“I dare you to spend ten minutes in the Forbidden
Forest.” Mindy had said, a manic gleam in her eye. Lily groaned – she hadn’t
wanted to play this ridiculous game in the first place. “Or?”
“You kiss James Potter.” Yana, another friend of
hers, replied quickly. Lily shook her head vigorously. “No way. I’d rather
die.” She said, shuddering at the thought. “I’ll go into the forest.” She
That was how she came to be strolling into the eerie,
dark and highly Forbidden Forest. Alone. She shuddered as she took her first
step into the trees. No one would see her now. She had ten minutes before she
could step foot out of the forest. Ten long minutes. She shivered as a cold
breeze skimmed her bare arms – she hadn’t thought to bring her cloak, and now
she regretted it. She kept walking, sticking to the paths trodden into the
ground. The trees seemed to whisper in the breeze, mocking her.
Lily had the peculiar feeling that someone, or
something, was following her. She put it down to an overactive imagination and
an overly frightened mind. She drew her wand out anyway. Just to be safe.
Something caught her eye – a movement between the
trees. She was definitely not alone. She held her wand tighter, telling
herself that it was probably just a harmless centaur or something. Not
necessarily dangerous, just because it inhabited the forest. She kept walking
despite the fact that she was not alone, humming quietly to keep her confidence
up. She kept glancing around her nervously.
The humming didn’t work, so Lily began to sing. Ever
so quietly at first, but her voice growing a little louder. Then she stopped –
nothing was going to make her feel any better. She crept forward in silence,
hearing her heart beating wildly in her chest.
Then she saw it. A lion’s head, a goat’s body and a
dragon’s tail. It was right in front of her. She could remember reading
about these – Chimaera’s. What had the book said? Oh yes – something about
them being Greek? Greek? Lily thought wildly – what on Earth is a Greek beast
doing in the Forbidden Forest? Weren’t these supposed to be really dangerous?
Oh yes, she remembered now – only one had ever been slayed in history – one.
“Uh oh.” She whispered to herself. The beast stared at her, it’s eyes rolling
and it’s teeth bared. Time had temporarily stood still. She was alone, in a
dark, scary forest, facing a Chimaera. Of all things, she had to come across
the Chimaera. Typical. So what was she going to do about it? Panic, of
Lily didn’t dare move – she tried to remember what its
weaknesses were. Did the darned beast even have any weaknesses? She couldn’t
remember! She lifted her wand, trying several different charms, all of which
were spectacularly ineffective, unless you counted the fact that they enraged
the beast even more so.
Lily was past panicking. She was at the stage of
emotional breakdown, and though she wasn’t a religious person, she quickly said
several prayers. Her eyes quickly took in the situation for the hundredth time
– she could run, but any Chimaera would outrun her in a flash. She could stay
still, hope that it would too and that someone would come and help, or she could
try and fight it. None of the options seemed particularly attractive.
It did seem cruelly ironic that her arm chose that
particular moment to itch like crazy. Maybe it was the nerves. Whatever it
was, it wasn’t helping make up her mind. She turned her head ever so slightly
as she saw more movement – something large and fawn-coloured was in the bushes
beside her – what was it?
Was it going to help her? Or did it too want to eat
her? Her hysterical mind wasn’t helping her situation, but she couldn’t calm
herself at all. It seemed like an eternity before the Chimaera moved towards
her, and when it did, it seemed to move in slow motion. The animal in the
bushes chose that moment to burst out, and Lily saw that it was a stag. The
huge antlers pushed the Chimaera back for a moment, before stooping to pick
Lily up. Lily scrambled onto the stag’s back, pointing her wand at the
Chimaera. “IMPEDIMENTA!” She
cried, “Come on. Think. IMPEDIMENTA!
STUPEFY! Argh!” She let out a cry of sheer frustration before
hurling every single curse she had ever read about, heard of, and seen someone
use, at the beast that was tailing them. The stream of spells did what the
single ones hadn’t. The Chimaera fell back, looking oddly dazed.
Lily closed her eyes in exhaustion. She was getting
out of this horrid forest and she was never – ever – going to come back in
here. She leaned forward and patted the neck of the stag. “Thanks.” She
murmured, still breathing heavily. She slid from the back of the stag as they
neared the edge of the Forest, and checked her watch. Thirty seconds. She
stood in front of the stag, trying to figure out why it seemed so familiar.
She shrieked and fell backwards as the stag transformed – into none other than
James Potter. “It would have to be you, wouldn’t it?” She said, not even
trying to get up – she lay back on the floor, thinking once more of the cruel
irony of the world. “Are you ok?” James asked seriously.
“I’m…yeah. Thanks for that.” With that, she stood
up, kissed him and ran from the forest, as if the Chimaera was still at her
heels. James tore after her after a moment’s hesitation. Lily had been in the
forest for nine minutes and fifty-six seconds. She would have to forfeit –
oddly enough, kissing James Potter didn’t seem so very horrifying now. She may
have secretly been looking forward to it.