Chapter 1: Beginning and the Beginning of the End
Olive Hornby sat at the Ravenclaw table and said in a voice pitched loud enough to carry to the nearby Hufflepuff table, "I saw Frisbee making goo-goo eyes at Farkas in divination today, and you know she can do it really well, after all she has four of them!"
Hornby's little clique erupted in the usual titters as Olive continued the needling that she had been inflicting on the mousy Frisbee since first year. Now in the fall of their fifth year the Alpha bitch of Ravenclaw had, if anything, become even more vicious. There was just something about the Frisbee girl that grated her. Possibly it was her ill fitting clothes, hand me down or donated robes. Maybe it was her pale, pimply skin. Perhaps it was her squeaky voice, her mousy brown hair, the fact that the four-eyed freak's marks were always just ahead of her own in class, especially divination. Who cares why? It just made Olive feel justly superior whenever she put the Hufflepuff in her place.
"Hey, leave off her Hornby; don't you have something better to do than to pick on your classmate?"
Olive Hornby spun to give Frisbee's protector a piece of her mind and nearly bit her tongue when she saw who it was, "um, you know Tom, just harmless fun! Frisbee knows we're just having her on, don't you Myrtle?"
The look Olive gave her Hufflepuff victim was full of promise, 'if you think I'm on your case now, just you wait and see what happens if you don't agree with me!'
Myrtle gulped and simply nodded, causing her glasses to slide half-way down her nose.
Tom Riddle strode off to the Slytherin table where he was attended by his 'court,' the house-mates that gravitated toward him whenever he seemed to have a moment to settle in one place, which, outside of the classroom wasn't very often.
"He's so dreamy!" Olive enthused.
"He's a poof!" one of the male Ravenclaws sniggered, "he doesn't like girls!"
"So you say!" she snapped.
"I'm just sayin,' you never see him with a girl, always with a bunch of blokes; I tell you he's seekin' for the other team!"
"Just because he's a boy, no, a young man who cares about his personal appearance and is serious about his studies doesn't mean he's a faggot!"
"Well, appearances are . . ."
"Just shut it you!" and with that Olive let the boy know that the conversation was ended. She turned to the sycophant on her left and whispered, "If he is bent, I'll bet I can straighten him out!"
This elicited a giggle from her hanger-on and a snort from Myrtle Frisbee.
'That's it' Hornby thought, 'time to put that bespectacled bint in her place.'
"I know why you're so good at divination, Frisbee; your glasses are so thick you can see into the future!"
It was bad enough when the Ravenclaw bitches tittered at this but even worse when some of her fellow Puffs started laughing along.
Olive was on a roll; she had an audience and knew how to work a room.
"When you look at a map, do you see people waving?"
She pantomimed looking up and waving while squeaking out "hi Frisbee!"
"Hey Frisbee," she asked in mock concern, "how do you find your glasses without your glasses?"
Then her smile turned particularly vicious.
"I know how your minders back at the orphanage punish you; they take away your glasses and then rearrange the furniture!"
By this time three tables were in an uproar but to be fair the Hufflepuff table was booing Hornby's over the top hurtful comments, but that just added to the chaos. To Myrtle it seemed as though the whole school was laughing at her and she'd had enough. She jumped up and screamed "You miserable loathsome evil cow!" at Olive, who managed to look as though her feelings were hurt as the distraught Frisbee ran out of the great hall down the corridor and up the stairs to the second floor girls bathroom.
Hornby called after her "I'm sorry Frisbee, oh wait, actually, I'm not!" then dissolved into paroxysms of laughter herself.
She didn't even see the handsome Slytherin prefect get up and leave.
'What if that silly little girl stumbles on my secret?' he thought to himself, not that he cared for the Frisbee girl at all, just the appearance of caring was what he was after. If he could talk her down it would improve his standing within the ranks of the Puffs, the one house where he hadn't garnered any followers.
Myrtle ran into the girl's bathroom and didn't even notice the displaced sink; or the great gaping hole in the floor that she passed on her way to the second stall from the right. She just slammed the door and wailed at the unfairness of it all. No one liked her, no one had come to her defense, except for that Slytherin Prefect, but then again he was just doing his job.
Tom rapped gently on the girl's bathroom door and said in a low voice, "hello?"
Myrtle was sobbing and bemoaning her circumstances and didn't hear Tom enter the bathroom. He saw the entrance to the chamber had been left open and swore, then he began to call in parseltongue ssservant of the founder, where are you?
