Chapter 57: Haunted
Erela concentrated on working on her potion she knew she would have to perfect for the N.E.W.T.s that was within a few days and she was nowhere near getting it right. Weeks had gone by since she lost both Wisenberg and Stacee and what the werewolf had told her had been weighing on her shoulders since he left Hogwarts. It was all her fault . . . everything happened because of her.
All of it . . .
ALL OF IT!
She reached for the jar mistletoe and accidentally knocked it over off the counter and crashed onto the floor in a million pieces. The accident slowly started to process, Erela's hand was still in place from where she accidentally knocked over her ingredients before she balled it up into a shaky fist. She only had those fifteen seconds to get five pieces of mistletoe into the cauldron before it went bad and she had wasted it by just standing there like a total idiot . . .
The brewing potion turned from a light orange color to green within seconds and then blackened. Now the potion was destroyed . . .
The lanky Hufflepuff pursed her lips and quickly took the cauldron, but cried out in pain when her hands felt the hot metal against her bare palms, completely forgetting she had it over an open fire and dropped it. The small cauldron and bad potion clattered and spilled all over the stone floor, making a much bigger mess of the potions classroom.
She couldn't even clean out a cauldron without making a massive mess of things—
"If it weren't for you, none of this would have happened, right?" Her heart pang hard against her chest. In reaction, her eyes began to water and tried to shake it off and clean the mess she made. "You're to blame for all of this!" Wisenberg's voice echoed over and over again in her head.
Ignore it . . . the stress was getting to her and it was only making her tired enough to remember the werewolf's accusation.
"All. Because. Of. YOU," his voice snarled at her—
In frustration, Erela kicked her cauldron and it bounced off the walls and knocked over some jars of potion ingredients off of its shelves. Everything broke when it hit the stone floors and Erela sobbed into her hands as she slowly curled into a ball. Her body shook, her heart hurt, and she felt hot all at once. Erela felt utterly numb to the bone . . . everything was all her fault. Stacee's death was on her shoulders and Landon left because of her . . . he blamed her for his best friend's death and she accepted it to be her own fault . . .
The weight of it was just too much for her to handle . . .
"I'm sorry . . ." she apologized, tears ran down her face and into her hands, her crying wouldn't stop. "I'm sorry . . ." Every time she apologized, it felt as if something squeezed her chest tighter and tighter, making her cry that much harder. "I'm sorry—"
Erela opened her eyes and looked at the time. Early morning, 4 a.m. The young Auror rolled onto her back and rubbed her eyes, realizing she had been crying in her sleep. She kicked the covers off of her and went into the bathroom to go wash her face and cool herself down. Markus was still at work going through some newspaper clips of his own case, so Erela was alone for the time being until he would clock out. She clicked the lights on and immediately washed her face in cold water.
The last month of Hogwarts was difficult. She reminded herself that Wisenburg and Stacee were gone because of her and constantly tormented herself about it. Things would have been different if she did things differently. She then came to the conclusion that day she had destroyed the Potions class during her practice hour that if she were never their friend, Stacee would still be alive and Landon would never have left school. They were doomed the moment they asked her to join their study group for their O.W.L.s . . .
Erela turned off the water and pat her face dry. When she dropped her towel onto the edge of the sink and looked into the mirror to check how red her eyes were, she saw a flash of pink hair and grey eyes stare at her from the bedroom. The young Auror gasped and quickly turned around, but remembered she was alone. She turned back to the mirror to see if she was really seeing things and the figure wasn't there.
God . . . she must be far more exhausted than she thought. She was starting to see things . . . But for a second there . . .
Erela thought she saw Stacee . . .