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Chapter 12 : The Haunting
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“Okay,” I said, ignoring my own panic and the wand aimed at me, “I have questions.”
“Well, aren’t you a funny munch-kin,” MSMG – Malfoy Senior Murderer Guy smiled. Creepily. Very creepily.
“So I’ve been told. Why do you want me dead?”
“Oh, Willow, sweetheart... I don’t. But leaving you alive would be... too dangerous. You have no idea...” Still creepy. On the creepiness scale he was a ten out of ten. Verging on eleven. And I have high creepiness standards.
“No idea about what?” I was persistent. A voice in my head was telling me to run, but I wasn’t that stupid. I wouldn’t make it two metres before I got killed. Delaying my death seemed like a pretty good idea to me. So I had to keep him talking.
“You have so much potential. It seems such a shame.” He smiled again, a creep-tastic one that didn’t reach his cold eyes.
“What do you mean, potential?”
“What I mean is, you have no idea how much power you have,” he sighed, “don’t bother,” he added, seeing my eyes darting towards my wand, in my coat, hanging on the back of the chair.
“I’m not an idiot,” I choked a laugh out; “I’d never survive.”
“Correct.” MSMG’s minions, all dressed up in black cloaks and silver masks, like they were going to a fancy-dress party, cracked their knuckles.
Which made me flinch.
“Now, Willow Gaunt, prepare to die.”
“Wait!” I yelped. Understandably. I didn’t want to die.
“Yes? Can we get this over with? I’m sure Weasley and Potter have noticed your disappearance by now.”
Yes! There was a slight chance that they’d show up soon, then! If MSMG and his cronies could have found me that quickly, I was sure that it wasn’t beyond the Wotters’ capabilities.
“What’s my real name? I mean, my real first name?” That – now that I really did want to know.
“I have absolutely no idea.”
“Don’t fucking lie to me. I can tell when people lie.”
I watched as his pupils dilated slightly. Yes, I was that close.
“Your real name is Zelah. Happy?”
“Nope. That’s a pretty poor excuse for a name. What were my parents thinking? Did you know them?”
He laughed manically. He was getting impatient. I could see sweat droplets forming on his forehead.
“Of course I knew them! They were Deatheaters, the same as me.”
“On You-Know-Who’s side. I killed people with them.”
No, it wasn’t true. They weren’t killers. I couldn’t be the daughter of killers.
My real name couldn’t be Zelah.
“No, it’s not true. You’re lying.”
I knew he wasn’t, somehow.
“Now, how do you think I should go about this? I think I’ll kill little Nathan Daniel Evergreen first. You can watch.”
My heart faltered. I hadn’t factored Nathan into this. I hadn’t realised he was as likely for him to die as me. My hands became slimy and sweaty, and I felt physically sick.
“Oh, really, now?” he chuckled, then muttered a spell, which I didn’t quite catch. My wand flew to his hand.
“It’s my fault he’s here. It’s not fair.” I wouldn’t sob. Not in front of a monster. I couldn’t afford to show my fear.
“Is it not fair, Zelah Gaunt?” he smiled, a little sadly. He wasn’t sad. He was a monster.
He waved my wand. My wand.
Nathan sat up.
“Willow? What’s going on?”
I shook my head.
Shut up, you idiot. I’ll distract him and you run.
I tried to convey it in my eyes. Run. Run. Run. He’ll kill you. Just run.
He didn’t listen.
“Now, I think... a little pain should do the trick. Let’s see if he can last longer than little Rose.”
“You – you don’t touch him, you monster!”
I punched him in the face, as hard as I possibly could. As soon as my hand made the satisfying crunching sound against his jaw, I knew I’d made a mistake.
“Oh, Miss Gaunt, you should not have done that,” he chided, “Crucio.”
The agony hit me like a bus. It tore me apart. I’d never known pain such as it. What I’d previously thought was pain? It was like comparing a mouse to an elephant. A flea to a tiger. A hamster to a blue whale.
It was searing, cutting me off from reality.
I heard a scream. I realised that it was mine a few seconds later. I was writhing on the floor, clawing at my own flesh, and I was yelling; make it stop, please, make it stop, no, no it hurts...
It stopped as suddenly as it had materialised. I was left, breathing heavily, clutching at my self-inflicted wounds, which were spouting droplets of blood, contrasting with the golden brown wooden floor.
“Not Nathan, please,” I whispered, “please. You can have me. I’m not worth anything. I won’t even fight. Just let him live.”
“Tempting... but, Crucio.”
“You fucking little –“ I leapt at him, just as Nathan started screaming. The murderer fell backwards. I pinned his wand arm down. I noticed a book, hidden within the folds of his cloak.
“I didn’t think you could read, Malfoy,” I laughed hysterically, as I was dragged away by one of his cronies.
“You’d be surprised at what I can do, Gaunt.”
He came way too close; completely popping my personal space bubble.
