Beyond the Foggy Path

Chapter 52: Numb

How long had it been? Hours? Days? Erela lost count . . .

Time seemed to have slowed down in her mind, yet two weeks had already past without her notice. She had to step forward though . . . with Stacee gone, she distracted herself into her studies . . .

Hours of sleep lost . . . images of that day haunted her every time she closed her eyes. Raining dirt, the smell of death, blood, green light, and Stacee's death repeated itself time and time again. In those nightmares, she hoped something would change. Something in that nightmare that would change the results. At the same time she wished she could stay there . . . at least the three of them would be together again.

But every time she woke up . . . the hurt came back and broke into tears.

It wasn't any better for Landon . . .

Erela hadn't seen him since the funeral. From what the other boys said, he remained in bed, silent as a mouse. Well, he was bound to get hungry, so Erela even tried sleeping in the common room to catch him. But he never came . . . And as much as she wanted to be there for him, she couldn't go to him to comfort if he stayed in the boys' dorm. Not only that, but she had to keep up with school as if nothing had happened.

As she was on her way to her last class of the day, she thought of one of many conversations she had with Stacee . . .

"So do you have any ideas what you want to do after graduating?" Erela asked.

Stacee laid back on the couch and thought of the question long and hard. "Well, I don't have an exact answer . . ." he started. "But, I want to try for a really high branch in the Ministry. Maybe be Minister," he shrugged.

Erela chuckled lightly. "Minister Stacee Eitheridge," she started in a mocked Cockney accent. Stacee lightly laughed at her sad attempt of a joke. "Not a bad ring to it," she raised her brow. "So what would Minister Stacee do to improve the wizarding world?" she asked.

"First off . . . Civil Rights," Stacee started. That caught Erela's interest. "With the discrimination against Landon and other magical beings that aren't human or partly human, I want to change that," he nodded with a gentle smirk. "It's total crap, you know?"

Erela lightly smiled and nodded. "Yeah . . ."

She stopped in her track, caught a few bumps from other students that had walked behind her, before she moved to the walls to get out of everyone's way. It just had to be Stacee . . . the one that had so much promise in his future and had plans to change the world . . . Erela bit her lip painfully before she turned back and took long strides to the Hufflepuff basement. And once she came back, there she saw Landon with his trunk and duffle bag.

"Where are you going?" Erela asked.

"I'm leaving . . ." he said unemotionally.

"Wha—You can't leave—"

"Why not? I'm still going no matter what you tell me," he snarled and shoved past her.

"Because—" she started, but couldn't think of an answer from there. "It's almost the end of the school year, you can't back out when there's still some weeks left—"

"I don't give a shit," he interrupted her again. "I'm dropping out."

Erela paused in her tracks for a moment before she shook her head and continued after the tall boy. "Why this all of a sudden?"

"We were missing a head when you sent the cultist wannabes to the Headmistress," he growled.

"Okay? And?"

"One got away, right?"

"Get to it already!" she demanded.

"When they arrested them, they checked which wand killed Stacee and none of them did it!" he snarled and turned to her. "You didn't catch the one that actually did it."

"As if it was MY fault that he got away!" she fought back. "I did what I could—!"

"You didn't try hard enough and you fucked up!" he exclaimed.

"Well, I'm SORRY! Okay!?" she screamed back. "I'm sorry that Stacee died! I'm SORRY that his murderer got away! I'm sorry that ANY of this happened!" Erela snarled angrily. "What else do you want me to apologize for!?"

"For even being alive!"

Erela was taken aback by his statement. "What is THAT suppose to mean . . .?"

"Did you know you talk in your sleep?" he asked sternly. "When you asked if Stacee said anything in his sleep, that he may have said something that the others overheard. I remembered that you talk in your sleep. You murmur. What IF by some RADICAL misfortune that YOU'RE the one that had endangered his life. Your dorm mates may have heard what you said. Maybe the ones that aren't a part of the cult heard about it, and as punishment went after Stacee. All. Because. Of. YOU," he accused. "If it weren't for you, none of this would have happened, right?" he started with a quiet, yet grown irritation in his voice and roughly shoved his finger to her chest. "If you didn't talk in your sleep . . . If you didn't even TRIP for Stacee to save your goddamned life, he would still be here . . ." Landon snarled at her. "You're to blame for all of this!" the boy accused.

A sharp pang stabbed through Erela's chest. His accusation hurt just as badly as the past couple of weeks . . . maybe even worse.

All of it . . . all of it was her fault . . .

She pursed her lips and held in the tears that threatened to spill and the lump in her throat that was practically choking her wasn't the least bit of help at all. Erela let out a cracked sigh and took in a deep breath through her nostrils. "You don't mean that . . ." she said unemotionally.

"I do . . ." Landon said with malice. "You don't care what happened to him . . ." he said. Erela squeezed her eyes shut when that stab hit her hard in the chest. "You just . . . continued on with your routine as if nothing happened . . ." the werewolf shook his head. "God, you don't know what emotions feel like, do you . . .?"

"How dare you!" Erela snarled and shoved him. "I'M HURTING JUST AS MUCH AS YOU ARE!" she exclaimed.

"BULLSHIT! AND YOU KNOW IT!" he exclaimed just as loudly. "You didn't even shed a SINGLE tear for him!"

"I HAVE! You were too busy wallowing in your own sorrows to EVEN NOTICE how hurt I was when it happened!" Erela glared up at him. "I've been trying and trying and TRYING to remain strong for YOU and for Laila! His death has been hard on me just as much as the both of you! How dare you even ACCUSE me of not caring for him! He was MY friend too, you know!" she hissed and couldn't control the hurt anymore. Hot tears ran down her face in pools and looked away from him. Erela shook her head angrily and turned away from him to the castle again.

"Walking away again from an argument? How like you!" Landon mocked in frustration. "Fuck . . . You should have been the one to die instead! That way I wouldn't have to deal with this shit every time!"

Erela whipped her head in his direction with a hard glare and just let that vibrating pain screech in her head and pushed it onto Landon. The fucking bastard deserved it anyway. Landon cried out for a moment and was taken aback by the pain she had caused him. Erela kept the conflicted whips of pain onto him as he backed away from her. "Just GO already!" she snarled. "Do what you want! I don't GIVE two shits anyway!"

"Fuck! I'm done with you, Harris!"

"JUST GO!" she screeched and let out one last hit to his head.

Once Erela had brought up her wall again, Landon huffed angrily and marched away from the castle toward Hogsmeade, once he was off campus he Disapparated. Erela cried as she went back to the Hufflepuff common.

Angry, hurt, disappointed, and utterly betrayed . . .

She was too exhausted to keep going . . . As she had cried herself to sleep, that dream she had had for years finally made sense . . .

We must all face the choice between what is right . . . and what is easy . . .

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