Lucius sat on his bed for a very long time, contemplating if he should do as what the letter had asked of him. He knew what the right choice was, but did he want it? Somehow, free will was no longer a privilege in his life and he found himself deciding to go with the letter.
The following weekend, students were allowed to leave school grounds for a visit to Hogsmead. Lucius would normally stay back and lurk the hallways, but this time he went along. His only goal was to meet the Dark Lord and then return to school immediately after that. So, when everyone decided to grab a mug of butterbeer Lucius excused himself and headed to Potage Cauldron Shop instead.
Potage Cauldron Shop was a shop away from the busy street with a door that made no sound when opened. As Lucius stepped into the crowded cauldron stacked shop, he took hesitant steps and debated silently on whether to make his presence known. But just when he was about to say a ‘hello’, he heard a shuffling of feet.
Unlike most people who would voice their uneasiness, Lucius remained quiet and stood in place. He listened intently and when the shuffling stopped, he slowly turned to look behind him. It was then that he saw someone he least expected to see.
“Father?” Lucius asked in surprise.
His father simply nodded his head and gestured for Lucius to follow after him. Holding back the questions in his head, Lucius did as he was told and hurried after his father.
The two of them headed to the back of the shop and climbed down a flight of narrow, wooden steps. They creaked dangerously and Lucius held on to the pipes on the basement wall as he made the descent. When his feet finally touched the floor of the dark room, his father whispered a spell and the lantern at the corner lit up.
“Father, what is going on?” Lucius asked.
“I was sent here to pass you a message,” his father replied in a voice that carried unwillingness and dread.
“Was it you who wrote me the letter?”
“He wrote the letter, I sent it.”
Lucius had a feeling his father knew about the letters Lucius was receiving from the Dark Lord, and he quickly said, “I wanted to tell you, but I was afraid he would find out.”
“He might think I’m-”
“Weak,” his father interrupted. “I know. He’s testing us, Lucius. Testing our loyalty. You did what you had to do.”
Lucius nodded his head. He was glad his father understood.
“Things will get harder now. He wants you to be marked,” his father added.
“The dark mark? But I’m still in school.”
“Not so soon. He needs you to do one thing for him, one thing very important.”
There was something about the way his father spoke that day that did not seem right. It was not just the words but the way he said them. Lucius did not know his father well, but he knew when someone was distracted. Wanting to relieve the worry that was apparent on his father’s face, Lucius asked, “What does he want me to do?”
That question was met with hesitation, that lingered for a while, freezing time as the pin drop silence began to ring in their ears. Lucius wanted to break it but he dared not. Fear knocked on his back door and he was suddenly scared to hear what was required of him.
“He…” his father paused briefly, “He wants you to recruit students.”
Lucius let the words sink in before asking, “Aren’t we too young?”
His father looked Lucius in the eye, as though to point out that Lucius was too young but still doing the Dark Lord’s bidding.
“Why?” Lucius could not help but ask.
“The younger, the better. It would also be the perfect timing when you finish school.”
Lucius merely stared at his father in response. The Dark Lord was depriving him of a schooling life and now he wanted to do the same to others. Lucius did not care about the others, but he found it hard to believe that children now had to choose sides. With Tanya starting her training as an auror and the Dark Lord recruiting children, he knew both sides were preparing for a war.
“I’m sorry, Lucius,” his father said.
Lucius gave his father a nod and immediately after, his father turned on his heels ready to leave.
“Wait, are you leaving?” Lucius quickly asked.
“Yes. Is there anything else you need to ask?”
“No. I just thought…” Lucius trailed off. He thought it would be nice to spend some time with his father, but it looked like his father was not interested. “Never mind,” Lucius ended his sentence.
It was strange, but as his father ascended the steps out of the basement a bad feeling sunk in Lucius’ stomach. His father looked even more distracted than he was before and Lucius could not help but wonder if his father was holding information from him.
At that very moment, Lucius stood frozen with the urge to chase after his father. He wanted to know everything but he was not sure if everything would put him at rest. Just as his father was about to reach the door, Lucius forced himself to make a quick decision.
To Be Continued…
(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Lucius should stay quiet or find out!)