I am hungry again, you promisssed me more food, there isss much food here
Yesss, there isss, but you cannot feed here, the othersss will find you and will try to hurt you
Myrtle heard none of this of course, just hissing and a few odd vowel sounds, a sort of 'made up' language. More important, it was a boy's voice! Boys were not allowed in girls bathrooms for any reason. She steeled herself for a confrontation; she was going to give someone what for! The angry teen jerked the latch on the cubicle door and slammed the wooden door open.
The sound made both Riddle and the dirty great basilisk turn to look at the source; Myrtle took a deep breath to begin haranguing the trespasser – and died. The gaze of the basilisk had done its deadly work.
Tom Marvolo Riddle hadn't seen death, human death, until that moment; he wondered what the fuss was all about. One minute you're walking and talking and breathing and the next minute you're not. It was no different than say, snuffing out a candle really. He stooped down on one knee to look at the basilisk's handiwork, no scars, no expression of shock or anger or fear, just mild surprise as if to say 'oh!'
Tom caught a whiff of something foul as he inspected the body; he saw water or something soaking the girl's skirt and remembered hearing somewhere that when people died their bladders and bowels often released their contents. The dead had no dignity to lose.
I can eat thisss one? the serpent pleaded.
No! Go back to the chamber, I will bring a goat after a while, now go, quickly!
The monster nosed Myrtle's still warm body and then reluctantly turned back to the opening of the chamber before disappearing down the chute.
Riddle intoned clossse and the sink slid back into place, recovering the hole. His logical mind went through the steps, he controlled the basilisk, beyond any reasonable doubt, the basilisk had killed the Frisbee girl; therefore he had just killed the girl. He had murdered. He looked at Myrtle and pulled the pocket diary from his robes.
"I wonder if it'll really work?" he mused, then began the dark spell that his forbidden research indicated would result in the preservation of a fraction of his soul.
Nearly an hour later a slightly paler, thinner Tom Riddle looked with even less regard at his dead schoolmate. He drug and pushed the body back into the cubicle she had come out of and placed it on the toilet. Sooner or later someone would find the body, maybe they would think she died of natural causes and that would be the end of it. He could only hope.
As much as Riddle had studied the dark arts, he should have known the pall of black magic would be all over the body and whoever found her would probably recognize the stigma of such a dark curse.
Headmaster Dippett awoke early the next morning to the sound of frantic hammering at his door, Alyson Munroe, head of Hufflepuff house was frantic.
"Miss Frisbee's bed hasn't been slept in and no one has seen her since dinner last night!"
"Calm yourself Professor Munroe; I'm sure Miss Frisbee will be found curled up on a couch somewhere ere long. Come, let us begin the search."
The potion's professor, Sylvia St. James, found her in short order and immediately sealed off the area.
"We need the DMLE here, now!" she told the headmaster in a quivering voice, "I think she was murdered."
Dippett was aghast, "murdered? Isn't that a rather hasty judgment Professor?"
"Don't take my word for it headmaster, go and stand in that room yourself, you can feel the dark magic there!"
He did, and he had to agree as soon as he entered the bathroom. There was something evil about the feel of the place. As he was contemplating this two aurors, Smith and Jones, from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement walked in.
"Whoa" Smith exclaimed, "d'you feel that?"
The man's partner, a thick waisted lady auror in her late thirties with raven locks nodded in agreement.
"We need a team here" he looked at the distraught professor, "you did well to call us, there's a very dark magic signature here, it indicates deliberate murder and then something, I haven't felt anything like it before, but I think the intent was to profit somehow from the murder." He began to talk quietly to his partner after saying this, as though he had already said too much.
"Someone or something killed this girl, and then drug her into the cubicle, see the smear marks on the floor?"
Dippett nodded and asked, "what made these marks?"
"I'll tell you if you ask again, headmaster," the lady auror said, "but I don't think you really want to know."
"I'll get out of your way and let you do your jobs then" the old and very tired Professor said, and left.
Smith, the on-site auror in charge mused aloud "if the girl had just been left on the floor where she fell it could have been some kind of accident, but someone felt the need to hide the body, that means intent, that means someone wanted to not be caught. Any footprints in the effluence that you can detect?"
The lady just shook her head 'no.'
The magical autopsy revealed the girl died of some kind of medusoid curse, one that required her to look at her assailant or the cursed object or the caster of the deadly curse. Whatever it was it entered the victim through the eyes and then just shut down all bodily functions, heartbeat, breathing, seeing, hearing, thinking – all stopped in the proverbial wink.
Several curses could have been cast, all very dark, all very illegal. Some magical creatures could have the same effect. Enchanted cobras and some types of acromantulae could freeze their victims with a gaze, or simply kill them outright. The word went out, discretely of course, look for someone with exotic magical pets.
