Remus looked queasy, but Zoey didn't care. What was so bad about a haunted house?
She didn't know why he was acting so strange around her, like she gave him the creeps. He showed her the barbed-wire-surrounded shack.
"Zoey, maybe we shouldn't..."
"Are you really that scared?"
He shook his head. "I just...don't think we should go."
"They're new ghosts too. Sirius said that the ghosts appeared a couple days after it was built seven years ago. Apparently, the spirits sounded so violent, nobody wanted to get close enough to take it down. Funnily enough, they only appear once a month."
Remus swallowed nervously. "I..."
Zoey laughed. "I'm going, so either come with, or sit here in the cold by yourself." Then she hopped the fence. Zoey didn't care if he came along, so she walked up the path confidently. However, she was starting to get a little nervous. What if the spirits were hiding in the shack, watching her walk up the uneven rocks toward the door, and...
"Okay! Fine, I'm coming!" Remus called. Zoey breathed a sigh of relief.
"No changing your mind, okay? Once you walk through the threshold of the house, you can't leave unless I say so," she teased. Remus just nodded.
They walked through the door, Zoey being extremely jumpy, and Remus being even more hesitant. But what they saw made even Zoey nervous.
The house was more rugged on the inside than the outside. A couch sat in the corner, but it was an old couch with most of the semi-rotten stuffing spread upon the floor, sprinkled with scraps of horrific red velvet fabric ripped from the couch. A questionable set of stairs hid behind the couch, almost telling you not to climb. Which, of course, made Zoey want to venture to the upper floor even more.
"Let's go up there," Zoey suggested, pointing at the mildew-covered wood that sat as a blockade between the pair and the wobbling steps.
"Zoey, you've had your look around, let's go," Remus stuttered.
"Come one, I just want to see upstai - oh, what's that?" She pointed at a strange marking on the wall. "It looks kind of like a . . . claw mark!"
Remus completely lost it. "You know what? I'm leaving, and if you get attacked, and quite possibly killed by some violent ghost, or if this obviously rotten house collapses with you inside, well, don't say I didn't warn you." On that optimistic note, Remus stormed out. "Oh, and I'm going to find Peter and apologize!" he yelled as he continued down the path.
Zoey could've followed him. In fact, she was about to, but something near the fifth step caught her eye. Another marking, similar to the one next to her, the one that looked like a claw mark.
Now, she had studied ghosts at Salem. No ghost, nor a poltergeist could've made such a gash. It looked almost like a scratch from some sort of animal. Possibly a wolf. But no wolf she had ever seen or read about had such big claws. The space between each mark (four) was too big for it to be a wolf's claw. Maybe some sort of wild cat had found its way through the beaten-down door. She took a cautious step forward, but the whistle signaling the end of the visit blew before she could continue.
At dinner, Zoey ignored Remus. It didn't work out as well as she hoped,though, because it seemed he had the same idea. Sirius noticed the tension and attempted a silence-breaking conversation, but it didn't last long, and he ended up just whispering with James. Lily also noticed, but she just let them be.
For Zoey, dinner was way to slow. It seemed that Dumbledore felt the need to chat more than eat, and that he couldn't see how most of the kids were done and wanted to be dismissed. Glancing around the room, she realized that the only one ready to go was her. More observation led to her realizing that she hadn't even taken a bite out of her food.
She walked over to the teacher's table. "Professor McGonagall," she said. "I'm not feeling too good. May I be excused?" One of the things she had learned form Salem was if you ask politely, ninety-five percent of the time you'll get what you want.
"Oh, well, I guess so."
"Thank you." Zoey left the hall and laid on her bed as soon as she reached the dorms. However, she didn't sleep. It wasn't Remus that was one her mind; she couldn't stop trying to figure out what kind of animal would make such a big mark on the wall of the Shrieking Shack. At least, one that wouldn't be noticed by the villagers as it entered the almost collapsed building.
Finally, she gave up trying to sleep and figured she should work on her homework. Zoey noticed that papers were spread around a table in the corner, the one Remus usually sat at. She walked over and read one of the papers. It was something about the moon's cycle, which was odd because they didn't have any astronomy homework, and they weren't on moon cycles.
Zoey grabbed another, and saw it was about werewolves. She guessed that's what they were doing in DADA, she had skipped the recentest class. She was glad, though, because she had learned about werewolves in her third year and didn't want to do it again. Werewolves, in here opinion, were disgusting creatures, and were meant to be locked up where they couldn't kill more people. Or worse, turn them.