He could sense her misgivings and see them all over her face, and he didn’t have the words to respond, probably because she hadn’t used her words to ask. Prentiss slipped a hand in his pocket, the leather strings of his mojo bag hanging from his closed fist as he removed it again. I’ll be fine.
That was what the action asserted, but as her whisper questioned Are you afraid?
, the boy heard his own voice chime in, “I’m terrified,” the slight Cajun lingering there much more pronounced than it usually was.
The sickening crunch
made him jolt, Prentiss staring to the end of the corridor. They needed to go, but something in him, the part of him that had been a babe surrounded by some of the darkest, most powerful magic in the world as a little one, knew that running would be useless. The girl tilted her head like a vulture of some kind, listening for the sound, and when it came again, it sounded like someone was behind him, throwing handful after handful of dirt onto a coffin lid. He knew better than to look, tempted as he was.
The torches at the end of the corridor behind her went, and Prentiss flinched as each one dropped to embers, the orange glow not nearly enough to keep the hallway bright enough that he could continue to see. As the darkness began to close around them, some desperate part of him wanted to reach out and grab hold of the girl, keeping her safe from whatever it was that was about to come for them.Don’t move.
They were plunged into darkness.
Almost immediately, the feeling of being watched increased, as if closing them in from all sides. What felt like claws grazed the front of the boy’s neck, the unmistakable feeling of a hand around his throat making him shiver. The corridor seemed twenty times colder without the torches, and the rasping sound of heavy, sticky breathing behind him didn’t help as the panic began to rise in his throat. The rich, heady smell of a woman’s perfume filled his olfactory sense and burned his eyes, mixing with the smell of death, a body well into rigor mortis.
In an instant, his ears were filled with an inhuman roaring, the torches all flaring to life with blinding, white hot fire. The girl was blinded as well, and for a moment, Prentiss could see a void like shape reach to take her hand. “Don’t-” The taller Hufflepuff moved to follow her, only to have an invisible hand grab him around the throat, throwing him like a ragdoll. His head hit the wall as he collided with it, stars exploding behind his eyes. The seconds it would take him to recover were precious, but now not only was this girl’s familiar in mortal peril, so was she. Stumbling to his feet, despite the black spots that danced in his vision, Prentiss tried desperately to follow after the bone girl. “Don’t, it’s hungry
-” The words were choked out of him as the force threw him to the ground, a feeling like someone standing digging knees into his back to suffocate him. He struggled, clawing at the stone floor. He hadn’t ever felt so genuine and sure a connection with a person that fast, and his mother had always told him that if he did, he should hold tight to them, and just like that, she was going to be taken away.
“Please don't leave me,
” Prentiss all but whimpered as he clawed at the floor, nails breaking at his fruitless efforts to just move
and protect her, hoping beyond hope that she would hear him.@Hotaru Myeong