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Chapter 15 : Tori
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A fine rain was still falling as Tori ran, panting, up to the castle after Rebecca.
She shouldn’t have had so much to drink - not because of the baby, as she knew there was no way she could keep it - but because her head was very cloudy, making it hard for her to think straight, and making it even harder for her to process what had just happened.
Until very recently, she hadn’t realised how much Rebecca actually meant to her. She’d just thought of her as the annoying roommate who was always tagging along after her, like a masterless dog. But now she knew that Rebecca had become her friend.
And she didn’t want to lose her first, and probably only, female friend.
Inside the Hogwarts Castle it was dark and silent. Tori felt a strange shiver of foreboding go up her spine as she tiptoed up several staircases, being careful to jump the joke stairs so that she wouldn’t catch the attention of the disgusting old caretaker.
She couldn’t afford to get a detention. Not now. Not when there was so much on the line, so much she could lose.
The portrait of the fat lady swung open when Tori said the password and she climbed into the empty Gryffindor common room, looking around.
It was completely empty as it was well after midnight, and most of the senior students were down at the lake. The fire was still crackling away though and for an instant, all Tori wanted to do was go and kneel beside it - warm her hands near the orange flames and try to clear her foggy head.
But there was a mess to deal with. A mess that desperately needed fixing.
Ignoring the portraits which were staring down at her in disapproval, Tori hurried up the spiral staircase which led to the girls dormitories and swung open the door of her own.
Sure enough, Rebecca was already there, sitting cross legged on her bed and angrily flicking through the pages of a large text book.
She didn’t see Tori come in.
Tori took a deep breath and began to walk forwards slowly. She didn’t know what she was afraid of. It wasn’t like Rebecca was going to attack her. But her brain wasn’t working so well, and her movement was oddly slow.
She was about to say something but at that moment, Rebecca looked up from her book. Her dark eyes were already full of anger, but when she saw Tori standing there…if looks could’ve killed, Tori would be lying dead on the floor.
“YOU!” Rebecca hissed, standing up swiftly and dropping the thick book onto her bed. “What are you doing here?”
She was angrier than Tori had ever seen her. To her, Rebecca had always seemed such a peaceful, calm person. She’d never expected her to be the type of girl that got so worked up. “Please listen to me, Becky,” Tori heard herself say, as though from a distance. She unconsciously took several steps towards her friend. “I have to explain to you what’s going on!” Her voice bubbled and cracked in the middle of the sentence. Her head was very heavy now - it almost felt like her neck couldn’t take the weight…all she wanted to do was lie down and never get up.
Nothing had gone right today.
“Get away from me, bitch!” Rebecca shrieked hysterically, backing up against the wall and looking at Tori like she was a fleck of dirt on her shoe.
“Becky, I’m your friend!” said Tori, and she could hear the desperation in her own voice.
Something Tori had never wanted to feel - an emotion she hated. But that was all she was right now. Desperate for some to love her…for someone to care about her. She had truly, honestly thought Albus did. But now…now she wasn’t so sure.
So it all came down to Rebecca.
“I’m not your friend!” Rebecca shouted her eyes flashing wildly about the room. “I’ve never been your friend, don’t even try to deny it!” Tori could tell she was getting upset now. Her cheeks were going red and her eyes were oddly watery. “Ever since the beginning I’ve been nothing to you! Nothing but a…a toy to manipulate! Because that’s what you do, Tori, you manipulate people! I’m nothing to you and you…” Rebecca took a very long gulp of air. “You are nothing to me.”
You are nothing to me.
Tori closed her eyes at the harsh words…words she’d heard before. But Rebecca was right. Everything she was saying was right.
She was a horrible person. She didn’t deserve a friend as good as Rebecca!
The words came out of nowhere.
She hadn’t meant to tell anyone, not even Albus. But they’d just slipped of her mouth, without her permission - perhaps out of despair.
And she couldn’t take them back.
There was a long, drawn out silence in which Tori could feel her heart thumping painfully, making it feel like her whole chest was about to explode.
“W-What?” whispered Rebecca, and Tori looked up hopefully at the sound of her voice, hoping to see sympathy in her eyes.
But she saw only anger.
