Two Out of Three Ain't Bad
No Dignity for You
Inside a dank and dusty wall filled with cobwebs and mouse droppings was not the ideal place to spend eternity. But it was preferable to the fate that awaited outside it...
The World’s Smallest Ghost, once known as Lord Voldemort, hovered dismally about a foot off the floor and listened to the footsteps and voices.
“And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the room in which the actual battle took place,” said the trained voice of a tour guide. “Stay behind the ropes, please, and photography without flashes only.”
“Oh, hello, everyone,” said a different voice, young and female and rather whining. Voldemort shrank a little farther into himself. She hadn’t thought to look here yet, and he hoped she never would.
“Ah, a special treat for us, ladies and gentlemen,” said the tour guide. “Above your heads, please greet Miss Myrtle Thompson, once of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and now one of our resident ghosts here at the Voldemort Wars Museum.”
“He killed me, you know,” the little-girl voice said over the sounds of cameras going off. “Or his snake did. I was crying in the bathroom where the Chamber of Secrets was, and I heard him talking Parseltongue to open the Chamber, and when I opened the door to tell him to go away, I saw its eyes and I died.”
The crowd on the tour oohed and aahed. “Do you ever see him now, Miss Thompson?” asked a wizard. “I mean, since you’re both ghosts haunting this building.”
Myrtle giggled. Voldemort flinched at the sound. “Well, he’s the reason I asked if I could come here,” she said. “Because I always thought he was cute, and now that he’s so little, he needs someone to look after him properly. We have lots of fun together. We play games, like hide-and-go-seek. He doesn’t always tell me when he wants to play – he just goes and hides – but I always find him in the end.” Another giggle.
“Where does he usually hide?” asked a witch.
“Oh, anywhere. Under the furniture, inside the floors, up in the chimneys... it’s nice being a ghost, because we don’t have to worry about running into things, or being in tight places... I can’t go through things as easily as he can, because he’s so small, but I do all right.” Voldemort could tell by Myrtle’s tone that she would be smiling coyly at the crowd. “He wants me to find him, you see, so he’s careful never to be too clever. Because he wouldn’t have any fun if I wasn’t here.”
“Are you playing a game now?” asked a different witch.
“Yes, we’ve been playing for nearly a month. It’s the longest he’s ever hidden from me. Do tell me if you see him, please. I miss him dreadfully.” Myrtle sniffled, and then broke into the wailing sound that had given her the nickname she’d owned at Hogwarts.
“And next on our list, the room where Lord Voldemort once murdered his father and grandparents,” said the tour guide hastily. “Right this way, please...”
Myrtle kept moaning until the last tourist had left the room, then let her noise trail off into silence. “Tommy,” she crooned, swooping around the room. “I know you’re in here. I can feel it. Come out, come out and play!”
Voldemort held completely still, staring fiercely at the inside of the wall. I’m not here, he willed. I’m not here... just go away, go somewhere else, I’m not here...
A glowing head poked through the wall directly in front of him. He shrieked.
“Tommy!” Myrtle cried happily, her arms following her head through the wall and snatching Voldemort’s robes as he tried to flee. “Uh-uh, you know better. I found you, and now we’re going to play. Come on.”
Voldemort let out a despairing groan as Myrtle cradled him against her chest like a baby doll and rose through the ceiling.
A few minutes later, Myrtle swooped out of an upper window with her perambulator in time to catch the tourists as they filed out. “Yoo-hoo!” she called. “Look, I found him! We’re playing house, and it’s time for our walk!”
The group gathered around, and Myrtle lowered the hood of the perambulator with a fatuous expression that any mother might be proud of. Voldemort lay within, wearing a sulky expression, a striped dress with a lacy pinafore, and a frilly baby bonnet tied with a bow under his chin.
“After our walk, we’ll have tea,” Myrtle told the tourists. “And then it’s baby’s naptime. I sing him lovely lullabies to send him off to sleep.”
Voldemort shut his eyes in pain. Myrtle’s singing voice was only a half-step removed from her moaning, and less tuneful. And she kept an eagle eye on the nursery she’d been provided in one of the museum’s attics. It would be at least a month, probably two, before he could hope to escape again.
Nothing I ever did was nearly bad enough to deserve this for all eternity.
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