borrowed light of the silver moon seemed almost blasphemous against the frigid
air of the Hogwarts grounds. Under its
dim glow the yard before me seemed empty, but I knew she was there. Invisible to the mortal eye, she stole across
the grass and came to a stop at the edge of the forest. Slowly, and with trepidation, she cast the
invisibility cloak aside. Unwittingly,
she had given me a great tool I would have at my disposal once I reached it. Blind to the danger that lay before her and
behind her, she cast one backward glance before she entered the forest.
survived the Dark Lord once before, perhaps she could do it again. I knew what I had to do. I followed.
had a certain hesitation to it, her breath was ragged. The frost that rose from her lips with each outward
breath hung in the air like a glittering cloud before disappearing as she moved
on. I watched the back of her copper
head fade into shadow then reappear in the moonlight. She was so alone, so vulnerable. Clutched in her hand was the piece of parchment
that had led her here; the piece of parchment that would be her crowning glory,
or, if she so chose, her undoing.
careful to step with her, so the crunching of the dead leaves underfoot would
not give away my presence. The time
would come when I would make myself known, but for now . . . The finger-like branches of the bare trees
reached upward into the black velvet sky, as if the trees themselves did not
want to be in the forest tonight.
Nothing stirred, nothing moved.
She, the wind, and I were the only occupants of this cold, forbidden
made her pause. Her body went rigid, and
for a moment I thought she had become aware of me. But no, there in the trees, were two
centaurs, perusing the night sky.
Quickly, she ducked behind a skeletal tree, cursing the fact that she
had dropped the invisibility cloak. I
stood still and waited.
bright tonight,” said one centaur to the other.
bright,” agreed the other. “Wary are the
mortals on a night such as this.”
only threads, Bane, they do not weave the story.”
Within moments they had passed
us. Still conversing in their strange
jargon, they were soon out of earshot. A
great, silent sigh came from her, evidenced by the large cloud of vapor now
hanging before her. Another moment
passed before she moved.
She took more care, now, than she had
before, although her shoulders were set straighter than they had been, and her
fist clenched more tightly. She knew
something was coming, even though she knew not what.
Time wore on, and I was beginning
to grow impatient. We were already deep
in the forest, and the temperature was dropping. I was ready to throw off the invisibility
cloak and confront her right there, but the moon was still high. I simply had to wait.
The wind rushed through the trees,
sounding eerily like the rattling breath of an old man, or something sinister
and not quite natural. I shivered and
pulled the cloak more tightly around me, watching as she did the same.
Then it happened. We had come to the edge of a clearing, large
and open. There were five or six thestrals, picking their way around the open area in front
of us. The wind picked up, howling
around us, nearly lifting her light little frame from the ground. Now, finally, it was time. I removed the invisibility cloak, reached for
my wand, and waited for her to turn around.
Once again she stopped, freezing
where she stood. Whether or not she saw
the thestrals, or heard me, I’ll never know, but for
some reason, just before the clearing, she stopped. The wind ceased to blow, and suddenly the
only sound in the forest was the crunching of leaves as Ginny Weasley turned
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes . . .
Disclaimer: The standard disclaimer applies. Everything in this story, characters, etc. is
property of Joanne K. Rowling, Scholastic, Warner Bros., and Bloomsbury. We’re not making money, and we
do not claim any of this material as our own, other than the text. The quote “By the pricking of my
thumbs/Something wicked this way comes” is from William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,”
Act 4, Scene I, lines 44-45.