#11919 by Erika Bran
Cold quietness surrounded Erika. She glided through the lake, her long red hair flaring out behind her. Despite the cold, her arms and legs were starting to burn from exertion. She had been, after all, swimming on and off for the last hour or so. The laps she did were nothing special, just back and forth along the shore between a tree and a rock sticking out of the water.
She liked the quiet. It gave her some time to think, and given the events of the year, she had quite a lot to think about. Cedric was dead, Voldemort was back, and the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher was a secret Death Eater. All in all, it was an eventful year to say the least. The implications for the future, however, troubled her.
Her hand touched the wet, slimy stone, signaling the end of one of her laps. She surfaced with a gasp and held onto the stone, catching her breath. After a moment, she paddled her way ashore and got out. Her yellow bikini clung to her pale, freckled skin and she shuddered as a breeze kicked up off the lake. She made a beeline to where her clothes and towel lay, wrapping the fuzzy white cloth around her, cutting the windchill down to a tolerable level. Drying herself off and slipping her glasses back on, she glanced up at the castle with a sigh. The future was starting to look a lot bleaker, and for the first time in a while, Erika was worried.