We were about to win. It was cold, windy, and wet. My uniform was heavy and uncomfortable from the rain, my hair plastered to my face. The game was intense. We had reached what I hoped were the final moments, the moments I would bring my team to victory. I didn't care about the weather or uniform. Rather than being afraid of the balls rushing past me, I was excited by them. I flew faster as the rest of the team focused on avoiding injury. I knew I should be scared, just like everyone else was. But this was the most amazing feeling for me.
I thought I saw the Snitch. It was tiny, and incredibly fast; it was even harder to see than usual now that everyone was moving about so quickly and aggressively. Determined to catch it immediately, I dropped my broom until my feet skimmed the ground.
I knew I was taking a risk as I flew beneath the other players. I had never attempted something like that before, and kept looking at the dangling feet above me as I glided just above the ground. I then shot up again as the Snitch did, surprised as I jerked forward with great force.
Gasps and cheers could be heard throughout the crowd, and I knew that this was the most exciting game I had ever played. Until then I had only heard this much enthusiasm from the crowd at the end of the game, when someone was proudly holding the Snitch in their shaking hand. I was not concerned with what they were excited about now, though; I could see the Snitch, and catching it was all that mattered to me at that moment.
I extended a trembling arm as slowly as I could, the entire time wanting to move faster. My broom was swaying from side to side. I held on to it as tightly as I could, but kept one arm out, my fingertips just inches from the Snitch.
I was closer. I was going faster and faster. Everything rushed past me. Everything was blurry. I flailed my arm, felt my fingers brush the Snitch, and suddenly I was falling.
I didn't realize what had happened until I began falling. Something had hit me. It must have been a Bludger, nothing else could have hit me so hard, but my eyes were closed. I knew that if I opened them everything would still be blurry, maybe even more blurry than before, so I kept them shut. And even if I had wanted to I probably wouldn't have had the chance, because I quickly hit the ground and was plunged into darkness.
It was the strangest dream I had ever had. I was lying in a cold, hard bed unlike my own. Unfamiliar voices surrounded me, but I could not see their faces. Mute colors blended into each other. They created blurred images I couldn't figure out, regardless of how long I stared at them. The pain I felt was frightening. I had never experienced pain like this in a dream before.
I lay perfectly still in my bed and listened to the voices around me. I wondered what others were doing, what was going on in my own dream. It wouldn't matter when I woke up though, so I focused my attention elsewhere.
I had read about dreams like this before, where people sometimes became aware of the fact that they were dreaming. When I saw it I read those few sentences over and over again, I was so fascinated by the concept. I could do anything I wanted! I decided then that if it ever happened to me, I would do something amazing, like flying—something I wouldn't have the courage to do in real life.
Although it was the first thing that had come to mind when I realized that I was dreaming, it was the last thing I wanted to do. It was the perfect opportunity though, and I tried to convince myself that leaving the bed was safe, because I knew that I would regret not doing so later.
But nothing, not even that, could force me out of my bed. I didn't care about how uncomfortable it was; it was safer than wherever I would end up flying, and most likely falling.
Besides, I wanted to wake up. The pain had not subsided; if anything, it was getting worse. I wasn't worried yet, for I was confident that the pain would disappear when I woke up.
Those thoughts and feelings were soon pushed to the back of my mind, though. I started noticing things I hadn't just minutes ago. The thick scent of cleaners and in the air and the voices around me. I couldn't focus on anything else once I heard parts of some conversations clearly. There was so much going on in my own dream, and I didn't even know about it. I found that amazing.
Most of the conversations involved a game of Quidditch, and then some sort of fall. I couldn't hear entire conversations, though. Many people were talking, and it had just recently gotten noisier. It was hard to tell for sure what I was seeing, but I thought that a large group of students was passing by outside the room I was in.
"Rose!" a familiar voice eventually shouted. Someone, probably that same person, approached me. The person's footsteps against the floor were loud. They wouldn't have been that loud against the soft carpet of my dormitory.
At first it seemed strange that I wasn't in my own bed, considering I was sleeping, but then I realized that dreams can take place anywhere. It was a nice thought because I had made sense of at least one thing in this strange dream.
I still didn't know where I was, though, so I was far from content. Hoping whoever had just called my name would have some answers, I listened to her as she began speaking.
"Are you alright? The nurse said that you were injured pretty badly, and she fixed your broken arm but I was still so worried about you!"
I recognized the voice as Lily's. I didn't hear the voices of any of my other family members, which seemed strange to me. My family was usually inseparable. But then again, it was a dream. I kept having to remind myself of that.
For some reason, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to speak. I thought of what little I could remember of my past dreams, and I had spoken before. But something about this dream was making me doubt that.
I told myself that I should at least try to talk if I wasn't going to try flying. Otherwise, I'd never know what would have happened had I spoken, and I'd regret it, just like not flying. I didn't think I'd forget this dream anytime soon.
Before I could scare myself anymore, I asked, "What happened?" I was relieved to hear that my voice sounded like it normally did.
