Chapter 1 : Khloe Moss
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First off, this is For xximaginairexx's Once Upon a Time Challenge over on the forums.
Secondly, this novel is highly inspired by the story The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen.
Thirdly, I of course have to give mention to JK Rowling. Characters and a lot of settings belong to her.
Everything else, like the plot and unrecognizable characters, is mine.
Please read and enjoy, and if you would please leave a review at the end. Something as simple as “Hey, this was great!” means a lot! Thank you!
Chapter last edited -- 4/09/15
A blanket of crisp stars illuminated the night. Summer was on its rise and the air held a sticky hot feeling with it, even at night the air felt strangely thick. It was on this night that a young family silently flitted down the empty streets. A sense of foreboding overhung them as they approached a large set of double doors.
At not even a full day old, Khloe Moss was placed upon the doorstep of an orphanage in London. A woman leaned down and hugged the girl tightly, tears rolling down her face as she memorized every crevice of the baby’s face. She placed a piece of tear stained parchment with a short note written on it overtop the baby. The note simply said, “Khloe Moss. Keep her safe. Then, with a shaking hand, the woman pounded on the door and disappeared from sight. It took only moments for a stout, old woman to come investigate.
Upon opening the door, her eyes quickly found those of a crying baby. A smile formed as she picked the infant up from the carrier and read the note attached. Yet even though the infant’s eyes shed tears and her arms and legs flailed with discomfort, Khloe Moss didn’t utter a sound, her voice appeared to be silenced. It was in that moment that the stout, old woman knew she would protect this girl.
“I will keep you safe, Khloe Moss,” the woman whispered, stroking the baby’s tear-stained cheek.
She gently brought the baby inside and closed the door behind her, not hearing the distant cries in the night of the family who had to give away their only child.
Years slowly passed and Khloe blossomed into a bright, young lady. Now, fifteen years old, Khloe Moss was about to begin the newest chapter in her book. Filled with curiosity, sadness, and a whole lot of determination, she finally decided she would search for the family who abandoned her all those years ago.
And this is where her story begins.
Cool August rain pelted Khloe Moss. Though her cloak was thoroughly soaked, along with the hem of her pants, she refused to think about the cold that chilled her right to the bones. This is my only chance. All the freezing rain in the sky can’t hold me up now.
Khloe looked to either side of her. Even though the sky was pouring, the streets were still crowded with students who had waited for the last minute to complete their school shopping. With one more look to ensure nobody was paying her any attention, she turned quickly on her heel and hurried down a narrow alleyway. On either side of her were tall walls made of brick, century old buildings no doubt.
The further she traveled down the alley, the darker and colder her surroundings became. Strange sounds met her ears with each step. She glanced behind her time and time again, swearing she could the feel the breath of a stranger tickling her neck. Each time she looked back she noticed just how far the streets of Diagon Alley were. Further and further and further away. She pulled her hood over her head and quickened her pace.
Finally, after what felt like ages, she stepped foot into what looked like an abandoned street. Khloe knew better, however. She could just barely make out people, and even some creatures, looming among the shadows in the nooks and crannies of the road. This was a place known as Knockturn Alley. Even the name forced a shiver to creep down her spine.
Khloe drew her wet cloak in closer to her. She was sure to keep her hood covering her face, afraid of what might happen if someone knew a helpless fifteen year old girl was wandering the streets of Knockturn Alley on her own. She didn’t want to imagine the horrible things that could happen to her, being here in the Alley where not the nicest of people gathered, after what had happened last year during the final task of the Triwizard Tournament. This was extremely risky business.
She forced the idea from her mind. I can’t distract myself now. I made it this far, I’m not turning back now. She pulled in a deep breath and walked with what she hoped was confidence, though she wasn’t sure how confident she could look with her neck craned down to keep her face from view.
Khloe pulled up her sleeve just enough to reveal a hand-drawn map she had etched into her skin earlier that day. It was the quickest path to her desired location. Without a second thought, she continued forward, avoiding the stares of surrounding people, and found the entrance to a tiny, windowless shop.
Silently, for everything she did in life was, in fact, silent, she walked inside.
Khloe securely tucked her new book into her bag before resting the strap on her shoulder. She was glad to be out of the doom and gloom of Knockturn alley, and even more satisfied to have found exactly what she was looking for.
