Your spirits couldn’t possibly get any lower after Dippet’s declaration and you shuffled from his office with a quiet ‘thank you’ - sighed heavily. Once you remembered your next class was Care of Magical Creatures, you couldn’t help but smile. It was your favourite class, how could it not cheer you up?
Picking up your pace, you excitedly gripped your satchel and thought about all the animals you’d seen over the years here, at Hogwarts. You’d picked it as soon as you could as an elective and never once regretted it, not even when Professor Kettleburn lost two of his toes under the hoof of a unicorn in fourth year. He never did walk right again after that, but you admired that he continued teaching despite that.
You made your way outside and lifted your robes off the wet ground beneath you. It was bright and warm outside but the previous night’s rain still lingered on the grass. Cringing at the unpleasant sensation of mud squishing beneath your shoes, you trekked through it to the edge of the Forbidden Forest where the class was all huddled closely together.
As you approached, Professor Kettleburn smiled at you, “There you are, Y/N.”
Most of the class kept their attention on Kettleburn but some turned their heads to you. Another reason you enjoyed Care of Magical Creatures so much was that it was a joined class. This meant that there were fifth and sixth years sharing a class, which meant less sixth year Slytherins to bother you and more fifth year Ravenclaws to join forces with.
The only house that didn’t absolutely hate Slytherin was Ravenclaw, the two houses seemed to complete each other. Both smart, ambitious and cunning - yet when one house lacked, the other provided. You smiled sheepishly and nodded, approaching your group of Ravenclaw classmates.
“You’re never late, Y/N. What happened?” A particularly transparent looking blonde smiled, raising his eyebrows at you. “I’ll tell you later, Art.” Artie Lovegood was a fifth-year Ravenclaw that you were particularly fond of, and despite his odd behavior and strange appearance, he was a very pleasant person to be around.
Standing side-by-side, you stood in silence and watched Professor Kettleburn talk animatedly about the day’s lesson. “A practical class today, students,” he clapped, “All of you, pick a partner - quickly now. We don’t want anyone left out.”
As everyone scrambled through the crowd to latch onto their best friend, you stood still and waited for whoever was left over. No one ever really wanted to be your partner.
Everyone stood in pairs - everyone but you and two others. “An odd number? Everyone without a partner raise your hand, please.”
You raised your hand, looking around to find a fourth. “Seems we’re missing a student today.” Kettleburn rounded the three of you up and patted your back, “The three of you will be an odd group today. Best get introduced, quickly.”
Both students adorned dark robes with blue and white ties and you tried not to grimace. The first Ravenclaw, a girl, had long mousy blonde hair and freckles across sickly pale skin and the other was a boy with jet-black hair and flawless olive skin, which only brought out his bright green eyes.
“Hello,” the mousy girl waved timidly, “I-I’m Eunice. Eunice MacDougal.”
You smiled at the blonde and then at the green-eyed boy, “I’m Y/N. I’ve never seen either of you before.” The boy shoved a hand into his pocket and turned to face Kettleburn without a word. You and Eunice exchanged looks before mimicking him.
“Today we’re going to be learning about a particularly exciting species, they’re very timid and very delicate so each of you must be as sensitive as you can be.” Kettleburn warned and you rubbed your hands together giddily.
“We’ll be learning about these critters,” the Professor kicked open a crate and you squinted your eyes. Leafs. A crate full of leafs.
Students exchanged looks before one student called, “Are you finally mad, Professor?” and everyone erupted into laughter. Kettleburn looked flustered for a moment, adjusting his bow-tie before clearing his throat and continuing.
“Gather round, children. Look closely, now and whatever you do, no shouting and no abrupt movements. These creatures are very skittish.” You struggled to get to the front of the group and sighed, giving up. “Come on.” The green-eyed boy gripped your arm and yanked you forward, his other hand latched onto Eunice. “I want a good grade.”
The three of you watched Professor Kettleburn as he carefully reached into the crate and pulled out a handful of leafs. You watched carefully and nearly screamed when he went around handing them out to each pair. “These are called Bowtruckles.”
Eunice gasped and nearly squealed when Kettleburn reached out, placing one of these little green things into her open hand. “It’s so cute!”
Both you and the green-haired boy huddled closer to the girl and upon closer inspection, you realized this was no leaf at all. It around four inches tall with disproportioned limbs and beady eyes that stared up at you.
“What does it do?” You hesitantly asked, and Kettleburn locked onto you, “A very good question, Y/N! A Bowtruckle is a peaceful creature, they live in clusters called a branch. They carve out wood lice from a tree that they imprint on as larvae, they will only ever become aggressive when their tree is threatened.”
Kettleburn talked on and on about the tiny creature that was now carefully climbing up limbs and through hair. Many students did the exact opposite of what the Professor had told them, screaming and flailing about like banshees.
Eunice extended her arms and allowed the plant-like insect to walk all over her and you couldn’t help but laugh at the odd noises it made. It nearly squeaked at her affectionately before she placed her hand on your shoulder.