There was a long, awkward silence, and after a while I wondered if she was going to answer me at all. I didn't think she had left, though. I would have heard her if she did. Finally she started talking, although very slowly.
"Do you remember the Quidditch game earlier today?"
It took a few minutes, but eventually vague memories of the morning's events came to me. I nodded slowly.
"Do you remember falling?"
I shook my head, confused but glad she had told me. It cleared up some things, in a way. However, it also confirmed that I was either not dreaming, or had been dreaming for a long time and had already forgotten parts of my dream. I preferred to think that the latter was true.
Lily went on to explain that I had almost caught the Snitch. I was hit by a Bludger though, and fell, and that ended the game immediately. I was rushed to the hospital.
I was shocked at first, although I probably shouldn't have been. What she was saying made sense.
Just when I had gotten over the shock, however, and was able to listen to her more clearly, she explained that I was rushed to the hospital. That worried me.
Even though it was probably stupid of me, I couldn't help but ask, "So I'm in the Hospital Wing now?"
"Yes," Lily said a minute later.
I should have known sooner. Now that she told me, it made perfect sense.
I didn't know what to say next, so I didn't say anything. Lily didn't either. I let my mind wander, but of course, all I was able to think about was what Lily had just said. After a while I realized that it wasn't as scary as it sounded at first. Lily had said that my arm was broken, but it had been healed, so I didn't see why I wouldn't be able to go home the next day.
My gaze shifted from place to place around the room as I thought about these things. I didn't recognize the room as the Hospital Wing, and I couldn't make out any of the objects or people in the room. I only saw their blurry silhouettes in faint colors.
Lily hadn't said anything about this to me. I wasn't sure at first if I wanted to tell her about it. While I was deciding whether or not I wanted to tell her at all—I kept changing my mind—she spoke again.
"Hugo, Albus and James are in the Great Hall. It's dinnertime. I don't know what they'll do afterward, probably just go back to the Common Room. But I talked to the nurse, and she said that you'll have to stay here overnight, but you'll be able to go home with us tomorrow."
I nodded, but stopped quickly. It hurt my neck too much.
Lily began speaking again. "So…I think I'm going to go now, if you don't mind. I need to get ready for tomorrow. But if you want me to stay…"
I knew that I had to say something then. I'd have to eventually, and if I put if off any longer it could ruin our holiday plans. So I began speaking, not letting myself think about what I was saying.
"Lily? I just have one more question." There was no turning back now.
"Okay…" She drifted off, as if she had more to say. She didn't say anything else though, so I continued.
"Did the nurse say anything about my vision? Everything looks really strange…I can't really see anything clearly."
Lily didn't say anything for a long time. I wondered what she was thinking, nervous as I waited for her to speak.
When eventually did, but much more quietly and much slower than usual. "No," she said, "she probably didn't know about it. But I'll go to the library now. I should be able to find something useful."
"Okay," I said, and she took off immediately.
I thought about sleeping while I waited for Lily to return. It had definitely been a long, hard day, even if I had just woken up. But I didn't feel tired. I was too nervous about what Lily would find, what she would say to me when she came back.
I tried to tell myself that there was no reason to feel nervous. I was sure that, like the broken arm, there was a logical explanation as to why this was happening. Better yet, it might be temporary—maybe I would be able to see normally when I woke up in the morning, and I would be able to celebrate Christmas with my family like normal. I didn't want to get my hopes up about that, though.
But even if I had to get a potion made, or had to be examined by the Madam Pomfrey and various other nurses, it would be alright as long as we knew what was happening, and I didn't think it was possible that no one would know what caused this strange condition.
I'm not sure how much time passed before she returned, but that wasn't what mattered to me. What was important that was we were one step closer to solving the problem.
Lily began talking as soon as she stopped running. Her voice was loud, and I thought that she was closer than before.
"I didn't find much, there were a few books about vision and such but they didn't help and only one came even close to explaining what had happened to you but it was talking about blindness and I don't think that could be it, could it?"
She said that all very quickly, in one breath. She stopped abruptly, probably to look through the book. While she was doing so I said, "I can't be blind. I've never heard of it happening to wizards."
"That's what I thought, but there's no other explanation." After another pause she said, "This book isn't helping much. I'd show it to you, but…" she trailed off, and I knew that at that moment we were thinking about the same thing. I really wished that she could give me the book; I used to help her with her homework that way all the time. It was hard to think that I may not be able to help her the same way again.
"I should really just return this book now, I don't need it anymore." She ran off again, but before she left the room I whispered, "Lily?"
She responded quickly. "Yes, Rose?"
"Don't tell anybody about this, okay? Because if we tell everybody but the problems solved in just a few days, we'll have worried them for nothing. It can't be permanent."
"But if…" Lily began, but then stopped, and started again with a new thought. "Okay." Before she left for the last time that night, she said, "Well, see you tomorrow."
I told myself that there was no reason to feel angry at her for what she just said, but I still sounded very angry as I said, "Don't say that again, Lily." She probably didn't hear me, though; I spoke fairly softly and I think she had already left the room.