Chapter 1 : Prologue
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Drumming my fingers against the side of the dusty brown coloured wood of my guitar, I took a deep breath of air, and looked around me. I had practically lived in this dormitory for six whole years, yet I barely knew anyone in it. I didn’t speak much.
It probably was because no one ever spoke to me.
Yet all the same, I didn’t really have friends. Actually, I didn’t really make contact with anyone. The only exception to this rule was Charlie Cole, a Gryffindor in my year. I had bruises to prove that she knew that I existed.
Every day she tormented me with her cruel words or Quidditch star reflexes. Even though she wasn't stunningly pretty, she was popular. That was what got me down. Everyone knew who she is.
If you ask the whole school about Annie Rowe, only around five per cent would reply saying they had heard of me. I was the one that no one knew.
It wasn’t even because I didn’t like socialising with people. On the train ride to Hogwarts in my first year, I had had a horrible cold and walked around sniffing everywhere like a blubbering idiot (that I probably was). To make things worse, I ended up in a compartment with fourth year boys.
They threw me out half way through the journey, when I started playing my guitar. Everyone laughed when they threw my guitar right at me, pulling out some of the strings before it collided with my face.
Post incident, I had spent hours reattaching them and tuning it again. My guitar was the one thing that understood me. That sounds pretty sad, saying that it is like a friend. But it was.
It was the one thing I was good at. Everything else about me was pretty average. I was even in Hufflepuff - the average house according to Charlie. Though she said that I didn't deserve to even be in Hufflepuff.
Sometimes, I thought she is right. On the first day of this year, I considered just not turning up. No one would notice, anyway. After all, it was only my final year. If in six years, no one realised I was there, one year wouldn’t make much difference.
I didn’t mind being lonely, actually I had got used to it. Satisfied by my own company, I had however sometimes wished that I was popular like other girls, that I had many friends. It didn’t bother me that much, as all I had noticed was that people who hung around with big cliques just fought all the time about stupid little things.
Yet I still played my guitar, song after song like it was a best friend. My singing voice was in tune but nothing amazing, mind you, so it was just backing music. Everyone who shared a dorm with me told me that I should shut up. But it was the first day of term.
I had contemplated not turning up to the feast but it was mandatory – unfortunately. I had sat alone throughout the whole thing. Then, I got surrounded by a mob of first years. They talked through me like I was non-existent, too.
Everyone else was in the Hufflepuff common room, having some sort of party. They always held one on the first day. I never went. It gave me some peace to play some music. See, sometimes I doubted if I was even good at guitar and it was the one thing that I did all the time. That was how little confidence I had in my self.
Bashing my head against a bedpost, I sighed as I tried to play some complicated chords. It didn’t sound right and I hated it when I couldn’t play very well. Today was just one of those days. But most of all, I hated it because I was pretty rubbish at everything else. When I couldn’t play accurately, it meant I was rubbish at everything.
Hell, I even look average. Big brown eyes. Long, brown hair that could manage to tangle at every situation. Average height. Slightly chubby face. Small button nose and pale skin. Average.
I wasn’t even good at describing myself.
The few people that knew of my existence had called me a social reject. I’d argue but the bitter truth was I didn’t have any friends. Other than some strings attached to wood.
That summarised my life up in a sentence.
Yet in my muggle primary school, I had had friends. I was a committed member of the school band. Believe it or not, I was pretty good some lessons like art and English. I was normal.
I must have had an allergy to Hogwarts or something. Ever since I came here, I had been a recluse. Despite that, I loved the castle. It had many places where I could hide from the world; many places to explore and discover. I’d often spend many Sundays trying to find a new secret passage or hidden rooms behind tapestries.
See, I had no life whatsoever.
Hearing footsteps come up the stairs, I tucked my guitar under my bed swiftly. Everyone thought it was strange that I carried it around with me everywhere, but they didn’t get that it was an extension of me and my soul. The music I played was coming from my heart.
However, it didn’t stop one person writing ‘I’m a douche bag’ in indelible ink on the side.
One of my dorm mates looked at me. It must have looked strange; me sitting idly with nothing in my hands. The girl must have assumed that I’d been sitting like that for an hour or so. I kicked my guitar completely even further under my bed so even the top of the fret board wasn’t visible, praying that I didn’t damage it. I simply couldn’t get a new one; that one had memories that I didn’t want to part with.
Shaking her head, the girl walked straight to the bathroom. Probably to do her hair or something like that. I hear those sorts of girls do that a lot. I’d never know really, though. It’s just from an outsiders perspective.
That was Dakota Leigh-Murray. One of those popular types. I had nothing against the girl, apart from the fact that I once overheard her calling my guitar ‘a pile of crap’. Though, I heard that all the time from everyone.
Her hair was the sort that bounced up and down in a high ponytail when she walked. Her eyes seemed to smile by themselves. It was no wonder that she was friends with all the popular people from all across the houses. Everyone said she was nice.
I had shared a room with her for six years and I didn’t even know her.
I heard the sound of the shower running. She wasn’t one to go to bed early. Ah! Checking the time, I realised that it was eleven o’clock. This year, I had sworn to myself that I would not stay up too late playing.
First day back and that promise had been snapped in two.
Falling asleep was usually painful. The reason, well normally everyone else would be gossiping about something like Quidditch or boys. That usually happened until around midnight. That night in particular, I was kept awake by everyone coming up the stairs and talking loudly. Despite tightly shutting the thick yellow curtains (which were covered in embroidered little black stars and intricate swirls) around my bed, light seeped in easily, and caused me to blink vigorously. My eyes would just not stay shut.
After everyone else had finally settled down, it came to gossip hour. I’d already learnt that Dakota had become the Quidditch captain and that, over the summer she’d been given her own muggle car. Fascinating.
“Do you think what’s her name is awake?” I heard a voice ask. I was unable to identify its owner, but I knew that they were talking about me. I had become accustomed to the fact that ‘what's her name’ did in fact belong to myself.
Trying to lay still and silent, it came to me that I had the unfortunate tendency to breathe really loudly. I just hoped that they wouldn’t notice.
“Maybe. She’s probably dreaming about guitars,” another girl laughed, making me turn red even though they couldn’t see me. I hated the fact that she’d said that though I was used to it now. It was just normal.
“Guys, she might be awake for all you know!” That was Dakota.
“So – she won’t say anything anyway! Look, she might not know that we’re talking about her. I don’t even remember her name so how would she know?”
"It's Annalena, I think," someone else said. I felt like reminding them that I was Annie, but I didn't. "Or Anne."
Their voices weren’t malicious or mean. I was certain that they were probably all really nice people – nice people who just didn’t like me much. I probably wouldn’t like me if I was them.
I was strange and a loner. If anyone would speak to me, it would be to tell me that I’d probably managed to spill orange juice down my front or something like that. Actually, no one would even bother to point it out.
That actually happened, once. I had walked around with an orange shirt for the whole day. Don’t even ask me how I didn’t notice.
“True. Look, I’m going to sleep,” Dakota said as I heard a click and one small light went out. The others followed in precession, finally giving me the chance to sleep.
Gradually, I drifted off into sleep.
And no, I didn’t dream of guitars.
A/N Thanks for reading chapter one!
I plan for this story to be around the 50,000 word mark in total, so keep checking for updates! All in all, I've planned it to be around 26 chapters!
Thanks for reading and please leave a review! I respond to them all and they help me improve so much!
Also, thanks to my wonderful beta, ScorpiusRose17, who is just brilliant in every way!