You stiffened immediately and clenched your eyes shut, “Ew,” you cringed, “ew ew ew.”
Your group laughed at you as the Bowtruckle latched onto a lock of your hair, swinging back and forth as it struggled to climb up it like a rope. “What’s it doing?”
“It loves you, Y/N!” Eunice gushed and you gently blew at it, “I don’t love it. Get it off.”
The green-eyed boy plucked the creature out of your hair and raised it up to his face, eye-level with the tiny green critter. “Be careful, I hear Bowtruckles can get a bit - “
An ear-piercing shriek made you jump out of your skin and as you whipped your head in it’s direction, you gasped to see a young Slytherin clutching at their right eye, wailing in pain.
“It attacked me! I’m blind!” He cried, “Don’t panic, nobody panic! Everyone put your Bowtruckles back into the crate and take out your textbooks. Chapter 34, page 117. Come now boy, to the hospital wing.” Kettleburn hastily guided the boy from the group and to the castle, all the while the students fearfully put their Bowtruckles back into the crate, now afraid of going blind.
“I don’t want to lose an eye, thank you.” Green–eyes said, tossing the Bowtruckle back into the crate and grimacing. “They don’t attack unless they feel threatened.” Eunice frowned. “It was just scared.”
Your lips formed a thin line and you tapped your foot anxiously, “I can still feel it crawling on me.”
The two laughed at you before opening their shared textbooks, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Skipping through the pages, you found yours and looked around for a place to sit, forgetting that the mud slushing about momentarily.
Green-eyes pulled out his wand from his robes and with a flick, a small wooden stool conjured from thin air before dropping onto the ground. He took a seat on it and began reading, only looking up when you cleared your throat at him.
“Would you be a dear?” You raised your brows and crossed your arms, “You’re a sixth year. You’re telling me you don’t know how to conjure yet?”
Blushing and looking away, you stuttered, “I haven’t mastered it yet, is all.”
With a scoff, the boy conjured two identical stools and the three of you sat in a small circle, each silently reading through your Bowtruckle biology chapter.
Class was dismissed early due to the Slytherin boy’s injured eye and you never did find out if he was okay or not, not that you cared all that much. Walking into the castle, you stopped off by the Great Hall where small groups of students gathered at their tables, probably free-periods. Bowls of fruit sat in rows on each table throughout the day so students could have access to food whenever they needed. You reached out and grabbed a bright red apple, sitting down and sighing.
“You called my name.” Taking a bite, you moaned at the taste, smiling at that familiar tickle on your ankle. “What’re you plotting Aradia?”
Leaning down, you nearly choked on your apple as your eyes found not pale yellow eyes, but beady little black ones. That tiny green creature had latched onto you and was hitching a ride into the castle and it took all of your might not to scream and kick it off hysterically.
“What are you doing? You belong to Professor Kettleburn!” You hissed, plucking the creature off of your sock and holding it in your palm. The creature squeaked at you as if providing a counter-argument and you quickly shoved it into your robe’s pocket, standing up and running from the hall with haste.
You were about to make your way back outside in hopes that Kettleburn was still there, but a tall figure swiftly blocked your way and your hands instinctively reached out to shield yourself in time. Palms flat against his chest, you slowly looked up at him. Riddle.
Brow raised, Tom took a step back and gave you a one-over. “In a hurry to be somewhere?”
“Actually yes, so if you’ll excuse me - “ a hand clamped down on your shoulder and guided you back into the hallway, “I’m sure it can wait, Y/N. You ran off after Transfiguration class with Professor Dumbledore and Headmaster Dippet told me personally that I am to - “
You groaned and yanked yourself away from him, opening your mouth to argue when the sensation of something wiggling against your torso silenced you.
Eyes wide and face pale, you quickly nodded, “Let’s just go, then.”
The brunette was suspicious of your sudden submission but said nothing as he walked by your side. Again, as students flooded the halls to get to their next class, that familiar confused stare you’d get emerged - they wondered what you and Tom Riddle were doing together again.
“Are you sure you want to be seen with me, Riddle? People are staring.” You taunted, sweating gathering under your clothes. “I don’t particularly care.” He responded, not even bothering to look at you.
Your teeth ground together and your muscles clenched and unclenched with anger. Taking deep breaths to remain calm in the presence of this arrogant boy, you were relieved to find the classroom full and the class about to begin.
Behind The Scenes Photos from Classic Universal Monster Movies
Spearheaded by producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. and visionary makeup artist Jack Pierce, Universal Studios’ series of monster movies were responsible for giving the world of cinema its first true horror icons, laying the groundwork for all other iconic boogeymen to follow.
