Chapter 2 : Silent Voice
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The Hogwarts Express was moderately full when Khloe arrived. She wheeled her trolley through the magically concealed entrance and struggled to load her over-packed trunk onto the train. After several minutes of pushing and pulling, she was finally able to get enough leverage to get the chest over the lift. She then towed the trunk through the narrow hallway of the train, glad that it was mostly empty. All but a few of the students were still out on the Platform bidding farewell to their beloved families, which was great for Khloe because that meant she got to a choice of which compartment she wanted. Near the end of the train was a small, four-person sections that she hastily took over.
Heaving the trunk into the stand above her head, Khloe was finally able to settle into her seat and get comfortable. From her pocket she pulled out the frayed book she had bought from Borgin and Burkes and began studying it again.
The previous night she had read through nearly half of the book, and today she was determined to finish it. The sooner she was done reading, the sooner she would be able to start analyzing the process of finding her blood relations. The book held very complex instructions, and she knew she would need to research more if she was going to try out any of the spells, potions, or charms. It was surprising to her just how many different ways there was to trace missing individuals, but she was glad that she had options. If one method didn't work, she always had other ways to fall back on.
The rear of the Hogwarts Express was shockingly quiet. Every year she was typically bombarded with noisy first years who were late and couldn't find a compartment of their own, but this year she was completely alone as the train blew its warning whistles.
She waited with bated breath hoping that she would be fortunate enough to get the area to herself for the entire journey. The train jerked forward, and still she remained unaccompanied. Then out of nowhere the section door slithered open and three boys plopped in. They all seemed oblivious to the fact that she was sitting there and sustained their chattering in flamboyant and obnoxious voices as they loaded their trunks, with ease, into the brackets.
"Father said we're in for a real treat." The gloating, fair-haired boy sat down next to Khloe, while the other two (who were rather large and burley) sat down across from them. "Of course he told me what's going on, but I can't go around telling everybody."
"But Draco," the dumpier of the two boys began.
"Crabbe, I already told you it's a secret," the blonde boy, Draco as he was called, said with a teasing leer. "Besides, I'm sure the oaf of a headmaster will publicize it soon enough." All three boys chortled at the comment as if he had just told a sidesplitting joke.
Khloe did her best to take no notice of them. Their robes displayed green serpents, so she knew they were of the Sytherin house. She wasn't one to judge, but she also wasn't opposed to avoiding individuals of said house. They carried more drama than they were worth.
Draco stridently dug through his pockets and brought out a Chocolate Frog. He was chomping through the head of the candy when he noticed Khloe sitting in the corner, who was acting as if she was immersed in her book (though she was far too irritated to be capable of reading at the moment).
"Say," Draco said as he swallowed down the frog. "Who are you?"
Khloe looked into his emotionless, steely eyes and remained silent. After a moment she turned her attention back to her book.
"Hey," he said in an aggravated tone. "Don't ignore me. Don't you know who I am?"
Reluctantly Khloe looked away from her book once more and gave the boy a harsh look. She opened her mouth and pointed toward her throat, gesturing that she was not capable of speaking. She waved her hands to her throat in a "cut off" motion.
"You can't talk?" Crabbe asked.
Khloe shook her head and mimed the word, "Nope."
"Are you sick?" Draco asked, scooting away from Khloe until he was halfway off the edge of the bench. He had a sudden look of revulsion on his face.
Khloe shook her head again. It had been a long time since she had to clarify her muteness to someone. She had never been able to speak. No one knew why or how it happened, but it was something she had always dealt with for as long as she could remember. Though she didn't mind, being quiet meant she had more time to herself, and there was nothing wrong with that.
The taller of the two boys, Khloe hadn't heard his name yet, lent forward and asked her in a very loud voice, "Are you stupid?" His face looked as if he were concerned, though that could've been how his face always looked when he was in deep thought. Khloe wasn't sure.
"I don't think yelling at her will make much of a difference, Goyle." Draco looked as if he was about to laugh at his friend's ridiculous question, but he held it in.
Seeing that this conversation wasn't going to end anytime soon, Khloe tore a portion from a spare page out of her book and grabbed for the ink well and quill she kept in her pockets. She always kept these supplies on her for occurrences such as this. In a tidy scrawl she wrote a one-sentenced message and handed it to the pale haired boy, Draco.
"I was born like this," he read out loud. "Hmph," he said after a moment. Then he tossed the note to the floor and looked to his friends. "Let's go see if there are any first years we can mess with."
And within ten seconds the compartment door was closing shut and Khloe found herself surrounded by the peace and quiet she longed for.
Throughout the day the three boys were in and out of the compartment. They came in during lunch hour and noisy ate sandwiches. Then they came in again not long after noon had passed. At that time the three of them spread out and relaxed. The one boy, Crabbe, fell asleep and snored so loud Khloe couldn't even hear herself think. Each time the boys were in the compartment she resorted to gazing at the page she was on until they left again.
As night started to descend and the train began to slow, Khloe put away her book and stood up to pull her Hogwarts robes on overtop of her outfit, her Ravenclaw crest now evident on her chest. Two of three boys had fallen asleep in their seats again, while the blonde boy appeared to be watching her with curious eyes.
"Ravenclaw, eh?" Draco said. Khloe simply nodded her head and sat back down in her seat. "I pictured you as more of the Hufflepuff type." He seemed to mean this in a bad way. Khloe didn't respond. He remained for several minutes before he spoke again. "Say, what year are you in?"
Khloe held up a hand and showed off five fingers. She pointed at him and mouthed, "What about you?"
"Fourth year," he responded. Though she was sure he wasn't gloating, his tone still held an air of arrogance to it.
With a jolt, the train came to a speedy halt and the boys, Crabbe and Goyle, woke with a start. Without glancing behind Khloe departed the cubicle in a flurry and made her way in the direction of the nearest exit, happy to be away from the gang of Slytherins she had the misfortune of meeting.
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