Well, you said to write if anything alarming happened, and something has, and to one of my dormmates. You remember Katie Bell, the girl from the Quidditch team? I donít know why anyone would want to hurt her, but now sheís in St. Mungoís. I donít know what happened exactly; Leanne Matthews does but she wonít say anything about it. The strongest rumour is that someone planted a cursed opal necklace on her during the trip of Hogsmeade yesterday and it nearly killed her.
Iíll admit Iím scared. If I could think of a reason she might be attacked instead of me, I might not be as frightened. But I canít. It could have just as easily been Leanne, or me, or any of us. The only thing that makes me feel better is that they couldnít attack until we were in Hogsmeade. Iím at Hogwarts now, and I think Iíll be okay. I just hope Katie will be okay.
October 16, 1996
Katieís been attacked! My daughter! Your niece!
They havenít even told me exactly what happened. All I know was she was sent into a fit by a cursed opal necklace which she received while in Hogsmeade. They made sure to assure me that Hogwarts was still a secure place, but didnít mention that the necklace would have been fatal if sheíd had much more contact with it than it did. If the Healers hadnít told me, I would never have known! The Healers also say they can cure her, but they always tell you that, while sheís strapped down to a bed because sheís kicking and flailing and screaming without stopping! Sheís been doing so for two days now. The Healers donít seem at all bothered by this. They say curing her will take months. Theyíre letting her have visitors freely, hoping one of them may cause her to snap out of it, maybe, but I think itís because itís hard to stay near her very long. I canít do it. Neither can Albert. I donít think there would be any use in you coming to see her either.
Weíve been interviewed by a reporter from the Prophet. I answered his questions in return for a promise that our names wouldnít be used in the paper. I donít want them there right now, with the world pouring in. I canít stand to read the news these days, though, so if they do use our names, please alert me to it.
Your Loving Sister,
October 17, 1996
Managed a whole game without Dementors interrupting for once, but only because Angela caught the snitch in fifteen. So weíre at the front of the League for the season so far, but I think theyíll cancel the season by the time the monthís over.
I read in the paper about a seventh-year being attacked, with no name given. Hope it wasnít your friend Leanne.
October 18, 1996
Iím afraid I havenít been able to find out much about the necklace. I did hear that it spent a long time in Borgin and Burkes, but you know we would be unlikely to get an interview out of Mr. Borgin. I hope that old curse he gave you isnít hurting you too much. Katie Bell might give some answers; sheís a very nice girl. We talked to each other once in the DA, and she didnít laugh at me. I hope she gets out of the hospital soon, and not just because we canít ask her anything until then.
Though there still havenít been any more DA meetings. I donít know why weíre not having them anymore, just because the Defense teacher has changed again. After all, itís well known that Professor Snape would unleash Memory Eaters on any fifth-year Potions student that he really didnít want to continue to teach, but he thought could get an O on the O.W.L., meaning he would have to. And since between the subject being more general and needed to be known by everyone because of You-Know-Who, he canít at all rely on the O.W.L.s to get rid of students for him without releasing Memory Eaters on the entire class. He canít have sent them out yet because Iíve been remembering what heís teaching us, but once he starts weíll need the DA to pass the O.W.L.
October 19, 1996
For the last time, I think Iím safest here! You said yourself, they went after Great-Aunt Amelia because she was important, because if they hadnít she probably would have replaced Fudge, and You-Know-Who preferred Scrimgeour because he was more likely to hinder Dumbledore. You talked about Hannahís mum, but she was killed because of lax security, which there isnít any of here, and theyíre not going to break through all of Hogwarts security just to get to me. Iím not important at all. I donít even have those silly nightmares anymore! I donít think weíre going to be going into Hogsmeade anymore after this incident, so thatís not a danger either. So let me stay here and take my N.E.W.T.s, when Iíve been working for over five years at this school and I shouldnít throw it all away over just one incident!
