Chapter 4 : Kicked Out of the Family
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The sound of someone screaming tore through my dreams the day of the full moon. I wrenched my eyes open and rolled over to look at the clock on my bedside table. It was a little after nine o'clock, much later than I usually got up. I must have stayed up star gazing later than I thought. My eyes were still heavy with sleep and I pulled my pillow over my head, trying to drown out the screaming. No doubt my brother was having another nightmare. After a few more minutes of trying to get back to sleep I gave up and got out of bed. Mum must be having a hard time calming him down. I quickly threw on some clothes and left my room.
I ran down the hallway, pausing just outside Matt's room, unsure of whether to go in or not. I knew that Mum would be tense and wasn't sure whether my presence would help or if I would just get in the way. My mind was leaning towards the latter, but I decided to pop into the room anyway. I quietly stepped into the doorway and saw Mum with Matt on her lap, who was sobbing into her shoulder. I wasn't exactly sure how to announce my presence and was about to just leave when Mum noticed me.
"Amy," she whispered, "Did you just get up?"
"Er, yeah, I was just going to go downstairs," I replied awkwardly, "Um, is he ok?"
"He's always like this the day of the full moon," Mum explained, "He's got a fever. Could you do me a favor and go downstairs to the kitchen and get a potion? It's in the cupboard above the sink in the green bottle. It should say 'fever reducer' on it."
I nodded and left the room. That went better than I had expected. Mum actually wanted my help. Of course, I really didn't know what went on the day of the full moon, so maybe this was completely normal. Still, it would probably just be best to keep my distance that day. Well, that's what my rational side told me. What I really wanted to do was stay the whole day and the night. I didn't want to go to the Bailey Manor with my grandparents. Was it really fair that my parents just sent me away for a couple days every month? It's like I'm not even a part of the family or something. Aren't families supposed to stick together through bad times as well as good? That's the way it was for most families, but not mine.
Richard and Cinda were both in the kitchen and looking extremely exhausted. Ellie was there as well, preparing brekkie for both of them. I didn't see Dad in the living room as I passed it and he wasn't in the kitchen, either. "Morning Richard, Cinda, Ellie," I said on my way over to the cupboard Mum told me about.
"Morning," Richard mumbled.
"Hi darling," Cinda yawned, "Did you sleep well?"
"Fine," I replied, "You?"
"Not really," Cinda said, "Your brother kept having nightmares last night."
"Oh, I didn't hear them until the one just now," I shrugged. I am normally a pretty light sleeper. I would have thought Cinda wouldn't be, what with Richard's snoring, but I guess she's just become used to that.
"Does Amy want any brekkie?" Ellie asked.
"Sure, thanks Ellie," I smiled at her, "I just have to bring Mum a potion and I'll be back down."
I grabbed a stool and stood on it to reach the cupboard. I had never looked in this cupboard before. Inside were numerous potions and salves. I rummaged through them until I found the green bottle labeled 'fever reducer'. I jumped off the stool and ran out of the room. Curiosity got the better of me and I pulled the stopper out and gave it a whiff. The scent made me gag. It smelled absolutely disgusting. Kind of like a combination of rotten eggs and mushrooms. I detest mushrooms.
Once I got back to Matt's room, Mum had managed to calm him down and had laid him back down in his bed. I quietly walked over to the bed and sat down next to Mum. My brother looked absolutely awful. He was paler than I had ever seen him, was drenched in sweat, and was shivering despite the large amount of blankets on top of him. The sight made my stomach lurch more than the scent of the potion had. I wordlessly handed Mum the potion, but didn't leave. Mum pulled off the stopper and poured the liquid into a cup that had been sitting on Matt's bedside table. The potion looked as gross as it smelled. It was a sickening green color and was bubbling. I could only imagine how it tasted. I watched as Mum gently pulled Matt into a sitting position and handed him the potion. He drank it, gagged, and started crying again.
"Shush," Mum soothed him and gave him a hug, "It'll make it better."
I got up from the bed, "Er, I'll just go back downstairs."
"Thanks, Amy," Mum turned to me and gave me a smile that didn't reach her eyes.
I nodded and left, feeling immense relief once I was back into the hallway. Why was it that I suddenly felt like an outsider in my own family? Oh, yeah, probably because my parents shoved me out of their lives once a month. Matt has been a werewolf for two years now and I still don't really know what goes on during the full moon. It's like a secret that's shared between everyone in my family except me. The thought angered me and I stormed back downstairs.
