The caretaker’s office was a gloomy little room tucked away in Hogwarts’ Northernmost tower, the rattling panes and howling winds a constant reminder of its isolation from the rest of the castle. To an average student, the office reeked of ‘unjust’ accusations, but a more trained observer would pick up on the hopeless dejection that quietly oozed from the floorboards. It was well known that the majority of people who had occupied the space had not liked their job. Pairs of entwined manacles were hung up on the walls in reminiscence, much like one strung up muggle fairy lights. However, the attested effect was vastly opposing. The metal had rusted over years of non-use, and the resulting stains closely resembled blood.⋆ ✯ ⋆
A narrow window would have provided a picturesque view over the grounds, if not for the thick layer of grime that blurred the landscape. Hogwarts’ caretakers rarely had the magical prowess or time required to clean the fixed pane. Under the dusty sill was a worn brown armchair. By night, anyone snuggled into its threadbare fabric was treated to a smudged reflection of the moon on the Great Lake, a stolen moment of peace for any caretaker who had spent the day chasing rambunctious students around the castle.
In the corner, as though somebody had tried very hard to diminish its existence, lived a desk. It was a wooden affair so rickety that full articles of the Hogwarts headliner had been folded under its feet to prevent the ink pots on its surface from spilling. Dark stains accumulated from years of hastily placed beverages covered the desktop, and underneath were drawers filled with a mismatched collection of quills and pens. The chair accompanying the weary piece of furniture was straight-backed and severe — a solemn reminder to the person sitting in it that they had work to do.
Swallowing the wall space by the door was an ornate fireplace, a feature rendered completely unnecessary since any sane person would want to avoid hauling wood up the narrow staircase to the office. As a result, a pile of blankets lay in place of burning embers, likely the cleanest objects in the room. Many precious companions such as cats, dogs, and even the occasional ferret had slept there over the years, keeping a watchful eye on their weary owners as they worked.
An imposing bookcase stretched across one wall, its shelves stacked with disorganised detention records and student files. In the farthest corner from the door was a small pile of novels. Their spines were worn, colours faded as if trying to blend in with the grey wall behind. The titles were from the muggle world — primarily tragedies like Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Never had a caretaker had the heart to rid themself of the collection, and instead, many had added to it, finding comfort from their woes in stories left by the other poor souls before them.
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Description credit goes to Margo White
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