Any resolve she’d had left crumbled at that expression. “I…I had to tell someone,” she said, stumbling over her words as Rebecca said nothing, but continued to stare at her in horror. “I...come on Becky, say something, please!”
Rebecca took a small step forward, her eyes still glowing furiously. “You want me to say something?” she said in a quiet voice, still stepping forward until she was standing close enough to punch Tori in the face. Her face suddenly cracked into an jerky, almost manic smile. “You are the most selfish, bitchy little slut I have ever met. And I hope you go to hell.”
And with that, Rebecca pushed her way past Tori and stormed out of the dormitory slamming the door behind her and leaving Tori all alone.
For a few long moments, Tori simply stood there, staring at the ground.
But then, when she was quite sure Rebecca was out of earshot, she began to scream.
She screamed so loudly she hurt her own ears.
So loudly that her screams could rival the howls of a wolf on the full moon.
So loudly the loudly the small birds perched on the windowsill of the dormitory took off in fright, fluttering away into the night.
And then, when she done screaming, and her throat was hoarse with rage, Tori began to cry.
Tears, warm, hot, sticky tears dribbled down her tears as she paced round and round the room, raking her hands through her damp hair.
Her life had fallen to pieces.
Everyone hated her. Everyone hated her!
Not even bothering to wipe at wet eyes, to clean up her running mascara, Tori swept all the items off her dressing table in one sweep.
She didn’t even care when the picture frame smashed against the cold stone floor, it felt good throwing stuff around, it felt right.
With a dry sob, Tori dug into her suitcase and began ripping, tearing and throwing. Tears were still gushing out of her eyes and her nose had started to run uncontrollably.
Soon the dormitory floor was covered in a mess of ripped parchment and books, torn clothing and smashed ornaments.
She was all out of tears now but the anger, the deep seeded, never-ending anger had not left her body. Trembling slightly, Tori flung herself onto her bed, a torn piece of parchment in her hands. With fumbling fingers, she began to unscrew the lid of an ink bottle, trying not to think.
All of her worst memories were replaying themselves in her mind.
She was a terrible, terrible person…she didn’t deserve to live…
…”I hate you both!” Tori screamed, pushing past her parents, racing up the stairs and throwing herself into her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
“Tori!” she heard her mother’s gentle voice calling up the stairs. “Come down, honey! We were just joking!”
Tori ignored her, and glared at herself in the mirror. Died black hair, pale skin and far too many ear piercings. She looked like a ghost of her former self. Which was what her parents had just told her…so why was she so angry with them?
There was suddenly a sharp knocking on her bedroom door, which she’d locked. “Sweetheart,” it was her father now. “Please come out. Your mother and I want to…”
“GO AWAY!” Tori shouted, grabbing her wand from her desk and going back to the mirror. Her parents didn’t like her new style, did they? Well, how would they feel if she chopped all her hair off…
Smirking to herself, she muttered “Diffindo” and pointed the wand at the left side of her head. A huge chunk of died hair fell to the floor. She kept cutting and cutting…until an orange glow at the end of her wand caught her eye.
Her wand was on fire! Letting out a shriek of horror, Tori threw her wand away onto the bed, and the fire immediately started to grow.
“Tori!” her father shouted frantically. “Tori, what’s going on? Open the door?”
Everything became a blur. Tori hurried into the bathroom to get a bucket of water, when she came back…the room was in flames.
“Dad!” she screamed, cowering in the doorway. “Dad! Fire!”
She could hear her father hammering at the door, trying to get in-shouting at his wife to bring him his wand.
Tori took a lungful of fresh hair, and ran through the flames towards the door. She reached a hand out to touch the handle but it was burning hot and she immediately pulled back.
“Dad!” she screamed again, coughing as the flames burned her lungs. “Dad, I…”
“The window!” he father screamed. “Climb out the window!”
Coughing and spluttering, Tori ran through the hot flames and threw the window open. The flames were so hot…unnaturally hot and spreading faster than any normal flame would.
But magic was unpredictable. You never knew what might happen.
It was a long drop, but Tori closed her eyes and jumped…landing in the rose bush below her window, her ankles burning.
Sweat was dripping down her forehead and her throat was on fire as she stumbled away from the house. There was soot in her eyes and she could barely see. But then, suddenly, there was a loud BOOM from within the house as the flames spread rapidly throughout and the walls began to cave in…these were no ordinary flames.