October 20, 1995
Why havenít you written back? Youíre making me worried it was you who was attacked, but I think if it was someone would have told me.
Marcus (letter written on enchanted double-scroll parchment, which automatically writes out a copy on another piece of parchment)
October 21, 1996
Dear Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet,
Since I know you two are good friends of Katie Bell, I would like you to visit her in St. Mungoís and tell me how she is. Madam Pomfrey doesnít know and I canít leave Hogwarts.
October 22, 1996
October 23, 1996
I finally got through to the ward where theyíre keeping Katie. Sheís in a really bad way. Does nothing but kick and scream, completely unaware of where or who she is or whatís going on around her, according to the Healers. Iíve written to Leanne, but there really wasnít much to say, because the Healers also say she came in this way, so that just means no change.
However, we have another problem. There were three short notes by her bedside, which I am fairly certain were from Marcus Flint. He seems unaware that Katie was the seventh-year referred to in the Prophet as being attacked; her name wasnít given, I assume on the request of her parents. He seems very worried that she hasnít written back. I know weíve seen them together a couple of times, but I had no idea they had any reason to write to each other. I think we should tell him what happened, but we are definitely finding out the reason heís so concerned. Iím really hoping he isnít her boyfriend. Floo over to my place tomorrow before 10 and weíll write to him together.
Till the Firebolt catches fire,
October 24, 1996
Dear Mr. Flint,
We have seen your missives to our friend Katie, and we believe it falls to us to inform you that she is currently in St. Mungoís Hospital, suffering the violent aftereffects of a cursed necklace. We are seriously wondering, however, what business you have in writing to her. Please tell us.
Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet
October 25, 1996
Iím afraid your hope was officially in vain. When I dropped into St. Mungoís this morning, I found Marcus there, in a dirty Falcons uniform which I must assume he was wearing when he received our letter, after which he ran to the hospital without changing. I think if he had taken much more time, he couldnít have been got into the ward by the time I found him there. He spent half his time trying to give her savage shakes(he failed because you canít keep a hold of her; sheís thrashing too much) and yelling curses at her, and the other half just sitting there sobbing. Yes, he can cry!
He confirmed that he was her boyfriend, and scorned me for not knowing. He says they were together since before he left Hogwarts. Iím going to wait to hear that from Katie, but Iíve got the terrible feeling heís telling the truth. After all, it is true she was going off somewhere we didnít know about, and she always had that oh-so-amused expression when we teased her about her secret boyfriend, though I didnít really think she actually had one. And now it might have turned out to be him. Can you believe it, that while all that time we were playing against him, they were snogging and doing who knows what else in isolated corners?
He was still there when I left. I think heís going to be there a lot and weíre just going to have to deal with it. If nothing else, I think he really does love her.
Till more old opponents come out of the woodwork,
October 26, 1996
I think I should have written you earlier, but thatís something I just couldnít manage. Try to feel sorry for your poor young cousin. The last two weeks have been the most trying of my life. Everyone has been asking me about Katie, and I can barely stand to recall it, though of course itís always lurking in the back of my mind, especially as I always find myself looking at Katieís bed, or desk, or anywhere else where she would typically be. At least I donít have to tell you the details, because thereís not much I can say which the Daily Prophet hasnít, and I know youíll believe me when I say that, unlike many people.
Whatís kept me sane is doing my homework. There sure is a lot of it for me to do. The Defense Against the Dark Arts homework alone could keep me working straight through a week if I really dedicated myself to doing a thorough job. I will admit, it is easier than the Slinkhard last year. In fact, much as I hate to say anything good about Snape, I like the practical lessons heís doing, because Iíve learned most from those teachers who have done practical lessons, even though Iíve often ended up riddled with all of Katieís jinxes during the last month and a half. She really must have studied hard last year, because she didnít show this level of skill before that. Not that it helped her much, it seems. And she could have got the best mark of all of us in the N.E.W.T. for sure, but now her old Quidditch teammates Angelina and Alicia have written to me and said sheís going to be in St. Mungoís for months. I got a letter from them just this morning, telling them how sheís failed to snap out of her fit at all.
