Chapter 1 : A Shade of Bleak
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The snow continued to fall. That morning it had just been a thin layer on the ground, barely covering the grass underneath, but by mid-evening, it was hugging the three little steps to the front door. Flipping her journal closed, Marnie Sampson drew her knees towards her, wrapping her arms around them and placing her chin on top. She glanced down into the front garden of the house. It wasn’t really a front garden, it had a few bushes and an odd flower now and again in the springtime, but the rest was dominated by grass and the paved circular driveway. The rest of the surroundings were filled with old, tall trees that were higher than the two story house, and a small cottage a few minutes’ walk down a little lane where an elderly couple had always lived.
When she had been younger, this house and the forest had seemed so mystical to her- she was always running around, climbing trees and making up stories about all the animals and the fairies that lived there. Marnie was sixteen now, and the house and the forest had lost all of its meaning for her. It was no longer mystical to her; instead it was a constant reminder of everything she had gained since she was a child, this place only held her back. That was why she only returned during the holidays, like she had now; those few weeks out of the year spent with her Aunt Delilah were awkward enough. It was this particular break from school, the Christmas/Winter break, that was by far the one she dreaded the most. The holiday itself had always reminded her of her mother, a topic which she wasn’t exactly fond of remembering.
With a small sigh, she stood up, her so dark brown that it was almost black hair slipped from the hair tie it had been in like a prisoner escaping from a cell. She wished, more often than not, that she could escape her own jail cell. “One more day,” she whispered to herself, gazing longingly over at her packed trunk- as usual, she hadn’t bothered to unpack it in the first place. She tiptoed over to it, placing her journal and quill on top of it before securing her hair back into a ponytail and moving to sit on her bed.
“How was your day?” The door pushed open slightly to reveal her Aunt Delilah, still dressed in her work clothes- a grey skirt and a blouse which used to be white, but after overwearing and washing had turned into a shade that could only be describing as ‘bleak’. Her Aunt Delilah, who wasn’t really her aunt at all, worked high up in the British Government, doing something that Marnie had never bothered to ask about. It didn’t even begin to interest her. Delilah had never wanted children, she’d never really want anything but to live the rest of her days in the two-story cottage in the middle of nowhere and serve her country by doing some boring old desk job that no one wanted to do, but had to be done. But she had ended up with Marnie, dropped on her doorstep at age seven and a half before Marnie’s mother, and Delilah’s best friend disappeared, never to be seen again by anyone. Marnie imagined that she was off on a beach somewhere, with a killer tan and a hot model boyfriend and thinking absolutely no thoughts of that young pesky girl she’d left behind. Marnie knew that’s what she would have preferred to have been doing.
“It was fine, thank you” Delilah had never been good at small talk, or talking to children or talking to anyone for that matter, but that worked well for Marnie- it meant that she didn’t have to force herself to be kind to a woman that she only saw for ten minutes each day.
“Only tomorrow left, right?” Marnie smiled, watching Delilah eye off her packed trunk. If Marnie found these times awkward, she could only imagine how her Aunt felt. She couldn’t blame her for wanting the house back to herself, it was much easier like that, after all that’s how it had always been. “I’ll see you in the morning then”
The door closed, the light went out. No goodnight, no hug, no kiss, no ‘I love you’. After all, that’s how it had always been.
The last day passed by excruciatingly slowly and painfully. What might have passed normally was made to feel like it took months or years to pass by the snow which was sticking to the window ledges. Marnie spent her time in the living room by the fire, as she usually did whenever Delilah was out at work. The living room itself, much like the rest of the house, was almost completely bare. There was nothing on the walls, not even a painting or a photograph of anyone. There was furniture, of course, something that you may have expected to find in a house in the middle of the 1930’s rather than the mid 70’s. There were a few books here and there, non-fiction books, biographies on great British men and women, but never novels. In fact, without knowing the truth, one might have made the assumption that no one lived in this house anymore, and in a way, that was true. The only really signs of life could be found in the attic- here were all the memories of Marnie’s childhood, some clothes she could no long fit into, children’s books she would never read again, a bicycle she never learnt to ride and a doll house that was falling apart after it being dragged upstairs, downstairs, outside, back inside, for over four years in a row.
Neither of them entered the attic anymore. It was like an unspoken agreement between the two of them to leave what was up there in the past for good. Maybe the clothes didn’t matter anymore, but there were pictures up there of Delilah and Marnie’s mother that she found one day when she was nine, that kind of thing was best left alone.
She was glad when it reached a reasonable enough time to go to bed, she disappeared upstairs to her room before Delilah returned home- she probably hadn’t even left work yet. As Marnie snuggled down into her warm flannelette sheets, she gazed off at her trunk once more, a small smile working its way onto her face.
The platform was as crowded as usual. Delilah had dropped her off at Kings Cross two hours earlier than she needed to be there, after all that’s how it had always been. Marnie had gotten herself some tea and breakfast, read the Muggle newspaper until she decided it was time to go. She pushed a trolley with her trunk on in front of her, she had no owl, no cat or toad to worry about unlike her fellow students nor did she have annoying siblings following her or lecturing parents. She preferred it her way, it meant she was able to get on the train in time and allowed her to find a comfortable carriage for her and her friends before they were moving.
She pushed through the crowds towards the train, narrowly dodging a tabby cat as it dashed passed- a little girl, obviously a first year due to her size, chasing desperately after it. She didn’t pay attention to that girl, or to anyone else on the platform. Instead she made to lift her trunk off the trolley and onto the train when a voice from behind her interrupted her, “Need any help with that?” She placed her trunk on the floor, declined for help politely and made her way down the corridor of the train without a single look back.
Her best friend, Diana Burbage, had also returned home for the holidays, as had her twin brother, Rick, and a couple of his friends. The rest of the girls Diana and Marnie shared their Ravenclaw dorm room with- Teresa Vane, Angela Turlington and Lori Frisby, had all stayed at Hogwarts for the time. While Diana loved returning home for holidays, Marnie was overwhelming envious of them.
“Oh, finally. My salvation, my hero!” Diana giggled, collapsing dramatically in the seat across from Marnie. “Please say something my love, I need to hear the sweet, sweet sound of the beautiful Marnie Sampson’s voice,” Marnie could only laugh in response.
Authors Note: Welcome to my story, 'Fallacy'! I haven't posted anything up here for ages, though I have been meaning to for a while now- hopefully I'll fix that with this story. I'd like to apologise if this chapter is a bit boring, it will get more exciting as the plot builds- I promise. Thank you so much for reading, and please let me know what you think!
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