Monday came as swiftly as the owls that flew into the great hall that morning. Soon, Joanna was heading to class and when she arrived, she slid into her usual seat beside Annoria.
Tom, who was up in front, was in a discussion with Professor Slughorn, who kept patting him on the back as he smiled broadly.
“Joanna,” Malfoy greeted as he walked pass her to his seat.
“Since when is he in good terms with you?” Annoria asked as she watched Malfoy shove a Ravenclaw boy out of the way as he called him a mudblood.
“Don’t know, don’t care,” Joanna muttered as she saw Tom heading back to his seat, while Professor Slughorn greeted the class.
The lesson went by quickly and Joanna was afraid time was speeding up quicker than it should have to. Finally, when class was over, the moving crowd forced her out of the classroom. And as much as she wanted to stick around to see what the discussion Tom and Professor Slughorn had began getting into, she couldn’t.
“Come on, we have another class,” Annoria said when Joanna stopped outside of the classroom.
“I’ll catch up later,” Joanna said and waved for Annoria to leave without her.
“Just don’t be late.” With that, Annoria left.
“Who you waiting for?” Abraxas Malfoy said as he lingered outside the classroom.
“None of your business Malfoy,” Annoria said as she tried to hear the conversation that was happening behind the close doors.
Malfoy chuckled as he folded his arms and leaned against the wall across her.
“I saw you at the ball with him.” Malfoy smirked.
“And I saw you at the ball with a girl who looked like she needed a spell to fix her face.”
Malfoy narrowed his eyes, he seem to be holding back on a remark. “I was joking,” Joanna added sarcastically.
“Thought so,” Malfoy said, just as Tom exited the classroom.
Tom merely looked from Malfoy to Joanna, before he spoke, “I’ll see you in the common room Abraxas.”
“Just go,” Tom ordered and Malfoy did as he was told.
“What are you doing here? Don’t you have a class?”
“Just wondering if you got the Boomslang,” Joanna said softly.
“No. He said he couldn’t find it.”
“I have it,” Joanna said as she pulled the small jar out from under her cloak and handed it to Tom.
“I thought you said you didn’t?” Tom asked skeptically.
“I forgot,” Joanna answered unconvincingly.
Tom merely laughed, his expression showing disbelief.
“Ok, fine, I didn’t wanna give it to you. I almost got caught for you.”
“Right, well, you better get to class,” Tom said before he walked off.
“Great,” Joanna muttered to herself, she felt as though she had just betrayed his trust. Hopefully, he would forget about it over time.
The next couple of days, most students were packing and getting ready to head home for the Christmas holidays. This year, Joanna was forced to stay in school because her parents were busy trying to find her missing aunt. Apparently, Aunt Omelia disappeared one evening and has never showed up since.
Aunt Omelia was Joanna’s mother’s younger sister. She was a beautiful young lady whom many man sought after. And since her disappearance, her mother has been obsessed with the idea that Aunt Omelia had been kidnapped. Hence the cancellation of Christmas for her family.
One evening, Joanna found Tom standing outside her common room. She suspected he was staying for the holidays too and found it rather relieving that she didn’t have to be alone for 2 weeks.
“I’m heading down to Hogsmead, do you want to come?” Tom asked casually, seemingly having forgotten of the Boomslang Skin incident.
“Are we allowed to?” Joanna had to ask.
“I have a letter from Professor Dippet.” Tom gave a smug.
Joanna nodded and followed after him. The school was rather deserted as almost all the students had left, and getting out of the school felt better somehow.
Hogsmead was a small town not too far away from Hogwarts, but during this season, there weren’t many people in the streets. The only ones rushing around in the cold weather were doing last minute Christmas shopping. And the rest were lounging in the different taverns and cafes all over town.
Joanna expected Tom to stop at a cafe to get a drink, but he didn’t. Instead, he turned down an alley which led to a narrow row of closed shops. Joanna peered into some of the shops and they didn’t look customer friendly.
“Tom, where are we?” Joanna asked, sticking close to him as a hooded man walked pass them.
“The right place to find what we need,” Tom said as he stopped in front of a tavern. Above the door was a sign that hung crookedly. It read, “Mors Mortis Tavern”.
“Death Tavern?” Joanna gulped.
“Come on,” Tom said and walked right into it.
The place felt like a bad omen. She knew she wasn’t suppose to be there when an old woman, who exited the tavern, stared at her with her blood red eyes.
Joanna wasn’t sure if she should enter or wait. It was cold outside and there was a huge man staring at her through a musty window of a shop. But if she did enter, there will be a lot of huge, ugly, not to mention scary looking people staring instead.
To be continued…
(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Joanna should or should not enter Mors Mortis Tavern!)