The Sugar Quill
Author: Miss Pince  Story: Out of the Chamber  Chapter: Default
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          I watch the golden trio march past the entrance to the Great Hall. Harry throws a longing glance in my direction. Too late I realise that his look isn’t meant for me, and I can’t stop the flutter in my stomach. I’m pathetic.

          The conversation around me fades to a buzz in my ears. I stare at the entrance. Aren’t they coming? Are they not coming to the Halloween feast?

          Then I remember that they were talking about a party. Surely they didn’t mean tonight? Ten minutes later I have to admit to myself that they did. They’ve gone to a Halloween party somewhere. Without me. There won’t even be anyone pretending to be interested in talking to me tonight. Looking down the table I see no friendly faces, even my brothers are engaged in conversation with someone else. Percy is talking to a pretty girl with curls I haven’t seen before. His prefect badge is glinting on his chest. Fred and George are in animated conversation with Lee Jordan and Angelina Johnson, about Quidditch, I’ll wager.

          They’ve all got hobbies, they’ve all got friends. Except me. I’ve got nothing and no one. No one real at least.

          “Tom, oh Tom, why did I leave you all the way upstairs in Gryffindor Tower?” I sigh, looking up at the dark starry ceiling.

          “I don’t know” says a low voice, definitely male, beside me. I jump.

          “What... who’s there?” I mutter under my breath hoping that no one will catch me talking - apparently -  to myself.

          “It’s Tom. Who else would be talking to you?”

          I stand up abruptly, sending a fork flying across the table and drawing quite a bit of attention to myself.

          “Uh... um... toilet” I stutter incoherently, at the surprised faces that turn towards me. Then I turn on my heel and flee the hall.

          My flight ends a few moments later, indeed in a toilet. Too late I realise that it’s Moaning Myrtle’s, but on closer inspection she turns out not to be here. Maybe there’s a Halloween feast for ghosts somewhere?

          I sink down to the floor and bury my face in my hands.  Why didn’t I just stay in bed tonight? When I was little I dreamed about coming to Hogwarts and those dreams were wonderful... I’d get loads of friends, and play Quidditch and maybe even pull off a few pranks with Fred and George...

          “... but I’m sitting here all alone and crying on the floor of some godforsaken TOILET!!!!” I couldn’t help screaming out the last few words...

          “And to top it all off I’ve started hearing VOICES!!!! Am I pathetic or what?”

          The gentle touch on my shoulder makes me whirl around in surprise and fright. There’s a boy standing next to me, semi-transparent like a ghost, except he’s not like a ghost because ghosts aren’t in colour...

          “Don’t be so hard on yourself” he says, his voice hollow “at least the voices have a perfectly reasonable explanation.”

          “Tom?” I whisper in awe. He’s so handsome... “Is that you?”

          “Of course it’s me.”

          “But... how come... I’ve never been able to see you before?”

          “I know... I suppose you’ve loved me so much, as your diary that your love has allowed me to leave the pages and be visible to you...” He smiles, and something about his smile makes me vaguely uneasy but I get no time to contemplate on why because suddenly there’s a loud wail and the unmistakable form of Moaning Myrtle zooms past me and with a ‘splash’ disappears into the S bend of one of the toilets.

          “Spotty!!! They call me spotty!!!” I bend over the toilet, trying to see...

          “Uh, Myrtle... are you all right?”

          “Spotty!!!” is the last thing I hear. Then I feel a sudden touch on my temple, and everything fades to black.

 

****

She swallowed it whole. I can’t help but laugh at her stupidity and her naivety. “...your love has allowed me to leave the pages...” What rubbish. I look into the mirror and see her face stare back at me. Only the eyes are mine. That stupid Myrtle is still sobbing in the toilet behind me. I snicker at the thought that it was partially my doing that gave her eternal life as a ghost. The copper tap doesn’t look like it’s moved since fifty years ago. The flickering light makes it easier to pretend that the snake is alive, and the language that’s been unused for so long comes easily back to me...