When I got back into the kitchen, Ellie had set a plate of food on the table. I sat down in front of it and started to pick at my eggs. Richard and Cinda were both still there, clutching cups of coffee like their lives depended on it. "How is your brother?" Richard asked in between sips.
"He's got a fever," I replied.
"And how's your mother?"
"Not as touchy as I thought she'd be," I answered. "Where's Dad?" I realized that I hadn't seen him at all that morning, which was kind of strange considering what was going on that night.
"Master is at work," Ellie announced, "He tells Ellie to tell you that he will be back later."
I nodded. Work. It was the day of the full moon and he was at work. I thought he had taken the days from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day off. Plus, he never worked the day of the full moon that I knew of. He always told me he had that day off. Of course, I didn't really know for sure since I was never home the day of a full moon. I went back to my brekkie in silence while my grandparents continued downing coffee. I wasn't really that hungry, but I made a show of eating for about twenty minutes. I looked up when I heard someone come into the room. It was Mum.
"How is he?" Cinda asked quietly.
"He's ill," Mum sighed, "Like always. I really hate this." She walked quickly over to the cabinet above the sink and started rummaging around in it. When she turned around, arms laden with numerous bottles, I could see the sadness in her eyes.
"Why is Dad at work?" I asked before she left the room.
Mum paused and looked at me, "It's a very busy day in his department. They have to try and set up certain, er, precautions I guess you could say. There's all sorts of stuff that needs to be done the day of the full moon."
"But I thought he took those days off."
"He used to. Up until a couple months ago, he did. Then, the Ministry insisted that everyone in his department work the day of the full moon due to the increased work load. There have been, certain, er, incidents, happening over the past few months on the full moon," Mum explained wearily. "He'll be home by three at the latest."
I could tell there was something she wasn't telling me. That, combined with the fact that I was being forced out of the house later, made my face hot with anger. "What incidents? You're not really telling me what this is about, I just know it!"
"Amy, please, this isn't a good time," Mum sighed, "Just let it go. Dad will be back later in time to take you, Richard, and Cinda back to their house."
"I don't care about that! I don't even want to go!" I shouted. "I want to know what this is about!"
"Amy, enough!" Mum snapped. "Stop screaming and forget about it. I'm not talking about this now. You will go to your grandparents' house this afternoon, end of discussion." Without waiting for a reply, Mum left the room.
I picked up my plate and dumped it in the sink, unable to eat anything else. Why wouldn't she just tell me what was going on at Dad's office? I assumed it had something to do with werewolves, considering that Dad had to be there every full moon. But why would Mum want to keep it from me? We're a family and we shouldn't have secrets like that.
"Cut your mother some slack," Richard said, "It's a hard day for her."
"I know that!" I turned and ran out of the room. I stormed down the hall and to the nearest staircase. I didn't dare stop by Matt's room on my way to my own. Instead I just headed straight there and slammed the door behind me.
Why was my family so intent on excluding me from everything? First, they kick me out of the house once a month and now they won't even tell me what's going on at Dad's work. Was I untrustworthy or something? I paced around my bedroom thinking about this over and over again, but I never came to any conclusions. There wasn't any logical reason why my parents would keep something like this from me.
I decided to write Olivia a letter. Unfortunately, I really couldn't tell her what was going on, since she didn't know that Matt was a werewolf. I wished I could just talk to her about my family problems. She might have some ideas on how to get my parents to tell me things. Olivia was very good at convincing her parents about things. I scrounged around in my desk until I found a piece of parchment and a quill.
Dear Olivia, I began.
How was your Christmas? Mine was great! My parents agreed
to the twelve foot tree and we cut one down in the bush on
Christmas Eve. It was fun, but Christmas morning was even
better. I got the Star Gazer 700 telescope! I can't believe
my parents actually got it for me. It was my best present by
far. I got some books, potion ingredients, and clothes, too.
But what my grandparents got me is really funny. They got
me this Muggle device called an iPod. You attach it to a
Muggle computer and put music on it. I haven't got a clue
what to do with the thing. What did you get?
Mum and I are fighting again. I paused, trying to think about the best way to tell Olivia about the issues. Dad had to go into work today,
even though he took the day off. Mum said there are
'incidents' happening that he needs to be at work a lot for.
Mum won't tell me what the incidents are no matter how many
times I ask her. I think it's quite unfair. I'm part of this
family and need to know what's going on!