A Thousand Ways to Find Someone
by Gregor Thrump
She didn’t dare pull out the book in a place as crowded as this. No, she would keep it placed away until she was in a private place. There must be a reason this book was only sold in a tiny bookstore in Knockturn Alley. Yes it would be best if nobody knew I in possession of such a book.
Khloe wandered into the Leaky Cauldron after her adventures. Many other people had also found their way into the pub while waiting for a break in the rain. There was a strong smell of fire whisky and an even stronger smell of wet dog residing in the air. If she wasn’t desperate for shelter for just a few minutes she wouldn’t have bothered settling in, the stench was almost too much to bare.
She forced her way into the crowd until she was as close to the fireplace as she could get. She let the heat surround her, warming up her hands and toes, until she was dry enough to head back out into the rain.
The Orphanage was exactly sixteen minutes away from the Leaky Cauldron, if one was to walk. Walking was Khloe’s only form of transportation, so she bent low and ducked under a drunk man’s flailing arms and squeezed through a tiny space in the wall behind a large woman’s backside. Not soon enough, she was at the exit and threw herself outside. As soon as the door closed behind her the sounds of laughter and chit-chatting died. She took in a deep, unsoiled breath and without hesitation briskly made her way from the magical pub.
She pulled her hood up around her again. The rain had let up just enough to not soak her cloak all the way through. With each step the streets grew quieter. She quickened her pace from a walk to a quick run, causing puddles to splash up her legs and mud to cling to her ankles.
By the time she made it through the thick doors of her childhood home the rain had started pouring down again and Khloe was, once again, dripping and cold. As if that wasn’t bad enough, her shoes squeaked and left mud trails on the ceramic floor with every step she took, alerting to everyone nearby that she was home.
“Oh dear, child, I was worried you had gotten caught in that awful draft.” A portly lady came up behind Khloe and wrapped a light pink towel around her shoulders. Mrs. Blair was her name, though she had no apparent husband skulking about so Khloe was unsure of how she obtained the title "Mrs".
Khloe shrugged her shoulders and gave Mrs. Blair a soft smile.
“Yes, well, off to your room,” she said, guiding Khloe to the staircase. “Get yourself dried off and in new clothing. Supper will be ready at seven o’clock as always.” And off Mrs. Blair shuffled.
One of the very fortunate parts of living in an orphanage was the privacy. As Khloe entered her chamber she glanced around the room at the empty beds. The orphanage had seven rooms, six of which were used to house children. Each room held three beds, most of which were rarely used. Khloe hadn’t had a roommate in almost a year.
Most kids were in and out. Many had suffered great tragedy and waited for a loved one to take them in. Only a handful of children had to stay there more than a year, none as long as Khloe.
She made her way to her bed and unlocked the trunk at the foot of her mattress. She rummaged through and emptied the items from her bag into the trunk in an organized manner. She was sure to place her new quills and the abnormally large quantity of parchment paper on the top where it would remain unsoiled. One book, however, she left out. Khloe stood and positioned it under her pillow.
Quickly she changed from her wet garments and into a more comfortable attire. Once she was mostly dry and warm in a gray sweater, she curled up into bed and took out the book again. It was fairly old looking and even a little worn. When she opened it the pages held a scent of mildew and something strangely sweet. She thought the smell was quite charming.
Several months ago Khloe experienced a very lucid dream. The dream itself held no images, but she could feel a weight crushing over her and smell something she wasn’t sure how to describe. It smelled dark. Then, suddenly, Khloe had a burning desire to know who her parents were, what their story was, and why she was forced to live in an orphanage while they continued on with their lives. That small dream, which had absolutely nothing to do with her parents, started an obsession that boiled deep in her stomach. She couldn’t explain why.
Throughout her years, Khloe had gathered only a small fraction of information on her birth parents. She knew they had dropped her off in the middle of the night, maybe twelve hours after she was born. Mrs. Blair never saw them, she only had a small note scribbled in her basket, “Khloe Moss. Keep her safe.”
Keep her safe? Khloe often wondered what she needed to be kept safe from. Since the dream, she knew there was a story behind those three words, a story she was burning to find out.
Khloe’s heart thumped wildly in her chest as she opened the book and read the disclaimer on the title page.
Please be aware that some beings have no intention of being found. Take caution.
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