“MUM!” Tori screamed, trying to run forward, but the pain in her ankles forcing her to collapse. “DAD!”
It was too late. They were gone…
…”She’s suffered severe burns,” a gentle voice was saying. “She’ll need a lot of rest and relaxation before she can return to school.”
There was a buzzing noise in Tori’s ears. She couldn’t quite remember where she was.
“And what am I supposed to do with her until then?” a cold voice that Tori vaguely recognised snapped. “Take her home with me?” The cold voice, which belonged to a woman, laughed. “I don’t think so. I don’t owe that brat anything.”
“Please, Miss Heron,” the first voice said. “Your niece has been through a great ordeal. Both her parents are…”
“Dead!” the women who Tori now recognised as the Aunt her parents didn’t like to talk about. “My brother is dead because of that girl! She is no family of mine”…
…Tori could feel her whole body trembling as she watched the two black coffins being lowered into the ground. Inside those coffins were her parents. Dead. Because of her. Because she’d had one of her silly little tantrums - a tantrum over nothing. Now the only family member she had left was her Aunt…the Aunt who hated her…
…”I’m afraid to tell you that your daughter has been expelled from Beauxbatons, Miss Heron,” the Headmaster said. They were sitting in his office, and Tori was staring stubbornly down at her feet. There was a new, shiny burn on her left arm to rival the ones she had gotten when she’d burnt her house down…and her parents along with it.
“She’s not my daughter,” her Aunt snapped viciously, and Tori felt her cheeks going pink. Why did her horrible Aunt insist on making it common knowledge that she hated her niece with every core of her being?
The Headmaster cleared his throat awkwardly. “Be that as it may, Miss Heron, Victoria has seriously damaged school property, injured several students and endangered the lives of several more. For this reason…”
Her Aunt gave that horrible, cold laugh that Tori hated so much. “This doesn’t come as a surprise to me, Headmaster,” she said glaring at Tori viciously. “This girl destroys everything she touches, my brother included. You are nothing to me, girl.”…
Too many horrible emotions, too many awful memories were pumping in her ears.
Tori couldn’t take it any more, couldn’t handle it. Every inch of her body and mind hurt…
Somehow, she managed to pick up a bent quill between her shaking fingers and write a wobbly note on the torn piece of parchment: I wish I were dead.
Standing up and taking a deep, heaving breath, she threw the note onto her bed and turned on her heel, hurrying out of the room, a very clear idea in her cloudy mind of where she was going next. Where she had to go next.
To end it all.
She turned so quickly that she didn’t see the little note flutter off edge of the bed and tumble underneath, lodging itself in a small crack between the stones where it would be stuck there for another year.
She was standing on the edge of the iced over lake, looking up into the starry sky. There wasn’t a single cloud. It was going to be cold tomorrow morning.
Still staring upwards, she breathed slowly. From this angle all the air above looked like it was coming at her fast.
Nothingness was all she wanted right now.
Taking a slow, deliberate step, Tori began to walk out onto the ice - she could feel it cracking slightly beneath her as she walked. She couldn’t stop clenching and unclenching her fists. Her eyes were foggy and her mouth felt dry. But most of all, she felt hollow.
Everything was dark. Everything was black. Everything was silent. Everything was threatening to engulf her. The rain, which was coming down faster now, impairing her vision, hit her face like tiny wooden bullets.
She continued walking, further and further out onto the lake, until the castle was just a small shadow in the distance. Something was guiding her. Something besides herself. She wasn’t thinking or deciding. It was like she’d made a choice, and now her body was holding her to it.
There was the flash of lightening somewhere in the distance and Tori stumbled on the cold ice slightly. She could hear the water slapping against the ice underneath…how cold must that water be?
And then suddenly…the ice broke.
She didn’t have time to make a sound as she fell into the dark, swirling water beneath the icy surface.
The water was cold…so cold. Her head smacked painfully against the ice, but she was powerless against the strong current that seemed to be pulling her down.
Her lungs were burning with a fire Tori had never known. She opened her mouth to gasp for air, but instead her body began to fill up with the cold, black water.
There was no up, there was no down.
There was a steady, painful life five minutes ago, but nothing five minutes from now.
And then, very suddenly, there was no now.
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