“Well, your breath stinks.”
I was going to die, anyway. It was worth insulting him while I still could.
He raised my own wand.
“Do it. I don’t care,” I bluffed.
“First, I want you to see what’s going to happen.”
He turned to face my little brother, again.
“He’s fucking thirteen. He’s a kid,” I spat.
“And your point is?”
He raised my wand. I struggled, but it was futile.
Useless. Ineffective. Of no use. Pointless. In vain.
I relaxed my muscles, then attempted to elbow the guy in the groin.
Nope, not even a little flinch. Geez, he must be made out of steel.
Nathan sort of whimpered on the floor.
“You fucking bitch, you –“ I continued to speak, slandering, but no sound came out. Stupid magic. Why did people like MSMG get to use it, when I couldn’t, really?
I was mad. I could practically see steam fizzing out my own ears. And my magic – my birthright – I could feel; bubbling up inside of me. He’d said I had power.
The world turned to slow-motion.
There was a flash of bright, golden light. A flash of vivid green hit a painting across the room. I was free, the crony lying on the floor, unconscious with his mask askew. Malfoy was picking himself off the floor.
I ran forwards to Nathan.
“You should not have done that, Miss Gaunt,” he taunted.
“If you want to get Willow, you’ll have to kill me first,” stuttered Nathan, dusting himself off and standing in front of me.
“No, Nathan,” I protested, trying to push him behind me.
Malfoy muttered a curse.
Nathan fell to the ground, blood gushing, as the doors were opened, swinging shut.
“Nathan!” cried Lucy Weasley. Harry, Hermione and Ron were a split second behind, firing spells and jinxes. They were too late. Malfoy and his followers had disappeared into thin air, including the unconscious one, somehow.
“Oh my Godric,” Hermione murmured, rushing to Nathan’s side, beside Lucy’s slumped form.
A purple glow emanated from her wand, and covered Nathan’s wounds. It did nothing. His life force was leaving his body.
“Nathan? Please, please, wake up,” Lucy was sobbing. Surprisingly. I should have been the one saying that. But I was in shock. I couldn’t think.
Nathan. My fault. Just like Rose. Only Rose might be alive.
“Lucy?” a voice, weak and hoarse, mumbled.
“Nathan? Please, don’t die.”
“I won’t die, Lucy. I’ll be fine, it’s just a little bit of blood,” he tried to chuckle, but only coughed up more red. His eyes widened, taking in the pool of blood surrounding him.
“Nathan,” I croaked.
“I’m right here,” I choked, kneeling down and holding his hand.
“I’m scared, Willow.”
“Shhh. It’s al – alright,” I fought tears, “don’t give up.”
I knew he couldn’t be saved. Just from Aunt Hermione’s face, I could tell that there was nothing anybody could do.
The tears poured down my cheeks in a torrent. He couldn’t die.
“Nathan, Nathan... I love you,” I whispered, pressing my head against his chest. He closed his eyes, and his breathing slowed.
Uncle Harry grabbed him, disappearing in a flash, probably to St Mungos. Aunt Hermione took both Willow and I by the arm, and we were twisting and turning, and before I could pass out from the lack of air, we landed, in amongst a burst of activity. Nathan’s form, turning the sheets red, was laid out upon a floating stretcher. I could barely see him, the amount of people surrounding him.
“NATHAN!” I screamed. Hermione held me back from him, whilst strangers were performing spells that seemed to be failing – failing – failing. And I was falling, and it was a blur, because my tears were making it difficult to see.
I broke free of the people gripping me – for it wasn’t just Hermione, there were people – people in white coats – who were holding me. Preventing me from seeing him.
“Nathan,” I sobbed, quieter.
Blurry figures stepped away from the stretcher, which seemed to be floating. Nothing seemed real. The air in the room had faded; I couldn’t breathe properly. My body shook, and I stumbled to his side.
I let Willow go to him, without me. There wasn’t anything left for me; he was gone. Nathan. Daniel. Evergreen. Was. Dead. I couldn’t believe it. An onslaught of sobs wracked me.
Why was everything fading?
“Nathan, I’m so – so s-s-sorry,” Willow whispered.
I’m still here! I was trying to shout at her, but my mouth wouldn’t open. I didn’t – I couldn’t will myself to move.
Did everyone think I was dead?
Was that why I could hear them muttering? He’s gone, he’s dead, he’s deceased, lifeless, departed?
I hugged him – or his corpse, closing my eyes, letting the droplets of salty tears fall onto him.
Then I was thrown back, catching a glimpse of a black cloak and a flash of silver, before it vanished, along with my brother’s body.
I sat down, rocking back and forth in the foetal position slightly.
I didn’t go home. If the Evergreens’ house could even be called home. My Mother was nowhere to be found, to be informed about... N – Na – Nathan. Even thinking about... him was difficult.
No, I was at the Wotters’. Granted, it was the same street as the Evergreens’.
