was eating lunch when it happened. I saw the wettest girl
at our school, Myrtle Veerden, coming towards us.
I was already mad at her for showing me up in Potions the day before. How dare
she – stupid Myrtle, who hardly ever got anything right, despite being in
Ravenclaw– know an answer to something I didn’t? If only I’d been in Slytherin;
it had been my second choice, but now, it was my first. They don’t have stupid Muggles making the pureblood witches and wizards look like
that I had a problem with Muggles or Muggleborns, at least not the way
many people did. I just felt – and still feel – that Muggleborns
don’t have as much place in the wizarding world.
I decided I was not going to let people think Myrtle was smarter. I stuck my
foot out, and giggled as Myrtle fell.
else would’ve glared at me, and been humiliated for about two seconds, and
blushed a bit at the laughter, which would stop after a moment. Five minutes
later, nobody would even remember it had happened.
Myrtle was never like anyone else; she looked at me, and shouted, “OLIVE
HORNBY, you – you rotten person!”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I
didn’t see you!” I said innocently.
Myrtle’s eyes filled
with tears, but amazingly enough, kept standing. “I won’t let you do this to me anymore! I am a
person with feelings!”
gasped mockingly. “Really? I figured you were actually
a weeping willow tree that took on human traits and wore goggles – I mean, glasses!”
Thelma Corner whispered warningly. She had always been a softy. “Don’t.”
was taking several deep breaths. “Leave me alone.”
shrugged. “I don’t think I will, it’s too much fun
waiting until you start crying really hard. Your glasses look even funnier when
they are foggy from the tears.”
stamped her foot, opened her mouth – and then let out a sob.
Higglewit and I started laughing, joined in by some
others. Thelma gave me a hard nudge, but it just made me laugh louder.
started wailing, and ran off.
that was good,” Virginia said
through spasms of laughter. “Really good.”
shouldn’t have said that,” Thelma chastised. “You know she gets upset easily.”
worry way too much,” I said casually, brushing back my long brown hair. “She’s
probably going to forget about it and cry over something else.”
know, she can be a nice person,” Thelma continued.
let’s just finish lunch and go outside, I want to try and spot the giant
squid,” Virginia interrupted.
idea,” I said.
bit her lip, and then, with a sigh, finished her pumpkin juice and followed us
towards the lake.
rest of the day was fairly normal. We had our feet in the lake until
dinnertime, when we went back into the Great Hall. Everything was normal until
just after I finished dinner.
have you seen Myrtle?” fifth year David Collins asked me, coming over.
don’t think I have,” I replied. “Why?”
was going to help her with her Herbology, but she
never showed up, and I haven’t seen her anywhere,” he said. “Sherrie Diggle said she’d been in her dormitory most of the day, sick with a cold, and
that Myrtle hadn’t been there since this morning.”
probably upset,” I said sadly.
frowned. “Were you picking on her again?”
“No, we just had a
slight disagreement,” I answered sweetly. “She took what I was saying wrong.”
never done anything to you, though,” David said. “It really hurts her that you
treat her like scum.”
she feels like I insult her, she only needs to stand up for herself,” I
Why did people seem keen to defend Myrtle?
What about me? She’d made me look stupid in front of everyone, raising her hand
as soon as I got the answer wrong, and looking smug about it. But no, she gets
away with it because she’s poor little Myrtle, who is also possibly in danger
because of that supposed monster, who hates Muggleborns,
and I was sure it didn’t even really exist. Nathaniel Edwards had even
acknowledged that the reason he was “Petrified” was actually due to a spell gone
hope she’s all right…” Thelma said slowly, picking at her dinner.
goodness’ sakes, Thelma, shut your trap about Myrtle’s supposed disappearance!”
found myself thinking yet again that it was a shame I hadn’t been a Slytherin.
The fact that I come from a noble family, and she doesn’t, would have been
enough. That, and Slytherins are so easy to manipulate, once you’ve got enough
influence, and I know I would’ve gotten enough.
“Everything all right?” Professor Dippet
asked, passing and raising his eyebrows.
we are just worried because Myrtle Veerden hasn’t
been seen for a few hours,” I replied.
some strange reason, Dippet’s brow furrowed. “Is that
so? Perhaps one of you should look for her.”
put my knife down. “Okay, I’ll look, even though I am certain there is no need
ran out of the Great Hall, and made my way towards the nearest girls’ room She’s probably in one of the toilet stalls,
sobbing, I thought to myself.
opened the door, and sure enough, saw legs on the floor; it seemed she was not
only in the stall, she was curled up against it,
“Is that you, Myrtle?” I called scathingly.
