Chapter Seven: Inner Demons Are the Least of My Worries!
Snape was a pretty fast walker so I was spared having to create meager small talk with him; I probably wouldn't have anyway even if I hadn't been preoccupied with making sure I didn't trip and fall on my face. We went down a number of staircases until we hit the entrance area; he led me through a door off to the side that I hadn't noticed before. The further we descended the steps, the louder our footsteps echoed and bounced through the halls. It was reasonably cooler and horribly dark down there despite the few lanterns hanging on the stone walls. The hairs on my neck stood up almost immediately and I suddenly felt wary, either because I was alone with Snape or because I was surrounded by the dark- then again, it was probably because I was engulfed by the dark with Snape. Although he was supposedly one of the good guys, I couldn't help but feel as if he could spin around and kill me. Hell, anyone here could, not just him. I didn't really trust any of them.
He stopped in front of a wall. He turned to me and I shrank back.
"This is the entrance to the Slytherin common room; in case you ever need to get in, the password is 'pure blood'." He said and the wall started to hum.
I stepped back as the wall began sliding apart. It stopped when a large room was revealed. There was a fireplace which was currently extinguished, many black couches and chairs, and elaborate green hangings and rugs. I was about to step into it when Snape spoke.
"You won't be staying here." He said. "Due to your situation, you will be staying in your own private chambers. They're just this way."
He started walking and expected me to follow. I did with a bit of reluctance; I really wanted to check out the common room. As we walked further, I heard the wall slid back into place. There were a few doors I was curious about but I didn't bother to ask him. Something told me he wasnt thrilled about being a tour guide. About the fifth door into the corridor, he turned to face me.
"This is where you'll be staying. The password, by default, is Salazar; however you are able to change it at will. If you choose to do so, I will need the new password." Snape said, "… for safety purposes, of course." He added.
"Of course," I echoed, not liking the sound of that. "And where do you sleep? You know, for safety purposes." I smirked.
He narrowed his eyes. "That is unimportant. If, for whatever reason, you must reach someone, there is a floo network set up within the fireplaces. All you would have to do is simply floo to the Headmaster's office." He said, knowing full well I had no idea what he was talking about- the prick.
"If you have no more questions, I will be here at eight o' clock to fetch you for dinner. Don't be late." He said, growing irritated.
I didn't have the chance to argue for he immediately stalked off. I rolled my eyes. Just great. Now that he was gone, I could inspect my the place. The door had delicate carvings of snakes running up and down it and in the center was a crest, also with a snake. I leaned in closer to read the words: Slytherin.
I quickly looked around, feelings uneasy standing in the empty corridor. I felt as if someone was watching me but I shrugged it off as just my imagination and paranoia. I opened the door which, I assumed, had been unlocked as Snape said the password. What was it again? Salamander? Oh well, I'd just change it later…
I reached for a light switch, only to realize there wasn't one. Of course. I stood by the door, ready to run in case something leapt out of me. This is stupid, I thought, shaking my head. I began to walk forward when I hit something hard and fell over.
"Damn it!" I hissed, touching my injured knee. "Can I get some light here?!"
A hearth to my left, flared to life and four large lanterns on the walls started glowing. I stared, somewhat shocked.
"Um, thanks." I said to no one in particular.
I looked beside me to see that it was my bags that had tripped me. I got to my feet and looked around. It was mostly set up like the Slytherin common room, only less furniture and it was slightly smaller. On either side of the fireplace were large bookshelves, each filled to maximum capacity. I stood in front of the mantel and admired the portrait above it. It was of a man with long black hair and a beard; his eyes were harsh and his lips were pressed into a thin line. He glared down at me and crossed his arms in a disapproving manner. I turned away from him and went to check out the rest of the place, my chambers. I could have laughed.
A small staircase led to my room. The room itself was circular, much like Dumbledore's office, and had a candlelit chandelier in the center. There was a huge bed with a sheer green curtain around it; I decided I'd look at it before bed. Next to it was a side table on which was an oil lamp, I also had a dresser, vanity and a large mirror. There were two doors in the room, both unexplored. I picked the one on the right.
"What's behind door number one?" I asked aloud and opened it.
A bathroom. All stone. In the middle was an in-ground tub, the size of a child's inflatable swimming pool. To the side was a mirror and sink and- to my utter joy- a toilet. After seeing all the lanterns, I had begun wondering how far behind these people were. I remembered in history learning about the medieval toilet system consisting of merely a hole. I've never been happier about plumbing! Taking a closer look at the bathtub, I saw that there were five knobs. On and off too simple?
The clock from the other room struck seven- one hour to go. I then went to peek inside the other door and- just as I thought, a closet. It was empty so there wasn't really that much to check out. I shut the door and went back into the main room. I dragged my belongings up to my bedroom and started to unpack. I took out one of my new robes and opened my dresser to put it away. There was a slight thud at my feet and I looked down to find my mother's bloody head.
