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Chapter One- Saucers of Milk

"Boggarts are ugly-that's why he's always calling me that. They're small, and they've got warts and bumbles and all, and they like to live in cupboards and under the floor, but they're not always mean—you can make friends with a boggart if you're really nice to him. You leave milk out for them, and things. I just thought it would be funny if we had one." Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle

My roommate was a partier, and that was a problem.

It was one thing to live with a workaholic. Workaholics are predictable—they stay out more than they stay in and return at odd hours (ranging anywhere from very late to obscenely early) but you always know ahead of time when they will be back because they run on some sort of spastic clockwork. Partiers, on the other hand, are different. They are capable of stumbling in at any time between midnight and the following noon. You never know when they could be slumped out in front of the door, too wasted to attempt to find their key, knock, or yell, listening to every word you say while they wallow in their own vomit.

Like inept, but annoyingly lucky detectives, partiers have a way of finding out things you really didn't want them to know. This is all well and good if your deepest, darkest secrets involve something like a bad taste in music or a secret love shrine to the campus janitor, but is all together nasty when it involves late-night visits from a wanted sociopath.

I needed a way to communicate with him. He needed to know when it was safe to come in, and which nights were best to take a pass. On the nights that I thought were safer than others, I put a saucer of milk on the windowsill. Toad didn't like being treated like a transient cat very much, but there wasn't anything I could do about it except hope my roommate's flagging grades and ridiculous behavior (i.e. running naked through the quad in mid-January) would get her removed from campus, or better yet, the country—perhaps to one of those places that have a malaria problem.

Not to say she wasn't capable of being a perfectly decent human being when she was sober, but around the fifth week I found my laundry covered in vomit I decided that I would never actually see her sober and this whole partying thing wasn't just a temporary celebration of freedom from controlling parents.

The only thing keeping me sane at the moment was the fact that Mort hated her almost as much as I did (even though he doesn't like much of anybody), and that was about to change.