Samara the Witch

Chapter Fifteen

Samara woke in a bed she didn't recognise. She sat bolt upright, suddenly afraid. Where was she? This wasn't the Ravenclaw dormitory. She didn't know where she was at all. Eyes wide, she looked around the room, trying to work out where she could be. The answer came to her easily enough once she looked, even though she'd never been here before. This was the hospital wing. The place looked enough like the psychiatric hospital she had been in before, as well as the hospital she'd gone to after she'd been thrown into the well, that she recognised it quite easily. There was just something about the atmosphere in a hospital. They were all alike. All overly clean. Samara really didn't like hospitals.

She got up, padding across the stone floor silently with her bare feet. She wasn't sure where she was going, but just knew that she couldn't stay here.

"Where do you think you're going?"

Samara stopped in her tracks. She turned around. Madam Pomfrey stood before her, glaring down. "I'm leaving," Samara said.

"You're not to leave until tomorrow."

"But I've already missed one day of school. I can't miss more."

"You can. You injured your head quite badly. It's a miracle you're even alive. We would have sent you to St Mungo's, but you seemed to be getting better already by the time we were capable of moving you there. Go on, go sit back on your bed."

Samara obeyed reluctantly.

"Where's Mallory?" she asked.

"Mallory is in her dormitory, getting a little more rest away from here," Madam Pomfrey said, about to walk away again.

"Wait!" Samara said. Madam Pomfrey stopped. "What about... what happened to Artemis?"

Madam Pomfrey's face darkened. "Artemis woke up a few days ago. She won't stop talking about the things she can see now. She's been sent home." Then she turned and left.

Samara sat for a while. She felt nervous and panicked, but wasn't sure why. Artemis was gone; the danger was gone. So why did she still feel afraid? She couldn't help thinking about Mallory. How she had hurt her, even though she had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. She hadn't meant to hurt Mallory. She hadn't even meant to hurt Artemis. All she'd meant to do was get away. All she'd wanted was to live. It wasn't fair that she had to hurt other people just to do that. But when was life fair, especially Samara's?

Lucretia came by a while later.

"Hi," she said. "I heard what happened. It's good that you're okay."

"I don't feel okay," Samara said. "I feel bad."

"Bad how?" Lucretia asked, sitting down beside her.

Samara shrugged. She couldn't explain. How could she tell Lucretia what she was feeling? It wasn't like she could just show Lucretia her thoughts... Or, more truthfully, it wasn't like she could do that without driving Lucretia insane. Just like Anna. Just like Artemis.

"I just feel bad... About hurting them. Mallory. Even Artemis. I didn't mean to hurt either of them."

"I know you didn't. You'd never hurt anyone," Lucretia said.

"You don't know that. You don't know a lot about me, about where I came from. You don't know what I'm capable of. Most of the time, I don't want to hurt people. But there's another side of me... Sometimes, I do want to hurt people. Not really... not properly. But I do, still. In a way. And I don't like it. I want it to stop, but it never does..."

"That's not so strange," Lucretia said. "Everyone gets that a bit. I think. Or, some people at least. It's normal to want to hurt people you see as a threat. It's just self-defence."

Samara shook her head. "I don't know if it's quite like that..."

"But it's not like you have no self-control, is it? You can still decide what you want to do. You don't have to do what you're instincts are telling you all the time."

"I guess..." Samara didn't quite believe her, but there was no point in saying anything. She wasn't even sure she could properly express what she meant in words. So she stayed silent, like she did so often.

"Listen, I've got to go now, okay? But I'll be back in the morning," Lucretia said.

Samara shrugged. She didn't want Lucretia to leave. She didn't want to be left in this place alone. She hated it here. But she didn't try to stop Lucretia, and she left. Samara was alone again.

A while later, she got another visit, this one a little less welcome.

"Natalie," Samara said. "What are you doing here?"

"I was coming to make sure you were all right. What Artemis did—I need you to know, I didn't want to let her. I had no part in it. That's why I warned you. I didn't want her to go so far. I thought... I thought it was just going to be a joke, or something, not..."

"She tried to kill me. But you didn't think she would?"

Natalie shook her head. "How could I think she'd do that? I didn't think even she had it in her really. We're just kids, why would she be trying to kill anyone? But... I guess you're okay... and that's good. But she's not, is she? You hurt her."

"I didn't mean to. She was attacking me. There was nothing else I could do."

"I know," said Natalie. "You did what you needed to. It wasn't good, but... it had to happen, didn't it? Or she really would have killed you. At least she's not dead. But you should have seen her when she woke up. I came to see and it was awful... she seemed insane. How can you do that?"

"I just can. It's not something I ever asked for. It's just something I've always been able to do. I wish I couldn't sometimes. My life would have been different if I couldn't do these things. It would have been so different..."

Natalie looked away, as if sensing that Samara didn't really want to elaborate on that. And she didn't. Samara didn't want Natalie to know what had happened in her life. Mallory or Lucretia maybe, but Natalie wasn't her friend. She never really had been.

Natalie got to her feet. "I think I'll go now. I just wanted to explain... I never meant for it to go this far. I tried to stop Artemis, but she'd barely listen to me. She's quite controlling."