          “Open.”

My voice is steady, but hissing. The sinks start moving until I’m looking into the gaping hole.

          “Come. Come to your master.”

I turn away as I know the beast is awake, I have summoned it, and yet if I face it, I shall die. I imagine that I can hear it slithering around down there, but there pass several minutes before I actually hear its voice, begging me to let it hunt on its designated pray.

          “Time to kill... I smell blood... I  SMELL BLOOD!  Master! Let me kill.”

I hear her coming up behind me and I answer her without looking around.

          “My pleasure.”

The hallway is deserted when I look into it. As she... Ginny, didn’t know where Potter went, I don’t know. But I can try looking for him.

          “Follow” I say to the beast behind me and I hear her obey. Yet, as I step into the hall it becomes evident that I’m too anxious for my revenge - I did not check the hallway well enough. The cat sniffing around the puddle of water on the floor around the door seems to turn into stone before my very eyes, her eyes wide open and staring in shock. ‘The reflection’... runs through my head, and I shut my eyes. I don’t want to be petrified now.

          “Go back”

          “But Master, I want to...”

          “It does not matter now what you want to do. I’ve heard that the cat is a part kneazle. Its owner will be looking for it soon.”

I do not stay to see whether the beast follows my orders. I run into the hall, my mistake must be amended. I run around the corner, finding that the second door on the left is still a broom closet. There’s no paint in there. I take a bucket of soap and transfigure it. In great haste I run back to the corridor, take the cat off the floor and hang her from the torch bracket and paint underneath the sentences I had decided to announce my revival a long time ago. After all I had had more than fifty years to contemplate on them.

          “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the Heir, beware!”

I take a moment to admire my handiwork. Then I turn the body I’d loaned and walk it up the steps to Gryffindor Tower and to her bed.

 

***

 

Tom?

Tom are you there?

Tom, you’ve got to help me.

 

What’s happened Ginny?

 

Tom, it’s so awful! Yesterday Mrs. Norris, the caretaker’s cat was attacked! She’s petrified!

 

Oh, no. That’s not good.

 

The worst of it all is that underneath her - she was hanging on the wall, somebody had written in silver paint that the Chamber of Secrets had been opened and that enemies of the heir should beware.

 

Why is that worst of all?

 

Because I have can’t remember what I did yesterday and I’ve got paint all dribbled down the front of the robes I was wearing! Where was I? Tom, did I talk to you at all last night?

 

Yes, you did, you were very agitated because Potter didn’t come to the feast.

 

I was? I can’t remember. Tom, do you think I did this?

 

You couldn’t have done it. Petrifying someone is a very powerful magic, and you’re not nearly powerful enough. I wonder if you ever will be.

 

But, I mean, I... Tom I think I did something bad last night.

 

Don’t you remember? Don’t you think you just fell asleep?

 

No, I don’t think so. Maybe I should talk about this with Harry.

 

Harry has never listened to you, Ginny. What makes you think he’ll start now? He probably won’t even believe you.

 

But... but I’ve got the robes to show him.

 

Are you sure that’s a good idea, Ginny? Don’t you think that if you show him robes with silver paint on he’ll be tempted to believe you did it? He’ll tell on you and you’ll be sent straight to Azkaban.

 

But... do you think he would do that to me?

 

If he saw the robes, yes. People always want to believe the worst about other people.

 

Oh. Do you think Harry is like that? Well then I can’t... I’ll have to hide them away somewhere...

 

I suggest you burn them. And yes, Harry is just like other people.

 

No he isn’t. He’s special. He’s got those green eyes... and that smile... and he defeated the Dark Lord.

 

Whatever you say. I don’t know him.

 

****

Tom?

 

Yes?

 

Do you know anything about the Chamber of Secrets?

 

Me? No. Why would I?

 

Oh. Well I just thought you might.

 

No I don’t.

 

Oh well. Good night.

 

 

//
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