For a moment, I could only stare. I dropped the robe and stepped back, mouth open. Her dead eyes stared up at me and her mouth moved in silent words. I kept backing up until I hit the foot board of my bed. I stared as a pair of huge burning eyes appeared low in the back of the dresser and slowly moved forward. All the while, I heard crunching sounds, the sound of bone snapping. The eyes were so close now, it was just within the shadow so that I couldn't see it. A shrill inhuman chuckle. A finger was spit out; it had a wedding ring on it. Blood suddenly poured out from the dresser, soaking the floor. I was shaking like mad. I couldn't seem to comprehend what was happening but as the creature stepped closer. It resembled a child only that it was more likely to have been born of hell than of any earthly woman. Its head was too big for its body and instead of hair, cockroaches clung to its flesh biting and devouring it. Fire burned in its two empty eye sockets and its small mouth was turned up in a sickly grin. It raised its hands to me in almost a hug like gesture; in each palm were two mouths, each with rows of small sharp teeth ready to sink into my skin. As it hopped from the dresser, it put its right hand to my mother's still moving lips, lips that used to kiss me good night, and savagely chewed through them and ripped them off. The blood found its way to me and soaked through my socks and I snapped out of my stupor. Something clicked. I had seen it before!
I sprang to my feet and ran towards the staircase. I fell and crawled down the rest of the steps into the sitting room. My legs felt numb and rubbery and fear shot through me again as I heard its quick footsteps. I got up and with all my effort, managed to the door. I expected it to be locked- isn't it always in horror movies? It opened and I would have thanked God had I not been so scared. I shut the door quickly and collapsed outside. I backed into the wall shaking, my breathing hard. I was waiting for it to slam against the door and wretch it open. But nothing happened. I should have run but I couldn't. That thing was back at my house! That thing was one of the creatures that murdered my parents!
After what seemed like decades, I was able to think again. I tried to steady my breathing but couldn't. I had to get away. I had to find someone. Snape. Dumbledore. Anyone. Or had they set this up? I stopped trying to crawl away. Was this all a trap to kill me? No, I couldn't think like that now. If they wanted me dead, they would've killed me long ago!
I stood on rubber legs and held the wall for support. Any minute that hell child could burst through the door and slaughter me. I headed towards the common room, maybe Snape was there. It was a long shot but it was all I had. Once I gained momentum I left the wall. I kept imagining the demon chasing me but I was so petrified I could only manage a jog. It was like in nightmares where you could never move as fast as you wanted to, as if someone had tied bags of cement to your ankles.
I reached the wall. This was it right? The password. I couldn't think of it. I looked down the corridor waiting to see the creature; the flames of the lanterns flickered in a slight draft. Just like its eyes. Open, please open.I feebly hit the wall in an attempt to force it open. I realized tears were pouring down my cheeks. I couldn't stop seeing the image of my mother. I slid down the wall in despair.
"Someone help…" I cried. "Please…help me…"
There I was, that girl from not that long ago making her reappearance. I was scared out of my wits and nothing near resourceful or cunning- that damned old hat had been wrong! I was shaking and crying like a stupid child. I noticed with a misplaced interest that my nose was running; it always came as a pair, tears and snot. I wiped the back of my hand across my face in an attempt to clear away the most of it. I was about to try and get out of the dungeons, it couldn't be anything else, when I heard footsteps approaching. My heart quickened but I sat rooted to the spot, submitting to whatever fate dealt me.
Snape came into the light of the nearest lantern and upon seeing me, drew his wand. I almost believed he was here to finish the job but he never pointed his wand at me. He glanced around the corridor and rushed to my side. He kneeled in front of me.
"What happened?" he asked quickly.
I shook my head. I couldn't even describe what just took place. He put his hand on my shoulder and my eyes, which had been previously fixed on one of his black buttons, moved to his face. He looked concerned and shocked; he surely hadn't expected to find me a crying wreck before dinner.
"Ms. Reeve, you have to tell me what happened." He said in a tone that wasn't laced with anything negative. "I cannot help you if you do not tell me what's wrong."
I gulped and took a few shaky breaths. What do I say?
"I- I- t- the d-dre-" I stuttered and gave up.
My eyes drifted back to the door to my room. He followed my gaze.
"Wait here," he ordered and stood.
"No!" I yelled, finding my voice and startling him.
I gripped the hem of his robes, remembering the hell child's cackle. I didn't want him going in there! I couldn't let him just die! I didn't particularly like him but I wasn't going to let him get slaughtered. I couldn't let him or anybody else get killed like my parents. Another pain washed through me and I had to fight to suppress bursting into a fresh batch of tears.
Snape grabbed my hands and tried gently prying them loose. "Let go, I'll be right back in a moment."
I shook my head and swallowed. "Get me the fuck out of here, Professor." I warned in the calmest and sanest tone I could in the circumstances given.
He looked me in the eye and immediately recognition and dread spread across his features. I don't know how, it was as if he read my mind, but in that moment, he knew why I had been crying. He knew exactly what we were dealing with.
AN: First real dive into the plot! Hope you liked it! Please review!