"Millie, are you alright?" Hermione asks me gently and quietly as I stare out the window of the Hogwarts express as we speed off towards Hogwarts again for our third year. I am fiddling with my waist length, wavy brown hair while staring out the window as Harry explains to Hermione and Ron what Mr Weasley told us about Sirius Black. Hermione is sat next to me and I have to turn to look at her as my legs are crossed at a right angle in the seat, meaning one thigh leans against the back and the other against the corner of the seat.
When I turn and see her expression, she looks worried. Hermione, as well as being extremely smart, is also my best friend, therefore she can read my expressions and body language just as easily as she reads books. Despite this, I'm still a really convincing liar when I want to be, so I respond with a simple, "I'm fine."
I knew from the second I drew my bright green eyes away from her deep brown and started to remove my boots that she didn't believe my lie. As I threw my boots on the floor messily, she simply says, "I know you're not."
I know from her words that she expects me to tell her what's wrong. However, I don't want to, so I look away from her and at the sleeping man in our compartment who she had identified as Professor R.J. Lupin. He has sandy blonde hair and he looks around thirty. He must of been tired as he hasn't stirred the whole hour we've been on the train already and, though we've tried not to wake him, we haven't exactly been quiet, and it hasn't been in the surrounding compartments either.
"I'm honestly fine, Hermione, I'm just tired," I reply, removing my gaze from the new Professor and back to out the window, where green fields with different animals like sheep, cows and pigs fly past as we speed away. It looks as thought it might rain, though occasionally the sun's rays can be seen through the white, fluffy clouds. I put a smile on my face, trying to forget the anger and confusion running through me as I thought of Sirius Black.
"No wonder you're tired, you slept for about three hours last night," Harry says, making me smile a little more.
"Because I was excited," I reply with a shrug. Harry rolls his eyes.
"You don't reckon Sirius Black would come to Hogwarts to get you two, do you?" Ron asks. Harry shrugs.
"I dunno. But since he's coming after me and Harry, he probably will be. I guess we can take him though, we've already beat Voldemort three times," I joke casually. Ron and Harry laugh, though Hermione gives us all a stern look.
"Millie, you shouldn't be joking about this, it's not funny. If Sirius Black finds you who knows what he's capable of. Though the castle is obviously going to have extra protection on it this year, you need to be careful," Hermione tells me seriously.
"Oh yes, Hermione, because Sirius Black can hear me right now and he will drag out my death even longer because of my sarcasm towards him," I say sarcastically again, then dragging out my act by changing my expression to one of worry as I put my hands together as if begging for mercy and practically whimper, "Oh Sirius Black the great and murderous, I'm sorry for thinking I can beat you! In fact, come kill me now, leave me in no doubt about your power and murderousness!"
Ron and Harry roar with laughter as I bow, still sitting down. Hermione simply rolls her eyes and stands up, taking down her new cat Crookshanks from a cage in the space for luggage above our heads. She also gets down my own cat, Bella. Crookshanks is like a baby tiger. He's huge with a lot of ginger fur and dark brown eyes which, when you look in to them for too long, make you almost sure that he can stare into your soul. However, Bella is the complete opposite.
Though I've had her since my first year, she seems to have almost not grown. She was just a newborn kitten when I got her and she's only two now. She has bright white fur which makes even snow look slightly grey and shocking topaz eyes. She's quite dope really so she suits me. Hermione holds her with just one hand and drops her in to my crossed legs where she meows quietly and starts pawing at my leg. Her claws aren't sharp at all so it doesn't hurt, it just tickles really.
"When's the lunch trolley coming around, I'm starving!" Ron complains, and I nod my head in agreement. This morning me and Harry were in a slight rush when we went downstairs and found the Weasleys finishing breakfast, having to come to the train station straight away. So neither of us have ate since last night and it's really starting to make me upset. Food and me have a special connection, that's something me and Ron have in common.
"I hope it's soon, I think I might cry if I have to wait any longer for my food," I say, picking up Bella and holding her close to my face, kissing her small pink nose. She meows happily and I put her back on my lap, stroking her with my pinky finger, making her purr happily.
"I swear all you two think about is food," Hermione says. I shrug.
"I'm a growing girl, I need food," I say simply. Ron nods.
"And I'm a growing guy, plus I'm used to all mum's cooking so - AHH! GET THAT BLOODY BEAST AWAY FROM ME!" Ron suddenly shouts as Crookshanks pounces at the lump in Ron's jacket where his rat Scabbers was sleeping. Crookshanks hisses and swipes at his pocket before Hermione picks him up and puts him safely on her lap. I turn my head to the side to see Lupin stir but then roll his head slightly and fall back to sleep.
"Shut the hell up before we wake him up! If we have him tomorrow I'd rather him not pass out half way through the lesson because we kept him awake the whole ride," I say, not taking my eyes off the sleeping Professor for a few more seconds before I turn my attention back to Hermione and Ron.
"Crookshanks is a cat! It's in his nature to find rats and mice! Good boy Crookshanks," Hermione defends, stroking the beast's ginger fur.
"To be fair to Ron, I didn't see Bella attacking Scabbers," Harry interjects as Ron takes the shaking Scabbers out of his pocket. Crookshanks hisses in his direction and I roll my eyes. Just as Hermione was about to argue back, the compartment of the door opened revealing the lady with the trolley. Just seeing all the sweets on the trolley makes my mouth water.
