This all seemed to be too much for Hector to handle.
What he didn't understand was why he was back in the Land of the Living. But not in Santa Cecilia; in Scotland. At a school no less. What was it called? H-Hogwarts? He had never heard of such a place.
Staring around the hospital wing at all the empty beds, he couldn't help but think this was all a dream. A crazy dream. After all, Madam Pomfrey had done something strange. Could there really be such a thing as magic? REAL magic?
Hector thought that if she could fix his broken leg, could she possibly bring him back to life? That was stupid of course, but he couldn't help but wonder.
And if there was such a place, why hadn't he heard of it?
Glancing towards Madam Pomfrey's desk, he wanted to ask her more questions but was disappointed after he realized she had gone to see what was keeping the Headmaster.
Hector remained sitting on the edge of the bed unsure if he could take a look around. He began to fiddle with his thumbs as the door slowly began to open. Expecting Madam Pomfrey to return, Hector was taken back when he saw a child that looked about the age of 11 come into the room and close the door.
The first thing about her that Hector noticed was how red her hair was. Next was the expression on her face; her eyes checking the skeleton up and down while her tongue was clicking off the roof of her mouth. Her hands shoved into her... robes? This school must have a dress code. Upon closer inspection, the symbol on her shirt had a lion on it. "Strange", thought Hector. But then again, was he really one to judge?
The girl nodded her head with a look on her face that made it seem like it was the most important decision of her life. She crossed the room and sat next to Hector, smiling at him before offering her hand.
"Hello", she said.
He took her hand and they shook. She began to swing her legs back and forth.
"Hola", said Hector. "I-I'm Hector. Hector Rivera."
"I didn't think Inferi had names", she said, furrowing her eyebrows.
"What?", asked Hector, confused.
"You know, Inferi. A dead body."
Why was a little girl talking about the dead in such a casual way?
"No, I'm not a In-Infury?", he said trying to repeat what she had said, positive he said it wrong.
"But you are dead."
"Unfortunately", said Hector starting to become irritated.
"Yeah, from the way the older students put it, Inferi are ugly, putrid corpses. But you don't look like ugly", she said.
"Gracias." He rolled his eyes. As annoyed as he was with her, he felt a twinge in his heart, well, if he still had one that is. Hector didn't have experience with girls her age. He never had the chance to see Coco since she was only four at the time he left. Coco! Imelda! Would they think he abandoned them again? Now he really had no idea how he was going to make it back to them...
"Listen kid-", began Hector.
"My name's Ginny."
"Okay, kid. What exactly is this place?"
Ginny looked at him like he was loco. She giggled. "C'mon! Everybody knows about Hogwarts! It's one of the finest schools in the world. Nearly all the famous witches and wizards I ever heard of came here!", she said completely serious. "And my brother, Bill. He's the coolest."
"So, it's all real then?", asked Hector.
"Magic", said Hector.
"What do you mean? Of course it is. Aren't you-", she paused, eyes wide. "Are you a Muggle?"
"Or a Squib?"
"What are you talking about? I don't understand", responded Hector.
"Are you, er, sorry, were you a wizard or not?", asked Ginny.
"No, no. I'm not a wizard."
"Then you are a Muggle!"
"What's a Muggle?", asked Hector.
"You can't use magic", explained Ginny.
"Oh. Does that matter?", he asked.
"Sort of. Don't get me wrong. I don't mind Muggles. And blood status doesn't matter to me. My brother's friend is Muggle-born and she's alright", said Ginny. "It's just... how did you get on the grounds of Hogwarts? Or let alone see it?"
All of this was starting to feel crazy again. Nearly half of what she said made Hector's head spin. "I don't know, kid. Y-you wouldn't happen to know how... do you?"
She crossed her legs on the bed so she could face him. "Well yeah, I'm the one who found you. Loony and I were walking around the lake and I saw you just lying on the edge next to an old, chewed up boot. Failed Transfiguration project I think. I told Professor McGonagall and she sent you up here. She must have been spooked, but after a while she figured you were harmless."
"I was just laying there?", repeated Hector.
"That's what I said", said Ginny firmly.
"That doesn't help me. But thank you, Ginny", he said offering a smile. She returned it.
"Will you be staying here a while?"
Hector thought about it. "Until I can go home, I suppose so."
"Great! Maybe I could show you around. This is only my first year, but it would be nice to have someone to talk to."
"Don't you have any friends?"
Ginny looked put out. Before she could answer the doors opened and an outraged Madam Pomfrey rounded on the young student. "Miss Weasley! You should be in class!", she shrieked pointing towards the doors. "Out this minute!"
As she got off of the bed, Hector could hear Ginny muttering something about an old twat. She reached the door as she waved goodbye. "I'll see you around, Hector."
"You too, kid."
After glaring at Madam Pomfrey, she shut the door.
"Headmaster Dumbledore has been called to the Ministry for the time being. As soon as he gets back you can talk with him. For now, I have someone who shall help you feel a bit at home", she said.
In that moment, a cold breeze entered the room and what appeared to be a white floating man approached Hector. The ghost had come in through the wall.
Hector managed to stifle his shriek as the ghost looked down at him.
"Good evening, Mr. Rivera. I am Sir Nicholas and I would be delighted to show you around the castle", he said as he motioned towards the door.
Hector cautiously followed but was too busy staring at Sir Nicholas to realize the door was still closed. Madam Pomfrey gasped as she watched Hector collide with the door and his bones went everywhere as he shattered.
It took no time at all to put himself back together. "I apologize for doing that", he said sheepishly to the nurse, who merely rolled her eyes.
After opening the door, Hector took notice to the long corridor. He followed Nick down it.
"I'm glad to have a new face joining our ranks, Mr. Rivera. It gets tedious with current company", said Nick from above. As he turned towards Hector, his head had toppled onto its side but didn't come off. Just a small bit of ghostly neck still held him together.
"What happened to you?", asked Hector. As shocked as he was, he was even more intrigued. He smirked.
"Chopped in the neck 45 times. The bloke never gave me the finishing slice though", said Nick placing his head back on. "It's the reason the students refer to me as "Nearly Headless"", he scoffed, continuing to float down the hall.
"Nearly Headless Nick", thought Hector, doing his best not to chuckle. "That's unfortunate."
"Yes, well, no matter. It's a good time to have you here. You can attend my Deathday party this Halloween. It would be splendid to have an accomplice at my side. Now if I could make sure Sir Patrick is there. If I could be a part of the Headless Hunt, I'm sure I'd be a shoo-in!"