Samara the Witch

Chapter Fourteen


Halfway through January, classes started again. Samara had turned twelve during the holiday, but she hadn't bothered to tell anyone about her birthday. It wasn't a special thing to her. Mallory was back in school now. Samara had greeted her excitedly. Lucretia had been her usual, quiet self, standing off to the side. Samara was actually becoming more sociable than her now. Which wasn't strange really—she had a natural need to be around people. She just hadn't been able to be around them a whole lot until recently. That separation had made her scared of them; other people were unfamiliar. Not many people liked the unfamiliar. It was why people had always been afraid of her—she'd been strange to them. So they'd feared her, stayed away from her. They hadn't realised how stupid they were being.

Samara was in the library. Lucretia and Mallory were both in lessons. That was the annoying thing about having friends in different houses: they hardly ever had lessons together. In fact, Samara didn't think she had any lessons with the Gryffindors, although she did have a few with the Slytherins and Hufflepuffs. So Samara was alone now. She didn't mind. Natalie might not like her any more, but Samara didn't think she would attack her. It was only Artemis she was worried about, and she was in a lesson.

Samara had to write an essay for potions. She was having a bit of trouble, but Lucretia had said she'd help her later. The essay wasn't due in until tomorrow, so once Lucretia got out of her lesson they'd have plenty of time to finish it. Yet Samara was still a bit worried. Snape was the kind of teacher who would find fault in the slightest thing anyone did wrong. Unless that person was in Slytherin at least.

After a while, Natalie came and sat next to her. This would have annoyed her less if there hadn't been plenty of other places where Samara was not sitting. But she ignored Natalie, even though her presence was stressing her out. Ignoring was probably the best idea. That was what grown ups always told you to do, wasn't it? Ignore them, they'll go away. Except Samara had been learning these last few months that wasn't true at all. If you just ignored them, they thought it was funny. But if she didn't, she'd end up hurting them. It was a highly irritating dilemma.

"Samara..."

"What do you want?" Samara growled. Except it didn't sound like much of a growl, because she was twelve years old and had a high, clear voice. She expected Natalie to laugh at her. That was what they usually did whenever she dared to speak. Laughed. Like hyenas.

"Artemis is planning something. I don't know what. I just wanted to say I have nothing to do with it, okay? I wouldn't want to hurt anyone that badly."

That caught Samara's attention. "How badly? What exactly did she say?"

"I—I don't remember exactly. Just... she said something about having some fun and getting you back for what you did. She said you hurt her, so she'd hurt you. I don't know what that means I just—I thought I should warn you."

Natalie picked up her books again and left. Samara watched her go. She didn't know what to make of this news. Why was Natalie warning her? Samara's first instinct was to be suspicious, but it didn't make sense either. If they wanted to hurt her, what was point in warning her? So that couldn't be it. Unless they were just trying to have a laugh at her being all worried, but that didn't seem right either.

Maybe Natalie really was trying to protect her. If she was, then it must be bad. Natalie had been making fun of her just as much as Artemis. If not more, since she had to see her so often in the common room and the dormitory. So if Natalie was worried about Samara now...

Samara began to pack up her books. She should hide. That was the best idea. Hiding, so she didn't have to fight back. She could do that. She could get away, before Artemis found her. If she went up to the Ravenclaw common room, Artemis wouldn't be able to find her. She ran out of the library, trying to be quiet. She didn't have to try hard; it came naturally to her. I'm not scared, she told herself. She couldn't let herself be scared. Fear led to bad things happening.

She was halfway up to Ravenclaw tower, and thought she might make it. Then she felt something strike her, and she tumbled down the stairs. She hit the floor, again and again, feeling her bones break. She finally came to a stop. She tried to stand, but her legs felt like jelly.

She heard laughter.

"Look at her! Look at the filthy mudblood bitch, she can't even stand up!" Artemis's voice. Why was Samara not surprised?

"Are you sure she's not hurt a bit too badly?" Not a voice Samara knew. She could barely turn her head to see who it was. Probably one of Artemis's fifth-year friends.

"She's fine. It's nothing a trip to the hospital wing won't fix," Artemis said.

"Are you sure? She could have broken a bone or something..."

"So what if she did? She deserves it. She thinks she can attack me and get away with it? I'll show her..."

Samara heard footsteps behind her. She rolled away as Artemis tried to grab her. She tried to reach for her wand, but couldn't find it. It must have fallen out of her robes when she had fallen down the stairs. It didn't matter anyway; Samara didn't even know any offensive spells. She couldn't stop herself being afraid now. Instead of trying to throw it away, she let the fear inside. Let it consume her. Let it give her power.

Artemis widened her eyes, the colour draining from her face as she saw those awful images behind her eyes. Samara had been trying to control this, trying not to hurt people. But now she didn't care. She was angry at Artemis—she wanted her to suffer. She didn't care who got caught in the crossfire anymore. She just wanted to make sure she survived.

"Samara!"

Samara frowned. She knew that voice. That was Mallory. What was she doing here? She couldn't be here right now. She could get hurt. Samara didn't really want Mallory to get hurt. She just wanted to not hurt so much herself.

"Mallory... stay back... don't come closer..." she said, blood dribbling from her mouth. Or she tried to say it. It was more of a whimper, really. She didn't think Mallory could hear her.

Mallory ran right up and sat beside Samara. As soon as she came near, she screamed, looking at Samara in horror. She didn't know what was happening. All she knew was that she was seeing things, horrible things, and being in so much pain... But Samara couldn't look away from her eyes. She'd hoped she'd never see an expression like that again. But now it was back, and she didn't know if she could ever fix this. That was the last thought running through her head as she lost consciousness.