Halloween At Hogwarts!!
With it being the first of October, the weather was changing, and autumn was now in full bloom. The air was becoming chilly, and leaves could be seen on the cold, hard grounds. Naturally with it being October, that could only mean one thing. Halloween was on its way, and it was not long till the day of the Halloween feast, which was enjoyed by all at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. There was much hustle and bustle that day at Hogwarts. Hagrid, the grounds keeper of the school, could be seen growing a whole patch of pumpkins in his garden, by the Quiditch teams practicing during the early hours of the morning, before breakfast that day. While spiders had been enlarged and enchanted to make huge webs around the school, and could be seen scurrying around and dangling from the ceilings. Ron would squeal every time he'd see one scurrying by, or cross his path. Sometimes they wouldn't even have to be near him, he'd see one and make funny mewling sounds and run in the opposite directions. It was still early morning and the students were sat eating breakfast, as they watched the start of the decorating being done. While Ron moaned about the spiders ruining Halloween, Hermione reminisced the days of trick or treating with the other muggle born students. Harry hadn't been paying attention to the chatter around him; his mind had been elsewhere.
He was wondering about the new girl Saba, she hadn't been seen in the common room last night, and Hermione had mentioned that she hadn't come into the dorms, and her bed had not been slept in. There was talk of her escaping the school. Harry wouldn't have been surprised if Saba had somehow escaped from the school, it was the kind of stunt she would pull, if the rumours were true. She had never been happy to be here, and she'd seemed angry and miserable from the moment she'd been taken from her home. But the teachers hadn't seemed concerned by her disappearance, which made the whole thing quite bizarre. Perhaps the rumours were untrue; maybe she hadn't left the building at all. 'But then where was she?' Harry was confused. But what surprised and confused Harry all the more was Hagrid's return.
They hadn't expected him to return, it had all been so sudden. He had been away all summer on a secret mission for the Order. Harry had the feeling his return was only temporary and he would be leaving again shortly. 'But what has he been doing? And why has he come back, only to leave in a few weeks time?' Harry made a mental note to go see Hagrid at some point and maybe ask him personally. Harry wondered if Dumbledore had only bought him back to help with the Halloween decorations. Which to Harry seemed unfair, although it seemed unfair to send him away in the first place. But then Harry didn't know what Hagrid had wanted, so who was he to question the fairness of anything?
"Are you okay Harry? You seem a bit quiet this morning." Hermione's voice interrupted his thoughts, bringing him out of his reverie.
"What's Hagrid doing back at school?" He blurted without thinking.
"That's obvious, he's been asked to help grow the Halloween pumpkin ain't he?" Ron stated, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. Harry leaned closer to his friends, so no one could hear his next words and began to whisper.
"Yeah but, he wasn't supposed to be back was he though? He was doing something really important. Do you really think Dumbledore would pull him out of his task to come back and grow pumpkins? Maybe he's finished his job, but that doesn't make any sense. We were told we'd have Grubby-Plank till Christmas remember." The three students turned their gaze to the staff table where Hagrid sat chatting to Professor Flitwick a tiny wizard of a man, as he ate his big breakfast. "You don't suppose he's finished his mission earlier than planned do you?" Harry mused.
"No somehow I don't think so, I have the feeling that Hagrid's mission isn't an easy one. I think Ron could be right. Dumbledore is going to want to make the school as normal, and secure as he can, to reassure the students and parents that everyone at the school is safe. Especially now that You-Know-Who is back. He doesn't want anyone to be frightened I think." Hermione replied eyeing Hagrid with concern.
"I wonder what his mission was though? Maybe we should go see him later or something. Say we've come to welcome him back. Then we can ask him what's going on." Harry said, in the hopes that they would perhaps learn what the Order were up to, and what Hagrid's purpose in the plans had been. If anything his task had seemed a curious one, and it was the one that had an affect on the three, since Hagrid was their teacher. It was strange not seeing Hagrid, and only made things more mysterious. The three agreed to meet later at some point and go see him.