Though I did at least get one laugh out of the letter, when they relayed to me the ďshockingĒ news that Katieís dating their old foe Marcus Flint. Shocking to them, maybe, but Iíd known that forever! And itís been general knowledge in our dorm since the end of last year. Iím surprised he didnít hear of it then. Marcus wrote me too, demanding to know why I hadnít written to tell him about the attack. I wrote him back to say Iíd assumed her parents would write him, though in retrospect Iíve heard Katie complain that they donít like him, so I canít be too surprised that they havenít.
Iím going to close this now and go down to dinner. I donít know how much Iíll eat though. I havenít been hungry lately.
October 27, 1996
Mr. And Mrs. Bell,
I donít know why you didnít tell me Katie was in the hospital, but FUCK YOU!
October 28, 1996
I need your advice. Youíve had three daughters; how did you deal with their boyfriends?
I donít need to explain the problems with Katieís boyfriend to you. You manage to identify most of them yourself when you met him. Naturally, Albert and I did not feel at all inclined to tell him about her being attacked. That would imply we thought he had a right to know, in other words, that we approved of the relationship, which we do not. Yet he somehow found out anyway, and sent us the enclosed note. His disrespect shouldnít shock you, but only because we all know what sort of boy he is.
Heís in the hospital with her now and he wonít leave her. The Healers wonít let us demand his removal, because they think his constantly being there just might snap her out of it. Theyíre being wishful. Thankfully we havenít actually had to deal with him yet, as the last time we came to see her he happened to be asleep(still in her fit, Iím afraid). But when he is awake, Albert and I must somehow make clear to him that he is not to treat us the way he has, and that he should be thankful heís allowed to be there. You must have more than one way of establishing that; I know your daughters dated some real horrors in their day. Which one would you recommend we use? I dread having to face that boy, but I donít want him to keep me away from my daughter.
Your Loving Sister,
October 29, 1996
Itís okay, I wasnít the seventh-year attacked. Iím sure you would have been notified if I was. It was a Gryffindor, name of Katie Bell. You donít know her.
October 30, 1996
Youíre going to love this, unless of course youíve heard about it already. I donít know how hysterical mum got, and if you got around to hearing about it. I donít know if youíve heard about the attack even, but one of the seventh-year Gryffindors, Katie Bell, was attacked during our last Hogsmeade visit, and when the Daily Prophet reported it, the silly news people forgot to mention her name. So when I took a little too long to write mum a letter, she assumed that I had been the one attacked, never mind that she hadnít received any word from the school or St. Mungoís hospital, where Katie is right now. So I got a letter from her yesterday, all panic and guilt-tripping. If I were more cynical, I would think she didnít really think there was a chance that I was the one attacked, she was just angry I hadnít written her.
I could rant about the letter awhile, but Iím afraid I donít have time. McGonagall has assigned us a zillion pages to read and a five-scroll essay to write, and the topic is human transfiguration. Count yourself lucky you never had to read about that.
October 31, 1996
Youíre being too nice to mum. Sheís scared, you know, that youíre going to run out on her the way I did. And then when I broke it off with Marius, she was even more shocked when I didnít move back in with her. But even living four months out of her house and I knew better. Youíd better not get another boyfriend or sheíll give you up for lost.
And having to read about human transfiguration is your own fault. You got yourself Sorted into Ravenclaw, and then into all those N.E.W.T. classes.
But I am relieved to hear you werenít attacked. Not that I thought you were, of course, though I had read about the incident in the Prophet but even so, Iím glad to know you werenít. Iím sorry to hear about Katie Bell, though. I admit I really admired her Quidditch playing. But the Prophet says sheíll recover, so if you were worried, you can stop worrying.
Your sister Samantha