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Chapter 2: Chapter One: Home
Chapter One: Home
Today I am haunting the attic. The wizarding wireless said that houses of families wiped out are now being thoroughly investigated, so I expect that being up here is the safest place to be. Our attic is only noticeable if you are staring directly at the ceiling looking for the cut out lines that form a square that can be pushed open, and then viewed by climbing on a chair.
It took some effort to get up here. I don’t think we’ve ever had a ladder, what with everything accessible via magic. I really have trouble understanding how muggles get along so well. I suppose it’s the “can’t miss what you’ve never had” theology. Anyways, I still have the trace, so magic was out of the question. With a lot of arm strength I’d have never guessed I possess I managed to get up.
Our attic isn’t really an attic. It’s more of a crawlspace. If I sit with my back straight, my head almost touches the ceiling. Of course, it doesn’t mean that this place doesn’t hold a lot of junk. The attic covers our whole house, which makes it ideal for all of our junk.
After a few hours in the attic I find myself deathly bored, and slowly growing hungry. I skipped breakfast. You know, these erratic eating habits probably aren’t a good thing for the little being. I’ll put off eating for a little longer though. It’s a pain in the butt to get up here, and I’m still deathly afraid of being found.
I suppose at some point I’m going to run out of food. I know that food can’t be magicked, no matter how hard I might have tried when I wanted a midnight snack at Hogwarts. This was before I knew where the kitchen is. Really, why am I putting off being found? I guess I’m just too irrational for my own good.
Out of boredom I decide to stick my hand into the nearest box and pull something out. I find myself holding a family album. It’s very dusty. Who knows how long it’s been up here.
I flip to the front page, and find myself looking at my dead family. It’s a shock to see them so abruptly. I suppose I should have expected it. It is our family album. I swallow down my tears and look back at the picture.
My dad is holding my sister Cora in his arms. She keeps peeking up at him through her brown hair in wonder. I have a feeling I used to do that when I was young too. My dad was a pretty amazing person.
My dad keeps looking between my mother and my sister. Grinning ear to ear. My mother is laughing at something. My mother was always laughing; everything seemed to amaze her. The only time I’d ever not seen her laughing was when her sister died. I suppose that I still have my uncle and cousin as far as family goes. But my father always called them the wackys, and without her sister as an incentive we slowly grew out of contact with them. I see my mother stop laughing for a moment to tuck one of her blonde locks behind her ear. This prompts me to start playing with one of my own blonde locks.
I can remember always being told how extraordinarily like my mother I look. I have her hair, her face. I have my dad’s stature though. And I also possess his eyes and nose. I’d gather that it’s easier for people to see my mother in me though. I’ve been told that I have her spunk… Whatever that’s supposed to mean.
At that thought I begin to chuckle. It’s a bit watery. I couldn’t hold down my tears while laughing.
I flip to the next picture and find just my mother this time. She’s not laughing. Instead she has her hands on a slightly bulging belly looking amazed, with a tenderness in her eyes. There is a messy scrawl at the bottom
Trisha three months pregnant with our second child.
To think that I’m going to be that big in two months time. To think that I was once to small. To think that I will not have a husband, or even a boyfriend to take pictures of me when I’m that big.
I think I should stop going along that train of thought. I don’t need more worries.
I flip through the album, noting how my mom’s belly is growing larger in every picture. Until I come to a picture that must have been taken just after my birth. My mother is sitting on a porch swing next to my dad and Cora. In her arms is an infant. Me.
I am suddenly taken out of my thoughts when I hear a door creak downstairs. I freeze, afraid to be found.
Surprisingly, I don’t hear a loud assortment of ministry officials. Instead I hear the pitter patter of, Merlin, a cat? How on Earth did a cat get into this house? I locked the door, and all the windows. How long have I been up here? Did I take a nap, unaware of doing so, and wake up in a universe where cats can open locks? What kind of mad world is this?
I suddenly hear heavier footsteps, and the cat seems to be gone. My mind suddenly makes the jump to the most perfect conclusion. An animangus. An animangus would have been able to open the door and turn into a cat. But that makes this situation all the more serious. Someone must be looking for me. There is no other conclusion.
A square of the floor opens up, and I hear the most wonderful thing I’ve heard in a while.
“Miss Collins, if I were you I’d come down now. I’m old, and don’t particularly enjoy crawling around attics.”
Sweet mother of Merlin! It’s McGonnagal.
“Y-yes professor,” I studder.
I come down with a bit of a stagger, still shocked at McGonnagal’s appearance.
“How did you find me?” I ask.
“Did you really believe that a fifteen year old is hard to find Miss Collins?” She replies tartly, “Now get your belongs together so that we can go. I think you’d prefer to stay at Hogwarts instead of this dingy place.”
That last statement makes me feel a bit disgruntled. This is my home! My home is not dingy, it’s just... I look around and realize that in my parents’ absence I have made this house a mess. Oh great, how am I supposed to take care of a little being when I can’t take care of myself?
I rush off and gather my possessions. I grabbed my trunk on the way out of the castle. You have to love reinforced wood, or my trunk would just be splinters, as Ravenclaw tower was dismantled by Giants. Wait a minute!
“McGonnagal, isn’t Hogwarts almost entirely demolished?” I slide across the floor and ask.
“Not entirely Miss Collins” She tells me with an almost motherly look. “The Hufflepuff and Slytherin dorms are still around since they are underground.” She smiles, “I’m sure that you’ll find either of those dorms to be satisfactory.”
You know, Nina, Alan, and I always had a theory about McGonnagal. She’s very strict, and yet somehow she comes out with random spurts of motherly tenderness. We think that she probably has a child somewhere, perhaps several, and even a husband. It’s very strange to think of Professors as having children. For some reason they seem to just spring old and wise from the ground, like they’re potatoes. One can just look at a potato and you know that it’s wise.
“Alright,” I tell her after a little more packing, “I’m ready.”
AN: I wrote this part before the validator's break, but I had expected this chapter to go for a lot longer. So after some writing I realized I needed to split here. Fresh baked virtual cookies for those who can guess who Abby's cousin is.