The Sugar Quill
Author: Menya  Story: When Suddenly...  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Special thank you to my beta-reader, Moey



When Suddenly...



"Okay! That's everything," Hermione declared as she doused the last of the lights with her wand. The common room, which was deserted at this hour except for the four of them, was now lit only by the fire and the candles each held in their hand. Hermione motioned for them to a corner and they sat in a circle on the floor.

"Why do all the lights have to be out?" Ginny asked as she nervously tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

"Atmosphere," Hermione stated matter-of-factly.

"Right. Now, explain to me what it is exactly we're supposed to be doing again?" Ron asked a bit distractedly. Hermione raised her eyebrows at him and gave him quite a look. "Sorry," Ron said quickly, "But I forgot. You must admit, today was rather exciting what with the announcement that the Goblet of Fire will be choosing the Champions tomorrow and all."

Hermione sighed, then stated slowly with strained patience, "In honor of Halloween tomorrow, I thought we'd try something different. We're going to tell a story. Each of us has to add to what the one before said until all four of us have had a go. And when you've finished your part, you blow out your candle. I'll go first since it was my idea," Hermione announced, "And we'll continue around the circle." She flipped her bushy brown hair over her shoulder and began:

"Preparations for the Halloween Feast had already begun. The Great Hall was decorated with hundreds of carved pumpkins and the usual group of live bats."

"Oooh, I'm getting gooseflesh already," Ron rolled his eyes. Hermione ignored him.

"Lysander..."

Harry snorted.

"...who had been studying in the library, suddenly realized it was very quiet, even for a library. As he wondered around Hogwarts he found it was completely deserted! That's when he heard a loud CRASH in the Great Hall and ran to investigate. He flung open the doors and was confronted by the sight of a gigantic Graphorn! The doors snapped shut behind him, trapping Lysander. He heard a cackle and suddenly one of the Kitchen Elves appeared. 'I let it in! We're tired of being slaves - abused, unpaid and overworked!' - "

"Oh, not again!" Ron groaned softly.

"..'Bet you wish you'd treated us better now!' He laughed evilly as the large, purple humpbacked beast lowered its long, sharp horns and prepared to charge Lysander..." Hermione lifted her candle and blew it out.

It was Ron's turn next. "Now then, let me see...Now, Lysander, who noticed that the Elf was holding a broom, snatched the broom and bashed the Elf over the head with it, knocking it out. He then quickly charmed the broom so it could fly. He mounted it and took off just at the last second before the Graphorn would've collided with him. Seeing as Lysander was captain of his House Quidditch team, he felt more at ease in the air. A flying bat swooped past and suddenly he had an idea. He transfigured the live bat into a Quidditch bat and used his experience as Beater to come up with a plan. Targeting the lit pumpkins like they were Bludgers, he pelted the pumpkins at the Graphorn, which soon caught fire from the magical flames. Of course, he had to be very careful, swerving around the room to avoid the humongous rampaging beast. Such excellent Quidditch moves had not been seen since the Chudley Cannons best Beater - "

"That's not how you defeat a Graphorn!" Hermione interrupted.

"It is now," Ron stated.

"But their hides are so thick, they wouldn't catch fire."

"Look, you had your chance, all right? So, thanks to Lysander's heroic efforts, the Graphorn was dead. But Lysander still wondered where everyone had gone. He went out into the dark night and thought he saw movement in the eaves of the Forbidden Forest. He went to investigate," Ron dramatically picked up his candle, "When suddenly-" he blew it out.

"All right," Ginny cleared her throat, "My turn. So....So, suddenly Lysander was grabbed from behind and dragged deep into the dark forest. Finally he was released and Lysander saw that what had taken him was a gigantic spider!"

"Oh, thanks a bunch Ginny!" Ron said.

"Lysander glanced around, but the clearing was deserted otherwise.

"'You don't need to be afraid,' the spider spoke, 'I only wanted to warn you that something horrible has taken up residence in your castle.'

"'Why are you telling me this?' Lysander asked suspiciously.

"'Because that thing is responsible for releasing a Graphorn that ran amok through our colony. Several of us were trampled before it escaped to here. Consider this warning a thank you for defeating it for us.' The spider started to crawl away.

"'Wait!' called Lysander, "What is this thing in the castle?' But the spider had vanished. Lysander knew he had to rescue the others, so he went back to the castle."

Ginny picked up her candle and Harry started to panic. It was his turn next and he couldn't think of anything. He noticed the way the feeble light flickered across her face and the way the shadows distorted her features. Suddenly he had an idea.

"As he entered the castle he heard screaming. That's when -" she finished and blew out her candle.

Harry didn't hesitate. "That's when," he pushed his glasses up a little, "Lysander realized the screams were coming from the dungeons. He ran down the stone staircase and saw a door he hadn't ever seen before. As he drew out his wand and opened the door, the horrible thing came popping out at him with a scream. Lysander was knocked backwards. The horrible thing turned out to be a giant head with yellow glowing eyes and blue flames for hair and fangs for teeth. It lunged at Lysander again and it was all he could do to hold it off. For no matter what spells Lysander used, nothing seemed to work. He was getting exhausted from the effort. 'Just what will it take to defeat this ghostly head?' he thought to himself. Then it hit him. He had only one chance. He took off further into the dungeons, making sure the head was following. When he reached a chamber deep in the dungeons, he ran inside, right into the middle of Nearly Headless Nick's annual Death Day party. The head burst into the room after him. Just as Lysander had hoped, the members of the Headless Hunt grew very excited at this.

"'Oooh! A new game!" Sir Patrick cried and then proceeded to use the head as a polo ball. In no time at all, the huntsmen had managed to bowl the head out of Hogwarts, disappearing after it. Lysander knew it would never be back. Hurrying to the door where the head had appeared, Lysander blasted it open and, sure enough, there were all the missing people. They all cheered Lysander then all headed up to the Great Hall for a combined Halloween and celebration feast that lasted well into the night."

Harry reached for his candle and blew it out almost as an afterthought. They were immediately plunged into near darkness, with only the light of the fire. They sat in silence a moment.

"Now what?" Ron asked, breaking the silence.

"Now...I guess we go to bed," Harry said.

"You know, we ended up telling more of an adventure story than a scary story," Hermione pointed out as they gathered up their candles.

"Yeah, but it was still fun," Ginny said.

"Still, I would've liked to have been scared," Hermione said, "You know, to put me in more of a Halloween mood."

"You want scary? Try picturing Snape in a bathing suit. Now, *that's* scary!" Ron said.

"Besides," Harry added, "the story did have monsters and ghosts in it. That's pretty traditional for a Halloween story."

"You're right. I guess those things just don't scare me like they used to," Hermione sighed.

Suddenly they heard a faint tap...tap...tap... They exchanged glances to be certain they were all hearing it. The tapping grew steadily louder until it echoed in the deserted common room. Then it suddenly stopped.

"Let's get out of here!" Ron said and they all scrambled to their feet. But then a stream of smoke started issuing from the fire and they froze, frightened but fascinated. They watched apprehensively as the smoke swelled to enormous size, when suddenly -

"BOO!" the smoke exploded and they all jumped with a startled shriek. The smoke had turned into Peeves. He doubled over in merriment, cackling loudly at them.

"Peeves!" shouted Harry, indignant.

"Couldn't resist!" Peeves gasped as he wiped a silver tear from his eye. "I overheard and is was just too much fun! That scary enough for you?" he started laughing again. "...Should've seen your faces!..." They all glared at him, not at all amused. Finally, Peeves, chuckling softly, zoomed through a wall and called over his shoulder, "Happy Halloween!"

//
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