08. “I’m losing it.”
George and his family had just gotten home from a day at the beach. It was one of their favorite summer activities, and they usually went to a couple beaches a week. This time, however, Angelina told George she wanted to surprise him and take him and the kids to a different beach they had never been to before. She covered up George’s eyes for the ‘drive’ there and when she got there, she asked George if he remembered where they were.
For a second, George forgot to breathe. His mouth went dry. He was sure he looked like he was about to seize up. For a moment, he didn’t remember where he was. And then suddenly, memories came flooding back of him and Fred playing in the water and on the beach. They had secretly come here (by broom, of course) every summer since they were about 8, until their last year at Hogwarts.
George smiled, and acted like it was the best idea that Angelina had ever had. He performed all the usual beach-going activites with everyone for awhile, and then sat back on the picnic blanket to watch his wife and kids play in the water.
That’s when he saw it.
It was a memory, or a scene playing out in front of him, or maybe the sun was playing tricks on him. Because a few feet from him, a kid Fred and himself were building a sand dragon that could breath fire.
He blinked his eyes, and it was gone. Like it hadn’t even happened.
Then, at lunch, he looked over his shoulder and saw him and Fred eating sandwiches they had stolen from the kitchen. A second later, they vanished.
Nothing else happened until George walked heavily into his bedroom, exhausted from a day of play. After showering and changing into his comfortable clothes, he sat on his and Angelina’s bed and started to read his book. Just before he started the first page, he saw him.
It was Fred. Standing right in front of him. George dropped his book and heard it hit the floor with a loud thud. He scrambled back to the headboard and reached for his wand on the bedside table. “Whoever you are, get out!” He shouted, waving his wand at Fred. Fred did nothing but smile, one of his goofy ones, and then turn and walk away. George took a deep breath, put his wand down, and looked back up. Sure enough, Fred was gone.
Visibly shaking, George got up to go to his bathroom, and splashed his face with some cold water. His hand reached out for a towel but he couldn’t find one; he continued to search for a couple of seconds until it seemed to fall right into his hands. After wiping his face dry, he looked in the mirror and all the air in his lungs seemed to disappear. Fred was standing right next to him, with his hand on George’s shoulder. George quickly looked to his left, his right, and behind him, but nobody was there. When he looked back in the mirror, Fred was walking around the bathroom.
"Fred? Fred, is that you?" George asked, feeling stupid. He sounded like he was talking to himself. He felt that, until the Fred in the mirror started talking back. "Of course it’s me, George. Who else would it be?"
"Come out." George said calmly. Fred looked at him with a truly sad look in his eyes and then looked away. He then shook his head no. "Come out, you bastard! Come out!" George screamed, slamming on the mirror. "Fred, come out!" He punched the mirror and it shattered, cutting his hand. Cursing in pain, George backed up but slipped on the bath towel on the floor and landed on his back, hitting his head on the floor. As his vision blurred and he started seeing black, he let out a childish laugh and muttered,
"I’m losing it, aren’t I, Fred?"