Nobody was really talking. Especially Lucy. Lucy just sat on the couch, curled up with a blank look in her eyes, not responding to anything. She wasn’t crying anymore, but her face was red and blotchy, and her eyes were misty and unseeing. I understood. That was probably what I looked like.
She’d known him longer than I had, I realised. I barely even knew him. I didn’t know what his favourite colour was – had been. I didn’t know what he liked to eat, what sort of movies, or books that he liked – had liked.
Poor, poor Willow. The whole universe had turned against her. What had she done to deserve it?
I glanced at Bella. If we didn’t tell everyone now, we’d never be able to. We should get everything into the open, while everyone was present.
“Okay,” I cleared my throat nervously, “if everybody would like to make their way to the lounge room, please. Bella and I have an announcement to make.”
The parents – all of them, even mine – entered. I took a deep breath.
“You’re going to be disappointed,” I told Mum and Dad.
“Get on with it,” Dad tried to smile, but there was nothing to smile about.
“You’re engaged, aren’t you?” asked Mum – despite the mood – a little excitedly.
“No, not yet... Bella’s pregnant.”
There was a short silence. I hugged Bella.
“Well, I can’t say I’m not disappointed,” Dad told us after a pause. “You have no idea how much this is going to affect your lives. And the media – once they hear of it...”
“Oh, let the media do what they want,” Mum smiled sadly. “We’ll talk about this later, okay? But for the moment, we’ll forget about it.”
Nobody had enough energy to kick up a fuss.
I knocked on the door, nervously. I wondered who would answer the door. Would it be Father – with his violence, or Mother, with her cruel words and manipulative ways? Or even Jared? Would he still be living at the Flint residence?
I took a deep breath. I hadn’t been here since the end of first year, when I’d come home to so much anger that I’d turned up, soaking wet – like a drowned rat – on Willow’s doorstep.
The door swung open, revealing a thin, blonde, trashy-looking girl with far too much make-up on.
“Can I help you?” Stupid, snotty, little cake-face.
“Yes. I’m looking for the Flints. You know, seeing as I’m their daughter?”
Who was she?
“The Flints don’t have a daughter. And they’re out, in any case. Only Jared and me are here.”
“Like shit they don’t have a daughter,” I invited myself in, stepping past Cake Face. “And Jared will do.”
“Shut the fuck up. You have a little,” I motioned towards her left cheek, “face in your cake.”
I’d learnt that one from Sophia. I liked it, very much.
“Jared?” I called.
“Who is it?”
With a choking realisation, I figured out that I’d missed him. Jared.
I walked into the lounge room. Jared was sitting on the couch, slumped so that his black, messy hair was resting on the back of the settee.
“Bella?” he asked incredulously.
“You know her,” Cake Face had finally recovered from her burn. “You know this Mudblood filth?”
“I used to.”
“Jared, we used to be... so close. I’m the same person as I always was, Gryffindor or not.”
“No, I came here for a reason.”
“Well, hurry up. Mother and Father will be home soon. They’ll hurt you if they find you here.”
“I’m – I’m pregnant. There, that’s it. I’m going now.”
I walked to the door.
“Bells, look... I’m sorry, okay?” He made a motion as if he was going to hug me.
Bells. He hadn’t called me Bells since I was eleven.
“I’m sorry too, Jared.”
“Why couldn’t you have just... been like me?”
“I didn’t – I couldn’t. I couldn’t be like you. I just couldn’t.”
“I was scared, Bells. I was scared of them.”
“I know,” I nodded. They weren’t the best parents. Crucio was a form of discipline in the Flint household. “The Sorting Hat told me you’d have made an excellent Ravenclaw.”
“I wasn’t brave enough. Stay away from here, Bells. Stay away.”
He hugged me. The first hug I’d received from him since aged eleven.
“Jared!” Cake Face. Who the hell did she think she was?
“Who the hell do you think you are?” I questioned, coolly.
“I? I am Jared’s fiancé.”
“So, you don’t have a name? Or a personality? Jared, this trash isn’t good enough for you.”
“I’m Cassandra. Cassandra Allen. And I’m Pureblood, not trash, you little bitch.”
“Jared, you’ve made a mistake,” I snorted.
I walked off, away from my past and into the future.
Wow. Uh oh.
I kinda sorta (please don't yell at me) liked writing that one...
Yeah. But seriously.
I liked writing Bella's family reunion scene especially. I wanted to give a broader perspective on what she's going thorugh and has gone through.
And I don't know if anybody actually picked up the mentioning of Jared before this chapter? And Allen? I don't know if anybody actually has read It's Complicated, but yes, there is a relation there.
MY STORIES ARE LINKED.
Mwah ha ha ha.
Anyway, review, my munchkins, review!
I will love you. Forever.
I'm also thinking about growing a sexy purple potato afro. So thoughts on that? Kidding.
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