"Anything from the trolley dears?" She asks kindly.
"We'll take two packs of Drooble's, four packs of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, four Cauldron Cakes, eight Chocolate Frogs, ten Jelly Slugs and three pumpkin pasties please," I say quickly, using my free hand to get money out of my pocket and handing it up to Harry who passes it to her, taking the sweets, chocolate, gum and pasties and sharing them around.
"Is there anything else you want dears?" She asks with a smile.
"Shall we wake him up and ask?" Harry asks, referring to Lupin.
I use my free hand to touch his arm (covered in his robe) gently, saying, "Professor? Professor Lupin?"
When he doesn't even stir, the trolley lady just smiles and tells us, "Well if he wakes up and he's hungry tell him I'll be up front with the driver."
She then moves on with the trolley and Harry shuts the compartment door behind him. I take two chocolate frogs, six jelly slugs, a cauldron cake, a pack of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and a pack of Drooble's from the share of food. I don't really like the taste of pumpkin pasties, which is strange since I do like pumpkin juice. But as I don't like them, it means I get more sweets.
"You know, Millie, it's a wonder you aren't fat with all the unhealthy things you eat," Hermione says, taking a bite out of her pumpkin pasty. I shrug simply, beginning to eat a Jelly Slug.
"Good genes, Hermione," I say.
The next seven hours of the train ride weren't very interesting. Though Lupin didn't wake up, he was good company since he stopped Malfoy from coming in and annoying us. As soon as he insulted us all once and saw him, he ran, not being stupid enough to annoy us right under a teacher's nose. By the time it was seven o'clock, it was already dark outside despite it being summer. I was starting to get cold and knew we only had about another hour on the train, so soon I would ask Hermione to get changed in to her robes with me.
"Guys, I'm starving," Ron says as our conversation about Quidditch ends. Hermione had been reading happily for a few hours, holding her book in one hand and occasionally stroking Crookshanks with the other.
"Tell me about it," I say as my stomach rumbles. I take another piece of gum from the box and chew on it, soon discovering that it was strawberry. It went surprisingly well with the banana, raspberry, blueberry and kiwi flavoured ones I have in my mouth already, sort of like a fruit smoothie. Ron also takes another piece of gum.
"I can't wait to eat loads of chicken at the feast, I've been craving it all day," Ron adds.
"You sound like a girl on her period," I mutter, making Harry laugh.
"You'd know all about that one," he says, a grin on his face.
"Considering I'm a girl, Harry, I would," I respond. That shuts him up. A slight look of disgust comes on to his face.
"Too much information," Harry mutters. Ron nods his head in agreement. Just as the conversation dies, it seems the train's engine does too as we come to an unexpected halt. Hermione puts her book down and Ron looks out the window.
"There's something moving out there!" he says, scared. I turn around and look out the window, placing my hand on the glass. I see hooded black figures flying around and there are many of them. They're too big to be human. However, my view of them is cut off as the glass becomes cold and begins to freeze over from the outside, though I can feel the freezing temperature through the glass.
Harry is sticking his head out of the compartment door which many people are doing. It seems none of us expected this and it is causing total mayhem. I hear screams and shouting. Then Harry puts his body fully back in the compartment, and it is just in time as the door slams shut and the lights go out. The compartments around us all fall silent.
"What's happening?" Ron shouts, afraid. But that's something none of us can answer. I am shivering from the cold by now. I keep my eye on the compartment door and I wish I hadn't when I see a bony white hand on the handle and the door slides open. A tall, cloaked, skeletal like figure stands in the door. My insides seem to freeze and I feel the happiness drain from me. I am frozen in my seat with fear.
The figure seems to look around, focusing mainly on me and Harry. Then it focuses on Harry and almost begins to suck the air around him. I hear Harry gasp and he goes rigid. Is he having a fit? But then he falls on the compartment floor, passed out, after a few seconds.
"Harry!" I shout, scared. I would of jumped on to the floor beside him had it not been for Bella sat on my lap and feeling like I couldn't move anyway. The figure turns to face me and repeats what it did to Harry. In my head, I hear a scream. It sounds familiar in the sickest, scariest way, though I cannot remember. It feels like my stomach is ice and I'm fairly sure my heart stops beating for a minute as I stay in the same position, frozen in fear, feeling like darkness is taking me and that I'll never be happy again. The scream echoes in my head.
Then without warning, Lupin stands up and points his wand at the figure, drawing it's attention away from me. When it looks away I take a breath and feel frozen tears on my face which I didn't know had fell from my eyes. I blink and hear the man say an incantation. I open my eyes to see a bright white light chasing the figure away. And suddenly the lights turn back on and warmth returns to the room, but I am still freezing.
And just as Lupin turns to me, probably to ask if I'm okay, I can't help but stand up and run to the nearest toilet, immediately throwing up, my body shaking and still freezing, more tears running down my face. After a few minutes when I'm sure I won't throw up any more, I flush the toilet and walk out of the cubical, walking towards the sink. I see in the mirror that my make up has run all down my cheeks. I wash my hands then take a piece of gum from the pack in my pocket, exciting the toilets and heading back to the compartment I was previously in. As I pass, people ask me what's wrong, but I can't hear what they're saying, not really. All I can hear is the same scream echoing in my head over and over again, haunting my mind.