Chapter 3 : November - Rose Falls (Ill)
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By Liam McDougal
We all know that the Halloween Feast was, as usual fantastic; we were all there. But what only very few of us knew is that the countless mounds of goodies, mountains of jelly and towers of cake came very close to not existing at all.
‘The odds were against us from the start,’ said Monkley Raine, food supplier to Hogwarts. ‘The first disaster was that a Fernacular Fungus had infiltrated the barrels of sugar without detection, so three tons of the stuff had to be chucked away. Then our Trainee Spellsperson sent the gelatin to Bosworth instead of Birmingham. And once we finally got all the raw foodstuffs to the Hogwarts kitchens, Peeves managed to destabilise all the cupboards in the storeroom so that the first person to enter it would be engulfed by a flood of mulch. It was only by the quick thinking of a house-elf, Lazy, I think she was called, that we managed to screw the backboards back in without major loss of ingredients.
In fact, the only casualty was the Trainee Spellsperson, who sprained his ankle tripping over his own feet when leaving the carriage.’
And what was the cause of all this Halloween horror?
‘This same Trainee Spellsperson that has featured throughout all these crises did in fact utter the name of the Sorceress Morgan LeFay three times in three days. Considering the strength of the curse laid on the name and the proximity to Halloween, we were lucky to have escaped with our lives. Rest assured I have also taken the precaution of Silencing the Trainee, who shall remain unnamed.’
So, there you have it. Don’t take the name of the Sorceress in vain unless you wish to be followed by disaster wherever you may go.
(submitted by Felicity Joyce-Cauldwell)
No more stain
No more cherries
In the lane
Nowhere to be found
Squirrels gathering nuts
Nowhere to be found
Fall and rot
It rains and rains
And rains a lot.
Lake freezes over
No more life
No more life
Like angel tears
Fir trees shake
Winter is here
Capricorn: Meet a dark-haired stranger
Aquarius: Avoid water at all costs
Pisces: Keep your secrets close
Aries: Divination will aid you
Taurus: You will fly like a fish
Gemini: Friends are not enemies
Cancer: Don’t break your wand
Leo: Illness will strike one you love
Virgo: Beware green-striped socks
Libra: Beware blue-striped socks
Scorpio: Caterpillars grow into butterflies
Sagittarius: Violence is not the answer
For any more info, see Prof. Vablastky in the Divination Tower
The Current House Point Score Stands as Follows:
Gryffindor Ravenclaw Hufflepuff Slytherin
103 89 91 110
House-Elf of the Month
One extra-scary hag mask, Weasley edition, not seen since Halloween. Please return to Gryffindor Owl-hole number 56.
Lost: One extra-large bottle of oak-matured mead, Three Broomsticks seal unbroken, FULL. Return to Staff Owl-hole number 08.
For Sale: One silver-plated camera and camera stand. Asking price 50 galleons. Ask at Ravenclaw Owl-hole number 47.
Found: One Weasley edition Scary-Hag mask, found November 1st under Ravenclaw table in Great Hall.
Ask at Ravenclaw Owl-hole number 61.
Come to the Book Club, Tuesday evenings in the Library! This month we will be discussing The Whispering Wand, by Franny Farmer
One standard pewter cauldron, size twenty-three. Willing to pay in cash.
Please send notification to Hufflepuff Owl-hole number 72.
Some pictures of a confidential nature, reward if returned confidentially to Slytherin Owl-hole number 58.
We would like to make it clear that all entries are entirely confidential as is the identity of the secret sorceress so increasing amounts of protection have been placed around the Secret Sorceress Headquarters.
Dear Secret Sorceress,
On Halloween we were all telling scary stories and there was one really scary one that’s haunted me ever since and now I can’t sleep because I’m afraid the clown will get me. But I can’t tell my friends or they’ll all laugh at me.
Everyone gets scared of ghost stories- that’s the point. I’m sure that if you tell your friends that a story freaked you out I’m sure they’ll be very supportive. If not, keep on a light by your bed and put a Cesse-Or charm on it so that it will turn off when you fall asleep.
Love, Secret Sorceress
Dear Secret Sorceress,
I’m scared that the person I like doesn’t see me in the way that I’d like to be seen. Is there something I can do about this or do I have to suffer in silence until he realised what I feel for him?
You definitely don’t have to suffer in silence! All you really need to do is act the way you’d like to be seen. It’s all about reciprocation.
