Summary: Alice Longbottom, 200 words.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author's Note: Inspired by the 12 September 2004 word #72 on the 15minuteficlets livejournal community.


She was lost in her own mind, thin and drawn with the residue of pain that would never leave no matter how many Healing potions she drank. She liked picture books, though, and listening to people sing. Some days she even seemed to recognize her husband as he lay in his stupor on the bed beside hers. But that only made her keen and wail until a Healer brought her something new to redirect her attention.

That was how they learned she liked bubblegum; a single piece could distract her from any distress. She unwrapped each piece with painstaking care, folded the paper into neat squares that she saved for her son, and chewed thoughtfully. She was a champion bubble-blower, spinning huge, gossamer spheres out of the gum. If she wasn't watched closely, though, she would wet her hands in the pitcher that stood constantly by her bedside, and hold the bubble in front of her face.

"Hollow," she said once, when one of the Healers tried to levitate a bubble away before it exploded in a sticky mess over her face and hair. "Hollow, hollow, hollow."

"Like me," was what she would have said, if she'd still known how.


AN: Thanks for reading, and please review.