I have to go to Richard and Cinda's again today. I'll be
there until after New Year's. Cinda's having a New Year's
Eve party that should prove to be excruciatingly boring. I
have to get dressed up and make polite talk with all her rich
friends. I'm going to try and convince Mum and Dad to let
you come over after New Year's. I'll let you know if I'm
I found an envelope, put the letter inside, and sealed it. I felt calmer now that I had written to Olivia, but I was still mad at Mum. I scribbled Olivia's name onto the front of the envelope and set off to find Jasper, our owl. He usually spent the day in Dad's study, sleeping in his cage. Unless he was away on a journey, of course.
Mum wasn't in Matt's room when I passed it on my way to the stairs. She must have been getting more potions or something. I ran down the stairs and down the hall until I was at the door to Dad's study. Dad had never forbidden me from going in his study when he wasn't there, but I still felt weird going in. I opened the door and crept inside. Dad, unlike Mum, is a somewhat messy person and doesn't really clean his study very often. Mum doesn't bother neatening it up because Dad prefers it messy. She just deals with it by closing the door.
Jasper was sitting on top of his cage and was sound asleep. He was a very large brown owl speckled with white. We've had him ever since I could remember, but he doesn't act that old. I stepped over a couple piles of books on my way over to him. I woke him up and he eagerly stuck out his leg for me to attach the letter.
"Take this to Olivia, ok?" I told him after giving him a few pats, "Thanks."
Jasper soared out the open window and I watched until he was just a tiny speck in the distance. I turned to leave, but something caught my eye on Dad's desk. It was a piece of parchment that was mostly obscured by a book that was sitting on top of it. The part that was showing read Due to an increase of werewolf attacks, the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures has proposed new legislation. If passed, the following new laws-
What was that about? I curiously bent over Dad's desk, trying to find more about these laws without actually disturbing anything. What new laws were being passed? I didn't want to move anything around on his desk in case he noticed, but my curiosity was really getting the better of me and I carefully pushed aside one of the books.
"Amy, what are you doing?" I jumped at the voice that was coming from the doorway.
My cheeks felt hot as I turned around and saw Mum standing there, looking tense. "Nothing, nothing! I was just sending a letter off to Olivia. I was just leaving." I quickly left the room without meeting Mum's eye and ran back up to my room.
That was a close one, I thought as I started pacing the room. On any other day I was sure Mum would have interrogated me as to why I was snooping around Dad's desk. What was that about, though? I knew Dad's job involved a lot of werewolf business, since they are considered magical creatures, dangerous ones at that. He hadn't mentioned any laws, though. Something told me that these laws weren't the good kind, either. Surely they were strict ones if they are the result of increased werewolf attacks. But why would Dad pass those? He doesn't want to make Matt's life anymore difficult than it already is and strict werewolf laws would make it much harder.
I sighed and stopped pacing. Thinking about this wasn't getting me anywhere. Might as well do something useful before being forced out of my own house. I left my room and went up to my Potions room. I wouldn't be able to do anything Potions related at Richard and Cinda's house, so I decided to just spend the rest of the afternoon working on my new project.
The particular potion I was working on was supposed to turn a person's ears a different color. Not a very useful potion, but a funny one nonetheless. I was trying to figure out a way how to make it more permanent. Right now I had only succeeded in creating a potion that would work for ten minutes.
The hours flew by as I worked on my potion. I added some new ingredients and the potion had turned a lovely blue color, which was exactly the color I was hoping for. It was still a bit on the thin side, so I was stirring it over a low heat and it was gradually thickening up. A knock on the door caused me to look up at the clock and I was surprised that it was already five after three. I also realized how hungry I was. "Come in!" I shouted.
The door opened slowly and Dad came walking in. He looked utterly exhausted and in need of a shower and a nap. "Hi, Amy."
"Hey, Dad," I replied, continuing to stir my cauldron.
"What are you working on?" Dad asked as he sat down on the stool next to mine.
"Potion to change your ears into a different color."
"That sounds...well, like it might have some uses," Dad stifled a laugh.
"It's good practice," I explained. "Where have you been today?"
"Work. There were a lot of things to take care of," he replied wearily.
"I thought you took the day off," I said flatly.
"I did, but I had to be there anyway, seeing as today is the full moon."
"That's what Mum said. Want to tell me what's going on?" I stared him right in the eye.