Tom Riddle in the performance of his prefect duties overheard the investigating team and he nearly jumped for joy – this was an out, if only he could find someone dumb enough to have dangerous animals on campus. Someone thick enough to have something hidden away. He grinned and evil grin; it was almost too easy – pin it on that brainless oaf Hagrid!
Dippett, in his last official act as Hogwart's headmaster ordered the award to be given to Tom Marvolo Riddle in front of the whole school, he then handed the keys of his office over to his deputy headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, and discretely left the school rather than face the hoard of reporters in the Great Hall.
Three days later Myrtle awoke with a start, she was still sitting on the toilet in the second cubicle of the girl's bathroom. She hurried out and down the stairs to see if anyone was still in the great hall, maybe one of her roommates would have picked up her books, but she had to make sure.
When she arrived in the great hall it was to see the prefect, Tom Riddle receiving a plaque on which was inscribed "Special Award for Services to the School." He gave a brief, heartfelt speech "I only wish I could have found the monster before it took our classmate from us, I did nothing, really, that anyone else wouldn't have done, but for her sake and in her name I accept this award." Then he raised his goblet and said "To Myrtle Frisbee."
A very sober and somber student body mumbled "Myrtle Frisbee."
Myrtle gasped and two Hufflepuff girls screamed.
Three friends, three best friends stood on the ramparts of the ancient castle that was Hogwart's. All three were scanning the edge of the forbidden forest waiting for the inevitable attack.
"What d'you reckon Harry?"
"Inferi, dementors, giants, maybe some trolls and a whole lot of death eaters."
Ron Weasley nodded grimly and took a moment to clasp Hermione's hand. His bushy haired fiancé squeezed back and grinned sheepishly, "when this is over" she started to say, but was cut off as the tall redhead gathered her into a fierce hug.
Harry was glad his friends had each other, and he was equally glad that Ginny was somewhere else, somewhere unplottable, safe and sound. He would have liked to have seen her just one more time though; he needed to tell her that . . ."
"Incoming!" a uniformed auror pointed toward the sun which was being obscured by – something; several somethings in fact.
Hundreds of round missiles were raining down on the ramparts and walls, the defenders threw up shields and the projectiles were deflected to the courtyard behind them. Those on the ground began to scream as the nature of the objects became clear.
Heads, hundreds of heads, fell to the grass, bounced and rolled coming to rest face up. The faces were magically preserved so that the people inside the castle could see and recognize members of their families, friends, older brothers and sisters and even those that had been too young to attend school. Magical Britain had been decimated by the forces of the dark lord.
A sonorous enhanced voice, cold, sibilant, reptilian called from the forest.
"You in the castle, hear me! Those who would join me do so now, open the gates and you shall live, you and all your families, resist me and die; all of you unto the last of your generations!"
"For the last time child, it is forbidden for us to interfere in the lives of the living!" The bloody baron was blue faced with rage as the youngest of the Hogwart's ghosts was again insisting that they do something to help.
"But we can help, we can't be killed! We can carry messages, spy on the enemy, let our side know the enemy's plans!"
Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington placed a hand on the young spirit's shoulder, "we can't be killed but we can be destroyed, a dementor would find you a particularly tasty morsel and then there would be nothing left of the soul of Myrtle Frisbee."
"So we just wait here for that murderer to come for us, is that it?" Myrtle faced the other ghosts. "What kind of existence will we have if Voldemort wins? Hogwart's will become a school of the darkest of magics, and what will become of us? Will we be exorcised or simply evicted by evil spirits? Will our souls become dark and corrupted? If I have a choice I say we fight for our afterlives as our defenders are fighting for their lives and the lives of their loved ones!"
The Grey Lady rose to her full height and said, "There are worse things than death, Sir Nicholas, even for ones such as us."
The tall ghost adjusted his ruffle and asked "What do you mean, milady?"
"Remorse, guilt, regret – if we do nothing, just wait here the forces of light magic may yet prevail, but if they don't we'll have the rest of our very long 'lives' to regret that we could have done something and chose not to."
The Grey Lady drifted to Myrtle and said, "I for one will stand with you child."
The knighted ghost leveled his gaze at the rest of the castle ghosts, "Well I certainly will not be made a coward by my actions, or lack thereof. Baron?"
The Bloody Baron shook himself and groaned, "Oh hell and damnation; no one wants to die forever!"
That was the turning point, the castle ghosts all agreed to do what they could to help the remaining forces of light.