I sighed with frustration as I saw who it was that I’d be spending my Charms lessons with for the rest of the term. It seemed that there was no way I would be able to get away from Damon.
We slid down into the remaining seats, unhelpfully next to each other, and eyed each other before the teacher turned to the entire class and waved his wand at the charts behind him.
During Charms, as our professor went through all the basics of the new year’s work, I drifted into daydream mode and watched the Quidditch tryouts that were soaring past my seat beside the window. First the Gryffindors hovered into play gracefully, most who tried out exhibiting wonderful skills that I could only dream of. Although I was a Ravenclaw, I was a fond supporter of the Gryffindor team; at least, they were the ones better known for fair play than Slytherin were. And there was no fun in Quidditch if someone cheated. It was also known that, although not bad at Quidditch, Ravenclaw’s team were nothing compared to our rivals.
I was still trying to ignore Damon. Ignoring the person you’re sitting next to is harder than it sounds though. Occasionally, our eyes met as we tried to look as though we were following what our teacher was saying, and, at moments like those, we scowled and turned ourselves the opposite way, me back to being involved in the Quidditch.
I noticed Zoe zoom through the sky following two younger Gryffindors who chucked the glowing red Quaffle like coal between them. Though I couldn’t play Quidditch to save my life, I admired the way Zoe flew around the pitch, and the way that she didn’t take it easy on those trying out, as though she knew that her team would have to be made of the best.
The tryouts were over in a flash of red and green, more quickly than usual as the last chasers disappeared in under the large arch of the entrance hall just before my double-lesson came to a close. I spotted the segments of yellow and blue amongst the black as seasoned players and newbies alike wandered onto the pitch. The trials for Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw were just beginning.
I had just stuffed my books into my old satchel when I realised that something wasn’t right. It wasn’t that there was an eerie feel to the air, or something, but, as the rest of my class traipsed out, something about the corridors beyond made my heart beat quicker.
A scream and the sounds of rushing footsteps trickled like water through the doorway. It would be the change-over of lessons now for anybody who had any late lessons like Astronomy, otherwise the rest of us would make our way to dinner. But these footsteps were different, as though people were running, frightened, from something- and that something was only a corridor away from this classroom.
“Hey, you’re in the way-” Damon said, as it was true that I had stopped dead still just before the doorway of the room.
“Shut up!” I replied, and broke into a run in the direction of the noises.
Suddenly, I stopped, frozen almost literally by the cold feeling that sunk its way into my heart. I wanted to cry, even though I had no idea why. Then I saw the white mist floating about my feet, and a body lying a metre or two away. This was the corridor that the scream had resonated from. A witch and a wizard were crouched beside the body. It took me a minute to realise that they were Zoe and Aubrey.
“Zoe!” I cried, lunging towards her despite the fact I just wanted to curl up. I tried to lift her to her feet, but we were all so tired, full of dread from the arrival of more dementors.
Well, even if I had been paying attention in my lesson, this gaze at death would have made me forget it all anyway.