Love, Secret Sorceress
If you would like to send a message to the Secret Sorceress, leave a message in the Owl-Hole outside the last room on corridor 18.
Hogwarts, as you know, is a big, draughty castle in Northern Britain, and as a student one is frequently trekking through slush and mulch to get to the Greenhouses, or mud and puddles to get to the Quidditch pitch. Therefore it should be no surprise to hear that the morning after the first Quidditch match of the season (Gryffindor vs. Slytherin; Gryffindor won of course), I found myself laid up with a dreadful cold.
‘Go to the Hospital Wing,’ Kalliope encouraged me. ‘If you get some Pepper-Up Potion now you’ll stop spouting steam long before dinner!’
‘Bo tanks,’ I said thickly through a thoroughly stopped up nose. ‘I’b god double Sharms domorrow an’ I wand do miss id.’
‘But haven’t you got Defence in the afternoon? You don’t want to sit in front of Professor Creevey with steam pouring out your ears, right?’
She had hit the right button. I blew my nose one last time before getting dressed and heading down to the Hospital Wing. However, my blocked nose was affecting my balance so on the way down from the common room I lost my grip on the handrail and tumbled down at least ten stone steps before lying in a heap on the landing.
Dazed and confused, I barely understood what had happened to me, much less appreciated the need to get up and move around. However, I didn’t stay crumpled for long. Barely half a minute passed before I heard someone’s steady footsteps coming down the spiral staircase. They paused for a moment when they reached the point at which I became visible, then sped up until they reached me.
‘Rose?’ A low voice said. In my befuddled state it took me a second to place it.
‘Lorcan?’ I croaked.
‘Rose, what happened?’ He sounded terrified.
‘Fell,’ I murmured.
‘Come on,’ He said, regaining his wits, ‘Hospital Wing.’
I staggered as I got up, and I had to lean on Lorcan for support. He held me close as we made our way through the chilly corridors. I seemed to be sort of outside my senses. I could see things, but it took me great effort to understand what they meant. I saw… whatshisname… Romeo… Romeo Jenkins… he was wearing gloves… Ravenclaw gloves… Timmi had been right… she was so clever… Where were we now? Oh yes… the fifth floor corridor… no, the third… there was the painting with the Cornish pixies… wasn’t that the third…? I saw a dark brown haired boy… who was he? I recognised him… but from where? Ah yes, from Defence class… Mordy… his name was… he had paused in giving someone money… why was he giving them money? What was he doing…? He was… oh yes, buying something. Buying a Pig Zits magazine… Good on him… Sales were boosted by five percent in the last quarter… Lorcan hitched me up, breaking into my concentration.
‘Nearly there.’ He said encouragingly.
My eyes kept closing, but I forced them open when I heard Lorcan knocking on the door of the Hostpital Wing.
First a blurred starch white hat, and then a pale, plump face peered around it.
‘Goodness!’ She exclaimed. ‘What happened to her?’
‘She fell down some stairs,’ Lorcan explained.
‘An’ I god a cold,’ I added.
Between them, Madam Valentine and Lorcan managed to get me onto a bed.
Madam Valentine examined me, checking for bumps and contusions while Lorcan waited on the other side of the curtain. Finally she gave me her prognosis.
‘Luckily, you don’t have any broken bones, but you’ll have plenty of bruises to show for your little tumble. Furthermore, you have a hairline fracture on your skull so you’ll have to spend the day here. To make sure that there is not any serious damage, you shall have to stay awake for the duration of your stay.’
Madam Valentine gave me some potion for my cold and a poultice for my head, before turning to Lorcan, who had just come in from behind the curtain.
‘It is imperative that she does not fall asleep, so she needs encouragement and distraction. Will you be able to provide this for her?’
‘No problem,’ Lorcan smiled, ‘I’d be happy to stay here with her.’ Lorcan sat on the side of my bed as Madam Valentine bustled off to her office. He took my hand in his.
‘You gave me such a fright,’ he said gently, ‘What would Pig Zits have done without you?’
‘I’m glad to know that your affection for me goes as far as my writing skills,’ I grumbled.
‘That’s not true.’ Lorcan said fervently. ‘You know it’s not.’ He looked right into my eyes and said, ‘Rose-’
But he never managed to finish his sentence. At that moment Kalliope burst into the Hospital Wing, tears pouring down her face, closely followed by Albus and Scorpius, both of whom looked anxious. Lorcan dropped my hand as if burned.
