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Grace & Leo
Sun Aug 9, 2015 02:16

It was pitch black in the corridors, except for the dim bubble of light that emitted from the tip of her wand. Strange noises rustled in the corridor and the wind battered trees against the windows, making eerie shadows on the wall. Grace told herself the voices on the wind were imaginary and each time she did they seemed more real. Suddenly there was a large crack and she stopped, spinning round. With hardly a second thought, she kicked the figure that stood there squarely in the shin. The figure dropped his brand new wand, extinguishing its light in a flash.

“Ow!” Leo whispered angrily, rubbing the sore patch on his leg.

“You trying to get yourself caught, Smarty?”

“I wasn’t! You…” There was the noise again and they were both quiet until it had gone.

“You didn’t have to come,” he continued, picking up his wand and relighting it. “This would have been easier on my own.” She wrinkled her nose at him.

“Yeah sure, like you wouldn’t run and tell Shoney and Blackwell first thing. I’m here to make sure you don’t screw up!”

“Whatever,” he muttered.

“Yeah right, whatever,” she answered. “You’re lucky to have me. No one else woulda put up with your sister this long. I’m taking on her detentions you know? I coulda ratted her out but no, I promised you I’d keep her outta trouble and I have.”

They continued along the classroom corridor, a whole floor below their rooms and a definite detention if they got caught. A small alcove sat oddly in the middle of the corridor; here they took a left, guiding their footsteps to the potions cupboard. It was barely locked and a quick charm did the job silently. Grace eased the door open with her foot and nodded to the interior.

Leo took a deep gulp, closed his eyes and took one step into the small cupboard. The walls closed around him instantly and he felt his chest tighten and his breath quicken as he climbed the ladder shakily to the top shelf. He didn’t dare look behind him to see if she was still there. He didn’t hear the noise occur again, or see her shift to look down the corridor, her foot losing its place.

“Diricrawl gland…that’s all I’m here for nothing…Ah!” His hand touched something slimy and he reeled back. Darkness began to overwhelm the cupboard. He clutched tightly to the ladder and squeezed his eyes shut, barely hearing a whispered “Hey!” before the light from the corridor returned.

“What’re you doing?” she asked. “Quit playing around, let’s go.”

He looked back at the shelf and climbed the ladder two more rungs up, anger temporarily overriding his fear. On the shelf before him was a most ordinary looking jar with red handles on either side and a tight lid with a label. Toxic – Diricrawl Gland Secretion.

“Yuck,” he complained but clutched the jar to his chest as he climbed back down the ladder and ran out – like Grace was going to lock him in. “There,” he said, shoving it into her hands. “Forfeit over.”

She took the jar and held it up to what little light their wands provided, studying it carefully. Finally she looked at him with his pale face and red ears, and shrugged. “Yeah, it’ll do.” He seemed to be waiting for something more, so she added. “What a brave little lion you are” and reached out to ruffle his hair.

Leo stepped back before she could touch him. “Fine,” he spat. “Good night.” He stomped off back towards the student rooms, the darkness enveloping him as he went. She followed, clutching the jar as a talisman against the voices on the wind. As they passed a window, over looking the lake, a glint of colour caught her eye and she looked out.

The night was cold enough to give the lake a hauntingly beautiful look, though few would have appreciated it. Small ripples appeared on its surface, indicating the beginning drops of another rainfall. Only there was no rain. And the drop-ripples never became more numerous. There were two, maybe three. And they moved in a game of tag. Occasionally, one touched the light fixtures, and a spark would illuminate the air between the fixture and the bridge. Once, assisted by that bit of wind that like to hover around water, a ripple wandered onto the bridge and the red line flashed. The ripple vanished with a giggle like the tinkling of crystals. It’s friends continued to tag the “Home Base” of the lights.

One spark. Then another. Another.Until finally one of the lights grew tired of it and went out. A few of its neighbours shortly followed.

The ensuing concentration of darkness took on the other side. A ripple appeared alongside a small fleet of boats, chasing after them in dolphin fashion. The figures on the boats didn’t notice, but continued on their way to the school. The boats moved along, leaving the ripples behind, finally disappearing into the hills.

The ripples left soon after, leaving the remaining lake lights dimmer than when they’d found it.

There was nothing inherently bad in that scene, Grace knew. It was one of the few happy memories the whole area had. Yet she felt tightness in her chest and an inescapable terror. She wrenched her gaze away to find that Leo was already several lengths away down a corridor that was far longer than it had any right to be. She scurried to catch up with him and rushed back to the safety of Reym, of the dorm, of her bed.

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