I'm in the process of fixing the formatting, so hopefully I'll get that changed pretty soon. Please, please, PLEASE review! This is my first fanfic and I'm totally open to suggestions. If you hate it, tell me! If you think it's OK, tell me!
What is it about Tuesdays?
This thought crossed Erika's mind as she made her way down the winding path towards her cottage. For some reason she had always thought of Tuesday as the harbinger of evil. This Tuesday was no different. The day had begun as all days did; waking at noon from a drugged and dreamless slumber, then slowly making her way to the small and dirty kitchen to pour a cup of cold coffee from the day before. That morning, however, she discovered that not only was the coffee missing, but her never-ending supply of cheap vodka to complete her beverage seemed to have been depleted as well. By the time she got to work at 4:00, her head was pounding so hard she was amazed that her coworkers didn't seem to hear it. She was able to sneak shots from the bar throughout the afternoon, but not enough to silence the thudding at her temple. Tips were poor during dinner, even for a Tuesday, and by 9:00 Erika's patience had all but disappeared. Luckily, the night crowd did not disappoint. In a college town, weeknights at a bar differed very little from weekends, and Erika could always count on the slobbering drunks of all ages. She knew the reason for their generosity had little to do with their good will and more to do with her low-cut tops and her heavy makeup. Their obvious stares might offend some women, but Erika usually didn't mind. That night, however, had been different. She didn't know if they were being more disgusting than usual or if her patience level was lower, but she had forced the large bouncer named Eddie to throw out two regulars, and had refused to serve another. The owner of the bar, apparently feeling Erika had acted rashly, was not happy and had felt the need to explain to her in great detail why the customers were always right. She had left the bar at 4 AM in a mood that mirrored the stormy sky above her.
The mud that had been left in the wake of the furious storm of last night clung to her boots, though she either hadn't noticed or didn't care. It looked as if it might rain again and as Erika trudged on, a raindrop fell on her nose. She didn't quicken her pace. Erika had never understood why most people viewed storms as depressing or even frightening. For her the rain was cleansing, even baptismal. She had spent many a night standing at the side of the lake, or at the top of the Astronomy towers letting the rain wash over her, feeling every drop and allowing it to soak through her hair, her clothes, her skin…
At the thought of Hogwarts, a rush of memories came back to her, but she quickly pushed them down. One refused to be stifled, however, as she thought with disgust about what she had become. A witch of her caliber should not be hiding in a dingy Muggle village where no one knows her name. Only twelve years ago she had been famous throughout the wizarding world. A hero to save them. That's what they'd all said. "And now look at me," she thought fiercely. "Waiting tables and cleaning up after men that can't even remember their own names." She spat on the ground before collecting her mail and opening the door to her dirty one-bedroom house. She deliberately kept her eyes on the back wall to avoid seeing the bleakness of her dwelling. No pictures adorned the walls; no decorative candles or lamps. The only furniture in the living room was a ratty armchair that was forever leaning to one side and a hopelessly stained coffee table.
Throwing the few letters onto the table, she grabbed the bottle of vodka she had purchased on the way home and took a mighty gulp. She sighed with relief and sunk into the chair as the insistent pounding in her head eased. Closing her eyes, she relished the numbness that began to steal over her. She could a few raindrops begin to fall on the roof, which soon turned into a downpour and she continued to drink. After a few moments of silence, she opened her eyes and cast them to the letters in front of her. She picked them up and went through them without interest. Bill…bill…bill…
She tossed the letters aside and stood up. Wobbling a little bit she realized with satisfaction that the vodka was taking hold. She headed towards the kitchen, intent on making a sandwich before she passed out, but stopped when she caught sight of a pile of old newspapers in the corner. She hesitated, but walked unsteadily to them.
She didn't know why she still took The Daily Prophet. Erika had severed all ties to that world long ago, but for some reason she hadn't cancelled her subscription. Most days she didn't read it at all, but threw it straight into the corner or the trash. Other days she read it voraciously from cover to cover. The spaces between these days had become longer and longer and she realized with a start that she had not read the paper at all in over a year. She reluctantly unfolded the top paper and began to read. Hours passed, yet she continued to read about the world that she had cut herself off from. There was nothing of interest in most of them, and she skipped over many of the stories, but she could not make herself put the papers aside.
She was nearing the bottom of the stack but she was not yet satisfied. She opened the last paper and gazed at the date; some two years previous. Looking down at the front page, she felt her breath come rushing out as if she had been punched in the stomach. A bold headline, "Black Still at Large", stared back up at her. The picture below showed a man calmly staring out from behind a curtain of tangled black hair with eyes that had haunted Erika for twelve long years. She jumped out of the chair and dropped the newspaper as if it was on fire. Without a second's hesitation she ran out into the rain.