He sighed and put his head in his hands, "Oh, Amy, not now. There's just a lot of stuff going on and the office has been swamped. I'll tell you sometime, just not now. Look, it's already getting late and I need to get you and your grandparents back to their house."
I nodded, "I'll be right down. Just let me bottle this up."
Dad got up and left the room, shutting the door behind him. I doused the fire under the cauldron and poured the contents into a flask. Once I cleaned up the table, I went back down to my room. Despite the fact that I had no intention of going to my grandparents' house that day, I grabbed the bag I had packed the night before and started to go downstairs.
I took one quick peek into Matt's room and saw him fast asleep with Mum sitting on the bed next to him. Once I was downstairs I saw that Richard and Cinda were already packed up and ready to leave.
"I'll take them first and then come back," Dad explained, grabbing hold of Richard's arm and his suitcase. The two of them disappeared with a crack.
Cinda and I sat in silence as we waited for Dad to come back. I really wasn't in the mood to talk and I wasn't going to announce my plans to stay until after both of my grandparents were home.
Dad returned a few minutes later and Cinda wordlessly got up and walked over to him. The tension in this house was so thick you could cut it with your wand. Both of my grandparents were nervous about having a werewolf for a grandson, but they tried to hide it. I guess with that night being the full moon, they were having a harder time than usual. The house was as quiet as it was in the early morning. Ellie wasn't even around, which was strange since she usually said goodbye to me before I left. Maybe she liked to make herself scarce as evening came. I didn't know since I was never around either.
There was a loud crack and Dad reappeared in front of me. "Ready to go, Amy?"
I stood up and crossed my arms, facing him. "Actually, no."
Dad wiped his forehead with his hand and sighed. "What is it? Something you forget to pack?"
"No, not really. I'm actually thinking of staying here tonight," I replied casually.
Dad's eyes widened in shock and he stared at me. "Amy, no. We've been through this before. You stay with your grandparents on the night of the full moon. It's for your safety."
"Is that really it? What about yours and Mum's safety, huh? It's perfectly safe and you know it! You lock him up in the basement with loads of charms so he can't get out. You're the head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, Dad, I know you are able to keep him safely locked up!"
"Amy, enough!" Dad replied sternly, "Charms are not always foolproof. There's always a chance of him breaking through them. I do not want you in the house if that happened. Your mother and I are qualified wizards, much more capable of dealing with it than you are."
"Then make me capable! Teach me the spells I'd need! I don't care if it's dangerous! I'm sick of you kicking me out of the family once a month!" I shouted at him, my voice cracking.
"That's not it at all, Amy! If that's what you think then you've got it all wrong. You are a part of this family and we are only doing this to keep you safe. It's because we love you."
"It doesn't feel that way! You and Mum are keeping things from me, I just know it! Something is going on at your work and you won't tell me."
"What is going on down here?!" Mum shouted louder than both Dad and I. Both of us stopped yelling and looked at her. I hadn't heard her come downstairs.
"You're kicking me out of the house again, that's what!" I screamed at her.
"Amy wants to stay here tonight," Dad sighed.
Mum's face paled and she looked at me. "No. Absolutely not."
"That's what I said," Dad told her.
"Why, Mum? Families are supposed to help each other when things are bad, not kick them out of the house!"
"Amy, be quiet," Mum's face was filled with anger as she spoke to me, "You're going to wake up your brother. This is not the time to talk about it. You need to go to Richard and Cinda's house. Now. I will see you at the party." Mum turned to leave the room. She was halfway there when she turned around and looked at me once more. "I love you, Amy. Remember that. That's why we do this."
I ignored her as she walked away. She could say that a million times and it wouldn't make a difference. There was no reason why I couldn't stay here during the full moon. No good reason anyway. Dad's charms and spells were the best there were. Plenty of other werewolves transform under less advanced spells and they didn't escape, I was sure of it. Dad knew spells from his job that other wizards didn't, that I knew. He used advanced spells to get the werewolf that attacked Matt off of him two years ago. Spells that would be able to disable a werewolf. If he knew those, he would surely be able to keep Matt in the basement every full moon.
"We're going now, Amy," Dad said quietly.
I sighed and grabbed my bag. The battle had been lost as soon as Mum walked into the room. There had been a slight chance of winning if I was just up against Dad, but no way could I convince Mum. Dad pulled me into a hug and with a loud crack we disappeared from the living room.
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight! Thanks as well to XXEveryinchXX for the review!
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