Shadows of the Heart
Chapter 2: The Velvet Room
I suppose it all began the night I arrived at the Leaky Cauldron. I had just had a rather unpleasant encounter with my Aunt Marge, which ultimately lead to her inflating like a giant balloon. Ahh, good memories. But we're getting off track. As I was saying, this unpleasant encounter led me to pack all my belongings and get the hell out of there.
As much as I'd like to say the journey to the Leaky Cauldron was uneventful, it wasn't. First that huge dog that scared the crap out of me, then the Knight Bus that most likely shaved a few years off my lifespan. Merlin, that blasted thing is a death trap! And then, and then! When I finally make it to the Cauldron, I'm told by the effin' Minister of Magic that I'm on probation for the number of times magic was recorded at the Dursley's since I started at Hogwarts!
Now, I don't know what it's like in a Pureblood home, but I have been told that accidental magic, like what happened this past summer, is fairly common in Muggleborn homes. So how, pray tell, was this not a bullshit probation?
I digress, however, since the importance of that pales in comparison to what was to come, about a week before the new term at Hogwarts was set to start…
Location: ? Date: August 25th 2017
I jolted awake with a gasp. I'm not entirely sure what woke me, but I do remember it being somewhat painful, and centered on my right ankle. As if that wasn't enough, the sight that greeted my eyes upon awakening was totally unfamiliar. The first thing to catch my attention, was the blue. Everything in the room was blue. The walls, ceiling, bed, all of it! All of it a rich, deep, velvety blue. Speaking of the room, it was very sparsely furnished with a bed that was built into the wall and, oddly enough, a toilet. There were no windows, and where a door should be there was a bared door found only in prisons.
It was then that I realized where I was. A prison cell. A glance down revealed that I wore the stereotypical prison garb of black and white stripes. Plus, I found the source of the earlier pain; a tight metal band wrapped around my ankle, and attached to that band was a ball and chain.
A cruel laugh broke me from my shock induced trance. Haltingly, I stood and faced the cell door, just as the source of the rather ominous laughter stepped into view.
Two girls stood on opposing sides of the cell. Both have platinum blonde hair, yellow eyes, and wear the same blue and black prison guard uniform. They were very obviously twins, with only a couple differences to set them apart. The right-hand twin had a malicious smirk on her face, had an eyepatch over her right eye, had her hair up in twin buns, and carried a club of some sort that seemed to faintly crackle with electricity. The left-hand twin, however, was straight faced, had an eyepatch over her left eye, had her hair in a braid, and carried a clipboard. Another notable difference between the two of them was the hats they wore. They were both of the same design, sure, but if you looked closely, you could see the letters "O", "Y", "O", and "O" on the left twin's hat, and the letters "X", "M", "R", and "N" on the right twin's hat.
I slowly moved to the bars of my cell. Slowly, because of the ball and chain. Once I had grasped the bars, the twins, in synch, turned to face towards the center of the main room. The left twin turned counterclockwise, and the right twin turned clockwise.
"Trickster," my gaze turned from the twins, to a wild-eyed man with a long nose, seated behind an ornate desk. "Welcome to my Velvet Room," he finished with a grin.
Obviously, this guy was insane. I started tugging on the bars in an attempt to escape.
"So you've come to, Inmate," little miss malicious sneered, her smirk never leaving her face.
"The you in reality is currently fast asleep," the straight-faced one stated in a calm monotone. "You are currently experiencing this as a dream."
'A dream? Yeah right! All of this is far too real to be a dream,' I thought as I redoubled my efforts to escape.
"You're in the presence of our master," the aggressive one snarled. "Stop struggling and stand up straight!"
If anything, all that did was increase my struggles.
"Welcome," the man at the desk repeated, grin never leaving his face. "I am delighted to make your acquaintance. This place exists between dream and reality, mind and matter. It is a room that only those who are bound by a 'contract' may enter. I am Igor, the master of this place. Remember it well."
I noticed, that as he named himself, Igor's eye gave a very slight, almost unnoticeable twitch. More importantly, the tugging on the bars was getting me nowhere fast.
"I summoned you to speak of important matters," Igor continued. "It involves your life as well."
"Let me out of here!" I scream out in frustration.
"Know your place, Inmate!" the aggressive twin shrieked, banging her electrified club on my cell. "Who do you think you're talking to?"
"Still, this is a surprise…" Igor mused as he turned his head to take in the room as a whole, as if seeing it for the first time. "The state of this room reflects the state of your own heart. To think a prison would appear as such. You truly are a 'prisoner' of fate. In the near future, there is no mistake that Ruin awaits you."
That brought me up short. Of all the things Igor could have said, Ruin was not something I was expecting to hear. Honestly, I was expecting something along the lines of Malfoy's prick of a father, Lucius, holding me for ransom. "Ruin?" I tentatively ask.
Igor chuckled. "You expected Lucius Malfoy to be holding you for ransom as revenge for last school year, correct?"
My eyes widen and my jaw drops.
"Do not look so surprised, Potter," Igor replied, amusement dancing in his eyes. "We are in a metaphysical representation of your heart and mind. Knowing what you are thinking is like reading a billboard. But no, I speak of the end to everything. However, there is a means to oppose such a fate. You must be 'Rehabilitated.' Rehabilitated toward freedom. That is your only means to avoid Ruin. Do you have the resolve to challenge the distortion of the world?"
I stare at him in disbelief for a few seconds, Igor's words replaying in my head. Finally, I ask "why me? What makes me special?"
Igor's grin seems to widen. "Why, because you are the Boy-Who-Lived, of course. The fact that you survived the Killing Curse marked you as capable to endure the trials of what is to come, as proven by your defeats of Voldemort in your first and second years. Now, I ask you again. Do you have the resolve to challenge the distortion of the world?
I set my jaw, eyes hardening as I nod my head, committing myself to the many trials ahead.
"Then allow me to observe the path of your Rehabilitation," Igor replies. No sooner were the words out of his mouth, the twins turned back, in synch, to face me. "Ah, pardon me for not introducing the others. To your right is Caroline; to your left Justine. They serve as wardens here."
"Hmph," the now named Caroline snorted. "Try and struggle as hard as you like."
"The duty of wardens is to protect inmates," Justine explained in her monotone. "We are also your collaborators. That is, if you remain obedient."
"I shall explain the roles of these two at another occasion," Igor interrupted, prompting the twins to, once again in synch, turn back to Igor. Always in synch, those two.
"Now then, it seems the night is waning," Igor continued. "It is almost time. Take your time to slowly come to understand this place. We will surely meet again, eventually." Almost as if on cue, a bell began ringing.
"Time's up," Caroline snarled. "Now hurry up and go back to sleep."
At those words, my vision began to do darken, the Velvet Room fading from my vision as sleep once again claimed me in its inky embrace.