Silence and Noises

The empty goblet was dangling between my thumb and my forefinger as I walked down the stairs from the Headmaster's office. No students. The portraits were not snoring. The only sounds were those of my boot heels hitting the stone.

Then the goblet slipped out of my grip and rolled down the stairs. For a moment the night was filled with the hollow, metallic rattling of uselessness. Then there was silence again.

The meaning of the word I had just given slowly trickled down into every crevice of me, then it froze. Like water turning into ice, it expanded. As I stood outside the door to my quarters, I thought I could hear a "crack! ".