I don’t remember much about what happened after I’d collapsed beside Zoe in a corridor flooded with dementors. I’d woken up, presumably the morning after, in the subtle light that was seeping through the Hospital Wing blinds. Madame Pomfrey had quickly rushed to my side, examined me, and then declared me safe and steady to go back to my work. I had protested, but, as usual, she had ushered me to the door, trying not to wake the other patients (two of which I noticed were Kaitlynn and Zoe), and I was left with nothing else to do but to hurry back in the early hours of the morning to Ravenclaw’s common room, and fetch my books for the lessons today, still deeply wondering about yesterday’s events.
After breakfast, I was heading to Charms, wondering how I could avoid Damon Dragomin, when Tom Riddle swept from the Hospital Wing and rammed into me, as though I was not there at all. He did seem away in his mind, and I would have forgiven him if his barging past had not caught the edge of my bag and sent my books flying to the ground. I knew Tom was a friend of Kaitlynn’s, but I still didn’t think it appropriate for him to knock everything out my arms and just walk on without handing over an apology.
“Hey,” I yelled at his retreating back.
Tom turned a little, and eyed my pool of literature, unconcerned.
"Oh, sorry Melissa, but I have to go and do something," he replied hastily.
Sure, leave me left to pick up the mess that you made. Nice, thanks," I snapped sarcastically, but he was already gone off in the distance.
“Why does everything bad happen to me?” I cried, flumping down onto a step of the main staircase, and stuffing the textbooks back into my denim bag.
It was then that I realised in which direction Tom had headed. He had been heading down the route towards the Ravenclaw’s common room, somewhere where nobody but Ravenclaws headed, as there were no classrooms that way, and only a couple of public bathrooms.
In fact, I said to myself as I grabbed my stuff and headed after the boy, last night, the water had been spread across one of the corridors nearby there.
As it was lessons, the surge of the groups I met were in the opposite direction; the more I headed, following Tom at a distance, the less people I passed along the way. When he stopped, to my surprise, in one of the girls’ bathrooms, I had not passed another soul for at least a minute.
As I looked in, I saw that the whole room was deserted, although the last of the cubicles might have been occupied, but it was difficult to see whether the door was really closed from my position. So, Tom had not come to the middle of nowhere to meet with someone. So what was he doing?
Tom seemed to furtively look around, as though he had something more to hide than being in a girls’ bathroom, and, not seeing me behind the door, he began to busy himself over one of the sinks.
There was an echoing click, and the sinks seemed to jolt. Something more was needed, though. And then Tom began speaking. The only reason I knew it was him was because I could see the corner of his mouth moving in rhythmical patterns; the voice was so unlike any voice I had heard before, high-pitched and full of sibilance, it left more of a hissing noise in the air than it did actual words.
I had heard of people like that, but I had never realised that they actually existed. I didn’t know Tom anyway, but I had no idea that he was a Parceltongue. They were so rare. I boggled, watching the scene that unfolded once Tom had finished his string of gibberish.
I was unable to stop myself gasping. There, in the middle of the set of about eight porcelain sinks, was a giant hole, deep and dark, like a menacing slide. Tom stood back, and for a second, I thought he was going to turn and find me petrified, gazing at what he had done, but then, he swiftly jumped down into the mouth.
My own mouth was drawn open. There was a huge gap in the floor and there was nothing I could do about it. The sensible thought of running and fetching a teacher or one of the prefects crossed my mind, but curiosity held me back.
What if I come back and there’s no secret chamber? What if they don’t believe me?
I would have hated to be patronized any further. Besides, there was something drawing me towards the tunnel. In the end, there was going to be no other option for what I should do in the situation.
With a running jump, I plunged into the pool of blackness.