"Do you think you're safe here?"
The whispers torment him, but he ignores them. Six days into the new term at Hogwarts, the new year, and he ignores the voices that swarm through his mind.
He walked into the common room of Gryffindor house, warm and light as it was, and closed his eyes.
"Do you think you're safe?"
"Stop," he says to no one in particular. "Please – make it stop."
"It won't stop."
He opens his eyes, and looks at the paintings that surround him. They're empty of people. He is not surprised. Seven days are up.
He takes his wand out, prepared to fight whatever apparitions there are. He glances at the paper in his hand, and he smiles. Then he steels himself.
What he sees, he is not prepared for.
The first thing Hermine Granger heard was the screaming, the yelling. She was up like a shot, racing down the stairs in her night clothes, wand out. To her surprise, Harry and Ron were there to meet her.
"C'mon!" Harry yelled, as the screams increased in volume, and then they suddenly stopped.
In the common room, there was… water? The common room was flooded with it. And there was someone lying, facing away from the door. And there was…
A girl. Long, lank black hair, white dress.
"Who are you?" Harry asked her. Silly question, Hermione thought, she had to be a Gryffindor – but not one Hermione recognised, though, come to think of it.
Then she looked at them, and Hermione gasped and stepped away in horror.
Her face was dead.
"It won't stop," she whispered, a whisper that deafened Hermione, and then she was gone. Ron went over to the boy, lying facing away from them, and turned him over, then he turned away.
The boy's face was deformed, screaming. Whatever had happened to him, it had been fatal.
"His name is John," Harry said. "I think I saw him once. He's in the year below us."
"What happened to him?" Ron asked, shocked. Hermione walked up, and grabbed a piece of paper that was in his hand.
"Here," she said. "It's a note; 'Don't watch the tape.'"
"Tape?" Ron asked.
"Muggle moving pictures," Harry clarified. "But... don't watch the tape? What tape?"
Hermione didn't answer.
She had the feeling this mystery was just beginning.