“Still crying? Professor Dippet’s sent me to look for
you.” She didn’t need to know I’d volunteered to look, even if it wasn’t
because I was concerned.
was no answer; I sighed, looked at the ceiling…
ghost was staring down at me, glaring. “Found me, Olive?”
opened the door (which was unlocked), hoping this was some sort of joke. But it
body was on the floor, her eyes wide with horror.
wondered when you’d notice I’d died,” Myrtle continued.
started screaming, drowning out her words. Next thing I knew, Madam Hooch was
taking me out of the room, telling me, “Shh, it’s
okay… it’s okay…”
kept on screaming, unable to stop. She was dead.
it was all my fault.
were students coming towards us, some already in the girls’ room; I could hear
Thelma and Virginia calling my name, but their voices were nothing except gusts
of wind to me.
last thing I saw before blacking out was a Slytherin boy – he looked familiar,
but he was at the other end of the hallway – watching us intently.
changed after that day. I was no longer respected by as many of my classmates –
some people speculated that I’d killed Myrtle, of all people. The only
ones who stood by me were my brother, Vincent, and Thelma.
continued to taunt me; she made my life miserable. She would show up in
classes, telling everyone how I’d murdered her – not physically, but
unintentionally, and that I’d ruined her life, and was ruining her death by
just gawking at her. I would be eating lunch, and suddenly, she’d be screeching
I left Hogwarts, I hoped it would be over. But it wasn’t; during my first job
interview, for a position at the Beast Division, she showed up cackling that
I’d forgotten to include “bully and murder accomplice” on my resume. (I’ll
never know exactly how she found out I was even at an interview).
years after I’d left Hogwarts, at my brother’s wedding, she started singing “here
comes the bride” to the tune of a death march, and interrogated his fiancé,
asking if she realized what she was getting herself into, marrying the brother
of a girl like me. She then asked me how I could stand there happily, knowing
I’d caused her to run into that stall, only to never leave, and how even my
beautiful robes were rebelling, though maybe it was because I was getting fat
had enough, I rushed out. Myrtle followed, yelling, “Now
you know how it feels, don’t you? YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS!”
away,” I protested, turning to face her angrily. “Go away!”
never did,” Myrtle laughed. “You never went away, never left me alone. Why
should I leave you alone? You made my life hell - now it’s time for tables to
was twelve,” I spat. “Twelve!”
was I,” Myrtle replied coldly. “I died because of you!”
glared at her. “You died because you let everyone get to you, and ran into a
bathroom stall! I’m sorry you died, but it wasn’t my fault!”
glowered. “Try telling that to yourself.”
off,” Vincent said, coming over, still in his wedding robes. “Leave my sister
alone, it was ten years ago!”
no difference to me,” Myrtle snapped. “But you’ve forgotten I’d died, haven’t
you? You didn’t even ever notice when I was living!”
burst into tears, as usual, and left.
that, I complained at the Ministry of Magic, and she was forced to stay at
Hogwarts. But it was too late; I was through.
moved to France
a month later, hiding from the world. I couldn’t go back – not until enough
time would pass that they’d have no idea who I was.
didn’t return for another twenty years, until my brother was killed by
You-Know-Who. By then, I was no longer Olive Hornby.
I had cut my once long, wavy brown hair short, and I was no longer as slender
as I used to be, though that had started happening far earlier. And I changed
my name, so only a few people would know who I really was. To all others, I was
nothing but an old name in a worn out address book in someone’s storage room.
my second day back home, I entered the building I had not set foot in for
years. I was ushered to an office, and awaited the interview.
Bartemus Crouch sat in front of me. “So, you desire a job
with the Magical Law Enforcement?”
nodded eagerly. And perhaps a bit more, later.
Power still intrigued me, especially now. I needed control.
what is your name?”
smiled. “Dolores Umbridge.”
was going to start a new life – and make sure in this one, everyone would like
me. Fear me, yes, but respect me all the same.
that I would not be remembered for the death of a classmate, because whether I
liked it or not, I still remembered full well.
only way to not think about my part in a murder was to make sure nobody else