"Do any of you think it's weird how Hagrid has come back and Saba has gone missing?" Harry asked after a short while, "Maybe Saba's disappearance and Hagrid's return are interlinked. Maybe she's taking over his job, while he's at the school helping with the Halloween stuff." Harry tried to make sense of his earlier thoughts; it was frustrating him that although they'd met Saba during the summer holidays, and had her living with them at Headquarters, she still remained a mystery to him. Her disappearance made things all the more frustrating, and mysterious.
"I don't think so Harry, I don't think Saba could do whatever Hagrid was sent to do. I think he had a special job, one that was especially designed for him." Hermione replied.
"So why's she gone then?" Harry countered.
"I don't know, there could be thousands of reasons, but Hagrid's business isn't one of them. I really don't know." Hermione reasoned.
"What's Saba got to do with anything? She probably ran away or something. Besides she hates Halloween, probably doesn't even want to be here for the feast." Ron moaned.
"She doesn't believe in Halloween or celebrate it Ron, there's a big difference to hating it and not celebrating it. I think she mentioned that she didn't want anything to do with Halloween; she said it was all rather silly, especially for the wizarding world. She could understand why the muggles are all interested in it, but for wizards and witches, it was Halloween every day as far as she was concerned. So she didn't see the point in it." Hermione argued back.
"She doesn't see the point in Halloween? What? Is she crazy? How can she think that the night of Halloween isn't important to witches and wizards? It's one of the most important night of history, since the year of nineteen eighty-one. Muggles don't know the half of it. We don't celebrate it the same as muggles since that date do we though? I mean for us now it's all about the night you know who was destroyed. She ought to be grateful to Harry like the rest of us are. It's the night we all celebrate Harry's success. So much happened that night." Ron was now babbling, saying anything to get them to see that Saba was insignificant, and an arrogant looser. He hadn't liked the girl, and he wasn't going to sit there and defend her, and pretend her disappearance was supposed to be something it wasn't. As far as Ron was concerned, she was a selfish brat who'd run away, and wasn't worth thinking about. He also wanted them to see how important the night of Halloween was to the wizarding world. "I mean it's one of the best things that has ever happened for us wizards, and muggles alike. It's a really big thing here in the wizarding world. That girl doesn't have a clue how big it is for us. She hasn't a clue. Halloween was the night we all got our freedom. And our freedom is all thanks to Harry. I mean how many people can sit there and say You-know-who came to their house and tried to kill them and got his own medicine? You were darn lucky that night Harry." Ron finished. Harry had balled his hands into fists as Ron's spoke his last words.
"Yeah, of course, I was darn lucky I survived, and my parents got killed while I survived. Some luck that was to loose everything in one night." Harry remarked gritting his teeth, trying to hold back on a nasty retort. He didn't want to start an argument, they'd been arguing far too much lately. But if Ron asked for it, he was prepared to argue for the sake of his sanity. It wasn't that Harry didn't enjoy, or like Halloween, it was just like any other holiday to Harry. But there was a rather sad sentiment to that particular date. He'd never thought of it much, before he'd come to Hogwarts and learned of being a wizard. And even then he hardly ever thought about it much, but now that Ron had mentioned it, Halloween had felt like a day of mourning for him, instead of a holiday at that very moment as he thought about it. It was on Halloween when Harry was only one year old that he'd lost his parents to Voldemort's evil killing spree. Voldemort had wanted to get rid of Harry. But had killed his parents instead, while he, Harry had come away with a little, thunder bolt, lightening, shaped scar on his forehead. Not to mention, Sirius ending up in Azgaban, and Harry at the Dursley's. Sometimes Harry wondered what it would've been like if his parents had survived, and what Halloween would have been like for him then. But they hadn't survived, and Harry was left to wonder, and try to have fun on a date that was of great loss to him.
"Sorry Harry, I didn't mean it like that." Ron said sheepishly.
"Then what did you mean?" Harry asked. "I'm beginning to think Saba is right. Halloween is stupid, and I'm beginning to not like it myself."
"I just meant that Saba was wrong to think Halloween is stupid, especially in the wizarding world. We've got a reason to celebrate as much as the muggles. Their reasons are dumb, it's just a stupid reason to go out dressed like us isn't it?" Ron said defensively.
