The darkness was pressing in from all sides of my mind. My fears, my insecurities, my flaws flooding the foreground of my brain, possessing and poisoning everything their twisted fingers could reach. I wanted to gasp for air - to breathe without the weight crushing my chest, restricting my throat, numbing my limbs, but I couldn't. The twisting in my stomach grew more and more painful; I could feel the stinging in my eyes and the unbearable pressure in my heart that caused the most pain of all. Nothing could compare to this; no amount of unforgivable curses, quidditch injuries or backfired spells; this felt too raw to compare to anything. I opened my eyes and the sunlight burned like an insult to my internal carnage. She didn't want me.
3 ½ months earlier.
I squeezed my eyes shut as tight as they would go. The daylight was unwelcome at this hour and I wished for it to disappear so that I could be granted just a few more minutes sleep. No such luck. I sighed and squinted at the bright disruption to my dreams. In all truth I liked mornings but last night I couldn't get to sleep, I was far too excited. Today would be the beginning of my fifth year. I rolled away from the bright sunlight seeping in through my window and wondered who had been up so early as to open my curtains before sunrise. I groaned, I should have known. Hugo.
"HUGO! I'm going to kill you!"
I heard some shuffling outside of my bedroom door and proceeded to jump quite cat-like from the sanctuary of my bed towards to the door. I wrenched it open and there stood my little brother. Far from being a bad sister, my brother and I usually got on rather well but at this moment I needed an outlet for my irritation at my lack of sleep. He stood there beaming at me and it surprised me a little.
"Good Morning Rosie!" he said cheerfully, continuing to beam at me.
"Don't you 'Good Morning' me, why did you have to open my curtains? It's..." I paused as I checked my watch for this first time.
"10 O'CLOCK!" I screeched hurtling back to my bedroom, flinging my arms in the air in horror.
10 o-bloody-clock. I was going to miss the train for sure, I knew it. My panic threw me into a whirlwind of action. I threw everything my hands could reach into the trunk next to my wardrobe not caring if it ended up creased or broken.
"WHY DIDN'T YOU WAKE ME HUGO?" I screamed at him, knowing full well that it wasn't his fault, but nonetheless needing to scream at someone.
"Because you're a grumpy witch in the morning Sis, so I went for the safer approach of letting the sun do it." He snickered watching the scene of distress before him with apparent amusement.
"I AM NOT GRUMPY HUGO! I am LATE!" I shrieked, probably alerting everyone within a mile radius to my current condition.
"Well I only came to tell you that Mum says breakfast's ready and your clean clothes are downstairs along with your wand." He said as he began to make his way to the stairs.
I grabbed the first outfit I could put together, but it happened to be just fine; my favourite jeans and purple t-shirt from the bottom of my wardrobe. I yanked my hair up into a ponytail and nearly despaired at it's unwillingness to co-operate. I'd inherited my Mums hair you see, a tangle of chocolate curls on a good day, a bird's nest of frizz on a bad. Today was bad. I did the best I could and dashed out my room and down towards the kitchen.
After seating myself at the table I wolfed down the bacon sandwich in my place and gulped down the glass of orange juice in one. Barely having enough time to swallow, I yelled a quick 'thanks' at the back of my Mothers head and darted upstairs again to finish packing the mess that would be my life until Christmas.
Half an hour later and I was bouncing up and down on my seat in the car, barely able to contain my nerves. What would happen if the train left before I got there? Would it wait for me? Would I be stuck at home with my parents all year, unable to get to school?
"What happens if we miss the train?" I asked the car in general, only partly aware that I was voicing my concerns aloud.
"Don't worry sweetheart, you won't." Soothed my Mother, but I was too anxious.
"But what if I do?" I questioned again. I heard my Father give a chuckle at my concern.
"This isn't funny Dad! I'm being serious, what'll happen?" I could feel my stomach tying itself in knots already.
"I'm sorry sweetheart. We're nearly there now, don't panic. 2 minutes and you can be on the train and you'll be fine." He said as he looked at my in the rear-view mirror, clearly hoping that he was calming me. He wasn't. I started twisting my hands on my lap and scanning the streets we passed for some sign that we were approaching the train station.
Two minutes felt like eternity to me, especially today. How would it look if a newly appointed Prefect missed the Hogwarts Express? They might even take my badge away. I gulped. Thankfully I saw the sign for Kings Cross Station ahead and I nearly wrenched my seatbelt off. My brother seemed to know I wasn't in the best of moods so fortunately he was staying quiet for the time being, maybe even finding my panic funny, which would be so like him.
I tugged open the car door, practically sprinting towards the luggage trolleys. When everything was loaded, which took considerably longer that usual as Hugo had decided that now was the time to start being a nuisance, I was jogging towards the brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. I felt a release in tension as soon as I'd passed through the barrier. Seeing other students still on the platform and the train still there caused me to sigh in relief.
Maybe this year really would be a good one.