“Fine,” Joanna said as she hurried down the stairs to the kitchen.
Once she took her mother’s misplaced wand, she turned to Rose, who was merely smiling at the kitchen doorway.
“So where shall we do it?”
“Hang on, whose wand are you using?” Joanna quickly asked.
“My mother’s spare. You see, we have-“
“Whatever, lets go,” Joanna interrupted as she headed out through the kitchen exit.
She didn’t know why she had agreed to do it, but she felt a surge of adrenaline, rushing through her veins, and she knew she could beat her cousin anytime.
Out in the freshly mowed lawn, Joanna took ten paces away from her cousin. It was a good day for a swim in the nearby pool, but all Joanna could think about was making her cousin suffer when she loses her pride.
“Are you sure about this Joanna?” Rose asked without a hint of sincerity.
Joanna smiled in return and bowed in response. Seeing her reaction, Rose did the same and immediately went into her dueling stance, with her wand overhead, ready to cast the first spell.
And though Joanna knew her cousin would never play fair, she failed to see it coming when sparks flew and she was disarmed.
“Hey! I wasn’t ready!” Joanna shouted as she stared from her cousin to her mother’s wand, lying twenty feet away.
“Go get it,” Rose said as she raised her eyebrows.
“Don’t you dare make another move,” Joanna said, as she hesitated to go for her wand.
“I won’t,” Rose replied with a smile.
Joanna knew she couldn’t trust her cousin, so she made a dash for her wand, but before she could reach it, a spell hit her so hard, that it sent her flying further from the wand, and into a Rose bush.
“Oh look, you landed on my turf.” Rose laughed as she hurried over.
“Let me help you,” Rose added as she offered her hand, but Joanna pushed her out of the way as she stumbled out.
Her skin started to sting as the thorns in the bush pricked her more than once.
“I’m not dueling anymore. You don’t play by the rules,” Joanna said, trying to get up.
“No, you don’t get to choose. A duel ends when someone doesn’t get up anymore.” Rose shoved Joanna on her back and pointed her wand right at her face.
“What are you doing?” Joanna quickly asked.
“I learnt a spell in school. It’s famous in duels but I haven’t gotten a chance to use it yet. Oh, don’t worry, I know how it works, so I won’t mess it up. And since we ARE in a duel, I am just dying to try it out.”
“What? Don’t do anything you would regret,” Joanna said as she moved backwards, away from Rose.
“Crucio!’ Rose shouted, and before Joanna could even blink, a pain unlike any other rose from her spine and into every vein in her body.
The pressure in her veins felt as though it was about to burst and the stinging feeling on her skin became far more excruciating, as though the little pricks were tearing itself wider.
Joanna could not even say a word as hot tears flowed from her eyes, and her screams muffled in the grass as she rolled around, trying to make the pain stop.
But just went she thought she was going to die, she faintly heard someone else joining them, and a second later, the pain stopped and everything faded to black.
When Joanna finally gained consciousness, she was in her room, and the sky was already dark. Joanna wondered if the experience was just a nightmare, but when she saw the pricks on her hands and arms, she knew it wasn’t. Trying to sit up, she sent herself right back to sleep as she blacked out again.
Joanna woke up in intervals. One moment it was day, the next it was night. When she finally found enough strength to pull herself up, the clock by her bedside ticked 3a.m.
Thirsty and hungry, Joanna slowly got out of her bed and headed down to the kitchen. It took her so long to reach the kitchen as she had to focus on pulling her legs forward to walk. When she finally sat down by the kitchen table, she drank a whole jug of water and swallowed half a loaf of bread without even chewing.
She felt very much alive and her mind started racing with questions. Who was it that saved her? And what happened to Rose?
Just then, she heard someone walk into the kitchen from behind her.
“Looks like you’re finally up.” The familiarity of the voice calmed her wildly beating heart immediately.
Tom took a seat next to her as he continued, “Feeling better?”
“I think so. What happened Tom?” Joanna quickly asked.
“I’ll tell you in the morning, right now, you should get back to bed.” Tom said as he offered his hand.
“But, I’m not tired,” Joanna said.
“It’s three in the morning. You should go back to bed. Let me take you.” Tom didn’t wait for her reply as he took her hand and led her back to her room. Once she was in bed, Tom wished her goodnight and left.
Joanna silently waited to hear Tom’s bedroom door close, but oddly she didn’t. Immediately, she got up and quietly hurried down the hallway to peek down the stairs.
In the dimly lit hall, Joanna saw Tom pulling a cloak over his shoulders as he headed towards the door.
Where was he going? Joanna silently asked herself. And then curiosity set it, should she follow him or go back to bed?
To Be Continued…
(Vote or leave a comment below on whether Joanna should stalk or go back to bed!)