"Oh yes of course. The wizarding world has so much to celebrate, all thanks to me, how silly of me. I didn't realize I had to enjoy and celebrate the day Voldemort was beaten by a baby, after he killed my parents!" Harry hissed, as he seethed with rage.
"What?" Ron asked with surprise at Harry's outburst. He couldn't understand why Harry was so upset, "You never seemed bothered by Halloween before." Ron said causing the few Gryffindor students nearby, who happened to hear parts of the conversation to pay complete attention now. Everyone who'd been listening waited with bated breath for Harry's reaction, they knew it wouldn't be good, but it was what made the whole thing worth listening to.
"Shut up Ron!" Hermione growled, and then to Harry she said, "Ignore Ron Harry, he's an idiot. He doesn't understand when it comes to people loosing family members, his are all still alive." She glared at Ron daring him to say more. There was an awkward silence, as Harry and Hermione stared with hostility at Ron. Harry broke his angry stare and looked away. Hermione took the moment and began uttering, "You dim wit, He lost his parents that night, do you really think he wants to remember Halloween like that? She whispered harshly to Ron, hoping Harry wouldn't hear, but she hadn't been quiet enough for his ears, and he had heard. From the corner of his eyes, Harry could see Ron was beginning to realize what he'd said and looked sorry for it.
"I'm sorry mate, I just didn't think." Ron apologized. Harry knew he meant it. But it was too late for Ron to take back his words, they'd stung Harry and no matter how much he wanted to forget the whole thing, the words had stung and Harry was finding it hard to forgive Ron properly. But instead of causing another fight, he decided to at least try and let it go. He would eventually forgive him, but right now, Harry was feeling too hurt and betrayed by his best friend.
"It's ok." Harry replied half-heartedly. Not really meaning his own words. Because he had expected Ron to at least try and understand where he was coming from. Without saying anything more, at the first sign of the teachers leaving the hall to signal the end of breakfast, Harry too stood up; grabbing his bag Harry made his way to his first lesson without Ron and Hermione.
The rest of the day hadn't gone any better. The trio hardly spoke during the day, and Harry seemed rather distracted and dejected throughout every lesson. He hardly paid attention to what had been said, and had gotten into trouble in two of their lessons, causing the teachers to look at him with concern. Lunch had been a silent affair, and Harry hardly spoke to anyone. Hermione had tried to start a conversation with him, and tried to cheer him up. But had failed miserably. In the end everyone felt it was just best to leave him alone, which he was grateful for. By the time the lessons had all finished, Harry had forgotten about seeing Hagrid and spent most of the evening brooding over the fact that everyone enjoyed a day that held so much bad fortune in his life.
The majority of the students had gone down to the Great Hall to decorate before dinner. Hermione tried one last time to get Harry in a better mood and to make him forget their argument, he seemed so miserable and she hated seeing him that way. She'd asked him to join them with the decorating, but Harry had rejected her invitation and efforts to include him. Harry wasn't in the mood to take part in the preparations of Halloween; Ron's words had taken all the excitement and fun out of Halloween for him. And so realizing nothing would get Harry to change his mind, she decided to let him be.
That evening Harry didn't feel like eating dinner in the great hall with the rest of the school. He wanted to be alone. He didn't feel he was good company at the moment, and his mood had turned sour. He wasn't even sure why he was so miserable today of all days, it wasn't as if Halloween was today. There was still at least four weeks till the day itself. But Harry had felt it had already arrived with a vengeance, reminding him he was alone. Perhaps it was seeing the staff and students getting ready for Halloween that had set him off. It was as though no one really cared about him, and how he was feeling. It was a double celebration for the wizarding world. It was the day Voldemort had been sent packing, the day the wizarding world, and the rest at large, had been given a temporary freedom, and all thanks to Harry, the boy who lived. So Harry had eaten alone in the common room. That night Harry hopped into bed early, and tried to fall asleep.
As soon as he'd fallen asleep, he began to dream of the long, dark corridor. Searching, and groping in the dark. Rushing past door, after door. Harry realized he was back there again, back at the ministry of magic. Looking for something, but what? What was he looking for? It was urgent he find it, that was for sure. But how was he to find what he didn't know existed? Harry's dreams were troubled and dark. when suddenly he was woken by a loud thudding from somewhere in the room. Harry woke with a start.
