Joanna pushed open the old wooden door and stepped into the dimly lit tavern. A shrunken head with a missing eye, that hung by the door, yelled her a warning, “You don’t want to be here!”
Joanna ignored its screaming voice as she slowly walked pass a table where a half-breed giant was softly conversing with a hooded man. She began looking for Tom but the Tavern was bigger than it seemed from the outside.
Joanna resorted to finding a table and waiting for him. But as she passed a hooded figure by the window, she noticed the ring on her finger. And before she could ask, the figure grabbed onto her wrist and forced her to sit down.
“What are you doing here?!” the female voice asked harshly.
“Aunt Omelia?” Joanna asked as she tried to peer under the figure’s hood.
“You shouldn’t be here child, it’s not safe,” Omelia whispered.
“Where have you been? Mother has been so worried!” Joanna unconsciously reached for her aunt’s hand but immediately let go when it didn’t feel like a hand at all.
“What did you do?” Joanna asked softly.
“What do you think?” Omelia hid her hands under her cloak as she continued, “You shouldn’t be here, you should leave now!”
“But I’m looking for a few things,” Joanna explained.
“Looking for a few things? What dark magic are you playing with child?”
“It’s not for me. It’s for a friend.”
“Friend or not, you shouldn’t be involve in any form of the dark arts,” Omelia said, sounding very much like Joanna’s mother.
“You should speak for yourself,” Joanna retorted.
“I made a mistake, and I’m paying for the consequences.”
“Well, I’ll pay for my own consequences too. If you can’t help me, I’ll find someone else.” Joanna was angry. Her aunt had no right questioning her when she herself was practicing such art.
“No! Don’t. What do you need?” Omelia quickly asked before Joanna could leave the table.
Joanna kept the list of ingredients they needed to make the disembodiment potion with her every time. Just in case she might come across it. So she pulled the parchment from under her cloak and handed it to her aunt.
“These ingredients, they make-“
“I know,” Joanna cut her aunt off.
“A disembodiment potion, if not done right, can leave horrible scars, or worst, death,” Omelia warned.
“Like I said, it’s not for me. Now do you have the ingredients or not?” Joanna was getting frustrated. But she was also feeling rather uneasy as a few people, if she could call them that, were staring at her.
“I only have some Phoenix Ashes.” Omelia reached from under her cloak a small bottle of ashes and handed it to Joanna.
“How much?” Joanna asked.
“Do not tell your mother where I am, and do not return. That is all I ask of you.”
“Fine. Thank you,” Joanna said and hurried out of the tavern. She didn’t want to stay there any longer, and she didn’t want to return either. Seeing that Tom was not outside, she decided to head back to school herself. The whole experience creep her out and she wanted to be somewhere she felt safe.
Joanna headed to dinner in the great hall hoping to find Tom. And just when she started to worry he had gone missing, he walked into the hall.
“Where have you been?” Joanna asked, sounding like a nagging mother.
“Out looking for stuff.” Tom shrugged casually and continued, “Where did you go?”
“I came back here. That place, it’s-it’s-it’s bad,” Joanna concluded it as one word.
“Well, it did help me find most of the things we need. The only thing I couldn’t find was Phoenix Ashes,” Tom lowered his voice as he spoke.
“I have that,” Joanna said conveniently.
“Good, meet me in the girls bathroom at eight. I want to show you something.” Tom got up and left.
Joanna turned to look at the remaining Professors and Professor Dumbledore was watching her. She gave him a quick nod and returned to her food.
That night, she sneaked out of her almost empty common room and made he way to the girls bathroom on the second floor. She also brought the Phoenix Ashes with her, which she hid inside her cloak.
The girls bathroom was quieter that night as the moaning ghost was not around. Joanna headed to where she and Tom usually met and waited. He arrived shortly after with the big book in his hand.
“Did you bring the Phoenix Ashes?” Tom asked.
“Yes.” Joanna reached into her cloak and took out the bottle.
“Thanks,” Tom said reaching for it, but Joanna quickly pulled her hand back.
“Are you sure this is safe?” Joanna asked when Tom gave her a questioning look.
Tom slowly walked up to her. “I know what I’m doing.”
“Do you? My aunt, she looks horrid. I just don’t think…”
“Don’t you trust me?” Tom asked. He was standing directly in front of her now.
“It’s not about trust. What if you die?” Joanna blurted out what she had been thinking the whole day.
“I won’t,” Tom said, reaching for her hand and giving it a squeeze. As he let go, his right hand reached for hers and took the bottle.
“Now I want to show you something.” Tom walked over to a sink, and spoke in a language she recognized as parseltongue. The sink slowly revealed a piped that went downwards.
“Ladies first?” Tom said, gesturing for her to enter.
Joanna contemplated. What was down there? What was it that he wanted to show her? Was it safe? .
To be continued…
(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Joanna should venture down this unknown passageway or leave!)