So Natalie left. And now Samara really was alone, with no else coming. It reminded her of being in the barn, being left alone all the time. She really didn't want to be alone right now. But there was nothing she could do about that, short of sneaking out of here. And Samara didn't think she'd easily be able to do that.

The next day, Samara was allowed out of the hospital wing. She was glad. It felt like she'd been there longer than a day. She hated places like that so much. She went to find Mallory and Lucretia outside. She was almost surprised to see them out there, at their usual spot under the tree. The snow had got deeper since Samara had been out here last. It soaked into her shoes. She'd have to find a charm to stop that. She shivered, even in her coat.

"Samara!" Mallory cried, rushing at her.

Samara froze, caught off guard as Mallory flung her arms around her. What was happening?

"I'm so glad you're okay. I though she might have hurt you too badly. You'd hurt your head, so it could have been quite bad, but you're okay!"

"Um, yeah..." Samara said. "Can you let go of me now?"

Mallory let go of her, putting her hands behind her back. She had a wide grin on her face. Samara couldn't understand why she appeared to be so happy. Didn't she blame Samara for hurting her, like Artemis had? Shouldn't she hate her now? But apparently she didn't. Samara could only be grateful for that. It wasn't like she wanted Mallory to stop liking her. It's just what she expected. Usually, when people understood her power, what she could do, they became afraid of her. That fear became hate. Samara couldn't understand people at all.

"I'm just pleased you're okay, that's all," Mallory said.

"Yeah, you too. I thought I hurt you pretty badly, but you seem fine."

"I guess. Just a little shaken. That was... scary. But I know it wasn't your fault. It was Artemis's fault, if anyone's," Mallory said. Her face became a little pensive, the grin fading.

Samara looked down at the snow on the ground. She scooped up a handful, and threw it at Mallory. The freshly fallen snow was too soft and loose to stick together properly, and just disintegrated as soon as it hit Mallory. Still, she cried out as it hit her, although she smiled. She threw some of the snow at Samara, or tried to. This snow really wasn't very good for snowball fights.

"What was that for?" Mallory asked.

Samara shrugged. "I felt like it. It's getting late, maybe we should go back." It wasn't that late really. About six o' clock maybe. But it was dark out, and they should be inside by now. So they went back, trudging through the snow. Samara couldn't wait to get a proper meal in the Great Hall. She felt so hungry. She smiled. It almost felt like a normal day, like she could forget what Artemis had done. Almost.

The next few months passed better without Artemis around. Samara stopped fighting with Natalie too. She guessed she'd given up being mean to her after she realised how far Artemis had been willing to go. They still weren't friends. Samara didn't think they'd ever be able to be friends again. But they weren't enemies at least. Not being enemies was more or less a good thing. the rest of the year was mostly uneventful, which Samara was glad of, after all the trouble with Artemis. She didn't lose control of powers at all since then. It could happen again, if she was attacked, but she hoped that wouldn't happen. It wasn't necessarily likely.

The last day seemed to come quickly. Samara was sad to leave. She wanted to stay the whole time, but knew she couldn't. She sat in the train with Mallory and Lucretia. Mallory had her cat Merlina with her. The cat had grown a lot bigger—she was hardly a kitten anymore. She seemed to be tolerating Samara this time, maybe knowing she couldn't escape from her, but if Samara tried to stroke her, she hissed and scratched. Samara's hand was bleeding. It annoyed Samara that animals hated her so much. They were easier to understand than humans, but they never even gave her a chance. Not that many people did either. But Mallory and Lucretia had. They were her friends now. She had them, and that was good.

The train juddered to a stop in Kings Cross station. Samara said her goodbyes to her friends and walked off. She was going to meet Richard here. He'd said in a letter that he'd pick her up from the station to take her home. She couldn't see him anywhere, but wasn't surprised. He probably didn't know how to get onto platform nine and three quarters. She saw him close by once she stepped out onto the muggle part of the station.

"Samara," he said to her. There was something strange about his expression. Samara couldn't tell what it was. Surprise maybe? But he couldn't be surprised to see her. He knew she was coming home. "You seem... different," he said at least. "Older."

She realised what he was really thinking then. How she was controlling her powers, when she'd never been able to do that before. That she was holding back. "Of course I'm older," she said to him. "I was gone for nearly a year."

"Hm. You're twelve now," Richard stated. He seemed to be trying hard to find conversation, but failing miserably. She knew he didn't really want to talk to her. He didn't like her. He'd never liked her. He only took care of her because he thought it was what Anna would have wanted, before... "Come one," Richard said. "Let's go home."

Author note: It is the end! Finally! Yay! I actually managed to finish something! I completely lost the original plot ideas, and it ended up kind of boring and stupid, but whatever. Just because I don't like it, someone might. For anyone who has read this far, thank you for following me all this way. It is appreciated. If you liked the story, please review. Reviews make me feel good. And if you want to read another Samara story by me, since you don't have this one anymore, try reading The Samara Chronicles or The Ghost's Curse. But anyway, thank you for reading, and goodbye.