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One-Line Inspired Piece (Vol. I & II)
The little book lay on the floor, nondescript and soggy. (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling.)
The little book lay on the floor, nondescript and soggy.
"Do you see now?" He snarled, jamming his heel into its cover, creating a semicircle's indent. "See how foolish this nonsense can grow to be?"
"Let me have it," she sobbed, reaching for the book with her bloodied hands.
He growled and clamped his other heavy boot down on her fingers. A sickeningly moist crunch emanated from underneath his toes.
She cried out. The boy behind her rushed forward, stumbling over the grimy dungeon stones, which had been previously slickened by blood.
"Don't hurt her!"
"Are you going to stop me?" The large man chuckled, twisting his ankle to and fro, his eyes smiling in malice as he listened to the girl's helpless screams.
The boy rolled up his ripped sleeves and hurtled himself at the beast, nearly knocking him over. The man lost just enough balance for the girl to wrench her crushed hands free, pulling the book forward with her elbows.
"Go!" The boy spat over his shoulder at her, clawing at the stunned man's face and ears. She didn't need to be told twice; she was gone from the room in a matter of seconds with the book held to her chest, the heavy door bashing the wall outside with a tremendous bang from being so quickly jarred out of place.
"ARRRGH," the large man bellowed, trying to throw the street rat off. He grappled the boy's shoulders and shoved roughly in opposite directions, trying to twist his collarbone to the breaking point. The boy, however, was quicker than that—he slipped out of the large hands' death grip and wriggled over his heavy arms just in time to have his elbow snapped the wrong way. He yelped, but jammed his foot into the crook of the man’s neck, kicking with all his strength into the base of his skull.
A sharp crack sounded. The man gave a quiet moan, slumping onto his knees, then collapsed against the cold, scarlet stones.
The boy took a shaky breath and wrenched the knife from the beast’s belt with his good arm, then left the place to silence, his feet padding soundlessly after the girl and into the night.
The little book lay on the floor, nondescript and soggy.
“Tut, tut,” Bartholomew bent and picked up the book gingerly, casting a disappointed glance at the spilled vase of roses.
I folded my arms, chewing the inside of my cheek to suppress a small smile.
“Such a bother, such a bother,” Bartholomew muttered quietly, moving swiftly towards the fire and settling into the armchair, fanning the pages of the book to dry it out. With a glance over his shoulder, he nudged up his skew glasses and said to me, “Chiara, do join me, dear. Apologies for the hesitation, I cannot stand it it when Calum mistreats my library…”
“I’m sure he didn’t mean to,” I supplied gently, crossing the room to sit in the squishy armchair beside him.
“Yes, well…” he continued pampering the book.
I sighed and stared into the dying flames of the fire, thinking of Michael and Ashton, and how they’d so bravely sacrificed their time to the groundskeepers. A smile crept its way across my lips as I realized what they must be serving in detention. And so, was it really so silly that my infatuation was becoming a hazard? I thought back to what Michael had told me on the front grounds on the day he’d slipped me a rose from under the table. Good girls are bad girls that haven’t been caught.
“How right you are, Mr. Clifford,” I chuckled quietly to myself, straightening my blouse.
“What was that?” Bartholomew asked, raising his head from where he was examining a dog-eared page with utmost disgustedness.
“Nothing,” I brushed the hair from my face and tucked it delicately behind my ear, wetting my lips and glancing around the library. I was reminded, as I stared at the rows upon rows of great reads, of the time Calum, Ashton, Luke and I had held a ladder-sliding competition with the rolling ladders meant to be used to retrieve books off the highest shelves.
“Ready?” Calum asked with a mischievous grin, helping me onto the second rung.
“How dare you even ask!” I laughed, brushing the hair from my eyes. Around no one else in the palace would I have let my hair fall out of the tight braids M’lady had laboriously pinned my locks into, but these boys were my brothers, and the only exception.
“Let ‘er rip!” Ashton cackled from the opposite end, ready to catch me if the impact was strong enough to throw me off the ladder. Luke laughed from atop the bookcase, where he’d climbed to watch out for Bartholomew’s return.
Calum took the edge of the wooden ladder and pulled back, then thrown forward with all his might.
The rush, oh--what a sensation! I screamed in delight as the end flew closer, and before knew it I was being set to the floor by Ashton, demanding with a happy giggle to have another turn as the boys laughed and gladly obliged.
“Miss Chiara?” Bartholomew seemed to be repeating himself when I snapped to attention.
“Hm? Oh! Pardon, I was daydreaming, sir,” I replied quickly, blinking in confusion.
“You are alright,” he assured, smiling in light amusement. “I was just wondering if you wanted to answer the door. I do believe it is those troublesome…”
He didn’t have time to finish, for I was already to the door and hoisting it open. Four faces smiled back at me, and I grinned.
“Got out of detention early,” the one with green hair, named Michael, grinned. ‘Wanna join us on a nighttime roof-jumping spree?”
We were out of that stuffy castle within minutes.