Beginning in 1925 with the Lon Cheney fronted silent horror classic The Phantom of the Opera, Universal Studios churned out a series of monster movies that were heavy in tension, suspense and atmosphere, setting the ominous mood and tone for each film by way of thick fog, classical music scores and towering gothic castles. Adapting the works of such prominent literary figures as Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and H. G. Wells, Universal effectively established itself as Hollywood’s ‘House of Horrors’ and continued its landmark series through the 1960s, the last of its original iconic monsters arriving in 1954 with Creature From the Black Lagoon.
Are there any stim toys you would recommend for people who are usually skin pickers/scratchers?
Please note, anon, that while I’m answering, I haven’t yet found a good solution for this. So take this advice in the spirit of words spoken by someone lacking expertise, because I don’t know any one stim that directly replaces all sensory elements of this. Especially because I like the pain of the picking in a way I can’t really explain, and most of the replacement stims I’ve seen discussed don’t much cover this aspect.
(I really need to stop because I’ve given myself some very horrible sores on my toes. And since my uncle recently lost a few toes due to a simple blister not healing, I’ve had a bit of a wake-up call on this account. So I’ve been thinking about this myself!)
If you’re looking to replace the the picking and peeling away of skin, this is a bit of a tough one, but I think I have a solution. I’ve noticed that while I’ve covered my red apple squishy with PVA glue to glue splits together, the edges definitely stick up enough that you can peel them off (and I have to resist doing this). If you enjoy the picking and resulting peeling, you could coat something hard and plastic or metallic (anything from a Tangle to a jam jar lid) with PVA, let it dry, peel it off, repeat. Coat several things so there’s always something to peel while you’re preparing another toy! It may take some experimenting to find which toys work best for you, but the good thing about this is that it only takes time, glue and a brush or makeup sponge (and your painting doesn’t need to be neat because you’re going to pick at it and peel it off anyway).
I’ve noticed that now my Tangle Jr Fuzzy is worn enough that it’s all edges of flocking sticking up, it’s very hard not to pick at them! (I can’t afford to replace this Tangle every month because I’ve picked off all the flocking, so I have to be careful. Which is why I don’t advise buying this just to pick at, because it’ll get expensive quickly.) So I want to coat a cheap Tangle (one of the ebay Tangles in this post, because I won’t care if they’re wrecked) in PVA glue to see if this works for me, because it combines the fun of a Tangle (which I love) with something to pick at while fidgeting. If it does work, I’ll probably have two or three Tangles covered in glue and just rotate through them.
(I’ll let you all know how it works, as it’s only theory right now, but this is on my Things To Try This Weekend list.)
If you’re looking to replace the pain, I’d look at prickle and massage balls. You can push them quite hard on your skin and cause a firm, prickling pressure that doesn’t damage. I use prickle/massage balls a lot when my chronic hand pain is bad, because something about the hard pressure rolled over the pain site feels better than the experience of the original pain itself (even though the ball does hurt), and if I do this for long enough, the chronic pain usually ebbs a little. It’s the closest stim toy I have to giving anything like a pain sensation, and while this isn’t discussed a lot, for some of us harder textures, and even pain, is stimmy, so we need non-damaging ways to get that experience.
If you’re looking to replace the picking, by which I mean the pulling at fronds instead of bits of skin, I’d look at poppers, puffer toys, hedge balls, Koosh Balls and the Tangle Hairy. The Tangle Hairy, the Koosh, hedge balls/creatures and puffer toys all have long latex or rubbery fonds that can be pulled and stretched. The Koosh goes to twice its length. Poppers - especially the Stimtastic Mini Poppers - can be pressed against a hard, smooth surface and picked off with fingertips and fingernails.
The other idea I have for picking is washing swatches of cloth or something like wool dryer balls and picking at the lint balls forming on the cloth or the woolen fibres. Flannelette and woven T-shirt material pills - you could even make a marble maze out of a cloth that pills and combine the two toys.
If someone knows of a stim toy that can replace all three of these things, or has an idea for one, or wants to discuss developing one, come talk to me, please! I’ve been pondering a bracelet that is flat on one side and prickled/bumped (with hard plastic bumps, not like the prickled slap bands) on the inside, something you can press against a wrist while picking glue off the flat side, with frondy bits attached to the outside edges. But as of now, it’s only pondering, and I’m not sure how well it would work.
If followers have ideas or replacement stims they’ve used successfully, please let us know! I’m sure anon will be grateful; I know I will be!
Tangle Junior Jr. Classic ~ fidget toy, ADHD, autism ~ choose your color!$5.99, search on eBay. Best price for choosing your own color.
Unfortunately for everyone, when I Googled, the listings I got were $6.25 USD, so I’m guessing there’s been a slight price increase between ask and post. It’s absolutely worth discussing, though, as we need good chose-your-own-colour options for US-based folks.
(Here’s a link to all the fidget toys available under the promotion: they have a good selection including various stress balls, snap and click toys, puffer creatures, Tangles and Toysmith items. Many of these also have the ability to choose your own colour, so for folks disliking the random send option, it might be worth investigating.)