‘Rose!’ Kalliope cried, running over to my sick bed and obviously restraining herself from giving me a massive hug. ‘Rose, I’m so sorry, I should have come with you but I didn’t realise that you were dizzy, but I wanted breakfast-’
‘Kal,’ I interrupted her, ‘Shut up.’
Kalliope shut her mouth.
‘Come here,’ I grinned, opening my arms out so as to receive a hug. Kalliope practically threw herself at me, still snivelling. Over her shoulder I saw Lorcan excuse himself and slink out of the Hospital Wing.
But Kalliope, Albus and Scorpius stayed with me for the rest of the day. I was the focus of attention, and together, we chatted, played and laughed. I was so happy to have my friends back that I forgot to feel tired.
Around dinner time, however, Kalliope, Albus and Scorpius excused themselves. I let them go cheerfully, hoping that this refound unity would last. They promised to be back in two hours to pick me up, when I would be discharged for the Hospital Wing.
However, Madam Valentine was so happy with my improvement that she let me go an hour earlier (luckily the effect of the Pepper-Up Potion had worn off by then).
I knew I should probably go down to dinner but I didn’t really have an appetite, so I wandered the corridors of Hogwarts, vaguely in the direction of the common room.
I passed by classroom seventeen on my way, and paused, surprised, when I heard voices. Everyone should have been at dinner. Checking the coast was clear, I discarded all integrity to push my eye to the crack between the wall and the door. It was Mario Branco and some Slytherin girl I didn’t know. Standard, I thought, and was about to withdraw, when I heard what the girl was saying.
‘-my first time.’
‘That’s alright,’ Mario replied in his slight Spanish accent, sounding moody. ‘I’m not in the mood anyway.’
‘Can I… can I-’ The girl said hesitantly. I could imagine Mario’s dark grey eyes smoldering and his thousands of galleons clinking, throwing the girl off kilter.
‘Yeah. You can tell people we did it.’
‘Seriously? Thanks so much!’ She said, delightedly.
‘That’s alright. But if you tell anyone we didn’t, I’ll curse you, I swear I will.’ Mario threatened.
‘F-fine.’ The girl said. I didn’t know why she was frightened. Mario couldn’t throw a curse to save his life.
‘Here, let’s make it look realistic, right?’ Mario suggested.
There was the rustling of fabric.
‘Remember,’ Mario said over the noise. ‘Big smiles, like in Broadway.’
‘Like in what?’ The girl asked, mystified.
Mario corrected himself. ‘Like you’ve just had the best sex of your life. Now let’s go.’
I slowly shut the door and then darted round the corner before they could spot me. Then I ran down to dinner.
‘Hey, Rose!’ Kalliope said, surprised, as I reached her. ‘We were about to go up and get you!’
‘Madam Valentine let me go early,’ I replied.
‘Are you alright?’ Albus asked. ‘You look really flushed.’
‘Um… um… I- I skipped down here.’ I answered, not wanting to explain that I had to escape to avoid someone finding that I’d been eavesdropping on them.’
‘Rose,’ Kalliope said disapprovingly. ‘You’ve just recovered from a-’
‘Anyone up for a game of Gobstones?’ Scorpius interrupted.
We all stared at Scorpius. It was almost unheard of for Scorpius to suggest something as frivolous as a game of Gobstones.’
‘I practiced with my sister over the summer.’ He shrugged.
‘Is that why you never wanted to play before?’ Albus asked, exasperated. ‘Because you were afraid you’d lose?’
Scorpius grinned devilishly. ‘I have a set of deluxe Gobstones upstairs, anyone interested?’
‘I’m up for it,’ I told him. ‘But first I’ve got to go up to Pig Zits and get an assignment from Lorcan. I’ll see you up there.’
But it wasn’t Lorcan I was thinking of as I scurried upstairs. I desperately wanted to speak to the only person who could possible decipher Mario’s behaviour for me.
But something stopped me in my tracks. I’d always avoided using information in the outside world that had been gleaned in the office of the Secret Sorceress, but did I have the right to divulge information that had been learnt outside of those four walls, to someone inside of them? Because the reason the Secret Sorceress office had been set up was that people were asking for help. Could you give help to someone who didn’t want it? Was I even helping anyone with this?
I probed myself anxiously. Was I abusing the power of the Secret Sorceress by poking my nose into somewhere where it clearly didn’t belong?
And besides all that, did I have the right to tell Timmi when it was her boyfriend’s best friend that was at the heart of all this?
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