Beyond the Foggy Path

Chapter 35: Late Hour

Erela was in the Defense Against the Dark Arts room during study period with the other sixth years. She sat far away from Stacee and Landon, mostly away from Landon since she tried to avoid him as much possible. How pathetic! She was angry at Landon for always avoiding her, now she was doing exactly that . . .

She glanced over at the boys, with Laila beside Stacee before she pried away from the lot. The girl swore she was going to die of some sort of heart attack by the way her heart behaved. Every time she looked at him, something punched a hole into her chest. Even THINKING about him felt like a violent tug at her heart. It made no sense how emotions could easily effect the body's behavior. Erela took in deep breaths to calm her irregular heartbeat before she went back to scribbling answers into her notebook.

While she was halfway through answering one of the questions, a sandy blonde haired girl with a red tie sat just beside her. She glanced over at the girl for a moment before she looked back down and continued with her schoolwork. "Hey, Laila," she greeted quietly.

"Hey, Erela . . ." she greeted back.

"Feeling all better?" Erela asked, remembering that she had been injured from her Quidditch game a month and a half ago and was never given the opportunity to ask.

"All healed," Laila smirked at her. "How about you?"

"I'm fine," Erela shrugged. "Just jumped back into my old routine," she smirked lightly. "Same old same old."

Laila could only nod and watch Erela for a couple seconds. "Okay," was all she said for a while. It was okay, Erela was fine with the silence and it didn't seem to bother Laila that much either. "Landon has been pretty down lately," Laila commented.

Even the mention of his name was like a twist of a knife. "Has he . . .?"

"Yeah . . ." Laila nodded but didn't go into detail of the pretty sad looking werewolf boy. "And you haven't been hanging out with the group in a while."

"Oh . . . um, yeah. I guess I haven't . . ." her voice trailed. "I kind of felt I should learn to balance my academic life and social life . . . I've been kind of falling behind in school . . ." Erela lied.

"That's . . . smart, I guess" the Gryffindor girl answered and looked over somewhere while Erela finished her notebook. "Hey, um . . . do you want to do something? Just the two of us and have some sort of girls' day or something?" the sandy blonde girl asked.

"Um . . . thank you for the offer. But I'll have to pass . . ." she started as she packed her things, all but her finished schoolwork in her notebook. "Thanks though," the lanky Hufflepuff girl nodded and walked over to Professor Haxel, who looked less than pleased to be on study hour duty. She wasn't exactly sure who, but Erela felt eyes on her as she left. Stop staring . . . Erela quickened her pace and walked faster out the door and toward the great Hall. Maybe to get some food in her system before going to bed.

It was dark, as to be expected of autumn at that hour to give that dying feeling before everything green truly died until spring. It was incredibly quiet, the only sound being the cracks and snaps of the torches that lit the corridors. Once she waited on the stairs moving in the right directions, she reached the main floor. And when she was approaching the doors, the murmurs from the Halls could be heard. But when she peeked through the crack of the doors, there was only a handful of students in there that had finished their study hour early like her. Not nearly enough to make that mutter she heard.

She listened again . . .

The small sound of voices sounded like they were singing. Erela turned away from the doors of the Great Hall to find where the voices were coming from and saw the stone arch to the dungeons. The noise was coming from there . . .

Stacee had mentioned he would hear voices, usually at night time . . . chants that he heard from the walls or something like that.

Erela pursed her lips and took small steps toward the dungeons, the chants became louder and louder the closer she got. Yep, they were in the dungeons. "It's none of our business . . . And we shouldn't get involved in something like this . . ." Landon's voice echoed in her head.

None of their business . . .

She shouldn't have been involved with Landon either and yet she still did so no matter how much Landon disliked it. Erela took in deep breaths and took a step under the stone arch. Step by step, the stairway became colder and colder. The place was incredibly Slytherin it wasn't even funny. Dark, gloomy, frightening, and a little intimidating. It honestly shouldn't bother her, for gods sake she lived underground with the other Hufflepuffs.

The Hufflepuff girl entered the main dungeon halls and strained her ears for the sound. There were nothing but doors and torches lit in green flames. Wow . . . how stereotypical. Suppose they were down there, maybe. It was hard to figure out where everyone lived. Except for the well known Gryffindor's and their infamous Fat Lady. She always sun a song, terribly in fact, during the day.

Erela rounded around a corner and saw some Slytherin students walk through where the wall should be into another room where large storages of potions ingredients were kept. For the Potions professor, they often had a personal ingredients room in their office while there's a large storage room that was mainly for the students. Once the students had closed the barred gate, Erela moved away from her corner and padded her steps closer to the door. Erela peeked a little so no one would notice her spying and could only see a large shelf of jars of lord knows what.

She looked around a little more until there was a lining of one of the Slytherin students staring in a general direction. "There has been talk that students can hear us through the night during the chants," someone said.

"I thought we had a charm up so it couldn't be heard!" another voice hissed.

"It's a little advanced for us. But no worries, we can still have a wall up to hide our location."

"Which isn't up . . ." the first voice said in an annoyed tone.

"Because we haven't done what was needed in order to do it," the third voice scoffed.

What was needed?

Then, there was hooting that caught her attention. An owl flapped about and slipped away from someone's grasp. The group freaked out a bit with their wands pointed at the owl that flew over their heads for an escape. What were they going to do with it?

"Crucio!" a male voice hissed and the owl cried out and fell to the ground. Erela's eyes widened and kept herself from squealing out in horror and surprise. "You guys are useless . . ." the boy groaned.

"Bring it over here," another boy's voice called. The student Erela could see moved out of the way and revealed a table in the middle of the group that she could see. How many of them were there? Why did that table look so worn? The owl was placed right in the middle, cried out in pain when Erela saw something shine with silver. She looked toward one of the hooded figures with a dagger in their hand and drove it into the bird.

Blood spurted out in small sprinkles and the owl's cries began to die. Erela's voice cracked at the horrific sight while the door in front of her began to disappear. The Hufflepuff girl ran out before the others could find her if they heard her cry of horror. Erela ran out of the dungeons and past the Great Hall.

Hide! Hide! Run somewhere! Erela crawled quickly into the barrel and into the common room. Safe and sound. But the horrific image in her mind was carved into her head . . .

Oh god . . . why would they do that . . .? It was true then . . . there really was a Dark Arts Cult. Killing an animal for protection, the use of an Unforgivable Curse . . . what the hell was going on?

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