere smile.
Lily knew something.
The stars were burning in the night sky, forming constellations that told stories with hidden messages. The moon hung full in the vast, starry sea as it lit the grounds in a pale light. I tossed and turned in the warmth of my bed, as I stared at the night sky trying to decipher its message. I was missing something completely and I wouldn't stop until I discovered what it was.
I gazed at the full moon that hung clearly above the castle, like a night light for all of us to watch if we ever feel the slightest fear. Fear. There was something about the word that triggered a thought. I vaguely remember reading a text relating to the fears of people. But why was it so significant?
And that shadow...
Shadows. They were shadows, it wasn't just one.
What was happening?
My hands were subconsciously picking at the toast, crumbling it to pieces, in my glistening plate. My glass of fresh orange juice was untouched along with the food piled around me in unreasonably large amounts. This morning I awoke with heavy, dark circles hanging under my eyes. My thoughts were much too tangled to sleep last night.
"We have to stop running into each other."
I spun around at the sudden voice of a student, disrupting the silence around me. I immediately recognised the student as Jacob Greenley and said in a slightly unfriendly tone hoping he would get a clue, "I agree, we must." I decided to continue walking towards the Library. I desperately needed to do some research in order to ease my mind.
"Hey, wait up."
"I just thought that, well, uh... maybe, we should, uh, well... you know... talk?"
I looked at him with confusion for a second until my memory dawned upon me.
"Yea," Jacob said awkwardly, looking away and shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans.
"Well, I don't know you."
"Sure you do, I'm Jacob but I prefer to be called Jake."
"Yea but I know that names of everyone in our year, does that mean I should go out with everyone?"
"Listen, all I am saying is give me time to think about it."
An uncomfortable silence filled the space between us as we avoided eye contact.
"Well, I have to go," I said quickly and hurried off in the opposite direction before he could utter another word.
Back to research.
Stacks of books lay before me in a state of disarray. I had turned every page of every book that had anything to do with fears, shadows, and night but I found absolutely nothing. Frustration fired through me, causing me to want to pull my hair.
Maybe I was looking at this all wrong?
Or maybe there just is nothing to find...
I slumped against my chair and decided that it was time to abandon this wild goose chase that had occupied my mind for all these hours. I then slowly lifted myself in defeat, and began to put the books back. But behind the bookcase, my ear heard an intriguing piece of information.
"The Marauders are in the Hospital Wing."
The Hospital Wing? I rummaged through every bit of information that was stored in my weary mind as a certain frustration broiled within me, what was I missing? I felt as if it was staring right at me but I couldn't see it, like a blind person who wants to see the sky. I flung the nearest book across the table and threw my head back, covering my face in the warmth of my hands.
Seconds of silence passed,
I abruptly stood up, blood rushing to me head as I hurried out of the Library in a whirlwind of frustration and curiosity. The sun had fallen below the horizon and only the glow of the lamps lit the corridors as I began to run towards the Hospital Wing. My lungs grew tired, my breath becoming heavy and short. I covered my mouth when I neared the Hospital Wing and pressed my corpse against the stone wall. My body temperature had increased significantly but I tried to take slow breaths in order to calm my nerves. Once I listened to make sure that no one was around, I peeked through the small crack of the door to the Hospital Wing.
There, wrapped in crisp white blankets, lied a sallow Remus covered in an ill combination of cuts and gauze. His face was scrunched in silent pain and his leg was hoisted up by a sling, clearly broken. I bit my lip, turning my eyes away but I looked back in and nodded.
I began my melancholy procession towards the dormitory as my thoughts went into some sort of craze, my mind hurt from all the facts that I had absorbed and desperately tried to make connections.
What could have done that to Remus? He seems to be in the Hospital Wing quite often, what is wrong? My first guess was that he had some sort of terminal illness, but how could that result in severed bones and gashes. Maybe it's something magical, not related to the muggle world?
I subconsciously took a turn towards the courtyard and leaned sat on one of the ledges. I gazed at the sky, perhaps thinking that the stars had the answers as the moon lit the grounds. I drew my knees in and rested my chin, closing my eyes.
How incredibly stupid I am.
I didn't know how long it had been but it seemed like centuries had passed before I lifted my head up, looking up at the constellations that decorated the night sky. I turned my head away but immediately looked up again.
Maybe the sky did hold the answers.
Wide bright eyes stared back at me.
In them, I saw someone was hopelessly lost in a world of wandering souls where she couldn't seem to find her place no matter how hard she tried but when I looked even deeper, I saw something unfamiliar.
I was uneasy.
When I was young, my family would take me to this beach, it wasn't a particularly extraordinary but it held an exceptional place in my mind. It was just any other beach, sea battered rocks and half drowned in brutally cold salt water as the waves died upon reaching the jagged shore. I used to look out into the vast ocean, into the horizon, and think of all the possibilities, all the things I could be, would be.
But that mentality deteriorated after years of disappointment and solitude. I felt unsure of myself, my role in the world for it seemed that there was nothing that I could possibly contribute. I could die and the world wouldn't even notice.
I felt like that again.
I felt insecure and dubious.
I didn't know how to react, how I should react.
That's what I saw staring back at me.
I spent hours on this chapter, revising and deleting parts of it and then rewriting it, then revising it once again. I really hope you guys like it. I know it's not great but I really tried my best to make it tolerable. I put a lot of my feelings and thoughts into my writing for you know what they say, write about what you know.
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