"What's going on?" He asked groggily, and squinted into the darkness. But nobody seemed to hear him. Grabbing his glasses and putting them on, Harry realized the noise hadn't been in the room. His room mates were all still fast asleep. Had he imagined the sound? It was quite possible, since he'd heard it in his sleep, but Harry didn't think so. Getting out of bed, Harry tiptoed out of the door and made his way to the common room. But it had been empty. So what had he heard? Harry was confused, had it been Peeves? Harry was about to leave the common room and head back up to the dorm, when something caught his eye, stopping him in his tracks.
Hesitantly he walked towards the now, empty fireplace. Where usually a warm, glowing fire would be slowly burning, with flames dancing to an invisible tune that only they could hear. Lying on top of the cold, burnt coal was a stark white envelope, that seemed to standout against the black of the coal. Harry gingerly picked up the envelope, turning it in his hand, examining the mysterious object. As though doing so would reveal it's secrets all in one go. But to no avail, Harry could not seem to gleam much from the envelope itself, except for the dark, curly script which spelt out his name in large bold letters. He could just make out the shape of the letters in the dark. 'So someone has been here.' Thought Harry, and taking his eyes away from the envelope, he carefully looked around the room, squinting into the darkness, and strained his ears, listening for any tell tale sounds of an intruder. But there was no sign that anyone was lurking in the dark.
Once Harry was sure he was truly alone, he carefully and quietly made his way back to his room, grabbed his wand and crept downstairs again, scolding himself for not bringing it before. 'What if the intruder had still been there? What then?' Once downstairs, Harry used his wand to light the fireplace, and sat on the closest armchair to the fire, so he could read in the light. Cautiously breaking the wax seal on the envelope, Harry picked out the piece of parchment that lay within, and began to read the strange message that had been left for him.
"Halloween is upon us very soon, it is time you lost more than your parents on this festive occasion. If you want your friends to survive, then you must figure out the clues that will be left to help you save your precious friends. But if you fail.....Tick, tock Potter! The clock is ticking. Your first clue, snow white and the seven dwarfs! Your Halloween friend!"
Harry looked at the note, and re read it several times. So his friends were in danger, but from who? or What? Harry couldn't think what the note might have meant, but he knew he had to think fast. And what did a child's story book have to do with it, and a muggle one at that? Harry's couldn't think what any of it could mean, and felt tired just thinking about it. Folding up the paper, he held onto it and went back upstairs to his room. He would think about it in the morning. Perhaps it was some stupid joke, but for now he would sleep. Once in his room, Harry noticed a book on his bed, and went to see what it was. Looking down, he read Snow white and the seven dwarfs, written in huge, gold lettering upon the hard cover. Harry turned to see if any of the others had put it there for a joke.
"Ron." He whispered. "Are you awake?' But no reply came. He could hear the snores, and shallow breathing of the other boys. And nearly jumped out of his skin when he noticed nearly headless Nick floating inches away from his bed. The ghost gulped before speaking.
"Ah hello Harry." He greeted, almost too cheerily.
"Hi Nick, erm, is this book yours?" He asked. Harry thought he saw Nick flinch, but couldn't be sure.
"No I don't believe it is. I only came to see if everyone was asleep." He said, and started to shimmer and fade into the night, with a grin on his face.
"Wait!" Called Harry, but it was too late. The ghost had gone, leaving Harry alone in the dark.
"What's going on?" Asked a groggy Ron.
"Shut up guys!" Came an angry sleepy voice from Seamus's bed. "Some of us are trying to sleep here!"
Ron sat up on his elbows, and looked at Harry with questioning eyes.
"Nothing." Sighed Harry, "go back to sleep. I'll tell you in the morning." Ron fell back onto his pillow and fell back to sleep within seconds. Harry made his way to his bed, and placed the note under his pillow, then put his glasses and wand back in their respectable places, before climbing back into his waiting bed. As soon as his head hit the pillow, he too fell asleep as Ron had done earlier. And he slept a dreamless sleep, with no more thoughts of the strange note and mysterious book left on his bed.